Infrastructure planning processes have long been forced to rely on expensive and time-consuming methods of data gathering or, in some cases, anecdotal evidence and hypothetical arguments from both project supporters and opponents. Fortunately, thanks to the increased availability of location data, cities are beginning to add important quantitative measures to their decision-making process, including the opportunity to analyze the conditions before and after a project is installed.
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.
Even before the pandemic sent a shockwave through transit systems, ridership across the U.S. was on a slow but steady downward trajectory. A new report from Transit Cooperative Research Program points to some of the leading causes and, more importantly, ways that thoughtful planning and transit investments could help reverse the trend in the next decade.
Owing to the rising popularity of ecommerce, expedited deliveries, ride-hailing services, and micromobility options, curb space is in demand now more than ever. Because curbside is a public property, the burden of efficiently allocating this commodity comes down to city officials. However, despite being valuable real estate, a recent study demonstrates how city staff presently do not have the data or tools to efficiently prioritize the distribution of curb space, let alone profit from it.
Although, there are many platforms and companies offering bike-ped travel data acquired through smartphone apps, location-based services, fitness apps, etc., the choice can be very confusing and at times expensive. A recent paper from Texas A&M Transportation Institute discusses the top sources for this travel data. This could help us understand how to solve the complexities of incorporating active transportation modes into traditional planning practices.
For the longest time we’ve relied on the Highway Performance Monitoring System for understanding travel patterns and estimating vehicle miles of travel. But these estimates often have not been very accurate because of inadequacies in data collection. Big data is providing more precise and more complete information that can be used for both planning and seeing the impacts of policy. In a new report, StreetLight Data, a leader in the transportation big data field, is showing us how it’s done.
Smartphones with GPS tracking ability are capable of collecting large amounts of pedestrian and cyclist movement data. But do tracking apps developed largely for athletic or route-planning use capture the big picture of where pedestrians and cyclists travel and what infrastructure they use? The answer, according to a new study in the Journal of Transport & Health, is “no.” These apps miss data from segments of the cycling population, as well as information about the usage of particular kinds of infrastructure by riders with particular characteristics.
Agencies that aspire to achieve zero traffic fatalities need to know where to invest for the biggest crash reductions. Advances in artificial intelligence are allowing DOTs to leverage their existing camera technology in order to extract large quantities of data that can then inform decisions about how to improve or control intersections. The city of Bellevue, WA, recently announced a plan to study footage from its traffic cameras in order to “analyze the correlation between past collisions” and near misses, according to a press release.
DOTs and planning agencies interested in measuring access to destinations have a growing number of packages and data sources to choose from. Folks not looking to reinvent the wheel are turning to shiny products like Citilabs’ Sugar Access, Conveyal, and Remix. But those with tighter budgets and a little more technical expertise can build on existing platforms like OpenTripPlanner, UrbanAccess, and now the Accessibility Toolbox for R and ArcGIS, featured recently in Transport Findings.
As cities commit to Vision Zero, they have started to examine intersections and roadway segments with high crash rates, serious injuries, and fatalities to pedestrians. What they have found is that a small percent of roadways account for a large portion of serious crashes. And crashes disproportionately affect certain populations.