National Links: Universal Basic Mobility

Every day, The Overhead Wire collects news about cities and sends the links to their email list. At the end of the week they take some of the most popular stories and post them to Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to that focuses on urban issues in the D.C. region. They are national and international links, sometimes entertaining, occasionally absurd and often useful.

An experiment in Universal Basic Mobility: A pilot program funded by the California Air Resources Board gives south Los Angeles residents $150 per month to spend on transportation. The money will be disbursed through a debit card “mobility wallet” and can be spent on almost any transportation option other than owning a car. Any unspent funds can be rolled over from month to month. Residents have used it for Ubers, scooter rentals or even to save up for an e-bike. (Maylin Tu | NextCity)

Insurance shocks: The First Street Foundation, a climate-data nonprofit, has created maps that show risks of insurance corrections from fire, wind and floods around the county. These risks exist whether you live near a dangerous area or not; State Farm has already announced a rate increase of 20% on all its California policies. The cost to replace homes damaged or lost has also risen, leading to potentially higher rates everywhere. (Lance Lambert | Fast Company)

The housing crisis may be just that: Federal programs, institutional investors, developers building high-end homes and a lack of zoning changes are among the scapegoats for the current housing crisis. A new report from the Urban Institute suggests that while dealing with these issues can be part of the solution, the main problem is too few homes for all the new households being formed. (Molly Bolan | Route Fifty)

Keeping older buildings upright: The U.S. has seen several major building collapses in the past few years, many of them presaged by residents’ accounts of deteriorating conditions and reports of problems to city departments. Drexel University Professor of Civil Engineering Abieyuwa Aghayere says cities need to increase inspections if they want to stop more catastrophes, and residents need to speak up when they see potential signs of trouble. (Abieyuwa Aghayere | The Conversation)

Fixing delivery’s pollution problem: Eight U.S. cities and Florida’s Miami-Dade County have signed on to the Zero Emissions Delivery (ZED) Challenge, an effort to cut pollution from delivery vehicles in disadvantaged communities. Emissions from local delivery traffic is expected to rise 32% without changes. As part of the challenge, cities will identify potential solutions according to their own needs, and the solutions that work will get venture funding from the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. (Ysabelle Kempe | Smart Cities Dive)

This week on the podcast we’re joined by Dr. Shima Hamidi, Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University, to talk about a report she headed up in November on the impacts of lane width on traffic safety.

Quote of the Week

“‘Two-tier mobility’ is a meme for thinking of the relationship of mobility and urban design. Influential memes like transit-oriented development, missing middle housing, complete streets, safe routes to school, and mixed-use development reside in the mind as placeholders for urban planning solutions orchestrating many coordinated change — memes that aid constructive and efficient communication. Over 100 years ago, travel was multimodal: walking, bicycling, streetcars, trains, horses and ferries. It’s time to accelerate the change to a new multimodal transportation future that allows people to choose the low-carbon–emitting vehicles appropriate to their local and distance mobility needs. Two-tier mobility as a meme can help us think and act anew.”

— Steve Price, discussing the dream of a multimodal renaissance in CNU Public Square

Jeff Wood

About Jeff Wood

Jeff Wood is an urban planner focused on transportation and land use issues living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jeff blogs at The Overhead Wire and tweets @theoverheadwire. He also shares news links daily from around the country on issues related to cities at The Direct Transfer