‘Mobility, Technology and Safety: The Next 20 Years’: New NSC report coming in July

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Washington — The National Safety Council has released the executive summary of its forthcoming research report on the evolution of mobility and the implications of past actions on the future of safe mobility.

The “Mobility, Technology and Safety: The Next 20 Years” report, funded by insurance company Allstate, examines the history of mobility safety and how it can help identify trends that will define mobility over the next two decades.

“The United States is facing a national crisis,” NSC says, citing preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that shows roadway fatalities are at a 16-year high. Last year, more than 46,000 people were killed on U.S. roads.

“Vulnerable road users – those who are walking, biking or are otherwise outside a vehicle – are dying at faster rates,” the council continues. “Communities of color and low-income communities also experience higher rates of fatalities and are overrepresented in these data. To reverse these deadly trends, NSC seeks to leverage research, knowledge, and passion for this topic to find new solutions and turn the tide on traffic violence.”

The executive summary features 10 key conclusions on the “dramatic changes” coming to city streets and sidewalks over the next 20 years:

  1. Motor vehicles will remain the top source of street deaths.
  2. Widespread advanced driver assistance systems should be expected – but not autonomous vehicles.
  3. Climate change will fundamentally alter urban transportation.
  4. Denser neighborhoods will experience faster change in urban transportation technology.
  5. Parcel delivery is poised for disruption.
  6. Urban vehicles should be regulated by size and speed (rather than form factor) to encourage safety as well as innovation.
  7. Street rules shouldn’t be made to promote or enable a particular technology.
  8. Cities should be able to manage their streets and sidewalks.
  9. Revisions to infrastructure and policy will be essential to enhance safety, even in the best case of technological improvement.
  10. Protection of vulnerable road users will support equity goals.

“Recent history indicates the potential value of such forward-looking analysis,” said Mark Chung, executive vice president of the roadway practice at NSC. “Over the previous 20 years, waves of new technologies have disrupted urban transportation, from car share and ride hail to e-scooters and bike share. Public officials, and many advocacy groups, were caught off guard by this unprecedented rate of technological change, and they were often unsure how to respond to the safety concerns that emerged. Preparing in advance for the next generation of transformative technology and taking time to reflect on our current environment can save lives.”

The executive summary was unveiled June 29 during an event at the National Press Club. The full report is scheduled to be released July 26 during a webinar hosted by NSC.

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