Thursday’s Headlines From Around the Nation

  • Bigger cars, high speeds, wide roads and lack of crosswalks are behind the surge in pedestrian deaths over the past decade, according to a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study. (State Smart Transportation Initiative)
  • In response to pressure to classify their drivers as employees and pay them benefits, Uber and Lyft are considering changing their business model by licensing their brands to independent fleet owners that would act as franchises. (New York Times)
  • Well, bye: Uber and Lyft’s business model was built on worker exploitation, and if they go away, good. (One Zero)
  • Environmental groups are challenging the Trump administration’s plans to allow drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (The Hill)
  • Shifting bike-share patterns during the pandemic are making it harder to rebalance — or make sure every neighborhood has enough bikes — at the end of the day. (Built In)
  • Cities like Houston, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Providence and Columbus are testing autonomous shuttles. But the technology may not be ready, many riders are skeptical, and transit unions will oppose any move to get rid of drivers. (Wired)
  • New York’s struggling Metropolitan Transportation Authority borrowed $451 million from the Federal Reserve, tapping into a $500 billion low-interest loan program for cities and states. (Bloomberg)
  • Houston buses are running at half capacity to keep passengers six feet apart. Even so, ridership is starting to come back — it’s down 43 percent since last June, compared to 53 percent from last May. (Houston Press)
  • Keeping the pop-up “coronavirus cycleways” in many European cities would result in $3 billion worth of health benefits, according to a German climate change study. Biking is up 7 percent in Europe during the pandemic. (Forbes)
  • Germany will spend 6 billion Euros to keep private transit companies afloat during the pandemic. (Intelligent Transport)

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Rep. Peter DeFazio criticized Uber and Lyft for not coming to Capitol Hill Wednesday to answer questions at a Transportation Committee hearing. Image: Oregon Department of Transportation

House Transport Chair Rips Uber, Lyft

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House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio had invited representatives from Uber and Lyft to sit on a panel discussing the future of transportation network companies. On Monday, he learned ride hail officials declined to participate, so DeFazio used his opening remarks to lambast both companies for contributing to longer traffic delays and higher […]

We Need a New Term to Describe Uber and Lyft

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Companies like Uber and Lyft make any car owner a potential paid chauffeur, and their services are increasingly widespread in American cities. So what should we call these new companies? Abigail Zenner at Greater Greater Washington says the current nomenclature is a bit muddled: Companies like Uber and Lyft have been dubbing their services “ridesharing.” […]