News

Saving lives, money and time—with corn?

By Mary Ebeling Standing corn row windbreaks, used in northern Midwest and Plains states, are part of a larger program supporting living snow fences. These windbreaks benefit DOTs and communities by reducing winter road closures and the associated costs, decreasing crashes, and reducing the use

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the drive: An update on autonomous vehicles

By Mary Ebeling Since we last wrote about driverless cars in December, several states have taken a detailed look at legislation to phase in operation of this new type of vehicle. These new laws focus on testing, safety, and operations. Conversations addressing the thorny issues around liability

California travel surveys show big shift away from driving

By Chris McCahill Last year the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) released the findings from its decennial household travel survey. The data are used mainly to update travel demand models and did not make major news. But the survey, which involved a huge sample of more than

Not being evil: Google pays for bus passes for low-income kids

By Mary Ebeling Google is funding bus passes for more than 30,000 low- and moderate-income youth in San Francisco. This announcement is seen by many as a first step toward greater civic engagement by Silicon Valley tech giants, and city government thinks it is a good first step for partnering

Can the United States achieve zero road fatalities?

By Chris Spahr In 1997, the Swedish parliament wrote into law a “Vision Zero” plan with the goal of completely eliminating road fatalities and injuries. And in 2013, only 264 people died in road crashes in Sweden. This amounted to only three of every 100,000 Swedes who die in car crashes

Pacific Northwest cities consider air gondolas as public transport

By Robbie Webber Within weeks of each other, Seattle and Kirkland, a Seattle suburb across Lake Washington, each made news by suggesting aerial lifts as alternatives for moving people through their increasingly crowded downtowns. Kirkland announced it was considering an air gondola system instead

Safety concerns spur calls for improved oversight of rail shipments

By Bill Holloway A series of high profile derailments and explosions involving trains hauling oil, most notably in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, have prompted calls for improved rail safety and new guidelines governing the testing and transport of oil. Concerns center on train speeds and track

U.S. DOT highway travel demand estimates continue to overshoot reality

By Eric Sundquist In December, as USDOT was preparing its updated Conditions & Performance report, we took a look back at previous reports and found a consistent pattern of overestimates of motor-vehicle travel demand. We wondered about the new estimates: Will they be accurate this time? Now

FHWA report details impact of occupancy exemptions on managed lanes

By Robbie Webber States with high-occupancy vehicle lanes or high-occupancy toll lanes may also allow certain categories of vehicles to use the lanes without having the required number of occupants. However states are required to show that allowing these vehicles does not degrade the speed and

Booming intercity bus industry brings benefits and regulatory questions

By Bill Holloway Levels of intercity bus service, which are measured by the total number of daily scheduled operations, declined between 1960 and 2006. In recent years, however, it has been growing rapidly—far outpacing the growth of air and rail service (seat-miles) and car travel according to