Sharing the news collected and reported by our friends at StreetsblogUSA about reducing dependence on cars and improving conditions for walking, biking, and transit.
Let’s take a look at some of this year’s best news — and start thinking about how to build on it in 2022.
Advocates found big silver linings in a flawed bill
Those bright spots included new dollars for transit station accessibility, electric school buses, and road diets, as well as a 60-percent boost for the largest federal program aimed at building safe walking and biking infrastructure. A slate of new policies became law, too, like one that will force most urbanized states to spend more money on saving vulnerable road users lives, and a new requirement that automakers test how likely their vehicles are to kill a vulnerable road user in a crash and make those stats known to prospective buyers.
New US DOT leadership wrote some great grants
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been the subject of intense scrutiny among sustainable transportation advocates since he was confirmed to the top spot at US DOT in January, some of whom who questioned his mobility resume and commitment to radically reimagining the role of safety for communities of color in the street realm. But in the months sense, many have been pretty happy with how the former mayor’s team has wielded their limited discretionary power so far – and optimistic about how he’ll allocate the billions of new grant dollars that will fall under their sole purview in 2022 and beyond.
Feds promised a potential sea-change on safety
The other good news out the Buttigieg administration followed some of 2021’s worst news: that road traffic deaths were on track to reach their highest level in over a decade.
To its immense credit, US DOT responded to that news by immediately promising a new “National Road Safety Strategy,” which the agency said would be “rooted in the Safe System approach” that’s been embraced by the countries around the handful of countries world that have made the most progress towards Vision Zero.
The Covid-19 bike boom kept booming
The uncertainty of 2020 may have effectively scared many erstwhile transit commuters onto two-wheeled transportation — or at least scared them out of gyms and onto outdoor rides. But even after mass transportation was largely proved safe and gyms started re-opening their doors, many Americans stayed in the saddle, and advocates are hopeful that cities will start building infrastructure to serve that sustained surge in riders.
Big state and local wins
In sustainable transportation, some of the most seismic victories seem pretty small at first — and 2021 was full of significant local wins that could set an example for cities across America.
Happy New Year To All From Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition!