A man looks at his cell phone while driving

National Links: Even More Distracted Drivers

Every day, The Overhead Wire collects news about cities and sends the links to their email list. At the end of the week they take some of the most popular stories and post them to Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to Streets.mn that focuses on urban issues in the D.C. region. They are national and international links, sometimes entertaining or absurd but often useful.

Drivers even more distracted by phones: Insurance company mobile phone apps have offered up a trove of data about how often people are using their phones while driving. Screen interaction and phone use has gone up 20% since 2020. No one has an exact reason why, but on-call work culture, automatic transmissions and riskier driving because of the increased safety inside vehicles are likely parts of the larger problem. (Marin Cogan | Vox)

Mexico City running out of water: With a population of 22 million, Mexico City is facing an acute water crisis brought about by chaotic urban growth, leaking pipes and climate change. Sixty percent of the city’s water comes from an underground aquifer, but the extraction has been so great the city is sinking 20 inches a year in some spots. Some officials worry that day zero — where major parts of the city run out of water — could come within a few months. (Laura Paddison, Jack Guy and Fidel Gutiérrez | CNN)

Is the cost of rent killing sex?: Younger people are said to be having less sex because of a housing shortage and the financial need to live with parents longer. Darrell Owens says that might be the case for certain parts of society, but he also points to other reasons — including the surge in phone use and social media, and the reduction in early marriages and relationships. (Darrell Owens | The Discourse Lounge)

History of retailer handouts: Starting in the 1960s, cut-rate retailers such as Kmart, Target and Walmart moved to dominate the retail landscape using new ideas like self-service shopping carts. As cities looked to bolster employment while manufacturing declined, they used incentives and tax breaks to lure these businesses to town. As the business has evolved to shipping and warehouse, the incentives have moved that direction as well. Now, the question remains whether the incentives are a good investment or a wasteful subsidy to private businesses. (Jonathan Williams | Time Magazine)

Safe Systems not enough to end road violence: Transportation leaders around the country have been discussing the Safe Systems Approach as a way to reduce traffic deaths, but the approach as it’s promoted now falls flat, according to Kea Wilson. She believes many of the systems aren’t tied together very well and continue to focus on road users’ “responsibility” rather than taking concrete steps at all levels to create a safe environment. (Kea Wilson | Streetsblog USA)

This week on the podcast, Yonah Freemark joins us for the annual transportation prediction show! Links to episodes 1 and 2 are below.



Quote of the Week

“I believe development around our train stations is a great way to develop and redevelop areas which could be already on the rise due to state investment in light rail, bus service and more. Planning grants, which are key proposals in this bill, put concrete ideas on paper for not just change, but to create an avenue for investment for the private sector.”

— Chris Edge, economic development director for Berlin CT, in the CT Mirror discussing a new bill that would use distressed communities funds to build transit-oriented development

Jeff Wood

About Jeff Wood

Jeff Wood is an urban planner focused on transportation and land use issues living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jeff blogs at The Overhead Wire and tweets @theoverheadwire. He also shares news links daily from around the country on issues related to cities at The Direct Transfer