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STUDY CONFIRMS 10-FOOT LANES MAKE SAFER INTERSECTIONS
-> Side impact- and turn-related crash rates are lowest at intersections where average lane widths are between 10 and 10.5 feet, according to a study (Narrower Lanes, Safer Streets: http://bit.ly/1Iq1G8H) presented at the Canadian Institute of Transportationís annual meeting last month. This challenges the long-held, but often disputed, assumption that wider lanes are safer. Crash rates were highest where average lane widths at the approaches were narrower than 10 feet or wider than 10.5 feet. Intersection approaches with 10-foot lanes also carried the highest traffic volumes. Bicycle and pedestrian volumes generally increased as lanes became narrower.
Narrower lane widths (10 to 11 feet) are sanctioned in national policies outlined by AASHTO, particularly for urban areas, but the official standards in many states prohibit them. According to a 2010 study published in the ITE Journal, six states require a minimum of 12-foot lanes and another 24 states require 11-foot lanes. The author of this most recent study notes that lane width guidelines, in particular, were established well before we had reliable crash and safety data. http://bit.ly/1fG3XFX
CDC RELEASES NEW BUILT ENVIRONMENT ASSESSMENT TOOL
-> It is often difficult for local program staff and evaluators to know which features of the built environment are most important to measure to determine their impact on health behaviors and outcomes, and which tool(s) most accurately and feasibly assess those features. The Built Environment Assessment Tool (BE Tool: http://1.usa.gov/1JQoX4T), an adaptation of MAPS, assesses a core set of features including built environment infrastructure (e.g., road type, curb cuts/ramps, intersections/crosswalks, traffic control, transportation), walkability (e.g. sidewalk/path features, walking safety, aesthetics & amenities), bikeability (e.g., bicycle lane/path features), recreational sites and structures, and the food environment (e.g., access to grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers markets, etc.). The BE Tool also describes the training of data collectors, provides instructions for selecting and assessing street segments, and offers guidance on managing and analyzing data.
The built environment includes buildings, roads, sidewalks, utilities, homes, transit, fixtures, parks and all other man-made entities that form the physical characteristics of a community. These can impact human health by affecting rates of physical activity, air pollutants such as ozone and particulate matter that can exacerbate asthma and respiratory disease, and emissions of carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change.
REVIEW OF STATE DOT DISTRIBUTION OF PLANNING FUNDS TO MPOS
-> Metropolitan Planning Funds (PL funds) are provided from the Federal Highway Trust Fund and distributed by State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to conduct the planning activities required by Title 23 of the U.S. Code 134. Each MPO is responsible for planning to meet the transportation needs within its metropolitan planning area. PL funds are distributed to States based on a ratio of urbanized-area population in individual States to the total nationwide urbanized-area population. State DOTs then distribute this funding to the MPOs in their State based on a formula, agreed to by the MPOs, and approved by their FHWA Division Office. This report describes a range of different approaches to distribution formulas, and provides observations drawn from the DOT and MPO contacts and the study team's analysis of the merits of the different approaches. FHWA is providing this information as a resource for DOTs and MPOs nationwide to use in self-assessment of current distribution approaches and to consider alternative approaches. http://1.usa.gov/1fGm4vv
U.S. ACCESS BOARD NEW CH. 4 ONLINE GUIDE TO ADA & ABA STANDARDS
-> The U.S. Access Board released its next installments to the online guide to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA: http://1.usa.gov/1lDQgZX) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA: http://1.usa.gov/1r66nOr) standards: 1) technical bulletins covering requirements for accessible routes in Chapter 4 of the ADA and ABA Standards, including doors and gates, ramps and curb ramps, and elevators and platform lifts; and 2) referenced requirements for accessible means of egress. The documents explain and illustrate requirements in the standards, answer common questions, offer best practice recommendations, and provide animation demonstrations. Sign-up to receive email updates on new installments in the series: http://bit.ly/1jJ2FGa. http://1.usa.gov/1IFAGIR
USDOT: SHARE UNCONVENTIONAL PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT ACTIVITIES
-> Have you conducted outreach at the laundromat? Are you raffling off shopping sprees? USDOT wants to know! Share your story with us. We're seeking examples of your most unconventional, wackiest public involvement practices. We are compiling a compendium and want to include you in it. To contribute, email a ONE paragraph description of your activity: Why you did it, who was engaged, what was unique about it, and what the outcome was. Include your agency name and a point of contact. Images are great, but not required. Email us at the FHWA-FTA Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program: TPCB@dot.gov. http://1.usa.gov/1U618x3
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