SSTI News: U.S. receives “F” for safe pedestrian designs and policies

This week we look at FDOT’s plans to improve pedestrian conditions, distracted driving, congestion pricing, and more. Graphic source: Metro Orlando

U.S. receives “F” for safe pedestrian designs and policies

When it comes to community designs and policies that support walking, the country as a whole—and the vast majority of states—receive a failing grade. This is according to the Report Card on Walking and Walkable Communities, released by the National Physical Activity Plan, a coalition of prominent health organizations. Their assessment comes on the heels of new traffic safety data showing a rising number of pedestrian fatalities at a time when driving is also increasing. More >>

Is distracted driving the main issue?

While distracted driving is considered a serious public safety concern and the risks seem obvious, studies have yet to produce compelling evidence that links the practice to the increase in traffic fatalities. New numbers from U.S. DOT show deaths related to distracted driving dropped 2.2 percent in 2016, while traffic deaths increased 5.6 percent overall. One more likely explanation for the surging death rate is the sheer amount that Americans drive; after years of declining, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has been on the rise. More >>

Is congestion pricing equitable? Data suggests “yes” in Portland, OR

Critics of congestion pricing have raised equity as a concern, questioning whether a higher fee during congested times of day places a disproportionate burden on lower-income individuals who may have no choice but to travel during those times. Economist Joe Cortright recently tested this claim using data from the Portland metropolitan region and found the opposite: peak hour road pricing primarily would impact individuals with the highest incomes. More >>

Surge of traffic offenses by Uber & Lyft drivers raises larger questions

In a recent limited scan from San Francisco’s police department, Uber and Lyft drivers were responsible for nearly 65 percent of traffic infractions in bike- and transit-only lanes, with the overwhelming majority of tickets issued for “driving in a transit lane”. While the three-month study offers only a snapshot of data, the results draw larger questions of whether these drivers more often violate traffic laws than other drivers and what regulations can help address the problems created by the massive increase in ridehailing cars on the streets. More >>

Florida DOT to deploy innovative transportation technologies for increased safety

The Orlando area received a grant of nearly $12 million from the Federal Highway Administration to utilize innovative technologies that can help address critical transportation system challenges. The project, led by FDOT, MetroPlan Orlando, and the University of Central Florida, will test four major technologies around UCF’s main campus: PedSafe, GreenWay, SmartCommunity, and SunStore. The project will analyze the technology’s impact on pedestrian safety and congestion, make the project adaptable in other locations, and create implementation recommendations. More >>

Upcoming events

Fitting the road to the context: Florida’s Context Classification and Complete Streets implementation
Tuesday, November 7, 1:00 pm Central
Register for the webinar >>

The Florida Department of Transportation is making major strides toward improving pedestrian and bicycle safety through its Complete Streets Implementation initiative. One of FDOT’s most innovative achievements has been the recent adoption of eight context classifications to guide road design decisions. While the concept of context classification is not new, FDOT is one of the first states to operationalize it within formal decision-making processes. Join DeWayne Carver from FDOT to learn about the new context classification approach, why FDOT developed it, and how it will guide roadway design decisions moving forward.

New resource available on the SSTI website

A Bid for Better Transit
Transit Center and Eno Center for Transportation, 2017
Download the report >>

This report examines how governments can use contracting to improve their service for riders and take advantage of new technologies. However, they also caution that there are important considerations to safeguard the public interest and get the most from public-private transit partnerships.

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