Bigger Isn’t Always Better: Narrow Traffic Lanes Make Cities Safer

Traffic in Tokyo Reveals Narrow, Safe Traffic Lanes. (Raphael Desrosiers / Flickr)
A long-standing belief among transportation planners and engineers is that wider traffic lanes ensure safe and congestion-free traffic flow. Recent academic research shows that wider lanes are more dangerous than narrower lanes. To further investigate how cities are stacking up against the existing evidence, the Health and Road Safety team of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities decided to compare typical lane widths in selected global cities with reported traffic fatality rates. Read more... Read more

How Transit Agencies Are Prepping for the Next Big Storm

A Cambridge, Massachusetts, station stands idle last February after a snowstorm shut down the railways. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
Of all the safety risks that could threaten public transportation, a recent survey of transit officials found that after collisions, extreme weather events were their second-highest concern. Conducted by the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida, the survey asked respondents about the most common types of extreme weather their agencies experience, their perception of future risk and how their organizations are preparing and responding to the threat. Read more... Read more

Boston to Test Surge Pricing for Parking Spaces

Boston's Back Bay (Nick S. / Flickr)
In a bid to reduce congestion and move people through downtown more quickly, Boston will test surge pricing for parking. Parking meter prices in Boston were last raised in 2011, and remain much lower than in other major cities at just $1.25 per hour. Starting January 2017, the city will adjust meter rates in the Back Bay and Seaport neighborhoods, charging up to $4 an hour for the most in-demand spots in an attempt to strike the right balance of... Read more

Is Everyone in on America’s ‘Best Idea’? The National Park Service Looks Inward

The future of the national parks depends on building connections with next generation of stewards. (Credit: Mim Adkins)
If you’ve ever explored a national park—especially one of the busier ones, like Yosemite or Yellowstone—you might have noticed all kinds of staff working to make your visit a good one: from the friendly face that greeted you at the entrance gate, to trail crews and firefighters, botanists and wildlife biologists. But there’s another part of the National Park Service that few visitors have heard of. It’s called the Office of Relevancy, Diversity, and Inclusion, and though the name is... Read more

Why Bother with Community Engagement?

In the end, all plans come to the city council for approval. (City of Aurora)
Community engagement is a required component of planning projects. Some planners take a “check the box” approach and others go out of their way to hear from the public. An informal survey at the American Planning Association National Conference asked what motivates planners to go the extra distance on outreach. The most common answer wassome version of, “It gave courage to our elected officials.” There’s a great deal of insight packed into this answer. Read more... Read more
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