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The European Union is upping its stake in environmental sustainability innovation by offering €365 million to tech companies for research and development “that will transform urban areas into sustainable ‘smart cities and communities.’” As GigaOm reports, funding from the EU can help promote investment from the private sector as well as public. The EU is particularly focused on ‘smart cities’ which include concepts like greentech, smart meters, and connected cars. The EU will choose two projects by early next year to pursue, which will “go beyond traditional ICT research” and include participation from fields such as health, material and neuro-science.
In other news, information technology is being used to maximize efficiency in transportation infrastructure in a variety of ways. ThinkProgress published an article which includes examples of how information can help the population with transportation issues, among them, an interesting new tool called Sidecar that works as a carpooling service, matching those who need rides with those who can provide them. A study by Latitude shows autonomy is an important factor in most people’s lives. Driving one’s own car provides freedom, yet this sense of freedom can also be replicated through IT. People can use information to make informed decisions about efficient travel in cities. Additionally, ThinkProgress introduces CycleTracks, a mobile app used to track bike routes, giving cyclists access to maps and statistics about their routes. According to the EPA, transportation is the largest end-use source of CO2 in the United States, making it a ripe target for technology designed to improve energy efficiency.