Friday’s Headlines Are Afraid for Their Lives

  • Drivers killed 38,680 people in the U.S. last year — the most since 2007, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While people drove less, especially during lockdowns in the first half the year, they were also more likely to drive fast, drive drunk and not wear seatbelts. (Reuters)
  • Thousands of people are lobbying the feds to rewrite an arcane traffic manual so it encourages safer, more equitable streets. (Wired)
  • Electric vehicles aren’t as clean as they’re touted to be, and tax subsidies to buy them mainly go to the upper class. (The Hill)
  • President Biden’s regular budget for 2022 — not the CARES Act or infrastructure bill — has $13.5 billion for transit and $2.7 billion for Amtrak (Trains). The Natural Resources Defense Council calls it a sea change in the fight for equity and against climate change.
  • Specific projects Biden wants to fund include Madison bus rapid transit (Wisconsin State Journal), BRT in Rochester, Minnesota (KAAL), light rail and BRT in the Seattle area (Kent Reporter), two BRT routes in Austin (KVUE) and Phoenix light rail expansions (KTAR).
  • The Colorado legislature passed and Gov. Jared Polis intends to sign a $5 billion transportation bill. (Colorado Public Radio)
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis used his line-item veto to slash funding for Tampa transit and Complete Streets. (Tampa Bay Times)
  • Milwaukee is the first city in the world to test tracking technology that keeps e-scooters off sidewalks. (WISN)
  • Last month’s municipal elections in London showed broad support among voters for programs that promote walking and biking. (The Guardian)
  • The European Union created the first continent-wide bike master plan. (Eltis)
  • Stop trying to make Copenhagen happen! It’s not gonna happen. (Arch Daily)

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On Friday, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration released new data [PDF] showing that traffic deaths are up. Up quite a bit. During the first nine months of 2015, 26,000 Americans were killed in traffic collisions — a 9.3 percent increase over the same period in 2014. According to Autoblog, that would work out to the highest one-year percentage […]

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The federal government spends billions of dollars a year on tax subsidies that make traffic congestion worse, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by TransitCenter and the Frontier Group. The culprit is the parking commuter tax benefit, which costs taxpayers $7.3 billion in foregone revenue each year, all while adding more than 800,000 cars to rush-hour […]
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America’s Traffic Death Toll Is a National Disgrace

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More than 40,000 Americans were killed in traffic last year, according to new estimates from the National Safety Council, the worst toll in a decade. The U.S. transportation system claims far more lives each year than peer countries. If America achieved the same fatality rate as the UK, more than 30,000 lives would be saved each year.

Wednesday’s Headlines as We Hit Mid-Week

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States from New Jersey to California are going back on lockdown as COVID-19 cases surge. (Bloomberg) City Observatory looks at how state DOTs greenwash highway projects by pretending to care about the environmental impacts while emissions continue to rise. The Federal Railroad Administration has set standards for Amtrak by measuring customer service and on-time performance. […]

Highway Boondoggles: California’s 710 Tunnel

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A proposal to drill a pair of highway tunnels is the most expensive, most polluting, least effective option for solving the San Gabriel Valley’s transportation problems. A highway linking I-710 from Alhambra to I-210/ SR-710 in Pasadena was first proposed in the late 1950s. Ever since, efforts to build the highway have run into obstacles including […]