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Steal This Idea: A Bike Map Coded for Route Stress Level

Why don't more people ride bikes in U.S. cities? A study last year suggested that (at least in some locations) the problem isn't necessarily laziness or inconvenience, but stress: for most people, biking in traffic is too stressful for most trips they want to make. Armed with this research, and other studies that classify riders based on how much stress they're willing to take, an engineer in Austin argues that a bicycle map should be based on comfort.


A narrow bicycle lane on a busy high-speed street with heavy truck traffic can be a world apart from a wide bicycle lane on calmer street, yet both appear equal on a traditional bike map. In the end, map makers have to answer the question of who their target audience is and what information they need. In Austin, map makers believe in the “interested but concerned” narrative—that about 2/3 of the population are interested in riding a bike more often and would, if only they felt safer and more comfortable. Mapping bicycling experiences is part of the toolkit for making bicycling mainstream.

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Unlike the maps in many cities, which mark lanes based on type (showing off-street trails, bike lanes, and bicycle boulevards in different colors), the Austin bike map classifies routes by how likely they are to stress you out. Completely quiet streets, or separated lanes, are marked in green, and the classification system goes down five levels to red (routes that only the bravest bike messenger would enjoy).

Beyond helping riders, the maps can also help city planners: a glance at the map shows just how far the city has to go before it's a truly comfortable place to ride.

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via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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Communities

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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Politics
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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Politics
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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