News

Considering bike share’s role in public transit

By Mary Ebeling Lately the question of whether public bike share is helping transit systems or taking a bite out of ridership has been on many transit planners’ minds. The answer that is emerging seems to be that both cases can be true depending on the situation, but that, overall, bike share

Research and practice show that compact, connected street networks can result in improved health and safety outcomes

By Chris Spahr Urban planning and public health have a long history together as demonstrated by the famous story of Dr. John Snow who, in 1854, mapped the cholera deaths within a particular 10-day period on Broad Street in London. Through his spatial analysis, he traced the cholera epidemic to a

NCHRP report shows high variation, but general decline, in VMT forecasts

By Chris McCahill A new tool, called Impacts 2050, provides important insight into the uncertainty associated with conventional travel demand forecasts by allowing users to model different future scenarios while taking socio-demographic trends into account. In a report for the National

Location, location, location: Financing transit with real estate assets

By Mary Ebeling The recent economic recession reduced available funding for every transportation mode. For transit, however, these funding reductions coincided with marked increases in ridership. This has pushed agencies to take a broad look at available funding options. Tapping agency-owned real

Hand-held cell phone bans miss the mark

By Bill Holloway According to recently published research, California’s ban on driving while using hand-held cellphones, implemented in 2008, appears to have had no impact on crash rates. Researchers, focusing on the six months before and after the ban was implemented, were unable to identify

Tennessee uses software to predict crashes

By Robbie Webber The Tennessee Highway Patrol has begun using software that will predict where crashes and other safety problems will occur. However, instead of simply identifying problem locations over the long term, the model looks at four-hour segments and 30 square mile areas. This allows

Lower income neighborhoods hit hardest by pedestrian deaths

By Chris McCahill According to national data, pedestrian deaths increased by 15 percent between 2009 and 2012 and have made up a growing share of all traffic deaths over the past decade. That is particularly troubling news for lower income neighborhoods, which experience the highest death rates

Can passenger and freight rail coexist?

By Chris Spahr Amtrak is dealing with a steadily increasing problem of service delays. Systemwide on-time performance for fiscal year 2014 is currently at 73.2 percent.  In June, on-time performance was a dismal 69.7 percent, down 6.2 percent from June 2013. A law passed by Congress in 2008 sets

States discovering new partners, tools, and uses for bridge monitoring

By Chris McCahill The condition of our nation’s bridges is slowly improving, but they still need a great deal of work. According to FHWA, 24 percent of bridges (close to 150,000 in total) are deficient. Monitoring those bridges and managing their maintenance can be challenging and costly for

Oregon leads the way in addressing transportation funding challenges

By Chris Spahr It is not news that the Highway Trust Fund will run out of money by the end of August unless Congress takes action. The main problem is that the gas tax that feeds the Trust Fund is no longer an effective form of revenue. The reasons are numerous: There has been no increase in the