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Wednesday’s Headlines Would Like to Downsize

Why are drivers killing more pedestrians than they have since 1981? Blame SUVs, "car bloat," automakers' avarice and feckless federal regulators.

12:01 AM EST on December 20, 2023

File photo: Gersh Kuntzman|


  • David Zipper in Slate traced the long history of ever-bigger and deadlier pickups and SUVs, from the marketing schemes that convinced the public to ditch station wagons for a more "manly" — and profitable — option to the federal government's disastrous decision to classify them as commercial trucks for fuel efficiency purposes.
  • The Boston Globe sounded a similar theme: That we should be rewarding cyclists and pedestrians by slimming down our streets and vehicles alike.
  • Europe is light years ahead of the U.S. in terms of discouraging driving, and The Guardian delved into the various strategies cities like Paris, Barcelona and Brussels are using.
  • Bus and train operators are facing quite a few challenges, from new technology (Government Tech) to increased violence (Los Angeles Daily News).
  • A robust public transportation system is important for many reasons, but especially for people who are physically unable to drive. (Salon)
  • Can AI help cities get people out of their cars by modeling driver behavior? (Reuters)
  • NBC Washington interviewed the D.C. Metro's general manager about the need for a permanent funding source to fill an anticipated $750 million budget shortfall.
  • The Pacific Coast Highway literally has a "Dead Man's Curve," and four Pepperdine students were just the latest to die there. (CNN)
  • Developers of a car-free Tempe community are looking to bring their model to other cities, starting with Mesa and perhaps Atlanta next. (City Lab)
  • A small Federal Railroad Administration grant has brought new hope for passenger rail connecting Houston and Dallas. (Texas Monthly)
  • Billionaire Dan Gilbert could be the one to lead Detroit to the transit promised land. (Michigan Advance)
  • The Maryland Transit Administration is tapping Baltimore high school students who rely on public transportation to serve as advisors. (Fishbowl)
  • In case you were wondering, some Austin sidewalks are red to indicate that they're shared with bikes and scooters. (KUT)
  • John Oliver spent half an hour dunking on Elon Musk. (AV Club)

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