It’s not distracted walking that is killing NYC pedestrians

“[NYC]DOT found little concrete evidence that device-induced distracted walking contributes significantly to pedestrian fatalities and injuries.” So concludes a recent report examining whether device-distracted walkers are killing themselves by stepping out in front of motor vehicles. It’s dangerous driver behavior—speeding and failure to yield—that is killing pedestrians.

More evidence that TNCs are clogging downtown streets (and what NYC is doing about it)

In August, Uber and Lyft jointly released an analysis conducted by Fehr & Peers examining how their vehicles are contributing to VMT in six major cities: Boston, Chicago, L.A., San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. The study found that Uber and Lyft vehicles account for just 1-3 percent of total VMT in the metro regions. However, they are contributing a significantly larger share in the core counties of several of these regions.

New York approves plan to implement congestion tolling: Beginning of a new trend?

As part of its recently passed $175 billion budget, the state of New York is allowing for congestion tolling to be implemented in New York City. Lawmakers believe congestion tolling will not only reduce city vehicle traffic levels but also provide a new source of revenue to fund and maintain New York City’s aging subway system. More importantly, however, New York’s plan may serve as a tipping point for other cities in the United States to finally move forward with their own congestion tolling systems.

Study: Carlessness drives incomes down

New York City has its share of income disparity problems. However, in terms of transportation, at least parts of New York stand out as places that live up to the idea of providing equity through multimodal choice. A new paper by David King of Arizona State University and two co-authors finds that residents of Manhattan suffer no economic penalty if they lack a car. In the rest of the country—and even in the more suburban borough of Staten Island—that’s not the case.

Work remains: Reducing bus travel times to increase ridership

Fixed-route buses are the most common form of public transit in the United States; however, bus ridership has been falling in recent years after enjoying a surge in the early- to mid-2000s. Efficiency in all aspects of the transit network is important if transportation agencies want to encourage increased transit use. New York City is trying to improve the efficiency of its bus service by implementing transit signal priority.

A preview of the driverless-vehicle future: Uber and other TNCs are cannibalizing New York’s transit ridership and worsening congestion and emissions

The effect of transportation network companies is one of the central concerns of transportation planning, in part because TNCs can provide a hint about what might happen when driverless vehicles become widely available. In addition, to date the lack of TNCs’ willingness to share data has limited our ability to assess these effects. A new report focusing on these services in New York City, sheds welcome new light on the topic, and provides plenty of evidence for pessimism about the sustainability of TNCs, conventional or driverless, without significant policy intervention.

Municipalities may be liable for crashes on streets where design encourages high speeds

On December 22, the New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled that municipalities may be liable for traffic injuries when the design of roads contributes to reckless driving or excessive speeding. The 6-1 decision in Turturro v. City of New York found that city transportation officials did not adequately study traffic calming as a way to reduce the problem of excessive speeding on Gerritsen Avenue, a busy street in Brooklyn.

Municipalities may be liable for crashes on streets where design encourages high speeds

On December 22, the New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled that municipalities may be liable for traffic injuries when the design of roads contributes to reckless driving or excessive speeding. The 6-1 decision in Turturro v. City of New York found that city transportation officials did not adequately study traffic calming as a way to reduce the problem of excessive speeding on Gerritsen Avenue, a busy street in Brooklyn.

Cities look toward design in achieving Vision Zero

Looking to improve safety and eliminate traffic fatalities, at least 17 American cities have committed to Vision Zero. In addition to ramping up education and enforcement, these efforts require road designers to rethink streets and intersections in ways that minimize risks to non-motorized users. This often means correcting issues resulting from a strict, decades-long focus on vehicle movement.

Learning from better bicycle/vehicle crash reporting: Improving safety and infrastructure

A recent study published in the journal Injury Prevention makes a strong case for better bicycle/motor vehicle crash reporting as a way to improve bicycling safety. The quality of these crash reports currently varies widely, with helmet use and use of other protective equipment being the only data consistently recorded across all fifty states. Additionally, inadequate reporting that leaves out essential crash-site details results in a poor understanding of the causes and remedies for these crashes. This knowledge gap limits the ability of facility designers and transportation planners to respond with improved facilities for all road users.