Preparing for climate change in Massachusetts

On January 14, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts announced $52 million in funding for a statewide plan to address the present and future impacts of climate change. Citing weather events such as Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, the governor pointed out that climate change is creating more disruptive weather and challenging public health, safety, and economic vitality.

Costs for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Infrastructure Improvements: A Resource for Researchers, Engineers, Planners, and the General Public (Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, 2013)

This report provides infrastructure cost estimates for pedestrian and bicycle treatments, infrastructure, and amenities from across the country. Costs vary widely, but the report includes high, low, and median costs from a variety of sources.

Who Pays for Climate Change? (National Resources Defense Council, 2013)

U.S. taxpayers outspend private insurers three-to-one to cover climate disruption costs. Paying for climate disruption was one of the largest non-defense discretionary budget items in 2012. Private insurers themselves only covered about 25 percent of these costs, leaving the federal government and its public insurance enterprises to pay for the majority of the remaining claims.

How to Increase Bicycling for Daily Travel (Active Living Research, 2013)

What are the most effective strategies cities can use to increase bicycling? This brief summarizes the available evidence about strategies for increasing bicycling levels and encouraging bicycling as a mode of transportation. It also presents related policy implications.

Public health researchers: Bike guide leaves out facilities favored by many

A recent article in the American Journal of Public Health concentrates on the lack of updated bicycle facilities standards in the the most widely used guides. The article’s authors focused specifically on their perception that cycle tracks—bike facilities separated from motorized traffic by a curb, parked cars, or other physical or painted buffer to discourage intrusion by motor vehicles—would increase bicycle transportation by older users, women, and children.

As the cost of extreme weather events continues to climb, resilience is key

According to the recently released draft report, climate change is now increasing the frequency and intensity of severe storms, flooding, droughts, and heat waves, as well as increasing sea level. Some communities prepared decades ago for hurricanes and other disasters, while others are still debating infrastructure changes that could protect their towns and cut down on future disaster recovery costs.

Improved walking environments can benefit mental health

Walking has mental as well as physical health benefits. Children that walk or bike to school have improved concentration, and moderate physical activity can help keep older people mentally sharp. But new data from the CDC show that the elderly have a significantly higher prevalence of pedestrian fatalities than younger people.

NYPD language change signals increased emphasis on traffic safety

The New York Police Department has only recently started using the term “collision” instead of “accident.” The new terminology is part of an increased emphasis on investigating crashes that are not life-threatening. New York’s Traffic Commissioner has been praised for her emphasis on improving bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, however advocates are not as pleased with a crackdown on traffic infractions by bicyclists.

Infrastructure Financing Options for Transit-Oriented Development (EPA Office of Sustainable Communities Smart Growth Program, 2013)

A new report from the EPA Office of Sustainable Communities Smart Growth Program provides information about funding mechanisms and strategies that communities can use to provide innovative financing options for transit oriented development.