Photo by John Williams

NCBW Newsroom - The Research Beat

The National & International Scene | Regional and Local Actions | The Research Beat | Resources | Jobs, Grants & RFPs

PUBLIC POLICIES: UNINTENTIONALLY ENCOURAGE & SUBSIDIZE SPRAWL
-> The rapid urbanization of populations across the world has led to the growth of urban sprawl, which has in turn had many negative social and economic impacts. In new research in partnership with LSE Cities (Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Sprawl: http://bit.ly/1NHMdYg), Todd Litman, investigates the problems of urban sprawl and explores potential solutions. He finds that this sprawl costs the American economy more than $1 trillion every year, and argues that this may be reduced by encouraging market-based reforms to encourage smart growth strategies. http://bit.ly/1EieJO2

GETTING TO WORK IN CITIES WITH THE LOWEST CAR COMMUTE RATES
-> Check out the list of the 15 U.S. metros with the lowest rates of car commuting, and their residents’ secondary commute to work choice. http://bit.ly/1K56rtZ

ASSESSING MULTIMODAL SCHOOL TRAVEL SAFETY IN NC
-> Few recent studies have thoroughly analyzed the risks and costs associated with different modes of transportation to school. This descriptive study (Assessing Multimodal School Travel Safety in North Carolina) assessed the injury and fatality rates and related safety costs of different modes of school transportation using crash and exposure data from North Carolina from 2005 to 2012. They found that riding with a teen driver is the most dangerous mode on a per trip basis with injury rates 20 times higher and fatality rates 90 times higher than school buses, which had the lowest injury rates. Non-motorized modes had per trip injury rates equivalent to school buses but per trip fatality rates were 15 times higher than for school buses. The economic costs of school travel-related injuries and fatalities for walking, biking, and teen drivers were substantially higher than other modes. This research also quantified the risks of different school travel modes, which allows policymakers to consider how safety investments can reduce risks. http://1.usa.gov/1i0Sxy7

MIT PROJECT TO MEASURE QUALITY OF PLACE VIA PEDESTRIAN BEHAVIOR
-> MIT Media Lab’s "Placelet" project will measure the quality of a space by tracking how pedestrians move through a particular space. They’re developing a network of sensors that will track the scale and speed of pedestrians, as well as vehicles, over long periods of time. The sensors, which they are currently testing in downtown Boston, will also track the "sensory experience" by recording the noise level and air quality of that space. The general idea is that, the more slowly people are moving through a space, the more likely it is that they’re enjoying it. http://bit.ly/1JhgEm9

FACTORS IN URBAN TRANSPORTATION INNOVATION
-> A new report from TransitCenter (A People’s History of Recent Urban Transportation Innovation: http://bit.ly/1U5LrcE) researchers digs into the hows of transportation change in cities nationwide. The researchers credit the alignment of three distinct groups: local non-profit organizations for leading conversations about policy solutions; elected leaders who mandate change and follow through; and agency staff who navigate bureaucracy to get things done. The main lesson, though? "The biggest catalyst for change is local people advocating for change." http://bit.ly/1WRHZkK

DON'T POKE ME I'M DRIVING: A SIMULATOR STUDY ON SMARTPHONE USE
-> In the absence of reliable crash data, driving simulators and academic research play a vital role in evaluating the risk of using a smartphone while driving. In a British study called "Don't Poke Me I'm Driving: A Simulator Study on Smartphone Use" (http://bit.ly/1MSZnCG), twenty-eight young male and female participants took part in the study; all had previous experience of using Facebook via a smartphone. Participants were asked to send and check messages on Facebook and update their statuses. Researchers monitored their lane position, speed, reaction times, and the amount of time spent looking at the road, as well as the ability to perform the smartphone task. The results of the experiment clearly show that participants' driving performance was impaired by the smartphone task. There was a significant impact on time spent looking at the road, reaction times to stimuli, lane position, and speed. http://bit.ly/1hdQxlo

Get a jump start on this news by subscribing to CenterLines.