(Unedited) Podcast Transcript 317: Transportation and Law Part 2

January 20, 2021

This week we’re headed back to the Iowa Law Review’s Symposium The Future of Law and Transportation. In Part 2 of this series, Professor Jonathan Levine moderates a panel of four including Professor David Prytherch, Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, Professor Tara Goddard, and Professor Vanessa Casado Perez on the topic of Rights of Way and Public Space.

Below is the full unedited transcript for episode 317.  We’ll come back and fix when we’ve finished editing!

So recently Iowa law, professor Greg shill, and his team put together a symposium that brings together scholars and lawyers to think about pressing issues related to law and transportation. I’m going to take some of these panels and cut them down in order to share them with you. All. This is part two.

Greg Shill (1m 47s):
This panel is called rights and public space. And the folks on this panel are David . Professor of geography at Miami university general Jefferson Jones. Who’s an associate professor of law at the university of Missouri, Kansas city school of law. Tara Goddard is an assistant professor at Texas a and M in the college of architecture department of landscape architecture and urban planning and Vanessa Cosato Perez. And it says do professor of law also at Texas a and M but in law school. And she’s also a research associate professor of extra cultural economics at Texas a and M department of agricultural economics moderating.

Professor David Prytherch (2m 29s):
This panel will be Jonathan Levine. And so without further ado, David Christchurch, please take the floor. Okay. I want to start by thanking Iowa law for inviting me. It’s really an honor to be here. I want to thank Greg and Hayley and Dana. So what I’m going to talk about today is I am a geographer and a planner, and I’d like to talk about mobility justice and the public right away and taking a geographical perspective on the let’s see, I can, I think we all know that streets are transport infrastructure. We’ve been talking about that and they’re engineered for flow as we’ve been talking about, but we also want to remind ourselves that streets are public spaces and thus they have a geography of mobility rights duties and then justice.

Professor David Prytherch (3m 21s):
But what do we mean by justice? And I want to share real quickly some of the debates that are coming out of geography and cognitive disciplines to try to take a different perspective on transportation. Mobility. Transportation’s always been of great interest in geography to geography because it really embodies spatial interaction in place. But when I first came into geography, that was really a regional science problem done with gravity models. But what we’ve seen recently is, is reframing the question of transportation as a political thing. You know, that, that we know that there are unequal power relations among peoples. They have different experiences and more than just our individual experiences, we know that those things are framed by systems, right?

Professor David Prytherch (4m 2s):
Spatial, infrastructural, institutional moorings. So what are some of those moorings that can kind of constrain or enable our, our transportation? Well, it’s wonderful of course, to be here today, to talk about the law and I, I’m not a lawyer, but geography within geography. There’s a sub field that looks at legal geographies and why geographers think the law is interesting is because there’s an incredible dialectic between law and space and it’s a two-way street, right? You know, that the understandings of space and, and spatiality are fundamental to legal understandings and practices, but in that reciprocal way, then, then the law shapes how public space the street is, a public space is regulated conceived of an argued about.

Professor David Prytherch (4m 46s):
So, you know, what’s interesting as a geographer is that there’s, there are broad debates about the city and its streets and, and what are our claims to it as citizens and residents, you know, their broad philosophical claims. And I love these, you know, Henri Le FEV talks about the right turbine life to central reality, to places of encounter and exchange these broad, radical claims to the street. But those of us who know the law know that, well, there are these things called legally cognizable claims, right. You know, do I have a legally cognizant will claim to, to circulate through space? And that’s the, the mobility part, but, but there’s a bigger picture question.

Professor David Prytherch (5m 26s):
When we think about these public spaces like streets and sidewalks, is it just for flow or do we have a broader political claim to public spaces like sidewalks? And so what this leads us all to then is, is there’s a lot of talk in geography about rights, but increasingly we’re also talking about justice because different people have different claims to the street. And those claims like their bodies occasionally collide with each other. So w w we need to do, and this is my struggle in recent years has been to just try to draw from different traditions to understand w what would adjust St. Be like, I mean, it’s one thing to say, I have a claim to it, but other people do too.

Professor David Prytherch (6m 9s):
And so we can pull from all kinds of different places. Of course, we can pull from political philosophy and talk about an initial position of equality of roles. Would political economists like David Harvey would talk about adjust distribution justly arrived at, but I’ve been really inspired by feminists and religious ethicists. Who’ve talked about capabilities and even the street as a, as a rightly related community, that’s not unjust within all of that, though. We’re talking about streets as a different kind of space and mobility is a different kind of process. So the really big debate in geography recently has been to frame and understand what do we mean by mobility justice and, and I, and other scholars, who’ve tried to pull together these different threads to talk about some things that we would expect out of adjust street, you know, does it fairly distribute, not just accessibility, for example, as a good, but does it fairly balance our rights?

Professor David Prytherch (7m 4s):
Does it fairly distribute the benefits of the street, for example, as well as its burdens. And is there procedural sense? Is, is there fairness in decision-making? So Shalia is a scholar who just wrote a book on mobility justice. So it’s about equity, but it’s also about recognition participation and deliberation. And the other thing to think about is that it’s not just mobility, that mobility is set within other questions about equity in our communities. So if we adopt that kind of framework five and trying to understand the question, this, you know, how is mobility justice, if we frame it like this, or it’s absence shaped through traffic and design.

Professor David Prytherch (7m 45s):
And that’s where I’m very happy to build on Sarah’s presentation, as well as Jonathan’s. And so I’ve been as a geographer, been trying to take a tour through rounds that are not necessarily my home turf, but they’ve been really fun because you can ask the question, how does the public space come to be in the first place of the street and, and what is its purpose? And so this leads one to, for example, your local revised statutes, you know, that the street it’s acquisition through pub eminent domain for example, is, is, is public. And, and the municipalities are given care supervision and control of the street. Interestingly, in Ohio, the sidewalk is, is the land responsibility.

Professor David Prytherch (8m 28s):
And while there’s a duty for the city to make sure that the street doesn’t kill you with a big pothole, we, we don’t assume that responsibility in Ohio for the sidewalk. So you start to see there’s some distributional problem. What’s interesting though, is that even the public ownership is there’s a public purpose that has to be behind public ownership of the street. It doesn’t specify what that purpose is, where that purpose starts to come in. Is those coats that we’ve started to talk about that for the last 100 years, almost that there’ve been uniform vehicle codes in the United States developed by groups that are not really public, but are kind of public like that promote for example, uniform vehicle codes that define public ways is being open for the uses of the public for the purposes of vehicular travel.

Professor David Prytherch (9m 19s):
Okay, here’s the public purse use and purpose, right? You know, vehicular travel. That’s a very, that’s a narrow definition of what the public space of the street is for, but that’s been the dominant definition for essentially those are just model statutes, but they’re, but they’re adopted in our state traffic codes, which again, if you just want to take a discursive approach to it, those codes are not called mobility codes or transport codes. They’re often called motor vehicle codes. And those then define the roadway spaces. They define the purposes of the space. So the roadway is for vehicular travel. The sidewalk is for pedestrians and it defines what the spatiality is.

Professor David Prytherch (10m 2s):
And it defines the crosswalk as a hybrid kind of space. And so what we have is the public right of way. That’s now by law divided up geographically into different corridors. And, and there are different lines that are drawn and they’re then assigned to modes by definition. But if we want to back to rights, we want to ask the law, well, what right. Does the law give us to be in the street? And interestingly, the rights are really defined in terms of mobility that we define it in terms of right of way. And this is one of the juiciest definitions for me. It’s this idea that what is my right? Well, my right is defined in terms of my right to proceed.

Professor David Prytherch (10m 42s):
Uninterruptedly in preference to another. So if we want to talk about mobility, politics, what’s more political than one person needing to yield to another in space. And, and this is very geographical too. So, you know, it depends on your space. If you’re in the roadway in Ohio, you shall yield right away to all vehicles. The sidewalk is different. And the crosswalk is interesting. You’ll say, okay, well, drivers are supposed to yield right away to the pedestrian, except for signals indicate otherwise. But you look at a street like this and the heart of my town, where crosswalks are absent. You know, they’re implied in the law, but if they’re absent, you have a right to a design feature that may not exist for you, or you have a right to the sidewalk, but the sidewalk doesn’t exist.

Professor David Prytherch (11m 27s):
You know, my education as someone who’s dabbling in the, law’s been really interesting to get into case law because it turns out that our mobile bodies collide with each other and, and judges need to sort out who’s at fault who bears liability. And so it’s not just statutes, which talk a lot about our rights. What about our duties? And so it’s really interesting to think about the rights and responsibilities that are also assigned then by space and mode. So in Ohio, for example, the driver owes no duty of care to pedestrians outside the Sabra, do crosswalk, do not step in front of a car in Ohio because you know, the doc, the driver owes no duty of care to you.

Professor David Prytherch (12m 10s):
So let’s take a space. That’s extensively pedestrianized, like the crosswalk. You have a preferential, but not an absolute right. And the pedestrian must maintain a continuous duty of care. So even in a space where ostensibly you have the right, you have to maintain duty of care as a pedestrian. And if you get, if you step out and you get hit by somebody, if you’re being distracted, for example, pedestrian, you can be partially liable for your own injuries. We can, again, you know, think about this in terms of rights and justice. I want to talk at length because Sarah is introduced us to the design standards. Those things exist in the law, but then they are codified in a way spatially through engineering and design standards. So the Ash toe it’s, it’s, it’s how we approach the spatiality the geometry of the street, which the traditional motto of Asheville was for efficiency, comfort, safety, and convenience of the motorist.

Professor David Prytherch (13m 2s):
Again, not super duper subtle. And it’s really interesting. It takes these design parameters of who’s the vehicle and what are their parameters and how do they operate? And then the language is accommodation of other modes, you know, so do we accommodate other modes, but those are typically not mandated. And so it’s voluntary. And then, you know, what’s interesting to me is that that’s the asphalt. So how about the other stuff so that there are these uniform traffic control device manuals that are adopted federally, but, but also in our States to ensure orderly movement of all road users. And so this informs your signs and your markings that the governor flow through the street. And again, the signal assigns the right of way.

Professor David Prytherch (13m 42s):
So that politics of the street who gets the right of way, the signal helps determine that. So my argument with all of this is that the street is unjust by law and design extensively. You look at the, the Levi revised code, for example, the motor vehicle codes do assign rights to all people, but again, the design features don’t necessarily ensure that they’re there. And then if we think about procedurally I’m on my local city council to try to understand how roadways get engineered, I don’t even have access to that process. Okay. And so it’s not democratic. If you want to buy the green book, you know, be prepared to shell out $400.

2 (14m 22s):

Professor David Prytherch (14m 22s):
What is a more just street look like? And I’m really excited here. I don’t want to talk too much about complete streets, cause I know Beth is here. Who’s going to talk about the great work they’re doing, but it totally reframed a total reframing the streets it’s happening now, which is, you know, there’s this coalition of people are saying, no, it’s not about routine. Accommodation streets are for everyone. Pedestrian cyclists have rights to the street. So they’re equally deserving of safe facilities. It’s an equity argument. It’s a justice argument fundamentally, but again, saying it’s not enough. So cities have adopted standards that for example, commit to inequitable vision, and these policies have even gotten better about emphasizing, protecting the vulnerable and underserved communities that this is not just some of the time.

Professor David Prytherch (15m 9s):
It should be all of the time and the exception should be rare. And what’s really powerful about this. It says, you know what, maybe the engineer shouldn’t be the only people controlling the street and we should use these best practices that do exist. And what’s interesting to me that the Nashville manual is free. You can see it on the web and you can see how your streets could be more intermodal just, but also more livable. And what’s really even more profound to me is that it’s beyond just dinner. Modalism, we’re now talking about that these are public spaces and how can they be used in a more open and truly public way. And maybe that means taking space away from cars and using it for public place purposes.

Professor David Prytherch (15m 52s):
So that’s the most radical thing for me, but I think that we have to get back to the law because the uniform vehicle code is itself fundamentally unjust in its construction. And so this thing’s overdue for a major rehaul. So in conclusion, you know, that the street is, is unjust by law and design, but we have an opportunity to imagine a more just street. And it won’t be easy because streets and codes are durable, but we can not only reimagine transportation, but we can. Re-imagine what the city is like. And why I’m honored to be here is because the law is a really good place to start. So thank you for your time.

Jonathan Levine (16m 32s):
So the next speaker is general Jefferson Jones.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (16m 36s):
Alrighty. Just wanted to make sure I shared my screen. Okay. There we go. So I may be the ad duck on the panel, which is normally what I am anyway. I’m not a transportation scholar at all. I’m a property scholar. And so I like to see, I see property everywhere. I see it in, in all things. And so you’ll, you’ll see that as I talk about driving while black, as living while black, I also see it in what others may see as criminal justice issues. First though, I do want to thank Greg shill and Iowa law for inviting me to be here today and Hailey and Dana for all of their work and especially Haley for her patience with me.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (17m 24s):
So the work that I want to talk to you about today is entitled driving while black has living while black. And it grew out of a recent article that I co-wrote with Tasmania Henderson. The article was published earlier this year in American Laurie view, American university law review. And it was entitled living while black blackness, as again, like I said, in all of these criminal justice issues and other issues, I had Jesse property. And so in that piece, we examined a slew of 2018 and 2019 incidents in which white people called the police on black people who were engaged in every day activities.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (18m 10s):
And in our article, we began, we worked to bridge the gap between criminal law and property law by examining how these complaints and what we call living while black incidents deployed the language of land use to provoke state violence, with the aim of excluding black people from shared spaces. So in this paper that we’re, that I’m talking about today in driving while black, as living wild black, I argue that that like the larger genre of living while black incidents, the subset of driving while black incidents can be analyzed as a property issue rather than solely a criminal justice problem.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (18m 52s):
So in that way, I’m further expanding the living while black scope by examining the role that this particular subset of this genre plays in the perpetuation of white supremacy and black subordination, particularly as they function in spatial context in this context, the road, and in also in this case, as they affect black people’s freedom of movement and right to use an enjoyment of the open Road. So living Wild, black and driving while black and other wild black activities have spawned their own genre of social media hashtags, and the hashtag hashtag living while black first appear as a social media hashtag to mobilize attention to incidents where white people called the police on black people for doing every day things that were non-criminal and again, everyday activities.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (19m 52s):
And that brings us to this phenomenon, this term, living wild black, and, and in each of the incidents that we cataloged in our previous paper, we saw this particular strand of racist, hostility and aggression. One that we believe has deep roots in American society. And in order for me to talk about driving while black, I have to first talk about this idea of living while black. So what is that right In 2018 alone, one CNN report noted that black people that, that the police had been called on black people for operating a lemons lemonade store golfing too slowly, waiting for a friend at Starbucks barbecuing at the park, working out at a gym campaigning door door, moving into an apartment, mowing the wrong lawn, shopping for prom clothes napping in the university common room, asking for directions not waiving while leaving Airbnb redeeming a coupon selling product water on a sidewalk, eating lunch on a college campus, riding in a car with a grandmother, babysitting two white children, wearing a backpack that brushed against a woman working as a home inspector, working as a firefighter, helping a homeless man, delivering newspapers, swimming in a pool shopping while pregnant driving with leaves on the car, trying to pack to cash, a paycheck walking while black swimming, while black studying, while black sitting in a cafe Starbucks while black, and of course driving while black and having the police called to remove you from the spaces in which you’re merely existing.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (21m 41s):
That’s what living while black is. But living while black is actually a play on driving while black. So when I say driving while black, as living while black actually driving while black came first. And so normally when we talk about driving while black or, or lately, when we’ve talked about driving while black, we are talking about pretextual traffic stops of black motorists by law enforcement. However, those perils of driving while black also include the historical challenges that black people in the United States have faced when attempting to establish there and protect their right or freedom to movement or freedom of movement and the use and enjoyment of the open road, whether those rights are imperiled by state law, via law enforcement practices, and other means, or by private actors, the United States has a long standing history of efforts to keep black people from enjoying freedom of movement and restricting them from entering spaces that have been racialized as white.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (22m 48s):
And this is one of the many incarnations of living while black. In fact, the restriction of black freedom through the racialization of space is the common thread that ties driving while black to that broader phenomenon of living wild, black and other wild black hashtags and phenomenons and incidents that people discussed. And so these incidents are not new. They harken back to Jim Crow, America and the notion, and even farther, and the notion that black people should be restricted to subordinate places, both in the social hierarchy and in spacial hierarchies. And there are some commonalities between now and then namely that law and its enforcers have been used in are being used to draw lines of racist exclusion.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (23m 36s):
So what does it mean for space to be racialized? Property is racialized and S and spaces racialized when it sits, when it is ascribed a racial identity or character. And that includes the character that includes some and excludes others on the basis of race. So those spaces can be neighborhoods, public parks. They can also include avenues Boulevard, streets, country, roads, and interstates. And so spaces are racialized by people who use and lay claim to them. And the central principle of racial territoriality is that what should be shared space here?

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (24m 19s):
The road is being wrongfully claimed in the name of racist exclusion and in the interest of white supremacy. So while on social media And in public conversation, that the phenomenon that the phenomenon that I’ve been examining over the past couple of years seems new racial territoriality is not new now. So we can then take that idea and move to this idea of freedom of movement. And that’s been one of the hallmarks of American Liberty and this freedom of movement, however, has largely been the privilege of white people throughout the history of the United States, black people, whether it’s slaved or free have faced both the jury and effect of limitations on their ability to move about freely.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (25m 8s):
And these restrictions on black movement have been enforced through the use of police Force. So I’m just want to go here. Okay. So this is a quote from The slave narratives that were recorded during the, during The thirties As part of the federal writers project. And so we have here Ida Henry, who says we would be sorry, when dark as the patrollers would walk through the quarters and homes of the S of the slaves all times of night with pine torches, with pine torch lights to whip the, and she uses the N word in, in her parlance, they are found away from their homes.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (26m 2s):
So, but the idea is that these, that black people could be whipped from being found away from where they were relegate, wherever they were relegated to. So during the era of slavery in the United States, travel by both enslaved and free blacks was severely circumscribed, enslaved blacks were only permitted away from plantations and, and where they worked with permission that was manifested by written passes. So no access to the road without permission, and the law also required free blacks to carry papers, proving their freedom and thus their ability to travel. And so these papers, these papers were accessed to the road, but that access could always be taken away and was always limited.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (26m 53s):
And one of those ways in which it was limited and enforced was through the slave patrols. And those are the modern, the ancestor of our modern day police force. They are the means by which the rules of black movement movement were enforced. So not only could members of slave patrols discipline in slave persons who had left their plantations without permission, they also had the authority to kill those who resisted and thus the construction of the movement. I mean, sorry, the constriction of the movement of black people who were either property or at peril of becoming property. Again, I see my time is running out, but that’s okay.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (27m 34s):
I got this wasn’t strict in strict and strictly tied to property rights, which were enforced through state violence. This constriction of black movement did not end with freedom. If we remember our history, we know that black codes were enacted. And the clear purpose of those was also to prevent black people from moving from place to place on inhibited. And so as black people have asserted their right to move from place to place, whether during rather right after slavery, during the long course of the great migration, they were confronted as we go forward in history, we’re confronted with, okay, one minute remaining.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (28m 23s):
What I wanna, what I want to tie us to is that there’s this history that then we take from that time move through Jim Crow. And that takes us to the automobile, which although it expanded freedom of movement, we also saw the backlash of this, this freedom of movement of black bodies and the need to constrict black bodies that still came that still was brought forward, brought forward both through pretext pretextual stops, but also through this idea that a black body in motion is always suspect. And so if we look at that and we tie all of that, we can then tie all of this back together to this idea that living while black driving, while black, that they’re all about space and the racialization of space that restricts the movement of black people in general, writ large.

Professor Jamila Jefferson-Jones, (29m 23s):
And so driving while black then becomes, when we look at it as a larger phenomenon of not just pretextual stops, but also as restriction of movement on the road is one that is a property issue and it is tied to it. And although it may seem as maybe it seems it’s one of transportation or one of criminal of criminal justice, it’s, it’s a property issue that has these spokes that reach out into these other areas.

Jonathan Levine (29m 51s):
Great. Thank you very much. Jamela Jefferson Jones, we’re going to be moving on to Tara, got her.

Professor Tara Goddard (29m 56s):
I really appreciate being invited to this. I, I come from an engineering and a planning background, but of course there’s, the law is so important to that. And so I’m really happy to see these conversations happening and to be a part of it. And I’m looking forward to more of that. So I’m going to go a little bit of a different direction, but it’s really relevant to what everyone has been talking about every week will come out today. And it’s the way that we talk about and frame a lot of these issues in transportation and for me in particular, in transportation safety. So I use the word semantics in the title. And so I just want to remind everyone kind of what semantics is. It’s really at its heart, the study of meaning, and I’m not a linguist, but I think ever since I was a kid, I’m fascinated by words, which is why I’m the cool kid at the party.

Professor Tara Goddard (30m 45s):
Also what this idea of the phrase, Oh, it’s just semantics. Cause that’s really the first time I ever remember hearing the word semantics is in the context of it’s just semantics. And so I looked it up and even in the definition and not like it’s Oxford guide there, they use this idea to quibbling over semantics is petty stuff. And Miriam Webster traced the idea of just semantics back about a hundred years. So you almost get this idea of where it’s, I think they call it a continent, right? So it almost has the opposing meanings semantics. We say, ah, it’s just semantics. It doesn’t matter. But also semantics. The study of meaning is extremely meaningful.

Professor Tara Goddard (31m 26s):
So I just want you to keep that in mind as I go through talking about this language and framing. So I’m specifically talking about the way that we talk about pedestrians, bicyclists, other people outside of vehicles. When we talk about traffic safety and just to remind us and, and email, no, it’s a public health crisis. When we talk about traffic safety broadly, and certainly for people outside of vehicles, it’s disheartening. Every time I have to re up these statistics, it’s gotten worse and worse each of the last few years, but we’re talking about, you know, a couple people a day and, and these are us not worldwide, worldwide, it’s even worse, killed while bicycling a person every 84 minutes killed while walking.

Professor Tara Goddard (32m 13s):
So we’re talking about, you know, the equivalent of a airplane going down every few days. I think it is. And what are you familiar Stickley called non-documented because of course we default or center the automobile. There are about one out of five of traffic fatalities and almost a third of child traffic fatalities are people outside of vehicles. So walking or bicycling. So you, one of the motivations of the work that I do and others is this question of where’s the widespread public outcry. Why don’t we kind of accept this as the cost of doing business. And instead, you know, we have this huge, both reality and perception of walking or bicycling as a very dangerous thing to be doing.

6 (33m 0s):

Professor Tara Goddard (33m 0s):
This has gotten a lot of attention more recently, which, which is great to see is who has this duty of care. And in particular, both our environment and our vehicles and our driver behavior, this, this got a lot of attention. You may have all seen. This is the huge front blind zones of our vehicles, which have really changed design. They’ve gotten bigger taller they’ve the grills have gotten more vertical in this, right? It was an ABC report where it took 13 children lined up before a driver sitting in that Cadillac escalate. I believe it is, could see the children in front of that. So, you know, we’re not talking about a level playing field here.

Professor Tara Goddard (33m 41s):
Here’s another photo. You know, I, I talk a lot about power when I talk with my students, both physical and of course, metaphorical legal, financial, political power. So when we say, you know, pedestrians, you need to wear bright clothing or look out for yourselves that doesn’t save you when the real power is held by others. So a couple of colleagues, I have been talking for a long time about what’s the role of the media in this. So I just wanna acknowledge my coworkers on this research, Kelsey, Ralph, who we saw was in the chat at Calvin thick Ben and Evan Kabuki. So, you know, we know there’s a whole rich field of media studies that says media coverage helps determine what gets attention.

Professor Tara Goddard (34m 26s):
What’s framed, what scene is important. So our first study, we wanted to say, okay, what’s the state of the practice at all? Is this as bad as we think, or we just kind of confirmation bias to seeing this. We looked at 200 articles that local news articles that reported on pedestrian and bicycles crashes and found absolutely that local news subtly consistently blamed the vulnerable road users or the pedestrian or the bicyclist in the way that they focus on what the victim did versus whether they even mentioned a driver or just a car, et cetera. And we’ve talked at length and I can I’ll share resources about where to find more detail. And they treat them as isolated incidents, which is really important and not as part of a system problem or the context, the larger context.

Professor Tara Goddard (35m 12s):
And they dehumanize them using kind of othering language. So then we wanted to know, okay, well this is happening, but really doesn’t matter, is it, is it just the practice, but does it affect how people perceive or even how they might respond or demand change? And is this part of the reason of a very complicated issue of why we don’t see that public outreach? So we recruited 999 people, which sounds funny, but we had three experimental conditions. So it was perfect. Three groups of 333 people. And each group read one version of a similar article. And it’s very important to understand that they didn’t know there was other articles. They weren’t comparing articles.

Professor Tara Goddard (35m 52s):
They just saw one article and then answered some questions. And we asked a variety of questions about fault, punishment and support for solutions. So this is a bit hard to parse fast, but I just want to show you, these are the three articles which we in shorthand refer to as the pedestrian focused, the driver focused and the thematically framed so that the larger context or theme and the ones in bold, this isn’t how it appeared to them. There was no bolding. This is for this for demonstration, but the articles that are the items in bold are what we changed by each article. So going from calling an accident to a crash, changing the F phrasing, a pedestrian, struck a car to a driver, striking a pedestrian.

Professor Tara Goddard (36m 36s):
So even though they’re bolded, they’re actually pretty subtle differences when you’re reading through them. And then that third one that the Matic one is where we gave that bigger context of, Oh, this is a, you know, a system-wide there’s, there’s been eight fatalities. It’s an increase there’s, you know, busy shopping area, high traffic speeds, et cetera. So then we asked them questions. This one was where they have to say up to a hundred percent who has the blame. And what’s important to take away from this graph is that these are statistically significant differences in how people apportion blame. Again, remembering they only saw their one articles they’re not comparing.

Professor Tara Goddard (37m 17s):
So people that saw the first article said about 50% of the time the driver was, you know, still had some fault, but then there’s this huge jump just in that subtle phrasing of, you know, instead of a pedestrian was hit, a driver was hit. And then on the third side there on the far, right, is when we added some things about the context, all of a sudden, a huge jump in people saying, well, there’s something other to blame. And we didn’t ask them to specify what the other was in this spot. But the point being that it matters, right? It matters when people read even subtle differences. And this is where this is not a perfect kind of jury research project here or whatever experiment, but we did ask them, okay, imagine the drivers on S on trial, what’s the appropriate punishment.

Professor Tara Goddard (38m 6s):
And again, big differences in when they said none. A third of the people said none. If they read just that first article, which we’re keeping in mind, the first article is the status quo. That’s how articles are done. Now. We didn’t see a big difference for community service and fine, but findings. But then for jail time, we saw a big difference and for vehicle impound. And I just want to point out quickly that the vehicle, and I’d love to talk to the property law folks about this. The vehicle impound as a punishment was least chosen people. We’re willing to send people for jail to do something, then vehicle impounded. And I think that speaks to the role that we view owning a vehicle as a right, and a need in our society.

Professor Tara Goddard (38m 48s):
So I think this takes a lot more probing, but that was not the PR that was not the focus of our study. I just want to point it out. Importantly, the systematic frame, really, we asked people like, what would you support as a solution to improving this pedestrian safety? And it was the third one with some context and remembering where people blamed other that they were willing to say, yes, we think that environmental changes, design changes like that talks about wider sidewalks, speed limits, et cetera, and that they were willing to trade off speed through a corridor, getting back to the earlier, talk about, you know, what’s a mobile versus accessible neighborhood. If it meant that fewer people would die.

Professor Tara Goddard (39m 28s):
So again, it matters how we talk about and frame these issues on what people think we should be doing about that. I just want to really briefly talk about this is not just a media journalism issue, right? So I call this the pre legal environment because so many things get talked about before they ever enter, you know, kind of the actual court system in Los Angeles. They have a very serious traffic safety problem. As we do all over the U S 2019 was a particularly bad year, almost half their people who of the people who died in traffic crashes were pedestrians. And then the 19 bicyclists.

Professor Tara Goddard (40m 9s):
And you look at the staff there at the bottom. I want you to keep it in mind. The pedestrian hit and run fatale is increased by 69%, the end of 2019, which wasn’t such a bad year. You had a press conference by the LAPD where the, the chief of police said, the key for hit and runs is it’s an accident. Don’t make it a crime by, by hit and run. And so he’s pre his basically saying, you hit someone. It’s just an accident. It’s not a crime. Well, that’s not necessarily true. A lot of times it may be a crime. And so that’s kind of a problematic framing that we see. And he said, drivers, you know, in Patreons pay attention to their primary responsibility, pedestrians ensuring your safety, keeping in mind what I showed before about blind zones and crash impacts and all that, right?

Professor Tara Goddard (40m 60s):
It’s not a level playing field. This is another example. So we’re starting to see these patterns replicated in the discussions around autonomous vehicles in the autonomous space. This is a really cool study out of MIT about the moral machine, the rethinking, the product trolley problem. I don’t tend to go into it, but even in this one, look at the framing here where they say the effected pedestrians are abiding by the law crossing and they’re flouting the law. Okay. Not going against the law, not going against the red flouting, right? So there’s this idea. Oh, well, they’ve just done it. It’s flipping it’s you know, but there’s lots of reasons people might cross against maybe the light doesn’t change for an hour and you have to walk across.

Professor Tara Goddard (41m 44s):
And then again, this idea, you see it all the time. People looking at autonomous vehicles, Oh my God, that’s streams are just going to run a muck. They’re going to step in front of vehicles all the time. Nobody’s going to go anywhere. This is my favorite phrase here. The bullying of self-driving cars, right? As though people, you know, self-driving cars, we sh we have to worry about pedestrians bullying them, but I’d like to say change is possible. Things are happening on a share a little bit of successes that we’ve had. I guess, conversations with people. The UK right now is led by some journalists and some advocates and professional city professionals is they’re coming up with road safety, reporting guidelines, partly using our work, which is really exciting.

Professor Tara Goddard (42m 33s):
Really just kind of setting out, we need to do better. And here are ways to do that. And then a fun story where I was presenting our work at a conference and Carlton Reed. Who’s a journalist in the UK. He wrote about it and then immediately tweeted, Oh, Grammarly said, we do exactly against these practices, replaced crash with accident. Right? So exactly against kind of what we’re saying, but as Twitter does, Twitter started tagging Grammarly and pretty quickly Grammarly wrote back and said, thank you for bringing this to our attention. We’re going to change this algorithm. There’s 7 million daily users of Grammarly, right.

Professor Tara Goddard (43m 14s):
This stuff matters if we can get these changes made. So then finally, I just want to leave with this. There’s a lot of stakeholders. There’s a lot of actors that have to be, we’d like to say, think thinking about these language issues and these framing issues, right? So it’s, it’s journalists and editors, police officers on scene and in press releases, lawyers, judges, right? The way that these come through legal documents or arguments, sentencing guidelines, and then engineers and planners, it’s in our documents, our community engagement, et cetera. And so if you look at the title here, this is really what I’m hoping for. And I think it fits nicely with the previous two talks is this idea of going from, Oh, that’s just semantics to an idea of adjust semantics.

Professor Tara Goddard (44m 3s):
And when we’re talking about transportation safety, and these are the main things that I think kind of capture that briefly. So avoiding victim blaming understanding who has the power and duty of care. And I mean that everything from the physical to the political power, right? Constantly checking and correcting biases. So I didn’t get to go into kind of racial issues or gender issues, but those absolutely intersect with some of these other language and framing issues. And so just compound the problem, like absolutely in the driving while black walking, while black, et cetera, framing problems in the context of a system, not a one-off, which is at the absolute heart of the vision, zero movement implementing processes and structures, by which, I mean, we don’t want to depend on individual champions or people who are woke or people who get this.

Professor Tara Goddard (44m 56s):
We need to have these things in place so that the default is looking out for these language and framings. And then finally, I think this is super important is that traffic, Val violence is about people. And so when we’re talking about these, I consider it like a sacred duty that we’re speaking and writing their stories. These are not just statistics. I, I tend partly, I think to protect myself by talking about the numbers and the statistics, but, but these are stories at their heart. And I think that’s really part of this idea of adjust to semantics.

Jonathan Levine (45m 27s):
Thank you, Tara. I think we’re going to be moving on to Vanessa Cassetto Perez.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (45m 33s):
Hi, if that I stopped sharing, I will try to share my screen. Let’s see if this works and see it now.

Jonathan Levine (45m 45s):

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (45m 48s):
So thank you to the organizers and to the other panelists, I have learned a lot through your papers and I am learning more today. I normally wear, I go the little hat, but water has something in common with this state, which I think is the publicness. So I am here to talk about sidewalks, but really how I feel, how I believe that pedestrian should be back. But again, it reclaiming this thing. So what I am arguing for from cycles to give you an example that will be repeated across the United States. Austin passed 2,500 miles of sidewalk. The public works department believes that they need 2,500 more on Tuesday.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (46m 28s):
Amal a ballot measure was passed. It allocates 50 million to build sidewalks, which builds about 76 miles of sidewalk. So you can see the gap. And what I am talking about are the following problems, sidewalks that lead you to know where areas with outside works sidewalks with in the States of, or in bad conditions. Psychos are making people go with people with reduced mobility to actually use them. So basically when I say more sidewalks, I say three things, more miles, why that site works sidewalks in good condition. So why should we get, because sidewalks actually make us healthier, greener, safer, socially connected, and even wealthier.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (47m 13s):
Obviously having sidewalk is not a panacea. If we weren’t healthier lifestyle, we probably should have some extra nudges in our food law. If you want to be greener, we need to tighten our bagel emission standards and reduce the amount of vehicles mile travel. You make us help here because people that live in neighborhoods with sidewalks are 48% more likely to exercise 39 minutes a day. It makes us greener because if we have sidewalks, there are certain themes that we will not do by car. And as we will be talking later, the design standards also may help further reduce emissions and make us safer because sidewalks reviews about 88% or may reviews about 88% of crashes between cars and pedestrians.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (48m 1s):
It make us more socially connected. So social capital goes up in places with sidewalks. Planners are now talking about the sticky streets. The idea that these are places where people mingle and stay around and welfare is just, you know, an extra positive consequence. It seems that real estate value goes up when you have sidewalks. And this conversation would have looked much different. Prayer could beat. During COVID times. We realize that sidewalks were extremely important. If you had children, they were alive lined because you could take them out and they will burn their stamina. If you needed a place to exercise, the sidewalk goes, the place and restaurants could actually survive then to outdoor dining.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (48m 46s):
So what did we learn about Coby? We learned two things. One that we needed wider sidewalks and where these wider sidewalk should be. So we need wider sidewalks because we have to, you know, ensure social distancing. Normally our sidewalks are incredibly narrow. There was this picture. I wanted to show of a Canadian performer that went around with a sort of satellite ring on the streets to show that most of the sidewalks were too narrow to allow for social distancing. They get out. We also need why Streets because we have more competing users of the sidewalk. There is this whole privatization of who owns the sidewalk, right?

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (49m 27s):
Then increasingly we have terraces restaurants in New York could only have outdoor dining bars that even didn’t have outdoor dining use the sidewalks informally as the, you know, informal forum for happy hour. We have scooters that are owned by private companies that are left everywhere. So why their sidewalks will not solve the problem, but to decrease the rivalry, something else we learn about COVID we learned that these wider sidewalks should regain a space that currently is allocated to cars. We should to Coupa parking spots, but you’re buying parking spots. We will be discouraging driving so farther reducing emissions.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (50m 8s):
If we not only eat the space of parking spots, but we move even farther into the road and we have narrower roads, they normally tend to decrease speed, which also reduces emissions and also helps prevent fatalities. So why don’t we See more sidewalks in part and professor Cassie’s will be much better than I am at talking about this local nimbyism, but we don’t see side works in a lot of suburban neighborhoods because they would have built with the idea that they had to be different from cities. Cities Were filthy. They had sidewalks. They wanted to be more Rudolf, whatever Rudolf means in their minds, because I have seen plenty of rural areas with sidewalks, but they don’t have sidewalks and they don’t feel the need to build Them.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (50m 55s):
And the also, And this connects a little bit with some of the discussions on mobility justice. They also believe that they have sidewalks and want the people We’ll come to the neighborhood and that crime will go up. So, you know, evidence that actually the contrary happens because once you have Cypress, you’ll have more eyes on it. So the neighborhood tends to be safer. The yellow Try to argue that sidewalks are bad for them vitamin. And obviously there are types of pavements that are bad for the environment because they create runoff. But there are other types of pavements that allow for percolation of water and minimize that negative effect.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (51m 36s):
But those types of statements are more expensive and sidewalks are already expensive. And as we will see, the financing of sidewalks is one of the areas that low is failing pedestrians. So in order to talk about regulation, I am gonna differentiate between existing developments that don’t have sidewalks and new developments. So for existing developments and this connects with David’s talk, we have to first learn who owns the stuff. And these will depend a lot on where we are And what are the property line is in some municipalities, is the municipality in some other places, is the landowner with property adjacent to the sidewalk, owns the sidewalk, no matter where we are, the public has a right of way.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (52m 21s):
However, this doesn’t explain who pays for the sidewalks. Ordinances are all over the place in some places, is the municipality in some other places in the landowner, in some places, a combination Kind of both. This can be a problem because Sidewalks are expensive. They are cheaper than roads, but they are still expensive and they can make the dent on household finance. And that’s why we see that low-income neighborhoods tend to have fewer sidewalks and sidewalks that are in disrepair. It’s also A problem because we subsidize the roads, right? For every dollar that you spend driving the society spends more than nine for every dollar that you spend spend, meaning how much it costs you walking society, finance $0.10.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (53m 9s):
So obviously given the good consequences of walking, we should be financing sidewalks, But that’s The first best. And while we may not get there, there are other regulations that municipalities can put in place that may move us closer to, you know, increasing walkability of our cities. One thing that we have, I have seen in plenty of Berlin answers is this idea that if someone does construction work inappropriately, that doesn’t have sidewalks today, and that construction work increases the value of the property by a certain percentage, they have to build sidewalks.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (53m 49s):
The offer them the possibility of paying a fee. I mean, Leah fee, instead of building the sidewalk, and this can be positive, particularly when you have a municipality that discusses trap and they have low income neighborhoods that really need intervention. But if we can find funds somewhere else to cover those, you know, let’s call it mobility, justice problems. Nashville offers us a good example of how to approach these. So Nashville offers you the possibility of either building the sidewalk or paying an affiliate fee. But if a single house on your block already has a sidewalk, you no longer have the option. You have to build that sidewalk.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (54m 29s):
So now let’s Move to new developments. And this morning, professor Levein and later on professor style will explain more about traffic studies. But right now, when we have a new development, we asked the developer to fund new road construction. We, they, the idea that there will be increases in traffic. So we have to serve that new demand. And we build Roads, those roads Who doesn’t don’t solve the traffic problem with the whole problems that they discuss about level of surveys and the, like, they also tend to be wider road to making more difficult for cyclists and for pedestrians to actually walk or cycle.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (55m 11s):
But we then then Not to ask them to build sidewalks. So we should have some sort of, you know, more for more clarity Policy about what we want to ask them for sidewalks. And in my paper, I play around two options. One it’s a carrot and one it’s a stick. So right now we have seen in several municipalities that they give credit to those developers that develop near transit and they allow them to, or they give them credits and they have to build fewer parking spots. So in beginning, a system of credits based on walkability score could be one approach. The other approach, more of a stick like will resemble this idea that we have in regarding road traffic, right?

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (55m 57s):
You ask the developer to estimate demand and to serve that demand. And I am oversimplifying if we did the same for sidewalks, we probably wouldn’t ask the developer to build a single site, right? If we, as a developer to estimate future demand of people that go to work in the car culture we live in that demand will be very small. So taking a, the example of environmental law, where we have certain pollution regulations that are forcing the set very ambitious goals that make the polluter be normative to meet those, instead of focusing on future demand, we asked the developer to create that demand, to actually build new development, increasing walkability score.

Professor Vanessa Casado Pérez (56m 39s):
Even if right now we don’t have that demand, or we may not expect that demand. And with that, I’m just going to finish by saying that we see that millennials and generation Z have a clear preference for sidewalks and for mixed use zoning, but, and probably those are the people that voted the Austin measure. But while that change is happening, we should make sure that our revelations encourage sidewall building instead of discourage it.

Jonathan Levine (57m 10s):
Thank you. I think with that, I’d like to thank the panelists for a terrific session.

Jeff Wood (57m 15s):
For more information on this symposium, go to Google and type in the future of law and transportation symposium, Iowa law. There you’ll find a full list of speakers and more. And thanks for joining us. The talking head waste podcast is your project out the overhead wire on the web with the overhead wire.com sign up for a free trial, the overhead wire daily or fourteen-year-old daily city’s news list by clicking the link at the top, right of the overhead wire.com. And please, please, please put the podcast pitch on.com/the overhead wire many thanks to our current patrons for their ongoing support. And as always, you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, overclass Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts. And you can always find a traditional home at USA dot Street’s blog.org.

Jeff Wood (57m 58s):
See you next time at talking headways.

Listen to the Talking Headways Podcast


…the first thing I read every morning is the newsletter to see what’s been out there. It’s great to have an aggregator that pulls everything together so nicely.

Joe Cortright, City Observatory

I think that the email newsletter that you do every morning is the best one that I get, and I get a lot of them.

Mary Newsom, The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute

Really is the best daily urban newsletter out there.

Eric Jaffe, Editorial Director Sidewalk Labs


To Receive The Overhead Wire in Your Inbox Daily

Premium Daily Subscription

The Premium Daily Subscription is our most information packed offering, chock full of over 30 pieces of news every single day. Included are popular features such as the quote of the day and the most read article from the previous day. Also included is our weekly roundup for times when you are strapped for time but need to know what’s going on.

Premium Weekly Subscription

The Premium Weekly Subscription is for professionals constantly under a time crunch. We take the most read items from the week before and share them with subscribers along with more in depth analysis of a single popular topic.

Learn More and Subscribe

Top Links

of the past 48 hours

Video of the Day

Friends of The Overhead Wire

Back To Top

Welcome to The Overhead Wire

What Can We Help You Find?

Try Our Newsletter For Free