As the restrictions around COVID-19 are lifted, and more and more people hit the road to return to their work spaces and routines, you may have heard a familiar refrain: “People have forgotten how to drive.” Is it true? Are drivers worse now than they were before the coronavirus pandemic took over the world? The answer, according to Dwight A. Hennessy, department chair and professor of psychology at Buffalo State College, is probably not.
Connected, automated vehicles promise to save energy and improve safety. Michigan Tech engineers propose a modeling framework for cooperative driving. Simulation results show that the cooperative automated eco-driving algorithm saves energy — 7% under light traffic and 23% under heavy traffic.
Some cities’ self-reported emissions are as much as 145 percent below standardized estimates, distorting the data on which climate change policy actions are based.
Researchers in Poland have created smart road signs that use built-in Doppler radar, video, and acoustic radar and weather stations to monitor road traffic and conditions to warn drivers in real-time of hazards and prevent collisions on highways. During the 179th ASA Meeting, Dec. 7-10, Andrzej Czyzewski will describe his applied research project to develop autonomous road signs with built-in acoustic radar devices.
COVID-19 has expedited a trend of migration into western gateway communities—remote workers are fleeing cities to ride out the pandemic. A new study using data from 2018 found that growing populations caused urgent planning pressures, and officials felt unprepared to respond to and prepare for problems associated with rapid growth.
A study using same-day traffic volumes for March 2019 and March 2020 across Florida examined the chronological relationship of key governmental requests for public isolation and travel limitations. Results show the drastic changes in human behavior during the onset of the pandemic. Traffic volumes by March 22, 2020, dropped by 47.5 percent compared to that same point in 2019. Moreover, traffic declined in March 2020 corresponding with the governor’s state of emergency declaration and school, restaurant, and bar closures.
Using air quality data from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency monitors across the U.S., a UW-led team looked for changes in two common pollutants over the course of 2020.
“In many states, traffic appears to be a leading indicator, increasing first, with COVID-19 cases rising after a delay of up to 11 days,” said Northern Arizona University professor Kevin Gurney, head of the NAU research group analyzing the data. Pawlok Dass, a postdoc in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems, is the lead research scientist on the project.
New research has predicted that driverless cars could worsen traffic congestion in the coming decades, partly because of drivers’ attitudes to the emerging technology and a lack of willingness to share their rides.
How risky is travel in the U.S.? It gets tricky. Despite a lot of research on the dangers of traffic injury and death, there’s a lack of clarity on the role of the built environment (roadway designs and adjoining development) and its risk effects. Before we can know how risky a given built environment is, we have to know how many people are traveling there, and in many cases, for pedestrians and cyclists, this data is not available.
The University of Illinois at Chicago’s 2019 Urban Forum, titled “Are we there yet? The myths and realities of autonomous vehicles,” will examine the questions and uncertainties surrounding not only the societal and legislative impact of autonomous vehicles, but also the technological advances needed for these vehicles to proliferate.