With advancement in technology and telecommunications, teleworking is becoming easier for a variety of professionals. Cities and administrations support these initiatives with the understanding and hope that they’ll reduce congestion and total vehicle miles traveled. But do they really reduce VMT? A recent study disputes the assumptions and finds that for most households, teleworking has a positive relation with VMT.
Although many car makers and future thinkers imagine the rapid adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles, a recent study, conducted at the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis, suggests that buyers may not be so eager to own one. Significant barriers to adoption included the price point of the vehicles, distrust of the technology in general, and a fear of losing control over operation of the car.
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that red light camera programs are an effective deterrent to red light running. The IIHS study found that implementing red light cameras lowers the rate of fatal crashes at intersections that are remotely enforced, but the rate increases if they are turned off. More than half of the fatalities caused by red light runners are pedestrians, cyclists, other motorists, or passengers. The IIHS has also issued a checklist to help communities successfully implement red light cameras.
While the positive relationship between traffic crashes and extreme summer conditions is certainly not unheard of, it is rarely used in practice when designing policies or issuing roadway safety warnings. A recent study in Accident Analysis and Prevention shows that heat waves have a significant effect on the frequency of traffic crash fatalities. With climate change resulting in extreme temperatures all around the world, these studies highlight a pressing need for policy and safety interventions to adapt to changing conditions.
It is no secret that transit ridership has declined in recent years in many cities in the U.S. after years of increases. Ridership dropped by 2.5 percent nationwide from 2016 to 2017. While some have speculated that this decline is due to decreasing gas prices or competition from ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, a new study by McGill University’s Department of Urban Planning suggests that the main culprit could be service cuts—particularly to bus service.
How does the built environment influence the amount people drive? Research by SSTI’s Logan Dredske worked to answer this very question. The focus of his research was to create a framework for estimating vehicle miles traveled based on conditions of the built environment. His goal was to use measures of accessibility as the principal proxy for the built environment. The research also converted vehicle miles traveled into greenhouse gas emissions and evaluated the ability of transportation projects to reduce emissions.
Speed reductions can lower crash risks significantly, confirms a new report by the International Transport Forum, an intergovernmental organization of 59 member countries including the U.S. The research report looks at 11 case studies in 10 different countries around the world. In every case, speed increases were associated with more crashes and more severe injuries, while speed decreases were associated with fewer crashes, injuries, and deaths. The relationships, however, are not linear.
Hit-and–run fatal crashes are increasing in the United States, and most victims are pedestrians and bicyclists. We don’t entirely know why these crashes are increasing, because studies are limited, and data regarding the characteristics of drivers and victims is not extensive. Many hit-and-run drivers get away. Witnesses may not be present. But after analyzing federal data, however, researchers at the AAA Foundation have identified a trend and searched the literature for some potential contributing factors.
Research in Michigan has shown that in-street, yield-to-pedestrian signs can affect both yielding behavior and driver speeds approaching crosswalks to the same degree as installation of a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RFFB) or Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB.) This is good news for communities that want to improve pedestrian safety and access but that are seeking a lower-cost alternative to installed beacons.
Research sponsored by Florida DOT details new methods for studying bicycling safety by mounting cameras and sensors on bikes ridden in naturalistic settings. The research gives us insight into the behavior of both bicyclists and drivers, the types of conflicts that occur, and route selection by bicyclists. This methodology holds the potential to improve safety and allow transportation professionals to target engineering, education, and enforcement activities.