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IBM extends grant program for cities and regions

ARMONK, N.Y. — IBM is extending the Smarter Cities Challenge competitive grant program. The effort has already sent 700 of IBM's top experts to municipalities around the world, where they have completed pro bono consulting projects that have improved the way local governments deliver vital services to their citizens.

New national center will support better transportation safety and mobility

Washington, D.C. — The National Operations Center of Excellence — a new, comprehensive technical services center and website — was unveiled during the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The NOCoE will help transportation professionals utilize state-of-the-art, real-time proactive management techniques to improve safety and system reliability, combat congestion and better serve the traveling public.

Specialists stand out as global environmental consulting market grinds to a halt again

Shrewsbury, United Kingdom — The value of the global environmental consultancy (EC) market reached US$28.7 billion (£17.3bn) in 2013, down 0.8 percent over the previous year, according to the latest report by business intelligence provider Environment Analyst. The sector was assessed to be lagging global economic growth — which was 2.9 percent in 2013 — mainly owing to the impact of the international mining sector downturn, and U.S. government shutdown and federal budget squeeze.

Social equity in urban transportation planning

Montreal, Quebec — During the 20th century, urban transportation planning in North America was mainly concerned with easing traffic congestion, improving safety and saving time for motorists. These days, most cities’ transportation plans evoke a more complex blend of environmental, economic, and social-equity goals – all aimed at promoting “sustainability.” Yet, many fail to include meaningful measurements of social-equity objectives, such as helping disadvantaged neighborhoods access essential services, according to researchers at McGill University.

Intelligent Compaction receives Construction Innovation Award

Austin, Texas — The Construction Innovation Forum (CIF) presented intelligent compaction (IC) with a NOVA Award for outstanding innovation in construction. After a rigorous selection process, IC was chosen for its significant contributions to construction quality and efficiency, and was presented with the NOVA Award at a ceremony in Houston. IC’s equipment-based technology increases quality control during asphalt and soils compaction, improving operations in the field and ultimately leading to longer pavement lives.

Thornton Tomasetti project to receive Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation’s Built by Women in New York City Award

New York — Thornton Tomasetti announced that one of its projects, the Greenberg Pavilion at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan, was selected for inclusion in the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation’s (BWAF) upcoming Built by Women in New York City Awards (BxW NYC). Additionally, the firm’s Vice Chairman, Aine M. Brazil, P.E., LEED AP, will be recognized at the BWAF gala on February 26 for her leadership on the project.

Product Category Rules for manufactured concrete and concrete masonry products released

Herndon, Va. — ASTM International, with stakeholder input from the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) and other manufactured concrete product companies, has developed new Product Category Rules (PCR) for the concrete masonry industry to develop Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for concrete masonry units, segmental retaining wall units, articulating concrete block, manufactured stone veneer, and related units.

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