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TECHNOLOGY ASSISTANCE FOR VISUALLY-IMPAIRED PEDS
-> FHWA is in the early stages of research to develop technology that provides guidance assistance to blind and visually-impaired pedestrians navigating in large, unstructured environments. It recently demonstrated developing research focused on adapting sensor and guidance technology found on luxury passenger vehicles for use by blind and vision-impaired pedestrians. Researchers equipped a visually-impaired woman with ISANA’s tablet-based, wearable technology. Using ISANA, and with additional assistance, she successfully navigated USDOT headquarters. Since GPS is not available to indoor receivers, a fish eye lens and custom software interpreted the visual environment in real time and provided voice guidance to help navigate potential obstacles and provide situational awareness of surroundings. http://1.usa.gov/22ffAGL
USER-BASED ROAD FEES & THE FUTURE OF ROAD PRICING
-> A report from the University of MN (The Transportation Futures Project: Planning for Technology Change: http://bit.ly/1V8cXpe) examines the options for implementing user-based road fees and explores the future of road pricing in the United States—see Chapter 7. Options include mileage-based user fees, toll roads and bridges, truck-only toll lanes, high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and cordon-based toll areas. Eventually, mileage charges could be used instead of a gas tax to establish a much stronger user-fee principle by charging each vehicle by miles traveled, time of day, and the type and weight of a vehicle. This is especially relevant with widespread adoption of electric vehicles and alternative fuels. The price increase for users would reduce per-capita demand for travel (by about 25 percent), reduce peak demand for roads, spur denser land-use development, increase demand for non-auto modes and carpooling, substitute delivery for shopping, and increase telecommuting.
TRANSIT PERFORMANCE MEASURES IN CALIFORNIA
-> Caltrans wanted to understand performance measures and data used by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and transit agencies to help it develop statewide measures. A recent report (Transit Performance Measures in California: http://bit.ly/1TBEyKs) is a summary reference guide to help Caltrans understand the numerous and diverse performance measures used by MPOs and transit agencies in California. It includes a literature review to identify a complete transit performance framework to organize agency measures, metrics, and data sources. The report also reviews the latest transit performance measures documented in planning reports for the four largest MPOs in California because these measures are available for the majority of California’s population. Finally, the report summarizes 231 performance measures used by a total 26 local transit agencies in California.
SYNERGY OF BICYCLES AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT: A HYBRID MODE
-> A recent study concludes the combined use of the bicycle and public transport should be understood in a broader perspective, especially where bicycles link to higher speed and higher capacity public transport, such as the train. (Characterisation of and Reflections on the Synergy of Bicycles and Public Transport: http://bit.ly/1X5LYL9) Cycling and public transport can have a symbiotic relationship forming a hybrid, distinct transport mode, which should be reflected in transport planning. The bicycle is a way to soften the rigid nature of public transport and thus accommodate diverse individual travel needs and situations. Public transport can be seen as a means to dramatically extend cycling’s speed and spatial reach. Researchers combined a system perspective with conceptual analysis to explore how, why and when this reconsideration is important. They used the Netherlands as illustrative case because of the relative maturity of its bicycle–train connections.
PLANNING FOR BIKE SHARE CONNECTIVITY TO RAIL TRANSIT
-> A recent study (Planning for Bike Share Connectivity to Rail Transit: http://bit.ly/21YRAHN) evaluates local intermodal plan goals using trip data and associated infrastructure such as transit stops and bike share station locations in Austin, TX, and Chicago, IL. Bike sharing use data from both cities suggest a weak relationship with existing rail stations that could be strengthened through collaborative, intermodal planning. The study suggests a planning framework and example language that could be tailored to help address the linkage between bike sharing and transit. Rather than an exhaustive study of the practice, this study provides evidence from these two cities that identify opportunities to improve intermodal planning. Cities that are planning or expanding a bike sharing system should consider carefully how to leverage this mode with existing modes of transport. Regardless of a city’s status in implementing a bike sharing system, planners can leverage information on existing transport systems for planning at regional and local levels.
WALKING & CYCLING BENEFITS OUTWEIGH AIR POLLUTION EFFECTS
-> The health benefits of walking and cycling outweigh the negative effects on health of air pollution, even in cities with high levels of air pollution, according to a study led by researchers from the University of Cambridge. (Can air pollution negate the health benefits of cycling and walking?: http://bit.ly/1TmZKqa) This new evidence strengthens the case for supporting cycling even in polluted cities -- an effort that in turn can help reduce vehicle emissions. Previous studies conducted in Europe, the USA and several other developed countries found that the health benefits of active travel are greater than the risks, but these were undertaken in areas of relatively low air pollution, and the applicability of their results to more polluted cities in emerging economies has been uncertain. http://bit.ly/1Oz6ahB
MORE PED FALLS NET HOSPITAL TRIPS THAN MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISIONS
-> Recently published research, the first of its kind in Australia, looked at hospital presentations and admissions from falls in the street, typically overlooked in the road safety debate. (Fall-Related Injuries While Walking in Victoria: http://bit.ly/1Oz6YTJ) It found that trips and falls in the street send over 5,000 pedestrians to hospital each year – even more than collisions with cars. While collisions with vehicles result in about 1,600 pedestrian casualties in Victoria each year, pedestrian falls account for an average of 1,680 hospital admissions and 3,545 emergency department presentations. http://bit.ly/1TliG9V
ANALYSIS OF GLOBAL OBESITY STUDIES
-> A recently published pooled research study concluded if post-2000 trends continue, the probability of meeting the global obesity target is virtually zero. Rather, if these trends continue, by 2025, global obesity prevalence will reach 18% in men and surpass 21% in women; severe obesity will surpass 6% in men and 9% in women. Nonetheless, underweight remains prevalent in the world's poorest regions, especially in south Asia. Trends in Adult Body-Mass Index in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014: A Pooled Analysis of 1698 Population-Based Measurement Studies with 19.2 Million Participants: http://bit.ly/1T9ZRsc