MN

Update: St. Louis area variable speed limits come down

By Bill Holloway Missouri DOT is removing 70 variable advisory speed limit signs on I-270 and I-255 mentioned in the October 14th edition of SSTI News. Although a recent report indicated that similar signs have been having a positive effect on congestion in the Minneapolis area despite drivers’

Signs alert drivers: Slow down; there’s congestion ahead

By Bill Holloway Drivers headed for traffic jams largely disregard advisory variable speed limit (VSL) signs intended to slow traffic in advance of downstream congestion. A recent report from the ITS Institute at the University of Minnesota found that drivers are not adjusting their speeds in

HOT lane study points to importance of reliability over average delay

By Eric Sundquist A new University of Minnesota study on driver behavior in managed lanes provides some findings that on the surface seem highly counter-intuitive, but that may have a simple explanation: travelers care more about reliability than delay. The study looked at prices and usage of

Senators call for action on freight rail rates and monopolies

By Bill Holloway Early this month, a bipartisan group of senators, led by Al Franken (D-MN), called on the chairman of the Surface Transportation Board to assure that Berkshire Hathaway’s 2010 purchase of BNSF doesn’t result in unfair rate hikes for farms and businesses in Minnesota

Virginia governor proposes scrapping gas tax, raising sales tax to fund transportation

By Eric Sundquist Most discussion of possible solutions to the problem of stagnant gas tax revenues has focused on increasing user fees in some way – e.g., by raising fuel taxes, adding tolls, and/or adding VMT-based fees. The Minnesota Transportation Finance Advisory Committee called for all

VMT fees, per-mile insurance make headway

By Robbie Webber Although several states have considered VMT fees as an alternative to the gas tax, none have yet instituted them. But recent news articles show that interest is still high, and some states may be inching toward this model. Insurance billed on a per-mile basis is also beginning to

Wisconsin is most recent state to consider mileage-based user fee

By Robbie Webber Wisconsin is the most recent state to consider a mileage-based user fee (MBUF). The Transportation Finance and Policy Commission, created as part of the 2011-2013 biennial budget, recommended consideration of the fee in addition to current gas taxes, licensing, and registration

SSTI releases economic analysis guide and tool for transportation agencies

By Eric Sundquist Demand for more accountability in the use of scarce transportation funds is pushing DOTs toward new performance measures, both to evaluate systems as whole as well as proposed projects. One key area for such analysis is economic impact, but until now agencies had no accepted

Michigan-Chicago route gains 110 mph passenger rail, and other Midwest states seem eager to follow

Last week, Amtrak service in western Michigan and northern Indiana reached speeds of 110 miles per hour, marking the first expansion of regional high-speed rail in the U.S. outside of the northeast corridor. The speeds were achieved on an 80-mile stretch of track between Kalamazoo, Michigan and

Report of Minnesota’s Mileage-Based User Fee Policy Task Force (Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, 2011)

Over a period of six months, the Task Force, appointed by Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel, discussed and evaluated the overall MBUF concept and related issues, determined benefits and concerns, considered potential system design options and preferences and formulated