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.

Politico examines Wisconsin’s “Love Affair with Overpasses”

The transportation record of a prominent presidential candidate is the jumping off point for a lengthy, critical report on American transportation policy in Politico last week. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker recently proposed to dramatically increase borrowing in order to support several highway megaprojects in southern Wisconsin. But the Politico article points out that the size of the budget is not the only, or even the most important, issue—both in Wisconsin and in Washington.

Preparing for climate change in Massachusetts

On January 14, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts announced $52 million in funding for a statewide plan to address the present and future impacts of climate change. Citing weather events such as Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, the governor pointed out that climate change is creating more disruptive weather and challenging public health, safety, and economic vitality.

Costs for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Infrastructure Improvements: A Resource for Researchers, Engineers, Planners, and the General Public (Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, 2013)

This report provides infrastructure cost estimates for pedestrian and bicycle treatments, infrastructure, and amenities from across the country. Costs vary widely, but the report includes high, low, and median costs from a variety of sources.

Who Pays for Climate Change? (National Resources Defense Council, 2013)

U.S. taxpayers outspend private insurers three-to-one to cover climate disruption costs. Paying for climate disruption was one of the largest non-defense discretionary budget items in 2012. Private insurers themselves only covered about 25 percent of these costs, leaving the federal government and its public insurance enterprises to pay for the majority of the remaining claims.

How to Increase Bicycling for Daily Travel (Active Living Research, 2013)

What are the most effective strategies cities can use to increase bicycling? This brief summarizes the available evidence about strategies for increasing bicycling levels and encouraging bicycling as a mode of transportation. It also presents related policy implications.

Public health researchers: Bike guide leaves out facilities favored by many

A recent article in the American Journal of Public Health concentrates on the lack of updated bicycle facilities standards in the the most widely used guides. The article’s authors focused specifically on their perception that cycle tracks—bike facilities separated from motorized traffic by a curb, parked cars, or other physical or painted buffer to discourage intrusion by motor vehicles—would increase bicycle transportation by older users, women, and children.