Guest post: CDOT meeting looks to the future

Colorado Executive Director of Transportation Don Hunt had a feeling some pretty forward-thinking ideas could come out of the Futurist Forum the agency held earlier this month with senior CDOT management. While some of the topics seemed science-fiction, the effort was grounded by the main issue: how does the industry predict and prepare for the challenges of tomorrow, when those challenges (and the tools and technology to address them) are likely dramatically different than the ones of today? While it’s valuable to consider these questions for the decades ahead, the forum also highlighted the need to evaluate and realign some thinking in the shorter-term as well.

Multiple mode switch – transportation’s digital revolution

There is a growing consensus that transportation agencies, especially transit agencies, should make schedule and arrival data more publically available to support the shift to a more seamless multimodal transportation system. This new system would offer multimodal travel options using a single platform, allowing the traveler to select a mode that best suits his or her needs on the spur of the moment. In addition, developing ways to make this data widely available to the public will make the system more efficient, as well as increase equity and accessibility across the socioeconomic spectrum.

What’s stopping automated speed enforcement?

Automated speed enforcement systems have proven effective in U.S. cities, but despite the proven safety benefits of ASE and its prevalence internationally, it has been adopted in only 14 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. A recent case study of Washington, DC’s experience provides strong evidence for the safety benefits of speed enforcement cameras. A 2012 survey in Minnesota found that a slight majority of respondents supported the concept of ASE and over 80 percent supported the use of ASE in construction and survey zones. So what’s stopping increased adoption?

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the drive: An update on autonomous vehicles

Since we last wrote about driverless cars in December, several states have taken a detailed look at legislation to phase in operation of this new type of vehicle. These new laws focus on testing, safety, and operations. Conversations addressing the thorny issues around liability are only just beginning. To address these and other regulatory considerations during the legislative process, the Council of State Governments issued a report providing assistance in developing policies and legislation.

What do video games and transportation planning have in common?

A new approach to the idea of visualization is using the real-time 3D tools that are normally reserved for interactive video games. A new tool developed by Spencer Boomhower of Cupola Media builds upon many of the technical tools that transportation planners traditionally use such as design criteria, flexible design techniques, and walkability analyses to build a visual model that can be understood and manipulated by the general public.

MBTA uses ABC technique to replace bridge

On November 8, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority used an Accelerated Bridge Construction technique to replace a 102-year-old bridge that carries the Red Line trains over Clayton Street in Dorchester. Using a Self-Propelled Modular Transporter, a new bridge was moved into place within 24 hours of the old bridge being demolished. MassDOT is at the forefront of ABC technology that prefabricates major bridge components in one location and transports them to the construction site where they will be quickly installed using heavy lifting equipment such as cranes, gantry systems, or SPMTs. The replacement of the Clayton Street Bridge was the first time this technology has been used to replace a bridge in the MBTA system, and one of the few on a transit project.

Cellphone data is helping to improve travel demand modeling

The Moore County Transportation Committee, working with the North Carolina DOT, has significantly increased the accuracy of its data collection for its long-range transportation plan thanks to the cutting edge technology of aggregated cell phone data developed by AirSage . Using the technology, the county was able to determine that a bypass would not help relieve congestion on U.S. 1.

Update: St. Louis area variable speed limits come down

Missouri DOT is removing 70 variable advisory speed limit signs on I-270 and I-255 mentioned in the October 14th edition of SSTI News. Although a recent report indicated that similar signs have been having a positive effect on congestion in the Minneapolis area despite drivers’ general disregard for the speed limits, MoDOT has decided to remove the signs to lower operating costs and reduce confusion.

Millennials & Mobility: Understanding the Millennial Mindset (APTA, 2013)

Recent news reports and studies have outlined changes in how Millenials travel and live. These have focused on the implications for all transportation modes as well as land use and economic activity. This APTA/TCRP report seeks to further understand the mindsets behind the trends and understand their implications for public transportation in the United States. This study utilizes a mixture of in-depth interviews in five cities and a survey of 1,000 people in six cities that are representative of the types of cities Millennials find attractive.