A picture worthy of a few thousand words – Comparing Obesity Rates in Car-Crazy America and Bike Crazy Netherlands

November 15, 2012 at 6:46 pm

(via Ryan Van Duzer)

Today’s NY TIMES article reports that Netherland is upping the ante with more investment in upgrading its biking infrastructure  –  €120 million, or about $150 million, in
cycling infrastructure over the next eight years, with almost half of that sum be spent in just the next four years.
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Job Alert: Transportation Specialist, GS-2101-13 / 14 – Federal Highway Administration (USDOT) @Washington, DC

November 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm


SALARY RANGE: $89,033.00 to $136,771.00 / Per Year
OPEN PERIOD: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 to Friday, November 23, 2012
SERIES & GRADE: GS-2101-13/14
POSITION INFORMATION: Full Time – – Permanent


DUTY LOCATIONS: 1 vacancy – Washington, DC, USView Map
WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: Open to all U.S. Citizens

 If you are a status employee or VEOA eligible, you may wish to apply under FHWA.HOP-2013-0003

 This position is a Transportation Specialist assigned to the Freight Analysis and Research Team within Office of Freight Management and Operations (HOFM) of the Office of Operations of the Federal Highway Administration(FHWA).  The Office is responsible for analyzing trends and developing policies concerning multimodal freight transportation,

APM Terminals, Portsmouth, VA.

APM Terminals, Portsmouth, VA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Within a team environment, the Transportation Specialist is responsible for providing expertise in data, modeling and analytical techniques for  analyzing  and forecasting freight activity and its economic and environmental consequences, to support FHWA headquarters, FHWA field components, state DOT personnel, and professional staff of Metropolitan Planning Organizations and other stakeholders in establishing a comprehensive program for improving freight operations within the country’s transportation network.supporting freight transportation planning and project development at all levels of government through information and professional development programs, enforcing vehicle size and weight laws, and promoting improvements in freight operations and technology.  Its mission is to provide programs, policies, research, and technology transfer that promote efficient and effective freight flow on the highway system and its intermodal connectors within the United States and across its international borders.

The ideal candidate is a mid-career or senior professional with experience in analyzing freight activity and its economic and environmental consequenses.


As a Transportation Specialist, you will:

  • Provide technical and program support to the FHWA headquarters staff, field components and state personnel, and other partners in private industry and local and regional government, on the utilization of the freight economics and operations data and analytical tools developed by the Office of Freight Management (HOFM).
  • Provide substantive technical guidance and support to HOFM’s analysis and research team on policy and analysis related to economics, international and domestic trade, forecasting methods, the structure and productivity of the transportation industry, public and private financing, use and performance of the transportation system, and transportation planning/project development.
  • Foster close coordination and collaboration with other Department of Transportation (DOT) elements, and other federal agencies that maintain data and analytical tools which aid in the understanding of freight transportation system performance, freight economics, public finance, economic forecasting methods, and the structure and productivity of the transportation industry.
  • Provide expert knowledge and demonstrated expertise of transportation economic analysis and forecasting methods, the economic consequences of transportation and multimodal freight operations at the national, regional, and project levels.
  • Provide expert knowledge and demonstrated expertise in transportation and freight system performance measurement, management and analysis used by public and private sector, with advanced knowledge of data sets, analytical techniques and visualization.
  • Provide technical and program support to the FHWA headquarters staff, field components and state personnel, and other partners in private industry and local and regional government, on the utilization of the freight economics and operations data and analytical tools developed by HOFM.

Click here to learn more and to apply.

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Dancers Among Us… The poetic feel to life (and the transportation connections)

November 9, 2012 at 11:50 am

Someone posted a series of these pics on Reddit and I’m sharing the two below because they had a transportation connection..Just beautiful! Life captured in motion is quite poetic! Also check out more photos from this series posted on My Modern Metropolis

And here is a video posted on the source website (Dancersamongus)..

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Vision 2012 Video Explores The Technology Behind Driverless cars

November 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm

See on Scoop.itTransportation Today

Vision 2012 Video Daily News Day 3…ITS International’s DailyNews Live Video team find out about the future prospects and trends for machine vision applications in the ITS industry. They look at how different cameras work together to support the driverless car of the future; explore how the market is split on cost v flexibility and also give us a peek at cameras on Mars

See on www.youtube.com

Dutch Kids Pedal Their Own Bus To School

November 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm

See on Scoop.itTransportation Today

So, the adults have a beer bike but what do the kids have? They got the bike bus to school!

The Dutch are bicycle fanatics. Almost half of daily travel in the Netherlands is by bicycle, while the country’s bike fleet comfortably outnumbers its 16 million people.

Built by Tolkamp Metaalspecials, and sold by the De Cafe Racer company, the bicycle school bus (BCO in Dutch) is powered entirely by children and the one adult driver (although there is an electric motor for tough hills). Its simple design has eight sets of pedals for the kids (ages 4 to 12), a driver seat for the adult, and three bench seats for freeloaders. The top speed is about 10 miles per hour, and features a sound system and canvas awning to ward off rainy days.

See on www.fastcoexist.com

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NPR reviews South Africa’s High Speed Rail – $3B in costs; Cuts travel time between Joburg and Pretoria; and squeaky clean

November 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm

via NPR 

Heard this nice review of the “fastest train in whole of Africa” on NPR.

Submission for Transportation Research Board Special Session – Present your research in 20 slides w/ 20 secs each

November 6, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Heading to Washington, DC for the 2013 TRB Annual Meeting? Read this ASAP.

The Cities and Transportation program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in partnership with CIVITAS, a program of the European Union on sustainable urban mobility, solicits proposals for short form presentations on innovations in sustainable urban mobility. Innovations can span topics as broad as, “how I stimulated innovation in city government” to something more specific such as “how I integrated payment systems when there are multiple transit operators.”


Presentations will follow the Ignite or pecha kucha format of 20 slides of 20 seconds each. Presentations are timed so there is no wriggle room. The purpose of the format is to challenge speakers to distill their ideas to the most salient points and to tell a good story. Sample presentations on general topics can be found here: http://igniteshow.com/ or http://www.pecha-kucha.org/presentations/. Sample presentations on innovations in urban mobility can be found here: http://www.civitas.eu/index.php?id=186.

Interested applicants should fill out the fields shown here. Submission deadline is November 12, 2012 and selected presenters will be announced informed by e-mail on November 15. Final presenters will be listed in the TRB Annual Meeting program.

If you have any questions, please contact Shin-pei Tsay at stsay@ceip.org.


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Job Alert: Coordinator, Statewide Mobility Management Programs – Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation

November 6, 2012 at 4:19 pm

via YPT Boston

[clip id=”LQVtaDSXh1bUQt6cJcy4HJwS_MjI2Ikf-p5e” width=”792″ height=”1899″ scale=”disabled”]

A Planet’s Changing Facade Captured on Camera – Stunning images show rapidly melting Arctic

November 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm

via Popular Mechanics

How do you capture on tape history as it unfolds in remote wilderness of a desolate icy desert?  The video below shows the extent people will go to document this once in a lifetime opportunity.  It has a lot of breathtaking, amazing shots of melting polar ice and the people who caught all that one camera. In two words: Stunningly beautiful. BTW, all climate-change deniers will now shut up and watch this in awe. This is not some magic that happens every few thousand years or so..This is a changing planet that is giving away signs that are more and more ominous..

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Guest Post: Elections 2012: Vote NO on Virginia Question 1 tomorrow – Bad for Infrastructure and Bad for Communities

November 5, 2012 at 11:19 am
English: The state seal of Virginia. Српски / ...

English: The state seal of Virginia. Српски / Srpski: Застава америчке савезне државе Вирџиније. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a guest post by Michael Rodriguez, a friend and business colleague, on one of the most pressing questions facing Virginia’s voters tomorrow in the 2012 elections.  A quick bio of  the author: Mike is a Transportation planning/economics consultant. Identifies himself as a Tech junkie.  Apple enthusiast. Marlins fan. Badger fan. Nintendo fanboy. Overall transportation geek. Mike is also actively engaged in Twitter (@TranspoPlanner) and you can learn more about him here

On Election Day, Virginians will encounter a statewide ballot measure,Question 1, that would amend the Virginia Constitution by limiting the government’s ability to exercise eminent domain – limitations that would hinder critical projects such as Metro Rail expansion, the new 495 Express Lanes, and many worthy economic development projects. The true implications of this amendment are an unnecessary restriction on public projects, a narrow definition of eminent domain powers leading to greater costs, and other negative unintended consequences.Virginia Question 1: Bad for Infrastructure and Bad for Communities

Eminent domain, the government’s power to acquire private property for public use, is central to state and local government’s ability to build infrastructure and facilities – things like roads, water lines, parks, schools, and police precincts. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New London also upheld a practice that local governments had been engaged in for quite some time, namely, acquiring land and transferring it to a private developer when undergoing economic redevelopment. However, the Court also left states with the power to restrict this practice.

Since Kelo, a concerted, partisan response in many states has sought to severely limit the government’s power to conduct its business through eminent domain and undermine urban and regional planning in general. Question 1 is Virginia’s version of this partisan effort. While framed as a “property rights” issue, make no mistake that this amendment goes too far and tries to slip in significant roadblocks to all public projects that use eminent domain.

Question 1 is unnecessary to prevent the type of eminent domain use in Kelo because Virginia has already enacted laws to address this. Despite these statutes, the proponents behind Question 1 seek to go beyond what is already on the books. In the process, they are willing to open up Pandora’s Box of problems that they have failed to address. These problems are why the Virginia Municipal League, Virginia Association of Counties, and mayors across Virginia strongly believe Question 1 is a setback for building needed infrastructure and the ability to create strong and vibrant communities.

One problem is that Question 1 would hinder innovative projects in transportation, among other areas, by limiting eminent domain in any setting that would be “for profit.” Immediately, this language would obstruct and likely stop any toll road, port redevelopment, or other project that uses “public-private partnerships” – where the government and private sector collaborate. These types of projects have traditionally had bi-partisan support in Virginia and nationwide, including support from Governor McDonnell. Nonetheless, Question 1 would prevent such projects.

What this means for Virginians is that projects like the 495 Express Lanes would be challenged, since these projects involve the government and private sector collaborating over toll revenues. Projects like Metro Rail’s Silver Line expansion to Dulles Airport would be thwarted, since they are partly financed through those tolls. In short, Question 1 unnecessarily interferes in government’s ability to collaborate with the private sector to innovate and improve our transportation and public facilities.

Another concern is that Question 1 also requires the government to compensate property owners not only for their property’s value, but also for “lost profits.” For example, farmers would not only be compensated for their land at market value, but also for profits they may (or may not) experience in the future from sales of their produce. While a noble goal,there is a fundamental math problem with this logic. The future profits of a piece of real estate, like a farm or factory, are already incorporated into its market value – economists call it “capitalized value.” This is why a high yielding farm sells for more than a low yielding farm, all other things being equal.

The existing norm of compensating at market value already addresses these potential profits; so requiring additional compensation is economic double counting. Furthermore, profits are speculative, and the overall effect is to limit public projects by increasing costs, encouraging frivolous litigation, enriching trial attorneys, and enabling an unelected board to guess at compensation levels. In the end, we all pay for this when the cost of building public infrastructure increases drastically.

There are a host of other unintended consequences, but the bottom line is that Question 1 goes beyond simply protecting private property rights. It would nearly kill, or at least severely inhibit, public-private partnerships to build infrastructure, thus requiring more government bonds and debt to build. It would also increase the cost that we Virginians pay for our roads and other infrastructure. Do not be fooled. A vote in favor of Question 1 might be a great deal for trial lawyers, but it’s a bad deal for Virginia’s infrastructure and the future of our communities.

Note:  All opinion expressed are the author’s.  This blog serves as a platform to echo the voices of the community.  Feel free to share and register your thoughts below.  Also, you are welcome to submit articles on transportation issues for publishing on this site.

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