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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Tech is Changing How AZ Folks Get Around

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013   

PHOENIX - Arizonans are driving fewer miles these days, and technology and ride-sharing programs are making it easier to get around without relying on a car. A report released today by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund examines how these developments are changing travel behavior. According to PIRG's public interest advocate, Serena Unrein, smartphone apps are making public transit more attractive.

"There are smartphone-based tools that enable riders to find the best way to get to their destination, help check on the arrival of their bus or light-rail train, and are really helping people to drive less and use public transit more."

Unrein said Arizonans have reduced their driving by more than 9 percent per person since 2006, and that's due mostly to the high cost of driving and parking, combined with increased availability of options such as transit, bike-sharing and car-sharing.

Unrein remarked that one impact of technology is making the time spent in transit more productive.

"Having amenities like WiFi on public transit will allow riders to be able to get work done, and they can't or shouldn't do that while they're driving."

Unrein noted that in December, Phoenix will join some 30 other cities that offer bike-share programs.

"They can pick up a bike at a kiosk and use it for a set amount of time and pay by the hour, and then return the bike to that kiosk or to another location in the city."

Among its recommendations, the PIRG report urges public transit agencies to use information technology to provide open access to real-time scheduling and operations data. Overall, the report calls for expanding alternatives to driving.

"Our policies should reflect that people want to be able to walk, bike, take public transit," Unrein said. "And we should really be investing in those modes of transportation, and providing the necessary resources to make sure that those are well-funded."

The report also notes that younger Americans have been quickest to embrace the technologies and practices that lead to reduced vehicle use.

The report is at ArizonaPIRGEdFund.org.




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