Friday, September 22, 2017

A Right to the Road: Understanding & Addressing Bicyclist Safety

As traffic fatalities are up across the board, bicyclist deaths rose 12.2% in 2015, the largest percentage increase of any other roadway user group that year. To address this troubling trend, GHSA and State Farm® have partnered on a new report, A Right to the Road: Understanding & Addressing Bicyclist Safety
This publication analyzes national data to understand fatal bicyclist-motor vehicle crash characteristics, offering 30 actions steps to help State Highway Safety Offices and local communities assess and improve their current bicyclist safety programs.
Chief among these recommendations are collecting better crash data, increasing training for law enforcement to understand laws designed to protect bicyclists, partnering with bicycling and community organizations to amplify safety messaging, and coupling infrastructure improvements with public education campaigns.
This comprehensive report was authored by traffic safety expert Pam Fischer, with data analysis performed by Richard Retting of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants.
Download the report here.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Denver's Bet On Transportation Pays Off

Tom Clark can cite the exact moment in 1997 when metro Denver’s economic leaders became convinced that a more comprehensive rail and bus network was critical to the region’s prosperity. They were talking to executives at Level 3 Communications about a potential relocation, but their prospects were balking. They were afraid that without transit, Denver’s potential workforce was effectively cut in half because of congestion on I-70, the main east-west interstate artery.

There were challenges in going to voters for transit funding at that stage, however. Denver International Airport, the area’s major infrastructure project of the 1990s, had been plagued with billion-dollar cost overruns and an automated baggage system that had to be scrapped. The public’s trust in local government’s ability to pull off large projects was at an all-time low, leading in part to the recent defeat of an ambitious but vaguely defined transit initiative called Guide The Ride.“They were the catalytic piece of us deciding that we really had to get serious and get transit back on the ballot again,” said Clark, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. “It was one of those a-ha moments in your life where you just go ‘Wow, this has real economic implications.’”
Read the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

“TIGER” Transportation Projects Showcase Innovation Across America

Over the course of eight batches starting in February 2010, The US Department of Transportation has awarded over $4 billion for innovative transportation projects that address economic, environmental and travel issues at once. The TIGER program, as its known (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery), is a competitive and merit-based process to pick projects.
Almost all of these projects have a hard time getting funded under the outdated structure of the current federal transportation program. These projects in communities across the country will create good paying jobs, spur local economic development, and keep our metro and rural areas connected. Winning project applications have to show multiple benefits: 1) that projects improve the condition of existing facilities and systems, 2) contribute to the economic competitiveness of the U.S. over the medium- to long-term, 3) improve the quality of living and working environments for people, 4) improve energy efficiency, reduce dependence on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefit the environment, and 5) improve public safety.
Read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

New Website For I-66 Inside The Beltway Announced

FAIRFAX - With express lanes opening this December on I-66 Inside the Beltway, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) unveiled a new website,, to educate travelers about how tolling will work, the necessity of getting an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex, and other changes coming to the highway. The express lanes, which will be in effect Monday through Friday, 5:30-9:30 a.m. eastbound, and 3:00-7:00 p.m. westbound, are designed to offer new travel choices that move people on I-66 with greater speed and reliability. 
This new website provides comprehensive information to prepare commuters for the opening of the Express Lanes, including:
  • How the dynamically-tolled I-66 Inside the Beltway Express Lanes will operate; 
  • Who is subject to the toll by explaining the difference between a free and tolled trip. Solo drivers will be able to use the highway during rush hour for the first time since it opened in 1982 by paying a toll, while carpoolers, transit riders, motorcyclists, and emergency and law enforcement vehicles performing their duties will experience toll-free trips. The elimination of exemptions for special user groups such as clean-fuel vehicles and Dulles International Airport-bound vehicles, to treat all I-66 users equally;
  • What type of transponder to choose by making a distinction between E-ZPass (which enables solo drivers to pay a toll to access the rush-hour Express Lanes) and E-ZPass Flex (which enables vehicles with two or more occupants to travel toll-free);
  • Where to get an E-ZPass/E-ZPass Flex, including AAA Mid-Atlantic locations, select Wegmans and Giant grocery stores, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles centers, and online;
  • When are the new HOV/tolling hours? In the morning driving eastbound between 5:30 and 9:30 a.m. and in the evening heading westbound between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m.; and
How much will it cost? A toll calculator that will display current toll rate estimates, which will be activated when the Express Lanes open.
"We are excited to roll out our new website to help the public get ready for Toll-Day 1," said Amanda Baxter, Special Projects manager for VDOT. "Our site offers one stop shopping for everything you need to know about the Express Lanes on I-66 Inside the Beltway and other changes to the rules of the road."
In addition to, VDOT will roll out a multi-faceted education program this fall that will include media events, news stories, advertisements, briefings and other strategies to prepare travelers to use the express lanes in ways that best suit their individual needs.  
The I-66 Express Lanes Inside the Beltway will open as HOV-2, but will switch to HOV-3 when the I-66 Outside the Beltway Express Lanes open in mid-2022, matching the current HOV rules on I-495 and I-95 Express lanes. 
After covering the cost of maintaining and operating the facility, remaining toll revenues from the I-66 Inside the Beltway Express Lanes will be invested in transportation alternatives that improve mobility and benefit travelers using I-66 Inside the Beltway will be administered by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.
More information can be found at and

Monday, September 18, 2017

Now Is The Time For Smart Cities

While the verdict is out on just how the trends we outline below will affect our cities, one thing is certain: we’re in the midst of the most significant shift in urban transportation in decades. To wit, just a few weeks ago, Uber’s self-driving pilot kicked off in Pittsburgh.
The creation of the interstate system to connect cities (and also speed commuters through them to new outlying suburbs) was the last truly epochal shift in urban mobility. We’re on the cusp of the next one right now. So why does this appear to be “the moment” for the interest in being a smart city?
Read the rest of the story here.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

VA LTAP Winter Maintenance Series Starts In September

Our Winter Maintenance Operations workshop series begins next week in Harrisonburg, VA. For a list of locations

Monday, September 11, 2017

Providing Safe Roads Is Key To Growing Bicycle Culture

Bicycle fatalities are rising and the average age for fatalities continues to rise, according to a report released today by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.
As the Washington Post notes, “Forty years ago, riding a bike was child’s play, and the overwhelming majority of those killed in bike crashes were children. [But] the average age of cyclists killed in collisions in 2015 was 45.” Also, men are far and away more likely to die in biking crashes than women.
The 75-page reportA right to the road: Understanding and addressing bike safety, analyzes the data and has a number of recommendations, grouped into three areas: engineering, enforcement, and education.
Read the rest of the story here.

Friday, September 8, 2017

VDOT: Arlington Then and Now

In 1949, the Virginia Department of Highways, now VDOT, did a traffic study along Route 29 in Arlington. A few years ago, VDOT discovered an old reel of 16mm film taken during the study. We shot a drive-along of the Lee Highway in 2014 to show how this busy corridor has grown in the past 65 years.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

VDOT: Belmont Ridge Road Bridge over W&OD Trail

The new Belmont Ridge Road bridge over the Washington & Old Dominion trail in Ashburn opened in July, greatly improving safety for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers by eliminating the potential for crashes. The bridge is part of a two-mile road widening from Hay Road to Gloucester Road. The $61 million project is being funded by Loudoun County and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and will be complete in late 2018. Learn more at

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Citizen Input Sought For Transportation Initiatives

RICHMOND, Va. – The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) will hold nine public meetings across the commonwealth from August through October on various transportation initiatives, including proposed changes to Virginia’s project prioritization process (known as SMART SCALE), recently funded projects in the Six-Year Improvement Program, Virginia’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, VTrans Multimodal Transportation Plan, scenario planning, freight plans, and planning for round three of SMART SCALE.

The public is invited to get the latest information, ask questions and provide input on various transportation initiatives. This year’s meetings will consist of an open house where representatives from the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, Departments of Transportation and Rail and Public Transportation, along with Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Planning District Commissions, and Transit organizations will be in attendance to highlight their transportation programs and to discuss attendees’ ideas and concerns on Virginia’s transportation network. Following the open house, a town hall session will engage public and transportation stakeholders in discussion and provide an opportunity to ask questions about Virginia’s transportation projects and programs. Comments will be accepted informally at the meeting and may also be submitted via email to (for highways) or (for rail and public transportation), or online at

Signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, SMART SCALE (formerly known as House Bill 2) is an objective and data-driven “prioritization” process to score projects according to critical transportation needs. Round two of SMART SCALE was concluded in June, when the CTB approved 147 projects for funding for a total of $1.02 billion in SMART SCALE funds. The CTB is now considering some changes to the SMART SCALE process and is requesting public input and feedback on proposed changes. Following public meetings, in October the CTB will vote on changes to the SMART SCALE process that will be implemented in advance of round three. The proposed changes are available for review at

Public Meetings Open house begins at 4 p.m. in each of the locations:
Tuesday August 29, 2017
Gerrmanna Community College Center for Workforce & Community Education
10000 Germanna Point Drive
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
Thursday, August 31, 2017
The Prior Center at UVA-Wise
437 Stadium Drive
Wise, VA 24293
Update: This meeting has been cancelled and will be rescheduled.
Monday, September 11, 2017
Culpeper District Office
1601 Orange Road
Culpeper, VA 22701
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Chesapeake Conference Center
700 Conference Center Drive
Chesapeake, VA 23320

Monday, September 18, 2017
NOVA District Office
The Potomac Room
4975 Alliance Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030

Monday, October 2, 2017
Hilton Garden Inn Richmond South/Southpark
800 Southpark Boulevard
Colonial Heights, VA 23834

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Holiday Inn Lynchburg
601 Main Street
Lynchburg, VA 24504
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Blue Ridge Community College, Plecker Center for Continuing Education
One College Lane
Weyers Cave, VA 24486
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Holiday Inn Valley View
3315 Ordway Drive
Roanoke, VA 24017