U.S. taking safety tips from European cities
Pedestrians and bicyclists far safer there than in U.S.
Copenhagen, Denmark; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and Oslo, Norway face many of the same challenges as cities in the United States, including: rapid growth, urbanization, congestion, climate change and increased freight traffic yet on a recent visit there, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx navigated city streets safely on a bicycle. The three cities are considered some of the "smartest" in the world.
“We moved safely through these cities the way so many residents routinely do – on a bike – and we looked at how data and technology are shaping transportation systems for the better,” said Fox.
Foxx’s trip was part of an ongoing effort to learn from international partners about innovative ways to meet the transportation challenges of the future. He met with city officials, architects and planners and the three cities and gathered ideas to back to the U.S.
Portland, South Bend and Austin represented
Foxx was joined by Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, TX; Mayor Charlie Hales of Portland, OR; and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, IN. These three mayors are part of the Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, an initiative launched by Secretary Foxx in 2014, which allows the U.S. DOT to partner with mayors to make biking and walking safer in cities. Mayors Adler and Hales are also finalists in the Smart City Challenge, which aims to help define what it means to be an American “Smart City,” and lead the country in planning for the challenges of the future, as determined by U.S. DOT’s Beyond Traffic study.
The mayors participated in panels and conversations with experts and thinkers about their experiences as city leaders, and how they can make incremental changes to improve the lives of their constituents.
Eager to “incorporate these ideas”
"Imagining the possibilities is as vital to transforming urban mobility as technological innovations or building new infrastructure,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “If we believe that it is better to use bus lines, bike paths, and boulevards to more closely connect everyone than to divide entire communities, first we must see that it is possible. The cities we visited with Secretary Foxx showed us what is possible, and we are eager to incorporate these ideas into a future for American cities that provides ladders of opportunity for everyone.”
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg added; “Exchanging ideas with some of the world's most successful bike-oriented cities will help South Bend accommodate cars, bikes, and pedestrians in our future plans.”
During his visit, Secretary Foxx also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with each of the three countries, formalizing cooperation with each nation on a range of transportation priorities, including automated and connected vehicles, smart cities, and multi-modal urban mobility.