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News & Updates

Fall Planning Updates

Real-Time Transportation Analytics Tools Streamline Decision-Making in Ohio

  • The Ohio Department of Transportation is awarding contracts to two companies, StreetLight Data and INRIX, to advance the way it collects and analyzes data on the state’s transportation patterns. The new collaboration will give ODOT access to a host of new data tools to “improve system planning, traffic management and operations in Ohio,” according to a joint press release from the two companies Thursday.

Transit Projects Will Accompany Virginia I-66 Switch to Express Lanes

  • Car drivers are not the only people slated to benefit from the adoption of Express Lanes on Interstate 66 in northern Virginia later this year. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be in Falls Church Wednesday to announce a series of transit projects that will accompany the launch of I-66 Express Lanes inside the Capital Beltway. The projects, already approved by the state, include enhanced regional bus service in the northern Virginia suburbs and expanded bikeshare options.

Health Concerns Could Derail Energy-Saving LED Street Light Conversion on Virginia Interstates

  • The Commonwealth Transportation Board may put a planned conversion to LED streetlights in Hampton Roads on hold because of health concerns. The board was set to vote on a $20.3 million contract that would upgrade 9,627 streetlights in the Hampton Roads, Richmond and Fredericksburg areas. LED lights, which use 50 percent less energy, could save the Virginia Department of Transportation $7.2 million over 15 years and provide a whiter, clearer light for drivers. But board member Scott Kasprowicz urged officials to take a second look at the idea because of potential health concerns outlined by the American Medical Association last year.

PLANNING

Vision of Refreshed Maryland Parkway in Las Vegas Includes Four Districts, Mass Transit

  • The group working to reinvigorate the Maryland Parkway corridor recommends dividing it into four distinct districts, linked by a high-capacity transit system. The Maryland Parkway Coalition unveiled the districts at a community meeting last Thursday at the Winchester Community Theater. Midtown Medical is located between Sahara Avenue and Desert Inn Road; Midtown Boulevard between Desert Inn and Flamingo Road; Midtown UNLV between Flamingo Road and Tropicana Avenue; and Midtown Gateway south of Tropicana. An 8.7-mile high-capacity transit system would link various activity centers between McCarran International Airport and downtown Las Vegas.

Tempe and Arizona State University Team to Provide New Transportation Options

  • A highline walkway, a new Rural Road bridge and a monorail system running over campus are just three of the 11 ideas proposed at the Tempe Transportation Commission meeting on Sept. 12. The proposals aim to decrease traffic flow and congestion in downtown Tempe. The city is partnering with Arizona State University on six of those ideas. Downtown Tempe and ASU’s Tempe campus see 50,000 vehicles sweeping through their streets a day, on top of heavy pedestrian and cyclist traffic. ASU and city staff have been working on several large projects to calm traffic for civilian convenience, and more importantly, increase safety.

MPOs

On Board Program to Inform Public About Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s Transit Plan

  • The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada is hitting the road with a retrofitted 40-foot bus that has been meticulously designed to get the Southern Nevada community engaged and excited to talk about their future transit plan – On Board. Officially introduced at the September RTC Board of Commissioners meeting at the Clark County Government Center, the air-conditioned bus includes a kids zone play area, seating and countertops to accommodate iPad workstations for residents to take a short survey (in English and Spanish) and two wide-screen monitors for presentations.

Greensboro, North Carolina Planners Ask for Future Transportation Needs: $565 Million

  • The transportation board that oversees the Greensboro area approved $565 million in local projects Wednesday for consideration in state government’s next round of construction budgeting. The Metropolitan Planning Organization voted unanimously for the package of potential improvements to the area’s highway, rail, aviation, bike and pedestrian assets between budget years 2020 and 2029.

New Road Money to Keep Northwestern Indiana Transportation Planners Busy

  • The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s Executive Board gave final approval Thursday to the addition of 136 road maintenance projects to its four-year Transportation Improvement Program. The additions were made as part of an infrastructure funding package enacted by state government this year. The projects, ranging from pipe-lining to drainage improvements to pavement rehabilitation, are “the tip of the iceberg” in terms of new projects that are part of the state’s Next Level roads program, NIRPC Transportation Projects Manager Gary Evers said.

ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION

Longview, Texas, MPO Seek Input on Bike, Pedestrian Plan

  • As a dual-credit student and member of Longview Area Multi-Sport Association, Jared Rose made sure Thursday that the city’s plan for non-motorized travel included his thoughts. He was among dozens of attendees at LeTourneau University for an open house about the bike and pedestrian plan being developed by consultants and the city’s Metropolitan Planning Organization. A second open house is planned for this evening at Gregg County Historical Museum and Downtown Live at Heritage Plaza. Surveys and information about the plan are available on the city’s website.

St. Louis County, Missouri Updating Plan to Make Roads More Friendly to Cyclists, Pedestrians

  • St. Louis County is taking steps to update its plan to make roads and streets more usable for bicyclists and pedestrians. The East-West Gateway Council of Governments on Wednesday is expected to approve the county’s request for a $500,000 federal grant to help pay for the study. The county would kick in $250,000. Larry Welty, an engineer with the county Department of Transportation, said the study would map much of the county and determine where different ideas can be best used.

FUNDING

Who’s Really in the Driver’s Seat on Puget Sound Transit Spending

  • As the Puget Sound region debated the Sound Transit 3 campaign last fall, insiders were offered a glimpse into the political machine driving the $54 billion ballot measure. They learned how Transportation Choices Coalition, a small but well-connected Seattle advocacy group, shaped and won elections raising billions from taxpayers, over and over again. TCC Executive Director Shefali Ranganathan couldn’t help but boast in her plenary speech to a National Association of Transportation Officials conference in Seattle last September.

TRANSIT

‘Gentrification Train’: Activists Worry Nashville Transit Plan Will Drive Out Long-Timers

  • Most Metro observers expected a push back against Mayor Megan Barry’s $6 billion transit plan. A sales tax increase is part of the funding proposal – the mayor wants a Metro referendum on the ballot in May – and expected criticisms have already emerged among fiscal conservatives and others on the right. But a group of protesters took to the streets from the Inglewood Public Library to Public Square Park with concerns from the left, in particular that the plan, which calls for a high-speed rail corridor along Gallatin Pike into East Nashville and Inglewood, will result in even more gentrification in neighborhoods that have already undergone rapid change.

Draft for Strategic Plan to Improve Public Transportation in Aiken County, South Carolina Discussed

  • Saturday service and occasional service to the Riverside Village at Hammond’s Ferry development in North Augusta are among the recommendations of a Florida-based consulting firm to improve public transportation in Aiken County. Joel Rey of Tindale Oliver discussed the details of the draft of a strategic plan developed by his company for the Lower Savannah Council of Governments, or LSCOG, during a presentation at the Aiken County Government Center on Wednesday.

INTERNATIONAL

Driverless Cars to Brew More Traffic Snarls, Aussie Survey Shows

  • The University of Sydney has released a study that hints that, rather than freeing up our congested city streets, a potential lack of ride-sharing could result in self-driving cars making things worse. The University of Sydney Business School’s latest Transport Opinion Survey, released today, found one in four survey participants said they would buy a self-driving car for family use if one was available. However, that keenness wasn’t shared when it came to leasing their vehicles to other travelers when it was not in use, with only a third saying they would be willing to let others use their vehicle.

OTHER

Sarasota, Florida Officials Dissecting Traffic Issues in New Forum Series

  • Traffic school is in session for several dozen of Sarasota’s top officials, planners, engineers and business leaders. The first lecture on Monday night was led by traffic engineer Demian Miller, a principal of the Tampa-based firm Oliver Tindale, in the ballroom at The Francis downtown. But his version of Traffic 101 was less rules of the road and more rules for building roads. “The challenge is from a top-down, systems-planning approach – really how the big money gets allocated – we’re looking at the big streets because they carry the most traffic,” he said. “But those concerns aren’t always the concerns of the people living in a community. They’re worried about secondary or even tertiary streets, and that’s a larger challenge to collect.”