Latest News

Connectivity is good for walkability, but social factors also matter

By Saumya Jain Most efforts to increase bike and walk accessibility focus on physical access. But the built environment is not the full story. A new study finds that certain attributes of the social environment also greatly affect the perception of walkability, especially among people of

Identifying isolated bike islands in cities, and the bottlenecks between them

By Michael Brenneis A new analytical approach could help identify streets most in need of improved facilities to better connect cycling networks. In Shanghai, researchers used high-resolution dockless bike-share trip data, and percolation theory, to identify clusters of cycling activity and the

New mindset needed to address congestion, says MassDOT

By Chris McCahill A new report from the Massachusetts DOT dives into the state’s growing traffic congestion to understand the causes and potential solutions. It points to the rapid outward growth around Boston as one of the main causes, and suggests the current situation calls for bold new

Use of multimodal accessibility metrics in project prioritization and investment

By Saumya Jain The Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota recently released a one-of-a-kind report that ranks the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas (by population) according to accessibility to jobs via bicycle. The report is a product of a multi-year study, where the

E-bikes mean longer, more frequent bike trips

By Robbie Webber On June 18, the Madison, WI, bikesharing system became the first in the U.S. to switch its entire fleet to electric pedal-assist bikes, although other cities have been adding e-bikes to their fleet for several years. Results from a comparison of e-bike vs. standard bike usage

Autonomous boat “bridge” proposed in Amsterdam

By Michael Brenneis A group of autonomous vessel developers is proposing a new way to move people through the unique urban-aquatic environment of Amsterdam. The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions has teamed with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to push the limits of

Proximity to highways affects long-term school performance

By Robbie Webber A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research extends our knowledge of the effects of attending school near major roadways. Previous studies have found short-term effects on test scores, behavior, and school absences on days of poor air quality, but this new research

Overabundant parking fuels car-oriented living in greater Boston

By Chris McCahill A new report from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council reveals 30 percent of residential parking in the Boston area goes unused at night. This new study builds on an earlier report, featured in an SSTI webinar, growing the sample from 80 properties to 189 across 14

Invisible women

By Beth Osborne Research and design are based on a test case human who stands in for the broader population. The default human that is the basis for research and design projects is usually a white adult male. As a result, projects often come to conclusions that do not address the needs of women,

A new technique to identify deteriorating infrastructure using satellite data

By Michael Brenneis With budgets that tend to favor new construction, many DOTs are finding it necessary to prioritize the most urgent repairs. But infrastructure decay is not always easily visible. And deferred or inadequate maintenance may occasionally have catastrophic consequences for U.S.

Spending smarter: lessons and opportunities for state DOTs

By Chris McCahill Two states that are changing how transportation investments are prioritized were featured recently on an SSTI webinar. Virginia just funded a third round of projects under its Smart Scale program, while Hawaii piloted its own SmartTRAC program with help from SSTI and Smart

Why cities aren’t preparing for autonomous vehicles

by Rayla Bellis A study evaluating municipal planning for autonomous vehicles found that an overwhelming majority of cities have done little to prepare for their arrival. At the same time, many of those cities have concerns about the negative impacts AVs could bring along with the substantial

AVs: Some intersections may get more dangerous before they get safer

By Michael Brenneis Many imagine a future with fleets of autonomous vehicles seamlessly traversing road networks, wirelessly connected, perfectly aware of their surroundings and other vehicles, expertly avoiding conflicts. But what happens during the transition from manually-driven to

TDM best practice: Shout out to Greater Richmond Transit Company

By Saumya Jain In an era of falling transit ridership and utopian sustainability goals, Richmond, Virginia, seems to have hit the nail on the head. With the introduction of a bus rapid transit (BRT) line and an overall bus system redesign, the GRTC has increased transit ridership in the region by

Why are they Snapchatting while driving, and what will get them to stop?

By Robbie Webber A study from Australia gives some insights into use of social media while driving, looking not just at the incidence, but also what deters the behavior. But while the study began as a general look at use of all social media by young drivers, it ended up focused on the use of