Room for improvement in assessing equity in regional TIPs

Many Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) have placed a greater emphasis on equity in their regional planning over the past few years, but that emphasis doesn’t always translate to direct changes at the project level. Transportation Research Record examined how well MPOs serving the 40 largest metro areas in the U.S. incorporate equity criteria in project prioritization decisions for their Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs) and recommend a broader shift in how MPOs approach equity in project prioritization to reframe transportation inequities in terms of injustices.

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.

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.

Windshield bias among transportation professionals shifts safety burden onto pedestrians

Transportation professionals who spend more time behind the wheel tend to believe distracted walking plays an overstated role in pedestrian deaths, according to a new Rutgers study. This belief can steer professionals toward trying to correct pedestrian behavior, rather than focusing on the change that would reduce pedestrian deaths most: lowering vehicle speeds.