TDOT puts Complete Streets policy into practice

The Tennessee Department of Transportation adopted a “multimodal access” policy in 2015, but recognized that the policy alone would have limited impact without a more comprehensive approach to improving safety for everyone. Since then, TDOT has taken steps to update its practices across the department to improve safety and access for people walking, biking, and taking transit, bringing a Complete Streets approach into all of the internal machinery that makes the agency run. Many of the changes TDOT has made could be replicated or adapted by other states.

TDOT puts Complete Streets policy into practice

The Tennessee Department of Transportation adopted a “multimodal access” policy in 2015, but recognized that the policy alone would have limited impact without a more comprehensive approach to improving safety for everyone. Since then, TDOT has taken steps to update its practices across the department to improve safety and access for people walking, biking, and taking transit, bringing a Complete Streets approach into all of the internal machinery that makes the agency run. Many of the changes TDOT has made could be replicated or adapted by other states.

Maryland designs for calmer traffic on urban highway

As suburban and urban areas infill, more bicyclists and pedestrians may use arterial corridors, and conflict with motor vehicles and resulting crashes can increase. When residents demand protection from traffic dangers to create more walkable, livable neighborhoods, state DOTs are increasingly called on to shift their focus from exclusively measuring the level of service provided to drivers, to designing for the safety and accessibility of pedestrians and cyclists.

New NACTO and USDOT Volpe Center reports call for improved vehicle design to increase safety

A pair of new reports examines how the design of large vehicles—such as fire trucks, garbage and recycling vehicles, and freight trucks—impacts traffic fatalities in cities. These types of vehicles have a disproportionate impact on urban roadway safety for all users. However, vehicle design changes and new technology could significantly reduce that impact.

Toward livable streets: A review of recent improvements in practice

In the last decade a number of project development and design guides, such as ITE’s “Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares,”  NACTO’s “Urban Street Design Guide,” and city design guide manuals, have emerged. A new article by Eric Dumbaugh of Florida Atlantic University and Michael King of BuroHappold Engineering, reviews these updated practices. The article finds four general principles of livable streets engineering.

Livable arterials, not necessarily an oxymoron

Perhaps nowhere is the conflict between mobility and livability more apparent than along arterials. One problem in improving livability is that, while practitioners have multiple well-established standards for mobility, they have none for livability. Since “what gets measured, gets managed,” livability tends to go unmanaged. In many cases we have simply built for mobility, with unfortunate results for areas along and near arterials. Researchers from the University of Denver are trying to better understand what factors contribute to livability.

Agencies must embrace new design standards to improve safety, according to federal report

The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report addressing the recent increase in deaths and injuries among pedestrians and bicycle users. The report outlined the causes, responses from transportation agencies, and remaining challenges to address the disparity in crash trends between car drivers and those using non-motorized transportation. The report also acknowledges historical road design practices as a major contributor to current safety trends.

FHWA: We are not a barrier to safer, slower, innovative road design

On August 20 the Federal Highway Administration posted a new page on its website. The title, Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding, Design, and Environmental Review: Addressing Common Misconceptions, belies the importance of the clarifications FHWA is trying to make. The page addresses more than bicycle and pedestrian matters. It points out that federal funding or rules do not prohibit good road design for all modes, even if it varies from the standards used for decades.

FHWA to study safety and design of cycle tracks

At the March AASHTO meeting, U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood urged the attendees to update their guidance for bicycle facilities such as cycle tracks, also known as protected or separated bike lanes. Last week FHWA issued a task order proposal request to study the safety of cycle tracks and issue recommendations on their design and implementation.