Here is my superstition: When you focus on creating more good things, you get more good things; When you focus on solving problems, you get more problems. —Jing Zhang, May ITE Journal, “member to member”
As we develop a national bicycle policy promoting the most sustainable form of transportation imaginable, we’ll do well listening to experienced cyclists and educators. It is tempting to fit new knowledge around what we think we already know. With cycling it helps to see things directly from the cycling perspective, and this changes our outlook.
Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor. —Paul Hawken quoted in “The Artist’s Way”, by Julia Cameron
Brad Cordova, a 27 year old from Belen, New Mexico, has developed a phone app designed to improve driving behavior. It is called TrueMotion, and uses smartphone data and analytics to provide objective feedback to drivers on how they are performing. TrueMotion’s mission is to end distracted driving, but the app’s potential goes well beyond that. The data can be used to help insurance companies identify risk and incentivize safer driving, and help driver’s develop a more eco-sensitive driving attitude, amongst other possibilities. Check out the company website here and read the story on Brad in the Albuquerque Journal newspaper here. Brad’s father is a truck driver, so he grew up hearing stories of incidents on the road. And when Brad was in high school, he was involved in a crash caused by a distracted driver. Plus he observed risky driving behaviors everyday. Brad looked at the statistics and they showed how costly irresponsible driving behavior is. “Every 15 seconds, someone is put in the hospital for a driving-related crash. The No. 1 cause of death for teens is driving,” Brad said in the Albuquerque Journal article. Brad decided to put technology to use for social good and address this pressing challenge. He was named in Forbes magazines 30 under 30 list.
Creating a movement toward healthier streets requires adjusting our expectations. Vision Zero is a multinational road safety project that does just that. It views crashes as preventable and uses a scientific, data-driven approach to identify causes and implement multifaceted solutions that combine education, engineering, planning and enforcement.
Vision Zero sets a goal of safeguarding human life on our streets. Data reveals strategies such as reducing speed limits in areas of high pedestrian activity makes crashes less likely and less severe. Redesigned streets and meaningful behavior change campaigns can create streets that are safe and more vibrant.
The Vision Zero movement is creating more political accountability to synch transportation with priorities in health and sustainability. Los Angeles’s Vision Zero program seeks to design streets that “encourage walking. Research has shown that there is a link between moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, to decrease the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, and other health problems.” Portland, Oregon’s Vision Zero declares families “deserve safe streets” on which to walk and bike. The clear focus is protecting human lives.
Vision Zero started in Sweden in the 1990’s but more than a dozen U.S. cities have adopted it, and more are joining. Denver’s Mayor joined this year with the Director for Transportation saying “our streets are our most public spaces…our home.” Ask your mayor, city council, and governor to take this measure and increase their commitment to safeguarding the public.