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FREE ONLINE NHI BICYCLE FACILITY DESIGN COURSE
-> Toole Design reported that the National Highway Institute (NHI) has just launched its online Bicycle Facility Design course. (https://bit.ly/2X0rydU) The course has 9 modules (plus an introduction and final exam) and includes bikeway planning and selection as well as more detailed design information for on- and off-road bike facilities. The course is free, easily accessible through the NHI website, and is worth 0.8 CEUs (eight hours of instruction). The content draws extensively from resources produced by FHWA in recent years and the latest design standards and recommendations being adopted by state and local agencies across the country. The course will also give participants an early taste of material that’s likely to be in the next edition of the AASHTO Bike Guide. https://bit.ly/2X0rydU
PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT TOOLS FOR A REMOTE ENVIRONMENT
-> In a recent Medium post, Alta Planning + Design described the suite of tactics they are using to continue to get public feedback and engage community members about their transportation needs and challenges during the new reality of living with the COVID-19 pandemic. They have been perfecting Zoom capabilities, building websites and surveys, taking large advisory meetings to the internet, hosting virtual town halls, experimenting with the virtual charrette, and doubling down on social media. See the article for a few examples of virtual public engagement tools including an interactive map comment tool, an enhanced interactive map, story maps, an enhanced survey and a virtual open house. The article also includes links to help with online public engagement. https://bit.ly/2xHbnr2
SAFE ROUTES TO HEALTHY FOOD REPORT & ACTION AGENDA
-> The Safe Routes Partnership released a report that reviews the scope of the problem of transportation access to healthy food, describes a vision for addressing it, and lays out a set of recommendations for policies and practices that can let people safely access healthy food by foot, bicycle, or transit. (Safe Routes to Healthy Food Report and Action Agenda: https://bit.ly/3azAACp) From 2016 to 2019, the Safe Routes Partnership convened a national task force of organizations and thought leaders from a variety of backgrounds working to improve access to healthy foods for people without cars.
INFRASTRUCTURE RESILIENCE TO CLIMATE CHANGE & FLOODING
-> An American Planning Association report offers guidance as communities consider new climate and flood realities in the comprehensive and capital improvements planning processes. (Planning for Infrastructure Resilience: https://bit.ly/2UxwRQb) In an email message, Christopher Douwes from FHWA notes that from a Recreational Trails Program (RTP) viewpoint, States might want to consider having a score for resiliency in their project selection process. The RTP Annual Report for 2020 (reporting on FY 2019 accomplishments) will come out in late April or May. The 2021 report will likely have a topic related to Resiliency.
COMPENDIUM OF BUILT TYPES FOR WALKABLE & VIBRANT COMMUNITIES,
-> Public Square reported that a new book by Brian O’Looney is one of the most remarkable textbooks produced by new urbanists. (Increments of Neighborhood: A Compendium of Built Types for Walkable and Vibrant Communities, by Brian O’Looney: https://amzn.to/3bGsSXh) The author identifies 24 single-family types that can fit into walkable neighborhoods. There are dozens of missing middle types, including 18 townhouses and 11 "stacked unit" types. Many larger buildings are included that would fit into a walkable urban center or downtown--including public buildings like police station, hospital, arena, stadium, and so on. Each type occupies two facing 8.5-by-11-inch pages (expanded to four in a few cases). Each spread has a table, text, and 10-15 images, including plans, diagrams, and photos. There are thousands of images in Increments of Neighborhood, which would ordinarily be overwhelming. Because of the way the book is organized, the number of images feels right.
MAKING CITIES MORE WALKABLE WITH BETTER DATA & TECHNOLOGY
-> Government Technology reported cities are using data to improve navigation for pedestrians. While there are many online map services, most are designed primarily for vehicles. Part of the problem is that there is little available data about pedestrian footways. Most maps treat sidewalks as ancillary data about streets, simply noting whether a sidewalk exists but providing little other useful information. Researchers in Seattle created a data schema for representing much more detailed information about sidewalks, allowing cities to detail the presence of marked street crossings, crossing islands and curb cutouts. They then launched AccessMap (https://bit.ly/3dJpP2v), a website where Seattle residents can get personalized route recommendations based on their individual mobility needs. [This site also shows uphill and downhill steepness and allows users to set their maximum tolerances--crucial for people walking or using wheelchairs in hilly Seattle.] Others are working on projects to allow users to optimize routes based on other factors. A researcher at the Alan Turing Institute is modeling air pollution so they can recommend routes that maximize an individual’s exposure to clean air. Another researcher is using crowdsourcing and computer vision to identify the prettiest streets, so that people can choose to take the most scenic route. https://bit.ly/3dI2VIF