Along for the Ride #141
A lot of transpo research for your nerdier inclinations
Heya friends, happy Friday!
I hope you enjoyed Maria’s guest contribution from last week, about her recent experiences with a near-miss while walking in Montreal. If you missed it, be sure to give it a read this week.
Secondly, I want to share a lil celebration for Trans Day of Visibility, which was celebrated yesterday. There are many trans and gender non-confirming people who have shaped our world—and cities!—for the better, and so many who continue to do so today. This year has had some devastating policies introduced to diminish and jeopardize the lives of young trans kids (looking at you Texas). For any trans readers, I’m so glad you’re here. For everybody else, here’s where you can donate (as you’re able) to support the trans community:
You can also always contact your representative and tell them you support the trans community.
Ok, onto le news.
Read of the Week
DfT penalizes three councils that failed to invest in cycling + walking
Remember when Boris Johnson said that councils in the UK that didn’t actively try to encourage cycling and walking through policy and infrastructure would receive less funding? Welp, ol’ BoJo has made good on his word. Three councils were subject to this particular cut.
“The Department for Transport (DfT) has been forced to reduce active travel funding to a string of councils after Tory councillors removed pop-up cycle lanes and pedestrianised areas before they had a chance to change the way people travel.”
Mixed feelings here as I wish the council kept the active travel funding, and had other budgets (e.g. road repaving) slashed to make driving that much more uncomfortable.
Government and Policy
Federal crash tests leave pedestrians out of the mix
Recent upgrades to federal safety standards for new car models emphasizes new technology but fail to consider the growing risks of large SUVs and trucks. Safety standards do not currently consider the deathly impact to other road users experienced by mammoth-sized vehicles cruising through urban areas at high speeds.
“With U.S. pedestrian deaths at a 33-year high, one recent study found that over a thousand lives would have been saved if Americans had not replaced millions of sedans with SUVs over the last two decades.”
NHSTA removes steering wheels, pedals from vehicle design requirements
In a “never thought I’d live to see the day” moment, NHSTA has introduced new new design standards for autonomous vehicles, with approval granted to remove steering wheels and pedals. This is a big deal from a policy change perspective, and I am sure many lobbyists are enjoying themselves this week. Next up, side-view mirrors.
New York City is one step closer to congestion charging
NYC could have congestion charging as early as 2023. This week the MTA shared that the agency expects the federal government to approve the environmental review for the program later this year. Once they receive approval, there would be a year-long process of installing the congestion pricing infrastructure. Can’t forking wait for the MTA to have more income to fund other projects including subway improvements and bike lanes!
How governments are playing mind games with Elon
Honestly, a really fascinating read, with many lessons on how to ~make friends and influence
people psychos~. Makes me realize how patient and empathetic anybody at NHSTA who has had to work with Musk must be.
The more you know:
Arlington, TX extends partnership with May Mobility (City of Arlington)
Waymo’s driver-free cars hit SF
You could shake a stick this week and hit 50+ articles about Waymo launching their service in SF this week without any back-up drivers to be seen. Seriously. Currently the vehicles are carrying Waymo employees in electric Jaguar I-Pace SUVs without human backup drivers (no general public quite yet). A few weeks back, Cruise started operating a small fleet of AVs for the general public. GM expects to get a permit to charge passengers for autonomous rides this year.
Ford has reshaped their internal operations to accelerate development of autonomous vehicles and foster new technology businesses. The unit (“Ford Next”) contains Ford’s stake in autonomous-auto startup Argo AI, and will develop startups in mobility services and other businesses.
The more you know!
WeRide raises $400 million, bringing it’s total raised funding to $1.2 billion (TechNode)
GM now owns 80% of Cruise after buying out Softbank (Bloomberg)
Aurora' unveils new fleet of autonomous Toyota Siennas (TechCrunch)
Nvidia launches new mapping software for AVs (TechCrunch)
Research and Academia
On jobs and long-haul trucking
“A new study by researchers at the University of Michigan and Carnegie Mellon University assessed how and where automation might replace operator hours in long-haul trucking. They found that up to 94% of operator hours may be impacted if automated trucking technology improves to operate in all weather conditions across the continental United States.”
Missed connections, a story of bike lanes everywhere
“… bicycle networks are typically developed in a slow, piecewise process that leaves open a large number of gaps, even in well-developed cycling cities like Copenhagen. Here, we develop the IPDC procedure (Identify, Prioritize, Decluster, Classify) for finding the most important missing links in urban bicycle networks, using data from OpenStreetMap.”
Paris’ bike lanes do it better
Shout out to AFTR (+friend!) Marcel for publishing this!
“Municipal data, street imagery, and in-person observations demonstrate that Paris’s new ‘pop-up’ lanes are a higher share bi-directional than the pre-COVID network (49% vs. 39%), a higher share more protected (77% vs. 73%), and average a higher number of interconnections. These 47 kilometers connect the city’s peripheral ring to its inner core, primarily represent new lanes as opposed to upgrades of existing lanes (66% vs. 33%), and replace both traffic lanes and on-street parking.”
Neighbourhood walkability, transit-use for people with disabilities
“This study examines the links between neighborhood walkability and transit use with a focus on the differences between disabled individuals and others. Some key findings are as follows. First, disabled individuals tend to have more frequencies of transit use than their non-disabled counterparts… Lastly, higher levels of walkability are positively associated with transit use of disabled individuals than others. This indicates that enhancing neighborhood walkability has a much larger effect on disabled individuals than their non-disabled counterparts.”
America’s autocentricity is failing it
“America’s reliance on cars and the current increase in gas prices will disproportionately affect those already struggling, Rowangould said. Lower-income households are forced to devote a larger share of their budget to transportation than wealthier households.. A 2017 study by Harvard University found that commuting time was the most important factor in escaping poverty. As the New York Times put it: “The longer an average commute in a given county, the worse the chances of low-income families there moving up the ladder.””
Extra Bits + Bobs
Jobs you should apply for:
Director of Advocacy (SFBC): The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is hiring for an advocacy director, so if you are based in SF, love bikes, and want to spend your days preaching the Good Word let me know!
That’s all from me, have a beautiful weekend friends!