Category Archives: Transportation

APWA Identifies $15B in “Shovel-ready” Projects

Source: American Public Works Association, December 2008

A survey by the American Public Works Association identified more than 3,600 unfunded local public works infrastructure projects totaling more than $15 billion that are ready to go within 90 days to provide a stimulative effect on the economy if funded by a federal economic recovery package under consideration by Congress. Funding these projects, just a sample of the identified local need, would generate approximately 532,794 jobs.

Voters Not Afraid To Raise Taxes For Transportation Funding

Source: American City and County, November 6, 2008

Voters in 17 states approved ballot measures that called for higher taxes to fund state and local transportation projects, according to the Washington-based American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).The approved measures would generate a total of $71 billion in new revenue for transportation infrastructure work.

Effects of TOD on Housing, Parking, and Travel

Source: G. B. Arrington and Robert Cervero, Transportation Research Board, Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), Report 128, October 2, 2008

From the abstract:
Effects of TOD on Housing, Parking, and Travel explores the demographics of transit-oriented development (TOD) residents and employers, and their motives for locating in TODs. The report also examines the travel characteristics of residence before and after moving to a TOD and ways to increase transit ridership among these residents. In addition, the report reviews the potential effect of land-use and design features on travel patterns, transit ridership, and the decision to locate in a TOD.

Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation

Source: Transportation Research Board, Special Report 290, 2008

From the abstract:
The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation explores the consequences of climate change for U.S. transportation infrastructure and operations. The report provides an overview of the scientific consensus on the current and future climate changes of particular relevance to U.S. transportation, including the limits of present scientific understanding as to their precise timing, magnitude, and geographic location; identifies potential impacts on U.S. transportation and adaptation options; and offers recommendations for both research and actions that can be taken to prepare for climate change. The report also summarizes previous work on strategies for reducing transportation-related emissions of carbon dioxide–the primary greenhouse gas–that contribute to climate change. Five commissioned papers used by the committee to help develop the report, a summary of the report, and a National Academies press release associated with the report are available online.
A summary of the report, as published in the May-June 2008 issue of TR News, is also available online.

ASBC Releases School Bus Stats, Fuel Calculator

Source: School Bus Fleet, October 2, 2008

As a result of the 480,000 school buses currently in operation in the U.S., more than 2.3 billion gallons of fuel are spared each year, resulting in a net savings of more than $8 billion in fuel costs, according to new statistics released by the American School Bus Council (ASBC).
Among the other statistics released by the ASBC:
• 17.3 million: Total number of private vehicles that would be needed to transport students currently riding on all school buses.
• 822 million gallons per year: Total fuel used by school buses.
• $3.4 billion per year: Total cost of fuel used by school buses.
• $131 per year: Cost of fuel per child transported by school bus.
• 3.1 billion gallons per year: Total fuel for cars replaced by buses
• $11.4 billion per year: Cost of fuel for cars replaced by school buses
• 62.4 billion: Total annual car mileage saved by students riding school buses.
• 346.6 million: Total daily car mileage saved by students riding school buses.
• 36: Average number of cars needed to transport students currently riding one school bus.
See also:
National School Bus Fuel Data
Fuel Calculator
Statement of the American School Bus Council Regarding Impact of High Fuel Prices on School Districts Across the Country

Demographic Trends Affecting Transportation in the U.S.

Source: Robert Puentes, Brooking Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program, Women’s Transportation Policy Seminar, September 11, 2008

From the summary:
In this PowerPoint presentation Robert Puentes provides a deeper understanding of trends that are impacting metropolitan America and how those trends may impact the transportation demand and service in the coming decades. The presentation stresses several key points including dramatic changes in household formation, the increasing diversity reflected in both cities and suburban areas, and the key spatial effects on the American landscape.

Putting America’s Transportation System on Track

Source: Paul Weinstein Jr., Progressive Policy Institute, September 2008

While the laws of supply and demand will undoubtedly correct some of the problems the airline industry faces, the future for air travelers is not so bright. Most economists agree that airline mergers (such as the recently announced Delta-Northwest agreement), fewer flights, and more fuel-efficient planes will eventually help put the industry on stronger financial ground. Unfortunately, these very measures will also mean higher prices, less choice, and fewer amenities for passengers.

In the short term, passengers have two choices: fly less, or pay more for an inferior service. But if the United States is serious about fixing the air-travel mess — not to mention congestion on our roadways — there is a real, long-term solution: high-speed rail (HSR).

For years, efforts to pass legislation that would make a significant investment in high-speed rail have been halted by a number of factors: the current administration’s ideological opposition to government investments in infrastructure; the return of deficits; the lack of a direct source of funding; the hostility of the airline industry; and a wasteful and distracting debate over the future of Amtrak.

With the airline industry cutting routes and raising fares, the cost of a gallon of gas racing past $4, and the unemployment rate rising, the time for a major investment in high-speed rail may finally be here.

In this policy brief, the Progressive Policy Institute provides the economic, environmental, and transportation arguments for HSR. In addition, we propose a plan that will:

• Target investment where demand is — regional and commuter rail;
• Build five new regional high-speed rail corridors; and
• Establish a Rail Trust Fund and identify deficit-neutral sources of direct funding.

Bridge To The Future

Source: American City and County, Vol. 123 no. 9, September 2008

New construction techniques and materials shore up the nation’s broken infrastructure.
Representatives from the Washington-based National Association of County Engineers (NACE) testified before Congress in September 2007 that 25 percent of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The cost to repair or modernize the country’s bridges is $140 billion, assuming all bridges are fixed immediately, according to a July 2008 report issued by the Washington-based American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The report cites several factors that affect the cost to fix the bridge system, including age, deterioration, congestion, and soaring construction costs — including the price of steel, asphalt, concrete and earthwork, which, over the past four years, has risen 50 percent and is especially aggravated by the high cost of oil. In addition, as a result of the 2007 collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, engineers are increasingly concerned with the need for preventive maintenance. Increasing traffic and loads are pushing officials to consider costly new bridges that force difficult resource allocation decisions.

Changing Lanes: Addressing America’s Congestion Problems Through Road User Pricing

Source: William Eggers, Deloitte LLP, September 2008

Traffic is overwhelming a growing number of America’s cities. From Los Angeles to Chicago to Miami, Americans spend hours each week caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Urban residents and commuters are confronted with the challenges that jammed roadways cause on a daily basis. The Urban Mobility Report estimated that in the United States in 2007, congestion caused 4.2 billion hours of travel delay and 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel, for a total cost of $78.2 billion.

At the same time, governments facing increasing demands and reduced budgets may consider creating a market in which people are charged for their use of a given roadway to help raise additional funds for transportation projects. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that about 18 percent of the more than 912,000 miles of America’s roads and highways are in poor or mediocre condition, and about 27 percent of the nearly 594,000 U.S. bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

How can America’s cities and states reduce congestion, raise necessary funds for infrastructure improvements and reduce the environmental impact of congested roads? A new study from Deloitte highlights the benefits of road user pricing to reduce gridlock and raise significant revenues in the process.
See also:
– Press Release: Deloitte Study Recommends a Better Approach to Dealing with Congested Roadways in the United States
– Research: Closing America’s Infrastructure Gap: The Role of Public-Private Partnerships
– Podcast: Bridging the Gap: How Private Investment Can Reduce the Infrastructure Deficit
– Resources: Serving the Public Sector: Transportation
– Resources: Private Investment in Public Infrastructure
– Overview: U.S. State Government

Eighty Five Percent of Public Transit Systems Experience Capacity Problems as Ridership Surges

Source: American Public Transportation Association, 2008

From the press release:
With ridership on public transportation surging and high fuel prices severely impacting public transportation systems’ budgets across the nation, 85 percent of public transit systems report capacity problems, according to a new nationwide survey of transit systems released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

The survey, titled Rising Fuel Costs: Impacts on Transit Ridership and Agency Operations, reveals that of the public transit systems that report capacity problems, six out of ten (63 percent) are experiencing capacity problems during the peak period. According to the survey, almost all agencies responding (91 percent) report they are facing limitations in their ability to add service to meet increased ridership demands. The survey reveals the most common limitation is budgetary, with 65 percent reporting insufficient revenue to operate additional service. More than half of all agencies reported declining or stable local and state financial assistance over the last year, due to the economic downturn.

Additionally, survey results indicate that due to the high cost of fuel, more than 60 percent of the public transportation systems responding to the survey said they are considering fare increases and 35 percent are considering service cuts, some for the second time in less than a year.