The Unlikely Case of the Brick-and-Mortar Store with Lower Prices than Amazon

Americans love Amazon, and have demonstrated this affection with their wallets, making the Seattle-based online superstore extremely profitable. Each year, in fact, Amazon gets bigger relative to other online retailers, as consumers award it a larger share of their total online shopping budget. This means that each year, Amazon amasses a little more power, and …

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An Appreciation of Popularity

The correlation between popularity and quality is tenuous at best. How often have excellent products died in the marketplace, while competing products of lesser quality have succeeded (I'm thinking Betamax, Kodak, and TiVo, to name a few)? How often, too, have movie stars achieved enormous popular success despite possessing little in the way of acting ability (my apologies to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone)? Popularity isn't …

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American Cities’ Biggest Transportation Innovation is Decidedly Low-Tech

American cities are adding bus and bike lanes, implementing bikeshare systems, and creating public plazas and miniature parks at a rapid pace. Urban streets, long the domain of automobiles, are increasingly being reclaimed by and for the people, a change that amounts to the biggest transportation innovation in recent years, according to a new report …

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Transit’s Surprising Advantage is Sitting Right in Your Pocket

Metra commuters. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion) With public-transit use riding a 58-year high of 10.8 billion trips last year, it only makes sense to ask: why? Technology may be partially responsible for public transit's record ridership, but probably not in the way you think. As smartphones and other electronic devices have skyrocketed in popularity, more people are becoming dependent on …

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New Research Reveals the Cost of Sprawl to Municipal Coffers

Ever since the Roman Empire, local governments have had great control over land use. Today, this control is exerted through zoning regulations, tax policies, and infrastructure-investment decisions. Municipalities can choose to develop in an unconnected, low-density, suburban-style manner, or they can consider more compact, connected urban land uses. These decisions have enormous implications for a …

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Businesses are Moving Back Downtown

The deciding factor in Panasonic’s move of its North American headquarters from Secaucus, New Jersey to Newark was public transportation, according to Jim Reilly, vice president of corporate communications. The company relocated from a large corporate campus with lots of green space to an amenity-rich downtown location. Reilly said his company’s relocation has been “transformative” …

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Capital Bikeshare

The Good and the Bad of the Capital Bikeshare Member Survey

Capital Bikeshare’s 2014 Member Survey indicates that even as Washington D.C.’s bikeshare service has grown by leaps and bounds, its users have become older, whiter, and wealthier. Most company executives would be happy enough with these demographics. Wealthy customers? Yes please. Washington’s business community, in fact, was a tough sell on this new transit option. …

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Gridlock: Not Just for Washington D.C. Politics

File this one under “lists you don’t want to appear on.” Consumer finance website NerdWallet has released a list of the top 10 Worst Cities for Car Drivers. Washington D.C., number two on the list, proves once again that the term “gridlock” doesn’t just apply to the city’s politics. NerdWallet gave Washington poor scores because, …

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Is China Considering a Divorce From Its Car Culture?

If the 20th Century was the era of America’s honeymoon with the car, the 21st has given way to the reluctant realization that this suitor has come with some baggage – air pollution, urban sprawl, obesity, and traffic congestion, to name a few. It is not just the U.S. that is contemplating a car “divorce.” …

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How to Think Like a Millennial

If you were born after 1980, you’re a Millennial. But if you live in an urban area, you probably think like one, regardless of your age. That is the takeaway from the fifth annual survey of Millennials from Zipcar. Released this month, Zipcar’s report confirms something many of us have expected for quite a while: …

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