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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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Home health, hospice nurses in OR call for union contract agreement; MS ranks low among states for long-term care services, supports; and a look at how adopting children changed the lives of two Texas women.

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Former Vice President Mike Pence reportedly tells investigators more details about efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley wins the endorsement of a powerful Koch brothers' network and a Senate committee targets judicial activists known to lavish gifts upon Supreme Court justices.

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Congress has iced the long-awaited Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents speak out about a planned road through Alaska's Brooks Range a dream destination for hunters and angler.

Could narrower traffic lanes help reduce harmful emissions?

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Friday, November 17, 2023   

Wisconsin's largest city has seen recent debate over highway expansion plans amid environmental concerns, and a new study suggested for similar projects, some effects could be limited if narrower traffic lanes are prioritized.

The expansion plan in Milwaukee involves a stretch of Interstate 94. Research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was more focused on urban roadways with speed limits of around 35 miles an hour.

Shima Hamidi, director of the Center for Climate-Smart Transportation and assistant professor of public health at Johns Hopkins University who helped lead the study, said switching from lane widths between 11 and 12 feet, long the norm, down to 9 feet helps reduce traffic collisions. She pointed out it also leaves more room for options not involving vehicles.

"It will help many people to switch from driving to other modes of transportation, such as biking and walking," Hamidi explained. "Which could result in greenhouse gas emission reductions from transportation."

The study contended with narrower lanes, people will not feel compelled to drive as fast and will be more alert. Hamidi acknowledged while the approach might slow traffic, past research shows minimal effects, which means the changes would not cancel out environmental benefits. Other studies have shown expanding the number of lanes, in general, does not reduce congestion.

Hamidi also noted transportation planners and engineers have expressed liability concerns, but she emphasized her team's study is one of the first to give cities and states firm data, on the traffic safety side, showing skinnier lanes are more effective.

"We are getting more and more interest from transportation planners, mostly at the local level," Hamidi observed. "Cities are eager and interested to really see how this could be implemented."

Hamidi added the next steps involve more research to quantify some of the other impacts, including air pollution. The study issued this month analyzed nearly 1,200 streets in seven cities around the
U.S. The findings come amid a gradual increase in pedestrian fatalities over the past decade.


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