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News & Updates

Statewide Planning Updates

Missouri DOT Launches Statewide Survey for Long-Range Transportation Plan

  • The Missouri Department of Transportation today launched a statewide survey to solicit public input about the vision for the state’s transportation priorities. The Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) is a federally required process that sets the state’s 25-year vision for transportation.

Connecticut’s Low-Cost Program for College Commuters a ‘Game Changer’

  • Students at many of the state’s universities no longer need to take a detour when faced with financial roadblocks presented by commuting, state officials announced Monday. Starting this semester, full-time and part-time students at many state colleges and universities can claim a U-Pass, which provides rides on all local buses, Metro North and CTFastrak for a $20-per-semester fee, included in tuition. The U-Pass CT program grew from a partnership between the Connecticut Department of Transportation and officials at the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system and the University of Connecticut.

Oregon State University and ODOT Partner on System for Better Transit Planning

  • Public transit planners should soon be rolling toward more informed decision making and better service thanks to a partnership between Oregon State University’s College of Engineering and the Oregon Department of Transportation. The university and state transportation officials have teamed up on an extension to the General Transit Feed Specification, commonly known as the GTFS. In existence for just over a decade, the GTFS defines a common data format for public transportation schedules and related geographic information.

Indiana Ready to Work with Private Sector to Boost Ports

  • Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch says the state is ready to work with the private sector to help make the Ports of Indiana more successful. Crouch toured the Jeffersonville port Thursday, saying “when the port thrives, Indiana thrives.” The News and Tribune reports the Jeffersonville port alone handles 2.8 million tons of cargo and is a stop for more than 1,000 barges and 17,000 railcars. Indiana’s three state ports together handle more than 25 million tons of domestic and international shipments every year via Lake Michigan and the Ohio River.

PLANNING

Seattle Has New ‘Playbook’ for Handling Transportation Changes

  • The robot cars are coming. They’ll be self-driving and fully autonomous and shared by city-dwellers who’ll no longer need to own a private car. Or maybe they’ll remain private vehicles, filling streets beyond capacity, sometimes with passengers and sometimes without. Or maybe they’ll just be more advanced versions of our existing vehicles, using their computers to communicate with infrastructure and other vehicles to reduce human error.

One Oak Vote Could Set Precedent for Ride-Hail Data in Planning Decisions

  • Whether city planners will start factoring in data on Uber and Lyft vehicles when analyzing the traffic impacts of a development could be determined today at the Board of Supervisors. The supervisors could set a precedent with their vote on an appeal of the proposed luxury skyscraper at Oak Street and Van Ness Avenue. Critics argue the intersection could turn into a traffic nightmare because a city analysis of the project left out data on ride-hail vehicles.

MPOs

SANDAG Overhaul Bill Passes California Assembly, Now Goes to Governor

  • A bill to overhaul San Diego region’s embattled transportation planning agency is headed to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown after the Assembly Monday approved the legislation. The proposal could dramatically change the balance of power on the San Diego Association of Governments – giving elected officials from larger cities more say in what gets built and when. “When it comes to SANDAG, the status quo simply isn’t acceptable anymore,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, who carried the bill, Assembly Bill 805.

Could London-Style Toll Zones Reduce Los Angeles Traffic?

  • A new campaign on billboards and social media that informs Angelenos they spend more than 100 hours a year stuck in traffic doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but one of its proposed solutions is: congestion pricing. It’s a system that has proven successful in cities like London, Stockholm and Singapore: Charge drivers a toll to use certain roads during rush hour. New the Southern California Association of Governments is promoting the idea as part of its “100 Hours” campaign to raise awareness about traffic issues as it ponders long-term solutions.

Oregon Metro Workshops Explore Ways to Support Transportation Technology in Greater Portland

  • There is no disputing that technology has changed our lives, including the way we get around. From buying bus passes on the phone while hustling out the door, to getting custom alerts of the quickest route to drive, tech can make it easier, faster and less stressful to travel. More advances are sure to come, from autonomous cars to on-demand carpooling and shared e-bikes. The possibilities are as endless as our imagination.

TRANSIT

Uber Partners with Sound Transit, Cities to Offer Discounts on Light Rail Station Rides

  • In order to encourage area riders to pair rideshare trips with mass transit, Uber has partnered with Sound Transit and the cities of Tukwila and Seatac to offer and promote discounts on rides to and from light rail stations. Starting Tuesday, Sept. 6, Uber riders traveling to or from eight light rail stations south of downtown Seattle who enter the TRANSIT promo code in their app will receive $3.50 off their UberX or UberPOOL trip.

ROADWAYS

State and Local Officials Respond to Federal Self-Driving Car Legislation

  • State and regional transportation officials largely praised the vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to ease the development of self-driving cars, and the technology associated with them, Sept. 6. With that support, officials say they hope the federal government leaves ample room for state and local governments to regulate planning, licensing and revenue generation related to autonomous vehicles.

Rural Toolkit Devised to Help High-Crash-Rate Areas Improve Transportation Safety

  • Half of all fatal crashes in Texas occur on rural roadways. Researchers with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) have identified those areas of the state with the highest crash rates and devised a plan that focuses on solving their specific issues, despite limited resources.

FUNDING

Survey: Most Americans Would Hike Taxes, Tolls to Pay for Roads

  • Nearly three-quarters of Americans are willing to pay increased taxes or tolls to fund roads and other transportation infrastructure, according to a survey from HNTB Corp to be released on Monday that was seen by Reuters. The number rises to 84 percent if those tax and toll hikes are mandated by law to be spent only on the infrastructure projects for which they were intended, the survey found.

Highway Trust Fund’s Tax Receipts Flatten in Fiscal 2017 While Traffic Sets Record Highs

  • Total collections of federal excise taxes for the Highway Trust Fund flattened in the first 10 months of the latest fiscal year, the Treasury Department has reported, even as traffic volume on U.S. roads continues to climb to ever-higher record levels. The trends suggest what transportation investment advocates have long warned against – that the current structure of various highway user taxes in the trust fund cannot be counted on to keep up with steadily growing demand on the nation’s roadway infrastructure.

RAIL

House Defeats Conservative Effort to Defund Amtrak

  • The House rejected a conservative proposal late Wednesday night to eliminate $1.1 billion in federal subsidies for Amtrak. An amendment offered by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) to a government-spending package for the next fiscal year failed on a 128-293 vote with a bipartisan coalition uniting in opposition. Brooks, a member of the House Freedom Caucus who failed to advance in the Alabama Senate GOP primary last month, argued that Amtrak subsidies are unnecessary.

New CEO Richard Anderson Outlines His Vision for Amtrak

  • NPR’s Robert Siegel interviews Richard Anderson, former head of Delta Airlines, who has been recruited to lead Amtrak during a period of major renovations.

OTHER

US House Passes Major Piece of Driverless Vehicle Legislation, But Questions Remain on How Trucks Fit In

  • The House passed a major self-driving vehicle bill Wednesday. But a big unanswered question remains: what to do about commercial trucks. Driverless trucks are seen as one of the most promising – and fraught – elements of the coming autonomous future on U.S. roads. Convoys of robo-trucks guided across the country by a single human driver – or none at all – could become a major economic force. They could be a boon to safety, or a particularly potent hazard, opposing advocates say. They could also gobble up plenty of good-paying jobs.

On the College Campus of the Future, Parking May Be a Relic

  • With just one parking space for every five people, on a campus of roughly 65,000, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has one of the lowest parking ratios of any major university in the country. To reduce the number of cars on campus, parking permits are off limits to students, who are instead encouraged to walk, bike or take the bus. Because visitors to the 936-acre campus often have a hard time finding parking, the university’s latest master plan, nearing completion, recommends an additional 2,200 spaces over the next 20 to 40 years. But Gary A. Brown, the director of campus planning, is reluctant to add any spaces right away.