We cowl this nation’s highway loss of life epidemic fairly ceaselessly right here at Jalopnik. Sadly, the “I refuse to dwell in a rustic that gained’t let me do issues that put different folks’s lives in danger” crowd continues to do an excellent job of blocking any significant modifications on that entrance. However because of the latest infrastructure invoice and a Division of Transportation that seems to wish to do a greater job on highway security than earlier administrations, we’d truly begin to see some measurable enhancements.
The Washington Put up studies that in the present day, the DOT introduced its plan to concern grants to greater than 500 communities with a deal with the elements of the nation with essentially the most lethal roads. The grants will whole about $800 million and had been introduced alongside new maps that present threat largely relies on the place you reside on this nation.
It’s not a easy rural versus city concern, both. Because the Put up put it, “Relying on which metropolis, county or state Individuals dwell in, their dangers of being killed in, or by, an vehicle range dramatically.” For instance, the maps reportedly present that in 2020, Massachusetts had the bottom highway fatality fee with 4.7 deaths per 100,000 folks. Mississippi, then again, had the very best at 23.2.
Sure areas with disproportionately excessive highway deaths could not recognize being known as out by the DOT, however pretending the issue doesn’t exist isn’t going to make it go away. Focusing on grants on the areas that want them, nevertheless, may help. “We’ve to face it in an effort to repair it,” mentioned Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “We actually want to fulfill communities the place they’re.”
There’s the truth that infrastructure is pricey, and low-population areas typically can’t afford to make their roads safer with out outdoors assist. For instance, take Fayette County, Iowa, with a inhabitants of about 19,000. The county tourism website makes it look completely attractive, however based on County Engineer Joel D. Fantz, Fayette offers with runoff from heavy rain, which causes massive ruts to kind the place the county’s roads meet the shoulder and may trigger crashes.
A $10 million grant will allow Fayette County to add wider shoulders and rumble strips to about 50 miles of road. Iowa had previously given the county money for this project, but the federal government’s assistance will allow it to significantly increase the number of miles of roads it can improve.
“The very thing that [makes] it an attractive place to dwell additionally makes a few of the highway upkeep points difficult,” mentioned Fantz. He later added, “We are able to’t clear up all the issues, however we will attempt to do what we will.… We’re going to make a giant distinction right here in our county.”
Thirty-seven safety-focused development grants had been additionally introduced totaling $590 million. These will go to numerous tasks equivalent to constructing “raised crosswalks in South Los Angeles, protected bike lanes in Atlanta, midblock crosswalks in Tampa and a pedestrian refuge island in Charlotte.”
Along with speaking about how totally different areas of our nation can get safer, Buttigieg additionally highlighted locations which have accomplished an excellent job, together with Jersey Metropolis, which had zero reported highway loss of life final 12 months, in addition to Evanston, Illinois and Edina, Minnesota.
“Lots of people snicker at the concept you might have a nationwide fee of zero on the subject of site visitors fatalities, although we frequently have zero on the subject of passenger airline fatalities,” mentioned Buttigieg. “The extra we will add to that roster, the much less this seems like a pie-in-the-sky objective.”