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.

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.

Leaner and Greener: Sustainability at Work in Transportation (Center for Environmental Excellence and AASHTO, 2012)

The third in a series by AASHTO on environmental stewardship and expedited project delivery, this report showcases the efforts transportation agencies—including DOTs, MPOs, and transit providers—are undertaking to speed up project delivery and cut costs while protecting and even improving environmental resources.

Bike share programs’ support of transit constrained by FTA funding rules

New bike share programs offer another opportunity to provide better access to public transit, bridging the important “last mile” between trip origins and destinations. In the U.S., however, Federal Transit Administration funding for the installation of bike-sharing stations adjacent to transit services has stalled, in part due to funding eligibility rules. Currently, FTA funds may pay for planning and construction of the bike share station itself, but not the purchase of actual bicycles. Bicycles can be purchased using FHWA funding, however. FTA and USDOT officials have acknowledged the need to change eligibility rules to embrace the rapidly growing demand for bike share, but as yet no changes have been made.

From FHWA, a template

Recognizing the need for more attention to freight in the planning process, FHWA has developed a Statewide Freight Plan Template to help states include freight in their planning: “Today, one of the biggest challenges facing …