At What Price Progress?
Dhaka city is becoming yet another victim of the industrialized world's model
of progress. The overnight explosion of high- rise buildings, air-conditioned
cars and four-wheel jeeps (status symbol among the nouveau riche) in the
capital of Bangladesh is extracting a heavy price on the city's air. A recent
report detailing high levels of lead pollution set off alarms among commuters,
many of whom wear white surgical masks to keep out the smog. Mayor Hanif
prefers to remain positive: "Dhaka is on it's way to becoming a mega-city
by the year 2000."
-Daily Star and Bhorer Kagoj, Bangladesh
Michael Giampa became the first person to be sentenced for vehicular homicide
under tough new Philadelphia laws. Giampa's Pontiac Fiero hit and instantly
killed bicyclist Angel Serrano. The force of the impact smashed the
windshield, yet Giampa, who fled the scene, says he thought he hit a deer. The
same excuse was given in an Ottawa court, but that judge was less harsh on the
offender, a drunken policeman.
A recent study in Bangkok looked at the lungs of 330 dead dogs and found
that most of them had died from air pollution. About 70% had black spots on
their lungs and many had developed lung cancer.
Have You Been Hit by a
A live pedestrian is more likely to buy a Ford than a dead one, so the
Ford Motor Company has plans to create a pedestrian-friendly bumper system.
The Detroit giant has charged itself with "developing technologies which
provide increased protection to pedestrians while maintaining traditional
styling and quality standards," according to the project abstract.
"The ideal solution would be to detect the pedestrian at some point prior
to impact and deploy itself, thus providing the necessary protection to the
pedestrian during a collision...The ideal system will provide for repeated
pedestrian impacts with minimal repair costs." The search for a safer
bumper also comes from goading by the European Community, which is proposing
legislation to require limits to the amount of injury a vehicle can inflict
on pedestrians involved in a front-end impact at speeds below 25 mph.
Into the Minds of Babes
Vanpires, a children's cartoon featuring evil vehicles that roam the planet in
search of their beloved gasoline, should hit the tube this fall. Tracula, the
monster truck, and his gang of greedy guzzlers will also be sold as toys.
Though the producer, John Gentile, says there is no educational agenda behind
Vanpires, the message of frightening four-wheelers wreaking terror should be
Balance of the Sexes
On average, there are two male cyclists to every female cyclist on British
roads. But in towns with cycle-safe systems, the females substantially
outnumber the males.
Red Road Ahead
The Prime Minister of Vietnam, Vo Van Kiet, hopes to turn the legendary Ho Chi
Minh Trail into a 1,125-mile highway beginning next year. The road was once a
jungle passageway that moved weapons, supplies and troops from North to South
during the Vietnam War. Though the prime minister has scaled back the original
$6 billion project, it will still require millions of workers (who must
"donate" ten days of labor per year) and a huge proportion of the
country's national income.
-New York Times
Road-Pricing Sage Passes
Greig Harvey, a leading transportation policy analyst and road-pricing
advocate who also served as a senior scientist for the Environmental Defense
Fund, died of a heart attack on February 14. He was 46. Harvey, who had been
applying his travel demand model to the New York metropolitan area as a
consultant for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, was a major voice in
transportation and land-use debates across the country. His influential work
in road-pricing centered on the impacts of VMT (vehicle miles traveled) fees,
congestion tolls and other charges on auto use.
-Mobilizing The Region
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