Former presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, IN, Pete Buttigieg, can use The Transportation Department to fight climate change if confirmed as Transportation secretary, according to The New York Times.
Americans’ reliance on gasoline-fueled vehicles to get around each day account for one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Pete Buttigieg can:
Rethink transportation grants by providing $1 billion in competitive grants to help states and cities fund green transportation projects.
Require states to track greenhouse gas emissions.
Mandate the use of vehicles that use less gasoline.
Help with public transportation throughout the United States.
Bicyclist deaths in the state of Iowa have risen by 260 percent in the last four years, and Dr. Cara Hamann of the University of Iowa is working to do something about it.
Hamann, an associate professor of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health, has done extensive research on bicycle safety. Now she aims to bring her work to the attention of lawmakers.
“I am working to close the gap between research and policy,” she said in an interview with the Big Ten Network. Hamann and her research team have explored the relationship between motor vehicle driving behavior and bicycle crashes in both simulated and naturalistic settings. She explained, “We have conducted studies of how drivers interact with bicyclists using the National Advanced Driving Simulator (located here on the UI campus) and have also conducted real-world naturalistic bicycling studies, using GPS and video to capture first-hand data on bicyclist trips.”
National trends match those observed in Iowa. In 2015, 3,477 people were killed in bicycle crashes according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Most fatal bike crashes, Hamann explained, happen when cars strike bicyclists. To explain motor vehicles’ particular lethality, some researchers point to the fact that an estimated 660,000 U.S. drivers use their cell phones while driving during daylight hours.
Hamann said, “We have also found that bicycle-specific infrastructure (e.g., bicycle lanes) have protective effects, which supports the need for more appropriations and implementation of those types of roadway treatments to reduce crashes and related injuries.”
Over its lifespan, the average motor vehicle emits 1.3 billion cubic yards of polluted air, including earth-warming greenhouse gases. In contrast, bicycles do not produce any emissions during use. Additionally, when more people are on bikes, traffic congestion is reduced and cars spend less time idling. Bike friendly communities are also generally healthier than those that center entirely around motor vehicles.
Hamann said, “Reduced bicycle crashes and associated injuries can have huge benefits to communities—the same things that are associated with increased biking and walking, in general—better overall health of the community due to increased physical activity, less traffic congestion, and environmental benefits, to name a few.”
After a long delay of the $200-million project set out to extend Highway 100 from Edgewood Road NE west and south to Highway 30, law suits against the project were dismissed. The dismissal was due to the approval for full funding of the highway by the Iowa Transportation Commission. Continue reading →