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Exhibits to Visit in DC to Learn about Black History

Two years ago, for Black History Month I shared some of my favorite urban planning books about the Black community and how transportation shaped black communities. This February, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite exhibits DC area celebrating Black History. Whether you visit in February or any other time during the year, they are an opportunity to learn more about the past, present, and to think about the future.

Do you have any suggested places to visit?

Veronica O. Davis, PE is a transportation guru who uses her knowledge to spark progressive social change. As Co-owner and Principal of Nspiregreen, she is also responsible for the management of the major urban planning functions such as transportation planning, policy development, master planning, sustainability analysis, and long range planning. In July 2012, Veronica was recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House for her professional accomplishments and community advocacy, which includes co-founding Black Women Bike.

Thailand Crash

Thailand’s Deadly Roads and the Global Pandemic of Traffic Crashes

A total of 463 people died in 3,791 traffic crashes in Thailand between December 27, 2018 and January 2 of 2019. Yes, you read correctly. In the span of seven days, 463 people lost their lives during the country’s “seven dangerous days” over the New Year holiday when Thais were traveling to visit friends and family for the one week festival. This was an increase to 2017’s 423 deaths during the “seven dangerous days”.

Thailand’s roads are the deadliest roads in Southeast Asia. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 22,941 people die each year in traffic crashes in Thailand. That’s an average of 62 deaths per day. 73% of those deaths are people riding motorcycles, which have become the most popular form of transportation for many households. Thailand is also ranked 2nd in the world for most lethal roads after Libya by the World Health Organization. Their road collision-related death rate is 32.7 out of every 100,000 people. In Libya, in 2015 their reported rate was 73.4 deaths out of every 100,000 people. In United States an estimated 40,100 people were killed in 2017 with a current death rate of 12.4 out of every 100,000 people. But understand that even though United States has a higher total of traffic crashes per year than Thailand it has a lesser rate because United States has an overall population of 325.7 million whereas Thailand has a population of 69.04 million.

Why is Thailand’s traffic fatality rate so high? One of the noted obstacles to safer roads is lack of enforcement of traffic rules. Drunk driving and speeding are the most reported causes of crashes. In addition to drunk driving and speeding, the failure to wear helmets and seatbelts and the lack of restraints for children are among the biggest risks for road safety that is embedded in the culture. Cultural habits can be difficult to change. The number of police traffic stops have increased in certain areas and there have been more signs mandating motorcyclists to wear helmets, but are those the only factors when it comes to tackling this problem, especially if they have proven to not be efficient enough?

Road safety is a worldwide issue that is not addressed enough. Road crashes have been labeled a global pandemic by the Pulitzer Center and are the eighth leading cause of death for people of all ages, with 1.35 million people dying on the road in 2016. These crashes and untimely deaths are preventable.  Globally, there are proper measures to approach this great issue that requires a collaboration of disciplines:

  • Policies and enforcement in regards to proper speed limits, alcohol impairment, seat-belt use, child restraints, and safety helmets.
  • Adequate road design and transportation facilities (bicycle, pedestrian, motorcycles, and transit). When possible separate motor vehicles from more vulnerable modes such as people walking and biking. Promoting safer and more efficient travel for all users: motorists, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Placing traffic calming and proper signage.
  • Encouraging and implementing the use of safe and flexible modes of public transportation.
  • Powerful public awareness campaigns
  • Making vehicles more protective and visible for occupants, pedestrians, and cyclists. Using high-mounted brake lights and reflective materials on cycles, carts, rickshaws and other non-motorized forms of transport.

For something so preventable, traffic crashes in Thailand and around the world really need a bigger outcry.

Jazmin Kimble is an Urban Planner and Urban Designer  from Long Island, NY. She has a passion for empowering and planning adequate, equitable communities through the lens of Geodesign, Urban Design, Community Development, Architectural Design, Sustainability, Environmental Solutions, and Community Engagement. Jazmin believes the culture and the history of a community is what makes it unique. This approach allows her to design with communities from a holistic viewpoint.

ENVIRONMENT_BELIEF_INFLUENCE

3 Perspectives To Keep In Mind When Connecting With People

In my personal and professional life, I find myself translating behaviors and communication patterns to people to be able to coexist with other people. The gap is due to lack of consideration of the other person’s perspective. To help those who find it difficult to interact with other people, I want to offer three principles I use to understand their perspective when connecting with other people. They are to be mindful of my audiences’ beliefs, environment and influences.

 

The first perspective to keep in mind when connecting with your audience is to be mindful of the beliefs of your audience. In my experience, belief has been the root of decision making, boundary setting and motivation. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, belief is a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing. Think of belief of as the internal GPS on what choices to make, processes to engage in and identify what does and doesn’t apply to them. An audience’s history, personal definitions and boundaries are shaped by their belief. Understanding these things assists in identifying things to say and things to stand clear of when you’re having a conversation.

 

Next up, is the environment of your audience. Have you ever heard the phrase “you are your environment”? Well, that applies here. People know how to function in their environment. An environment can range from a place to a profession. For example, Americans speak English and doctors are trained in medicine. You wouldn’t approach a lawyer asking for recommendations on surgeries. You apply communications talking points that are applicable to your audience. If you don’t know your audience’s environment is, you can do some research or ask your audience basic questions to inquire about what you know.

 

The last perspective I use to connect with people is to understand their influences. Policies, contract obligations/agreements and social media are all examples of influence. I generally go in with a general understanding of how heavy these circumstances impact the behaviors of my audience. For example, contract obligations restrain people from having conversations about topics that the contract specifically outlines not to have a conversation about. When I am aware of the contract obligations, I know to stand clear of having those conversations with my audience. I tread carefully.

 

To increase your chances of connecting with someone, remember to take a few minutes to understand their perspective when connecting with them. I’d love to hear how these perspectives work for you or if you have any suggestions on methods of approach.

Christina Glancy is a Pittsburgh Native who serves as our Community Outreach Specialist. She has built a unique perspective which blends project management, marketing, community involvement and data analysis. She has a successful track record of engaging diverse groups of stakeholders throughout the Transportation, Health Care and Cybersecurity Industries. She believes in changing the world one conversation at a time.





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