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Even in Oil-Rich Iran, Green Transit Ideas Are Catching On

Finding lessons in how green transit can survive and thrive in an unlikely place.

Tehran is not an obvious place for sustainable transportation ideas to thrive. Gas used to cost next to nothing—about 38 cents per gallon—until December, when the government quadrupled the price to about $1.50 per gallon for a monthly ration of about 16 gallons per car, and closer to $3.00 for any amount past that. With gas so cheap, it's no wonder people choose to drive rather than take the train or the bus. In Tehran, in 2008, just over a quarter of all trips were in private and shared taxis, and another 27 percent were in private cars, according to data from the city. Tehran has been designed for cars, too: freeways slice through the city, cutting off neighborhoods from each other.

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How Speedy Buses Totally Changed China's Third Largest City

What can American transportation experts learn from China's cities? A heck of a lot, actually.

This is a guest post from Dani Simons, Director of Communications for the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy. Before joining ITDP, Simons worked for the New York City Department of Transportation and Transportation Alternatives, NYC's best advocate for bicycling, walking, and public transit.

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Guangzhou, China, Wins Sustainable Transport Award Guangzhou, China Wins ITDP Sustainable Transport Award for Bus Rapid Transit System

Guangzhou's kick-ass bus system helped it win the 2011 Sustainable Transport Award. No American city was even in the running.

Guangzhou, China beat out Tehran, Lima, Peru, and several other cities to win the 2011 Sustainable Transport Award from the Institute for Transportation Development Policy.

Guangzhou won for a successful and highly popular bus rapid transit system that integrates with wide, tree-lined bike lanes, a bike share program, and metro stations. It is "raising the bar for all cities," according to the ITDP that gives the award every year.

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