NACTO releases safe speed limit guidance

As the transportation field gradually moves away from its singular focus on high motor vehicle speeds and its reliance on motorist behavior to set speed limits, NACTO has just released comprehensive guidance on speed limits on surface streets in metro areas.

Major roads undercut safety benefits of highly accessible places

In working with transportation agencies across the U.S., our team often faces questions about the role of safety in accessibility analysis. While we know the safety and comfort of streets clearly impacts access for people on foot or bicycle, the effects of accessibility on overall safety haven’t been clear. Fortunately, leading experts in both accessibility and traffic safety recently teamed up to answer this question.

“Dear diary, I took the bus today!” – Cost-efficient travel behavior influencers

“Soft” transportation policy measures can influence a significant reduction in personal car use, according to a new research. Six psychological variables that can affect travel behavior: attitudes; emotions; habits;  social, cultural, and moral norms; knowledge and awareness ; and capability and self-efficacy. The results show that interventions that focus on social, cultural, and moral norms have the most significant effect on travel behavior.

Teleworking’s hidden environmental costs

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shelter-in-place orders, more Americans are teleworking. This has drastically reduced VMT and air emissions. Policymakers may be tempted to try to encourage teleworking post-COVID-19 in order to keep the traffic down and the air clean. But as we’ve reported before, telework is probably not a great strategy for emissions reduction, due to several rebound effects. Teleworkers tend to live farther from job centers, in lower-density environments, leading to longer, more auto-dependent commutes when they do go into the office, as well as higher levels of non-work VMT.

Comparing the car travel of Millennials and Generation X

A new study in the Journal of Planning Education and Research compares the 2017 VMT patterns of Millennials to the 2001 patterns of Generation X. Both groups were at a similar age at the time of the surveys. Previous commentary has proposed that Millennials’ driving patterns would approach those of the previous generation once they aged into child rearing and more fully recovered from the recession of 2008. This study concludes that Millennials are not as likely to drive, even as they reach these traditional milestones.