New report discusses how transportation officials can support health equity

Smart Growth America recently released a new report, The State of Transportation and Health Equity, a field scan looking at the intersection of transportation and health equity in the U.S. today. The report summarizes lessons based on interviews with 92 experts working across disciplines at the local, state, and federal levels across the country. It identifies the biggest challenges to health equity facing our transportation system and strategies to address them. SGA will be hosting a webinar about the report on Thursday, January 23, at 2:30 p.m. EST.

Austin, Texas sees road safety and operations improvements with “right sizing”

Austin, Texas has released a report detailing their 15-year effort to “right size” streets throughout the city, and the results have been positive. Travel times on the studied segments have not increased, crashes are down by as much as 38 percent, and high-risk speeding has significantly decreased. In some cases travel times and traffic volumes have actually increased because the roads operate more efficiently.

Transportation engineers question the use of common practices and metrics

This month, for at least the second time in a year, the Institute of Transportation Engineers has challenged its members to rethink common practices and metrics that are often thought of as objective and unbiased, but that convey values that aren’t necessarily in line with the greater public interest. In particular, these values emphasize the movement of vehicles above all other interests.

UC/UCLA report: Changes needed to align transportation spending and policy goals

A new report outlines steps that federal, state, and local decision makers can take to bring California’s transportation spending in line with its environmental and energy goals. The paper came out of a one-day session that involved leaders from business, academic, and policy sectors, including high-level staff from the California DOT (Caltrans) and the California State Transportation Agency.

Commuter tax benefits: Who wins and loses?

A new report from TransitCenter shines a light on the federal Commuter Tax Benefits program and the impact the program has on mode choice. While the concept of excluding from taxation income spent on transportation to work may sound reasonable, in practice the program is heavily skewed in favor of drivers, provides a disproportionate benefit to the wealthy, costs taxpayers billions of dollars per year in uncollected revenue, and adds over 800,000 car commuters, driving over 4.6 billion additional miles per year to the nation’s road system.

Brookings report provides insight into the impacts of congestion on the freight industry

A new report from the Brookings Institution, and its associated interactive tool, study the flow of freight among U.S. metropolitan areas. The same metropolitan areas on which much of the nation’s freight system depends are also home to the most congested corridors. By graphically showing freight flows within the U.S., the report makes a strong argument that congestion in large metro areas interferes with interstate commerce.

Nonmotorized transportation pilot program: Developing performance measures and future needs

While FHWA, DOTs, and MPOs have worked diligently to establish performance measures for highway, transit, and freight operations—as directed in MAP-21—specific performance measures for the nonmotorized modes included in the Transportation Alternatives Program have been slower to emerge. A newly released report from the four Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program communities offers an important effort at establishing performance measures for bicycle and pedestrian investments and identifies new directions for developing robust metrics to support funding decisions for nonmotorized investments.