Local governments often rely on traffic impact analyses to review and approve projects, charge impact fees, and ask developers to go above and beyond the basic requirements. These traffic studies, however, are often based on “junk science,” and may not hold up in courts much longer, according to a new Viewpoint article published in the Journal of the American Planning Association.
In two states 3,000 miles apart, referendums that would fund transportation efforts, in part, were on the ballot this election cycle. Voters made their choice on Proposition 30 in California and Question 1 in Massachusetts. Both referendums sought to increase the tax rate on each state’s highest earners, but only one was successful.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a more than $850 billion historic investment in support of state and local government work to increase access and safety while redressing inequities across the country. However, a recent article by Brookings contributors Ellory Monks and Shalini Vajjhala points out that the existing structure of federal and state grant application processes may inhibit the fair allocation of the funds.
The much-anticipated Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was finally signed by President Biden on Monday, and state DOTs are preparing for what will amount to around 50 percent more transportation spending than originally planned for over the next five years. The act includes an additional $110 billion for roads and bridges, $11 billion for safety, $39 billion for public transit, and $66 billion for freight and passenger rail (a five-fold increase).
Transportation agencies often rely on police generated crash reports for improving roadway design and making streets safer for all users. A recent study from Washington, D.C., however, found that almost one in three car crashes involving a cyclist or a pedestrian goes unreported. With such a wide gap in data, it is quite possible agencies don’t fully understand the real risks pedestrians and cyclists—the most vulnerable users—face, let alone address those risks.
A new study found little evidence that new bike infrastructure leads to displacement of low-income households or people of color, despite the two sometimes being linked in public discourse. The data reveal some bias toward mostly white neighborhoods in terms of where new facilities are installed, but sharrows, or markings that indicate a preferred bicycle route, account for more of the difference than separated bike lanes.
There is a growing public clamor for better access by people to the places where they live, work, and spend their recreational time. However, a majority of transportation investments are spent on moving people through places, typically by driving.
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?
A new study by SSTI with researchers from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison looks at transportation project prioritization programs at 21 agencies across the U.S. The study identifies three overarching strategies to better align investments with policy goals: 1) establishing flexible funding programs; 2) evaluating key outcomes; and 3) maximizing benefits per dollar spent.
As the window closes for comments on the eleventh edition of the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)—the national standard governing all traffic control devices—strong criticism of the manual is coming from industry professionals and safety advocates alike.