Renewable Energy in the Right of Way

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At SSTI’s first Sustainability Directors Community of Practice meeting in June 2015, attendees discussed their states’ interest in siting solar and other renewable energy generation facilities in the highway right-of-way but cited uncertainty regarding FHWA rules and unfamiliarity with the business side of renewable energy production as major hurdles. In an effort to support these efforts and allow interested states to learn from others, SSTI has gathered the technical documents gathered here, under the headings below, comprise a living repository for state DOTs and others to use as examples as they develop their own ROW renewable energy projects. Read More >

Trip-making and accessibility: New tools, better decisions (SSTI, 2016)

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Transportation researchers and practitioners have long sought other tools to complement or perhaps replace conventional methods—tools that would better analyze trips rather than speed at points in the system, speak to non-auto modes of travel, address land use solutions as well as highway infrastructure, and so on. Fortunately, new sources of data and emerging methods, as well as new-found interest in performance and scenario planning, are yielding the types of tools that the field needs. Read More >

Effects of Parking Provision on Automobile Use in Cities: Inferring Causality (McCahill, Garrick, Atkinson-Palombo and Polinski, 2015)

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Automobile use has been on the rise in cities for nearly a century and so has the supply of parking. Because driving often seems unavoidable, policymakers, developers and the public push endlessly for more parking to meet demand. That push, however, might only be making matters worse. SSTI Senior Associate Chris McCahill’s research suggests that abundant parking in cities causes people to drive more, shedding important light on the question of cause and effect. Read More >


FEATURED RESOURCE

Trip-making data, TDM, and connectivity in Northern Virginia (SSTI and Michael Baker International, 2016)

Commercially available GPS data offers valuable new insight about trip origins, destinations, and routes, including short trips that travel demand models often cannot capture. Using this data, SSTI worked with Michael Baker International, the Virginia DOT, and local stakeholders to identify opportunities for managing travel demand and improving connectivity throughout Northern Virginia. This final report describes the full data set and 17 selected case studies, along with recommended projects and policies, estimated costs, and benefits for each. More Resources...

NEWS

Sharing the road: How separated bikeways are setting the standard for safety

In order to encourage bicycling, cities have been constructing new infrastructure that physically separates cyclists from motor vehicle traffic. Without these facilities, increasing the number of people who bike for transportation may be difficult. However, when trying to build safe bike facilities, many cities are challenged by high-speed arterials cutting through downtowns. These arterials are prime locations for protected bike lanes and may also be state highways. This provides an exciting opportunity for states to work with cities to improve multimodal opportunities on state-owned roads that travel through dense urban areas. Read More >

New study reaffirms the child safety benefits of red light cameras

A study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference linked higher child death rates from motor vehicle crashes to several primary factors, including low rates of child seatbelt/car seat use and a lack of red light cameras. In addition to comparing child fatality and injury rates in cities that had red light cameras and those that did not have them, the study also looked at rates in cities that had removed or turned off the cameras and compared them to similar cities that had maintained them. Read More >

More evidence that wider roads encourage speeding

Wider lanes and shoulders encourage faster driving, according to a new study published in the Journal of Transportation Engineering. Based on more than 650,000 observations of uncongested freeways, researchers from Texas A&M found that drivers travel 2.2 mph faster, on average, in 12-foot lanes than in comparable 11-foot lanes. Perhaps even more striking, wide left shoulders adjacent to 11-foot lanes can increase speeds by as much as 1.1 mph per foot of shoulder width, ranging from 1.5 to 11 feet. Unfortunately, the study also highlights how speed and capacity are often conflated in misleading ways and how safety can be ignored altogether. Read More >

Are higher highway speed limits worth it?

A recent study indicates that raising speed limits on non-limited access highways from 55 to 65 miles per hour is likely to have a negative benefit-cost ratio when crash injury and fatality costs are fully accounted for. The analysis evaluated the costs and benefits associated with required infrastructure upgrades, travel time benefits, fuel costs (due to lower fuel economy), and costs associated with increased crash frequency and severity. Read More >

Motor vehicle dependence is making us sick: How transportation and urban planners are part of the solution

A recent study published in the medical journal The Lancet focuses on prevention strategies for the global epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) stemming from an unsustainable reliance on a transportation system reliant on fossil fuels. Such diseases include such as traffic violence, obesity, or respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. To address this crisis, the authors makes strong arguments that transportation and urban planners must coordinate across departments and accept their professional roles in determining how people travel. Read More >

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