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Things Are Good: Riding a Bike in the USA is Getting Safer

Riding a bicycle is getting safer in American cities thanks to improvements in infrastructure. Usually the USA is associated with being the land of the car (and it still is very car-focussed) so it’s really nice to see that a sustainable and friendly form of transportation is getting the attention it needs. Over the . . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Riding a Bike in the USA is Getting Safer

Things Are Good: Public Transit Makes Cities Safer

Obviously public transit is great for getting people around cities and is a very scalable traffic solution. One spinoff of a good public transit system is that the streets get safer. In Canada he number of collisions increases every year with the vast majority of these collisions the result of driver error. With public . . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Public Transit Makes Cities Safer

The Progressive Economics Forum: Do Calgary and Edmonton need more power and resources?

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Do Calgary and Edmonton need more power and resources?” The blog post comes as the Government of Alberta considers the possibility of, well, giving more power and sources to both Calgary and Edmonton.

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Things Are Good: Why North American Cities are Different Than European

We often look at urban design on Things Are Good so it’s worth thinking about how we got here. The decisions made centuries ago impact how our cities operate and how we as people integrate ourselves into the built environment. This video explores how and why cities in Europe look different than North American . . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Why North American Cities are Different Than European

Things Are Good: Cities Improve Parking by Removing Parking Spaces

Car culture greatly damaged urban centres the world over and now cities are trying to undo the damage. Smart cities are banning cars from certain areas, installing bike lanes, more sidewalks, and now are removing parking. Cities built too many parking spaces for cars and now they are reclaiming that space. It’s important to . . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Cities Improve Parking by Removing Parking Spaces

Carbon49 – Sustainability for Canadian businesses: Canadians Prefer Businesses with Green Vehicles

Should your company cars and long distance fleets go green? 90% of Canadians believe businesses should reduce transportation related emissions and 82% feel having an environmentally friendly fleet is an important factor when choosing vendors. I look at the findings to see if turning your fleet green may make business sense. . . . → Read More: Carbon49 – Sustainability for Canadian businesses: Canadians Prefer Businesses with Green Vehicles

Things Are Good: Trams Win For Moving People

Traffic is a problem in every city, and more and more people are concerned with the most efficient way of getting people from A to B. It turns out we already know the answer: mass transit. The issue in traffic planing is slowly changing from how much space should cars get to how much space […]

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Things Are Good: Bicycling is the Safest Form of Transportation

In Toronto, the car rules the road so much so that the city is fine with non-driver (that’s everyone) deaths, and the city won’t do much to stop drivers from killing. Sadly, Toronto isn’t a unique case. In far too many places bicycling infrastructure is an afterthought that plays second fiddle to cars. Despite this […]

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Things Are Good: Walkable Streets Solve Nearly Every Problem

Anybody who lives in a city knows that walkability of neighbourhoods is a key reason they live where they do. The attraction to mobility options, safe places, cultural and economic diversity is what keeps cities growing. Walkable spaces makes all of that happen and more! What smoking was to the 20th century car driving is […]

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Things Are Good: Activists in SF Try to Get Drivers to Obey the Law

This year in Toronto drivers have been murdering non-drivers at a record rate. Of course, collisions causing casualties are all avoidable – drivers should watch where they are going and infrastructure designed for car drivers makes roads dangerous for everybody. Toronto isn’t unique for its number of driver caused fatalities in North America. In San […]

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Things Are Good: Cities Designed for Walking Attract Smart People

The human population of the world is urbanizing, but some places are performing better than others. The key to making a good modern and productive city is to make it walkable. Design for people, not cars. Over at BBC autos they took a look at what attracts smart people to the smartest cities and it […]

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Things Are Good: Drivers Need to Learn to Share

Bicycles are an amazingly fast way to get around cities and countries, as a cyclist I often roll past cars idling in bumper to bumper traffic. The cars (and their single occupants) aren’t getting anywhere anytime soon yet drivers as a group demand more and more infrastructure when really they should learn to share. In […]

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THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: NEW DRIVERLESS CARS COULD ENERGIZE THE ELDERLY

Maria is a frequent guest blogger here at The Caregivers’ Living Room. Today, I’m thrilled that she’s chosen to write about driverless cars, largely because my Mom wants one – badly. This innovation will be transformative for the elderly and people with disabilities or mobility impairments. Driverless cars? Bring them on!
Driverless cars are on the horizon and coming with them are a multitude of benefits. Aside from being the ultimate transportation convenience, autonomous cars are energy efficient, very safe and will enable passengers to multi-task to get the most out of their busy days. However, perhaps the population they would most benefit would be the elderly and the disabled.

This new generation of cars would be able to transport the elderly and disabled virtually anywhere, efficiently and safely, without your loved one having to control the wheel at all. Through a combination of sensors, algorithms and GPS tracking, driverless cars can sense exactly where they are and what is around them, making them able to avoid obstacles on the road. They will be able to slow down for pedestrians and detect objects up to two football fields away. Additionally, seniors will be able to call for an Uber-like automated taxi to take them to a specified location. This will change the lives of those who have to wait for someone to give them a ride to get out of the house. Even seniors with mild dementia can navigate riding in a car that has a pre-set destination.

The elderly are already being served by electronic home systems such as emergency alerts, motion detectors, and home automation for climate control and appliances. A recent report predicted that driverless cars will reduce road accidents by nearly 90 percent, just by taking human error out of the equation. Having your elderly loved one driven around by a driverless car is going to be not only convenient but also quite safe.

One other positive to come from self-driving cars is that they are energy efficient and wouldn’t use dirty resources like oil and gas like traditional cars. Energy companies in Alberta have calculated that fuel savings will be around 20 percent just from more efficient driving with less unnecessary stops and starts. If driverless cars were all electric vehicles, that savings could reach up to 94 percent. Because driverless cars would ideally all be electric, cities would have to include charging stations. There is even a prototype of roadways that automatically charge the vehicles as they drive over them.

Eventually, the driverless phenomenon will extend to homes and businesses with mini-vans and big rigs that transport goods via the highways. But for now, the people who may benefit the most are the disabled and elderly. Auto-driving, self-parking vehicles will give them the mobility and freedom they need for a fulfilling life. General Motors has already invested $500 million in ride-sharing service Lyft for a fleet of self-driving vehicles.

Of course, there are obstacles along the way to becoming a driverless society. Self-driving vehicles will have to deal with unforeseen problems like road work, bikers, detours, accidents and traffic lights that aren’t working. The biggest challenge may be getting driverless cars on the road along with so many automobiles driven by humans with their built-in driving impairments like distractions and emotions.

However, all of these challenges are being met and the future of automated cars seems certain to be bright. Having automobiles on demand is more efficient than having an automobile for each member of the family. Adults caring for elderly parents will be able to call for a ride instead of taking off of work for their parents’ doctor’s appointments. Best of all, the elderly and disabled will gain a mobility that they didn’t have when they had to rely on others for transportation.

Maria is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles.

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THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: NEW DRIVERLESS CARS COULD ENERGIZE THE ELDERLY

Maria is a frequent guest blogger here at The Caregivers’ Living Room. Today, I’m thrilled that she’s chosen to write about driverless cars, largely because my Mom wants one – badly. This innovation will be transformative for the elderly and people wit… . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: NEW DRIVERLESS CARS COULD ENERGIZE THE ELDERLY

Things Are Good: Supporting Bicycles is a Good Idea for Cities

Torontoist is a blog focused on, you guessed it, Toronto and they recently ran a series of posts about bike lanes. It’s not all about Toronto as they pull data from New York and tout Strasbourg as an inspiration that Toronto ought to follow. The success of cycling infrastructure in Strasbourg is a result of […]

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Things Are Good: Typographic Design Can Improve The World

The font you choose matters, it sets the tone of what is read and the overall look of what’s presented. A simple decision around fonts can turn something beautiful into an ugly mess and vice versa. Be conscious of what you pick. Not only can fonts make things look nice they can also improve the […]

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Things Are Good: Pedestrians In Paris To Get 50% Of Street Space

Paris has had decades of extremely bad traffic and there’s no obvious solution: other than get rid the traffic. Infrastructure that encourages car use makes traffic worse while also debilitating cities as a whole. So Paris is doing what most places are afraid to try: giving the streets back to people. “Parisians are finding out […]

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Things Are Good: Change The City, Not Your Fashion

Toronto runs ad campaigns that blame victims for being hit by car drivers, the campaign is so bizarre because it says it comes to pedestrian fashion choice. You’d think the city would learn that blaming victims because of what they wear is a bad idea (see Slut Walk for a previous example of this). To […]

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Things Are Good: 20-mph Speed Limit Coming To Edinburgh

Drivers often argue for higher speed limits thinking that it will allow them to get around faster. Unfortunately that logic usually isn’t true and when speed limits are increased then more people die. High speed limits are even more dangerous in urban settings since collisions in cities involve drivers hitting cyclists and pedestrians. It’s often […]

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Things Are Good: In New York, Bikes Have Totally Victory Over the Car

NYC Streets Metamorphosis from STREETFILMS on Vimeo. New York City might be famous for its cabs, but in the future it might be famous for its bikes. The city has seen a big push for sustainable and fast transit in the last decade and everyone agrees: bike lanes are the solution. The city’s commitment to […]

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Things Are Good: The Century of the Car Was a Mistake, Let’s Move on

North America was built around the car instead of people and that was mistake that needs to be acknowledged. In some places it is. The insane support the automobile gets in urban centres is starting to change, we’re seeing more bike lanes and places for people to walk. In order to make changse last and […]

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Writings of J. Todd Ring: The real costs of fossil fuel-powered vehicles – and the alternatives to them

  There is some rising concern, and at times vitriol, about electric car drivers not paying their fair share, because they buy no gas, and therefore do not pay gas taxes, which go to maintaining roads. While this is true, it is only a sliver of th… . . . → Read More: Writings of J. Todd Ring: The real costs of fossil fuel-powered vehicles – and the alternatives to them

Things Are Good: France Installing 100km of Solar Roads

France has announced that they are going to try a mass installation of solar-panelled roads to provide electricity. It’s an attempt to see if they technology can be scalable and durable enough to survive under so much wear and tear. These solar roads aren’t made by the company that turned to crowdfunding a few years […]

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Things Are Good: In Stockholm You May Get Paid To Ride A Bike

Stockholm was plagued with horrible traffic congestion that limited the ability of anything to really happen in the city. Cities designed for cars tend to have these traffic problems. As a result, Stockholm instituted a congestion charge which has been a huge success. Even with the charge to drive in the city, traffic is still […]

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Things Are Good: Germany Opens Its First Bike Highway

Germany knows that their autobahns, which are famous for not having a speed limit, can only handle so much traffic. To alleviate pressure put on their highways they have built a highway just for bikes! The 100km long bike path runs through 10 cities. The bike path is fully lit, cleared of debris, and even […]

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