Sure, we can make our roads safer, says Pushkin Kachroo, director of UNLV's Transportation Research Center. "It just takes more resources."
Which, you know, our state doesn't have in abundance. But Kachroo can dream.
At the TRC, Kachroo oversees multiple projects that partner with regional transportation agencies to untangle our roads and make walking, biking, riding, and driving safer. Here are five ways he'd advance Las Vegas transportation systems if money were not an issue.
1. More pedestrian overpasses
"Travel -- whether on foot, two wheels or four -- will be safer if we separate the flow between vehicles, pedestrians, bikes, trucks, and so on. Pedestrian overpasses, such as those over the Las Vegas Strip, minimize interactions among the different types of travelers and drastically reduce accidents."
2. Make public transit easy and reliable
If people traveled in groups, rather than in individual cars, there would be fewer vehicles on the road. And that means fewer accidents, less road wear-and-tear, and therefore fewer construction projects to contend with. "I don't want to drive. I want to use that time to study, read, and get people off the road. If I had a simple transit system that would take me from Henderson to here, trust me, I'd take it every day. Right now it's not feasible, but sometime down the road, as the city grows, this will be on the radar."
3. Safer bus shelters
Las Vegas has experienced a number of bus shelter accidents, including one last year that killed four people and injured eight. Kachroo notes that city's bus stops generally sit right on the sidewalk, with only a couple feet and a curb separating them from the cars whizzing by. "There are engineering solutions to make those stops safer. For example, we can set the shelters further back from the street and put up shields."
4. Create a Las Vegas entertainment and transportation packages
"We need to think of transportation from the view of the visitor. People fly here and then take a taxi or shuttle to their hotel. Then they buy tickets for a show at a different hotel, and they need more transportation. Can we tie in the whole transportation system to the entertainment offerings to take care of their needs? We need to make our city as accessible as possible; our economy is dependent on it."
5. Expand services in other cities, too
"We need very strong, fast transportation that connects us to the economies in places like Los Angeles and Phoenix. But what happens when you get to that city and you need to get around? A railway does not solve the whole problem. We also need vehicles, like bicycles, that are available to rent once we get there to help us get around. A more holistic solution needs to be considered."
Pushkin Kachroo is the Lincy Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, director of the Transportation Research Center in the Hughes College of Engineering, associate director of the Mendenhall Innovation Program.