News

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

Which transportation sustainability rating system works for your state?

By Robbie Webber The practice of developing highway projects sustainably by paying attention to the societal, environmental, and economic impact of projects has become increasingly common. States are using transportation sustainability rating systems (TSRSs) to assess the impacts of their

Toward performance-based development of urban trail networks

By Mary Ebeling The Trail Modeling and Assessment Platform (T-MAP) project, an effort led by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), will create a performance-based urban trail development toolkit for planners, policy makers, and advocates. T-MAP offers a set of data collection instruments,

Helsinki integrates transportation services to reduce reliance on cars

By Bill Holloway As transportation agencies across the U.S. slowly adjust to new infrastructure, revenue, and policy challenges, Helsinki, Finland is embarking on a radical plan to help its transit system outcompete private car travel. The city plans to transform its transit system into a

NYSDOT considers options for Syracuse freeway

By Robbie Webber Michigan DOT and Detroit residents are not alone in considering alternatives for an elevated urban highway. On June 23, New York State DOT officials released six possible options to replace the aging I-81 viaduct in Syracuse. The highway has been the subject of intense debate for