News Roundup: June 03, 2013

This is new! I already curate news for @PCNtransit, so now I'm going to start sharing the most interesting posts on my blog. I'll try to keep the details informative and helpful as long as I can find the time. Enjoy!

Study: Walkability Linked to Much Lower Risk of Default on Housing Loans
University of Arizona professor Gary Pivo looks at over 37,000 mortgage loans and finds that homes in walkable neighborhoods are much less likely to default. Shorter commutes, and those that depend on rail or walking in particular; and nearby retail, parks, and affordable housing all contribute to lower default rates, whereas proximity to freeways is correlated with increased rates of foreclosure.

Ryan Avent looks at the factors behind the incredible cost of housing in London, including regulations that impose a "shadow tax" rate (above construction costs) of 500%; this is compared to a 50% rate in Manhattan. He goes on to describe how this discourages business investment in the city and sends the surplus value of London's high productivity straight into the pockets of property owners.

Where’s the National Business Voice for Transit?
Transit has significant local and regional support from businesses, but doesn't receive the same backing at the national level. Tanya Snyder compares the two political spheres and asks why there is such a significant disparity between the two.

The One About the Parking-Pinched Merchant…
Ian Sacs looks at the claim that business is dependent on (ideally free) parking and finds the evidence lacking. He finds that business owners tend to overestimate the share of their business patronized by drivers, and that creating more human-oriented spaces often leads to more successful stores, not less.

New train technologies are less visible and spread less quickly than improvements to cars or planes. But there is still plenty of innovation going on, and ideas are steadily making their way out onto the rails.

Tesla announces huge expansion of Supercharger network, upgrade to cut charging time in half
Tesla has already begun building supercharger stations to help increase the range of electric car drivers. Now they're improving the charging speed by 100%, and they have plans to expand that network to reach nearly every bit of land in the contiguous United States.

Utah Develops Wireless Charging for Buses
Updates on the University of Utah's wireless inductive chargers, which have already shown success at keeping electric buses running without the need for overhead wires or disruptive breaks to recharge the battery.