Real-time crash prediction models: State-of-the-art, design pathways and ubiquitous requirements (Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2019)

With the advancements in artificial intelligence, and multiple studies being focused towards developing real-time crash prediction models, the concept of a proactive safety management system has become very close to reality. The linked study conducts an extensive review of the existing real-time crash prediction models, systematically illustrating the various methodologies being used world-wide. It evaluates the universality, design requirements, and associated challenges of various models. The study aims to be a “one stop knowledge source” for future researchers and practitioners for transitioning from the existing real-time crash prediction conceptual models to a real-world operational proactive traffic safety management system.

Yes, communities can be sued for their unsafe streets

Cities can be sued if they don’t provide a safe environment for pedestrians or bicyclists. Two cases in recent years—including one before the New York Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court)—prove that. But winning a lawsuit against a city is quite uncommon, and the burden of proving municipal negligence is high. An opinion piece in Planetizen examines why more cases are not successful.

A method for quantifying risks imposed on cyclists while sharing road with motor vehicles

Keeping vehicle occupants and pedestrians safe via engineering standards and street warrants is common practice around the world. But in spite of the growing level of support for bicycling for both commuting and recreation, bike facility design standards are rarely backed by empirical data and are often inconsistent between different cities and states. A recent study presents a methodology that can potentially be used by city planners for predicting the probability of unsafe interactions between bicyclists and motor vehicles based on passing events on 4-lane urban arterials with no on-street bike lanes.

NTSB priority: Roadway speed management

When it comes to speed, delay and congestion usually get more attention than the flip-side problem of excessive speed. Under statute, for example, the federal government requires agencies to track speed reliability and delay. There is no similar requirement for tracking excessive speed, even though the data set provided for monitoring slow traffic could be used for fast traffic as well. However, the National Transportation Safety Board’s new 2019-2020 Most Wanted List, which it identifies as its “premier advocacy tool” in advancing transportation safety improvements, includes highway speed management in its Top 10 list.

Evidence from Toronto: Well-designed bike lanes encourage cycling, improve safety for all

A new report from the City of Toronto adds further evidence to the notion that improvements to the cycling network can dramatically increase cycling mode share and actual numbers, while improving safety for all road users, with little to no degradation of motorist level of service. Crashes for both bicyclists and motor vehicles declined after the installation of protected bike lanes; additional travel times for motorists changed minimally, and the number of bicyclists using the street went up 1000 percent.

Speeding contributes to one-quarter of fatalities, but remains culturally acceptable

As a vehicle’s speed increases, it’s kinetic energy increases exponentially. A small amount of speed reduction can translate into a big reduction of kinetic energy, and reduces the potential severity of a crash. A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) takes a comprehensive look at speeding on American roadways, including observations about who is speeding, why they are speeding, and what can be done to reduce it.

As crashes rise, distracted driving has (mostly) stayed the same

Are cell phones to blame for rising traffic deaths? We have looked for evidence before and came up empty-handed. A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that drivers are just as distracted now as they were a few years ago, but some are swapping old distractions for new ones, like handheld phones. That could be a problem, according the study, but it doesn’t explain why our roads have become so dangerous.

Dangerous by Design 2019: Roads aren’t getting safer for pedestrians

Last week, Smart Growth America released the latest edition of Dangerous by Design, a biennial report examining trends in pedestrian fatalities. The report looks at changes in the occurrence of pedestrian deaths nationwide overall and ranks states and metropolitan regions according to how dangerous they are for pedestrians. At the same time, a national committee of traffic engineers called on their colleagues to consider pedestrian and bicyclist safety when setting speed limits, and a researcher reports on why pedestrians break the rules, blaming poor roadway design.

Variable speed limits effective along Virginia’s foggy highways

Fog can create deadly driving conditions, particularly in mountainous areas. Fog along the 12-mile stretch of highway in Virginia has led to hundreds of crashed vehicles and several deaths over the last couple of decades. In 2016, VDOT launched a system of weather sensors, variable speed limits (VSLs), and dynamic message signs (DMS) meant to slow down drivers during unsafe conditions. This system lowered speeds by an additional 2 to 5 mph, on average, and the number of fog-related crashes seems to have dropped by more than 50 percent. VDOT will continue to monitor the corridor, but the Virginia Transportation Research Council says similar systems should be effective for more widespread use.

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.