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Two Link Tuesday

July 22, 2014

“Concepts like beauty and happiness are subjective indeed, but, in our crowdsourcing experiment, we found that if you ask a large enough number of people to pick between two pictures [and choose] which one is more beautiful or which one makes them happier, consensus usually emerges.”

In our world of instant updates, Twitter news feeds, and increasing workweeks, slowing down probably isn’t at the top of anyone’s list of priorities. It seems that almost every day a new app is launched to get you somewhere faster, whether it’s via public transportation, traffic notifications, or a quick text asking, “Have you left yet?” In today’s sprint from point A to point B, there’s little time to stop and smell the roses, right? Not exactly, says one group of researchers, because what if you didn’t have to stop? Researchers in Barcelona partnered with the University of Torino explore how new GPS mapping apps can incorporate both beauty and speed. Type in your end destination and the app will generate not only the fastest route, but the most scenic one as well? It’s enough to make one reconsider taking the path less traveled. Click here to read more about the future mapping progress. 

 

 “It’s a great feeling to just be able to offer people something so simple and yet so vital.”

When faced with the statistic that over 3,500 homeless people live in San Francisco and only 7 public shower locations are available, a local non-profit decided to take action. However, with a scattered population and rental costs in the Bay Area at an all-time high, the group knew one factor would be the key to their success: mobility. Thus, the Lava Mae mobile shower bus was born. Funded by private donations, the refurbished public transit bus now features two full private bathrooms, hot showers, clean toilets, shampoo, soap and towels all free of charge. The bus is parked in the Mission District throughout the week, but also travels to nearby homeless shelters to pass out toiletries. By 2015, Lava Mae hopes to have four more buses on the road providing 2,000+ showers / week. Visit their Tumblr to see inside the bus and read more about Lava Mae’s efforts.

Fortify Friday: Project Updates

July 18, 2014

Happy Friday, and a happy Fortify Friday it is indeed!

This morning, NC DOT announced a recent development in the Fortify Project: for the first time, drivers will be able to use the newly constructed lanes. 

440 Lane Shift - Dara 1_cropped

For months, the inside lanes on I-440 West between I-40 and the U.S. 64/264 Knightdale Bypass have been closed off to traffic with concrete barriers. With the next phase of Fortify construction beginning, these lanes will be reopened so that workers can shift their focus to the remaining outside lanes. The shift will officially take place Saturday, July 19th, at 11 p.m., weather permitting.

Since the lane re-openings and closures are switching sides, we’ll get to a sneak peek of what the completed Fortify Project will bring. According to NC DOT engineer Dennis Jernigan, at this point, the Fortify Project is “ahead of schedule” and phase two traffic patterns will begin soon. Drivers are also being cautioned to be more observant than ever, as the new traffic pattern will essentially eliminate the interstate shoulder. In phase two, concrete barriers will line both sides of I-440 West except by the Poole Road and U.S. 64/264 exits. For a better idea of what the new traffic pattern entails, check out the map below:

I-440_2LaneMerge_July2014_eej4

 

Currently, the same shift is expected to take place on the I-440 East side in August. If you’d like more information, the complete press release and map are also available on the NC DOT website.

So what do you think? Are you excited to try out the new roads this weekend? Let us know what you think of the Fortify Project progress by tweeting @GoTriangle or commenting on our Facebook page.

Have a great weekend,

Grace

Transit Thursday: Next stop… local veggies!

July 17, 2014

farmers market poster

 

Don’t you just love the Durham Farmers’ Market (DFM)? It’s got stellar Yelp reviews, inspired a Bon Appetit “postcard” write-up, and is probably the most happening spot downtown pre-10am on Saturdays. In fact, the only thing I don’t like about the market is that I have to get up early to score the best finds (consider yourself warned!).

The DFM is all about community and to help make sure that everyone could enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of our NC farmers, they began accepting EBT/SNAP (food stamps) this past spring. This Saturday they’re launching the Double Bucks Program, a new program that will match SNAP benefits up to $10 per person.

It just so happens that we’ll be launching a free shuttle to the Durham Farmers’ Market starting this Saturday, too! Look for the SPECIAL BCC at Durham Station to get a ride. Look for the signs and if you’re coming this Saturday, July 19, I’ll be there in the morning with our re-usable shopping bags, perfect for toting your market finds. If you miss me at the station, come look for me at the DFM’s info table.

Oh, one more thing. One of Charge Ahead Durham’s three weekly challenges is to ride the bull– no, not the one at Shooters, I’m talking about the Bull City Connector. If you’re going to go to the Durham Farmer’s Market, why not take the shuttle back and go ahead and get your charge done?

 

 

 

Two Link Tuesday

July 15, 2014

(image via CityLab)

“This could work, even though older people do not wish to give up their cars. Change comes gradually.”

Imagine stepping out your front door knowing that no matter where you live, your entire commute relies on public transportation. You don’t live too far from the bus stop or the bike trail to get to the office on time. You just tap your phone to open up the new transit app and suddenly, everything is connected. The app shows a bike share on your street that you can use to get to the train station, then suggests you catch a minibus instead because rain is in the forecast. Every mode of transportation around you is streamlined into this one app, running on one payment system. Sound too good to be true? It’s a lofty goal, but one that Helsinki, Finland, believes to be in grasp. Click here to read how this Nordic city plans to make car ownership pointless for every citizen in the next 10 years.

(image via CityLab)

“Walking, running, cycling, and motorized transportation data tell us different stories.”

How to people in your part of the world get from point A to point B? Do they jump in the car or jog down the street? How do mobility habits in Hong Kong compare to those in Houston? The creators of Human decided to find out. While this new app encourages daily exercise, it wouldn’t like being called a fitness tracker – it’s more of a movement mapper. In the last year, Human users traveled 7.5 million miles in total, revealing fascinating individual and city-wide mobility habits across the globe. The results were compiled into a leaderboard, with Amsterdam taking home the World Cup for most active city. However, don’t count the USA out yet: Washington, D.C. beat out Berlin and Tokyo for percentage of time spent walking. Click here to check out the full results and download the app yourself.

Transit Thursday: Bike Sharing

July 10, 2014

The results are in: yesterday, Midtown Raleigh News announced that a recent study found Raleigh can support a bike share program. This “feasibility” study factored in variables like tourist market, population density, resident polls, and city comparison. Ultimately, the Oak City stood up to the task and proved it could be the next hot spot for the cycling program.

resultsWhy are we so excited about this news? Well, not only is bike sharing good for the environment, it’s also good for cities and their residents.
In 2013, 43% of bike share participants in Denver reported that they use the program to replace car trips, while 31.5% of D.C. bike sharers reported reduced stress. In fact, cyclists  lose 13 pounds on average in their first year of cycling.

One study even found that only 39.8% of men who cycle to work are overweight compared to the 60.8% of men who drove to work. Another reported that women who walk or bike 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer.

results2

By using a bike share program, you can tighten your waistline without tightening your wallet. Many cities have seen an uptick in business after implementing bike share programs. In Paris, local bike sales experienced a 35% increase with similar results across the US. CitiBike alone has created 200 new jobs.

One blogger explains that economic stimulus from bike sharing occurs in several ways: (1) by diverting customers to local businesses; (2) leaving potential customers with more cash in their pockets; and (3) by providing incentives for young, tech-savvy employees to relocate to areas. These all sound like excellent things both for Raleigh business and for residents.

So what do you think about a potential Raleigh bike share program? Have you tried bike sharing before in another city? Let us know by tweeting @GoTriangle or leaving a comment on our Facebook page.

Have a great Thursday,

Grace

Two Link Tuesday

July 8, 2014

“Dealing with traffic is a lot like watching a really bad improv show you can’t leave: Everyone’s trapped, no one is having fun and any attempts to make it better in the moment end up making it a lot worse. That said, solving some of the world’s most immovable bumper-to-bumper logjams might be easier said than done.”

When an entire economy forms around selling goods to drivers regularly trapped in their cars, you know you have a traffic problem. Drastic times call for drastic measures, and with said commute times high and commuter patience low, four cities across the glove made changes to reduce area traffic. From South Korea to Colorado, click here to see the results of this gridlock crusade. 

 

shadow

“In 1980, when a transit strike halted buses and subway trains throughout New York’s five boroughs, residents in some of the most marooned parts of the city started using their own cars and vans to pick people up, charging a dollar to shuttle them to their destinations. Eleven days later, the strike ended, but the cars and vans drove on…”

Public transit serves to move, but what happens when that system doesn’t move you? For years, unofficial “dollar vans” have been shuttling residents between New York City neighborhoods underserved by the public transit system. A trip on this “shadow” transit system can cut travel time in half, leading one reporter to investigate just how this system came to be. For the first time, click here see New York’s shadow transit system in the light.

Transit Thursday: Bull City Dining Guide

July 3, 2014

Happy Friday! Er, Thursday, that is. Tomorrow’s 4th of July holiday marks our second long weekend this summer. Since many vacationers experienced high traffic and gas prices on Memorial Day, we’re again encouraging people not to hit the road and instead hit up their local scene. Staycations are an awesome opportunity to explore Triangle culture and save money, and this time, we’ve made it a little easier with our first-ever Bull City Connector Dining Guide!

dining_guide

The BCC offers free rides along Main Street in Durham, a route that passes by some of Durham’s best eats and treats. Now, 80+ local eateries have teamed up to offer discounts and deals to anyone who presents the Dining Guide at participating locations. From fresh baked donuts to drinks on the patio, you can enjoy all the perks of vacation without ever picking up your keys.

cup_cake barlocal_goodeness

To get your staycation started, click here to download the official Bull City Connector Dining Guide. Each eatery is labeled by stop number and price point, so for the next step, find the stop nearest you using the one of our transit apps. Finally, be sure to show us your favorite finds on Twitter and our Facebook page, or share your best #foodstagrams with us on Instagram.

Have a great holiday weekend!

- Grace

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