New York City has unveiled an ambitious goal of dramatically reducing its waste output by 2030, including its commercial waste by 90 percent. The Zero Waste plan will include a host of initiatives, such as single stream recycling, incentives to reduce waste related to food containers and packing material, expansion of a composting program to schools and businesses, coordination with private trash haulers, and tax incentives to coordinate compliance. The city also hopes to end the export of its trash out-of-state.
By overhauling some of its street parking signs, Los Angeles is piloting a simple design solution to help make parking less confusing. The new signage serves to clarify to drivers where they can park, when they can, and how much it will cost in a bar graph format that represents restrictions pictorially. Although cities profit from parking citations, officials hope to decrease the number of parking citations issued that are due to misunderstandings of posted signs. Researchers will study the efficacy of the signage, which may serve as model for other cities.
New York State wants to teach English to immigrant residents using audio and text lessons sent right to their cell phones. The state will target farm workers in the “dairy belt” of the state in the Finger Lakes and North Country regions, as well as the Hudson Valley and New York City. The free program, believed to be the first-of-its-kind, will only be subject to the normal text and minute limits of the user's cell phone plan.
Walnut Creek, California, has unveiled a mobile app that notifies motorists when the light is about to change by sounding a chime. Officials hope that the new app, called “EnLighten,” will smooth traffic and prevent accidents by helping to refocus distracted drivers that they are about to engage in driving again. The app was developed in partnership between the city, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and Connected Signals, a start-up.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is providing thousands of decks of playing cards to local law enforcement agencies and detention centers that feature photos of unsolved homicide victims, hoping to get people to help solve these cold cases. On each card, a few details for each case are provided, along with the bureau’s phone number. The first deck produced equates to 52 unsolved cases, and officials are creating two additional decks. Officials note that other states have had success with the cards, which have led to 40 cases being solved across 17 states.
In Washington State, the King County Elections Office has created realistic ballots for high school students in the Renton School District to use when casting their votes for student government. The goal of the simulated ballots is to help demystify the process of registering to vote, hopefully leading to motivated voters when the students turn 18 years old.