NCBW Newsroom - The Research Beat
-> According to the forward a FHWA research report released in October, “The objective of this report (Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety Research Report) is to document common and effective approaches and practices for pedestrian facility maintenance, as well as identify and support those topic areas where additional guidance would be valuable for agencies engaged in pedestrian facility maintenance. The information in this report will be used to inform the development of a comprehensive pedestrian facility maintenance guide that addresses a wide range of topic areas regarding maintenance policies, programs, and practices. (See Resources section for details on this Guide)
“This report consists of two chapters. Chapter 1 presents a summary of relevant literature, e.g. design and maintenance manuals, documented policies and practices, and related reports and research, which were reviewed to identify existing guidance available at the federal, state, and local levels. Chapter 1 also includes a summary of discussions that were conducted with over 40 agencies as a means to understand and document common and successful practices and challenges to pedestrian facility maintenance.
“Chapter 2 provides an expanded discussion of routine and successful practices and provides detailed examples of the latter. Topics covered include state laws and local ordinances, enforcement or compliance efforts, inventory and inspection of facilities, funding, repair techniques, seasonal maintenance, maintenance of crosswalk markings and pedestrian signals, low maintenance design and maintenance equipment. Findings presented in this research report will be used to inform the development of the Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety, the final product of this research effort.”
[See Webinar section for December 6 webinar on this research and Guide. See Resources section for the Guide.]
-> According to the English version abstract of the Swedish research study entitled “Warm Wetted Sand for Skid Control of Walkways and Bike Paths. Benefits and Drawbacks of the Method Evaluated in Umea,” “Considering the safety of cyclists and pedestrians the winter maintenance service level needs to be improved and there is a need for skid control measures that are effective and, at the same time, reduce the amount of grit spread during the wintertime. Warm wetted sand, a method were the sanding material is mixed with hot water while spreading and were the sand adheres to a cold surface through a process of melting and freezing, could be the solution. In this study, the applicability of using warm wetted sand on walkways and bike paths has been evaluated in Umea municipality during the winters of 2010/11 and 2011/12.
“Comparing measurements of friction clearly showed higher levels of friction improvements and with a longer duration when using warm wetted sand for skid control on walkways and bike paths compared to traditional dry sand. The study also showed that the number of actions can be reduced when using warm wetted sand instead of traditional dry, and it is therefore possible to reduce the amount of grit spread. The method was most effective on sections with on-street-cycling were the road condition more often is thick ice. The apprehension that the method might create an uneven surface uncomfortable for cyclists was not perceived. The maintenance operators had, on the other hand, noticed that when spreading warm wetted sand on soft packed snow an uneven surface might occur, if the warm sand melts through the top layer of the snow surface. The main problem with the method is the freezing of the sand material in the hopper and the spreader, due to the high amount of fine graded particles in the sand mixture.
“The results are not promising enough to motivate an investment in equipment for skid control on walkways and bike paths only, but with a multi-purpose use it gets more cost effective.”
-> According to a Dec. 2nd release, “New research from the National Center for Safe Routes to School... shows that more K-8 students are walking to and from school across the country... the percentage of K-8 children who walked to school in the morning increased from 12.4 percent to 15.7 percent (representing a 27 percent increase). Similarly, the percentage of K-8 children who walked from school in the afternoon increased from 15.8 percent to 19.7 percent (representing a 24 percent increase)... Another significant finding of this research was that the percentage of parents who reported that their child's school supporting walking and bicycling for the school commute rose from 24.9 percent to 33 percent...
“The full report, ‘Trends in Walking and Bicycling to School from 2007 to 2012' (http://bit.ly/IMhBrj), analyzed parent survey data collected by nearly 4,700 schools located in all states and DC from 2007 through 2012. The surveys represent more than 525,000 K-8 school children across the country. Parent surveys are not considered representative of all households, instead they give insight into communities where walking to school was slightly more feasible than average.”
-> According to the abstracts of two Nov. 28th Transportation Research Record articles on observational studies of driver cell phone use in Massachusetts and California,
* “This report (Large-Scale Observational Study of Drivers' Cell Phone Use) details the 2012 observational study used to determine drivers' cell phone use in Massachusetts; the study was completed as a component of the annual seat belt observation... The apparent cell phone use of 17,677 drivers was observed at 145 locations, with a finding of an average cell phone use of 7.0%... Notable variations in cell phone use were identified across various driver demographics, road types, and times of observation and furthered the understanding of drivers' cell phone use and providing an opportunity for targeted countermeasures.”
* “This methodological report describes survey research and data collection methods used for the second Observational Survey of Cell Phone and Texting Use Among California Drivers study conducted in 2012... The goal of the survey was to obtain a statewide statistically representative observational sample of California's cell phone use behaviors... Vehicle drivers were observed at controlled intersections... The sample frame included a total of 5,664 vehicle observations from 129 sites. The total percentage of drivers distracted by electronic devices (holding a phone to the ear, manipulating a handheld electronic device while driving, or talking on a handheld device) increased to 6.2% in 2012 from 4.2% in 2011...”
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