USDOT Endorses Vision Zero and Safe Systems
AARP Community Challenge Grants Available
Black History Month - What We Too Often Don't Know
Trains, Buses, People: Webinar Entertainment
What's In a Word? Dutch Reach
Infrastructure Insights From the Interwebs
There has been a lot of big transportation news breaking recently, though the simultaneously miraculous and calamitous bridge collapse in Pittsburgh in late January somewhat overshadowed other reports. Did you know that just the day before that, the federal Secretary of Transportation announced a new National Roadway Safety Strategy? Or that what he had to say was downright revolutionary? 

On the one hand, he told us a lot of things we already know. In fact, he cited statistics about road safety – or the lack thereof – that we have been focusing on aplenty. The exciting part was not in the stats, but rather in the proposed response, specifically to work toward Vision Zero, ending preventable deaths and injuries from crashes, and doing so by applying the Safe System approach. Vision Zero and Safe Systems are terms we've been referencing and defining right here in this newsletter. We are speaking the same language and expanding the scope of the truism that safety is a shared responsibility, not simply on the part of road users, whether in motor vehicles, walking, or biking, but also on the part of designers (whether of cities, roads, or vehicles), regulators, and legislators. We are all in this together and together we are going to work to make our roads safer!
Have a short-term project in mind to increase physical activity and/or move the dial on social/physical determinants of health? The AARP Community Challenge provides small grants to fund quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. This year, applications will be accepted for projects to improve public spaces, housing, transportation and civic engagement; support diversity, equity and inclusion; build engagement for programs under new federal laws; and pursue innovative ideas that support people age 50 or older.

The grant period is now open. Applications are due March 22 at 5pm. Awards are made mid-May. Public announcement and work begins end of July. Project reporting close-out is due by the end of the calendar year. For more information email
In honor of Black History Month, we recommend you watch and share this compelling short video entitled “Segregated By Design.” In just 18 minutes, it “examines the forgotten history of how our federal, state and local governments unconstitutionally segregated every major metropolitan area in America through law and policy... Prejudice can be birthed from a lack of understanding the historically accurate details of the past. Without being aware of the unconstitutional residential policies the United States government enacted during the middle of the twentieth century, one might have a negative view today of neighborhoods where African Americans live or even of African Americans themselves.”

The video summarizes the key findings of the book "The Color of Law" by Richard Rothstein. It provides straightforward and clear descriptions of issues that many have considered shameful, but unique, aspects of their community's local history, highlighting to the contrary that escaping the effects of these structures and policies would be unique and unusual, whereas demonstrating them was/is the norm.
Learn from the author of "Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US and Canadian Transit" how to create inclusive transit systems that work for all riders. Christof Spieler strongly believes that just about anyone—regardless of training or experience—can identify what makes good transit with the right information. In this engaging webinar, he gives you that information. The webinar is also a good introduction to the quirky subculture of “transit nerds,” sometimes known as NUMTOTs, which stands for New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens (something that does not quite merit its own What’s In A Word entry). Infrastructure can be revolutionary and transit can inspire strong passions -- who knew? The program was recorded in mid-January and is available for you to watch at your leisure.
The next time you have occasion to drive a car in England, you may have more to acclimate to than just driving on the other side of the road. As of January 29 of this year, the UK enacted a number of revisions to its Highway Code. Many people who are accustomed to taking on different roles in the transportation system -- sometimes driving, sometimes biking, sometimes walking -- have lauded the changes and noted that they are not that different from existing best practices. But they have prompted consternation from a subset of drivers who are unaccustomed to paying attention to or being respectful of people outside of motor vehicles. 

The changes clarify things like the importance of yielding to people walking or biking in order to keep everyone safe. This often boils down simply to not hitting or otherwise hurting people. To that end, it introduces the concept of the Dutch Reach, which is a habit of using your inside arm to unlatch the car door when you get out. Doing so has the effect of turning your body in the direction of the door and your head such that you are able to see and be aware of cyclists or pedestrians that might be coming up alongside your vehicle. It’s a nice habit. It is common practice in the Netherlands, as the name implies, and is a super simple way to increase safety through behavioral change. It doesn't solve all road safety problems, but it does its part -- or can, if we do ours. Our motor vehicle code may not mention it, but there's nothing stopping you from starting to do it today!
Priorities, priorities... This is how you can tell what we value. Arguably one of these has a positive impact on quality of life and one does not. We leave it to the reader to figure out which is which (not really, we give some big honking clues!).
Waste of Space!
Often the ratio of space in our exurban landscapes doesn't even register with us. But can this really be a good idea?
Velo Love!
Casual biking is like your own portable fountain of youth. Plus it's fun and inexpensive -- no spandex required!
Safe travels near and far!
Sam Pearson
M: 781.366.0726
PA Walkworks | Website