Mobility News Digest

Stories We're Reading

  • Moving People: Rural areas get creative addressing transportation needs | February 23, 2020 Riley Bunch, Valdosta Daily Times
    A bill introduced in the Georgia House would create a new transit division within the Georgia DOT that would oversee rural transit programs and have jurisdiction on all transit services outside of metro Atlanta. The bill would also institute a 50-cent tax on ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft per ride and 25 cents for shared rides.
  • Everything you need to know before buying an electric bike | February 20, 2020 Patrick Sisson, Curbed Riders and experts answer your questions about e-bikes.
  • Getting to jobs, medical appointments is a big challenge for some veterans. Here’s one possible fix | February 20, 2020 Pat LaFleur, WCPO Cincinnati Harlow bore with those “horrible jobs” for a month before he could save up enough money to purchase a monthly Cincinnati Metro/Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky bus pass. Once he had the pass, things changed, he said: Suddenly, he had a way to get to and from the Amazon facility, where he knew he could find work.
  • Curb and Ride Health Give Hospitals and Health Plans a Better Way to Hail Taxis for Patients | February 19, 2020 Yahoo Finance Curb, the mobility platform for licensed taxi and for-hire rides in North America, is partnering with Ride Health, coordinating smarter transportation for every patient need, to power non-emergency medical transportation via licensed taxis. Through the new integration, hospitals and health plans using the Ride Health platform will soon be able to tap into Curb’s nationwide network of taxis and for-hire vehicles to transport patients to and from medical appointments
  • Report offers recommendations for safe micromobility | February 18, 2020 Metro Magazine “Electric scooters, e-bikes, motorized skateboards and other light personal mobility devices have become hugely popular for short trips. But is micromobility safe? A new report published by the International Transport Forum finds that: E-scooter riders do not face significantly higher risk of road traffic death or injury than cyclists; Motor vehicles are involved in 80% of fatal crashes with e-scooters and bicycles; Traffic will be safer if e-scooter and bicycle trips replace travel by car or motorcycle; The fast-paced evolution of micro-vehicles challenges governments to put in place safety regulations that are future-proof.”
  • Chamber calls for car-centric Omaha to ‘reimagine’ its transportation priorities | February 18, 2020 Jeffrey Robb, Omaha World Herald The chamber’s ConnectGO transportation initiative released survey results indicating Omaha’s commuters are open to change. While 80% of people said they drive alone to work or school, a much smaller number — 34% — actually preferred to drive solo. While only 5% use public transit now, a much larger number — 38% — would prefer to use it.
  • The Struggle to Mend America’s Rural Roads | February 18, 2020 Patricia Cohen, New York Times “Throughout much of the Midwest and South, the rural transportation system is crumbling. Two-thirds of the nation’s freight emanates from rural areas. Traffic volume has increased. And over the years, tractor-trailers and farm equipment have been supersized, ballooning in length, breadth and weight. A legally loaded semi-trailer truck can produce 5,000 to 10,000 times the road damage of one car according to some estimates, said Benjamin J. Jordan, director of the Wisconsin Transportation Information Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Roads and bridges have not kept up.”
  • ‘Do we care about the public?’: Cities weigh free public transit amid rising costs | February 17, 2020 Ben Kesslen and Ludwig Hurtado, NBC News “Michelle Wu, a City Council member in Boston, wants everyone to ride for free on subways and buses that crisscross the region. Wu says the city is experiencing a “transportation crisis” as ridership declines, rush-hour traffic rises and the infrastructure of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority continues to crumble.”
  • More seniors are suffering from ‘self-neglect.’ Here’s why. | February 14, 2020 Yuka Hayashi, Wall Street Journal State and federal data suggests there’s a growing threat to the nation’s senior population that experts warn can lead to poor health outcomes or death—and that threat is self-neglect.Self-neglect occurs when someone loses the ability to perform essential self-care, such as keeping up with personal hygiene, taking proper medications, or providing him- or herself with food and shelter.
  • WA Group: Stop Focusing on Transportation Mega-Projects, Think Locally | February 13, 2020 Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service “John Stewart, vice president of the board of Feet First, says Washington state’s priorities have changed in the past few decades.”Progressive sets of state transportation packages have focused very much on very large projects and have forgotten about the small things, and the small things are what make communities work in the end,” he points out. Feet First is urging the governor and lawmakers to measure mobility in forms beyond cars — including walking, biking and using a wheelchair.”
  • Citymapper and Vulog tackle last-mile mobility challenges | February 12, 2020 James Allen, Traffic Technology Today Citymapper and Vulog are working together to tackle the last mile challenge through increased accessibility to car-sharing options. The shared mobility services from Vulog are now incorporated in to Citymapper’s transportation app to provide a full end-to-end Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) to travellers. The agreement means that users of the app will be informed of local shared electric vehicles, mopeds, and scooters.
  • Wheels for Wellness serves transportation disabled population | February 12, 2020 Ryan Volland, Maryland Independent “Wheels for Wellness is a program established in Southern Maryland that looks to get the region’s transportation-disadvantaged citizens to doctors’ offices and other medical appointments to reduce the amount of emergency room visits and missed follow-up appointments. Established in 2018, the program currently serves citizens in Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, with hopes of soon expanding to Charles county.”
  • Rush Health Systems receives transportation grant from American Cancer Society | February 12, 2020  The Meridian Star “To help patients get the critical care they need, American Cancer Society community transportation grants are awarded to health systems, treatment centers and community organizations. These grants are available in select communities across the American Cancer Society’s South Region through an application process and focus on addressing unmet transportation needs of cancer patients, particularly vulnerable populations experiencing an unequal burden of cancer.”
  • Committee explores giving seniors, disabled Mainers $1,000 for non-medical transportation | February 12, 2020 Dan Neumann, Maine Beacon “A panel of state lawmakers voted on Tuesday to advance a pilot program that would give $1,000 a year to seniors and Mainers with disabilities who receive Section 19 benefits under MaineCare to use on transportation for their non-medical needs, such as trips to the pharmacy or grocery store.”
  • King County Council advances plan for low-income transit passes | February 12, 2020 Sammi Bushman, K5 News “The King County Council’s Mobility and Environment Committee voted Wednesday to advance an income-based fare program that would fully subsidize annual ORCA transit passes for those with incomes 80% or below the federal poverty line.”
  • Legislation would ensure medium-size cities receive infrastructure funding | February 12, 2020 Melinda Druga, Transportation Today “The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development for Underfunded Projects (BUILD UP) Act would require a minimum of 30 percent of funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s BUILD grant program be awarded to cities with 10,000 to 75,000 residents.”
  • Post-It Note City | February 11, 2020 Shannon Mattern, Places Journal “In official settings, “public affairs specialists” and “community engagement consultants” are sometimes hired to meet statutory requirements. (Sidewalk Labs, for example, tapped the Canadian firm MASS LPB, a “pioneer of innovative democratic processes.”) These specialists bring skills and sensibilities that are rarely taught in urban design schools, and that perhaps shouldn’t be expected of designers, given the methodological expertise and cultural sensitivity this work requires.15 Yet by mandating public participation and outsourcing it to consultants, governments run the risk of transforming community relationship-building into a checklist of codified practices.”
  • How Cities Lost Control of the Urban Tech Revolution | February 11, 2020 Aaron M. Renn, Governing “But these headline-grabbing companies are just the surface. For consumers, the smartphone became the new way that people interfaced with the city far beyond the regulated sector. Waze has changed how people drive in the city, and waves of delivery apps allow people to order food or anything else for immediate gratification. Similarly, a wave of “proptech” (property technology) applications is changing real estate, doing everything from managing your home’s temperature (Nest) to managing commercial leasing (VTS).”
  • Free medical transportation offerings expanded for Charlevoix County seniors | February 11, 2020 Steve Foley, Petoskey News “Wieland said the out-of-county medical transportation option reflects a branching out from what the Commission on Aging and county transit program already have offered. ‘We’re very lucky to partner with Charlevoix County Transit in providing free rides for those 60 year old and aging adults on a daily basis anywhere in Charlevoix County, we’ve been doing that for years,” Wieland said. “This is something we weren’t able to do because it was outside county lines.'”
  • Developing a Safety Plan for Self-Driving Shuttles | February 6, 2020 Donna Marbury, Smart Columbus Storyteller “Before self-driving shuttles could be a reality, Smart Columbus had to ensure that the shuttles would operate safely. Columbus deployed Ohio’s first self-driving vehicle in December 2018 through an initiative led by a coalition of partners, including the Ohio Department of Transportation’s DriveOhio, Smart Columbus and The Ohio State University.”
  • Employers Have the Power to Cut Single-Occupancy Trips | February 4, 2020 Skip Descant, Government Technology “Changing commuter behavior is not just about engaging with drivers heading to work, but their employers as well. This has been the approach taken in Columbus, Ohio, where the Smart Columbus program is working to reduce single-occupancy trips by boosting public transit ridership and electric vehicle adoption, among other reforms.”
  • ACOs are struggling to integrate social services with medical care, findings show| February 4, 2020 Jeff Lagasse, Healthcare Finance “Tackling social determinants of health — the social and socioeconomic factors that influence a person’s care, such as income and access to transportation — is generally considered a means by which the healthcare industry can curb spending. But this appears to be one area in which Accountable Care Organizations are struggling.”
  • Editorial — Moving it along: Group’s proposal offers vision of public transportation’s future| February 4, 2020 NNY 360 “The plan calls for expanding bus service to the BOCES Technical Center and the Target store on outer Arsenal Street, adding routes to Fort Drum and Calcium, creating more routes throughout Jefferson County and connecting with the public transit systems in Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. These goals should be accomplished over the next decade.”
  • Study Shows Transportation Beliefs of 20 Years Ago Largely Myths, Predicts Today’s Will Be as Well| February 4, 2020 Mike Krings, KU News Service “As long as humans have been moving, there have been fantastic predictions about how technology will revolutionize transportation. Most of them turn out to be myths. A University of Kansas researcher has written a study revisiting an influential article that called out widely held transportation predictions of 20 years ago as myths, finding it is still highly accurate.”
  • New Haven residents rally for investment in public transit| February 4, 2020 Ben Lambert, New Haven Register “Residents called for greater investment in public transportation and city streets Tuesday, with hopes of bolstering economic opportunity, combating climate change and giving all New Haven residents an equal ability to move through the city and region safely and comfortably.”
  • Massachusetts Bets Big by Raising Ride-Sharing Surcharges | February 4, 2020 Tod Newcombe, Governing “Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker recently announced a proposal to significantly increase the fee imposed on ride-sharing firms known as transportation network companies (TNCs). The current assessment, now 20 cents per ride, would become a $1-per-ride charge. The fee, if approved, would be the largest of its kind in the country, generating $120 million in new revenue.
  • Lyft Partnership Works to Boost Care Access, Patient Experience| January 30, 2020
    Sarah Heath, PatientEngagementHIT
  • Trump Administration Unveils a Major Shift in Medicaid | Abby Goodnough, New York Times “The Trump administration said on Thursday that it would allow states to cap Medicaid spending for many poor adults, a major shift long sought by conservatives that gives states the option of reducing health benefits for millions who gained coverage through the program under the Affordable Care Act.”
  • Transportation Issues Hinder Opioid Treatment in Rural Areas, Experts Tell House Committee | Liz Carey, The Daily Yonder “Witnesses testifying at the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on January 14  also said treating the opioid crisis in rural areas in the future will require that states have more flexibility on how they use federal funding.”
  • Aurora shuttle service aims to connect patients with health careDavid Sharos, Aurora Beacon-News “VNA Health Care Aurora has begun a new shuttle service to bring patients from their homes to its care centers. Officials from VNA were joined recently by city officials, Aurora Township representatives and executives from Pace Suburban Bus to launch the program.”
  • Lyft expanding its reach in healthcare with CommonSpirit Health partnership | Heather Landi, Fierce Healthcare “This service will enable patients to access rides when they are discharged from CommonSpirit’s medical facilities in several states, including California and Arizona. CommonSpirit’s social workers, case managers, and other medical staff request and monitor the progress of rides to make sure patients get to their destination, the health system said.”
  • Politics is the transportation problem; restoring trust is the solution | Michael J. Fox, CT Mirror “I am addressing the governor’;s recent press release regarding the Special Transportation Fund and how to fix our roads and bridges. We all know how we got here and now is the time to finally fix it, prevent the problems of the past from happening again.”
  • TCAT to pilot on-demand rides via ‘Tconnect’ for Dryden this spring | Anna Lamb , The Ithaca Voice “The program, which has officially been named ‘Tconnect’ will coordinate with Gadabout HyperCommute, and Way2Go to take riders in areas ‘beyond a reasonable walking distance’ to the existing bus route 43 and up to 2 miles from downtown Dryden. Tconnect is a two-year project bolstered by a nearly $260,000 New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) grant.”
  • Carmel, IN’s secret to reducing traffic fatalities? Roundabouts | Chris Teale, Smart Cities Dive “Compared to national average traffic fatality rate of about 12 per 100,000 people, Carmel’s fatality rate is at two per 100,000. Brainard attributes that rate to the roundabouts having narrower lanes, forcing people to slow down. “It’s all about speed,” Brainard said on the sidelines of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington, DC. He said the city now only has about 14 stoplights.”
  • ODOT Wrestles With Future Of Ohio’s Transportation Systems | Karen Kasler, WOSU Looking ahead, Marchbanks says both regional light rail and passenger rail are important. A project to connect Ohio’s three biggest cities with passenger trains was shut down a decade ago. Marchbanks said the state and local governments should be looking at lots of transportation options for the future.”
  • New House Bill Will Connect America’s Active Transportation System | Rails-to-Trails Conservancy “The bill will provide $500 million annually in funding for a federal competitive grant program to help communities and regions build connected active-transportation routes—trails, sidewalks, bikeways and other infrastructure—to ensure people can get where they want to go safely by foot, bike or wheelchair. This proposal, if included in the next federal transportation bill alongside increased funding for Transportation Alternatives and the Recreational Trails Program, would provide the necessary resources and policy changes to deliver a 21st century transportation system to the nation.”
  • Providence unveils plan for more bike-friendly streets | Madeleine List, Providence Journal “The proposed projects include two-way bike lanes, which allow cyclists to travel in opposite directions on one side of the road; on-street paths separated from car traffic; off-road paths, such as the Blackstone Bikeway and East Bay Bike Path; traffic-calming measures; enhanced signage and intersection improvements — all with the aim of better connecting city neighborhoods and making roadways safer for pedestrians, cyclists and those using other alternative modes of transportation.”
  • Washington state report recommends VMT to fund highway system | Metro Magazine “A new report by the state of Washington highlights the necessity and benefits of moving away from fuel taxes and transitioning to a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) system to fund the state’s highway system.”
  • INIT mobility app assists visual, hearing, and mobility impaired riders | Metro Magazine “INIT Innovations in Transportation Inc., provider of ITS solutions for public transit, launched an app offering personalized ride-hailing assistance and journey guidance for riders with visual, hearing, and mobility impairments. The ASSISTIVEtravel app aids impaired riders at all stages of their bus trip.”
  • Making Public Transit Fairer to Women Demands Way More Data | Flavie Halais, Wired “Most transit systems aren’t designed for women, who tend to run errands and care for children. But cities can’t fix a problem they don’t understand.”
  • Orlando, the nation’s deadliest city for pedestrians, has a plan for safer streets | Patrick Sisson, Curbed “At ground zero of the pedestrian safety crisis, a mayor’s traffic reform goals are put to the test.”
  • 2020 Mobility Trends | Passport News “As innovation accelerates, technology enhancements for various parts of the mobility ecosystem, including parking, payments, and enforcement, are coexisting but not necessarily cooperating. Each maintains a data silo that makes it very difficult for the city to view their mobility environment holistically and even more difficult to add new capabilities or adapt to new challenges.”
  • Driverless shuttle pilot helloing to shape future of autonomous transportation | Justin P. Hicks, Michigan Live “As the program continues, the tech company will accrue more data to better understand what challenges to autonomous transportation can arise downtown. Malek didn’t have data to share on how often fleet attendants take over the vehicle, and said the organization wants to be careful not to incentivize autonomy over safety or rider experience.”
  • Ridership soars with Salt Lake City’s new transit network helping to combat inversions | Jennifer Weaver, KUTV News “Since the Frequent Transit Network launched 5 months ago, weekday ridership on the 9 route has almost doubled compared to August 2018, Utah Transit Authority reported. Saturday ridership has nearly quadrupled on the 2 route and Sunday ridership has increased on the 21.”
  • (Future) commuters shuttle in company | Pascal Thiel, Daimler “In Germany, 60 percent of the employees commute to their jobs on a daily basis, spending an average of 44 minutes a day on the road. That adds up to seven full days per year. And this trend is rising. Individual mobility plays a huge role in this process. About two thirds of the commuters use their own cars, which are generally powered by a conventional drive system. More and more companies are considering how they can make their employees’ way to work less congested and more environmentally friendly. At Daimler as well, employees from various units are developing new corporate mobility solutions.”
  • Ride Health and Uber Health Partner to Simplify Patients’ Path to Medical Appointments | Aithority “An estimated 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical care each year because of transportation issues, according to the National Academy of Sciences. Some studies peg the cost of missed doctor’s appointments at over $150 billion annually. Especially vulnerable to transportation barriers are the elderly, disabled, and low-income populations, who are more likely to live alone and be socially isolated, without a car, or in areas poorly served by public transit.”
  • ISDS Researchers Identify Public Transportation as Key to the Region’s Upward Trajectory | Kieth Morelli, Muma College of Business “Specifically, an increased availability of transit would close the income equality gap, reduce the poverty rate and improve economic mobility, Shivendu Shivendu, a professor with the Muma College of Business, told the nearly 500 business leaders, government officials and policy makers attending the event that was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Partnership, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and the United Way Suncoast.”
  • City Planning, Transportation, and Infrastructure | Inside Big Data “With a continuously rising urban population, infrastructure planning becomes even more vital to the health and happiness of all people. Of course, exercise, proper sleep, and socialization are keys to a happier life, but infrastructure plays a major role as well. Researchers have even found strong links between poor infrastructure and a reduced quality of life. Thoughtful city planning and investments in stable infrastructure are also integral to alleviating poverty while also creating jobs.”
  • Paradox Prize Aims to Fix the Carless Commute | Ken Schneck, Cleveland Magazine “For the average Northeast Ohio resident, the number of jobs close to where they live declined by 22% from 2000 to 2012, while the number of nearby jobs for those living in high-poverty neighborhoods in Northeast Ohio declined by 31%. With farther to go to get to a job, people need to have a reliable, flexible means of transportation such as a car, but that’s something not available to the entire workforce. “
  • MA: Worcester City Councils signals support for fare-free bus service | Steven H. Foskett Jr., Telegram & Gazette “Councilors supported an order from at-large City Councilor Gary Rosen to request that public hearings on the idea be held through the city through the council’s Public Service and Transportation Committee. Residents and local transit advocates at the meeting said moving to a fare-free system would help address a host of issues, including accessibility, equity, environmental justice, and traffic congestion.”
  • Personalized MaaS app using in incentivized mobility projects | Adam Frost, Traffic Technology Today “Last year, the Texas Department of Transportation’s Houston District (TxDOT HOU) received an Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) grant from the US Department of Transportation to deploy an innovative solution that optimises available capacity while managing the region’s travel demand growth, shifts, and spikes associated with scheduled and unscheduled events impacting the region’s transportation networks.”
  • AL: Ridership increasing on Birmingham’s on-demand transit service | Anna Beahm, Mass Transit “Officials say ridership on Birmingham’s on-demand ridesharing service is growing and residents are anxious to see the service expand. The service, Birmingham On-Demand, is different from traditional fixed-route transit, which uses large buses and moves a large group of riders. The service is on-demand, meaning riders don’t have to wait for the bus or follow a bus schedule.”
  • Columbus, Ohio is Piloting A Mobile App That Helps People With Cognitive Disabilities Use Public Transit | Sarah Kim, Forbes “MAPCD organized a year-long trial run of the app with 25 individuals with cognitive disabilities and their caregivers. The trial run will conclude a year later, and then the app will soon after become available for anyone in need.”
  • ‘It is not OK for 699 people to die’: Texas Bristles at federal highway death ‘goal’ | Dug Begley, Houston Chronicle “As state and local agencies take steps to reduce roadway deaths in the Houston area, officials are bristling at a federally-required assessment that sets a goal of no more than 728 deaths around the region this year — up from a goal of 699 in 2019.”
  • Bicycle Commuters Experience Joy But Motorists Would Much Rather TeleportCarlton Reid, Forbes “Cyclists and pedestrians enjoy their commutes, motorists and transit riders do not, it seems.”
  • 4 Questions to Ask Before Investing in MicrotransitDillon Twombly, Metro Magazine “The growing interest in microtransit, however, has transportation leaders blending the best of both worlds by leveraging technology to build the public transportation of tomorrow.”
  • How Different Generations Spend MoneyStephanie Horan, Smart Assets “[As] a percentage of annual spending, transportation spending decreases with older age groups – from 17.8% for millennials to 15.9% for baby boomers”
  • Should Public Transit be Free? More Cities Say, Why NotEllen Barry, New York Times “Since a pilot program began in September, use of the buses has grown by 24 percent, and the only criticism Ms. Ramos has of the Massachusetts city’s experiment with fare-free transit is that it is not permanent.”
  • Lewis-Clark Valley Report Highlights Economic Stress, Inaffordability of Health Care | Arielle Dreher, The Spokesman-Review “Families one catastrophe away from choosing between medication and rent. Transportation options severed, cutting off access to health care. Children’s dental care only accessible more than 50 miles away. These are all snapshots detailed in the Innovia Foundation’s new community needs and opportunity assessment for the Lewis-Clark Valley Healthcare Foundation.”
  • For Mobility as a Service to Succeed, Consider it More as a Policy than an App | Ethan Goffman, Mobility Lab “Mobility as a Service (MaaS) holds a lot of promise as a way to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles on the road as well as address equity concerns.”
  • Cutting Medicaid Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Will Harm Community-Level Public Transportation | Michael Adelberg, Scott Bogren, Alexandra King; Health Affairs “Cuts to Medicaid NEMT would therefore undermine entire communities’—not just Medicaid beneficiaries’—access to transportation. This is particularly true in rural states where local transportation agencies have fewer funding streams and serve less affluent communities.”
  • Hospitals, Nonprofits Tackle Social Determinants of Health With Digital Network of Providers | Jenna Carlesso, The CT Mirror “Doctors have long acknowledged that social factors – transportation, housing, access to wholesome food and dietary information, personal safety, and employment – influence people’s health outcomes. But addressing those issues can be complicated.”
  • Sutter Heath to Offer Patients, Staffers Transportation Through Lyft | Paige Minemyer, Fierce Health “The partnership would offer, for example, a rural clinic the option to assist patients with rides to and from appointments or cover transport to and from public transit to help workers avoid parking fees in urban areas, the two companies announced Monday.”
  • Citrus County Transit Expands No Charge Services to VA Facilities | Spectrum News “The county’s large veteran population has historically depended on transit services to the VA hospital in Gainesville and to The Villages VA Outpatient Clinic. Transit Services is now adding transport to the VA hospital in Tampa.”
  • NC Hosts First Successful Demonstration of Autonomous Air Taxi | Sandhills Sentinel  “The autonomous aerial vehicle is designed to function as a taxi service delivering people on pre-programmed routes. The aircraft has been flown in other parts of the world, but it has never been demonstrated for the public in North America.”
  • Lime is the Latest e-Scooter Operator to Downsize | Meghan McCarty Carino | Marketplace “Lime, the largest scooter sharing company in the world, is pulling out of 12 cities worldwide, including Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego and San Antonio in the U.S. The company is also laying off about a hundred employees, or 14% of its workforce.”
  • Reduce Health Costs by Nurturing the Sickest? A Much-Touted Idea Disappoints | Dan Gorenstein, Leslie Walker; NPR “Improving health and lowering costs for the sickest and most expensive patients in America is a dream harder to realize than many health care leaders had hoped, according to a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.”

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