As America Ages, A Push To Make Streets Safer

Author: Jennifer Ludden

America is aging — a fact that advocates are pushing Congress to consider as it takes up a new transportation bill. Their goal is more safety for older Americans, on both roads and sidewalks.

Pedestrians and cyclists are already far more likely to be hit by cars in the United States than those in some European cities. Add to that the coming tide of older Americans who use walking canes and wheelchairs, and some warn that a road safety crisis looms.

To get a sense of the problem, I meet Elinor Ginzler of the AARP at a busy urban intersection in Silver Spring, Md., just outside the nation’s capital. Ginzler isn’t actually old, but she has brought along a cane to help make her point.

“It’s all about how you get to the other side!” she says.

We step into six lanes of rush-hour traffic, and the crosswalk countdown light flashes: 20 seconds!

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The safety effects of exchanging car mobility for bicycle mobility

Substituting a small number of short car trips with bicycle trips. H. Stipdonk & M. Reurings. R-2010-18.

This report describes the analysis of the effect of exchanging passenger car mobility for bicycle mobility on the number of fatalities and serious road injuries in the Netherlands. A precise calculation of this effect is not possible due to a lack of information, but we were able to give a first and rough approximation of the safety effect.

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Factors Involved in Fatal Vehicle Crashes

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has released a technical report that examines the numerous factors that contribute to the severity of fatal motor vehicle crashes.

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Advancing Aeronautical Safety: A Review of NASA’s Aviation Safety-Related Research Programs

The National Research Council has released a report that explores the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) aviation safety-related research programs. Specifically, the report focuses on whether the programs have well-defined, prioritized, and appropriate research objectives; whether resources have been allocated appropriately among these objectives; whether the programs are well coordinated with the safety research programs of the Federal Aviation Administration; and whether suitable mechanisms are in place for transitioning the research results into operational technologies and procedures and certification activities in a timely manner. The committee that developed the report found that NASA’s aeronautics research enterprise has made, and continues to make, valuable contributions to aviation system safety but is falling short and needs improvement in some key respects.

TRB is a division of the National Academies, which include the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council.

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In The News: Cities in Focus | New York City

About this video

New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Department of Transportation are on a mission to make the Big Apple the “greatest, greenest big city in the world” by ramping up bicycle infrastructure across the city, introducing bus rapid transit to the Bronx, and pedestrianizing Times Square, among other bold transportation initiatives.

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In The News: DOT wants seat belts installed in new motorcoaches

Author: Joan Lowy

New motorcoaches would for the first time be required to have lap-shoulder seat belts under a proposal announced Monday by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The plan affects large, tour-style buses, not city buses or school buses, which are state-regulated.

The motorcoach industry, which transports 750 million passengers a year, has 90 days to respond to the proposal. It would take effect three years after it’s made final.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated in the proposal that it is also considering requiring existing buses be retrofitted with belts, which is more expensive than incorporating belts into new buses. The proposal solicits comments on how that might best be done and whether lap-shoulder or lap-only belts should be required.

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