Jeff Wood
Urban Reads

U.S. Drivers Increasingly Distracted by Phones

All the city news you can use.

By - Mar 2nd, 2024 09:41 am
Distracted driving. Photo by U.S. Air Force Airman Sadie Colbert.

Distracted driving. Photo by U.S. Air Force Airman Sadie Colbert.

Every day at The Overhead Wire we sort through over 1,500 news items about cities and share the best ones with our email list. At the end of the week, we take some of the most popular stories and share them with Urban Milwaukee readers. They are national (or international) links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

Mexico city running out of water: Mexico City with a population of 22 million is facing an acute water crisis brought about by a number of issues including chaotic urban growth, leaking pipes, and climate change. 60% 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 in as little as a few months. (Laura Paddison, Jack Guy and Fidel Gutiérrez | CNN)

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 serve 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. The question remains however whether it’s actually a good investment, or wasteful subsidy to private businesses. (Jonathan Williams | Time Magazine)

Drivers even more distracted by phones: Insurance company mobile phone apps have offered up a trove of data about how much people are using their phones while driving. The frightening fact is that screen interaction and phone use has gone up 20% since 2020. No one has an exact answer, but on call work culture, automatic transmissions, and riskier driving because of the increased safety inside vehicles as opposed to outside are likely parts of the larger problem. (Marin Cogan | Vox)

Is the rent killing sex?: There are a lot of claims and discussions out there that younger people are having less sex because of a housing shortage and the need to stay with parents longer. Darrell Owens says that might be the case for certain part of society, but he also points to bigger topics including the surge in phone use and social media, and the reduction in early marriages and relationships. (Darrell Owens | The Discourse Lounge)

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 concrete steps that can be taken at all levels to create a safe environment. (Kea Wilson | Streetsblog USA)

Quote of the Week

I believe development around our train stations are a great way to develop and redevelop areas which could be or are already on the rise due to state investment in light rail, bus service and more. Planning grants, which are proposals in this bill, are a key piece of the puzzle to look at and 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 TOD.

This week on the podcast, Yonah Freemark joins us for the annual transportation prediction show! Both episodes I & II are below.

Episode 1

Episode 2

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Categories: Urban Reads

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