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. 

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. 

Speed cameras lower speeds and prevent crashes, new research confirms

The Safe System approach to preventing traffic deaths and serious injuries requires us to rethink every aspect of our transportation system, from road and vehicle design to our pervasive car culture. Many communities have found that automated traffic enforcement is one valuable step along the way. As more of these systems are deployed, researchers continue building knowledge about how they work and where they are most effective.  

People walking are often blamed for crashes when roads are designed for driving

A pedestrian’s location at the time of a crash often determines who (whether driver and pedestrian) is found at fault, says a new study. Even with a lack of pedestrian infrastructure nearby, pedestrians who cross high-speed arterial roads with bus stops are more likely to be blamed. 

American roads are not ready for massive electric vehicles

Electric vehicles are slowly gaining popularity, and many see them as the key to drastically cutting transportation emissions. Yet the growing weight and size of vehicles are presenting new challenges and serious safety concerns. One major issue is the enormous weight of popular EVs and the impact that these increasingly large vehicles will have on the country’s roads, bridges, and—as one new study points out—its guardrails.  

Narrow lanes are safer, but they can be extremely difficult to build

A study released by Johns Hopkins last November gained widespread attention for demonstrating that 9-foot lanes are often safer than wider lanes. The researchers note, however, that most state DOTs set minimum lane widths between 10 and 12 feet and require design exceptions for anything narrower. Even in Vermont, where 9-foot lanes are allowed, the researchers found they have not been implemented. Therefore, paving the way to narrow lanes means understanding all the factors that make them challenging in the first place. 

Vehicle hoods are now four inches taller and 22 percent more deadly for pedestrians

Vehicles keep getting larger and heavier. Increasing a vehicle’s size not only increases emissions, it also has important implications for pedestrian safety, increasing the risk of injury and death on the road. Many studies have looked at the predominant factors that heighten risk for pedestrians. A new study from the University of Hawaii analyzes both crash data and physical vehicle measurements, rather than focusing on vehicle types, to determine a leading factor in pedestrian death rates: the front-end height of a vehicle.  

Independent businesses struggle to survive highway improvement projects

While past research has explored the impacts that new, large-scale highway construction projects have on local businesses, a recent study investigated the effects of smaller improvement projects, such as repaving and bridge replacements, and who tends to benefit from such improvements. The study found these types of projects are more common in higher-income neighborhoods, but that local, non-chain businesses were most likely to be negatively impacted by ongoing construction and altered traffic patterns compared to nearby multi-location, chain businesses.