Tuesday, June 30, 2015

'Subway Symphony' Could Start Your Trip On The Right Note

This'll put some spring in your step... and a tune in your ears.
Currently, New York City subway riders hear an annoyingly high-pitched "beep" sound every time they swipe their metrocards at a turnstile. But former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy wants to change that.
In place of the existing beeps, Murphy wants New Yorkers to hear a "hopping" little melody when they enter the subway:
Read the rest of the story at Huffington Post.

Monday, June 29, 2015

VDOT Lifts Lane Closures For July 4 Travel

RICHMOND, Va. – Know what’s ahead on the highway this Fourth of July holiday by using the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) travel tools to see the latest traffic conditions before you leave.
You can find real-time information about traffic, incidents and congestion on Virginia roads at www.511Virginia.org.Motorists can also download the free VDOT 511 mobile app for Apple and Android devices to stay connected.
Motorists also can call 511 from any phone in Virginia. Please have your passengers make the call if you are driving, or pull off the road to make the call yourself – don’t drive distracted.
VDOT will suspend most highway work zones for several days over the Fourth of July holiday travel period to provide as many travel lanes as possible.
Lane closures will be lifted on interstates and other major roads from noon Thursday, July 2, to noon Monday, July 6.
  • HOV restrictions on Interstate 66 and Interstate 395 will be lifted on Friday, July 3. Normal HOV restrictions will be in place on Thursday, July 2.
  • Direction schedule for the Interstate 95 Express Lanes/I-395 reversible lanes:
  • Friday, July 3 − Lane reversal to southbound begins at 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, July 4 − Lanes reverse to northbound at midnight. Lanes reverse to southbound at 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 5 − Lanes reverse to northbound at midnight and remain northbound all day.
  • Monday, July 6 − Lanes remain northbound through the morning rush hour. Lanes reverse to southbound at 11 a.m.
  • July 4 event traffic − To accommodate travelers attending Fourth of July events in Washington, D.C., VDOT will coordinate and adjust signal timings at more than 122 signalized intersections along major roads in Virginia, including routes 1, 7, 29, 50, 123, 236 and 244. VDOT will time signals to help traffic move into the District of Columbia during the day and then south and west from the city between 9:30 p.m. and midnight.
More information on Northern Virginia HOV schedules can be found at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/hov-novasched.asp
For information on the 95 and 495 Express Lanes, visit http://www.expresslanes.com. Drivers are reminded that they need an E-ZPass Flex (for HOV-3 to ride toll-free) or an E-ZPass to use the lanes at all times.
  • Interstate 64/Interstate 264/Interstate 564 HOV diamond lanes – HOV restrictions will be lifted on all HOV diamond lanes on Friday, July 3.
  • I-64 reversible lanes − Lanes will operate on the regular schedule with no HOV restrictions on Friday, July 3.
  • I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) – Motorists traveling to Virginia Beach are encouraged to use the Interstate 664 Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT) as an alternative to the HRBT. To Virginia Beach, take I-664 south to the MMMBT. Then take the Portsmouth/Norfolk exit (exit 15A) to Interstate 264 east to Virginia Beach.
  • Travel to Outer Banks: Motorists going to the North Carolina Outer Banks should use I-664 and the MMMBT to save time. From I-664 south, take I-64 west to exit 292, Chesapeake Expressway/Interstate 464/Route 17. Keep left to continue to the Chesapeake Expressway (Route 168), and take Nags Head/Great Bridge (exit 291B) to the Outer Banks.
  • Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) – Tune to 1680 AM to stay informed on Hampton Roads traffic, travel conditions and construction information.
While VDOT will lift most lane closures during the Fourth of July holiday period, motorists may encounter permanent work zones or travel delays in the following locations:
Amherst County
Route 501– Replacing bridge at Route 130 intersection over James River. Traffic controls and flaggers in use.
Route 54 – Replacing bridge. Travel on bridge over I-95 limited to one lane each direction.
Augusta County
Route 250– Replacing bridges at White Oak Draft and at Calfpasture River on Hankey Mountain Highway. Traffic restricted to one lane at both locations with temporary signals.
Botetourt County
Interstate 81:
  • Mile marker 162 to 167 – Paving. Lane closures, northbound, 10 p.m.-6 a.m., Sunday-Thursday.
  • Mile marker 155 – Repairing bridge over Route 676. Alternating lane closures, both directions, 9 p.m.-6 a.m., Sunday-Thursday.
  • Mile marker 151 – Repairing bridge over Route 779. Alternating lane closures, both directions, 9 p.m.-6 a.m., Sunday-Thursday.
  • Mile marker 147 – Repairing bridge over Route 648. Alternating lane closures, both directions, 9 p.m.-6 a.m., Sunday-Thursday.
I-81– Improving exit 7 interchange. Be alert to delays.
Carroll, Floyd, Patrick counties
Route 58 – Improving eight miles of highway between Laurel Fork in Carroll County and Meadows of Dan in Patrick County.
Charles City County
Route 5 – Replacing bridge over Herring Creek. Temporary signal directing traffic.
Clarke County
Route 7eastbound – Single lane closure from 6 a.m.-3 p.m. on Thursday, July 3 from Route 604 (Ebenezer Road) to Route 601 (Blue Ridge Mountain Road) for 2015 World Police & Fire Games Cycling-Hill Climb Event. Speed limit reduced to 35 mph during event.
Culpeper County
Route 3 – Widening road. Traffic restricted to one lane with flagging from Route 669 (Carrico Mills Road) to Route 750 (Ellis Road) until 3 p.m. Thursday, July 2.
Dinwiddie County
Route 226 – Replacing bridge over Vulcan Quarry. Temporary signal directing traffic.
Greensville County
Route 301 – Replacing southbound bridge over rail tracks north of Emporia. Traffic detoured to I-95.
Henry County
Route 58 – Repairing bridge over Horsepasture Creek. Alternating lane closures, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday-Friday. Flaggers may control traffic.
Lunenburg County
Route 712 – Replacing bridge over North Meherrin River. Drivers should follow posted detour.
Madison County
Route 231 – Replacing bridge over Mulatto Run. Traffic restricted to one lane controlled by temporary signals.
Montgomery County
Route 8 – Lane closure on Route 8 (Riner Road) near Route 699 (Fairview Church Road).  
Pulaski County
Interstate 81:
  • Mile markers 87 to 105 – Alternating lane closures, both directions, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Mile markers 93 to 96 – Repairing bridges. Lane closures, 8 p.m.-6 a.m., Monday-Thursday.
Route 360 – Replacing bridge deck. Traffic limited to two lanes on Mechanicsville Turnpike over I-64, with one travel lane each direction.
I-81 over Route 641 – Repairing bridge. Lane closures, 10 p.m.-6 a.m., Sunday-Thursday. Daytime lane closures on Route 641. 
Interstate 581 – Improving Valley View interchange. Shoulders closed, barricades in place as work continues.
Rockbridge County
Interstate 64: Rehabilitating Maury River bridge. Eastbound traffic will detour across median to westbound lanes between mile markers 53.3 and 55.3. Traffic both directions will use westbound bridge during work on eastbound bridge.
Southampton County
Route 35 – Replacing bridge at Courtland. Detour to Route 58 and Route 58 Business.
Wythe County
Interstate 77/Interstate 81 overlap – High traffic volumes could slow or stop vehicles through this eight-mile stretch. Be alert to delays on northbound I-77 at the I-81 merge.
Motorist Safety Tips
VDOT encourages all motorists to do their part to prevent highway crashes by following these safety tips while driving:
  • Buckle up
  • Avoid distractions
  • Share the road
  • Drive drug- and alcohol-free
  • Obey speed limits
Travelers are reminded that Virginia’s “Move Over” law requires motorists to move to the next lane, if possible, when approaching vehicles with flashing blue, red or amber lights that are stopped on the side of the road. For more information, see http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/move_it_move_over.asp
Additional Travel Tools
Lane closures and incident reports available on 511 also are communicated through VDOT’s Twitter accounts, targeted for different regions of Virginia and specific interstate corridors, such as Interstate 95 or Interstate 81.
Visit http://www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/vdot_twitter_feeds.asp for a list of VDOT’s Twitter accounts and information on how to subscribe.
VDOT’s Customer Service Center
To report a road problem or get answers to your transportation questions, call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) around the clock.
For information about major long-term construction projects on Virginia’s interstates and primary roads, visithttp://www.virginiadot.org/travel/major_road_construction_projects.asp for VDOT’s interactive “Road Construction Ahead” map.
Virginia belongs to the E-ZPass electronic toll-collection network. E-ZPass customers can use their transponders at toll facilities in Virginia and 14 other states. For more information on E-ZPass, visit www.ezpassva.com.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Two Major Contracts Awarded In Fairfax, Nottoway Counties

RICHMOND, Va. – At its monthly meeting yesterday, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) awarded two contracts worth nearly $49 million for major infrastructure improvements.
The projects – in the Northern Virginia and Richmond districts of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) – will improve mobility, enhance safety and extend the life of the state’s transportation network.
The contracts are for projects that will:
asset_upload_file336_68292Rehabilitate pair of bridges and widen section of Route 7 over Dulles Toll Road in Fairfax County 
Rendering of the planned Route 7 bridge improvements over the Dulles Toll Road in Fairfax Countywithin the project limits – approximately 0.1 mile west of Tyco
The CTB awarded a design-build contract worth nearly $39.9 million to G.A. & F.C. Wagman Inc. of North Dinwiddie, Va., to widen part of Route 7 and rehabilitate the existing twin bridges over the Dulles Toll Road.
The project will improve the existing three-lane Route 7 bridges, built in 1960 and deemed structurally deficient, over the Dulles Toll Road.
The existing superstructure will be replaced, widened and raised to provide a 16.5-foot vertical clearance over the Dulles Toll Road to meet current design standards.
Route 7 will be widened to a six-lane roadway
Road to approximately 0.6 mile west of Tyco Road – to match the section constructed during Phase 1 of Metrorail’s Silver Line to Dulles International Airport on the south side of the Dulles Toll Road.
Each bridge now carries two lanes of through traffic plus an auxiliary lane and a concrete sidewalk. The side-by-side bridges will be widened to a total of 149 feet to accommodate a 14-foot shared-use path plus additional lane space on each side. The abutments will be replaced with full-height abutments to accommodate collector-distributor lanes under the end spans for the future Tysons ramps project.
The project is scheduled for completion in May 2018. For more information, visit

Replace bridge over rail tracks on U.S. 460 in Nottoway County
The CTB awarded a contract for approximately $8.6 million to Curtis Contracting Inc. of West Point, Va., to replace a bridge on U.S. 460 over railroad tracks.
The existing two-lane bridge on Cox Road (U.S. 460 Business) is just outside the town of Blackstone. Built in 1929, it is structurally deficient and requires extensive maintenance. Its roadway approaches also do not meet current alignment standards.
The new structure will have two 12-foot lanes with 10-foot shoulders. The U.S. 460 Business project will also provide 10-foot shoulders to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.
The project is scheduled for completion in June 2017. For more information, visithttp://www.virginiadot.org/projects/richmond/rt._460_bridge_replacement_in_nottoway.asp.
The following chart tracks the dollar amount of major contracts the CTB has awarded in calendar year 2015:

In advance of each CTB meeting, VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick also approves contracts up to $5 million in value. From the May bid lettings, the commissioner approved 19 contracts worth an approximate total of $24.8 million for construction and maintenance projects on Virginia’s interstates and primary and secondary roads.
Appointed by the governor, the 17-member CTB establishes the administrative policies for Virginia's transportation system. The CTB allocates highway funding to specific projects, locates routes and provides funding for airports, seaports and public transportation. The board normally meets on the third Wednesday of the month in months when action meetings are scheduled,
For more information:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Commonwealth Transportation Board Approves Six-Year Improvement Program

RICHMOND - The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved today the latest Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP), which allocates $13.3 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 program does not include new projects that will be subject to scoring under House Bill 2 (HB2), passed by the General Assembly last year. Certain projects will be scored based on a data-driven process. Once projects are scored, the CTB will select projects for funding to be included in next year’s update of the SYIP. 
FY 2016-2021 Six-Year Improvement Program breakdown:
$9.9 billion – Highway construction
$3.4 billion – Rail and public transportation
$13.3 billion – Total six-year program
VDOT’s Annual Budget for FY 2016  
The Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) annual budget for Fiscal Year 2016 is $5.29 billion, representing a 21 percent increase from the previous year. The growth over the previous year is primarily driven by the planned allocation of bonds, anticipated local and regional funding for VDOT administered projects and the additional revenue provided by the increased sales tax on gasoline that was effective in January 2015.  The annual budget is based on the most recent official state revenue forecast from March 2015 and estimated federal funding.
Funds that will be provided for highway maintenance and operations represent 38 percent of the total budget, followed by 37 percent for highway construction.
Smaller portions of the budget are directed to address the needs and requirements of debt service, support to other agencies, tolls, administration, and other programs.
The breakdown:
$334.5 million – Debt Service

$2.01 billion – Road maintenance (includes city and county street payments)

$495.7 million – Support to other agencies, tolls, administration and other programs

$483.5 million – Funding dedicated to Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads Regions for local and regional transportation projects

$1.959 billion – Construction
$5.29 billion – Total VDOT annual budget

Monday, June 22, 2015

Governor Announced Data-Driven Scoring To Fund Right Transportation Projects

RICHMOND - Following several months of meetings and input from local and regional governments, the Commonwealth Transportation (CTB) today approved a new scoring process for transportation projects.   Once projects are scored, the CTB will have the best information possible to select the right projects for funding.
“The scoring process is about investing tax dollars in the projects that will generate the greatest return on investment for Virginians in terms of easing congestion and stimulating economic growth,” said Gov.Terry McAuliffe.  “I was proud to work with Speaker Howell and the General Assembly to pass the legislation that established this scoring process so that we can make transportation planning decisions based on sound data, not on the political whims that have defined our process for too long. This new process will improve our transportation decision-making so that we can invest in the infrastructure we need to build a new Virginia economy.”
“The law known as House Bill 2 (HB2) will improve transparency and accountability because the public will know how projects scored and the decisions behind the CTB’s project selections,” added Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne.  “The Commonwealth developed the scoring process in collaboration with localities across the state so their particular needs are addressed.” 
Since the beginning of the year, the state held numerous meetings, involving more than 200 representatives from local and regional governments to integrate their input, including more than 300 written comments, into the scoring process.  The CTB also held public hearings in each of the nine construction districts that included opportunities for residents to learn and comment on the scoring process.  Projects will be scored according to the following factors:
  • Safety – reduce the number and rate of fatalities and severe injuries
  • Congestion – reduce hours of delay people spend in traffic and move more people through the transportation system
  • Accessibility – increase access to jobs and travel options
  • Economic Development – support economic development and improve movement of goods
  • Environmental Quality – improve air quality and avoid impacts to the natural environment
  • Land Use – support transportation and efficient land development patterns
Projects in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads will score higher if they reduce congestion.  Projects in other parts of the state will score higher if they increase economic development.
Projects will be screened and scored through early 2016. Once the projects are scored and public input received, the CTB will select projects for funding to be included in next year’s update of the Six-Year Improvement Program, which will be adopted in June 2016.
Projects that are required to be scored will improve transportation on Corridors of Statewide Significance, such as interstates, major primary roads and regional multi-modal networks and urban development areas. The CTB must consider highway, transit, rail, road operational improvements and transportation demand projects, including vanpooling and ridesharing.
Projects funded with federal safety dollars, and projects that rehabilitate aging pavements and bridges are exempted from scoring.
HB2 presentation delivered to the CTB:
For more information, go www.virginiahb2.org.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tipping Point In Transit

One sunny morning a few weeks ago, I slipped into the inviting cockpit of a Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan, a ride equipped with massaging front seats, reclining back seats, a heads-up display worthy of a fighter jet and more speakers than a political convention. At $136,000, this was a car fit for a rap star or a European Union functionary, of which I am neither (yet).
Instead, I write about the future, and embedded in the S550 are a host of technologies that roughly approximate the future of automobile transportation — already available, for a high price, on the road today.
For decades, pundits and theorists have been expecting a future in which cars drive themselves, and companies like Google have been testing advanced versions of these systems for several years.
But the S550 — some of whose self-driving features can be found in other luxury automobiles, including Cadillacs, Volvos and soon the Tesla Model S — shows that in many ways, the future of transportation is already here, and it is evolving at a pace that would surprise even the most optimistic enthusiasts.For decades, pundits and theorists have been expecting a future in which cars drive themselves, and companies like Google have been testing advanced versions of these systems for several years.
Read the rest of the story at the New York Times.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Good Drainage: It's What Keeps Roads Safe from Floods

RICHMOND, Va. – The onset of seasonal summer storms offers a vital reminder of how essential drainage is for Virginia’s roads.  
 Click for drainage video“Motorist safety is the number-one priority of VDOT,” said Charlie Kilpatrick, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). “Ensuring water drains off our roadways helps protect motorists andsaves on maintenance costs.”
VDOT works to prevent road flooding by keeping state-owned drainage systems maintained and clear of debris. This includes regular inspections to ensure these drainage systems are working properly. 
Every resident also has an important hand in helping to maintain good road drainage. Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of drainage facilities, such as ditches and channels, on their property when the facilities are not part of a VDOT-owned drainage easement or a county or city easement. Property owners are responsible for keeping stormwater free-flowing through their land, by keeping grass clippings, leaves and other debris from accumulating. This will help to avoid water from ponding on the road, which could cause a major safety hazard and pavement damage.
Drainage mechanisms are designed and built into pavement structures to reduce frequent maintenance and prevent premature deterioration. Keeping water flowing away from a road’s surface avoids the need for repeated patching, repaving and other rehabilitation.
VDOT regularly maintains state-owned drainage facilities on roadways by:
  • Removing buildup and debris from ditches and gutters 
  • Cleaning inlets, catch basins, storm sewer pipes and culverts
  • Replacing damaged storm sewer pipes and culverts
  • Inspecting stormwater management facilities annually and fixing any problems.  
 Click for brochureWhat can you, the property owner, do beyond keeping your gutters and drainage ditches clear of debris that blocks the free flow of stormwater?
  • Prevent the drainage of pollutants – such as pet waste and fertilizers – into the drainage system
  • Do not obstruct the flow of stormwater to the detriment of another property owner
VDOT responds to flooding or standing water only when it affects a state-maintained roadway or state-owned right of way. VDOT does not maintain or install drainage facilities on private property.
Landowners are responsible for repairing or replacing drainage structures on private property. Property owners must make the repair or replacement in a timely manner.
More detailed information about “Drainage on Virginia Roadways” is available athttp://www.virginiadot.org/info/drainage_on_virginia's_roads.asp.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Baby Born Aboard the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry!

SURRY-The Jamestown-Scotland Ferry vessel Williamsburg docked in Jamestown early this morning with a brand new baby girl on board-literally!
Johnathan and Kayla Cline boarded the vessel on the Surry side at about 2:38 a.m., enroute to a Williamsburg hospital where they expected to welcome the couple’s second child. But, 6 pound, 12-ounce Emmaleigh Jane Cline was in a bit of a hurry.  After all, she was already five days past her due date. 
Not even half way across the James River, Kayla realized she wouldn’t make it to the hospital on time and summoned her husband to deliver the baby in their vehicle.  With a health care worker holding a flash light and Jamestown-Scotland Ferry workers standing by, Jonathan Cline caught his newborn daughter who arrived, on scene, at 3:06 a.m.
The birth is believed to be the first on board the Ferry system.  Jonathan Cline is a regular ferry commuter and was familiar with some of the crew members who assisted.   “I can’t say enough good things about the ferry workers,” he remarked, while stealing glances at his newborn daughter who, bundled in pink from head to toe, is the talk of Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center where the family eventually landed following their “ferry-tale” adventure.
The Clines look forward to their return trip home in a day or two so they can personally thank the JSF crew, again, for helping them make some family memories.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Map: The Remarkable Distances You Can Travel On A European Train In Less Than A Day

Tourists visiting Europe are often advised to travel by train rather than plane or car. Trains are considered reliable, fast and relatively cheap. But as a new research project shows, there are major differences within Europe: Whereas you can travel from London to Paris in less than four hours, traveling the same distance can last more than 22 hours in eastern Europe.
Peter Kerpedjiev, a PhD student at the University of Vienna in Austria, gathered data that offers stunning insights into Europe's railway network. He selected 28 European cities and illustrated which surrounding cities or areas could be reached within a certain time.
See the map and read the rest of the story at the Washington Post.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Top 100 Neighborhoods for Bicycle Commuting Have a 21% Mode Share

City rankings of bike-friendliness — while fabulous click-bait for their purveyors — obscure dramatic differences among neighborhoods. Los Angeles doesn’t appear on any cycling top 10 lists, but the area to the north and west of the University of Southern California has a 20 percent bicycle mode share. The city of Miami Beach is no bike heavyweight, but around Flamingo Park, nearly one in every four trips to work is made on two wheels.
Robert Schneider, an urban planning professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, wanted to go beyond the city rankings. He and his assistant, Joe Stefanich, examined 60,090 census tracts to find the top 100 U.S. neighborhoods for bicycle commuting [PDF]. They presented the results at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in January.
Taken together, those neighborhoods have a 21 percent bicycle mode share. Compare that to the U.S. as a whole, with its piddling 0.6 percent mode share.
Here’s what Schneider and Stefanich found:
  • Stanford University is a biking powerhouse. The central campus has a 52 percent mode share, the highest in the country. Five census tracts in and around the campus make it into the top 100. (Check out our coverage of Stanford’s transportation demand management program to find out more about how they did it.)
Read the rest of the story here.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Secretary Announces Process For Procuring I-66 Outside The Beltway Improvements

RICHMOND – Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne announced today the process that the Commonwealth will follow to select the right procurement method to finance improvements to I-66 Outside the Beltway.  A decision on whether the project will be publicly financed by the state or procured under the Public-Private Transportation Act, commonly known as a P3, will be made by November 2015.
“Now that we have analyzed the baseline public option and know what the Commonwealth can finance this project on its own, it is time to sit down with the private sector to see if they can offer us a better deal,” said  Layne. “These discussions will allow us to make a decision by November on the best path forward.  What is important is that we move forward on making critically needed improvements to one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the country.”
During the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s meeting last month, Layne presented an initial analysis that shows the state could finance the project, saving up to $600 million and providing as much as $500 million in excess revenues as compared with typical P3 concession terms that have been previously negotiated by the state on several large projects.   
The state could deliver the project with the following:
  • Up to $600 million in upfront public funding;
  • Up to $500 million in additional future corridor improvements;
  • Capital and operating support for new and expanded transit service throughout the term of the deal; and,
  • Reservation of space in the median for future Metrorail expansion.
Moving forward, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), in partnership with the Department of Rail and Public Transportation and the Virginia Office of Public-Private Partnerships (VAP3), will hold confidential meetings with interested private parties and consortiums through June to determine whether the private sector can deliver the project in a more advantageous manner for the taxpayers of Virginia. 
“If the private sector indicates that they can deliver this project with risk transferred and more benefits to taxpayers than the state can do by itself,  VDOT will then recommend in July to the Transportation Public-Private Partnership Advisory Committee that a P3 procurement be initiated,” continued Layne. “Virginia would welcome a partner on this project – but only if it is in our citizens’ best interest.”

The Transportation Public-Private Partnership Advisory Committee is a key component of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s P3 reform legislation from the 2015 General Assembly Session.
The Committee must affirm a recommendation of VDOT and DRPT that a public-private partnership represents the best option for the Commonwealth before a P3 procurement is initiated. It is anticipated that the committee will hold public meetings in July if the recommendation by VDOT and DRPT is to move forward with a P3 procurement.
If the Committee affirms with the recommendation of VDOT, then a request for qualifications will be issued. VDOT, DRPT and the VAP3 would then meet with the qualified respondents. Key to these meetings will be the ability of the potential private partners to demonstrate the ability to deliver the project and meet the major business terms outlined by the Commonwealth.
Importantly, over the coming months the Commonwealth will continue to take necessary steps to allow VDOT and DRPT to advance the project using public financing, should a P3 deal not be recommended or move forward.
More information on the Transform 66 Project can be found at www.Transform66.org.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Five Myths About Traffic

This Memorial Day weekend, nearly one-third of Americans will hit the roads. Congestion in major cities will increase 200 percent, and life satisfaction levels will plummet 50 percent. Actually, I just made all of those statistics up. Then again, the numbers you hear breathlessly brandished on drive-time radio in the run-up to the holiday are equally meaningless, based on randomly sampled surveys and historical forecasts. No one knows exactly how many people will travel this weekend, nor how bad the traffic will be. We can just assume: many, and worse than usual. As Americans sit congealed on a brake-light-bathed stretch of tarmac, there will be ample time to consider five myths about this problem of our own making.

1. More roads = less traffic.
This is the granddaddy of all traffic myths, one still held dear by the average driver and certain precincts of state highway offices. More funding for more roads is on the way in Texas, where the governor declared that residents are “tired of being stuck in traffic.” On Memorial Day, it will assume the stature of an intuitive truth: If they just built more roads, we’d be home by now.
Read the rest of the story at the Washington Post.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Want To Stop Your Brain From Getting Old? Live In A Walkable Neighborhood

Brain training companies say that carefully designed computer games can make a brain work better, but neuroscientists and Alzheimer’s researchers have warned the public that such conclusions can be misleading. Now, some researchers say that neighborhoods could impact how well the brains of older people function. 

At Kansas University, assistant professor of psychology Amber Watts is gearing up for a large study on how the walkability of neighborhoods impacts cognition—and maybe even dementia. An initial pilot study on 25 people she conducted with a fellow Alzheimer’s researcher and two architects found that the sample of older adults who lived in more "walkable" neighborhoods performed much better on cognition tests. Another sample of adults with early dementia living in walkable neighborhoods also showed promising signs, but the results were more complicated.

Read the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My Way On The Highway

Here’s a scenario that should be familiar: You’re driving along on the highway. Suddenly, without signaling, a massive SUV comes barreling into your lane from the right, forcing you to jam on the brakes and swerve out of the way to avoid a collision. “Worthless piece of %$#@,” you yell to this person you don’t know (and who can’t hear you) before embarking on a quest to teach them a lesson by tailgating them for the next two miles.
In his 1950 short, Motor Mania, Goofy plays Mr. Walker, a law abiding, kind, and courteous citizen—until he steps into his car. All of a sudden Mr. Walker undergoes a Hydian transformation, becoming Mr. Wheeler, a reckless, selfish, “uncontrollable monster.” Wrapped in his “personal armor,” Mr. Wheeler screams at other motorists, flies off the handle at the slightest perceived provocation, and through it all still considers himself a good driver.
You are Goofy. You are. But why?
Read the rest of the story at Slate.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Four Cities Race to Finish the Country’s First Protected Intersection

Sometimes, change builds up for years. And sometimes, it bursts.
Fifteen months after American bikeway designer Nick Falbo coined the phrase “protected intersection” to refer to a Dutch-style intersection between two streets with protected bike lanes, the concept hasn’t just ricocheted around the Internet — it’s been approved by four different cities.
The cities of Austin, Salt Lake City, Davis and Boston are now in a four-way race to create the first working protected intersection in the United States.

The holy grail of bike infrastructure: Low-stress traffic crossings:

Read the rest of the story at Streets Blog.

Monday, June 1, 2015

I-64 Bridge Projects Start In Richmond

COLONIAL HEIGHTS—The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) begins two projects in the next month that are expected to cause overnight and weekend traffic impacts. VDOT crews are working to restore the I-64 Shockoe Valley Bridge near mile marker 190 and the I-64 bridge over I-195 at the Bryan Park interchange near mile marker 186. “The I-64 bridge restorations project will extend the life of the existing structures,” said construction manager, Keith Rider, P.E., “Motorists will enjoy a much smoother driving surface on the Shockoe Valley Bridge by September and on I-64 over I-195 by next summer.”
The Shockoe Valley Bridge project will include rehabilitating the 65-year-old bridge, resurfacing and bridgejoint replacement. The work is expected to begin this week. Resurfacing is expected to be complete by September with construction lasting through November 2015. Drivers can expect single and double lane closures during weeknights and weekends. Weeknight closures will be from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and weekend closures will be from 8 p.m. Fridays to 5 a.m. Mondays. Drivers are strongly encouraged to use alternate routes to bypass the construction.
From I-64 east (Goochland/Henrico): There are three alternate routes:
• Access Route 288 south at exit 175 in Goochland to reach Chesterfield County locations and to re-enter I-95 at exit 62
• Access I-295 at exit 177 to reach I-95 north or I-64 east of Richmond
• Access I-195 south at exit 186 in Richmond to reach downtown destinations, Route 76/Powhite Parkway Extension (toll) through Chesterfield County or the Downtown Expressway (toll).
From I-64 west (Henrico): Access I-295 at exit 200 to reach I-95 north/south or I-64 west of Richmond.
The I-64 bridge over I-195 project will include rehabilitating the 48-year-old structure, replacing deteriorating surfaces, repairing structural steel, patching the substructure and replacing guardrail with delineators and rumble strips. Construction began in March 2015 and is expected to be complete by summer 2016.  Drivers should expect major delays and are strongly encouraged to use alternate routes or posted detours to bypass the construction near the Bryan Park interchange beginning in mid-June.  
Through traffic from I-95 south (Henrico): Access I-295 at exit 84 to reach I-64 east/west or areas south of Richmond; through travelers can use I-295 south to bypass Richmond and re-enter I-95 south at exit 46 in Prince George County.
Through traffic from I-95 north (Prince George): Access I-295 at exit 46 to reach I-64 east/west or areas north of Richmond; through travelers can use I-295 north to bypass Richmond and re-enter I-95 north at exit 84 in Henrico County.  

For more information about the I-64 Richmond Bridge Restorations project or to sign up for project updates, visit http://www.i64bridges.org. Anyone with questions about the project can call VDOT’s customer service center at 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).

Real-time listings of road conditions and closures in Virginia are available on VDOT’s 24-hour traffic and travel information website, www.511Virginia.org or by calling 511. Richmond area traffic information is also available on Twitter @511centralVA.