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Ray Lahood

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Amtrak Projects Record Year, Seattle Residents Protest Transit Cuts, and a Look At the New Fulton Transit Center

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An open skylight at the Fulton Transit Center (Photo by Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Amtrak projects that it will top 30 million passengers for the first time this year, setting a ridership record for the national passenger rail service. (The Hill)

WNYC took a sneak peek at the construction going on at the Fulton Transit Center and got some fantastic pictures.

Fairfax County (VA) might be on board with the Dulles Metrorail compromise plan floated by DOT head Ray LaHood. (WAMU)

If you're planning on bidding on naming rights for a Boston T stop, tomorrow's your deadline. (WBUR)

A whole lot of riders showed up in Seattle to protest transit cuts. (Seattle Times)

The DOT will be testing how drivers react to "connected vehicles"--cars with technology that allows them to communicate with each other, as well as infrastructure nearby. (FastLane)

The Washington Post wrote an editorial on the politics surrounding the displacement of DC's transportation committee chair. "(Residents) should worry about lost momentum on transportation issues and the message that sends to the city’s regional Metro partners."

TN's Andrea Bernstein talks NYC transit on today's Brian Lehrer Show. (WNYC)

One car-free resident of Los Angeles is not getting worked up about carmageddon. (Marketplace)

How to get a count of the number of women using New York City's bike lanes? Stand there with a clicker.  (New York Times)

Manhattan's Community Board 7 hosted a discussion about Central Park's shared bike paths, but didn't take an official position. (DNA Info)

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Transportation Nation

LaHood Wants Police to Issue More Distracted Driving Tickets

Monday, July 11, 2011

U.S. Secretary of Transportation secretary Ray LaHood was in Syracuse, New York, on Monday, touting two pilot programs that have reduced distracted driving through increased police enforcement.

LaHood took the occasion to call for more money for traffic police to replicate the efforts elsewhere.

The pilot programs were meant to determine if increased "high-visibility enforcement" of distracted driving laws would reduce the practice.

At the start of the program last year, Transportation Nation went to Syracuse and rode along with one of the traffic officers. At the time, our reporter observed that not more than six minutes went by without a driver passing while talking or texting on a cell phone.

Under the pilot program, Syracuse stepped up ticketing of distracted driving, even assigning officers to overtime to ticket as many driving texters as they could and using DUI-style check points.  There was a public awareness campaign with snappy slogans like, "a cell phone in one hand, a ticket in the other." Hartford had a similar program.

Both cities issued almost 10,000 tickets during the past year. Hartford saw a 57 percent drop in talking on the phone while driving and a72 percent fall in texting while driving. In Syracuse there was a 33 percent drop overall.

The cities paid for the pilots with a mix of federal and state grants. Each city received $200,000 in federal money and $100,000 in state funds. LaHood took the occasion today to call for more money for this kind of enforcement. He said cash strapped police departments aren't likely to find the money for this kind of project without state and federal help. But the safety benefits are worth it he says.

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, more than 5,000 people were killed, and nearly half a million were injured because of distracted driving in 2009. The overall number of crashes and deaths due to cell phone use while driving has been declining since a peak in 2007.

 

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Transportation Nation

UPDATED: LaHood Proposes Dulles Metrorail Compromise

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Tunnelling under Tysons Corner (photo courtesy of Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority)

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has proposed a compromise to end the bitter feud between the partners building a new subway line out to Dulles Airport in Northern Virginia, a more than $5 billion infrastructure project that's one of the costliest currently under construction in the country. But, as of right now, it's unclear if the partners will agree to it.

For months, disputes over the rising cost of the Dulles Rail project have raged between the two partners. On one side has been the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is in control of operating the Dulles Rail project. It wants to build an underground train station at the airport that could cost more than $330 million dollars more than an above-ground alternative.

On the other side are local elected officials, who are responsible for allocating the money to pay for the project. This bipartisan group of local supervisors, state legislators and members of Congress have expressed outrage at the Airports Authority's choice of a more expensive rail station option, and have demanded they reverse course. The Airports Authority says an above-ground station would be twice as far from the terminal as the underground alternative, thus making the new subway station inconvenient for travelers, and have refused the elected officials' demands.

LaHood has been mediating discussions to get this massive infrastructure project back on track, and this weekend the head of the Federal Transit Administration sent the project stakeholders a proposal (pdf). The compromise would strip several elements of the Dulles Rail project from Airports Authority control and eliminate the underground station from the project. Among other things, these alterations would shave around $1 billion off of the cost the project, according to a letter laying out the details of the compromise that LaHood's office sent to the partners this weekend.

The Board of Supervisors for one of the local jurisdictions in on the project, Virginia's Loudoun County, is meeting this morning and is expected to approve the compromise. The Board of Directors for the Airports Authority has also met this morning, but according to an Authority spokesman, the issue of the LaHood compromise did not come up. As of right now, no Airports Board members have returned our calls.

UPDATE: Airports Authority Board member Mame Reiley, the chair of its Dulles Rail committee, says the Authority is considering the compromise proposal and that "all options are on the table." Also, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors chose to defer a vote on the LaHood compromise to a later day.

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Transportation Nation

US DOT Announces $1.6 Billion for Transit Projects

Monday, June 27, 2011

This just in from the DOT:

To see what's getting funded in your area, click here.

Full press release:

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $1.58 Billion for 27 Major Transit Projects Across America
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $1.58 billion for 27 transit projects nationwide that will improve public transportation access for millions of Americans while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and curbing air pollution.

“Investing in a modern transportation network is a key part of President Obama's strategy to win the future by out-building and out-competing the rest of the world," Secretary LaHood said. “America’s long-term economic success requires investing now in transportation infrastructure capable of moving people and goods more safely, efficiently and quickly than ever before.”

“Our investments in expanding America’s transit networks will not only improve reliable transportation access for communities across the country, they will support construction jobs and economic development,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff.  “And, a more efficient and reliable transit network means new opportunities for Americans to keep more of their paychecks in their wallets and spend less at the gas pump.”

Twenty-seven transit projects across America are on a path to receive funding under the New Starts program, through which Federal Transit Administration (FTA) provides federal support for major capital construction projects such as subways, light rail, streetcars, and bus rapid transit. These projects include:

  • The New Britain-Hartford Busway will provide commuters traveling between New Britain and Hartford a more efficient and cost-effective alternative to the current daily commute on Interstate 84, the region’s most congested highway. The dedicated busway will provide the area’s relatively large transit-dependent population better access to the 81,000 jobs along the route and across the busway’s 11 stations, promote redevelopment opportunities along the 9.4-mile corridor, and provide faster transit access to major activity centers throughout the area. The FTA anticipates an overall federal commitment of $275.3 million to the $572.7 million project.
  • Denver’s 13-station Eagle Commuter Rail project, which will add nearly 23 miles of service to Denver’s transit system connecting downtown Denver and Denver International Airport to the east with numerous communities in between. Ultimately, the FTA projects contributing approximately $1 billion towards the $2 billion project, which is expected to create 5,400 jobs during peak construction. This is one component of FasTracks, a multi-billion dollar, multi-year transit-expansion program that will help Denver support smart, sustainable growth, create jobs, and compete for business for decades to come.
  • The Rapid C Bus Rapid Transit Line will help to relieve traffic congestion in West Seattle, Washington, improve access to downtown Seattle’s 150,000 jobs, and connect the popular Washington State Ferries serving Vashon Island and Southworth among other spots along the corridor. Nearly $21.3 million in discretionary 2011 funds has been budgeted for construction of the $28.4 million project. The C Line, which should be fully operational by the fall of 2012, is expected to create approximately 180 construction, manufacturing, and transportation jobs during the peak construction period.
  • The Central Corridor light rail project will connect Minnesota's two largest cities—Minneapolis and Saint Paul—by light rail for the first time. The FTA recently signed a Full Funding Grant Agreement making a long-term financial commitment to the $957 million light rail line, which will carry 40,000 riders along this busy 11-mile corridor. The project, which includes 18 new stations and 31 new rail cars, is scheduled to open in 2014. In addition to serving the downtown areas of the Twin Cities, the Central Corridor line will provide more efficient access to the University of Minnesota, the Midway area, the State Capitol complex, Target Field and the Metrodome, and many neighborhoods in between.
  • The Austin MetroRapid is a 37.5-mile, 40-stop, bus rapid transit (BRT) system.  The FTA is supporting the local vision with a $24.2 million investment in 2011 towards the nearly $50 million project.  The project, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2013, is the first phase of Capitol Metropolitan Transit Authority’s comprehensive and forward-leaning All Systems Go ten-corridor long-range transit plan.

A complete list of the 27 projects receiving New Starts funding allocations for 2011 can be found here.

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Transportation Nation

Grading Intercity Buses

Monday, June 20, 2011

An intercity bus in New York City's Chinatown (photo by Kate Hinds)

Following a series of deadly intercity bus crashes which have killed 25 people since the start of the year, New York Senator Charles Schumer has proposed an idea that will be familiar to many New Yorkers: letter grades.

In a letter to US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the Senator wrote that his idea was inspired by NYC Department of Health grades that are prominently displayed in New York City's restaurants. "This simple grading system provides customers with the information they need when choosing where to eat and a similar scheme could be used to bring more transparency to the intercity bus industry."

The idea is that the DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (which regulates the tour bus industry) develop a ratings system that assigns letter grades to operators. Companies would then be required to display the information at both the point of purchase, as well as on the bus. "If bus companies have a poor safety record, passengers should know about it before they purchase a ticket," Schumer said in a written statement.

The FMCSA currently maintains an online safety database, but Schumer said it is "difficult to navigate and the rating system is not easy to understand."

In recent weeks the DOT and the FMCSA have been criticized for not moving fast enough to shut down tour bus operators with dozens of safety violations. Last week Anne Ferro, the head of the FMCSA, told Congress that shutting down unsafe bus companies was a cumbersome process and that her agency needed "stronger authority" to better regulate the industry.

LaHood has not yet commented on the Senator's idea. His office says he'll respond to Schumer "directly."

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: NJ Transit Taking Corporate Naming Bids, Metro Detroit Must Integrate Transit -- Or Else, and Rahm Emanuel: Power Bicyclist

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

(robotbrainz/Flickr)

NJ Transit is taking corporate bids for naming its stations, terminals, and trains -- and one bidder is crying foul. (The Star-Ledger)

If regional Detroit can't agree on an integrated rail and bus system, they risk losing millions in federal dollars -- and what may be "our last, best opportunity." (Detroit Free Press)

Mayor Bloomberg floated a new plan to expand taxi service in the outer boroughs by setting up hundreds of stands where livery cabs could legally pick up passengers on the street. (Wall Street Journal)

US DOT head Ray LaHood went to New Orleans for the groundbreaking of their streetcar expansion project. (Fast Lane)

Is texting while driving as dangerous as we think -- and is a ban the right way to prevent it? (The Takeaway)

Delta is scrambling to do damage control after charging a group of U.S. soldiers returning home from deployment in Afghanistan $200 each for extra bags. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

It took two years to plan for parking at the upcoming US Open in Bethesda. (WAMU)

Chicago will get protected bike lanes, and Rahm Emanuel bikes 25 miles on weekends. (Chicago Sun-Times)

97 degrees in Minneapolis = Twin Cities highway damage. (Boing Boing)

A dancing traffic cop has become a sensation in Manila. (BBC News video)

Owning a Harley-Davidson in China is a status symbol for a small slice of the aspirational Chinese consumer. (Marketplace)

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Transportation Nation

Video: Ray Lahood Bikes To Work [UPDATED]

Monday, June 06, 2011

 

Ray LaHood Bikes to Work from Jay Mallin on Vimeo.

[UPDATED to add Video - AG]

The DOT just pointed us toward this video of Transpo Secretary Ray LaHood biking to work. He just oozes Washington, D.C. pride, calling the area "one of the most livable communities in America."

And, in response to an off camera question, he says "everybody has a right to the roadways, and certainly cyclists."

Original post:

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood Bikes To Work (Photo: US DOT)

As promised, U.S. Secretary of Transportation rode a bike to work today. Heres' how he describes it on his blog: "This morning I biked to work with a group of DOT commuters from the Washington Monument to our headquarters building. The route was safe and well-marked; we enjoyed some exercise; and we didn't burn a drop of gas--which saved us some money.

That's what I call a successful commute."

Comments, folks?

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WNYC News

Bus Company in Deadly Crash Still May Be Operating: DOT

Sunday, June 05, 2011

WNYC

The U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered the Sky Express Bus Company to cease and desist after it said the budget bus operator continued to run its business under another name in defiance of a government-ordered shutdown last week.

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Transportation Nation

LaHood to Bike To Work on Monday

Friday, June 03, 2011

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at the 2010 National Bike Summit. Thanks: flickr user bikeportland (cc:by-nc-nd)

From the annals of "better late..."  Even though May was "bike-to-work" month, apparently that happens in June at the DOT.

This in from the US DOT:

"On Monday, June 6, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will bike to work with a group of DOT employees. The route will begin at the Washington Monument, and will end at DOT headquarters. The group will stop briefly at the Capital Bikeshare operations warehouse during the trip.

[U.S. DOT headquarters are a bit set-off, in Washington's S.E.]

"At a time of record high gas prices, the ride will highlight DOT’s commitment to providing Americans with convenient, affordable, and healthy transportation options. Last year, DOT formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities to integrate the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians in federally-funded road projects. Through the TIGER program, DOT funded major projects across the country that allow Americans to safely and conveniently get where they need to go on a bike or on foot. In May 2010, DOT gave its employees a new bicycle commuting benefit that allows bicyclists to receive reimbursement for qualified commuting costs similar to that provided to employees who take public transportation to and from work."

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Transportation Nation

Ray LaHood On Being Called A"Hipster"...His Video, Second Episode

Thursday, June 02, 2011

In his second installment of "On the Go" -- a video question-and-answer session -- US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is in full Your-Uncle-From-Peoria discovers youtube mode.

He went to little Jackie's baseball game, had Aunt Paula's delicious ribs on Memorial Day, and stayed out late waving glow sticks with little Brittney and Paul, Jr. No, just kidding.

He awarded $2 billion in high-speed rail grants, kicked off the "click it or ticket" seatbelt campaign, unveiled new fuel economy labels, and delivered two commencement addresses.

"I even got called a hipster by the Huffington Post," he said, "(and) I didn't know what that meant."

By the way, he really is from Peoria.

You can watch the video below, or go here.

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Transportation Nation

LaHood Said to Reject Federal Loan To Dulles Metrorail Project

Thursday, June 02, 2011

(Washington D.C. - WAMU) US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met yesterday with the partners behind the faltering Dulles Metrorail project, a nearly $6 billion venture to build a new subway line out to Dulles Airport in Northern Virginia. And according to several sources involved in the meeting, LaHood told them that a federal loan they were hoping for isn't likely.

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Transportation Nation

Chrysler Back in the Big Three, No Dulles Metrorail Agreement Yet, & Summer at the Jersey Shore Brings Out the Bike Thieves

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Sky Express Bus Company, involved in a fatal crash this weekend, had the worst record in the country for driver fatigue and falsifying driving records. Listen to the discussion from The Takeaway, below:

A Ray LaHood-mediated meeting yielded no agreement about where to locate the Dulles Metrorail station. (WAMU)

Chrysler is back in the Big Three. (WBEZ)

But: US auto sales slipped in May as supply dropped. (BusinessWeek)

Ah, summer at the Jersey shore: surf, sand, and bike thieves. (Asbury Park Press)

(Bikes On Transit/Flickr)

Atlanta adds -- and deletes -- items on its transportation wish list. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Chicago will end free transit rides for senior citizens on September 1. (Chicago Tribune)

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Transportation Nation

Regulators Put Off Shutting Down Bus Company Involved In Fatal Crash

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Sky Express Bus Company sign at its office in Manhattan's Chinatown. (Photo by: Kathleen Horan/WNYC)

(New York, NY - WNYC) The long distance bus company involved in a fatal crash in Virginia on Tuesday could've been put out of service three days earlier. The company, Sky Express, remained on the road after federal regulators gave it extra time to appeal a poor safety rating.

Over the past two years, the Sky Express Bus Company racked up dozens of safety violations, some for drivers who worked too many hours or used drugs or alcohol on the job.

On April 12, the U.S. Department of Transportation rated the company "unsatisfactory." That was enough to shut it down.

Sky Express appealed its rating to the department. Soon after, DOT issued an "initial denial"--a strong indication that the appeal would be rejected. Sky Express should've been out of options, and out of business, last Saturday--three days before a company driver on his way from Raleigh to New York fell asleep at the wheel and flipped his bus on a highway, killing four people and injuring more than 50 others.

Instead DOT extended Sky Express's appeal by ten days, allowing it carry on with business as usual. On Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he would direct the department to end its practice of extending appeals for operators found to be unsafe.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Capital Bikeshare May Expand to VA, & NJ's ARC Tunnel Bill 225K A Month In Interest Alone

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

DC's Capital Bikeshare may expand to Alexandria. (WAMU)

Downtown Miami may be getting a pedestrian-friendly redesign. (Wall Street Journal)

Ray LaHood  blogs about the new VW plant in Tennessee, and intriguingly incorporates (but doesn't explain) a photo with a mini Darth Vader. (Fast Lane)

(photo from Fast Lane/US DOT)

Plus: the transpo secretary tries one more time today to broker an agreement about the Dulles Metrorail link. (Washington Post)

Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has landed a job with the firm that helped negotiate Chicago's parking meter deal. (NBC Chicago)

NJ is racking up $225,000 a month in interest alone on its ARC tunnel bill as it battles the federal government over repayment. (NJ.com)

Meanwhile, NJ Governor Christie took a state police helicopter to his son's baseball game. (NJ.com)

Will transit-oriented development finally come to New Carrollton, Maryland? (New York Times)

High-speed rail-rejecting Florida governor Rick Scott is becoming "wildly unpopular." (Politico)

The Bay Citizen has updated their bike accident tracker, which now has five years of data. (Bay Citizen)
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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Senate Nixes Offshore Drilling Expansion; LaHood Says HSR Is On Track -- but WaPo Says Not So in California

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oil Rigs near Huntington Beach (Aaron Logan)

The Senate rejected Republican-backed legislation intended to speed up and expand offshore oil and gas drilling. (The Hill)

One card to rule them all: Clipper card users can now refill their cards at BART ticket vending machines. (San Jose Mercury News)

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said plans for high-speed rail systems were moving ahead and that he was confident of their long-term prospects. (Wall Street Journal)

Counterpoint: a Washington Post editorial says that California's high-speed rail is going off the rails.

Pennsylvania's environmental regulator has told natural gas drillers not to dump waste into rivers used for drinking water. (Marketplace)

Internal Affairs will be monitoring NYC's traffic courts for evidence of ticket fixing by police. (New York Times)

Wealthy Chinese are stealthily -- and illegally -- flying helicopters. (NY Times)

Chennai (India) eyes bus rapid transit. (The Hindu)

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

-- The Takeaway wants to know: how are higher gas prices affecting you? (link)

-- Florida lawmakers take on gas price gouging (link)

-- DDOT makes Terry Bellamy official (link)

-- proceedings start in Brooklyn bike lane lawsuit (link)

-- a new report says transit only works if it takes you to work (link)

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Transportation Nation

Digging into the Brookings Report: Transit Only Works if It Takes You To Work

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein and Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) We were swamped last week, and didn't have a chance to dig into the heroic Brookings Institution report "Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metro America."

(The head of Brookings said doing the report meant looking at  "literally billions of daily trips in the United States, 500 gigabytes of data, 100 metropolitan areas, 371 transit agencies, two staff hospitalized").

The top line -- some 70 percent of Americans have access to transit, but only 30 percent can reach their jobs within 90 minutes.   There are several reasons for this, Brookings says, beginning with the fact that  America's transit systems were primarily laid out on the spoke-and-hub model.  Think about New York City.  It's relatively easy to get to your job in Manhattan on the subway  if you live in Park Slope in Brooklyn, Elmhurst, in Queens, or Mott Haven, in the Bronx.  But what if you live in Bushwick and work in Queens, an increasingly common pattern in New York City? (This phenomenon was also documented in a recent Center for an Urban Future report.)

In the Bay Area, you can get to downtown SF more or less easily on BART or the Cal Train, but if you live in Oakland and work in Redwood City across the bay, you're not so lucky -- even where there's express bus it may be so difficult to get from your house to the bus, and then from the bus to your job, that it feels not worth it.

And those are the cities with the good transit systems.  There are other problems, the report says -- more people live and work in the suburbs, which were built only with automobile transport in mind,  and as poverty continues to move out to the suburbs, poor people find themselves increasingly reliant on cars, or on shrinking bus systems.

"You can have lots of transit, and still fail to reach a lot of regional jobs within a reasonable amount of time," writes Alan  Berube, senior fellow and research director of Brookings' Metropolitan Policy Program. "Conversely, you can have modest, unsexy transit and deliver workers from their homes to a majority of regional job centers efficiently."

The report is a sobering bucket of icy water at a time when the rising price of gas is causing people to look for transit options -- at the same time many localities have cut transit entirely because of budget constraints.  And as Monday's Urban Land Institute report showed, budgetary pressure mean more of these cuts are in store.

It also comes as the federal government is expressing an anti-spending mood.

One note on the Brookings methodology -- the institution famously considers metro areas, as defined by the U.S. Census.  So New York includes a number of suburban counties with little transit (Rockland, Orange, parts of NJ, even eastern Pennsylvania).   Ergo New York ranks 13th in connecting people to jobs via transit -- while Honolulu ranks first

The report calls for making job access a key factor in transportation decision making -- as well as integrating land use, housing, and infrastructure decisions. Coinciding with the release of the report, Brookings brought together some key stakeholders -- including  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan -- to discuss these issues. (See the video, below). And you can download a pdf of the full report here.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Amtrak Ridership Continues to Grow, SF Eyes Taxi Rate Hike, and LaHood Attends Emanuel Inauguration

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

City Limits takes a long look at Iris Weinshall, former NYC transportation commissioner, bike lane opponent, and wife of Senator Schumer.

Amtrak posted its biggest April ridership numbers in its history. (AltTransport)

San Francisco may raise taxi cab rates "to heights unseen in any other part of the nation." (AP via Sacramento Bee)

Some scientists are casting doubt on the radiation dose delivered by the TSA's body scanners. (ProPublica)

Ray LaHood attended Rahm Emanuel's inauguration; says Chicago's new mayor is sending a team to DC to talk transportation priorities. (AP via Chicago Tribune)

The Hill reports that the Senate is set to vote today on the Democrats' bill that would cut the tax breaks received by the big five oil companies.

A Manhattan community board gets behind the idea of a car-free Central Park. (DNA Info)

Two towns that protested the effects of the widening of the New Jersey Turnpike have begun spending the millions awarded them for the loss of forested land. (The Times of Trenton)

Ottawa's bike share program begins this week. (Ottawa Citizen)

Pedicabs in New York must now obey motor vehicle law. (Wall Street Journal)

A move is afoot to get London to adopt a cycle map based on the iconic Tube map. (Fast Company)

Simon Parker's London cycle map

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

-- Fernando Ferrer named to NY MTA board (link)

-- baby born on Verrazano Bridge (link)

-- a new report says essential urban infrastructure is disintegrating rapidly (link)


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TN Moving Stories: NJ Gov Christie No Friend to Commuters, and Hydrofracking Leads to Attorney Boom

Monday, May 16, 2011

NJ Governor Christie's approach to transportation has led to higher tolls and more expensive transit.  (NY Times)

Automakers are trying to convince the Chinese to drive electric vehicles -- not an easy sell. "In addition to general suspicions of new technology and logistics of where to plug the cars in, there is also a huge problem with Chinese government oversight and regulation." (NPR)

NY's MTA is testing out buses which apparently have low ceilings and cramped legroom. (NY Post)

The U.S. natural gas boom is paving the way for another kind of all-American boom: litigation. (Marketplace)

The NY Times has a photo essay about old subway cars used as reefs -- a practice which is ending.  (Can't help but note that WNYC had this story a year ago, almost to the day. )

Ray LaHood returned to his alma mater to deliver the commencement address; video below. (FastLane)

According to a Detroit Free Press editorial, transportation in Grand Rapids is one of the reasons why that city is in better shape than Detroit.

British author Robert Penn already owned six bicycles -- but none of them was the perfect one. NPR interviewed him about his quest to build the perfect bike.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you  missed it on Transportation Nation:

-- DC's DOT is losing key staff, and the mayor has yet to appoint a head (link)

-- Boston says 1/3 of transit riders are using transit apps (link)

-- the AAA says 630 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2009 (link)

-- does driving make you fat? Could be. (link)


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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: LAPD Experiments with Electric Bikes, Ray LaHood Wants to Broker Dulles Metrorail Agreement, and Poll Shows Support Stable for NYC Bike Lanes

Friday, May 13, 2011

The LAPD is experimenting with electric bicycles. (Los Angeles Times)

Ray LaHood wants to help resolve differences in the Dulles Airport Metrorail project. (Washington Post)

DC's Metro has given Google Transit access to its data. (Washington Post)

New York City's bike lanes: a new poll says that support for them is stable, even if people think the lanes are unused. (Wall Street Journal)

NJ Senator Robert Menendez talked about oil company tax breaks -- and the senate finance committee hearing on the issue -- on the Brian Lehrer Show. (WNYC/IAFC)

AC Transit will be raising fares, and service cuts may also be coming within a year. (Contra Costa Times)

More on the osprey nest that's foiling DDOT construction from Marketplace.

The New York Post profiles the man who spent his life savings on the Doomsday ads now running in the subway. Bonus fact: he's a former MTA employee.

Who wants to see Estonians simulate bicycle riding on an airport people mover? You do! (video below:)

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

-- light rail could be pushing west in NJ (link)

-- speed in NYC, and you might see skeletons (link)

-- the world's most dangerous roads (link)

-- a new Brookings report came out, ranking access to transit (link)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Floodwaters Threaten Refineries, NYC Cabbies Extradited Over Fare Scheme, and DC Will Pay You To Live Near Work

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mississippi floodwaters are heading south to Louisiana -- home to more than 10% of the nation's oil refining capacity. (Marketplace)

NYC has extradited (from Kansas City and Miami) two former taxi drivers accused of intentionally overcharging passengers by illegally setting their meters to an out-of-town rate. (WNYC)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution profiles Todd Long, the state’s powerful director of planning for transportation. AJC describes him as "an unelected bureaucrat (who) is the initial gatekeeper for the $8 billion referendum that many say will shape metro Atlanta’s future for decades to come."

NJ Transit unveils its first locomotive powered by an engine that can operate on both diesel and electric lines. (NJ Record)

Want to live near your office? Washington, D.C.'s Office of Planning is launching a pilot program to incentivize it. (Good)

The White House says "tough love" saved General Motors (The Hill). Meanwhile, the Big Three are hiring (Detroit Free Press) -- but Toyota's profit slipped 77% (NY Times).

Breaking: Ray LaHood doesn't know the meaning of the word 'hipster.' (The Atlantic )

Cruiser culture in Boise: "They have a blue house, they want a blue bike," says a bike shop owner. (Boise Weekly)

More on New York City's "Don't Be A Jerk" bike behavior campaign in the Wall Street Journal, the NY Post, and Streetsblog.

The NY Post says NYC's bike share program plan will "visit perpetual terror" on New Yorkers.

And bikers: is your morning commute less bumpy? One Brooklyn Bridge rider says it's smooth sailing.

From WNYC's Amy Pearl: "Nothing beats the feel of freshly laid blacktop against my bike tires. It looks like they finally repaved the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge!"

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

--get ready for dueling petro-bills in Congress (link)

--NYC to cyclists: don't be jerks (link)

--Chicago's mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel releases transpo report (link)

--Texas wins $15 million for high-speed rail study (link)

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