Thursday, April 30, 2015

Murder Machines: Why Cars Will Kill 30,000 Americans This Year

There’s an open secret in America: If you want to kill someone, do it with a car. As long as you’re sober, chances are you’ll never be charged with any crime, much less manslaughter. Over the past hundred years, as automobiles have been woven into the fabric of our daily lives, our legal system has undermined public safety, and we’ve been collectively trained to think of these deaths as unavoidable “accidents” or acts of God. Today, despite the efforts of major public-health agencies and grassroots safety campaigns, few are aware that car crashes are the number one cause of death for Americans under 35. But it wasn’t always this way.
“At some point, we decided that somebody on a bike or on foot is not traffic, but an obstruction to traffic.”
“If you look at newspapers from American cities in the 1910s and ’20s, you’ll find a lot of anger at cars and drivers, really an incredible amount,” says Peter Norton, the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City. “My impression is that you’d find more caricatures of the Grim Reaper driving a car over innocent children than you would images of Uncle Sam.”
Though various automobiles powered by steam, gas, and electricity were produced in the late 19th century, only a handful of these cars actually made it onto the roads due to high costs and unreliable technologies. That changed in 1908, when Ford’s famous Model T standardizedmanufacturing methods and allowed for true mass production, making the car affordable to those without extreme wealth. By 1915, the number of registered motor vehicles was in the millions.
Read the rest of the story at Collector's Weekly.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Arlington County First in Nation with Program to Ease Public-School Staff Commutes

The only transportation demand management (TDM) program for public school faculty and staff in the U.S. has been created in Arlington County, Virginia.

The program, called “ATP Schools,” is being administered by Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP), the employer-outreach arm of Arlington County Commuter Services. Funded by a grant from Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation, it is aimed at reducing the drive-alone rate of the more than 5,000 employees of Arlington Public Schools (APS), one of the top employers in the county.

Not only is ATP Schools the only district-wide TDM program in the country targeting school staff, but there is a large unmet local need for the service. According to research performed by Toole Design Group in a survey called APS GO!, the drive-alone rate for Arlington Public Schools staff is a surprisingly high 88 percent, compared to 53 percent for the county overall.

Read the rest of the story at Mobility Lab.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Minneapolis Moves to Add 35 Miles of Protected Bike Lanes

New protected bike lanes are in green, conventional bike lanes in red, bike boulevards in yellow and undetermined segments in pink. Image from the draft protected bikeway update to Minneapolis's bike master plan.
Minneapolis is getting well-earned praise from around the world this week for drafting one of the boldest short-term bike proposals in the country: 30 or more miles of newly protected bikeways as soon as 2020.
It's a mark of success for the Twin Cities' remarkable Bikeways for Everyone campaign, which is staffed by the local bike advocacy group, gets core funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and keeps a laser focus on serving the bike users of tomorrow rather than just the ones of today.
Read the rest of the story here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

How Do We Protect New York City’s Pedestrians?

When a car hit John Longo as he crossed Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn in December 2013, he was tossed skyward, high and far enough that he had time to contemplate his flight. “I remember thinking, I’ve been in the air too long,” says Longo, whose 230-­pound, 47-­year-­old body landed 20 feet from where it started. He does not remember hitting the asphalt (he landed on his head), but he recalls stumbling to a slender median dividing Atlantic and saying out loud, to no one in particular, “Please let me live, please let me live.” He was bleeding from the back of his head, but he felt little pain, only a numbness in his arm, which was the first clue, paramedics eventually told him, that he probably had spinal damage. 

 For years, Longo had crossed Atlantic at that spot as many as six times a day — it was the fastest way to get from Clinton Hill, where he lives, to Prospect Heights, where he owns a restaurant called Dean Street. A former high-­school linebacker and an entrepreneur, Longo was not a timid man. But he had always been apprehensive about the intersection, a sprawling space where three avenues meet at awkward angles: Atlantic, Washington and Underhill, which he was walking along the evening he was hit. A walk signal gave Longo 32 seconds to cross six lanes of traffic on Atlantic (three running east, three running west), which never felt to him, or just about anyone else who walks there, like enough time. Even still, when he tells the story of the accident, which happened on a rainy night, he partly blames himself for a lapse in his usual vigilance. He says he had reached the median, which is halfway across, “but I wasn’t looking over my right shoulder, and I stepped off.” Longo had the walk signal and the legal right of way, but that was no consolation when, a moment after he stepped into the street, a Lexus making a quick left from Washington Avenue slammed into him. At the hospital, he learned that he had broken three vertebrae in his neck. Nearly a year and a half later, he is almost fully recovered, with the exception of his left arm, which remains numb.

Read the rest of the story at the New York Times.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New TransitScreen Display Goes Live at Tysons Corner Mall

On your next shopping spree at the Tysons Corner Center mall, take a quick glance at the four-by-six-foot screen above the exit and you’ll find out precisely when your next Metro is coming.
The display was set up Wednesday by TransitScreen, a local company that makes displays of public transportation schedules, in partnership with engineering group Wells + Associates. The companies are teaming up to develop solutions to change travel behaviors in Tysons Corner.
By showing local schedules for the Silver Line Metro and the 18 Metro bus routes that serve Tysons Corner, the screen will help “teach travelers about the multiple options of transportation to and from Tysons Corner other than their single-occupancyvehicles,” spokesman Graham Caywood said in an email.
In March, TransitScreen installed a 55-inch display at George Washington University’s new Science and Engineering Hall, which will soon include a live map of the school’s shuttles. Later last month, Montgomery County unveiled TransitScreen displays on two local government buildings in Rockville.
Read the rest of the story at Technically DC.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How Mobile Technology Makes Transit Convenient

Transit riders love using their smartphone to purchase rides. But just a few agencies have embraced the technology so far.

In 2013, Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transit, the highest number in 57 years, according to the American Public Transportation Association. For decades the demographic profile for the typical transit rider was someone who was low income and often had no other means of transportation. In other words, people who used public transit did so because they had to, not because they wanted to.
But since 1995, public transportation ridership has grown 37.2 percent, almost double the amount of the country’s population growth at 20.3 percent, according to APTA. Clearly a new generation of transit riders has stepped forward. Many of them are so-called “choice riders” who have other options to get around besides buses and trains, but prefer using public transit. To keep these choice riders coming back, experts say that transit agencies must offer a ride that is reliable, fast and clean. They also want convenience.
Read the rest of the story at Digital Communities.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Draft Six-Year Improvement Program Released For Public Review

$12.9 billion in road, bridge rail and public transportation improvements; public hearings to be held
RICHMOND - The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) released today the draft Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP), which allocates $12.9 billion to transportation projects over the next six fiscal years beginning July 1, 2015.  Projects include highway, road, bridge, rail, transit, bicycle/pedestrian paths and other transportation improvements across the state. 
The SYIP supports nearly 3,000 transportation projects to improve the state’s infrastructure.   The draft program does not include new projects that would be subject to scoring under the new prioritization process under House Bill 2(HB2). This process will help determine critical transportation needs through a fair and objective analysis.
Governor Terry McAuliffe signed HB2 into law in 2014, which directs the CTB to develop and use a scoring process for project selection by July 2016. Candidate projects will be screened to determine if they qualify to be scored. Projects will be scored based on an objective and fair analysis applied statewide. The law will improve transparency and accountability. The public will know how projects scored and the decisions behind the CTB’s project selections.
FY 2016-2021 Six-Year Improvement Program breakdown:
    $9.5 billion – Highway construction
    $3.4 billion – Rail and public transportation
   $12.9 billion – Total six-year program

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) will hold hearings on the draft program beginning April 21.
Public input is also needed on a how transportation projects should be scored under House Bill 2. 
Public hearings on the draft program will begin 6 p.m. in each of the locations below:
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Blue Ridge Community College,
Plecker Center
for Continuing Education,
One College Lane,
Weyers Cave, VA 24486
Get directions>>
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Holiday Inn Downtown
601 Main Street
Lynchburg, VA 24504
Get directions >>
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Hampton Roads Planning District Commission
723 Woodlake Drive
Chesapeake, VA 23320
Get directions >>

Tuesday, April 28, 2015
VDOT Northern
Virginia District Office
4975 Alliance Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
Get directions >>

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Northside High School
6758 Northside
High School Road
Roanoke, VA 24019
Get directions >>

Thursday, April 30, 2015
Germanna Community College
Center for Workforce & Community Education
10000 Germanna Point Drive
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
Get directions >>

Monday, May 4, 2015
Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center
One Partnership Circle
Abingdon, VA 24210
Get directions >>

Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Thomas J. Fulghum
Conference Center
Chesterfield Career & Technical Center at Hull Street Road
13900 Hull Street Road
Midlothian, VA 23112
Get directions >>

Monday, May 11, 2015
Germanna Community College
Daniel Technology Center
18121 Technology Drive
Culpeper, VA 22701
Get directions >>

You can also submit your comments by email or mail by May 22, 2015.
For roads and highways:
Infrastructure Investment Director
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 East Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219

For transit and public transportation:
Public Information Office
Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation
600 East Main Street, Suite 2102
Richmond VA, 23219.

Click the link below to view changes between the FY 2015 program and the draft FY 2016 program:

For more information visit:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Administration Announces Route 460 Contract To Be Terminated, Project Development Continues

NORFOLK – The McAuliffe administration announced today that the Commonwealth has issued a notice to terminate its contract with US 460 Mobility Partners regarding the delivery of the Route 460 project in southeastern Virginia.
“The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), with the support of the McAuliffe administration, has provided a notice of termination to US 460 Mobility Partners for Route 460 construction,” said Transportation Secretary Layne. “The Commonwealth has determined it is in the taxpayers’ best interest to terminate the contract. VDOT tried to work with the contractor to deliver the revised project in a cost effective manner. These efforts proved unsuccessful. The state will aggressively pursue all options available to do what is best for the public interest.”
VDOT will proceed with completing environmental work on the project. In February, The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved a new location for Route 460 corridor improvements, which would span 17 miles from Suffolk to west of Zuni.  VDOT and its federal partners identified that this alternative has the possibility of qualifying for a permit. The next step is to conduct public outreach on this alternative.
A contract was awarded in late 2012 under the previous administration to US 460 Mobility Partners to design and build a new 55-mile limited access highway that would parallel the existing Route 460 from Suffolk to Petersburg. Under the direction of Governor Terry McAuliffe, Layne suspended contract work in March 2014 after it became apparent that the alignment would not receive a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because of significant wetland impacts. Following the contract suspension, all work was focused solely on identifying a permittable project. By February of 2015, VDOT the Corps and the Federal Highway Administration identified a different alignment that would have less wetland impacts and could qualify for a permit.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Report: Utah Bridges Among Best In The U.S.

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah has some bragging rights when it comes to its bridges. John Gleason, public information officer with the state Department of Transportation, says a report from American Road and Transportation Builders Association shows about three-percent of Utah's approximately 3,000 public bridges are structurally deficient. He says that's the fifth lowest rate in the nation.
"Well, we're always looking to improve. Safety is our top priority, and any time we can address issues, we're going to look to do that."
Gleason says all bridge structures in the state are inspected every two years, while bridges with more extensive deterioration are inspected more often.
According to the report, Nevada, Florida, Texas and Arizona are the only states with fewer structurally compromised bridges than Utah. 
Read the rest of the story at the Cache Valley Daily.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Highway/Transit Program Deadline Looms

The House and Senate return April 13 from a two week recess with the May 31 expiration of the most recent federal surface transportation program extension fast approaching.
Without enactment of a long-term authorization bill or another temporary extension by that deadline, the authority to spend funds out of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) would lapse and the Federal Highway Administration would be forced to furlough employees. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) projects the HTF will continue to be able to support existing investment levels for a few more months, but the department also anticipates the fund will suffer its sixth cash flow crisis since 2008 later this summer.
Read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

15 Questions With Gabe Klein

Gabe Klein has transportation in his blood. Growing up, he worked in his parents’ bicycle shops, which instilled an early passion for alternative transit. Klein, 44, joined Zipcar when it was still a startup, helmed Washington D.C.’s Department of Transportation when it implemented bikeshare and smart parking, and led Chicago’s DOT to launch its own bikeshare program and redesign a new Riverwalk. Today, he’s back in D.C., advising transit startups and working with Fontinalis Partners, a venture capital fund that invests in next-generation mobility.

What do you actually do all day in your job?

This is a tough one, I don’t have one job per se. Since leaving government at the end of 2013, I am once again an entrepreneur. I help companies, governments, and organizations figure out how to work together, and often play an intermediary role, primarily in transportation, land use, and technology, or the intersections of those. I am also writing a book.
Read the rest of the interview at CNN Money.

Monday, April 13, 2015

From Parking Spaces To Bike Lanes: 10 Ways Cities Can Win The Fight

A curbside parking spot is just 182 square feet of urban space. But for advocates of better American bike infrastructure, few obstacles loom larger.
Right now in San Diego, a long-brewing plan to add better pedestrian crossings and a continuous protected bike lane to the deadliest corridor in the city is fighting for its life in large part because some merchants on four commercial blocks don't want to risk removing any auto parking.

Before and after plans for University Avenue in San Diego.
The merchants aren't wrong that private parking spaces have commercial value to nearby properties. But bike lanes, street trees and better sidewalks would have commercial value too — and creating San Diego's first comfortable crosstown bike network would also bring value to the entire city, not to mention helping free retailers from dependence on car parking.
Read the full story at People For Bikes...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Ten Parking Lessons From Don Shoup

Parking is a cornerstone issue in smart growth and urban policy. Parking rock star Donald Shoup literally wrote the book on the subject. Shoup recently announced his retirement from the UCLA Department of Urban Planning.
Photo by Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council - MAPC on Flickr.
In honor of his decades of groundbreaking work on parking in urban centers, here are ten takeaways we learned from Shoup's career.
See the list here at Greater Greater Washington.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Transportation Issue: 11 thinkers on how to unsnarl our cities

More than half of the world’s seven billion inhabitants live in cities—a figure that is projected to grow to 66% by 2050. And as our urban centres grow, so too does the demand for more efficient means of moving the people who live in them. We talked to 11 urban planners, economists, business leaders and big thinkers for their vision on creating the cities of the future.

Read the story at the Globe and Mail website.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Biking Skyrockets Where San Diego Added Buffered Bike Lanes

Cycling rates have increased 350 percent in 2 years. Image: Bike San Diego
Buffered bike lanes were added in spring 2014. Image: Bike San Diego
Build bike infrastructure and they will ride. It’s true just about everywhere, including San Diego.
Thanks to bike counters set up around the region, Network blog Bike SD got data showing that cycling has skyrocketed on two streets where the city added buffered bike lanes last year:
Photo: Bike SD
In late 2012 SANDAG, the region’s planning agency, installed bike counters around the entire county. The question to answer was: how many people were actually riding in the region?
According to the count data obtained from SDSU’s Active Transportation Research, the bike traffic in Uptown has gone up — by an average of 346% since 2012.
And it looks like the biggest jump in bike ridership happened after the buffered bike lanes were striped on Fourth and Fifth Avenues in 2014.
Even in car-centric San Diego, if you build the bike lanes, people will ride.
Elsewhere on the Network todayWash Cycle reports that 18 percent of households in the DC metro region use bikes for transportation. The Dallas Morning News’ Transportation Blog writes that Mayor Mike Rawlings, a proponent of the Trinity Toll Road, says the Federal Highway Administration won’t stand in the way of the project. And Bike Portland says a flashing warning signal seems to have reduced right hook collisions involving bicyclists at a problematic intersection.
Check out the full story at Streets Blog.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was signed into law by President Obama on Feb.17, 2009. Virginia will receive a total of $694.5 million in highway funding from ARRA to invest in improving our transportation system.
Our priorities are to address deficient pavements, structurally deficient bridges and much-needed highway capacity and rail improvements to improve the economic competitiveness of the commonwealth and offer safe, reliable transportation options for all Virginians.
The information contained in the materials posted on this page will provide you with the most up-to-date status of Virginia’s efforts to maximize the stimulus investment.

A Transparent Process

The commonwealth continues to work through an open, transparent and collaborative process to select projects that provide the most benefit for Virginia citizens while adhering to all requirements and deadlines prescribed in the legislation.
Following a public comment period, the commonwealth worked in close collaboration with the metropolitan planning organizations, elected officials and citizens to select the best uses of this ARRA funding.

Fast Facts

Investment priorities were set by the Commonwealth Transportation Board to govern the selection of state-funded transportation stimulus projects. These included:
  • Addressing structurally deficient bridges

    • $97.2 million targeted to improve or replace structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges and culverts.
  • Addressing deficient pavements

    • $136.5 million targeted toward repaving or overlaying lane miles of highway and primary roads in Virginia.
  • BRAC-related projects

    • $75.4 million targeted to fund improvements necessary near expanding military installations supporting 21,400 jobs.
  • Enhancements

    • $20.8 million targeted to be used for enhancement projects.
  • Cancelled or delayed construction projects and citizen suggestions

  • $37.3 million targeted to improve Virginia’s rail network and access to the Port of Virginia

  • $184.0 million targeted to advance much-needed congestion-relief projects including building lane miles of new roadway




Presentations to the Commonwealth Transportation Board


Certifications by the Governor

Helpful Links