Thursday’s Headlines From Around the Nation

  • The speed and creativity with which cities have transformed transit and streets during the coronavirus pandemic will pave the way for a smoother recovery. (Forbes)
  • A disturbing new study found that a third of transportation planners think distracted walking kills — which distracts them from focusing on the real problem, distracted drivers. (Streetsblog)
  • Touchscreens in cars are a distraction. Using voice recognition is much safer. (The Economist)
  • From installing self-driving software that’s not ready for prime time in cars to restarting production at Tesla’s California factory in defiance of authorities, Elon Musk’s impetuousness is putting workers, drivers and others at risk. (CNN)
  • A new nonprofit called the Parking Reform Network will help you fight City Hall. (Strong Towns)
  • Reopening New York City requires a plan for safe transit. That means encouraging telecommuting to reduce crowds, overnight closures for cleaning, requiring masks, an emergency network of bus lanes and more federal funding to pay for it all. (City Lab)
  • Uber and Lyft would owe California $413 million for unemployment if they considered their drivers employees instead of contractors, according to a UC-Berkeley study. (San Jose Mercury News)
  • A casino company wants Miami-Dade to fund a $770 million monorail linking the mainland with South Beach. (Miami Herald)
  • Bike-share trips dropped from 158,000 in April 2019 to 23,000 last month, and no rental bikes even remain in the city since the last company in a once-crowded market, Jump, pulled its bikes last week after merging with Lime, which left in December. (KOMO)
  • Tucson has adopted the “slow streets” program pioneered by Oakland (KVOA). Boston is also mulling closing streets to cars and turning them over to buses and pedestrians (Herald).
  • Portland voters will go to the polls next week to decide whether to renew the city’s gas tax. It’s gotten little opposition so far. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
  • L.A. Metro should just suspend bus fares instead of letting riders pay if they want to. (Transit Center)
  • Charlotte has identified locations for three stations along the future Blue Line light rail extension. (Observer)
  • Atlanta’s transit agency is among those seeking additional federal coronavirus relief. MARTA projects a $380 million deficit over the next five years. (AJC)
  • If everyone in London got back on Tube and headed to work while staying six feed apart, the lines would be over a mile long. (The Guardian)
  • We don’t know if this is real, but it’s funny either way!

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

To Prevent Distracted Driving, New App Distracts Drivers

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The new “heads-up” display system Navdy “feels like driving in the future,” according to its producers. The dash-mounted projector displays images from your phone on your windshield. The idea is that you can text and drive while keeping your eyes focused in the right direction. “No more looking down to fumble with knobs, buttons or […]

AAA: Distracted Driving Now Standard in New Cars, Thanks to In-Dash Devices

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Distracted driving isn’t just about texting — it’s the mental effort of multi-tasking that makes people less alert and more dangerous behind the wheel. As hands-free devices like in-dash, voice-activated computer systems proliferate in new-model cars, they create additional risks. Using these devices can cause lingering distractions for up to 27 seconds after the task is completed, according to […]

Oregon DOT Wants to “Change Cultural Norms” Related to Distracted Driving

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It’s refreshing to see public agencies go beyond PSAs to deter distracted driving, which contributes to thousands of deaths in the U.S. each year. With traffic deaths on the rise in Oregon, state officials are ramping up their efforts. Oregon DOT Director Matt Garrett has pledged to “change cultural norms when it comes to distracted driving,” reports Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland, […]

Flawed Handheld Phone Bans Don’t Stop Distracted Driving

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University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan, over at the New York Times’ Economix blog, dug up a 2012 study by Cheng Cheng of Texas A&M University that tells the world nothing new about the currently confused state of laws against distracted driving, and in particular bans on handheld phone use. “Perhaps lawmakers overestimated the benefits […]

Car Companies Vie for Supremacy in Distracted Driving Arms Race

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The GPS system with the tiny keyboard. The mounted DVD player for the kiddies. Satellite radio with 1,000 channels. Now there’s even in-dash, voice-activated Facebook. Welcome to the modern car, where a host of distracting gadgets comes standard. These digital additions are becoming as ubiquitous as cupholders, writes Paul Atchley at Car Talk: In the […]