Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Marketing Safety: How to Tell Your Story and Move People to Action

Take a moment to check out a great Webinar from the National Center for Rural Road Safety produced with that National LTAP and TTAP Associations. It has been archived and can be viewed here.
It provided practical techniques for effective communication with stakeholders, leadership, and the public. 
Webinar OutcomesAt the conclusion of this webinar, participants were able to:
  • Explain five techniques for better communication and marketing
  • Write an engaging “teaser” to describe their job/position
  • Use a communications brief to plan outreach activities
Target Audience
This training was directed towards a very broad safety audience including, but not limited to, law enforcement, planners, engineers, first responders, elected officials, public health, tourism agencies, and safety culture experts. Participants should have some basic familiarity with transportation safety.
Course Presenters
Kevin Elliott, Senior Communication Specialist, ARA
Kevin Elliott is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Applied Research Associates, Inc. He manages creative outreach projects for clients including the Federal Highway Administration, the Florida Department of Transportation, the U.S. Air Force, and the National Institute for Standards and Technology, among others. He is also an adjunct communication professor at Florida State University Panama City. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Ready, Set, Summer! Memorial Day Weekend Kicks Off Busy Summer Travel Season

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is making your Memorial Day weekend travel easier by suspending most highway work zones and lifting most lane closures on interstates and other major roads in Virginia from noon Friday, May 24, until noon Tuesday, May 28.
While lane closures will be lifted in most areas, motorists may encounter semi-permanent work zones that remain in place during this time. A full list of those lane closures can be found on VDOT's website.
VDOT’s travel-trends map helps plan around historically-congested times.
TRAVEL-TRENDS MAP HELPS PREDICT PEAK CONGESTION
VDOT's online, interactive travel-trends map shows peak congestion periods on Virginia interstates during the three previous Memorial Day holidays (2016-2018). While it cannot precisely predict when congestion will occur this year, it can help plan travel around historically busy times.
According to the map, periods of moderate to heavy congestion will occur:
  • Between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. on both Friday and Monday
  • Saturday and Sunday midday
In addition, congestion is expected:
  • I-95 south and I-64 east from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon
  • I-95 north and I-64 west on Monday from around noon to late in the evening
 NORTHERN VIRGINIA HIGH OCCUPANCY VEHICLE (HOV) SCHEDULE AND OTHER INFORMATION:
On Monday, May 27, HOV restrictions on I-66 and I-395 and rush hour tolls on the 66 Express Lanes Inside the Beltwaywill be lifted.
Go online to find directional schedules for the reversible 95 Express Lanes. The free 495 and 95 Express Lanes app lets drivers check real-time toll prices and live traffic updates. Once drivers are on the road, pricing and traffic updates will be available on overhead signs; updates will be available online via Twitter (@VAExpressLanes).
HAMPTON ROADS HOV SCHEDULE, TUNNELS AND OTHER INFORMATION:
I-64/I-264/I-564 HOV diamond lanes and 64 Express Lanes: HOV restrictions and express lanes tolls are lifted on Monday, May 27. The 64 Express Lanes in Norfolk are free and open to all motorists outside of normal operating hours, including weekends. To learn more about the 64 Express Lanes, click here.
REAL-TIME INFORMATION TRAFFIC INFO IS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
VDOT's free mobile 511 app offers information about construction, traffic, incidents and congestion as well as access to traffic cameras, weather and more. Traffic information is also available at 511Virginia.org, or by calling 511 from any phone.
To report a road problem or get answers to your transportation questions, call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) around the clock.
SAFETY FIRST
Be cautious behind the wheel and remember that your actions impact yourself, your passengers and everyone else on the road. Do your part in making travel safer for everybody:
  • If you plan to drink, have a designated driver or use a ride service
  • Buckle up
  • Keep your eyes on the road
  • Take a break if you are drowsy
  • If you are a passenger, speak up if someone is driving distracted
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Friday, May 17, 2019

CTB Renames Jefferson Davis Highway In Arlington County

ARLINGTON, Va. – At its May meeting, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) took action on the renaming of U.S. Route 1 and Virginia Route 110 within the County of Arlington from “Jefferson Davis Highway” to “Richmond Highway,” as requested by the county. In a letter of support by Governor Ralph Northam for the renaming, read aloud at the meeting by Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine, Governor Northam said of the road’s current name, “While it is necessary for us to honestly discuss and interpret Virginia’s history, I feel strongly that commemorating the president of the Confederacy through the name of a major thoroughfare is not appropriate.” He continued, “[w]ith this change, the name of Route 1 will be Richmond Highway from Fairfax County to the Potomac River.”
The Board also took action to commemoratively name a bridge in Amherst County as the “Trooper Lucas B. Dowell Bridge” after the Virginia State Police trooper killed in the line of duty. The Amherst County Board of Supervisors presented a resolution to the CTB to name the bridge on U.S. 29 Business, South Main Street, over U.S. Route 29 in honor of Trooper Lucas B. Dowell, who served four years with the Virginia State Police.
“Trooper Dowell worked closely with VDOT crews in the Lynchburg District, and was a respected and committed partner within the Virginia State Police,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “With this naming, we are honored to preserve his memory and legacy of bravery and public service for generations to come.”
During this meeting, the CTB took action to finalize SMART SCALE projects to be included in FY 2020-2025 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP). SMART SCALE is the data-driven process by which capital improvement, transportation demand management, or safety improvement projects are considered and scored, using weighted factors, including safety, congestion reduction, accessibility, land use (in larger regions), environmental quality, and economic development. 
“SMART SCALE is a transparent process that takes the politics out of project selection, and ensures the most beneficial, cost-effective projects are prioritized,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine.
 “With SMART SCALE, the Commonwealth achieves greater efficiency in project development and funding through to construction,” said John Malbon, CTB member representing the Hampton Roads District. “The process allows Virginia and transportation partners predictability in planning for future investments and opportunities. We’re committed to continuing to refine the process for potential improvements as transportation needs evolve.”
The CTB will vote on the final SMART SCALE projects and the SYIP in June 2019. Projects selected will be fully funded through construction. 
In this month’s meeting, the CTB approved two contracts totaling $88.9 million.
  • An $83.2 million contract was awarded to Allan Myers VA Inc. in Glen Allen to remove existing feeder roads on Laskin Road, replace the bridge over Linkhorn Bay, and widen First Colonial Road in the Hampton Roads District. The project will improve safety and add capacity on Laskin Road and First Colonial Road. Construction is planned in phases so traffic can be maintained during construction. Completion is expected in spring 2023.
  • A $5.7 million contract was awarded to Lee Hy Paving Corporation of Glen Allen for paving in the Culpeper District.
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.
For more information:
  • Final bid results and projects:
  • CTB meeting, times and locations:

Monday, May 13, 2019

As Cars Get Better, Driving Gets Worse

Auto design has evolved from safety belts and airbags that help us survive crashes to features like lane-departure warnings and automatic emergency braking that help us avoid them. Still, the rate of distracted driving deaths rose twice as fast as overall crash deaths in the first half of this decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You could argue that human intelligence isn't keeping pace with artificial intelligence.
Developing driver IQ, of course, begins at a very young age. And so does smartphone ownership.
Read the full story at the Dallas Morning News.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

VDOT To Use Portable Rumble Strips

VDOT ENHANCES WORK ZONE SAFETY WITH NEW PORTABLE TEMPORARY RUMBLE STRIPS
New devices will provide extra warning and protection for both road workers and travelers
Temporary rumble stripCrews will install the portable temporary rumble strips
during daytime lane closures on two-lane roadways
RICHMOND, Va. — As part of an ongoing commitment to continually enhance and improve work zone safety, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has added new tools, portable temporary rumble strips, to provide extra safeguards for both road workers and travelers. The announcement of these new devices comes just following National Work Zone Awareness Week, observed this year from April 8-12, 2019.
 Starting this year, portable temporary rumble strips will be installed on applicable, active work zones in Virginia. VDOT will require use of the devices for lane closures on two-lane roadways with centerline markings during daytime hours.
 Once installed, drivers will see signage warning of rumble strips ahead and to travel with caution. The rumble strips will encourage slower speeds in applicable work zones, and the sound of driving over them will alert road workers just ahead.
 “Construction season is beginning, and we need to consider every safety measure available for work zones,” said VDOT Chief Deputy Commissioner Robert Cary. “Portable temporary rumble strips will provide an additional layer of protection for everyone in work zones, whether you are working or driving. The noise and vibration caused by driving over these devices will cause both workers and drivers to pay extra attention and be alerted to changing conditions ahead.”
 In 2018, nine people – both workers and travelers – were killed in active work zones in Virginia. 2,521 work zone crashes were reported last year, which resulted in 1,256 injuries. In 2017, 12 people were killed and 1,334 were injured in work zones.
 VDOT is requiring its workforce to implement use of the rumble strips on applicable work zones starting this year. Applicable work zones performed as part of VDOT-administered projects will need to incorporate portable temporary rumble strips by July 1, 2019.
 Resources
  • Video about how portable temporary rumble strips work:
 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Gov. Northam Announces Agreements For Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Project

NORFOLK—Governor Ralph Northam today announced the execution of agreements critical for advancement of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project. The Commonwealth has signed a Project Agreement for Funding and Administration (PAFA) with the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC), and a Comprehensive Agreement with design-build team Hampton Roads Connector Partners for the HRBT Expansion Project.
The $3.8 billion project is expected to be completed by November 1, 2025. The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion is projected to bolster the economic competitiveness of the Hampton Roads region with more than $4.6 billion in investments and a projected 28,000 new jobs over the life of the project.
“The largest project in VDOT history, this expansion will address some of our most pressing transportation challenges and unlock opportunity for families, military personnel, and businesses not only in the Hampton Roads region, but across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “These agreements are a culmination of the diligent work and extensive negotiations by our dedicated teams over the past year to deliver significant improvements to reduce daily congestion, increase safety, and enhance connectivity throughout this key corridor.”
At its March meeting, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) endorsed the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Finding of Public Interest for the HRBT Expansion, and authorized execution of the PAFA. HRTAC authorized execution of the PAFA at its March meeting.
The primary source of funding for the project is HRTAC, with applications for state and federal financial support in the process of being finalized. In addition, VDOT will fund replacement of the bridge trestles on the Norfolk side.
“This generational project will increase capacity, support emergency evacuation readiness, and deliver the largest transportation asset in Virginia’s history,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “The collaboration between the Commonwealth of Virginia and HRTAC has enabled a project that will create jobs and support commerce, tourism, shipbuilding, the Port of Virginia, and our military.”
“HRTAC is proud to have collaborated with the Commonwealth of Virginia to fund and deliver the largest project in Virginia’s history right here in the Hampton Roads region,” said HRTAC Chairman Michael Hipple. “The HRBT Expansion project will reduce congestion and improve connectivity, creating economic opportunity for the entire region.”
“The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project is the most significant project in generations for Hampton Roads,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich. “This project—the largest transportation project in VDOT’s history—will ease congestion in southeastern Virginia and add much needed capacity to one of the region’s most congested corridors.”
Following today’s announcement by Governor Northam, VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich and HRTAC Chairman Michael Hipple ceremonially signed the PAFA, and Commissioner Brich and Rafael de la Barreda, Executive Vice President of Dragados USA, ceremonially signed the Comprehensive Agreement. 
“These agreements will lead the way for a historic investment in transportation infrastructure in the Hampton Roads region,” said Delegate Chris Jones. “The improvements to the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel will significantly enhance the quality of life for all those who utilize this public asset on a daily basis.”
“Fifteen years ago, I chaired the Third Crossing Commission that set the strategy in motion that has led us to the unprecedented cooperation between local, regional, and state transportation leaders,” said Senator Frank Wagner. “To be involved in the HRBT expansion project from its first vision to now a reality has been a pinnacle of my 28 years of service in the state legislature.”  
This project will add two new two-lane tunnels. It will widen the four-lane sections of Interstate 64 in Hampton between Settlers Landing Road and the Phoebus shoreline, as well as the four-lane section of I-64 in Norfolk between the Willoughby shoreline and the I-564 interchange. More than 100,000 vehicles currently use this facility during peak travel periods.
Additional information is available on www.hrbtexpansion.org.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Secretary Of Transportation Announces Leadership Changes

RICHMOND – Today Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine announced important leadership changes within the Transportation Secretariat.
Effective Thursday, April 25, John W. Lawson has been appointed as acting Deputy Secretary of Transportation. Lawson has served as Chief Financial Officer for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) since 2010 and has worked for the agency since 1987. He is responsible for the leadership and execution of the agency’s financial planning, capital investment, fiscal management and tolling programs and was instrumental in establishing the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank and Virginia’s Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles (GARVEE) program. Lawson received an associate degree of science and arts from Rappahannock Community College and a Bachelor of Accounting from Christopher Newport University, and is a graduate of the Virginia Executive Institute.
“John has been instrumental in managing several public-private partnership project procurements that are building a 21st-century transportation network and save the taxpayers money,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “His decades of financial expertise and 31 years with VDOT make him uniquely suited for this role.”
Laura Farmer, VDOT’s Financial Planning Division Administrator, will assume the role of the agency’s acting Chief Financial Officer. Farmer has served as VDOT’s Director of Financial Planning since 2011. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Chowan University and a Master of Public Policy from the College of William and Mary.
“Laura’s steadfast leadership and experience with VDOT’s financial planning for the past fifteen years will serve her well in this role,” said Rob Cary, VDOT’s Chief Deputy Commissioner. “Her collaborative approach and strong knowledge base of innovative financing, revenue estimating and accounting will ensure continued sound stewardship of VDOT’s $5.5 billion annual budget.”
Morteza Farajian, Ph.D., acting Deputy Secretary of Transportation and Director of the Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships, will be departing the Governor’s Office to take on a new role. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao recently appointed Farajian as the Executive Director of the Build America Bureau.
“Over the seven years Morteza has served the Commonwealth, he has negotiated deals that advance the Commonwealth’s policy to move the greatest number of people at the lowest possible cost,” said Secretary Valentine. “Virginia is now sharing his expertise with the entire country.”

Thursday, April 25, 2019

CTB Announces Launch of Interstate 95 Corridor Study

RICHMOND – Today, at the monthly meeting of the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine announced the launch of the Interstate 95 Corridor Improvement Plan.
The CTB, supported by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Virginia State Police, will study Interstate 95 (I-95) to identify priorities as well as potential revenue sources that could be dedicated to improvements. Senate Joint Resolution 276 and House Joint Resolution 581 during the 2019 General Assembly direct the CTB to identify targeted improvements and incident management strategies for the corridor, as well as financing options for suggested projects.
“I-95 is one of the most complex transportation corridors in our Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This study creates an opportunity to examine the use and needs of I-95 with the goals of relieving congestion, increasing safety, and advancing Virginia’s economic competitiveness.”
The I-95 Corridor Study will begin with public meetings to solicit community, industry, and stakeholder feedback throughout the spring and summer, with a draft plan report expected in late fall. The first public meetings will be held in the Fredericksburg District on May 9 and in the Northern Virginia District on May 13. The CTB plans to report its findings to the General Assembly in December, prior to the start of the legislative session in January 2020.
The CTB also received updates from the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) on next steps anticipated for Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust funds dedicated to replacing heavy and medium-duty polluting vehicles with cleaner vehicles.
Last October, Governor Northam announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia will invest $14 million, or 15 percent, of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust to fund the deployment of all-electric transit buses across Virginia. Three transit systems have committed to converting all or a portion of their fleets to electric vehicles: Alexandria DASH, Blacksburg Transit, and Hampton Roads Transit. Staff-recommended projects in the Six Year Improvement Program (SYIP) include funding for vehicles and charging infrastructure. DRPT and the Virginia Department of General Services (DGS) are in the process of procuring electric transit vehicles under a statewide contract in order to streamline purchase and deployment of these critical assets. This allocation represents the first year of a three-year partnership between DRPT and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality intended to facilitate the conversion of the transit fleet to clean fuels.
In this month’s meeting, the CTB also approved one contract totaling $3.5 million. The design-build contract was awarded to Chemung Contracting Corporation of Mitchells for safety improvements in Fauquier County on Route 15/29 (Lee Highway) from approximately 0.63 miles south of the Prince William County line to the intersection of Route 215 (Vint Hill Road) in VDOT’s Culpeper District. This location has a significant crash history and consistently ranks as the top targeted safety need in the Culpeper District due to substandard stopping sight distance for northbound traffic. The project will cut two hills and regrade the northbound lanes to improve the sight distance on the approach to the Route 215 intersection. Completion is expected in fall 2019.
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.
For more information:
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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Governor Northam Proclaims April as Highway Safety Month in Virginia

RUCKERSVILLE—Governor Ralph Northam today proclaimed April as Highway Safety Month in the Commonwealth of Virginia. While the total number of crash deaths in Virginia was down in 2018, pedestrian fatalities in the Commonwealth were at a ten-year high. Governor Northam is calling attention to the rise in pedestrian casualties in the Commonwealth and nationwide to elevate awareness of dangerous behaviors and help save lives.
In 2018, 123 pedestrians were killed in crashes in Virginia, a nearly 62-percent increase over the number of deaths (76) reported 10 years ago in 2008.
“I am encouraged that, overall, crash deaths are down in the Commonwealth, but we still have a lot of work to do, particularly when it comes to reducing pedestrian fatalities,” said Governor Northam. “Whether crossing the street or behind the wheel, each of us has a responsibility to engage in behavior that will make our roads safer for everyone. Highway Safety Month is a tremendous opportunity to bring a renewed focus to our efforts to save lives and move closer to our goal of achieving zero deaths on Virginia’s roadways.”
Speaking at an event at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Vehicle Research Center (IIHS) in Ruckersville, Governor Northam called upon members of his Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety to help elevate the importance of pedestrian safety. Comprised of representatives from the Virginia Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Transportation (VDOT), Health, Education and State Police, and led by the Secretaries of Transportation and Public Safety and Homeland Security, the team is charged with reducing fatalities on Virginia’s roadways and driving change in the Commonwealth’s highway safety culture.
“We all have a role to play in protecting pedestrians on our roadways because, at some point in our day, we all are pedestrians,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “As drivers, we can help by following posted speed limits, staying alert, and scanning the roadway for walkers and bicyclists. As pedestrians, we can make a concerted effort to use crosswalks when available and focus on our walk rather than our phone. It’s also good advice to lock eyes with a driver before you cross the street. Just because you see someone, doesn’t mean they see you.”
The average number of pedestrian fatalities over the past 10 years was 93 deaths per year, although half of the years in this time frame reported fatality numbers in the 70s. The decade-low number of pedestrian fatalities was 73 in 2009; the previous decade high was 121 in 2016. In 2017, 114 pedestrians were killed.
“Pedestrian fatalities dramatically increased in 2016 and, tragically, have remained at a higher-than-average rate each year since,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “But, as the families and friends who have lost loved ones know far too well, one death is too many.”
At today’s event, Governor Northam watched as IIHS demonstrated technology on new vehicles that can prevent collisions with pedestrians and conducted a side impact crash test of a 2019 Mazda 3. IIHS is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses—deaths, injuries, and property damages—from motor vehicle crashes.
“Advances in vehicle technology will play a key role in helping us to reduce the number of pedestrians killed on our roadways,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “For example, IIHS is testing automatic emergency braking systems that can detect and brake for people on foot. When effectively implemented, these autobrake systems are an important safety measure that our testing shows will prevent injuries and save lives.”
Throughout the month, the Governor’s Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety will launch a variety of campaigns, both as a group and as individual agencies, on important issues such as Work Zone Awareness, Toward Zero Deaths and distracted driving. To stay up-to-date, follow the hashtag #VAHwySafety on Facebook and Twitter. Later this month, the Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety will announce the results of the #YourSayVA Digital Town Hall on distracted driving. Of the more than 2,000 survey respondents, more than 93 percent agreed that distracted driving is a serious safety issue in Virginia.
Last week, Governor Northam announced an amendment to Senate Bill 1768, which in its current form would prohibit drivers from holding a communications device in highway work zones. The Governor’s proposed amendments would expand this hands-free legislation to be a statewide law.
These amendments direct the state to annually report on all citations issued pursuant to this act as well as the relevant demographic data of each person cited to ensure that this law is enforced appropriately. Additionally, these amendments direct various organizations—including DRIVE SMART Virginia and the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police—to develop training and educational materials for law enforcement agencies and the public.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Transportation Board Invites Feedback on Transportation Projects, Initiatives

RICHMOND, Va. – The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) will host nine meetings across the Commonwealth and is inviting the public to share feedback on transportation projects that have been scored and recommended for funding, as well as other transportation initiatives. Members of the community may participate by attending public meetings or submitting comments online, by email, or by mail.
The public will have an opportunity to learn and share feedback about:
  • The Draft FY 2020-2025 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP), which allocates public funds to highway, road, bridge, rail, bicycle, pedestrian, public transportation, and transportation demand management projects. The Draft FY 2020-2025 SYIP identifies projects proposed for inclusion in the final program, which will be approved at the CTB’s June meeting. All federally eligible projects in the SYIP will be included in the federally required Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) to document how Virginia will obligate its federal funds. 
    • Following Virginia’s third round of SMART SCALE, a data-driven project prioritization process that directs limited funding to the most critical transportation needs, the public can share feedback on projects that have been scored and recommended for funding. The third round of SMART SCALE garnered a record number of applications last fall. Projects are scored using the following factors: safety, congestion reduction, accessibility, land use, environmental quality, and economic development.
    • Comments will also be accepted for projects valued over $25 million.
  • VTrans, Virginia’s long-range, statewide, multimodal transportation plan, outlines a vision and goals for transportation in the Commonwealth. The plan will identify transportation investment priorities and guides transportation agencies’ strategies and programs. The VTrans open house will begin at 3 p.m. at each meeting location (except in Northern Virginia and Fredericksburg, which will begin at 5 p.m.).
Additionally, meetings in the Northern Virginia and Fredericksburg districts will include:
  • A required joint meeting with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, the Virginia Railway Express, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board (applies only to the meeting in the Northern Virginia District); and
  • The I-95 Corridor Study, as requested by the General Assembly via similar resolutions in the 2019 Session (SJR 276 and HJR 581). The resolutions request the CTB to study the portion of the Interstate 95 corridor between the Thornburg interchange (Exit 118) and the Springfield interchange (Exit 170) and potential financing options for improvements thereof (applies to both meetings in the Northern Virginia and Fredericksburg districts).
The public meetings will begin at 4 p.m. in each of the locations except as noted below (a formal comment period will be held at each meeting):
Thursday, April 11, 2019Lynchburg District
Holiday Inn Lynchburg
601 Main Street
Lynchburg, VA 24504
Monday, April 15, 2019Hampton Roads District
Hampton Roads District Office Auditorium
7511 Burbage Drive
Suffolk, VA 23435
Monday, April 22, 2019Staunton District
Blue Ridge Community College
Plecker Center for Continuing Education
One College Lane
Weyers Cave, VA 24486
Tuesday, April 23, 2019Bristol District
Southwest Virginia
Higher Education Center
One Partnership Circle
Abingdon, VA 24210
Thursday, April 25, 2019Richmond District
Richmond Marriott –Short Pump
4240 Dominion Boulevard
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Monday, May 6, 2019Culpeper District
Culpeper District Auditorium
1601 Orange Road
Culpeper, VA 22701
Tuesday, May 7, 2019Salem District
Holiday Inn Tanglewood
4468 Starkey Road
Roanoke, VA 24018
Thursday, May 9, 2019Fredericksburg District
James Monroe High School
2300 Washington Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA 22401 
**meeting begins at 6 p.m.
Monday, May 13, 2019NOVA District
Northern Virginia District Office
Potomac Conference Room
4975 Alliance Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030 
**meeting begins at 6 p.m.

Meeting materials will be available at http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/planning/springmeetings/default.asp beginning April 11, 2019.
Online sources
You can also submit your comments via email or mail by May 27, 2019, to:
  • For roads and highways: Six-YearProgram@VDOT.Virginia.govor Infrastructure Investment Director, Virginia Department of Transportation, 1401 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219.
  • For transit and rail: DRPTPR@drpt.virginia.govor Public Information Office, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, 600 East Main Street, Suite 2102, Richmond, VA 23219.
For additional information about the CTB, visit http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Historic Financing Agreement Approved For Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – The Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC) today approved a historic funding agreement between HRTAC and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to deliver the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project-the largest transportation project in Virginia’s history. The project adds new interstate capacity and twin two-lane bored tunnels along nearly 10 miles of Interstate 64 between Hampton and Norfolk. All I-64 projects under construction in the region today have been made possible through the HRTAC and VDOT partnership.
The Project Agreement for Funding and Administration (PAFA), approved by HRTAC at a special commission meeting in Chesapeake, commits $3.56 billion for the I-64 HRBT expansion work, an amount to be paid through the Hampton Roads Transportation Fund from regional sales and gas taxes. The agreement means HRTAC will fund 95 percent of the project. Other project funding includes $200 million from the Commonwealth’s SMART SCALE program and $108 million from VDOT to fund the replacement of the South Island Trestle Bridges in Norfolk.
“The PAFA we are authorizing today would not be possible without unprecedented cooperation between HRTAC’s local and state leaders, VDOT and the Commonwealth Transportation Board. Together, we have worked to provide regional solutions and partnerships that ensure future congestion relief and connectivity throughout the region,” said HRTAC Chairman Michael Hipple.
VDOT Commissioner Stephen C. Brich commended HRTAC for making critical infrastructure investments that will improve travel time reliability and safety, promote economic growth throughout the corridor and enhance the quality of life for all Hampton Roads residents. “We are one step closer to constructing the HRBT Expansion project and HRTAC has been a committed partner in advancing this generational project,” said Brich.
Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP) is the design-build team selected to deliver the project by November 1, 2025. A construction contract is expected to be executed in early April. The contract contains an early completion incentive. A groundbreaking ceremony for the HRBT Expansion Project will take place next month.
Kevin Page, Executive Director, HRTAC, said, “HRTAC, the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization and VDOT are solving our region’s highway congestion by moving highway improvement projects forward at an unprecedented pace.”
The HRBT improvements will occur in the cities of Norfolk and Hampton. Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander said, “With over one billion dollars of regional funding already invested by HRTAC in congestion relief projects under construction by VDOT, HRTAC’s funding commitment to the HRBT expansion is truly another major milestone for Hampton Roads and the Commonwealth.”
Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck said, “The nearly 200 lane miles of new and rehabilitated interstate construction currently underway is proof we are just beginning to show what Hampton Roads can do to help solve its transportation problems.”

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Commonwealth Transportation Board Takes Critical Steps On Hampton Road Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – At its March meeting this week, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) took action on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project. The CTB endorsed the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Finding of Public Interest for the HRBT Expansion, authorized execution of the Project Agreement for Funding and Administration (PAFA), and approved state funding for replacement of the southern bridge trestles. 
The HRBT Expansion is a generational project for the Hampton Roads region and the Commonwealth of Virginia that will enhance mobility, improve emergency evacuation capabilities, reduce congestion, and increase travel time reliability. 
“We took critical steps this week to advance the HRBT Expansion,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “The collaboration among the CTB, VDOT, and HRTAC is the foundation for delivering the largest transportation project in Virginia’s history.” 
As the procurement process is being finalized, an independent audit of the process and reassessment of associated risks was conducted. VDOT Commissioner Stephen C. Brich reported the findings to the CTB, including his certification that the project satisfies all critical components considered for a Finding of Public Interest, including: project costs, assuring that the cost distribution is within industry norms, and that risk management guidelines were followed. 
“The HRBT Expansion project is vital to unlocking travel challenges in the Hampton Roads region and beyond,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen C. Brich. “This week’s forward momentum in the procurement process further unites the team’s commitment to partnership and drives the project closer to construction.” 
The CTB also approved a finance plan for replacement of the southern trestles as part of the scope of the HRBT Expansion project. The South Island bridge work addresses aging infrastructure through the replacement of the 6,000-foot trestles supporting the bridge using modern, corrosion-resistant materials that will give the new structure a 100-year service life.  
As announced on February 15, Hampton Roads Connector Partners was selected as the design-build team to deliver the project with a fixed contract price of $3.3 billion and project completion date of November 1, 2025. The contract is expected to be executed in April.  
The CTB also approved $3.6 million in Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) state funding for mitigation support to Northern Virginia public transportation agencies during a suspension of service at six Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail stations in the Commonwealth this summer for critical capital repairs. The stations will be closed for platform rehabilitation to improve the safety and reliability of Metrorail service. Nearly 17,000 peak hour Metrorail customers who utilize the six Yellow and Blue Line stations south of Reagan National Airport are expected to be impacted. This plan is intended to supplement the mitigation plan that was developed by a 140-member Northern Virginia Stakeholder Group led by WMATA and supported by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), and includes supplemental services during the three-month closure. 
In this month’s meeting, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) also approved 11 VDOT contracts totaling $144.6 million. 
A $59.6 million design-build contract was awarded to Wagman Heavy Civil, Inc. of York, Pa. to construct a new interchange at Route 7 (East Market Street) and Battlefield Parkway in VDOT’s Northern Virginia District. The project will also modify the intersection of Route 7 and Cardinal Park Drive. The project, expected to be complete in spring 2022, will relieve congestion, improve safety and enhance mobility for cyclists and pedestrians along the corridor. 
A $29 million design-build contract was awarded to Orders Construction Company of St. Albans, W.Va. to replace two Smyth County bridges that carry Interstate 81 north and south over Route 11 (Lee Highway), the Middle Fork of the Holston River and the adjacent railroad in VDOT’s Bristol District. Completion is expected in spring 2022. 
A $7.4 million contract was awarded to Brayman Construction Corporation of Saxonsburg, Pa. to replace the bridge that carries Route 122 (Moneta Road) over Goose Creek in Bedford County, part of VDOT’s Salem District. Completion is expected in summer 2021. 
Additional contracts for paving related activities were awarded as follows: 
Bristol District
  • A $6.1 million contract was awarded to Rogers Group, Inc., of Nashville, TN, for paving.
  • Two contracts, one for $7.6 million and one for $6.9 million, were awarded to W-L Construction & Paving, Inc., of Chilhowie, for paving. 
Northern Virginia District
  • Two contracts, one for $5.4 million and another for $5.7 million, were awarded to Superior Paving Corporation, of Gainesville, for paving. 
Richmond District
  • A $5.1 million contract was awarded to Colony Construction, Inc., of Powhatan, for asphalt resurfacing.
  • A $5.4 million contract was awarded to Allan Myers VA, Inc., of Glen Allen, for patching and paving.
  • A $6.4 million contract was awarded to Allan Myers VA, Inc., of Glen Allen, for asphalt resurfacing. 
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. 
For more information:
  • Final bid results and projects:
  • CTB meetings, times and locations:

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Virginia Selects Contractor for Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Project

NORFOLK—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia has selected Hampton Roads Connector Partners, a design-build team, to deliver the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project. The fixed price ($3.3 billion) and fixed completion date (November 1, 2025) contract is expected to be executed in April 2019.
This announcement follows a yearlong competitive procurement that started in December 2017 with three qualified design-build teams. Two teams submitted comprehensive technical proposals and price bids. After detailed evaluation, the proposal submitted by Hampton Roads Connector Partners has been selected as the best value proposal based on bid price and technical score. The details of the best value evaluation will be presented to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) and the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC) at their respective meetings in March.
The primary source of funding for the project is HRTAC, with applications for state and federal financial support in the process of being finalized. In addition, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will fund replacement of the bridge trestles on the Norfolk side.
“This project supports and expands critical transportation infrastructure, creating opportunity for families, military personnel, and businesses in the Hampton Roads region,” said Governor Northam. “I am proud of the hard work and negotiations that have taken place over this past year to deliver significant improvements that will relieve daily congestion, increase safety, and drive economic growth throughout this important corridor.”
“VDOT’s largest transportation project is being constructed in the heart of a region vital to Virginia’s economy, military readiness, and regional connectivity,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This would not have happened without close coordination and strategic partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia and HRTAC.”
“HRTAC’s regional tax and user-supported funding, with anticipated state and federal funds, for the HRBT Expansion Project will continue to ensure future congestion relief and connectivity through regional solutions and partnership with VDOT,” said HRTAC Chairman Michael Hipple. “HRTAC and the Commonwealth Transportation Board are already funding partners in the delivery of more than a billion dollars’ worth of transportation projects that will enhance the quality of life and economic vitality in the Hampton Roads region.”
“This is a landmark day for our region and the Commonwealth. The hard-working citizens of the Hampton Roads region have asked for and deserve common-sense solutions to the traffic congestion that chokes our region,” said Chairman Chris Jones. “This infrastructure investment in the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel is a win-win for our families, communities, and military personnel who rely on this vital structure every day.”
“This announcement is the culmination of five years of hard work among all the leaders in our region,” said Senator Frank Wagner. “From the creation of HRTAC to today’s announcement, we will ensure that our region’s economy will continue to grow and unite our region as never before. I want to personally thank Governor Northam and his team for making this day possible.”
This project will add two new two-lane tunnels. It will widen the four-lane sections of Interstate 64 in Hampton between Settlers Landing Road and the Phoebus shoreline, as well as the four-lane section of I-64 in Norfolk between the Willoughby shoreline and the I-564 interchange. More than 100,000 vehicles currently use this facility during peak travel periods.
“Today’s announcement signals a major milestone in this generational project that will improve accessibility throughout the region,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich. “VDOT is committed to collaborating with regional partners across the Commonwealth to deliver transportation solutions that work for the citizens in the communities we serve.”
Hampton Roads Connector Partners is a joint venture consisting of multiple partners, with Dragados USA serving as lead contractor and HDR and Mott MacDonald as lead designers. The team also includes Flatiron Constructors, Vinci Construction, and Dodin Campenon Bernard.
Additional information is available on www.hrbtexpansion.org.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

VDOT, Audi, and TTS Bring Traffic Light Information Technology to Virginia

RICHMOND, VA – Today, Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine, Audi of America, and Traffic Technology Services (TTS) announced that more than 1,450 traffic signals in the Northern Virginia area now share real-time data with Audi’s Traffic Light Information (TLI) technologies, including Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory (GLOSA) and “time-to-green.”
Through data sharing, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) provides real-time traffic signal information to Audi vehicles that are equipped with TLI. With time-to-green, the information sharing between VDOT and Audi can lead to improved operations and enhanced safety on arterial roadways. TLI lets drivers stopped at a red light know when that light will change to green and GLOSA provides speed recommendations to drivers to minimize stops at red lights.
In 2016, Audi worked with TTS to launch Traffic Light Information, an Audi feature that allows the car to communicate with the infrastructure in certain cities and metropolitan areas across the U.S. VDOT’s support of the TTS vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) service through its SmarterRoads portal makes the agency the largest single data provider in North America for this system. TTS continues to work with VDOT to expand the capability into other regions throughout the Commonwealth. 
“VDOT’s collaboration with Audi, TTS, and other innovative companies leverages the Commonwealth’s data and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, preparing us for more connected and automated vehicles on our roadways,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “We are committed to improving safety, reducing congestion, and exploring opportunities to partner with the private sector.”
“We’re excited to work with the Virginia Department of Transportation to continue to bring industry-leading connectivity and mobility solutions to Audi drivers in the community near our Northern Virginia headquarters as well as to our customers across America,” said Mark Del Rosso, president, Audi of America. “Not only do vehicle-to-infrastructure technologies like GLOSA benefit drivers today, they’re also the critical steps needed as we continue toward an automated future.”
“The industry needs more agencies to lead the way like the Commonwealth has with their SmarterRoads portal.  It takes visionaries on both sides of a connected vehicle technology to make a system like this possible,” said Thomas Bauer, TTS chief executive officer. “VDOT and Audi are true pioneers that are advancing the state of the industry, and we are proud to work with both.”
Time-to-Green
Traffic Light Information, an Audi connect PRIME feature available on select 2017, 2018, and newer models, enables the car to communicate with the infrastructure in certain cities and metropolitan areas across the U.S.
When one of these select Audi models approaches a connected traffic light, it receives real-time signal information from the traffic management system that monitors traffic lights via the on-board 4G LTE data connection. When the light is red, the TLI feature will display the time remaining until the signal changes to green in the instrument cluster in front of the driver or in the head-up display (if equipped). This “time-to-green” information helps reduce stress by letting the driver know approximately how much time remains before the light changes.
Future iterations of V2I technology could include integration with the vehicle’s start/stop function, optimized navigation routing, and other predictive services. All of these services are designed to help reduce congestion and enhance mobility on crowded roadways.
GLOSA
Audi is the first manufacturer to launch Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory (GLOSA) in the U.S. GLOSA uses traffic signal information and the current position of a vehicle to display a speed recommendation that allows drivers to pass traffic lights during a green interval, in order to reduce the number of stops at red lights. The distance to stop, the speed limit profile for the area, and the signal timing plans are all used to calculate the speed recommendation displayed to the driver.
For more information, visit www.media.audiusa.com.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Shifting attitudes with illusions


If you read the Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail, CNN.com, ABCNews.com, Vancouver Sun, Province, or National Post articles or heard interviews on international and North American radio and TV programs about the illusion, you’d know that drivers in West Vancouver were confronted with what seemed like a young girl running after a ball in front of their vehicle. In reality, it was decal on the pavement that looked like a real person. Signage near the 3D image read: You’re probably not expecting kids to run out on the road.

A group in Canada did something completely unique to raise awareness that there are more kids on the roads during back to school season. In fact, this campaign was a Canadian first. Preventable, BCAA Road Safety Foundation, and the District of West Vancouver launched a 3D illusion geared to make drivers slow down at high-risk intersections.

Read the rest of the story here.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Town in Iceland Paints 3D Zebra Crosswalk To Slow Down Speeding Cars

In the small fishing town of Ísafjörður, Iceland, an exciting development in road safety has just popped up – almost literally. A new pedestrian crossing has been painted that appears to be 3D by way of a cleverly-detailed optical illusion.
Not only does the innovative design give foot-travelers the feeling of walking on air, it also gets the attention of drivers, who will be sure to slow down their speed once they spot the seemingly floating ‘zebra stripes.’ Icelandic environmental commissioner Ralf Trylla called for its placement in Ísafjörður after seeing a similar project being carried out in New Delhi, India. With the help of street painting company Vegmálun GÍH, his vision became a reality.
Scroll down to see photos of the fascinating installment taken by Ágúst G. Atlason of Gústi Productions, and let us know if you’d like to see one of these crosswalks in your own city.
See all the photos and watch a video here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Virginia Selects Contractor for Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Project

NORFOLK—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia has selected Hampton Roads Connector Partners, a design-build team, to deliver the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project. The fixed price ($3.3 billion) and fixed completion date (November 1, 2025) contract is expected to be executed in April 2019.
This announcement follows a yearlong competitive procurement that started in December 2017 with three qualified design-build teams. Two teams submitted comprehensive technical proposals and price bids. After detailed evaluation, the proposal submitted by Hampton Roads Connector Partners has been selected as the best value proposal based on bid price and technical score. The details of the best value evaluation will be presented to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) and the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC) at their respective meetings in March.
The primary source of funding for the project is HRTAC, with applications for state and federal financial support in the process of being finalized. In addition, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will fund replacement of the bridge trestles on the Norfolk side.
“This project supports and expands critical transportation infrastructure, creating opportunity for families, military personnel, and businesses in the Hampton Roads region,” said Governor Northam. “I am proud of the hard work and negotiations that have taken place over this past year to deliver significant improvements that will relieve daily congestion, increase safety, and drive economic growth throughout this important corridor.”
“VDOT’s largest transportation project is being constructed in the heart of a region vital to Virginia’s economy, military readiness, and regional connectivity,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This would not have happened without close coordination and strategic partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia and HRTAC.”
“HRTAC’s regional tax and user-supported funding, with anticipated state and federal funds, for the HRBT Expansion Project will continue to ensure future congestion relief and connectivity through regional solutions and partnership with VDOT,” said HRTAC Chairman Michael Hipple. “HRTAC and the Commonwealth Transportation Board are already funding partners in the delivery of more than a billion dollars’ worth of transportation projects that will enhance the quality of life and economic vitality in the Hampton Roads region.”
“This is a landmark day for our region and the Commonwealth. The hard-working citizens of the Hampton Roads region have asked for and deserve common-sense solutions to the traffic congestion that chokes our region,” said Chairman Chris Jones. “This infrastructure investment in the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel is a win-win for our families, communities, and military personnel who rely on this vital structure every day.”
“This announcement is the culmination of five years of hard work among all the leaders in our region,” said Senator Frank Wagner. “From the creation of HRTAC to today’s announcement, we will ensure that our region’s economy will continue to grow and unite our region as never before. I want to personally thank Governor Northam and his team for making this day possible.”
This project will add two new two-lane tunnels. It will widen the four-lane sections of Interstate 64 in Hampton between Settlers Landing Road and the Phoebus shoreline, as well as the four-lane section of I-64 in Norfolk between the Willoughby shoreline and the I-564 interchange. More than 100,000 vehicles currently use this facility during peak travel periods.
“Today’s announcement signals a major milestone in this generational project that will improve accessibility throughout the region,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich. “VDOT is committed to collaborating with regional partners across the Commonwealth to deliver transportation solutions that work for the citizens in the communities we serve.”
Hampton Roads Connector Partners is a joint venture consisting of multiple partners, with Dragados USA serving as lead contractor and HDR and Mott MacDonald as lead designers. The team also includes Flatiron Constructors, Vinci Construction, and Dodin Campenon Bernard.
Additional information is available on www.hrbtexpansion.org.