New mobility services have enormous potential to change the transportation landscape and increase access for all residents. But, only a few projects are actually focused on that.
As new mobility models continue to have an impact on our transportation system and shift how our cities are designed and operate, cities and transit agencies are launching new pilot projects to test everything from microtransit to ridesourcing to automated vehicles and understand how these services can best function in and benefit their communities.
One of the most promising areas to capitalize on new mobility services is around increasing access for people most in need; people who live in areas that are currently underserved by transit, do not have bank accounts or cell phones, require wheelchair access, or commute during off-peak hours. Depending on how they’re deployed, these services could help community members more easily reach jobs, school, medical appointments, grocery stores, or wherever people need to go.
Many of these individuals are already dealing with a transportation network that has often been designed without their needs in mind—whether it’s infrequent transit, a lack of affordability, or inconsistent paratransit options. This has grown worse in recent years as many lower-income individuals, faced with the high cost of living, have been forced to move from city centers to inner and outer ring suburbs, with fewer jobs and resources and where reliable, affordable public transportation is even less likely to exist.
Death on foot: America’s love of SUVs is killing pedestrians
America’s love for SUVs is killing pedestrians, and federal safety regulators have known for years.
Eric D. Lawrence, Nathan Bomey and Kristi Tanner, Detroit Free Press/USA TODAY NETWORK June 29 2018
Almost 6,000 pedestrians died on or along U.S. roads in 2016 alone — nearly as many Americans as have died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002. Data analyses by the Free Press/USA TODAY and others show that SUVs are the constant in the increase and account for a steadily growing proportion of deaths.
Our investigation found:
Federal safety regulators have known for years that SUVs, with their higher front-end profile, are at least twice as likely as cars to kill the walkers, joggers and children they hit, yet have done little to reduce deaths or publicize the danger.
A federal proposal to factor pedestrians into vehicle safety ratings has stalled, with opposition from some automakers.
The rising tide of pedestrian deaths is primarily an urban plague that kills minorities at a disproportionate rate.
Idea for Asbury Park’s Business District? Tactical Urbanism taken to a new level. It won’t happen easily, but we’re on the way to reducing parking congestion and building infrastructure and options for reducing cars.
Sneaky. If You Can’t Ban Cars–Take Away Parking Spaces
Oslo had a plan to lower its emissions by drastically limit car travel in its center. Now you can drive, but it might not be worth it.
Instead of an outright car ban, Oslo has now announced a tactical-urbanism approach to limiting vehicle movement through the city center. [Photo: Nanisimova/iStock]
For those businesses owners concerned that the lack of parking in the central district will hamper their sales, a study of a Toronto neighborhood, previously covered by Fast Company, should give them some peace of mind. The study found that business owners drastically overestimated the percentage of their customers who arrived by car, and as such, voiced opposition to eliminating street parking in favor of more pedestrian routes and bike lanes. Visitors to the shops, on the other hand, far preferred the more humanized streets, and pedestrians and cyclists, as it turns out, were far more loyal customers, lingering longer in the shops, buying more, and exploring more outlets in the district instead of beelining back to their cars.
How we choose to get around is in many ways the most personal decision we make, and one most of us have to confront in public, under dramatically different circumstances, every single day. It’s a daily calculation that takes into consideration money, safety, health, even weather conditions. But, for many of us, it’s not a lifestyle choice. It’s a matter of necessity.
Creative crosswalks: Street art meets safety enhancement
Bright colors and unique designs in crosswalks can create a sense of community while keeping pedestrians safer and drawing drivers’ attention to them.
Painted crosswalks have become ubiquitous as a pedestrian safety measure across the United States and around the world. The instantly recognizable white stripes lead pedestrians and alert drivers to pay extra attention. But a growing trend involves cities abandoning the blasé white uniform for colorful, eye-catching options that serve both as art and enhanced safety tools.
San Francisco has been at the forefront of the movement, with its well-known rainbow crosswalks in the predominantly gay Castro neighborhood. That idea is catching on in cities of varying sizes throughout the country, including Philadelphia, San Antonio and Maplewood, NJ.
MALIGNED AND MISUNDERSTOOD, SHARROWS ARE THE CAUSE OF MUCH FRUSTRATION FOR CYCLISTS AND DRIVERS ALIKE. BUT THEY CAN PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE—IF THEY’RE USED CORRECTLY.
For something that ought to help clarify rules of the road, the shared lane marking—more commonly known as the “sharrow”—can cause tremendous confusion. The distance between what it’s supposed to mean and how it’s actually used is a source of frustration for cyclists and drivers alike. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The sharrow, though often maligned and misunderstood, can have its proper place on our shared streets. That can only happen, however, if we understand its uses and limitations.
Growing older shouldn’t have to mean relocating from the community and neighborhood you love, but in so many American cities which are oriented around cars instead of people, seniors end up relegated to suburban apartment complexes or become increasingly isolated in homes they can’t manage. Simple adjustments to the way we structure our cities and neighborhoods could change that scenario and in turn, make life a whole lot happier, healthier and easier for everyone.
Here are three steps that would make our cities work for people of all ages:
Here’s a blueprint for how cities can welcome the bicycle – and all the positive outcomes that a bike-centric city brings.
Designing a city for bicycles is not just a pleasant idea for the cyclists among us. Designing a city for bikes will also achieve the goals we want for our future urban centers, making them more equitable, healthy, efficient and clean.
“Although the study didn’t look at the behavior of drivers in the same intersections, it does cite research that shows how much more of a threat distracted drivers present to city streets. A Center for Disease Control studynoted that 31 percent of U.S. drivers said they’d texted while driving in the past 30 days (since that’s a self-reported figure, it may be low), and many, many studies have shown how much phone use while driving can slow reaction time. Texting while driving has been said to be as dangerous as driving drunk.”