As cities and states drop pandemic restrictions, Americans are filling stadiums and embarking on long-postponed vacations. But that welcome freedom comes at a cost: Traffic is rebounding to pre-COVID levels across the nation.

University of Maryland Baltimore County urban policy scholar John Rennie Short sees the coming months as a key inflection point. In his view, curbing gridlock will require a financial rescue for public transit and action to lock in people-centered street measures that cities tested out during the pandemic.

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And for Pride Month we’ve put together a series of email newsletters on transgender young people. The four emails, delivered over about a week, recap a series of articles written by leading academics exploring the history, medical care and conflicts, such as youth sports, caused by the rising visibility of transgender teens in society. You can sign up for the newsletters here or click the button below.



Jennifer Weeks

Senior Environment + Energy Editor

It’s back: Rush-hour traffic in Los Angeles on June 15, 2021. Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

As urban life resumes, can US cities avert gridlock?

John Rennie Short, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

The pandemic offered a tantalizing look at city life with fewer cars in the picture. But with traffic rebounding, there's limited time to lock in policies that make streets more people-friendly.

Science + Technology

  • Why gain-of-function research matters

    David Gillum, Arizona State University; Rebecca Moritz, Colorado State University

    The research community is taking a closer look at the lab-leak hypothesis for the origin of COVID-19, prompting discussion about the risks and benefits of engineering viruses.

  • Does outer space end – or go on forever?

    Jack Singal, University of Richmond

    Astronomers know a lot about what's in outer space – and think it's possible it never ends.


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