Recent news reports and studies have outlined changes in how Millenials travel and live. These have focused on the implications for all transportation modes as well as land use and economic activity. This APTA/TCRP report seeks to further understand the mindsets behind the trends and understand their implications for public transportation in the United States. This study utilizes a mixture of in-depth interviews in five cities and a survey of 1,000 people in six cities that are representative of the types of cities Millennials find attractive.
Drivers headed for traffic jams largely disregard advisory variable speed limit (VSL) signs intended to slow traffic in advance of downstream congestion. However, while drivers are not adjusting their speeds to comply with the limits, the signs do appear to be having a positive effect on congestion.
Over the last 15 years, the Internet and mobile communications technologies have transformed the way Americans live and work. During that same period, growth in vehicle travel slowed and then stopped, with Americans today driving about as much on average as we did in 1996. Early evidence suggests that new innovations in technology and social networking are beginning to change America’s transportation landscape.
For almost a decade, per-capita VMT has shown a flat to downward trend. But don’t be fooled; people are traveling. Transit ridership is up. Biking and walking for transportation continues to increase. Car-sharing and ride-sharing services are seeing a boom. New technologies, including smart phone applications and interactive web sites, give these intrepid travelers the tools they need to decode the mysteries of public transit and investigate the growing availability of non-motorized travel options.
New infrared cameras can identify various tailpipe emissions in real time from vehicles passing at highway speeds. By analyzing the ratios of different pollutants, the technology can also distinguish between high-emitting vehicles that are functioning normally—i.e., vehicles that are burning more fuel to carry heavier loads or more passengers—from those that have mechanical problems that need to be dealt with.
Walkscore, the first website to offer easy-to-use walkability ratings for cities, neighborhoods, and individual properties now has some competition. Walkability, a rating system released this month targets private businesses, particularly those in the marketing, social networking, and real estate sectors.
This spring, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a policy statement on automated vehicles, which offers guidance for states that are considering authorizing tests of driverless vehicles. Three states—California, Florida, and Nevada—now explicitly authorize self-driving cars to operate on public roads for testing purposes. Michigan is expected to become the fourth state by the end of the year. Although not explicitly authorized, driverless cars are not specifically prohibited anywhere in the nation and are assumed to be legal throughout the U.S.
After suing dozens of transit agencies and hundreds of private companies, patent troll company ArrivalStar could be hitting the wall. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has drastically narrowed the patent owned by the company after the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a formal request to reexamine the patent’s legitimacy. The American Public Transit Association also filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to halt frivolous patent infringement claims against public transit systems throughout the country and claiming that ArrivalStar’s lawsuits are invalid under the 11th Amendment.
For transportation professionals focusing on improving automobile commute times, the idea of enabling a driver to reserve space on a roadway at specific times may seem too good to be true—and it may be. Such a scheme may be too complicated to implement—at least right now.
While incidents of distracted driving crashes involving cell phones are down, pedestrian injuries due to cell phone distraction while walking—primarily involving talking while walking—are up . What can be done to turn this trend around?