Wednesday’s Headlines — With No Mention of Last Night’s Presidential Debate!

  • Is the carpocalypse canceled? Vehicle miles driven in the U.S. stabilized in July at 11 percent below 2019 levels, according to Federal Highway Administration data, and that may be the new normal because so few people are commuting. (Eno Center for Transportation)
  • Driving and transit use are down and walking and biking are up in the UK, and two-thirds of poll respondents believe those changes are permanent. (Traffic Technology Today)
  • If the carmageddon does happen, a new campaign by Streetsblog’s parent company, the nonprofit Open Plans, called CityRise will be ready to advocate for safer streets. (Smart Cities Dive)
  • Data indicates that during the pandemic, people in blue states have been driving less than people in red states. (Green Car Congress)
  • Five years ago, autonomous cars were supposed to be here by 2021. Turns out, it’s harder than engineers expected to teach a computer to predict what a human driver will do. (Vox)
  • Bird has survived the pandemic by switching from a business model where it hires contractors to recharge scooters to one where the contractor basically leases the scooters from Bird and splits the profits. Some are making good money, but others have gone thousands of dollars into debt. (One Zero)
  • Uber has done enough to address concerns about imposter drivers and can continue operating in London, a British judge ruled. (Associated Press)
  • A new poll by the League of American Bicyclists found that 60 percent of Americans want the federal government to invest more in bike infrastructure, and 78 percent believe their community would be better if biking were safer.
  • A bill signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom will allow infrastructure projects like bike lanes and transit lines that reduce carbon emissions to skip lengthy environmental reviews (San Francisco Chronicle). However, The Week is pessimistic that another Newsom initiative — the sale of new gas-powered cars starting in 2035 — will accomplish much of anything.
  • After the recent failure of a referendum to join the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, suburban Gwinnett County officials are emphasizing local control in the latest referendum to fund a transit expansion. (Saporta Report)
  • Northern Indiana officials are getting ready to submit the Gary-to-Michigan City double-tracking project to the Federal Transit Administration for funding approval. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Chicago lags behind other cities in building protected bike lanes as cyclists keep dying. (Block Club)
  • Oslo has already cut traffic deaths to zero, and now it’s looking to do the same to carbon emissions (Fast Company). Meanwhile, our friends at Streetsblog NYC offered another reason to love the Norwegians: they know how to dine outdoors!

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U.S. PIRG and the Frontier Group are on a mission to explore the downward trend in driving. In a series of reports, they point to evidence that it isn’t just a temporary blip, but a long-term shift in how Americans get around. Today, the two organizations released a new report, “Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in […]

U.S. PIRG Report: Young Americans Dump Cars for Bikes, Buses

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The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has been crunching the numbers on travel preferences among young Americans — and the news is not good for auto makers. The report — Transportation and the New Generation — is chock-full of nuggets like this: Driving is down: “From 2001 to 2009, the annual number of vehicle miles […]
Drivers: Don't do this. Source:  Creative Commons.

Dangerous Driving on the Rise During COVID-19

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Drivers aren’t just speeding up on our empty roads — they’re also braking harder, scrolling cell phones longer, and crashing more, new data show. In the five weeks after many states announced lockdown orders on March 16, the data company Zendrive said drivers’ use of cell phones behind the wheel is up 38 percent over […]

Dramatic Shift Away From Driving Continues in California

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In the first major travel survey since 2009, evidence grows that Americans are changing their transportation habits rapidly. The news from Caltrans’ 2012 California Household Travel Survey is dramatic: Californians are making far more trips by walking, bicycling, and transit than they were in 2000. The survey found the percentage of trips by these modes […]