While past research has explored the impacts that new, large-scale highway construction projects have on local businesses, a recent study investigated the effects of smaller improvement projects, such as repaving and bridge replacements, and who tends to benefit from such improvements. The study found these types of projects are more common in higher-income neighborhoods, but that local, non-chain businesses were most likely to be negatively impacted by ongoing construction and altered traffic patterns compared to nearby multi-location, chain businesses.
As the federal government significantly invests in vehicle charging infrastructure, states voice their concerns on effectively implementing a consistent and reliable nationwide network while addressing their local needs. Many states are committed to supporting the transition to electric vehicles, but some are looking for more flexibility with funding requirements to coincide with their existing capacity for an effective system.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a more than $850 billion historic investment in support of state and local government work to increase access and safety while redressing inequities across the country. However, a recent article by Brookings contributors Ellory Monks and Shalini Vajjhala points out that the existing structure of federal and state grant application processes may inhibit the fair allocation of the funds.
The goal of investing substantially in public transportation infrastructure and complementary transit oriented development (TOD) is to create positive outcomes for communities, including reducing carbon emissions, increasing access to jobs, and reducing reliance on personal vehicles. Two new studies highlight additional impacts of these investments; transit infrastructure leading to increased levels of physical activity and TOD residents forgoing driving for non-commute trips.
A landscape that was once dominated by taxis and then gave way to mobile ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft (aka transportation network companies, or TNCs), appears to be taking on a new hybrid form as some taxi companies take cues from their modern competitors and even figure out how to partner with them.
The adoption of electric vehicles is growing in the United States, with all-electric vehicle sales increasing by 85% from 2020 to 2021 and plug-in hybrid sales rising 138%. This is a welcome trend for many, but the increased popularity of EVs combined with better fuel efficiency, and a gas tax that hasn’t been raised in thirty years, is posing a major challenge to policy makers; how to make up for lost gas tax revenue, which currently pays for 29% of state highway funds and 84% at the federal level.
A small but growing number of state DOTs are putting planned highway expansion projects on hold as they work to stretch their available funds and assess how to meet ambitious environmental goals. Certain environmental organizations, cities, and equity-focused advocates interested in rebuilding communities damaged by urban freeways are among those pressuring DOTs to change their long-standing practices.
The much-anticipated Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was finally signed by President Biden on Monday, and state DOTs are preparing for what will amount to around 50 percent more transportation spending than originally planned for over the next five years. The act includes an additional $110 billion for roads and bridges, $11 billion for safety, $39 billion for public transit, and $66 billion for freight and passenger rail (a five-fold increase).
Localities can learn from each other to get out of the current bus driver staffing crisis, and also to stop the next such crisis before it gets to this point. But understanding the crisis and how we got here is an important first step. As an example, bus riders in Pennsylvania’s two largest cities are struggling to get where they need to go.
Construction of the Interstate Highway System spawned decades of economic growth in the U.S., but building more of the same will have diminishing returns, according to research outlined recently in the Wall Street Journal and the National Review. If it’s true that “you can’t build the Interstate Highway System twice” and expect the same benefits, then it’s worth understanding the different ways that DOTs are investing and thinking about how they can keep the economy moving.