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Event Alert: ITS America Symposium – Advancing an Intelligent Freight Network

March 4, 2015 at 6:50 pm


Image Courtesy: ITSA.org – Click image to learn more.

Nearly 50% of the country’s containerized cargo passes through the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, making Southern California the epicenter of America’s freight network. From infrastructure investments that support reliable and efficient freight movement, to an emerging suite of advanced safety technologies on-board commercial vehicles, the nation’s freight network continues to deploy innovative solutions to address challenges and improve performance.

Make plans today to join ITS America, Caltrans, Contra Costa Transportation Authority, the Port of Long Beach andITS California for a two-day event, March 26-27, as we explore the smarter movement of goods in the 21st century by advancing an intelligent freight transportation network.

The symposium will take place in our most unique location yet — on board the historic Queen Mary. Special registration rates are available for ITS America members, public sector attendees and students and start as low as $40.00. Learn how you and your organization can get involved, check out the preliminary program and register today at www.itsa.org/freightsymposium.

 

BMW Berkeley

Chart(s) of the day: These two charts are enough to paint the appalling state of air pollution in India

March 2, 2015 at 9:18 pm


These graphs below via Qz.com paint a compelling picture of air quality in India. In most western media discussions/stories about environmental pollution is often China-centric. One would expect China to be topping the charts when it comes to pollution, given the country’s ginormous population, its economic clout and the manufacturing prowess which earned it the “factory of the world” label, . But in reality, ‪#‎India‬ is the worst offender and it deserves far more scrutiny than China. 14 of the top 20 most polluted cities are in India and a not a single Chinese city made it to this list. Govt. of India should take urgent steps to combat this issue because of the risks it pose to public health. 

Image Courtesy: Quartz I Qz.com

Image Courtesy: Quartz I Qz.com

For what it is worth, the transportation sector is one of the major culprits, accounting for a significant portion of the overall emissions. While congestion in major cities continues to grow worse, the vehicle sales continues at a torrid pace and doesn’t show any signs of a slow down. To put this in perspective, I am borrowing the following points from the ICCT fact sheet:

  • India’s vehicle population has grown from 50 million in 2003 to 130 million in 2013.
  • Vehicle PM10 emissions have fallen 14% since 2003, but emissions will return to 2003 levels by 2017 due to vehicle population growth if new controls are not mandated

Another major source of pollution in India related to the transportation sector is the noise pollution, which requires a dedicated blog post by itself. So, one of these days I’ll get around to doing some research on that topic and write it up.

Job Alert: Traffic Signal Systems Analyst – Maricopa County DOT – Phoenix, Arizona

February 27, 2015 at 6:12 pm


JOB TITLE: Traffic Signal Systems Analyst
CLOSING DATE/TIME: Wed. 03/11/15 11:59 PM Arizona Time
SALARY: $50,398.40 – $70,220.80 Annually
JOB TYPE: Classified/Full-Time
LOCATION: Phoenix, Arizona
DEPARTMENT: Transportation

POSITION OVERVIEW
Proactively monitor, manage and evaluate the traffic flows on MCDOT and Regional roadways through the development, implementation and management of signal timing and application of Traffic Signal System.

POSITION QUALIFICATIONS:
Minimum education and/or experience:
Bachelor’s Degree in a related field and two (2) years of related experience in Intelligent Transportation Systems, Transportation or Engineering. An equivalent combination of education and experience may substitute for the degree requirement on a year for year basis.

Specialized training, certifications, or other special requirements:
A valid Arizona Driver’s License is required at the time of hire.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
Must have good understanding of traffic signal systems, traffic signal controller/cabinet and how it operates. Must be able to develop traffic signal timing plans, traffic signal construction plans, and have a basic understanding of communication systems, and operation of traffic signal system. Requires a basic understanding of Traffic Engineering practices and procedures, software’s such as HCS, Passer, Syncro, NetSim.Ability to interpret and analyze data; ability to write technical reports; ability to present material in a clear, concise and logical manner, orally and in writing. Ability to work effectively with those contacted in the course of work; and the ability to work independently. Knowledge of Federal and State transportation laws and regulations governing traffic markings, traffic signals, and roadway lighting. Familiar with the manual of uniform traffic control devices and its application to Traffic Engineering functions. The ability to make complex traffic engineering decisions that affect the safety of the public, both vehicular and non-vehicular. The ability to use traffic engineering computer software packages. Ability to perform computer-assisted drafting and prepare designs and specifications for traffic signals projects and department presentations. The ability to negotiate solutions with citizens, utilities, and other outside contacts. This position requires a post-offer physical examination.

Preferred training, certifications and/or other special requirements:
Registration as a Professional Engineer.

Working conditions:
Must be able to work in indoor TMC environment and frequently outdoors primarily at the signalized intersections and other ITS communication installations along the roadway; must be able to respond to system failures or duty assignments during any time of the 24 hour day; must have manual dexterity of hands and body to install ITS equipment, both in the field and as well as in the TMC; must be able to hear, see, climb, crouch, bend and lift/carry 50 pounds with or without assistance of a cart or device. must be able to manage frequent interruptions, time pressures, high work volumes, multiple and complicated tasks, unscheduled tasks, team-oriented activities, prompt decision-making and interaction with regional and local ITS, IT and traffic management stakeholders and the public; must constantly maintain concentration, accuracy, ethical behavior and a professional demeanor.

ESSENTIAL JOB TASKS:
Monitor the operation of MCDOT’s traffic signals on the day-to-day basis. Prepare/update intersection timing plans and implement them to maintain the intersection and cooridor operations at optimum level of service. Operate, maintain and use the Traffic Signal System software to integrate signals, monitor traffic flow and implement signal timing plans. Ensure smooth operation of network, communication systems, and workstations as it relates to Traffic Signal System. Support the planning, design and implementation of other MCDOT Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) such as Traffic Management Center (TMC), Regional Data Archive system (RADS), Advanced Traveler Information system (ATIS) etc. Monitor the operation of ITS elements such as CCTV cameras and DMS on day to day basis for signal timing applications. Maintain inventory, timing plan records, signal controller status records, communication status reports for all signals systems and ITS equipment deployed by MCDOT. Provide technical input to solve signal timing issues as they relate to other divisions, County Departments and Regional partners. Review signal construction plans, construction permits, oversize and overweight vehicle permits. Perform signal timing studies including before and after studies and analysis. Develop periodical signal timing and travel time performance reports. Represent MCDOT in public forums, before high-level public officials, technical groups and committees. Performs other duties as assigned or required.

Click here to learn more and to apply

Chart of the day: The more people cycle, the fewer fatal accidents – Americans top the list of cyclist deaths while ranking dead last in miles traveled by bicycle

February 20, 2015 at 3:27 pm
OnlineBlackjackExperts.net


As the saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words .. This one is worth a few thousand stories on transport policy, included as part of a message promoting the ITF report titled “Cycling, Health and Safety”  In a nutshell, as summarized by ITF, the more people cycle, the fewer fatal accidents. Every kilometer cycled benefits society.

Image Courtesy: International Transport Forum . Click image to read the report “Cycling, Health and Safety”

While we are at it, I recommend you to check out the video series on cycling, safety & health on ITF’s YouTube channel:

Chart(s) of the day: Transportation Funding Reauthorization Story – #StuckInTraffic

February 11, 2015 at 11:35 am


The images below are from Pew States (most of them), tweeted out as part of the #StuckinTraffic Twitter chat featuring U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and House T&I Committee Chair Schuster.  Please note that most of the images have embedded URL links pointing to a webpage/report. So, feel free to click on the ones that pique your interest to learn more.

P.S: Pardon any shoddiness as you scroll down. This post is a quick hack/harvest of compelling charts from the #StuckINTraffic twitter feed to show the landscape of transportation funding issues and why it is important to get the reauthorization done ASAP.

Image Courtesy: Pew States – US transportation funding 101—& why fed, state investment is declining:

Image Courtesy – Pew States – DYK? Transportation infrastructure funding stems mainly from states:

Image Courtesy: Pew States – Fed, states facing funding challenges as gas tax revenues stall: h

Image Courtesy: Pew States – US #transportation fed grant funding dips 9% from ’08 to ’14:

Image Courtesy: Pew States – New Pew report spotlights surface DOT funding declines, overall down $27B in real terms since 2002

Image Courtesy: Pew States – 66% of fed transportation revenue stems from gas tax—why it matters:

Image Courtesy: Pew States – Fed Highway Trust Fund—major source of state, local funds—running low

Image courtesy; Pew States

Image courtesy: Wonkblog via @TransportDems – 1 in 4 US bridges is deficient. #StuckinTraffic

Image Courtesy: @BikeLeague – What role do transit, bike and pedestrian projects play in local economies?

Job Alert: Senior Traffic Operations Project Manager – Pennsylvania Turnpike @ Harrisburg, PA

February 9, 2015 at 7:11 pm


This position is responsible for performing tasks that are aimed at the efficient movement of traffic and goods throughout the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) highway system, such as: work zone management, incident and emergency response, winter operations and operational planning. Work involves participating in the evaluation of mobility needs relating to recurring and non-recurring congestion. Work tasks will include the application of engineering principles and practices related to intelligent transportation systems (ITS). The work involves reviewing plans, preliminary engineering studies and preparing plans and specifications. Completed work assignments are reviewed by the department manager or designee for accuracy, completeness and conformance with stated goals, objectives and policies. An employee in this position will participate in the coordination with other departments and units of the Commission to attain input for projects.

Click here to learn more and to apply

Ditching my car for Uber saves me over 6 days of time and $11,000/ year – Millennial shows a glimpse of the future that auto industry dreads

February 9, 2015 at 6:52 pm


The simple math of owning a car vs. not owning one marks the paradigm shift in attitudes among generations. What was once not feasible – living without a car – has now become easy (at least in many cities across the US), thanks to location-based, on-demand transportation solutions such as Uber and Lyft. In a Business Insider article, Katherine Krug, summarizes her car-free life in San Francisco.

Since giving up my car (in Oct’ 2013) , I now spend an average of $572 per month on transportation, which comes to $11,352 per year in savings. On top of that, I get back my time, the most valuable thing of all. I save an average of 6.5 days per year — almost a full week! — to focus on the things I want to be doing, rather than serving my car.

What caught my attention is the last sentence – Katherine’s elation about not “serving” her car. If this is how the youngsters feel about automobiles there is no way anyone can make an argument for owning a car. Maybe we have turned a new page in America’s love affair with the automobiles (which, at times, seems untrue when you read about booming auto sales)?

In the backdrop of how not owning a car helped manage her mobility needs while also saving her a ton of cash, you would be astonished to see Sarah’s average monthly expenditures (and time associated)  when she owned the car (see table below). Read more here

Image via Business Insider

Job Alert: Community Transportation Planner 1 – Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) @ Chattanooga, TN

February 6, 2015 at 4:35 pm


via YPTransportation.org

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Long Range Planning Division is accepting applications for a Community Transportation Planner 1 position in the Long Range Planning Division’s Office of Community Transportation, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Application for the Community Transportation Planner 1 position requires completion and submission of the following three items:

  • Letter explaining applicant interest in the position
  • Resume that is a maximum of two pages
  • Written responses to the four application questions below

The three items should be emailed to Ms. Suzie Howard, Suzie.Howard@tn.gov, by 4:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time on Thursday, February 12, 2015.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:

A Bachelor’s Degree in Planning or related field from an accredited college or university and at least two (2) years of planning experience

Or

Master’s Degree in Planning or related field from an accredited college or university

POSITION DESCRIPTION:

The Long Range Planning Division Community Transportation Planner 1 will assist in the Division’s development and implementation of strategies that coordinate the State’s land management and transportation infrastructure needs.

  • Assists in the development of guidelines for coordination of land use and transportation decisions between state and local entities.
  • Assists in the development of rural regional transportation plans, major thoroughfare plans, corridor management agreements, and statewide access management plans.
  • Provides technical assistance to local community partners, Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Rural Planning and Consultation Organizations.
  • Participates in regular collaborative opportunities with metropolitan transportation planning organizations, rural transportation consultation organizations, cities, and counties.
  • Reviews new and established federal, state, and local plans and policies and makes recommendations for implementation.

This position will require occasional statewide travel.

APPLICATION QUESTIONS:

(Please use a separate sheet for each question.)

When answering the application questions, you should use examples of work related experiences. If you do not have appropriate work related examples, non‐work related examples are acceptable.

  1. Describe two or three major trends in transportation and land use planning.
    • Do you see any of these trends in Tennessee?
    • What are some of the biggest challenges coordinating land use and transportation?
  2. Give an example of a transportation planning idea or improvement that you had and how did it make a difference in the community that you were serving?
  3. Give a specific example of a situation in which you had to deal with conflict when working with the public.
    • Describe in detail how you handled both the person(s) and the situation.
    • How did this affect the overall outcome of the situation or issue?
    • How did you document and communicate the outcome?
  4. Provide a few detailed examples of professional and/or self‐improvement skills that you developed or enhanced over the past two years.
    • Were these skills prerequisites of your current position?
    • How have these skills assisted you in the performance of your current job responsibilities?

Please contact Ms. Tanisha Hall, Director, Long Range Planning Division, at Tanisha.Hall@tn.gov with questions about the position openings. 

Chart of the day: Sustainability Indicators – All the Ways Germany Is Less Car-Reliant Than the U.S., in 1 Chart

February 4, 2015 at 6:02 pm


via Citylab

This interesting chart was a part of a CityLab article that analyses how Germany is less car dependent than the United States by looking data from comparable cities in each of these nations.  What caught my attention, among the many things, is the difference in the carbon footprint.  In the US, Transport sector alone accounts for 32% of our overall CO2 emissions whereas in Germany it is only 19%.  If we ever get around to implementing a carbon tax, it could fall precipitously but I don’t see that happening anytime soon, given the current political discourse.

The data come from a recent comparison of German and U.S. planning approaches led by transport scholar Ralph Buehler of Virginia Tech. Drilling down to the city level, Buehler and collaborators find more of the same driving trends in an analysis of two large metros from each country: Washington, D.C., and Stuttgart.

 

Selling public transportation to the American audience – An American version of this should have aired durng Superbowl

February 4, 2015 at 1:33 pm


Who knew the bike loving Danes are bent on promoting public transportation? This funny commercial from Danish public transit company Midttrafik shows what we haven’t done in the United States – showing our car-crazy nation that riding public transportation is cool and a “better choice” than driving a car.  Maybe airing such a funny promotional material for transit during Superbowl can end up being a national embarrassment, given the poor state of our public transportation infrastructure/service delivery across the land.

And here is the original commercial (from 2012):