Who pays for roads? Users, but only partly

Subsidies are common across transportation modes, but it’s useful to have the numbers. A recent report by the Tax Foundations, updated data on the portion of roads paid for by travelers and shippers—fuel tax, tolls, and other user fees—by state. The figures range from 12 percent in Alaska to 76 percent in Hawaii, based on fiscal 2014 figures. The report does not give a national figure, but a previous version estimated user fees cover just 50 percent of road costs.

Two reports examine progress and challenges for biking and walking

The Alliance for Biking and Walking has released its biennial benchmarking report, providing a wealth of information on programs, policies, data, and case studies from all 50 states, the 50 largest U.S. cities, plus 18 additional medium-sized cities. At the same time, a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association released a report on the alarming rise in pedestrian fatalities from 2014 to 2015.

Vermont taking steps to reduce the number of drivers with suspended licenses

The Vermont Agency of Transportation is working to reduce the number of state residents with suspended licenses. There are about 30,000 Vermonters with suspended licenses at any time in the state with 626,000 people. The majority of these suspensions are the result of unpaid fines, both for driving infractions as well as for offenses unrelated to driving.

Transit-Oriented Development in the States (NCLS, 2012)

This report from the National Conference of State Legislatures examines state legislative action to define transit-oriented evelopment, plan for and fund TOD, provide “last-mile” transportation solutions to get to and from a transit stop, and a number of other states strategies to encourage TOD.

An environmentalist’s call to curb the federal role in transportation

In the post-Interstate-building era, questions about the role of the federal government in funding surface transportation have become more common. Most of these arguments have come from conservatives. A new call for eliminating the federal role comes from a different perspective, though—a green one.

The Innovative DOT: A Handbook of Policy and Practice (SSTI & SGA, 2012)

State officials across the country are facing the same challenges. Revenues are falling and budgets are shrinking while transportation demands grow. Most state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have ambitious goals: improve safety, reduce congestion, enhance economic opportunity, improve reliability, preserve system assets, accelerate project delivery, and help to create healthier, more livable neighborhoods, just to name a few.
The handbook provides 31 recommendations transportation officials can use as they position their agencies for success in the new economy. The handbook documents many of the innovative approaches state leaders are using to make systems more efficient, government more effective and constituents better satisfied.

Transportation Governance and Finance: A 50-State Review of State Legislatures and Departments of Transportation (National Council of State Legislatures, 2012)

From 2010 to 2011, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) partnered to produce an unprecedented, 50-state review of transportation governance and finance, based largely on …

Tracking State Transportation Dollars (Tri-State Transportation Campaign, 2012)

Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s 50-state analysis begins to answer questions about how transportation dollars are spent so the public can better un-derstand transportation priorities in their state. To do this, TSTC analyzed each state’s statewide transportation …

Land Use and Transportation Scenario Analysis and Microsimulation (LUTSAM) Tool (SSTI and DelDOT, 2012)

With SSTI assistance, Delaware DOT has developed its four-step demand model for scenario planning, using off-the-shelf GIS and simulation software. The tool, called Land Use and Transportation Scenario Analysis and Microsimulation (LUTSAM), enables DelDOT to quickly model and display development scenarios, providing communities and developers with analysis on traffic, congestion, emissions and other outcomes. LUTSAM will dramatically demonstrate, in real-world cases, the cost and environmental advantages of well-connected, compact and mixed use development. It is currently being used in a variety of settings around the state. Because it is built around standard software, it is adaptable for other states, MPOs and cities seeking to improve their land use and transportation planning.