Work remains: Reducing bus travel times to increase ridership

Fixed-route buses are the most common form of public transit in the United States; however, bus ridership has been falling in recent years after enjoying a surge in the early- to mid-2000s. Efficiency in all aspects of the transit network is important if transportation agencies want to encourage increased transit use. New York City is trying to improve the efficiency of its bus service by implementing transit signal priority.

Mobile apps gaining ground in trucking

Rapid growth in the use of mobile apps is changing the trucking business and could bring congestion reduction benefits as well as efficiency gains. The way truckers with empty trailers find available loads has come a long way from notes on truck stop bulletin boards. The flexibility brought by these applications also provides a backup when scheduled movements are disrupted.

Growing a Culture of Transportation Sustainability in Massachusetts (McCahill, Ebeling and Codd, 2014)

MassDOT is among a growing number of state agencies tackling sustainability efforts in the transportaiton section and its approach offers valuable lessons for others. number of state agencies tackling this issue and its approach offers valuable lessons for others. This paper traces the evolution of MassDOT’s sustainability efforts, beginning with its revised Project Development and Design Guide, published in 2006, and ultimately encapsulated in its ongoing GreenDOT program, launched in 2010. These efforts represent the combined actions of state legislators, agency leaders, and personnel at all levels of MassDOT.

Indiana DOT testing signs to help drivers avoid red lights

Indiana DOT is beginning to test dynamic message signs that tell drivers how fast to go to avoid hitting a red light. According to INDOT spokesperson Harry Maginity, the signs are currently located only along State Road 37 in Morgan County, starting about 2 miles ahead of the intersection with State Road 144. If they prove effective, INDOT will likely deploy them in other locations.

WSDOT accountability report replaces congestion with corridor capacity

Washington State Department of Transportation has been rightfully proud of their accountability and transparency with their quarterly Gray Notebook, which details system performance and project delivery. As part of that, they have issued an Annual Congestion Report. But the 2013 report has a new name and a new emphasis. Instead of highlighting congestion, the 2013 Corridor Capacity Report focuses on capacity across all modes. Rather than measuring just motor vehicle throughput, it turns its attention to moving people, regardless of mode.

Reimagining a legacy transit system: Lessons from Wilmington, Delaware (SSTI and DelDOT, 2013)

At the request of the Delaware Department of Transportation, SSTI provided an independent review of transit services and transit routes in Wilmington, Delaware and was asked to made recommendations for improvements. This study lays out recommendations for system operations and infrastructure improvements, and points out directions that can help position DART to function as an integral part of the city’s and region’s transportation system.

Population growth in San Francisco creates challenges for transit

A recent long-term transit strategy proposal by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) Director Ed Reiskin aims to cut travel times on some bus and light rail routes in half. However, this is far from the first time an idea like this has been proposed and many of the previous efforts involved controversial measures that would reduce the number of transit stops.

Delivering on the Promise: Improving the Performance of Massachusetts Transportation Agencies (SSTI and Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation, 2013)

SSTI performed a program review of MassDOT’s three-year-old reorganization and consolidation to document efficiencies and better outcomes achieved, as well as continuing challenges and opportunities for improvement.

The Innovative DOT: A Handbook of Policy and Practice (SSTI & SGA, 2012)

State officials across the country are facing the same challenges. Revenues are falling and budgets are shrinking while transportation demands grow. Most state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have ambitious goals: improve safety, reduce congestion, enhance economic opportunity, improve reliability, preserve system assets, accelerate project delivery, and help to create healthier, more livable neighborhoods, just to name a few.
The handbook provides 31 recommendations transportation officials can use as they position their agencies for success in the new economy. The handbook documents many of the innovative approaches state leaders are using to make systems more efficient, government more effective and constituents better satisfied.

ACEEE finds U.S. ranks last in energy efficiency in transportation

A new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy finds that, among 12 major world economies analyzed for the report, the U.S. ranks dead last in the energy efficiency of its transportation sector. Improving transportation’s energy efficiency hinges on supporting multiple modes of transportation and can be accomplished by dramatically improving the accessibility of other transportation modes such as rail, carpooling, bus, biking, and walking. Without adoption of new policies and standards, the U.S. transportation system will continue drag on the economy, wasting energy and limiting opportunities for economic development. The ACEE graph below shows how the U.S. transportation sector energy consumption far outstrips that of the other countries evaluated as part of the study.