Episode 43: Traffic signals with Matt Steele

A new year, a new challenge to the deity of traffic engineering: the traffic light.  Streets.mn contributor and recent Minneapolis City Council candidate Matt Steele says we have too many traffic signals and explains why that's a big problem for everyone. Choosing alternative measures of traffic control offers significant benefits to pedestrians, bicyclists, cars and trucks, and even help transit run more reliably.

Links include Strong Towns, the relation between speed and death, roundabouts and a very successful shared space project at a busy junction in Poynton, England.

Today's news selection features a fantastic Bikeyface comic on what snow says about our cities' priorities, another cyclist hit without accountability, and another oil train derailment and explosion near Fargo, North Dakota. We recap the horror that is fracking (natural gas drilling) and play two songs about fracking ("We'll Be There" & "My Water's on Fire").

A listener suggests that automation in transit operations may actually decrease safety as the humans involved become less alert. The same has happened with private cars as they've become safer for the people inside. Very interesting stuff.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the book I couldn't remember the name of, about the phenomenon of drivers being less attentive given increasing automation: Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do by Tom Vanderbilt.

May 2014 be the year in which we finally take traffic violence seriously and focus our attention and investments on sustainable transportation modes: walking, cycling, skating and especially public transit.  Help support this show and my other work by sharing it widely and by making a donation to my Transit Tour Fund if you are able to.  I am headed to the northeast very soon; please get in touch if we might connect.

Episode 14: parking, land use and transit with Rachel Weinberger

Parking is a very important factor in urban design and transport mode choice, yet is frequently overlooked as cities consider it part of zoning codes rather than transportation infrastructure. Sustainable transportation consultant Rachel Weinberger joins me to explain the connections between parking, transit and the urban environment. The costs of driving are not only heavily subsidized by all levels of government but also bundled into the costs of goods and services in the public and private sectors. As a result, the provision of free or cheap parking (and the perceived endless need for it) promotes driving and makes it more difficult to walk or use other transport modes. We also talk about her work on the original PlaNYC and other transportation politics and trends.

Find out more about Rachel Weinberger by reading her research papers and and in coverage on Streetsblog.

Please send questions, comments and suggestions for future topics or guests to feedback@criticaltransit.com.