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News & Updates

Statewide Planning Updates

Florida DOT Hosts Transportation Planning Conference in Jacksonville

  • The Florida Department of Transportation is hosting a four-day gathering of transportation professionals from across the state at the Sawgrass Marriott Conference Center this week. It wrapped up its first session, the Transportation Planning Exchange (Transplex), Wednesday with a keynote session reflecting on the event. The second session, Focus on Community, lasts through Thursday.

Iowa DOT: Higher Levels of Automation in I-80’s Future

  • By 2040, at least a fifth of the traffic on Interstate 80 in Iowa will be highly automated, a new Iowa Department of Transportation study says, and planners need to take into account the coming changes when preparing for the future. The study, which is part of a larger DOT analysis aimed at positioning rural parts of I-80 for the future, says the higher levels of automation would mean increased capacity and fewer accidents.

PLANNING

Austin Opens Data to Transportation Projects

  • The city of Austin, Texas, began the journey into open data in 2011, posting 25 datasets in an open portal. Today, there are over 400 sourced datasets from various city departments and offices. The latest addition to the city’s open data portal provides data on the 2016 Mobility Bond program – $720 million worth of transportation and mobility improvements. The Project Explorer tool allows the public to drill down into details on the regional, corridor and local mobility projects to learn about specific construction plans, including budgets, maps and progress reports.

Delaware DOT Looks to 2045 in Camden-Area Traffic Workshop

  • Kent Countians, especially those living in and near Camden, now have idea of what transportation may look like by the year 2045. That effort was showcased Aug. 2 in a public workshop sponsored by DelDOT to find out what people think about planned improvements to U.S. Route 13 and potential work to construct bypass roads in the rapidly growing areas of South Dover, Camden, and Wyoming. The 120 people who came to Caesar Rodney High School were asked to examine large displays showing DelDOT’s plans so far, review traffic data and talk to state engineers and contractors. Afterward, they were asked to fill out surveys, both in person and online, giving their thoughts on what they’d seen.

MPOs

Stanislaus Council of Governments’ ‘Big-Picture Look’ at Transportation in the Valley

  • Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG) is looking to improve the quality of life valley-wide. From an environmental standpoint, StanCOG is concerned where residents will work, live, and what transportation will be available. They aim to “use resources efficiently, protect existing communities, conserve farmland and open space, and support our local economy” via the Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy.

Des Moines Area MPO Director’s Contract on Hold Amid Concerns Over Severance Package

  • A work contract for the director of the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization was pulled from consideration this week after members of the group’s executive committee raised concerns with portions of the agreement. Todd Ashby has worked for the regional transportation agency for six years, but this is the first time the group’s leadership has considered a contract including a severance clause. It would provide Ashby with six months’ salary if his contract were terminated. That didn’t sit well with some members of the seven-member executive committee, made up of local elected officials.

ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION

Tahoe Embraces Bikeshare

  • A few hundred brightly-colored lime-green bicycles have been seen around South Lake Tahoe since mid-July. That’s when The League to Save Lake Tahoe – the same group behind Keep Tahoe Blue – brought in a bicycle-sharing system called LimeBike. “The numbers have just been through the roof,” said Jesse Patterson, the League’s Deputy Director. He said ridership at Tahoe is outpacing similar programs in larger cities, including Seattle. Patterson said the system’s rapid acceptance has a lot to do with the demographics of the people who both visit and live in the area.

 

FUNDING

Public Works Funding Falls as Infrastructure Deteriorates

  • It’s basically the opposite of a major government infrastructure program. Government spending on transportation and other public works is in decline as federal funding stagnates and state and local governments tighten their belts. Such spending equaled 1.4 percent of the nation’s economic output in the second quarter of 2017, the lowest level on record, according to Census Bureau data.

SANDAG Projects Still Need More Transportation Funding

  • The region’s transportation system has a long way to go, and nowhere near the money needed for what’s been planned to improve it. Especially after an $18 billion tax measure fell short last November. A majority of voters cast ballots for “Measure A”, but not the necessary two-thirds to pass it. The tax-hike revenue forecasts were overstated by an estimated $4 billion. An audit and study by a Los Angeles law firm say most voters were in the dark about concerns that were being raised.

ROADWAYS

Texas Scraps Some Toll Roads While Other States Add More

  • Texas officials have recently moved to scrap tolls on several highways for the first time in 40 years, bucking a national trend toward more tolls on mostly urban roadways to shift the costs of transportation to those who use the roads. A regional authority voted this week to eliminate tolls on the Cesar Chavez Border Highway in El Paso. On the same day, some 600 miles away, the Dallas city council rejected plans to build a toll road along the Trinity River near downtown. The council’s action appears to be the death knell for a toll project that was debated for decades as a way to alleviate congestion along a network of aging, narrow vehicles.

How States Are Preparing for Connected Vehicles in 2018

  • As the auto industry urges Congress to rush self-driving vehicles onto America’s roadways, a quieter discussion is happening inside state government transportation authorities around the country. Reports pop up on Twitter daily of autonomous delivery robots patrolling sidewalks in Washington, D.C., or Sunnyvale, California. Self-driving vehicles are already being tested on public roads in states like California, Washington, Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Even the most conservative estimates place the arrival date of fully autonomous technology sometime within the next 20 years, while more optimistic technologists – like Tesla’s Elon Musk – predict the technology will be ready this year.

OTHER

Study: Ridesharing Could Hit Car Ownership

  • Car ownership would likely take a hit in areas that have thriving ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. It’s what automakers and industry analysts have long suspected about the burgeoning mobility on-demand sector. But a new study took advantage of events that unfolded last year in Austin, Texas, to start putting data behind the theory. A survey of 1,200 residents showed that during a roughly one-year stretch when Uber and Lyft stopped operating in the city, 41 percent used their own vehicles to fill the void, while 9 percent purchased a car to handle their transportation needs.

Policymakers Must Embrace Technology to Deliver Sustainable Transport Systems, Says PwC

  • New planning models which adopt collaborative and tech-savvy approaches are required to create future sustainable and connected transport systems, according to a new report from PwC. The study warns that a large number of the world’s transport systems cannot meet the needs of rapidly growing populations. It also highlights the environmental repercussions of unsustainable transportation planning – transportation accounts for 14% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the world’s cities. With more than $14trn expected to be invested in global transport infrastructure projects by 2025, PWC is calling for a rapid evolution in transportation planning and policy techniques.