Also: The power of “social infrastructure,” and a daring experiment in digital democracy.
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What We’re Following
Street smarts: Every day, about 102 people in the United States are killed in motor vehicle crashes. The majority of the crash-related deaths (which total more than 37,000 each year) occur in rural areas, but these fatalities have been rising in urban areas since 2009. That has spurred more than 30 cities in the U.S. to commit to Vision Zero, with the goal of bringing their road fatalities to zero by 2025.
To make this happen, cities have taken a range of steps that include improvements in street design and stricter traffic enforcement. A new bit of research from the American Public Transportation Association and the Vision Zero Network finds that public transit can be a safety workhorse, too. In cities where public transit trips get taken more frequently, there are fewer road deaths for passengers and pedestrians. The secret? Buses and trains get more people out of their cars. Read up on the research in my latest story: Cities With Good Public Transit Have Fewer Road Fatalities
More on CityLab
The Arch of History
Fifty years ago, Vice President Hubert Humphrey dedicated the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, describing it as "a soaring curve in the sky that links the rich heritage of yesterday with the richer future of tomorrow.” What's to come in the next 50 years? An illustrated piece imagines a historian’s lecture in the year 2068, retelling 100 years of the city’s history as it struggles through an intractable soft decline. The St. Louis story continues with bankruptcy, emergency management, and vacancy, yet city leaders still hope for a return to vitality. Read on CityLab: St. Louis: 2068.
What We’re Reading
Los Angeles is teaming up with other cities to get cheaper electric vehicles (Wired)
Crumbling concrete, leaking roofs, and busted elevators: The state of the T (Boston Globe)
What millions of retiring small business owners could mean for cities (Next City)
How struggling Dayton, Ohio reveals the chasm among American cities (ProPublica)