Portland guide to streamline protected bicycle lane design

In the United States, bicycling mode share hovers in the single-digits, while many European countries enjoy double-digit cycling mode share. The difference may be due to the attention European planners and engineers pay to cycling infrastructure. In Portland, OR, a recently-previewed bicycle lane design guide will become the go-to resource for Portland’s planners and traffic engineers when designing protected bike lanes.

FHWA issues new guidance on pedestrian crossings

Despite many DOTs’ attention to complete streets, pedestrian fatalities are spiking nationwide. One problem is that, even with good sidewalks, in many places controlled crossings are widely spaced, and uncontrolled crossings can be quite dangerous. FHWA’s Every Day Counts program has attacked this problem, last month releasing a clear and concise guide to improving midblock and other uncontrolled crossings. The guide lays out a systematic process for identifying and addressing hazards using several countermeasures.

Measuring bike traffic increases after infrastructure installation

A recently released report from the City of St. Paul, MN, noted a jump in observed bicycle use after installation of bike lanes. This observation suggests that upgrading or adding infrastructure for bikes has a positive impact on attracting new riders. Other cities have similarly found that mode split and overall bicycle use numbers collected before and after infrastructure investments show important changes to both the safety of the corridor and willingness to use the street for active transportation.

Sharing the road: How separated bikeways are setting the standard for safety

In order to encourage bicycling, cities have been constructing new infrastructure that physically separates cyclists from motor vehicle traffic. Without these facilities, increasing the number of people who bike for transportation may be difficult. However, when trying to build safe bike facilities, many cities are challenged by high-speed arterials cutting through downtowns. These arterials are prime locations for protected bike lanes and may also be state highways. This provides an exciting opportunity for states to work with cities to improve multimodal opportunities on state-owned roads that travel through dense urban areas.

Building the infrastructure for zero emissions and alternative fuel vehicles

A variety of electric and alternative fuel vehicles are increasingly available to consumers, which should be good news for efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, adoption of these new, cleaner technologies is hampered by inadequate infrastructure needed to support fueling of these vehicles. Recognizing this challenge, the FAST Act directs the Secretary of Transportation to designate alternative fueling corridors for EV and alternative fuel vehicles.

Building Resilient States: A Framework for Agencies (Smart Growth America and Governors’ Institute on Community Design, 2015)

Where and how communities grow and build homes, transportation, and other infrastructure is likely not at the forefront of most disaster preparedness agencies’ agenda. Yet a community’s decisions about land use and transportation have significant impacts on how resilient it can be in the face of disasters. This document is intended to introduce and integrate land use and transportation issues into states’ conversations about resilience. Disaster preparedness professionals can use it to understand how strategic decisions about land use and transportation can build communities that are more resilient from the ground up.

New MassDOT separated bike lane guide another step to encourage healthy transportation

At the November 4 Moving Together conference on healthy transportation, MassDOT will unveil their new design and planning guide for separated bike lanes. Lou Rabito, Complete Streets Engineer at MassDOT, thinks this is the first state guide to reference the CROW design manual from the Netherlands, considered by many advocates as the global gold standard.

FHWA: We are not a barrier to safer, slower, innovative road design

On August 20 the Federal Highway Administration posted a new page on its website. The title, Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding, Design, and Environmental Review: Addressing Common Misconceptions, belies the importance of the clarifications FHWA is trying to make. The page addresses more than bicycle and pedestrian matters. It points out that federal funding or rules do not prohibit good road design for all modes, even if it varies from the standards used for decades.

Drones could inspect bridges in Florida, saving divers from snakes and currents

Florida DOT is working with a team at Florida Atlantic University College of Engineering and Computer Science to develop autonomous, waterborne drone vehicles to aid in bridge inspections. Successful development of this technology could improve bridge inspection practice. Using drones to identify problem areas and conduct initial checks on the bridge means increased safety and efficiency for divers and less time in the water.