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Research Recap, May 16: Walkable Streets, Urban Development Technologies, Car-to-Car Communications

Walkable streets correspond with higher property values, according to a new study. Photo by ehpien.

Welcome to “Research Recap,” our series highlighting recent reports, studies and other findings in sustainable transportation policy and practice, in case you missed it.

Walkable Streets

In a new study aimed at determining the value of walkability, researchers at Reed College found that homes located on walkable streets have higher market value, on average. Such a connection was especially strong when walkability intersected with high amounts of greenery in the streets in question. Being able to tangibly value walkability holds consequence when advocating for “complete streets” policy.

Seat Belt Laws on Driver Behavior

Contrary to previous beliefs, more stringent seat belt laws correspond with less reckless driving, a new study by Yong-Kyun Bae of Hood College shows. The study examined individual-level accident data from a collection of U.S. states and uncovered that stricter seat belt laws relate to fewer accidents.

Hybrid School Buses

Ford Motor Company donated $50,000 as part of its Ford College Community Challenge Grant series to a Georgia Institute of Technology student-team project on converting existing school buses into hydrolic hybrids. The updated buses aim to lower greenhouse gas emissions and save transportation money. The project is reportedly nearing completion.

Urban Development Technologies

With ambitions to become Europe’s largest sustainable development center, Cisco and Living PlanIT recently announced their partnership to work on developing business models for city management, incorporating networking technology and emphasizing sustainable urban living. The team’s center for both technological innovation and research and development is PlanIT Valley, near Parendes in Northern Portugal. Cisco’s involvement in the project chiefly focuses on information technology, communications design and architecture.

Green-Driving Motivations

When purchasing environmentally friendly cars, saving money is a larger consideration than saving the environment, reports a new survey of U.K. motorists by AutoTrader. Seventy-three percent of surveyed motorists reported considering to go green to save money on fuel expenses, while 41 percent reported considering to go green because of environmental interests. As of May 10, the average U.K. price for unleaded gasoline was 137.21p per liter (US$8.56 per gallon).

Car-to-Car Communications

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Dallas will be the first of five site-cities for experiments in their Connected Vehicle Drive Clinics program. The program is developing vehicle technology enabling cars to communicate with one another on the road, as well as communicate with roadway infrastructure. The technology will ultimately provide drivers with safety warnings against crashes and other hazards.

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