In spring 2017, Stephen wrote for Streetsblog USA, covering the livable streets movement and transportation policy developments around the nation. From August 2012 to October 2015, he was a reporter for Streetsblog NYC, covering livable streets and transportation issues in the city and the region. After joining Streetsblog, he covered the tail end of the Bloomberg administration and the launch of Citi Bike. Since then, he covered mayoral elections, the de Blasio administration's ongoing Vision Zero campaign, and New York City's ever-evolving street safety and livable streets movements.
More than 112,500 people lost their lives in speed-related crashes from 2005 to 2014, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic deaths in America over that period. In a draft report released earlier this week, the National Transportation Safety Board says excessive speed is a deadly problem in our nation's transportation system -- one that federal and state officials aren't doing enough to address.
There's ample research out there backing up the safety benefits of streets with protected bikeways and slow car speeds. But what about the critically important yet less tangible factor of individual attitudes -- how does the mind of the person behind the wheel affect driver behavior toward cyclists? A new report from Portland State University looks at the question.
Cities and towns are constantly fretting about downtown parking. But what they often perceive as a "parking shortage" isn't caused by a lack of parking -- it's the result of poor management of the parking they already have. The upshot is that many cities, seeking cheap and plentiful car storage, pursue policies that make their parking and traffic problems worse, not better. Now a downtown Austin business coalition aims to chart a better course.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials, representing more than 50 urban transportation departments across the United States, is known for street design guides that prioritize walking, bicycling, and transit. Now the organization is turning its attention to the nuts-and-bolts of how city bureaucracies can implement these designs in a timely manner, so meaningful change can happen within our lifetimes.
Cities and tech firms are deploying new technology to gauge risks at dangerous intersections. These sensors, cameras, and machine-learning algorithms are promising, especially when it comes to measuring close calls that don't result in crashes - but cities are still figuring out how they can use this information. In the meantime, there's no reason to wait on designing safe streets.
In the United States, women account for only a quarter of bike trips. There are many possible factors for the discrepancy: the lack of bike infrastructure, social pressures during adolescence, and complex trip patterns play a role. But one of the big things keeping women out of the saddle is that when they bike they're harassed. All the time.
We've all had this experience while walking or biking -- someone cutting us off, or swerving, leaving us catching our breath and thinking, "That was close." Close encounters, just inches away from being a collision, have a big impact on how we think about street safety, but they're not well understood, since they're rarely, if ever, reported. A new report out of Houston attempts to gauge the impact of these "near-miss" incidents.