NCBW Newsroom - The Research Beat
-> According to the executive summary of the 2014 Peterborough City and County Transportation and Health Indicators Report released on Oct. 2nd, "The transportation decisions individuals make are complex. They’re informed not only by personal considerations, but also by the patterns and policies that shape one’s social landscape, and the built and natural forms that shape one’s physical landscape...it is first necessary to understand the local determinants of travel; to consider how local policy, infrastructure, and programming interventions influence levels of use; and, to evaluate the impact active transportation has on the health of individuals and the environment.
"To this end, this report seeks to achieve the following objectives:
(For a briefer overview and infographics, see the 2014 Peterborough City and County Transportation and Health Indicators Report – Media Package (http://bit.ly/1sis022)
-> According to an Oct. 6th American Bicyclist Update article, "Last week, we released our ‘Where We Ride’ report, analyzing U.S. Census Bureau data on national bike commuting trends. Shortly following our release of the report, we became aware of more comprehensive data that should be included in our analysis.
"Today, we're releasing our revised ‘Where We Ride’ report, with more communities and data points included. Download it here (http://bit.ly/1rq5U7R).
"We've also put together a short tutorial on how YOU can work with American Community Survey data at home..."
-> According to an Oct. 20th State Smart Transportation Initiative article, "Recently published research in the Journal of the American Planning Association (Impact of the Safe Routes to School Program on Walking and Bicycling: http://bit.ly/1tdljxw) provides strong support for the Safe Routes to School program’s ability to increase rates of walking and biking among students. The authors analyzed changes in the number of students walking and biking to school at 801 schools in District of Columbia, Florida, Oregon, and Texas, roughly split between those that had implemented SRTS projects and those that had not. They modeled the impacts of SRTS participation in general, as well as the impacts of specific types of SRTS measures—infrastructure improvements to bolster cyclist and pedestrian safety, education and encouragement to promote biking and walking among students, and enforcement of school zone traffic safety laws.
"After controlling for neighborhood characteristics and other factors, the researchers found that schools deciding to participate in SRTS can expect to increase the rate of walking and biking to school among their students by about 31 percent over the next five years. For example, a school where 18 percent of students bike and walk to school could expect 23.5 percent of students to bike or walk to school after five years of participation..."
-> According to an Oct. 13th City Lab article, "How you feel about parklets—street-parking spaces converted into temporary gathering spots—depends in large part on how you get around the city... So the real tiebreaking question, at least in terms of public opinion, is how businesses themselves feel about repurposing their storefront parking spots for pedestrians. If Chicago retailers are any indication, get ready for the parklets. Chicago started allowing businesses to create parklets called People Spots a few years ago. Nine emerged across the city... This past summer, the local Metropolitan Planning Council evaluated the business impact of these spots by recording a full day's activity at each and interviewing parklet users and retailer owners alike.
"MPC concluded that People Spots ‘can be a powerful economic tool for neighborhood businesses.’ Here are three reasons why.
"1. More Foot Traffic. About 80 percent of the businesses near a People Spot experienced more foot traffic, according to the observations and interviews...
"2. More Attention. People Spots also generated some unexpected word-of-mouth advertising for retailers...
"3. More Spending. And then there's the bottom line. About a third of the visitors said they made ‘unplanned food or beverage purchases,’ according to MPC. Some of the businesses themselves reported an increase in sales between 10 and 20 percent...
"[T]he MPC findings enhance a broader appreciation some retailers have acquired toward non-driver spending habits. While conventional wisdom holds that businesses need free parking spaces to thrive, recent studies have shown that walkers and cyclists actually outspend drivers on occasion. At the very least, swapping a parking spot for a bike lane or a pedestrian plaza seems to do no harm to business while providing a great deal of balance to urban mobility."
-> According to an FHWA Accelerating Innovation EDC-3 Initiatives article, "Data-driven safety analysis builds on decades of past work and current collaborative efforts to promote the science of safety in the transportation community, with the ultimate goal of saving lives. Quantitatively estimating location-specific safety performance on an agency's road network is challenging. Recent advances in highway safety analysis can provide transportation agencies with the reliable information they need to make effective investments in maintaining the nation's roads. The EDC-3 effort focuses on broadening implementation of two advances — predictive approaches and systemic approaches — into safety management processes and project development decision-making.
"Predictive approaches combine crash, roadway inventory and traffic volume data to provide more reliable estimates of an existing or proposed roadway's expected safety performance, such as crash frequency and severity. These methods can help state and local agencies quantify the safety impacts of transportation decisions, similar to the way agencies quantify traffic growth, construction costs, environmental impacts, pavement life and traffic operations... Systemic approaches use system-wide screening of a roadway network for high-risk features correlated with severe crash types rather than high-crash locations..."
[See November 13 Web Conference on this topic in the Webinar section.]
-> According to a recent Institute of Transportation Studies Berkeley article, "Three UC Berkeley graduate students, Jesus Barajas, Frank Proulx and Lisa Rayle, have won coveted 2014 Dwight David Eisenhower Graduate Fellowships for their research in transportation planning. The Eisenhower Fellowship is a competitive program administered by the Federal Highway Administration for the Department of Transportation...
"Barajas described his research as understanding what influences the way immigrants travel. He is studying how preferences and attitudes toward transit, bicycling, neighborhoods, and safety issues inform transportation choices of this population. Proulx's research focuses on estimating bicycle flows to better understand bicycle safety in terms of volume and exposure on city streets. Rayle's primary research interest is the role of flexible and informal mobility, such as carsharing and bikesharing, in cities. ..."
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