Fighting transit fear with transit facts

While per-capita traffic casualties are declining with increasing transit ridership, many people still harbor an irrational fear of public transit—making them less likely to use transit or support increased transit service. Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute (VTPI) released a new study last month that delves into this issue.

“War on cars” (or bicycles) isn’t new

A recent NPR story asked if there was really a “war on cars.” This idea seems to appear in newspaper comments, on radio talk shows, and as opinion pieces. But this question is not new, nor are complaints about rude bicyclists or clueless pedestrians. We have been arguing about access and safety in the public right of way for over a century.

Instant rewards, penalties, and feedback are shown to change driver behavior

A new study shows that tiny financial losses can improve motorists’ compliance with speed limits. The study’s researchers found that the psychology of losing money, even just a few pennies, as well as the instant feedback of seeing the money trickling away, almost completely eliminated speeding. Hybrid drivers often experience the same instant feedback by watching their dashboard mileage monitor in real time. As drivers become more comfortable with continuous monitoring of vehicle operations and instant feedback on their own behavior, both safety and efficiency can be expected to improve.

Will drivers pay the price to use fastest road in the Americas?

A new stretch of toll road through central Texas linking Austin to San Antonio, State Highway 130, may soon have the highest posted speed limit in the hemisphere. The exact toll structure has not yet been defined, but the base rate for passenger vehicles could be as high as 12.5 cents per mile, a total of $5 for the 41-mile stretch. While many drivers in the state are enthusiastic about the prospect of shortened driving times over the congested I-35, auto insurance companies and highway safety advocates are less excited.

Community Design and the Incidence of Crashes Involving Pedestrians and Motorists Aged 75 and Older (Texas Transportation Institute, 2012)

Community design and transportation infrastructure can be problematic for both younger and older community residents. This study examines how community design specifically affects drivers and pedestrians aged 75 and older.

New Chicago plan aims for zero traffic deaths in ten years

In a new transportation plan Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and DOT Commissioner Gabe Klein laid out their vision of no traffic fatalities within ten years. While the safety goals received much of the recent press, abitious performance measures for sustainability, transportation choice, customer service, and economic development are also part of the plan.

Getting Results: SRTS Programs That Reduce Traffic (National Center for Safe Routes to School, 2011)

Heavy vehicle traffic in places with pedestrians and bicyclists increases the chance of a crash, and this increased risk can affect parent decisions on school travel. This brief looks at the problem of traffic congestion, provides an overview of local programs that successfully measured traffic reductions and outlines steps that programs can take to measure impacts of their activities.

Getting Results: Safe Routes to School Programs That Increase Walking and Bicycling to School (National Center for Safe Routes to School, 2012)

This guide offers brief summaries of eight programs that measured their walking and bicycling numbers and found an increase. The resource aims to assist and inspire Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs to measure student travel patterns to look for possible changes over time and measure the progress of their activities.