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Electric car growth and greater fuel efficiency spark calls for change to fuel excise funding

ABC News, 29 August 2018
The drive to electric vehicles promises a better future — but there is a road rage battle brewing, pitting petrol guzzlers against their green successors on how we should be paying for our roads.
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‘Crush capacity’: The worst time to get on Sydney’s light rail

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 August 2018
The number of passengers enduring “crush capacity” on Sydney’s inner west light rail line or being left behind on platforms will worsen unless the Berejiklian government buys more trams to boost the frequency of services, “sensitive” documents warn. And even if new trams are bought, it will be up to three years before they are running on the line because of the length of time it takes to procure and commission them.

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Flight times extended by major airlines to avoid payouts, report claims

The Guardian, 27 August 2018
Plane journeys are taking longer than a decade ago, according to a report that claims the change is down to airlines “padding” their schedules to create the impression passengers were reaching their destinations on time. Carriers are adding extra time to flight schedules, in some cases up to 30 minutes, to ensure they maintain punctuality and are therefore less likely to be liable for compensation payouts, the investigation by Which? Travel claimed.
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Are Australian bridges safe, and can we do better?

The Conversation, 22 August 2018
After the tragedy in the Italian city Genoa, where a highway bridge collapsed killing more than 40 people, nations seem to be taking stock of the maintenance levels of their bridges. There are reports thousands of UK bridges are at risk of collapse, and there are hundreds of similarly damaged bridges in France, Germany and Italy itself. Australia is no different to other developed countries in this regard, where a lot of bridges are old and deteriorating, and we would be foolish to think we are immune. That said, bridges are generally safe structures, with the risk of fatality from a bridge collapse being around one in 100 million per year. This is roughly 100 times less likely than being killed by lightning.

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Eight ridiculous things in Trump clean car roll-back (and one they got right)

Renew Economy, 8 August 2018
President Trump has followed through on his promise to roll back Obama-era fuel economy and emissions standards for passenger cars and trucks, proposing to freeze standards at 2020 levels. Given the tremendous benefits of these rules to-date and the promising future for 2025 and beyond, you can imagine that justifying this rollback requires contortions that would qualify the administration for Cirque du Soleil…and you would be right. Here are just a few of the ridiculous assertions found in the proposal to justify rolling back such a successful policy:
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Australian cyclist deaths surge and road safety strategy ‘failing’

The Guardian, 8 August 2018
Australia’s road safety strategy is failing, according to the nation’s peak motoring body, with cyclists recording the biggest increase in the number of road fatalities. A report by the Australian Automobile Association shows there were 1,222 deaths on the road in 2017-18 and, for the first time, all states are on track to miss the national road safety targets they signed up to in 2011.
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More children are living in high-rise apartments, so designers should keep them in mind

The Conversation, 7 August 2018
Australian cities are changing. Instead of families living in low-density suburban areas, more parents are raising children in high-rise housing in inner-city areas. Despite this, much of the high-rise housing stock in Australia has been developed for residents without children. Our recent study, published in the journal Cities & Health, explored parents’ experiences of raising preschool-aged children in high-rise apartments. We found while parents appreciated that apartments offered affordable housing close to employment, they found the design challenging for raising children.
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Nuclear power takes a hit as European heatwave rolls on

Renew Economy, 6 August 2018
A scorching European summer has been doing its best to prove that renewables are not the only energy sources at the mercy of the elements – and that climate change is a thing – with nuclear reactors from France to Finland being shut down or their output restricted due to record heat. Over the weekend, French energy company EDF said it was forced to temporarily halt four nuclear reactors in soaring temperatures, including a reactor at the country’s oldest plant, Fessenheim, to stop it from overheating the water in the nearby river

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California vows to ‘fight this stupidity’ as EPA moves to scrap clean car rules

The Guardian, 3 August 2018
The Trump administration has moved to weaken US vehicle emissions standards and has set up a major confrontation with California by scrapping its ability to enact stricter pollution standards and mandate the sale of electric cars.
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Singapore’s Wigetworks readies production-spec Airfish 8 WIG craft

Jane’s 360, 9 April 2018
Wigetworks, a Singapore-based firm specialising in wing-in-ground effect (WIG) technology research and development (R&D), is aiming to finalise the design of the production-ready version of its Airfish 8 (AF8) WIG craft prototype by the end of 2018 and is preparing to commence production when a launch customer is secured, company officials told Jane’s.
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