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American Driving Survey: Methodology and Year One Results, May 2013 – May 2014

May 22, 2015 Comments off

American Driving Survey: Methodology and Year One Results, May 2013 – May 2014
Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety/Urban Institute

On behalf of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the Urban Institute conducts a continuous survey to measure the driving behavior of the American public. The American Driving Survey is a national survey of persons 16 and over who drive of light vehicles (autos, SUVs, trucks) and reside in households with landline telephone service and/or cellular telephones. The survey commenced in May 2013 and is ongoing. The results of the first year’s data collection are presented in this report.

Release: Urban sprawl costs US economy more than $1 trillion per year

May 5, 2015 Comments off

Release: Urban sprawl costs US economy more than $1 trillion per year
Source: Global Commission on the Economy and Climate/Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Urban sprawl costs the American economy more than US$1 trillion annually, according to a new study by the New Climate Economy. These costs include greater spending on infrastructure, public service delivery and transportation. The study finds that Americans living in sprawled communities directly bear an astounding $625 billion in extra costs. In addition, all residents and businesses, regardless of where they are located, bear an extra $400 billion in external costs. Correcting this problem provides an opportunity to increase economic productivity, improve public health and protect the environment. The report identifies specific smarter growth policies that can lead to healthier, safer and wealthier communities in both developed and developing countries.

Electric Carsharing in Underserved Communities: Considerations for Program Success

May 1, 2015 Comments off

Electric Carsharing in Underserved Communities: Considerations for Program Success (PDF)
Source: Greenlining Institute
From press release:

Thanks to legislation enacted last year, SB 1275 (de León), the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has taken the first steps to create carsharing programs for electric cars in low and moderate income communities. CARB will begin soliciting proposals for such programs within the next few weeks and hopes to have the first pilot programs up and running this summer.

To help make this process as effective as possible, tomorrow The Greenlining Institute has released ELECTRIC CARSHARING IN UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES: Considerations for Program Success. Greenlining’s analysis guides policymakers through such complicated issues as insurance, credit and payment options, parking, infrastructure and outreach, all of which will be critical to the success of these efforts.

Is Ridesharing Safe?

April 30, 2015 Comments off

Is Ridesharing Safe?
Source: Cato Institute

Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft are facing predictable complaints as they continue to grow. Many of these complaints concern safety, with some in the taxi industry claiming that ridesharing is less safe than taking a traditional taxicab.

Ridesharing safety worries relate to the well-being of drivers, passengers, and third parties. In each of these cases there is little evidence that the sharing economy services are more dangerous than traditional taxis. In fact, the ridesharing business model offers big safety advantages as far as drivers are concerned. In particular, ridesharing’s cash-free transactions and self-identified customers substantially mitigate one of the worst risks associated with traditional taxis: the risk of violent crime.

An analysis of the safety regulations governing vehicles for hire does not suggest that ridesharing companies ought to be more strictly regulated. It does highlight, however, that in many parts of the country lawmaker sand regulators have not adequately adapted to the rise of ridesharing, which fits awkwardly into existing regulatory frameworks governing taxis. There will be many real and substantive issues to sort out as the rideshare industry continues to develop. In particular, heavily regulated taxi drivers have a valid point when they complain that they have to compete on an unlevel playing field with less regulated rideshare companies. But the appropriate response to this problem is to rationalize and modernize the outdated and heavy-handed restrictions on taxis—not to extend those restrictions to ridesharing.

Driving Among High School Students — United States, 2013

April 6, 2015 Comments off

Driving Among High School Students — United States, 2013
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

During 2004–2013, the number of passenger vehicle drivers aged 16–19 years involved in fatal crashes in the United States declined by 55% from 5,724 to 2,568.* In addition to graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs (1) and safer vehicles,† other possible contributors to the decline include adolescents waiting longer to get their driver licenses and driving less (2). The crash risk for drivers of any age is highest during the first months of independent driving, and this risk is highest for the youngest teenage drivers (3). To estimate the percentage of high school students aged ≥16 years who have driven during the past 30 days, by age, race/ethnicity, and location, CDC analyzed 2013 data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and YRBS data collected by 42 states and 21 large urban school districts. Nationwide, 76.3% of high school students aged ≥16 years reported having driven during the 30 days before the survey; 83.2% of white students had driven compared with <70% of black and Hispanic students. Across 42 states, the percentage of students who drove ranged from 53.8% to 90.2%. Driving prevalence was higher in the midwestern and mountain states. Across the 21 large urban school districts, the percentage of drivers varied more than twofold from 30.2% to 76.0%. This report provides the most detailed evidence to date that the percentage of students who drive varies substantially depending on where they live. Such information will be vital as states and communities consider potential ways to improve safety for older teenage novice drivers and plan for safe, affordable transportation options for those who do not drive.

Road Safety with Self-Driving Vehicles: General Limitations and Road Sharing with Conventional Vehicles

April 6, 2015 Comments off

Road Safety with Self-Driving Vehicles: General Limitations and Road Sharing with Conventional Vehicles (PDF)
Source: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

Self-driving vehicles are expected to improve road safety, improve the mobility of those who currently cannot use conventional vehicles, and reduce emissions. In this white paper we discuss issues related to road safety with self-driving vehicles. Safety is addressed from the following four perspectives: (1) Can self-driving vehicles compensate for contributions to crash causation by other traffic participants, as well as vehicular, roadway, and environmental factors? (2) Can all relevant inputs for computational decisions be supplied to a self-driving vehicle? (3) Can computational speed, constant vigilance, and lack of distractibility of selfdriving vehicles make predictive knowledge of an experienced driver irrelevant? (4) How would road safety be influenced during the expected long transition period during which conventional and self-driving vehicles would need to interact on the road?

The presented arguments support the following conclusions: (1) The expectation of zero fatalities with self-driving vehicles is not realistic. (2) It is not a foregone conclusion that a self-driving vehicle would ever perform more safely than an experienced, middle-aged driver. (3) During the transition period when conventional and self-driving vehicles would share the road, safety might actually worsen, at least for the conventional vehicles.

Hidden Benefits of Electric Vehicles for Addressing Climate Change

April 4, 2015 Comments off

Hidden Benefits of Electric Vehicles for Addressing Climate Change
Source: Scientific Reports

There is an increasingly hot debate on whether the replacement of conventional vehicles (CVs) by electric vehicles (EVs) should be delayed or accelerated since EVs require higher cost and cause more pollution than CVs in the manufacturing process. Here we reveal two hidden benefits of EVs for addressing climate change to support the imperative acceleration of replacing CVs with EVs. As EVs emit much less heat than CVs within the same mileage, the replacement can mitigate urban heat island effect (UHIE) to reduce the energy consumption of air conditioners, benefitting local and global climates. To demonstrate these effects brought by the replacement of CVs by EVs, we take Beijing, China, as an example. EVs emit only 19.8% of the total heat emitted by CVs per mile. The replacement of CVs by EVs in 2012 could have mitigated the summer heat island intensity (HII) by about 0.94°C, reduced the amount of electricity consumed daily by air conditioners in buildings by 14.44 million kilowatt-hours (kWh), and reduced daily CO2 emissions by 10,686 tonnes.

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