Call for U.S. DOT to issue own standards causes a stir

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that U.S. DOT will be issuing its own standards for roadway design to meet the needs of all users, but especially bicyclists and pedestrians. Reactions indicated that some felt LaHood was showing impatience with a lack of suitable standards by AASHTO to meet the needs of non-motorized users.

Red light cameras still popular with municipalities, but not drivers

Almost half the states allow red light cameras, and municipalities are increasingly installing them at intersections as tools to increase public safety. Despite public pushback concerning the cameras, and some hiccups with implementation, this technology should stay in place where it is established and be installed at problem intersections whenever possible. The clear improvements in safety and traffic operations provide a benefit to the public and the best argument for accepting the utility of red light cameras.

One-way or two-way streets more efficient? It depends on what you measure

The debate over one-way versus two-way streets has been ongoing for more than half a century in American cities. Counter to prevailing engineering wisdom, a new study finds two-way streets may be more efficient, if one is measuring getting people to their destinations.

New York City’s subway train operators taking unilateral action to prevent fatalities at stations

Following two widely publicized incidents of waiting passengers being pushed into the path of oncoming subway trains, the Transit Workers Union has directed its subway train operators to slow trains to 10 mph when entering station areas to enable them to stop if riders are on the tracks. This and other solutions to accidental and intentional falls onto tracks are being examined in New York and cities around the world.

Increasing bicycle mode share leads to growing need for bicycle-specific traffic signals

As the popularity of transportation bicycling continues to grow, traffic engineers, planners, and lawmakers are recognizing the need to incorporate bicycle-specific infrastructure into intersection designs. Bicycle-specific signals are being used in 16 U.S. cities, and the signals are being included in traffic control manuals. NACTO has excellent guidance for how and where to install these signals.

Solving the critter crossing problem

When state Departments of Transportation address safety concerns related to motor-vehicle/wildlife crashes, the agencies save lives and reduce economic costs. Crashes involving larger animals – including deer, elk, moose, and bear – are on the rise, and many states consider addressing this safety concern an integral part of their mission. Some states are using innovative approaches to keep wildlife off the roads.

Bike boxes and lanes may increase “right hook” crashes in some circumstances

A preliminary analysis of bike crashes at intersections in Portland with painted bike lanes, bike boxes, and bicycle-related signage has indicated that when placed on a downhill section of road, they may actually increase the number of bicycle/motor-vehicle crashes, especially during “stale” green lights.