Highway Death Tolls Rise for First Time in Six Years

Crash fatalities on U.S. highways in 2012 rose 5.3% as compared to 2011. This number ended a six year run of consistent declines in crash fatalities. Approximately 34,000 people died on highways in 2012 – meaning that 1.1 people die per 100 million vehicle miles driven in the U.S.

The increase in fatalities, Bloomberg reports, “outpaced” the 2012 increase in the number of miles driven by Americans. Americans drove only .3% more than in the previous year.

CTLS researcher Dr. Norman Garrick has conducted research which aimed to compare fatality rates in the United States to those in other countries. Compared to many other developed countries, the U.S has extremely high rates of highway fatalities. The world’s safest country is the Netherlands, where there are only 4 highway deaths per 100,000 citizens. These new numbers put the U.S. around 10 deaths per 100,000 people.

Parking Spaces are Replacing Yangon, Myanmar’s Vibrant City Life

Yangon, Myanmar has had stalled economic and social development since the country’s take over by a military government. However, the city’s lack of improving infrastructure has left it’s streets resembling a turn of the 20th century colonial city.

Now, with imported automobiles legal for the first time in decades, the city is experience it’s first traffic jam… literally and figuratively; as It’s cultural heritage and practices are being replaced by parking spaces.

Reported by The Atlantic Cities, shop owners in Yangon who once relied on sidewalk seating to accommodate their customers are losing that space to newly constructed parking spaces.

The article reads:

“In February, workmen hired by the municipal government arrived, unannounced, and began digging up the sidewalk. They reduced its width by nearly two-thirds, felled the smaller trees, and marked out car parking spaces where the cafe’s chairs and tables once were. “It’s so sad,” said Premier’s owner, who asked not to be named (reluctance to publicly criticize the government endures in this former pariah state). “People used to love sitting out under those trees.”

An influx in people’s ability to buy a car has – naturally – resulted in a larger amount of cars in Yangon than ever before. With drivers complaining of “escalating journey times, and fierce competition for parking space,” municipal leaders decided that increasing the amount of parking was a necessary step in modernization.

However, increasing the parking allowance of a downtown area does not guarantee economic success. As is exhibited in american cities like Hartford, and Detroit, sacrificing the ‘walk-ability’ and fluidity of a city for more auto traffic can destroy the character and sustainability of a city.

If you rub out street life in the process, Lucy Musgrave notes, “it is very difficult to ever manufacture it again.” Musgrave is the director of Publica, a London-based urban design consultancy.

Musgrave’s conclusions run hand-in-hand with CTLS researcher Dr. Norman Garrick’s research, which explores the effect of over-development of parking on a cities viability. His research suggests that areas in which parking became more important than maintaining pedestrian traffic – city centers lost much of their heart and soul establishments.

It is yet to be seen whether parking spaces will have same detrimental effect on Yangon’s cultural place-holders. Let’s hope that they don’t.