CNT in the News

Here's Harold! (the robot edition)

WBEZ 91.5 | July 23, 2015

CNT's Jacky Grimshaw was quoted in this WBEZ story about the DuSable Museum’s Harold Washington robot. Jacy, one of Washington’s former advisors, says the Harold ‘bot is okay for people who didn’t know him, but it doesn’t dig below the surface.

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DSSG Team Finishes 2nd at CNT Urban Apps Competition

Data Science for Social Good | July 22, 2015

Every year, the National Civic Day of Hacking unites people across the country for hackathons, meetups, and other events centered around a common goal: using technology to improve communities and government. This year, Chicago celebrated National Day at the Civic Opera House with a hackathon-style Urban Sustainability Apps Competition organized by the Center for Neighborhood Technology. 

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NREL's Winning Hand of Clean Transportation Tools

NREL: Continuum Magazine | July 9, 2015

A truly sustainable transportation future will only gain traction and widespread adoption if everyone—from policymakers, to fuel providers and fleet managers, to individual drivers—makes thoughtful, informed choices about the greenest way to get from point A to point B. But you can't make significant decisions without powerful information. A feature story in NREL's magazine quotes CNT's Greg Newmark as a proponent of the Transportation Secure Data Center (TSDC).

Greg Newmark, senior research analyst for CNT, said one of his recent clients, an affordable housing advocacy group in California, wanted help with a study and he recommended using data from the TSDC.

"The charts we made ended up being very helpful in California politicians' decisions to contribute 10% of their cap and trade funds that limit GHG emissions," Newmark said. "The TSDC provided useful data for decision-makers. And the state passed what will be a $65 million increase in affordable housing funding, but will increase to $500 million per year."

For Newmark, one of the key benefits to the TSDC is that it makes data collected by a single agency easily available for free to researchers. "Since so many of the underlying studies for urban analysis are expensive to undertake and receive some amount of federal funding, the TSDC is a fantastic way to get more value out of the initial federal investment," said Newmark.

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Can More Public Transportation Solve the Housing Crisis?

Public CEO blog | July 8, 2015

CNT President Scott Bernstein's OpEd states:Two rules of thumb in home economics class were that housing shouldn’t cost more than a quarter of income, and no one should ever go into debt for an automobile. But today, housing and transportation costs are skyrocketing. Even when a house on cheap exurban land may seem like a good deal—because the high costs of traveling from a disconnected place to work every day can completely eat up those apparent savings.

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City Launches “Divvy for Everyone” Bike-Share Equity Program

Streetsblog Chicago | July 8, 2015

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office officially announced the initiative, Divvy for Everyone that will offer a one-time annual membership to low-income residents for $5 – a deep discount from the normal $75 fee. To make the system accessible to unbanked individuals, the usual requirement of a credit card as collateral will be waived. 

CNT's Ronnie Matthew Harris says: "Divvy for Everyone is a piece of a grander puzzle, which is to get people to get outdoors and get to walking, biking, and other alternative modes of transportation. Divvy has needed to provide an equity component to the program,” Harris said. “Bike-share is a public amenity, so it should be accessible not just to those who have the means, but also those who might not have the means. So we’re hopeful.”

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Fund Transit Too

Crain's Chicago Business | July 7, 2015

As Cook County's Commissioners consider a 1-percentage-point sales tax increase, CNT's Jacky Grimshaw has penned a letter to the editor in Crain's Chicago endorsing it but urging our locally elected leaders to fund transit, too. 

July 4, 2015

We at the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Active Transportation Alliance, leaders of the Transit Future campaign, support this and challenge commissioners to fund our public transit infrastructure as well.

How will our investment pay off? It will reduce the amount that people spend on transportation, which in Cook County equals 15 to 25 percent of the average household's annual income. This difference is considerable—$6,116 per household per year, or $510 per month.

Lowering the cost of living would be one of the biggest returns on transit investment. Our roads, highways and bridges will work better when we reduce the number of cars, cutting down on wear and tear and adding decades of use. It will stimulate investment in communities connected to the expanded transit system. Each of these alone could be worth billions of dollars.

We urge the board to invest now while addressing past problems. We must create a dedicated revenue stream to help the region leverage resources to improve and expand transit. Creating a fund through a modest increase in gas taxes, user taxes, parking taxes and fees, or a portion of the sales tax increase will help us remain competitive in attracting other sources of funding, including federal dollars.

Funding transit expansion is an investment with a continuing return.


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