AASHTO wants to hear about your “Great American Road Trip”

May 27, 2009 at 10:08 pm

From the AASHTO Press Release:

State transportation officials are asking motorists to take a brief detour down memory lane before setting off on their summer vacations this year.  The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and its Are We There Yet? We Can Be! campaign are looking for America’s Great Road Trip stories. AASHTO is gathering these stories throughout the summer as part of a nationwide effort to highlight the joys and discoveries associated with the open road.

“It might be your first family vacation or the last one you took together before leaving home. It might be a cross-country adventure to the Grand Canyon or a trip to the ocean for the very first time. Everyone has a great road trip story,” said John Horsley, AASHTO Executive Director. “And no matter what or where you traveled, we want to share your stories in the hopes that they’ll inspire others to discover America.”

To share your “Great American Road Trip,” go to http://AreWeThereYet.transportation.org and tell your story in 300 words or less. Then check back to read what others have posted. Prizes will be awarded through random drawings each month. All great stories are welcome.

Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – May 27, 2009

May 27, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 – ISSN 1529-1057

OpenTMS – Provides Real-Time Operations System Solutions

 Open Roads’ Open TMS Enterprise is a proven off-the-shelf solution that incorporates data gathering, information dissemination, and real-time decision-making into a single, user-friendly interface.  OpenTMS is your gateway to visualizing all transportation data sources, while communicating with system operators and other users.  Our integrated platform provides a consolidated operational view of incidents, traffic congestion, weather, 911 dispatch information, and other decision-making tools.  OpenTMS is easy to use, highly scalable and configurable in all dimensions. Open Roads will be demonstrating OpenTMS at ITS America, and can be found at booth #840.  For appointments and customized demos, please call 757-546-3401 or email Steve Beckwith at slbeckwith@openroadsconsulting.com.  You can also visit us online at www.openroadsconsulting.com


1) FAA Bird Radar Tests to Expand this Summer

Link to story on AVweb:


2) On the Radar: Bird-Proofing US Air Traffic

Link to column in The Wall Street Journal:


3) Ethnic Tamil Malaysians Want Tamil Announcements at Airports

Link to story in The Hindu:



4) Texas Cities Speed Up to Beat Red Light Camera Contract Deadline

Link to story in The Dallas Morning News:



5) The GPS Revolution: Location, Location, Location

Link to story in BusinessWeek:



6) From Traffic Signs to Furniture

Link to story in the San Francisco Chronicle:



7) Transportation Security Administration to Promote Secure Flight Program

Link to story on AviationNews.net:



8) Aviation Groups Fight Airport Badging Rule

Link to story in Aviation Week:


9) Transport Canada Agrees to Release Results of Child Car Seat Tests

Link to CBC News story:



10) Plan Would Let Chicago Transit Riders Pay with Phone

Link to story on WLS-TV:


11) Subsidized Passes Problem for Phoenix-Area Light Rail

When riders don’t scan cards, Metro can’t recoup fares.

Link to story in The Arizona Republic:


12) It’s Open Sesame: New New York City Buses Feature Exit Sensors to Unclog Back-Door Bottleneck

Link to story in the Daily News:


13) Twitter Largely Untapped by Campus Bus Services

Link to story in Metro Magazine:


14) Israel Admits Tube Advert Map ‘Mistake’

Link to BBC News story:



15) Vancouver Braces for Olympic Traffic Nightmare with Interactive Web Tool

Link to story on itbusiness.ca:


News Releases

1) Pennsylvania DOT and Telvent Select Inrix Traffic for New 511 Pennsylvania Traveler Information Service

2) WirelessCar Selected to Telematics Service Provider for BMW in Europe

Upcoming Events

Workshop on Roundabouts – August 18 – Maitland, Florida


Today in Transportation History

1919 **90th anniversary** – The NC-4, a flying boat, became the first aircraft to complete a trans-Atlantic flight.



The Transportation Communications Newsletter is published electronically Monday through Friday. 

To subscribe send an e-mail to:  TCNL-subscribe@googlegroups.com

To unsubscribe send an e-mail to:  TCNL-unsubscribe@googlegroups.com

TCN archives: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/transport-communications

Questions, comments about the TCN?  Please write the editor, Bernie Wagenblast at i95berniew@aol.com.   

© 2009 Bernie Wagenblast

Brookings: Shrinking the Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America

May 27, 2009 at 12:52 pm

(Source: The Brookings Institution)

The Obama administration’s move to increase vehicle fuel economy standards and reduce greenhouse gas emissions addresses the source of one-third of U.S. CO2 emissions—transportation. In this report, the authors analyze the current state of carbon emissions by metropolitan area, listing the places that emit the least per capita and proposing policy avenues to move the entire nation toward reduced climate impact.   

America’s Challenge

The nation’s carbon footprint has a distinct geography not well understood or often discussed. This report quantifies transportation and residential carbon emissions for the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, finding that metro area residents have smaller carbon footprints than the average American, although metro footprints vary widely. Residential density and the availability of public transit are important to understanding carbon footprints, as are the carbon intensity of electricity generation, electricity prices, and weather. 

Limitations of Existing Federal Policy
Numerous market and policy distortions inhibit metropolitan actors from more aggressively addressing the nation’s climate challenge. Economy-wide problems include underpriced energy, underfunded energy research, missing federal standards, distorted utility regulations, and inadequate information. Policy impediments include a bias against public transit, inadequate federal leadership on freight and land-use planning, failure to encourage energy- and location-efficient housing decisions, and the fragmentation of federal transportation, housing, energy, and environmental policies. 

A New Federal Approach
Federal policy could play a powerful role in helping metropolitan areas—and so the nation—shrink their carbon footprint further. In addition to economy-wide policies to motivate action, five targeted policies are particularly important within metro areas and for the nation as a whole:

  • Promote more transportation choices to expand transit and compact development options
  • Introduce more energy-efficient freight operations with regional freight planning
  • Require home energy cost disclosure when selling and “on-bill” financing to stimulate and scale up energy-efficient retrofitting of residential housing
  • Use federal housing policy to create incentives for energy- and location-efficient decisions
  • Issue a metropolitan challenge to develop innovative solutions that integrate multiple policy areas

Click here to Read/Download Full Report

Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – May 26, 2009

May 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 – ISSN 1529-1057

ITS America’s 2009 Annual Meeting & Exposition Kicks Off in Less Than One Week

From June 1-3, join U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, members of Congress, and other transportation, technology, business and policy leaders at ITS America’s 2009 Annual Meeting & Exposition – located just 15 minutes away from the nation’s capitol. If you are in the transportation industry, you cannot afford to miss this event.  ITS America has put together an exciting program of nearly 100 educational and Congressional fact-finding sessions, opportunities to interact with members of Congress and senior government officials, 150,000 square feet of exhibits, tours of local ITS facilities and projects, a “City Streets” technology demonstration staged right outside of the convention center, and a closing reception and technology showcase in the new Capitol Hill Visitors Center.  For more information on the program and to register, visit http://www.itsa.org/amregistration.html.


1) Internet Accelerating Speed Camera Foes in Maryland

Link to story in The Washington Post:


2) Man Unhappy as Traffic CCTV Films His Home

Link to story on Get Surrey:



3) The GAO, the Media, and GPS

Link to commentary in The Space Review:



4) Four States Adopt ‘No Smiles’ Policy for Driver’s Licenses

Link to story in USA Today:



5) Indonesian Law Will Make Disabled Wear Signs in Traffic

Link to story in The Jakarta Globe:



6) Illinois Tollway Hopes New Signs Pay Off

Link to Chicago Breaking News story:


7) Growth Means Signs Can’t Keep Up with Times

As communities spread ever outward, traffic signage estimates are frequently miles off the mark.

Link to story in The Ledger:



8) Ford Takes on OnStar with 911 Assist

Link to story in Wired:



9) Trolley Anticrash Technology Put Off in Boston

Link to story in The Boston Globe:



10) Digital Transport Project to be Rolled Out in Birmingham, UK

Link to story in the Birmingham Post:


11) Upstate New York is Not Yet in 511 NY Real-Time Traffic Alert Loop

Link to column in the Times Union:


Upcoming Events

ITS International Best Practices Workshop: Wireless Communications – July 13-14 – Charlotte, North Carolina


Today in Transportation History

1889 **120th anniversary** – The first passenger elevator opened in the Eiffel Tower.



The Transportation Communications Newsletter is published electronically Monday through Friday.

To subscribe send an e-mail to:  TCNL-subscribe@googlegroups.com

To unsubscribe send an e-mail to:  TCNL-unsubscribe@googlegroups.com

TCN archives: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/transport-communications

Questions, comments about the TCN?  Please write the editor, Bernie Wagenblast ati95berniew@aol.com.

© 2009 Bernie Wagenblast

Who Rides Transit? – An illuminating illustration by The Infrastructurist

May 26, 2009 at 1:32 pm

(Source: The Infrastructurist)

Our friends at The Infrastructurist compiled the national results from that study and compare them with the demographics of transit systems in three U.S. cities: Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco (well, the Bay Area). The snapshot offers an intriguing insight into which Americans choose not to drive to work.

If FTA can spend a bunch of money on such a compilation for the entire US,  that would greatly benefit many of our professionals engaged in transportation planning & policy research.  An analysis on the issue of social equity and its underpinning to transportation alternatives would be very helpful to say the least as the country’s demographics has undergone a signficiant shift in the past decade or two.

Electric Car Infrastructure Trials: Some Progress, Long Road Ahead

May 26, 2009 at 11:47 am

(Source: earth2tech via Reuters)

Cities have thrown down the gauntlet for electric car charging in recent months, and utilities are increasingly eager to tout infrastructure efforts. Among automakers, the Renault-Nissan Alliance has been out in front working to coordinate governments, utilities and charge station companies to develop regional networks of hardware and services that drivers will need to make the automakers’ upcoming electric cars practical for daily use. But what steps follow a big partnership announcement, after a utility, a vendor or an automaker says it’s done a deal to ready the power grid for an EV rollout?

For at least one of the 26 partners that the Renault-Nissan Alliance has lined up so far — utility San Diego Gas & Electric — the vision for how to support plug-in vehicles at even a pilot scale is just beginning to take shape. In an interview last week, SDG&E’s Clean Transportation manager, Bill Zobel, gave us a glimpse of what the utility has accomplished so far, and what it has in the works.

At this point, Zobel said, the company is still in the process of assembling its internal team for the project. When that group is fully established next month, it will help develop milestones and oversee outreach to customers and “integration across the broader utility.” By September, SDG&E aims to have commitments from fleet operators in the San Diego area to trial at least 100 electric cars coming from Nissan next year. Zobel said the University of California, San Diego is “ecstatic” about the program. The city and county of San Diego, several nearby cities and the U.S. military may also sign up to try the vehicles. SDG&E plans to have at least 15 of the cars in its own fleet.

SDG&E has requested stimulus funds from both the state of California and the federal government (Zobel wouldn’t tell us how much) to help it expand the project more quickly than it might without the funds.   

For the long term, SDG&E is thinking about how to educate EV buyers about “circuitry, wiring and permitting requirements,” and other aspects of EV ownership. Typically when you buy a car now, Zobel said, “there’s instant gratification.” Put your money down, and you have a vehicle that you can refuel at any gas station. Pretty soon, however, the utility, car dealers, the local government and drivers will need to “understand the requirements for an owner walking off the lot with a plug-in car.” When electric cars hit California in the 1990s with GM’s now famously “killed” EV1, that understanding was missing, Zobel said. “We’ll be much more prepared than we were last time.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – May 25, 2009

May 25, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Monday, May 25, 2009
– ISSN 1529-1057

Open Roads’ RTIMIS: A Real-Time System Management Information Program Solution

RTIMIS is a software product from Open Roads Consulting that generates comprehensive real-time transportation information by fusing system information gleaned from existing stakeholder systems.  By collecting data from 911 CAD systems, traffic signal systems, freeway management systems, and others, RTIMIS creates a common operational picture of transportation across a region, a state, or a multi-state corridor.  This common operational picture enables improved incident response, increased responder and traveler safety, enhanced mobility, and represents a cost-effective means of achieving compliance with the requirements stated in section 1201 of the SAFETEA-LU legislation.    Open Roads will be demonstrating RTIMIS at ITS America at booth #840.  For appointments and customized demos, please call 757-546-3401 or email Steve Beckwith at slbeckwith@openroadsconsulting.com.  You can also visit us online at www.openroadsconsulting.com.


1) Can Airport Technology Halt a Pandemic?

Link to story in New Scientist:


2) New Web Program Aims to Reduce Fatigue-Related Aviation Accidents

Link to American Forces Press Service story:



3) New York City Goes Wireless

Wireless network supports transfers of large files, such as fingerprints, maps and full-motion streaming video.

Link to story in Government Computer News:



4) New York City Transit Authority Feeling the Pain from a Crippled Advertising Market

Link to story in The New York Times:


Upcoming Events

Low Cost Airlines World Americas – June 29-July 1 – Coral Gables, Florida


Today in Transportation History

1979 **30th anniversary** – American Airlines Flight 191 crashed on takeoff in Chicago, killing 273 people.  It is deadliest single plane crash on US soil.



The Transportation Communications Newsletter is published electronically Monday through Friday.

To subscribe send an e-mail to:  TCNL-subscribe@googlegroups.com

To unsubscribe send an e-mail to:  TCNL-unsubscribe@googlegroups.com

TCN archives: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/transport-communications

Questions, comments about the TCN?  Please write the editor, Bernie Wagenblast ati95berniew@aol.com.

© 2009 Bernie Wagenblast

States roll out plans for ‘smarter’ roads

May 25, 2009 at 2:02 pm

(Source:  Stateline.org via Planetizen)

States are hoping to use federal stimulus money to add technological advancements to their streets and highways to create “smart” roads.

Not all the highway improvement projects states plan to pay for with federal stimulus money involve widening roads, fixing bridges or repaving highways. Nearly half the states plan to use some of their new funds to pay for high-tech gadgets that will reduce congestion, help the environment and create jobs quickly.

At least 22 states have told the federal government they want to make their roads “smarter” by installing traffic cameras, creating express toll lanes, improving traffic signals and alerting drivers about accidents or delays ahead, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.Such projects are “quick, they can move forward very fast, they create jobs and they’re effective in the short and long term,” said Jaime Rall, an NCSL analyst.States are under the gun to tell the federal government how they plan to use $26.7 billion in federal stimulus money for transportation. They have until June 29 to commit half of that money to specific projects, so states are focusing on projects that can get started quickly.Three-quarters of the money committed by states so far will pave or re-pave roads. Some of the money can go to passenger and freight rail efforts, too.

The Obama administration announced earlier this week that another $1.5 billion in transportation stimulus money can be used for innovative road projects.But included in the mix already are dozens of efforts to use technology to make roads function better. The “smart road” improvements include signals for on-ramps in Colorado, new E-Z Pass toll booths to allow drivers to pay without stopping in Delaware and traffic lights connected to fiber optic cable to reduce bottlenecks in Utah.

Technology improvements, in particular, have a bigger bang for the buck for the economy, the federal government points out, because more of the money goes straight to workers’ salaries. Only 20 percent of material-intense projects such as laying roads or fixing bridges typically goes to payroll, according to a January analysis by the U.S. Department of Transportation. For technology upgrades, about 50 percent goes to paychecks.

One of the biggest projects on the drawing board is a $74 million undertaking to upgrade 72 miles of roadway on the I-95 corridor in and around Philadelphia. The thoroughfare, crucial for the nation’s fifth-largest city, handles 120,000 to 170,000 vehicles a day. Pennsylvania officials hope the three-stage project will help minimize traffic delays and reduce pollution.   Technicians at the King of Prussia hub work around the clock, looking out for accidents and delays. If a car pulls off to the side of the road with a flat tire, for example, technicians can dispatch a tow truck. Meanwhile, the electronic signs will tell drivers about upcoming congestion. The message boards also can alert motorists about construction and suggest alternate routes.
Click here to read the entire article.  Shown below is the NCSL brief on ARRA surface transportation provisions, which makes the case for ITS projects as innovative, cost-effective alternatives for ARRA highway infrastructure and grant funds.

Want to save $1420/year & cut 4620 pounds of emissions? Try Carbuddy.com – Carpooling service helps manage costs while matching carpool partners for your commute

May 25, 2009 at 10:47 am

(Source: Autobloggreen)

With rising gas prices and often limited mass transit options in the United States, car pooling is often an excellent option for many urban commuters. However, finding people to car pool with can be problematic as can sharing costs fairly. The “creepiness” factor has often played against the willingness of many interested commuters to consider this as a viable option, at least until now.

Image Courtesy: Carbuddy

That’s where CarBuddy.com comes into play. When you sign up with CarBuddy, you enter information about your start and end points and whether you prefer to ride, drive or both. CarBuddy matches you up with ride partners that you can select from.

Participants also provide information about the car being driven and CarBuddy calculates fair costs for the trip being taken. The costs are updated weekly and based on more than fuel prices. CarBuddy also factors in wear and tear and depreciation on the car being driven. Based on distance traveled, a cost is calculated for each participant and passengers are charged each week and drivers reimbursed. CarBuddy takes 8 percent off the top of the transaction to pay for its services. Users can cancel at anytime or even switch car pool partners if they want.

The company will also pay for a cab service up to four times a year in the event a passenger gets stranded.

PBS’s “Road to the Future” documentary explores the challenges and possibilities facing American cities

May 25, 2009 at 10:13 am

Blueprint America: Road to the Future, an original documentary part of a PBS multi-platform series on the country’s aging and changing infrastructure, goes to three very different American cities – Denver, New York and Portland, and their surrounding suburbs – to look at each as a microcosm of the challenges and possibilities the country faces as citizens, local and federal officials, and planners struggle to manage a growing America with innovative transportation and sustainable land use policies.

Over the next 40 years, America’s population will grow by more than an estimated 130 million people – most will settle in or near the country’s major population centers. At the same time, an unprecedented multi-billion dollar public works investment has just been made by the federal government to rebuild both the weakened economy and stressed national infrastructure. And, Congress is about to consider a transportation bill that will determine the course of the nation’s highways and transit for years to come.

Host and veteran correspondent Miles O’Brien goes to three very different American cities – Denver, New York and Portland, and their surrounding suburbs – to look at each as a microcosm of the challenges and possibilities the country faces as citizens, local and federal officials, and planners struggle to manage a growing America with innovative transportation and sustainable land use policies.

With roads clogged and congested, gas prices uncertain, smog and pollution creating health problems like asthma, cities that once built infrastructure to serve only automobiles and trucks are now looking to innovative new forms of transportation systems – like trolleys, light rail, pedestrian walkways and bike paths.

Whether it is talking to residents pushing sustainable development in the Bronx, smart growth in Denver, or a journalist in Portland whose beat is bicycling, Blueprint America finds a common theme: America’s love affair with the car may be a thing of the past.

Click here to watch the full documentary.