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TN MOVING STORIES: Virginia Closer to Tolling I-95, BART Wants To Ban Repeat Offenders, and Happy Birthday, Capital Bikeshare

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top stories on TN:

A new study says more pedestrians are hit by bicyclists than previously thought. (Link)

NYC reduced its carbon emissions in 2010. (Link)

Goodbye parking meter, hello Muni-Meter. (Link)

Police in a BART station during a protest (photo by Ryan Anderson via Flickr)

California lawmakers passed a bill that would give BART the authority to ban those who repeatedly break the law -- fare cheats, vandals or possibly protesters disrupting train service -- from entering its stations. (Contra Costa Times)

The Federal Highway Administration has given preliminary approval for Virginia to impose tolls on Interstate 95 to help fund transportation projects. (WAMU)

General Motors will help China develop electric vehicles -- but it wants to buy back majority control of a joint China - GM company. (Marketplace)

New York's East River bridges now have pedestrian safety managers to keep bikers and pedestrians in line -- and in their lane. (NY Daily News)

DC's Capital Bikeshare turns one today. (AP via WTOP)

The TSA fired 30 employees at Honolulu's airport for improperly screening luggage. (The Hill)

Chrysler and the UAW are close to a deal on a four-year labor contract. (Wall Street Journal)

Another aspect of the Port Authority of NY/NJ's bridge and tunnel toll hike: "peak" hours were extended. (The Star-Ledger)

Fast Company published a list of five transit technologies for a low-carbon economy.

 

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Transportation Nation

NYC DOT Says New Sensor System Will Help Move Midtown Traffic

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg and NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration Victor Mendez unveil Midtown Moving at the city's Traffic Control Center in Queens. (Photo by Jim O'Grady)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Midtown traffic jams can now be eased with the touch of a button. That's what New York City officials promised as they introduced new traffic cameras, E-Z Pass readers and microwave motion sensors to 23 Manhattan intersections.

Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan unveiled the new system at the city's Traffic Control Center in Queens, where information gathered by the sensors is wirelessly transmitted. Mayor Bloomberg explained that traffic engineers can use it to spot congestion choke points and then: "They can sit there and touch buttons to turn a light green quicker, leave it on green quicker, leave it off green quicker, whatever the case may be."

The system is called Midtown in Motion. It covers about 110 square blocks, from Second to Sixth Avenues and from 42nd to 57th streets. The area is equally famous as a global business center and a grid that acts on weekdays like a glue trap for traffic.  Sadik-Khan even cracked that to reach certain locations in Midtown during rush hour "you have to be born there."

Mayor Bloomberg said chronic traffic congestion costs the city's economy $13 billion a year for things like extra time needed to make deliveries.

That's a problem the Mayor previously tried to solve through congestion pricing, which was supposed to reduce the number of vehicles on the streets and ease traffic jams by assessing motorists a fee for entering parts of Manhattan during peak times.  But the program failed to gain support in New York State's legislature.  "Who knows whether the legislature is ever going to approve congestion pricing," Mayor Bloomberg said today, before noting that the traffic flow system that just went online could be used for congestion pricing, should its political fortunes reverse.

He said the new technology will give engineers the ability to respond quickly to "crashes, construction, special events like the UN General Assembly and times when congestion saturates the network, causing backups that block cross streets and crosswalks." Previously, traffic signals only could be set to preset signal patterns based on the time of day.

The program also involves the installation of new turn lanes at 53 intersections. Mayor Bloomberg said if Midtown in Motion is successful, the system will be spread by 2013 to the rest of New York's 12,500 signalized intersections, half of which are already digitized and integrated with the traffic management center.

The real-time traffic flow information will also be made available to motorists and to app developers for use on mobile devices. The project cost $1.6 million, with $600,000 coming from the Federal Highway Administration.

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