Agencies must embrace new design standards to improve safety, according to federal report

The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report addressing the recent increase in deaths and injuries among pedestrians and bicycle users. The report outlined the causes, responses from transportation agencies, and remaining challenges to address the disparity in crash trends between car drivers and those using non-motorized transportation. The report also acknowledges historical road design practices as a major contributor to current safety trends.

Protecting federal taxpayer interest; training a local workforce—L.A. Crenshaw light rail line

Long-standing FTA and USDOT policy prohibits geographic preferences in hiring for construction projects. With a shift in the percentage of funding coming from federal vs. local sources, state and local governments are asking for greater flexibility and room for policy changes that will improve options for local hiring. The tension between local hiring ordinances and federal geographic preference policy is currently playing out on the Crenshaw line in Los Angeles, which is expected to begin construction in 2014.

Two lawsuits seek to rein in transit data patent troll

After suing dozens of transit agencies and hundreds of private companies, patent troll company ArrivalStar could be hitting the wall. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has drastically narrowed the patent owned by the company after the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a formal request to reexamine the patent’s legitimacy. The American Public Transit Association also filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to halt frivolous patent infringement claims against public transit systems throughout the country and claiming that ArrivalStar’s lawsuits are invalid under the 11th Amendment.