Electric vehicles (EVs) will be critical for meeting ambitious climate goals at the national, state, and local levels, but their rapid adoption continues to face challenges. This wrap-up touches on the latest barriers that are essential to overcome.
Everyone deserves to cross the street safely, including wildlife
Safety is a top priority for every state DOT, and in many parts of the country that effort extends to wildlife, as many species are changing their migration patterns to adapt to climate change.
State DOTs’ commitment to equity made clearer through federal Request for Information
Equity, diversity, and inclusion have been of growing importance among state and federal transportation agencies, and yet there isn’t a clear consensus on how that commitment translates into tangible outcomes. A new report from the Policy Lab at Claremont McKenna College, produced in partnership with SSTI, offers some clarity through an in-depth look at state DOT responses to the USDOT’s Request for Information on transportation equity data, which was released last year.
Perception and psychology may explain why drivers speed when volume is low
Changed travel behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced congestion and vehicle miles traveled (VMT), even while traffic deaths continue to rise. Evidence shows that open roads, speeding, and other dangerous driving behaviors go hand-in-hand. But what is it about people that leads them to speed and drive dangerously in the first place?
Evidence AVs can operate in lanes as narrow as 9 feet
A recent article in the Transportation Research Record has promising findings, suggesting even current autonomous vehicle systems may be able to consistently operate in lanes as narrow as 2.75 meters, or nine feet. Narrow lanes can be a valuable traffic calming tool on corridors surrounded by urban and suburban development, making conditions safer for people walking and biking and freeing up right-of-way space for other purposes.
Getting transportation equity right
The American equity conversation has turned to law enforcement, but we know that racism also resides in the history of the built environment, and that current practice is not anti-racist enough to achieve equity. Fortunately, a lot of scholars, reporters, practitioners, and advocates—including many people of color whose voices are urgently worth seeking out in a white-dominated field—have been working to point out the problems and possible solutions.
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.
New study finds AV tech less likely to detect darker-skinned pedestrians
A recent study found that the leading automated detection systems are less accurate in detecting pedestrians with darker skin tones. On average, the study found that detection was five points less accurate for dark-skinned pedestrians than for light-skinned ones.
Is bigger better?
New analysis of FARS data by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points to crashes being more survivable for drivers of large SUVs than for drivers of smaller cars. While driver death is one measure of safety, there are a number of other criteria that offer a richer story of SUV safety, such as their contribution to emissions and increased dangers to those not inside the vehicle.