Access to current and comprehensive crash data provides essential information for anyone seeking to improve the safety of road users and study crash locations and causes. However, this data is not widely available to transportation safety engineers, law enforcement, local and regional planning organizations, and elected officials. In an effort to address this information gap, the Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center developed a repository to make crash data publicly accessible, accurate, and up-to-date for decision makers and the general public.
Bicyclists break traffic laws, but they do so at a lower rate than either drivers or pedestrians. It would be safe to say that almost 100 percent of roadway users break traffic laws. Yet the general public’s perception of lawbreaking behavior by drivers and bicyclists is vastly different. This difference may be linked to the low mode share for transportation bicycling, and your personal reaction may be linked to whether you get around by bike and whether you yourself are mostly law-abiding in the same situation. In addition, bicyclists’ lawbreaking ways are rational and generally safe.
A study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference linked higher child death rates from motor vehicle crashes to several primary factors, including low rates of child seatbelt/car seat use and a lack of red light cameras. In addition to comparing child fatality and injury rates in cities that had red light cameras and those that did not have them, the study also looked at rates in cities that had removed or turned off the cameras and compared them to similar cities that had maintained them.
A recent study done by researchers at University of California-Berkeley has answered several questions many have had since car-sharing began by showing that car2go members in five North American cities reduced both their annual vehicle miles traveled and also their greenhouse gas emissions. Members also sold or delayed purchasing vehicles, resulting in each car-sharing vehicle removing seven to 11 private vehicles from the road.
A report released by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researcher Robert Schneider looks at crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists throughout Wisconsin from 2011-2013 to determine the conditions behind the most serious crashes, those resulting in fatalities and serious injuries. Schneider details the type of roadway, time of day, traffic controls, presence of bicycle or pedestrian facilities, and direction of travel for the parties involved. He also looked at age and gender and whether alcohol was involved.
Research in the last ten years has linked walkability, improved pedestrian environments, mixed-use development, and even older housing stock—a proxy for neighborhoods built for walking as opposed to driving—with improved public health measures related to weight. A new longitudinal study from McGill University is the first to study changes in body mass index over a relatively long time period as a function of walkability.
In a recent study done in Melbourne, Australia, researchers compared transportation demand management plans at four new residential developments with control sites with similar characteristics. The results showed lower car mode share and trip generation in the sites with TDM plans, but also significantly lower rates of vehicle trip generation than those published in commonly-used sources.
On average, the amount of parking provided at mixed-use centers is 65 percent higher than necessary, according to a study just published in the Transportation Research Record. That finding challenges the perceived need for additional parking in many of those places. Meanwhile, the unused parking spaces take up valuable space, add to construction and maintenance costs, and undermine efforts to manage travel demand.
A recently published study lends more support to the idea that sprawl can be a deterrent to upward mobility, making it difficult for low-income residents to improve their economic circumstances. Compact metro areas showed better results than those that are more spread out. The authors also note that upward mobility tends to be higher in Europe than in the U.S., and they theorize that besides differing approaches to education and social programs, the compactness of European cities may contribute to better opportunities.
New research finds that states that have passed laws requiring ignition-interlock devices (IIDs) for all drivers convicted of drunk driving have seen a collective 15 percent drop in deaths from drunk-driving crashes compared with rates in states without this requirement. Other studies show that IIDs alone are not sufficient to curb drunk driving. To be most effective, states should adopt IID laws that kick in on the first offense and provide sufficient oversight to monitor continued use of the IIDs.