Ask an Expert: Have Drivers Gotten Worse Since COVID?

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.

Cooperative eco-driving automation improves energy efficiency and safety

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.

Smarter Traffic Signs Ahead?

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.

The rise of ‘Zoom Towns’ in the rural west

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.

Traffic Data Show Drastic Changes in Floridians’ Behavior at Onset of the Pandemic

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.

Research team sees major shift in relationship between state-by-state traffic and COVID-19 cases, offering insights into outcomes of lockdown policies

“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.

Are Some Urban Settings Riskier for Traffic Injury or Death? We Know Less Than You Think

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.

UIC Urban Forum to explore the growth, potential impact and future of autonomous vehicles

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.