Along for the Ride #177
Heya friends, happy Friday!
I know what you’re thinking: two newsletters in one week? Why yes, this is what happens when you miss one deadline and have to scurry to get back on track 🥵. This edition is a lil bit shorter as there wasn’t that much news. Hoping next week we’ll be back on track, but until then, today is your lucky day!
Celebrating Black History
I realized that last week I didn’t share out previous editions of this newsletter that focused more directly on the intersections of Black communities and transportation. At the end of this section, I’ve linked out to specific editions and guest posts from Black contributors that I think new(er) subscribers might be interested in!
This month I’ve been really inspired by CYCLISTA ZINE. The organization talks extensively about the intersection (😉) of cycling advocacy, feminism, and race. I’ll be pulling numerous resources for this edition from their amazing inventory. If you feel so inclined, you can donate to their org here. In a few words from their manifesto:
CYCLISTA ZINE was created with a call and intent to shed light on lack of inclusion of underrepresented communities in cycling and to disrupt cycling media outlets and mainstream narratives of who cycles.. The personal is political and cycling has a long history in creating great social changes in our communities. We explore histories, issues, movements and current events of how to be in solidarity with the change that’s happening around the world.
Their website has a bajillion resources at the intersection of race, gender, and transportation that I want to highlight:
Bike Lanes Are White Lanes: Bicycle Advocacy and Urban Planning: This one is really important if you (a) love bikes lanes, (b) are white. This book discusses some crunchy subjects about how despite growing numbers of BIPOC people biking, bike lanes are still built to serve and transport white communities. “From a pro-cycling perspective, Bike Lanes Are White Lanes highlights many problematic aspects of urban bicycling culture and its advocacy as well as positive examples of people trying earnestly to bring their community together through bicycling.”
Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance: I can’t recommend this book by Adonia Lugo enough. It explores the colonial history of southern California alongside Lugp’s personal experience of becoming a bicycle anthropologist, and co-founding Los Angeles's hallmark open streets cycling event, CicLAvia, along the way.
Black Girls Do Bike: A non-profit out of Pennsylvania with chapters across the US and in London (!) creates communities for Black women to cycle together.
Mobility Justice Reading List: A spreadsheet with 150 (!) reads to grow your understanding of mobility justice.
Aforementioned previous editions of this newsletter:
Black women in UX: The world was not designed for us, but it can be redesigned by Ann Oduwaiye.
We need more Black Women in senior roles in Transportation by Georgia Yexley.
An atlas of self-resilience, deep diving into the Green Book in the US.
Celebrating Black excellence in urbanism (so many resources!).
Last year I also shared a link to a quick review on microaggressions, and it was *the most clicked article of that newsletter*. Sharing again because we all need the reminder to consider language we use that may appear “harmless” but results in a significant mental toll for Black people.
Government and Policy
American cars are getting chonky
So chonky, they now struggle to fit into parking spots. Which is a problem because parking stalls (aka the space for one (1) car!) can range from $7,000 to $250,000 depending on the design!! Meanwhile, changes to parking space standards have not kept up with the explosion in vehicle sizes. This has the potential to be an incredibly expensive problem for car-oriented cities.
UK government supports autonomous bus and truck pilots
To the tune of a cool £81 million. Bus and truck operators and local authorities will be sharing the lead with technology developers in seven new autonomous passenger transport and freight projects in Cambridge, Edinburgh, Sunderland, Belfast, Solihull and Coventry.
The more you know!
Fast Company chimes on MIT’s research about the carbon impact of AVs, calling the cars a “climate disaster”.
Research and Academia
Improving the quality of bike infrastructure increases rates of cycling
This research out of Australia hopefully surprises nobody, but is important to share as a reminder that infrastructure drives mode shift, not the design of “better” cars. Key findings as follows:
“The development of safe cycling infrastructure is critical for increasing cycling in Australia, which will have significant health benefits for the community.
Increasing the bike lane width on curved sections of mid-block roads may benefit cyclists and their safety.
The value of sharrows in a single lane roundabout is less clear. Unexpectedly, females rode further from the left curb when entering the roundabout, ‘claiming the lane’ more than males, irrespective of the presence of sharrows.”
What will the future of cars be like? Video games may have the answer.
This whole article made me feel squirrelly (think of grand theft auto and the likes), so can we all pinky-promise to make sure this reality doesn’t come true?
“Intuitiveness is key, and that’s where many lessons from game design come in, said Peter Hoang, who was recently a product designer at the self-driving technology company Argo AI. Hoang, who describes himself as a lifelong gamer and now works for an AI tech company in the defense space, said games are designed to be learned quickly and played with your eyes on the screen, not the controller. That has lessons for how to design car features that won’t distract a driver, or how to build a semiautonomous driver-assistance system that makes sure a human being is still paying attention behind the wheel.”
Do we need a fourth traffic light colour for AVs?
This one made its rounds this week, and I kept trying to read it but then I just annoyed thinking about quickly city budgets could expand for something like this that makes it easier to the new car to navigate cities. Meanwhile, all other modes suffer from a continual lack of budget. Oy vey.
“The white phase concept rests on the fact that it is possible for AVs to communicate wirelessly with both each other and the computer controlling the traffic signal. When enough AVs are approaching the intersection, this would activate the white light.
The white light is a signal that AVs are coordinating their movement to facilitate traffic through the intersection more efficiently. Any non-automated vehicles—those being driven by a person—would simply be required to follow the vehicle in front of them: if the car in front of them stops, they stop; if the car in front of them goes through the intersection, they go through the intersection.”
Let’s stop designing cities around cars for good, ok?
That’s all from me. Have a beautiful weekend friends.
Thanks for reading Along for the Ride! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.