Thursday’s Headlines Are Still Too Big

Photo: Angie Schmitt
Photo: Angie Schmitt
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced new proposals that would include pedestrian safety features in safety ratings (The Verge). But that won’t incentivize automakers to stop producing such heavy vehicles that are more likely to kill pedestrians (Streetsblog USA).
  • Like building more highway lanes, more transit also induces demand because it reduces congestion, encouraging more people to drive. Congestion pricing could fix this. (Governing)
  • On a related note, there’s no such thing as a free freeway, even if we’ve been trained to think there is. Our current method of paying for road construction doesn’t even pay for the construction, let alone the societal costs of driving like pollution. (U.S. PIRG)
  • Encouraging people to go back to the office is not a good idea when gas prices are so high (Bloomberg). On the other hand, if stay-at-home workers continue to work from home, downtowns will suffer (CommonWealth). Hmm … if only there were a way to get commuters to their jobs without driving …
  • In her first-ever interview, the backup driver of an autonomous car Uber was testing in Arizona when it hit and killed a woman crossing the street says she worried that it would be a setback for the whole industry. (Wired)
  • Transit agency MARTA approved a $300 million plan for bus rapid transit in southwest Atlanta, although some continue to push for more expensive light rail. (AJC)
  • Reducing speed limits to 20 miles per hour in Denver did little to actually slow down drivers. (The Denver Channel)
  • San Francisco Mayor London Breed and key city agencies are backing a car-free JFK Drive. (Standard)
  • Washington, D.C. mayoral candidates argued about streetcars during their first debate. (DCist)
  • Getting around is difficult for a Louisiana State University student trying to navigate auto-centric Baton Rouge without a car. (Reveille)
  • Ann Arbor is already one of just 35 gold-level bike-friendly communities in the U.S., and residents want to be even better. (Michigan Daily)


Photo: Hipskind and McAnich, CC

Report: US Pedestrian Death Rate Increased 9x Faster Than Population During COVID

Pedestrian deaths are continuing to skyrocket as the pandemic drags on — and since 2019, analysts say the death rate for walkers has eclipsed the rate of population growth by a factor of at least nine. According to the latest fatality estimates from the Governor's Highway Safety Association, U.S. drivers killed 3,434 people on foot in the first six months of 2022, an increase of five percent over the same period the prior year — and a staggering 18 percent increase over the number of walkers who died in early 2019, the last year before the pandemic.  The group also pointed out that those numbers can't easily be explained by non-traffic-related factors, noting that since "2019, the last pre-pandemic year, pedestrian fatalities have surged 18 percent in just three years – nine times faster than U.S. population growth."