OPINION: Federal Transportation Policy Sides With Anti-Car Activists

The Federal Highway Administration recently proposed rules that could make every road a speed trap and every intersection a four-way stop. This outcome is the culmination of years of lobbying by anti-car activists, who have now captured the four key organizations responsible for setting transportation policy.

Decades ago, the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD) and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) supported evidence-based policies that should have led to safe and enforceable speed limits. They held, essentially, that speeding tickets should only be given to the fastest drivers. In recent years, however, both groups surrendered to the anti-car forces — and not because of new safety data. They got tired of arguing. I saw this at NCUTCD meetings. One engineer complained he kept getting “beat up” when he tried to set speed limits based on safety instead of rubber stamping requests for speed traps. Another worried about upsetting mall owners by telling them what signs they should use. Meanwhile, the ITE replaced safety experts with “Vision Zero” sloganeers.