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Issues and Insights

This page provides links to recent articles, reports and announcements relating to transportation policy, legislation and research. The entries are drawn from a wide range of sources, including national newspapers, magazines and websites. If you come across interesting transportation reading that might deserve posting here, let us know at [email protected]

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Transportation leaders focus on regaining trust before building anew Smart Cities Dive, May 26, 2020 - As cities inch toward reopening, agencies are questioning how to regain the trust and loyalty of riders who fled public transit for alternative forms of transportation — like personal car use — in fear of crowds and infection. There are even worries that personal car usage will spike during recovery, as it did in Wuhan, China, which could lead to increased congestion and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The Spaces That Make Cities Fairer and More Resilient New York Times, May 17, 2020 - 
Like a chemical catalyst, the sidewalk and the street edge are the surface on which all the atoms of a metropolis come together, react with each other and produce energy. In practical terms, this is because public space provides a restaurant owner, someone posting dog-walking services, or a midnight clubgoer the chance to meet anybody, with any imaginable result. The equality of access to a busy city street, combined with the creativity and skill required to thrive there, is the meritocratic mechanism at the heart of urban life.
How 5G will power smart cities of the future Globe and Mail, May 18, 2020 -  5G technology is expected to be 100 times faster than the existing 4G networks in Canada, with a much lower latency rate, or lag, when sending and receiving data in real-time. It will also be able to handle a much larger number of connected devices than current networks, enabling them to speak to one another. Powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, the potential of smart cities and the Internet of Things will be unleashed.
How Will Americans Commute After Lockdowns End? Citylab, May 14, 2020 -Now, as coronavirus lockdowns loosen in parts of the world, a divergent picture of the post-pandemic commute is emerging. Peak rush-hour traffic in Shenzhen is roughly 10% over its 2019 baseline, while congestion in Auckland, New Zealand, is creeping up every day. In North America, gasoline demand is rising and cars are retaking the streets, while mass transit ridership remains low and working from home is the status quo for 2020 (and possibly onwards) at tech-forward employers such as Google, Facebook and Twitter. 
NASA satellite sees air pollution drop over northeastern US amid coronavirus outbreak, April 10, 2020 - NASA satellite data revealed significant reductions in air pollution over major metropolitan areas of the Northeast United States as people reduce travel during the pandemic spread by the new coronavirus. 
Lessons from Pandemics: Transportation Risks and Safety Strategies Planetizen, April 23, 2020 - There is considerable debate concerning the role that various transportation modes play in spreading infectious diseases, and how their contagion risks to users compare. Many people assume that infectious disease risks make public transit dangerous and automobile travel safe, but good research suggests that this is generally untrue. All forms of travel present contagion risks, many factors affect these risks, and smart policies can reduce these risks.
U.S. America’s Biggest Cities Were Already Losing Their Allure. What Happens Next? New York Times, April 20, 2020 -  The pandemic has been particularly devastating to America’s biggest cities, as the virus has found fertile ground in the density that is otherwise prized. And it comes as the country’s major urban centers were already losing their appeal for many Americans, as skyrocketing rents and changes in the labor market have pushed the country’s youngest adults to suburbs and smaller cities often far from the coasts.
Cities Should Take Advantage of Low Car Traffic to Accelerate Transit Construction Planetizen, April 9, 2020 - Beverly Hills is taking advantage of empty streets by accelerating construction on the Purple Line Subway extension currently cutting its way across Los Angeles. More cities should follow Beverly Hills' lead.
The Last Time VMT Dropped This Sharply – WWII Gas Rationing Eno, April 8, 2020 - Fear of exposure to the novel coronavirus, and the business closings and stay-home orders imposed by state and local governments (and suggested by the federal government), have led to a significant decrease in U.S. automobile traffic since March 1....If only there was some precedent into what happens when government forces a drastic reduction in VMT. Oh, wait, there is…The World War II experience in gasoline rationing may provide some interesting parallels.
UK connected vehicle project could end motorway ‘pile-ups Traffic Technology Today, March 26, 2020 - A pioneering UK project has developed technology that could radically reduce the number of multi-vehicle collisions on the country’s motorways and in situations where a crash cannot be avoided, the system will attempt to minimise its consequences.
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