FHWA report details impact of occupancy exemptions on managed lanes

States with high-occupancy vehicle lanes or high-occupancy toll lanes may also allow certain categories of vehicles to use the lanes without having the required number of occupants. However states are required to show that allowing these vehicles does not degrade the speed and efficiency of the managed lanes. A new report from FHWA shows the impact of these exemptions on managed lane performance.

Right-size parking calculator showcased at TRB annual meeting

How much parking is just the right amount? Developers and policymakers have mulled over this question for decades. King County Metro in Washington state has taken a big step toward better understanding this variability through a study conducted with the Center for Neighborhood Technology, which they presented at a session focused on parking impacts at this year’s annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, DC.

Connecticut DOT earns national recognition for roundabout conversion

Rotaries—or large, high-speed traffic circles—are common in Northeastern states and are scattered throughout the U.S. In light of their poor performance and safety record, however, some transportation agencies are ditching rotaries in favor of smaller modern roundabouts. The Connecticut DOT chose several sites to test these conversions, and FHWA recognized one of those projects for its improved safety success.

State DOTs and MPOs develop adaptive strategies with help of climate change pilot program grants

Recent severe weather events have levied significant damage on transportation systems in states across the country. Many states, particularly those recently affected, are paying attention to the climate-related vulnerabilities in their transportation systems. Some are using grant money from FHWA to complete analysis on how to respond to the changes and how to build a more resilient system.

FHWA to study safety and design of cycle tracks

At the March AASHTO meeting, U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood urged the attendees to update their guidance for bicycle facilities such as cycle tracks, also known as protected or separated bike lanes. Last week FHWA issued a task order proposal request to study the safety of cycle tracks and issue recommendations on their design and implementation.

Ohio city may lose federal road funding over refusal to install bus stops

Beavercreek, OH, could lose $10.7 million in federal transportation funding for roads because of its refusal to install bus stops requested by the RTA near a large mall. FHWA gave the city 90 days to take steps to comply with their request that the city approve a stop application process that did not violate federal discrimination guidelines.

A Distance-Based Method to Estimate Annual Pedestrian and Bicyclist Exposure in an Urban Environment (FHWA, 2013)

This report describes a methodology for measuring pedestrian and bicyclist exposure based on counts of pedestrian and bicyclist volumes as well as the distances that pedestrians and bicyclists travel on facilities shared with motor vehicles. The distances that pedestrians and bicyclists travel on these facilities represent a measure of their exposure to the risk of having a crash with a motor vehicle.

Red light cameras still popular with municipalities, but not drivers

Almost half the states allow red light cameras, and municipalities are increasingly installing them at intersections as tools to increase public safety. Despite public pushback concerning the cameras, and some hiccups with implementation, this technology should stay in place where it is established and be installed at problem intersections whenever possible. The clear improvements in safety and traffic operations provide a benefit to the public and the best argument for accepting the utility of red light cameras.

Per capita VMT ticks down for eighth straight year

Per capita vehicle-miles traveled in the United States dropped by 0.4 percent in 2012, according to the FHWA’s travel trends data released Friday. As previously noted, fuel prices seem to have little relationship with VMT, and the trend toward lower levels of driving has persisted through economic prosperity, recession and recovery. The numbers suggest that, with a stable total VMT, we will still rely on highways for a long time. However, capacity projects based on increasing VMT may be good places for cash-strapped DOTs to look for savings.

Does the travel-time index really reflect performance?

Last week’s release of the Texas A&M Urban Mobility Report, with its charts and lists, prompted the usual flurry of media coverage. However, the travel-time index, a staple of the UMR, may not adequately reflect the performance of a transportation system. If the index becomes an official performance measure under MAP-21, optimizing system performance could become harder for DOTs.