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DISTRACTED WALKING NOT WHAT IS KILLING WALKERS IN NYC
-> The State Smart Transportation Initiative reported that a recent New York City DOT report examined whether device-distracted walkers there are killing themselves by stepping out in front of motor vehicles. (Distraction Shouldn't Be Deadly: https://on.nyc.gov/2Qg51YO) A significant number of pedestrians in NYC are distracted, the report continues, but that is not what is leading to their demise. It's dangerous driver behavior--speeding and failure to yield--that is killing pedestrians. Examining crash narratives from 2014-2017, NYCDOT found one pedestrian in NYC who was killed while texting, and one who was killed while retrieving a dropped device. During that same period, NYC drivers killed 534 pedestrians. In 112 of these cases drivers failed to yield to pedestrians who had the right-of-way. Another NYCDOT study showed that about 13% of pedestrians were distracted by devices while successfully crossing the street. These numbers just don't build a convincing case for blaming pedestrian distraction when pedestrians are killed. http://bit.ly/2AtD1WE
WHY CITIES WITH HIGH BIKING RATES ARE SAFER FOR ALL ROAD USERS
-> In a study published in the Journal of Transport & Health, which analyzed 13 years of data from 12 large US cities, researchers investigated over 17,000 fatalities and 77,000 severe injuries. (Why Cities with High Bicycling Rates are Safer for all Road Users: http://bit.ly/2KGADSS) Their results suggest that more bicyclists is not the reason these cities are safer for all road users. Better safety outcomes are instead associated with a greater prevalence of bike facilities--particularly protected and separated bike facilities--at the block group level and, more strongly so, across the overall city. Higher intersection density, which typically corresponds to more compact and lower-speed built environments, was strongly associated with better road safety outcomes for all road users. A companion video explains the paper and findings: http://bit.ly/2QqcWTw
PERCEIVED WALKABILITY DEPENDS ON SOCIAL FACTORS FOR SOME
-> The State Smart Transportation Initiative reported that a new study published in the Journal of Transport & Health finds that certain attributes of the social environment also greatly affect the perception of walkability, especially among people of color. (Differences in Social and Physical Dimensions of Perceived Walkability in Mexican American and Non-Hispanic White Walking Environments in Tucson, Arizona: http://bit.ly/2AtLWHE) Researchers conducted on-site interviews in a predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood, and in a predominantly non-Hispanic White neighborhood. They found that there was a major discrepancy in the perception of walking. For respondents from the predominantly non-Hispanic White neighborhood, the most important contributors were all related to the physical infrastructure of walking. Those from the predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood showed a greater inclination toward attributes of the social environment, such as social interaction, community identity, and safety. http://bit.ly/2AsHPvu
BLACK CARBON PARTICLES FOUND IN PLACENTAS OF PREGNANT WOMEN
-> Newsweek reported that research, published in the journal Nature Communications, found black carbon particles in the placentas of pregnant women--even those who did not live in a highly polluted area. (Ambient Black Carbon Particles Reach the Fetal Side of Human Placenta: https://go.nature.com/2Qh3PV6) Black carbon is given off by fossil fuel-burning sources like vehicles that use gas and diesel, and coal-fired power stations. A component of the air pollutant fine particulate matter, black carbon is linked to heart and breathing problems, as well as diseases such as cancer. More research is needed to determine if the particles are able to get to the fetus, and if this explains birth defects linked to pollution.
WEIGHING RISK VS CONVENIENCE IN DECIDING TO USE PED BRIDGES
-> The State Smart Transportation Initiative reported that a new study in Accident Analysis & Prevention found people will cross at street level to avoid tall or narrow, constrained bridges, and usually take extra precautions when crossing at street level. (Pedestrian Overpass Use and its Relationships with Digital and Social Distractions, and Overpass Characteristics: http://bit.ly/2AsoQ4c) Researchers observed more than 600 people at 10 different pedestrian bridges in Hanoi, Vietnam, during busy weekday periods. While there were no legal street-level crossings at the sites, the study found that as many as 64% of people crossed in the street, depending on the location. Time and convenience played a major role. The study didn't look specifically at safety outcomes, but it did find that people tend to compensate for the added risk of crossing at street level. This all suggests a need for useful guidelines to assess when constructing such bridges makes sense and whether they will even be used. There seem to be practical limitations on how tall or narrow they can be, along with cases where safer, street-level crossings could be the only reasonable option. http://bit.ly/2AnIsqa
REDEFINING THE CHILD PEDESTRIAN SAFETY PARADIGM
-> The Mountain-Plains Consortium released a report that examined the safety of child pedestrians. (Redefining the Child Pedestrian Safety Paradigm: http://bit.ly/2Qdgl7S) Part 1 of the study identified locations in urban areas where child pedestrians are at particular risk for fatal collisions with vehicles. Researchers found higher concentrations of child pedestrian fatalities around parks. In Phase II of the study, they specifically examined fatality concentrations near parks as compared with schools.