David Zipper Profile picture
Jan 9 5 tweets 3 min read
I'm at @USDOT's #TRBAM session re: roadway safety.

I'll give USDOT credit: They start by showing per capita roadway death rates for other countries, and then poll the TRB crowd, asking what they think the US fatality rate is (the audience's estimate was too low).

Good message
Deputy Secretary @Pollytrott: "It's really incredible that the US road fatality rate is 5x the United Kingdom...There are a lot of ways you can explain that." And then she moved on.

I'd like to hear her talk about those explanations!
.@NHTSAgov head Ann Carlson:

"We are updating NCAP [federal crash safety ratings] and hope to have a new round completed in the next six months."

She says it will include pedestrian protection.

Context on NCAP in the article below
FHWA's Stephanie Pollack:

"Automakers do not *have* to wait until @NHTSAgov issues new rules in order to make their cars safer. They can just do it." [Applause]

A wild idea
During Q&A I asked @NHTSAgov's Ann Carlson why other rich countries are so much safer than the US, and what lessons the US should take from them.

Her answer was that other nations have:
- Lower car speeds
- Lower blood-alcohol limits for drivers
- "Smaller vehicles" (!!)

• • •

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More from @DavidZipper

Jan 10
Growing megarich by transforming the car industry – and then risking it all by buying a media company, attacking minorities, cozying up to tyrants, fighting unions, and alienating a wide swath of the country?

Henry Ford did it first.

Me in @Slate (🧵⤵️)
A few points of comparison:

“Transforming the car industry”

Ford: Assembly lines and interchangeable parts

Musk: Making EVs cool and selling them directly to consumers ImageImage
“Buying a media company and using it to attack a vulnerable minority”

Ford: Using the Dearborn Independent to spread antisemitism

Musk: Belittling transgender people on Twitter ImageImage
Read 9 tweets
Jan 4
In @TheAtlantic I make the case against enormous, supercharged electric behemoths:

"[The] focus on large, battery-powered SUVs and trucks reinforces a destructive American desire to drive something bigger, faster, and heavier than everyone else."

For the planet’s sake, we must replace gas guzzlers with electric vehicles.

But electrification shouldn’t reinforce the worst habits of US carmakers:
-Truck/SUV bloat that endangers all other road users
-Needlessly quick acceleration, which can kill
Automakers are now shifting their EV models toward big, pricy SUVs and trucks, just as they did with gas cars.

Oversized vehicles have helped create the US road safety crisis. This driver was unable to see 9 kids lined up in front of their SUV.
Read 10 tweets
Dec 29, 2022
I wrote ~40 articles in 2022, focusing on 3 themes:

🔷 The US has failed at road safety. Time for a reboot.
🔷 Better to focus on “mundane mobility” solutions that splashy new tech
🔷 Batteries + Small vehicles = Amazing Opportunities

A 🧵 with highlights

In Jan. I interviewed @SecretaryPete about @USDOT's new safety strategy. It’s a constructive doc.

But @NHTSAgov still ignores the safety of those outside of cars, and US crash death are at a 16-year high. We have a long way to go.
A core problem: The insularity of US road safety professionals who cannot explain why US crash death rates are several times higher than in other countries

I wrote a @CityLab series comparing the US to its peers, culminating in this deep dive.
Read 16 tweets
Dec 27, 2022
My top mobility policy of 2022:

Denver offering residents $400 off an e-bike or $900 off an e-cargo bike (low-income residents get more).

4,700+ have participated. According to the city, the avg recipient now uses an e-bike/cargo e-bike in lieu of a car ~3.4x/week.

E--bikes are fantastic – for the planet, health, and road safety.

Often overlooked: Their battery is ~1-2% the size of an electric car battery, which frees up scarce material for *other* batteries.

More batteries --> Faster electrification of transport.
Denver launched its program in April. It’s been wildly popular from the outset.

Notably, recipients get the rebate at the point of purchase – they don’t have to wait to claim it on their taxes.

Read 7 tweets
Dec 26, 2022
Over the last few days I visited The Villages, FL and Peachtree City, GA -- two places where residents frequently use golf carts to get around town.

Here’s what I saw.

🧵 Image
The weather was awful when I stopped by The Villages, a fast-growing 60+ community in central Florida, but I still saw a ton of golf carts.

Put up some plastic sheets, and you’re protected from the rain. ImageImage
The Villages was designed for golf carts; they can be life savers for those otherwise unable to drive.

Many roads have separated golf cart paths, and local streets are slow (with many roundabouts) so golf carts comfortably mix with car traffic. Image
Read 12 tweets
Dec 13, 2022
In @CityLab, I wrote about one of the most exciting trends in transportation:

The rapid rise of weird and wonderful minicars that are safer, less polluting, and a heck of a lot cheaper than full-sized cars (let alone SUVs/trucks).

🧵 below
@CityLab What do minicars look like? They come in various shapes and sizes.

Some look like miniature cars; others are three-wheeled “autocycles” Golf carts count, too.

All are electric and slower/smaller/lighter than a car, but faster/heavier than a bike.
Should we be excited about minicars? YES

Compared to cars, they are:
✅ More affordable
✅ Less polluting
✅ More space-efficient
✅ Usable by those w/ limited mobility
✅ Less likely to kill someone outside of them in a crash
Read 12 tweets

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