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News & Updates

Planning Updates For the First Week of Spring

Illinois DOT Shelves Study of Controversial Connector Road

  • A controversial study of the proposed Alton-Godfrey connector has been discontinued by the Illinois Department of Transportation. IDOT mailed a statement this week that states the study has been indefinitely shelved.

Colorado DOT Brainstorming How to Cut Traffic on I-70 Mountain Corridor

  • Major changes are in the works for the Interstate 70 mountain corridor near Idaho Springs. The 14-mile stretch of highway is one of Colorado’s most congested. At Floyd Hill, the westbound side goes from three lanes to two. And as more people move to Colorado, the lanes are bursting at the seams.

Self-Driving Vehicles Helping to Move Ohio’s Economy

  • Ohio has its foot on the gas accelerating an effort to grow its self-driving vehicle industry. After success last fall, the Ohio Turnpike and OTTO are planning more tests this spring and summer for self-driving tractor trailers across Ohio’s northern corridor. The toll road, I-80, connects Youngstown, Cleveland and Toledo, and serves as a busy path between the east coast and Chicago.

North Carolina DOT Offering Public Transportation Pass for Rail Passengers

  • Rail passengers will now be able to reach their local destination through public transportation after getting off the train by using a transit pass, made possible through a partnership between the N.C. Department of Transportation Rail Division and 11 local transit systems along the Raleigh-to-Charlotte rail corridor, according to a news release.

Texas Senators Don’t Want State Funds Used to Build or Plan Houston-Dallas Bullet Train

  • State lawmakers who oppose high-speed rail are trying to use a budget rider to stop the Texas Department of Transportation from assisting a private company that wants to build a high-speed rail line from Houston to Dallas. The Senate Finance Committee approved the budget rider 14-1 Wednesday, with Sen. Royce West of Dallas opposed. It will next be heard on the Senate floor as part of debates related to the full budget.

Ohio Senate Directs More Funds to Local Road Projects

  • More state fuel tax money would be diverted for local road and bridge projects, and county officials would need the OK from voters before approving a new vehicle registration fee under transportation budget changes Monday by the Senate. A Senate committee altered or scrapped several of the House-passed changes to the two-year, $7.8 billion measure.

Bill Would Allow Donations to Oregon DOT

  • The Oregon Senate Business and Transportation Committee on Monday passed a bill sponsored by Senate Republican Deputy Leader Tim Knopp of Bend in a novel bid to address safety issues on Central Oregon highways, by setting up a fund in which residents could donate to the Oregon Department of Transportation for desired projects.

Mississippi DOT Uses Video to Explain Where Its Revenue Comes From and How It’s Used

  • The Mississippi Department of Transportation released a video explaining where their revenue comes from, and what it’s used for. MDOT says they get about half of their funding from the federal government, and about half from the state. “The majority of these funds are used for interstate paving, pavement rehabilitation, and bridge replacement on high-traffic routes, and pass-throughs to local governments for local projects,” explains a narrator in MDOT’s video.

PLANNING

Study: Pittsburgh Leaders Must Plan for Driverless Future or ‘Face Major Risks’

  • The cars with the odd spinning tops draw fewer full-stop stares from Pittsburghers anymore. But imagine entire fleets of driverless vehicles winding through Downtown or plugging along the Parkway East, zipping commuters, shoppers, students and everyone else to the destinations. City leaders everywhere should plan for such a day, according to a study released Monday.

Have Data, Will Travel

  • Traffic systems technology company Miovision has added Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity to its Scout platform to help improve traffic data collection. The aim is for traffic planners and engineers to access new tools and data types more easily to make better decisions for the future of their communities.

MPOs

AASHTO Urges Congress to Complete Repeal of Recent FHWA-FTA Regulation on MPOs

  • The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has notified Congress that it fully supports legislation to repeal a controversial regulation on metropolitan planning organizations, saying that rule would add “significant additional legal and administrative requirements” to a system that already works well. The Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration jointly unveiled the regulation last year, with no advance warning before they published a formal notice of proposed rulemaking.

ROADWAYS

City of Topeka Partners with Kansas DOT to Try to Cut Crashes

  • Topeka city officials hope a partnership with the Kansas Department of Transportation will help reduce the city’s number of traffic accidents. The city is working in conjunction with KDOT to develop geographic information systems database tools for tracking crash types and mapping crash locations, city traffic engineer Terry Coder said this past week.

TRANSIT

Lake Tahoe Transit: How Cellphone Data is Being Used to Understand Needs

  • Despite a regional population of only 55,000 full-time residents, about 10 million vehicles make the trip to the Lake Tahoe Basin per year, according to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s draft regional transportation plan. It also says that the average number of people in the Lake Tahoe region on a given day is four times the permanent resident population. The 140-page “Linking Tahoe” draft transportation plan does more than quantify the region’s traffic problems-it also analyzes how people are getting around, what they’re doing and where they’re going-by using cellphone data.

ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION

Portland, Oregon Coalition: No Freeway Expansions Without Equal Funding for Active Transportation

  • A powerful coalition of advocacy groups says they won’t support a regional funding proposal without “dollar-for-dollar” investment in biking, walking, and transit projects. In a letter sent last week and addressed to TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane, the TriMet Board of Directors and members of Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT), the leaders of nine groups said the existing proposal-which is being worked on behind-closed-doors-is too focused on freeway expansions.