Public Transit Ridership Highest in Decades

A March 10, 2014 article in METRO magazine summarized a recent report from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) showing that 10.7 billion trips were taken on public transportation.  This is the highest annual ridership number in the past 57 years.

Interestingly, the article states:

Overall, while vehicle miles traveled on roads (VMT) went up 0.3%, public transportation use in 2013 increased by 1.1%. It was the eighth year in a row that more than 10 billion trips were taken on public transportation systems nationwide.

Further, a quote from APTA President Michael Melaniphy clarifies the situation:

“There is a fundamental shift going on in the way we move about our communities. People in record numbers are demanding more public transit services and communities are benefiting with strong economic growth,”

Click HERE for access to the complete APTA report.

We conclude that people are willing to use public transit as long as those fixed routes take them to places that they need to be on a daily basis, and each commuter who trades their car for a bus or train reduces congestion on the highways.  If these ridership numbers drop and more people drive to work, congestion (and likely fender benders) will increase also.

Traffic Congestion Accelerating thru 2013

According to a recent article in Heavy Duty Trucking (click HERE), “A new report shows traffic congestion in the U.S. increased last year after two consecutive years of declines and is growing faster than the nation’s economy.”

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That report being cited is the 7th Annual Traffic Scorecard Report by a company called INRIX (click HERE).

Why is it important to know that congestion is rising?

  1. indicator of economic recovery
  2. predictor of crash rates (higher congestion should produce more fender-benders)
  3. impact on fuel, idling and lost productivity (from sitting in stalled traffic)
  4. indicator of unemployment trends (when people are unemployed, they’re not commuting to work, but when they accept new jobs much further from home, they commute longer distances in unfamiliar territories)
  5. indicator to the government planners that road capacities need to be monitored and infrastructure improved

TeleMaticsMany of the issues facing fleet operators due to congestion can be addressed through the use of an inexpensive, easy to use, plug-n-play telematics system like the one offered by SafetyFirst (the GO platform from GEOTAB).

With simple reporting, fleets can monitor and adjust their habits to conserve fuel, increase routing efficiency, avoid congestion and increase productivity.  On top of all that, the data can provide additional insights into safety especially when you blend MVR data, past crash data and How’s my driving data into a single behavior profile through our E-DriverFile system.

Have you seen increases in congestion in your area of the country?  If so, how have your operators been coping with the added delays and stress?  Is your company looking to lower fuel spend and increase safety through telematics?

Traffic Fatalities Increased In 2012

NHTSA 2012 OverviewWhile it’s tragic that deaths increased in 2012, we are glad that highway deaths over the past five years are at historic lows.  What’s strange was the sudden and unexpected rise in crash activity during the first two quarters of 2012 (the first quarter jump in activity was the largest spike in recorded NHTSA history.)

So here’s the latest from NHTSA:

  • …highway deaths increased to 33,561 in 2012, which is 1,082 more fatalities than in 2011. The majority of the increase in deaths, 72 percent, occurred in the first quarter of the year.
  • While Americans drove approximately the same amount of miles in 2012 as in the previous year, the new FARS data released today showed a 3.3 percent increase in fatalities from the previous year.
  • Fatalities in 2011 were at the lowest level since 1949 and even with this slight increase in 2012, we are still at the same level of fatalities as 1950. Early estimates on crash fatalities for the first half of 2013 indicate a decrease in deaths compared to the same timeframe in 2012.
  • Fatalities among pedestrians increased for the third consecutive year (6.4 percent increase over 2011). The data showed the large majority of pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas, at non-intersections, at night and many involved alcohol.
  • Motorcycle rider fatalities increased for the third consecutive year (7.1 percent increase over 2011). Ten times as many riders died not wearing a helmet in states without a universal helmet law than in states with such laws.
  • Large-truck occupant fatalities increased for the third consecutive year (8.9 percent over 2011).
  • Deaths in crashes involving drunk drivers increased 4.6 percent in 2012, taking 10,322 lives compared to 9,865 in 2011. The majority of those crashes involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher – nearly double the legal limit.
  • The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328, while an estimated 421,000 people were injured, a 9 percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011. NHTSA is just beginning to identify distraction-related accidents, and is continuing work to improve the way it captures data to better quantify and identify potential trends in this area.
  • Nighttime seat belt use continues to be a challenge. In nighttime crashes in 2012, almost two-thirds of the people that died were unrestrained.

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NHTSA has prepared a summary of the 2012 data as a PDF which can be found HERE

Additionally, NHTSA has a preliminary look at 2013 available HERE

So if your fleet has seen an uptick in fender benders, consider a review of the many free articles offered at this blog site.  Further, if you need more specific help, call on us.

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