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News & Updates

Statewide Planning Updates

Texas Transportation Commission Funds $44 Million for Bicycle, Pedestrian Projects

  • The cities of Waco and Belton are receiving funding to develop new ways for pedestrians and bicyclists to get around their communities. In a press release Saturday, the Texas Transportation Commission announced that 46 projects across the state would receive a total of $44 million in federal funding as part of the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program, or TASA, which supports population areas of 200,000 or less. Three of the projects are located in Central Texas.

PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards Receives Award from Pennsylvania Chapter of American Planning Association

  • Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards was given the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association’s Planning Achievement Award for her efforts in advancing social change and diversity. This award honors an individual, project, group, or organization that promotes diversity and demonstrates a sustained commitment to advocacy by addressing the concerns of women and minorities through specific actions or contributions within the planning profession or through planning practice.

PLANNING

Jim Dale of Austin, Texas Transportation Department Talks Smart Communities

  • This episode in the ITE Talks Transportation Smart Communities series features Jim Dale, Assistant Director with the City of Austin (Texas) Transportation Department, discussing smart communities efforts in the City of Austin.

What Does Telecommuting’s Rise Mean for Traffic and Transit?

  • Americans haven’t really altered their commuting habits all that much recently, at least not nationally. The Census Bureau’s latest estimates find that the vast majority of workers – 76 percent – drove alone to work last year, the same percentage as a decade ago. But one thing is changing: More people aren’t going into an office at all. Americans primarily working from home recorded its largest ever year-over-year increase in 2016, climbing to 5 percent of the workforce.

San Gabriel Valley, California Cities Urged to Make Way for Electric and Autonomous Vehicles — or Else

  • Leaders in energy, transit services and urban planning urged local officials to support electrifying the transportation sector or face cataclysmic consequences already developing as a result of global climate change. About 190 people from San Gabriel Valley’s 31 cities, local utilities and transportation agencies came to the Pacific Palms Hotel in City of Industry on Wednesday to hear presentations from business leaders and environmental experts who said cities must prepare for a paradigm shift in transportation.

MPOs

Brownsville, Texas Mayor Not Yet Ready to Embrace Regional MPO

  • Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez is not yet ready to support a united Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Rio Grande Valley. Currently, there are three MPOs for the region – Hidalgo County MPO, Harlingen-San Benito MPO, and Brownsville MPO. Discussions have been taking place between the three and the Texas Department of Transportation to evaluate the merits of a merger. MPOs are the local conduit for state and federal transportation dollars.

Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency Refuses to Release Transportation Data Related to Amazon Bid

  • The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, a publicly-funded entity obligated to follow Ohio’s open records laws, has denied a request for transportation data it supplied to Team NEO as part of the region’s bid to attract Amazon’s second headquarters. Grace Gallucci, NOACA’s executive director, said she has been asked not to release the records and she directed cleveland.com to Dix & Eaton Public Relations, which helped organize the Amazon bid and is responding to media inquiries. Cleveland.com did not request the Amazon bid but asked NOACA, which helps governments with transportation and environmental planning, for the underlying transportation information it gathered for the bid.

Augmented Reality Showcases Transportation Options in Santa Cruz County, California

  • The Visualizing Sustainable Transportation project from the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission offers residents a chance to view potential transportation options through augmented reality. The goal of the project is to provide a fun and immersive community experience. Current sites include Soquel Drive at Chanticleer Avenue, near the Sutter Surgery Center, until Nov. 15; and Natural Bridges at the railroad crossing near the Wrigley Building until Nov. 29.

ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION

Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission Releases Southern Ohio Trails Web Portal

  • Southern Ohio is known for its majestic hills, historic riverfront towns and expansive state and national forests. However, many Ohioans may not know that this region also has a growing network of bike and multi-use trails, with over one hundred miles to explore. Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC), in partnership with regional trail groups, has launched a web portal to highlight these trails. The Southern Ohio Trails portal gives users an overview of the wide variety of trails in the region, and serves as a landing page for those trails that may not have a presence on the web.

TRANSIT

Nashvillians Get First Look at $5.2 Billion Mass Transit Proposal as Mayor Takes Plan to Public

  • A mix of supporters, skeptics and critics flocked to Mayor Megan Barry’s first of six open forums being held to inform residents about her $5.2 billion mass transit plan. Barry hopes to persuade Nashvillians to vote for a May referendum that would pave the way for the massive project.

Berkshire Regional Transit Authority Seeking Feedback on Employment-Based Transportation

  • The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority is releasing the results of a study down on the need employment-based transportation. The survey, done in conjunction with transportation planning consultant McMahon Associates, looked at employment issues related to the lack of public transportation after the buses stop running at 6 p.m. in Berkshire County. It included identifying where the employment centers are, what the various shifts are, and how to connect these employees to their jobs once public transportation ends.

ROADWAYS

Tolling Seattle Streets? City Study May Look at It for Tunnel Avoiders

  • A proposed $200,000 study could look at whether Seattle should consider “congestion pricing” on some city streets in case drivers avoid tolls on the new State Route 99 tunnel. The not-yet-approved budget request would look at the effects of putting tolls on the tunnel “and explore options, such as congestion pricing, to help manage impacts to local streets and transit travel times.” The tunnel is set to open in 2019, but drivers are expected to avoid it so they don’t have to pay the tolls – similar to what happened when tolls started on the State Route 520 floating bridge.

Is Congestion Pricing the Key to Solving Chicago’s Traffic Woes?

  • With highway gridlock costing Chicago $7.3 billion a year in lost productivity and fuel, it’s no surprise planners are exploring new ways to address the issue. A joint effort from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Illinois Department of Transportation, and the Illinois Tollway hopes to change things with the adoption of so-called congestion pricing. The idea even earned the support of the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board this week.

FUNDING

Georgia Returned Millions of Dollars Meant for Transportation Projects

  • Georgia’s Department of Transportation recently gave back $4.3 million dollars in federal funding meant for transportation projects. Projects like converting rail road corridors, building scenic viewing areas, creating trails for bikes, or making safe routes near schools are eligible to be completed with the funding. The state got $155.3 million during fiscal year 2013 which it gave to regional planning commissions. The planning commissions gave it to local governments that had to spend it or assign it by Sept. 30.