Smaller infrastructure investments help pave the way to safer communities

Road safety is an urgent issue at all levels of government, especially for people walking and biking. Cyclist and pedestrian deaths have increased by. This infrastructure week, we are encouraging more states, cities, and other local governments to help reverse this trend by prioritizing critical safety investments on streets and highways across the country.

States must step up efforts to reduce harmful carbon emissions

As of last September, 16 states and Puerto Rico approved legislation requiring reductions in greenhouse emissions. The White House also set ambitious goals of cutting emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels in 2030. They aim to achieve a net-zero economy by 2050. Contributing to 29% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., the transportation sector is now the top producer and accounts for a growing portion each year. More than half of these emissions (57%) come from personal vehicles such as cars, SUVs, and light-duty trucks. Progress in cutting those emissions has been slow, let alone efforts to measure and track them. 

Expanding Transportation’s Role in the Clean Energy Transition

Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Join us for this webinar with The Ray – a leading non-profit organization advancing net zero infrastructure—and the Minnesota DOT to learn how DOT’s are being asked to support expanded electricity transmission to incorporate renewable resources, serve new loads (especially for EV charging) and improve grid reliability.

More connected street networks are more resilient

As we have seen recently with the bridge and interstate collapses in Baltimore and Pennsylvania, disruptions to our street network severely impact travel. Natural disasters, like earthquakes and floods and targeted disasters, terrorist attacks, disrupt travel patterns, raising questions about why some cities are more vulnerable to these disasters than others. Especially in urban areas, when a central street is removed from the equation, people and goods still need to move to and from destinations. A new study looks at urban areas worldwide to determine what street network characteristics make them more resilient and vulnerable before and after disasters. Areas with disconnected street design like North America and Oceania are among the most vulnerable. 

People on bikes are vulnerable and don’t need to be reminded

Late last month, the Texas DOT posted a message on X (formerly Twitter) urging cyclists to behave better. But this message garnered at least 250 frustrated responses. The echo chamber of X obviously is not a representative sample, but the backlash reflects real challenges that cyclists face every day. Unfortunately, people who bike—along with those who walk, take transit, or face other mobility issues—experience a world where most drivers do not follow the rules, which often puts them at a dangerous disadvantage.

Pedestrian deaths spike right after sunset

As pedestrian deaths continue to rise, it has become clear that most of these deaths happen at night. But a new study finds that the half hour after sunset is the most dangerous in the United States. This worrisome trend is exacerbated by the high-speed, multilane roads that predominate in the U.S. The solutions, in addition to improved visibility, are the same at night as they are during the day: policy, design, and behavior changes that encourage safer, slower driving. 

Safer infrastructure can drive a surge in cycling

Acknowledging that highway investments drive up car use and traffic, transportation professionals and advocates have grown more interested in accounting for induced demand in transportation investments. But the laws of induced demand are not limited to highways. As several cities have shown, investing in bicycle infrastructure can increase bike use by 100% or more. 

2024 Community of Practice Meeting

September 30 – October 1, 2024
SSTI’s 2022 Community of Practice meeting will be held September 30-October 1 in Minnesota. COP meetings focus on peer-to-peer interaction between CEOs of state departments of transportation. These meetings allow attendees to share ideas and learn from one another’s experiences leading state DOTs. The meetings are open to state DOT CEOs and is by-invitation to others.

Focusing on EV charging along corridors exacerbates equity issues

Federal initiatives to fund electric vehicle infrastructure, like the NEVI program, encourage EV chargers along highway corridors, and also promote equitable distribution of the infrastructure. According to a new study, however, these two goals may be at odds. Evidence suggests the corridor-based approach is not leading to particularly equitable outcomes.