Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 30, 2015

Posts in "Bicycles"

March 10, 2015

Houston Ship Mishap & Bicyclists To Honor Oberstar

Former House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman James Oberstar, left, with Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, D- Ore.

Former House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman James Oberstar, left, with Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, D- Ore.

We hear a lot about congestion on the rails as oil and other products move across the county. But there’s heavy traffic on waterways as well, as an accident Monday in the Houston Ship Channel indicated.

A Venezuela-bound tanker spilled the gasoline additive MTBE into the Channel, one of the nation’s crucial transportation choke points, after hitting another vessel, shutting down part of the waterway.

In a recent report, the Center for Strategic and International Studies said increased traffic of oil and perhaps liquefied natural gas exports in the coming years may result in “an (over)taxing of Gulf Coast pipelines, ports, storage facilities, ship channels, and ships themselves – and that does not even take into consideration any delays caused by accidents or storms….”

Back on dry land, the League of American Bicyclists is starting its 15th annual summit in Washington, bringing together advocates from around the nation to urge Congress to keep funding bike trails in this year’s surface transportation bill and to appreciate the value of bicycles in transportation planning.

The League has a lobby day scheduled for Thursday at the Capitol and a “Jim Oberstar Memorial Ride” set for Friday. Oberstar was a dedicated bicyclist and the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2007 to 2011. He died last May.

January 13, 2015

Cell Phone Signals Offer Massive Trove of Travel Data

Travelers on the New York City subway, many of whom are transmitting data about their travel patterns. (Photo credit should read Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

Travelers on the New York City subway, many of whom are transmitting data about their travel patterns. (Photo credit should read Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

Every hour of every day cell phones are generating data which transportation planners, real estate developers, and investors use to help them to understand traffic flows, shopping patterns, and population shifts.

An Atlanta-based company, AirSage, collects real-time data (15 billion data points every day) from cell phone tower interactions – whenever a person sends a text, makes a phone call, or when a phone is searching for the next cell phone tower.

AirSage was one of the exhibitors at the annual Transportation Research Board meeting in Washington this week.

The company draws the data, which come from more than 100 million mobile devices, from two of the top three cell phone providers. The data cover more than a third of the U.S. population.

Full story

January 12, 2015

The Week Ahead: Annual Gathering Of The Policy Wonks

A worker makes repairs to a pedestrian walkway and bike path near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. One topic at TRB anual meeting: how states can pay for transportation projects. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A worker makes repairs to a pedestrian walkway and bike path near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. One topic at TRB anual meeting: how states can pay for transportation projects. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The week’s marquee event in Washington is the 94th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board, a five-day extravaganza of panel discussions, research presentations, and speeches by government officials, corporate leaders, and academic and think tank experts.

On the are nearly 750 workshops and sessions, on topics ranging from “Self-heating Electrically Conducting Concrete for Pavement De-Icing” to “Understanding the Gender Gap in Urban Biking.”

Monday

At the TRB meeting, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will forecast the year ahead for transportation and also discuss opportunities and challenges facing America’s transportation network over the next thirty years.

Also on Monday’s TRB agenda is a presentation from Timothy Butters, acting head the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Scott Darling, acting head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and other transportation officials who will explain how they go about the federal rule-making process for various modes of transportation.

Tuesday

At the TRB annual meeting, National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Christopher Hart and his colleagues unveil the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements for 2015.

Last year’s NTSB list included banning the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices by anyone while driving a car or a truck, or while piloting a plane, a ship, or a train.

Tuesday’s TRB meeting features a session with state transportation department chiefs on steps they are taking to fund major capital projects in light of the continued uncertainty of federal funding. Featured speakers include Anthony Tata of North Carolina, Charles Zelle of Minnesota, and Joan McDonald of New York.

Thursday and Friday

As the TRB meeting continues, the World Bank is staging its own transportation event, Transforming Transportation: Smart Cities for Shared Prosperity. It features policy makers and experts from several countries including a panel discussion on The Role of Technology in Fostering Sustainable Mobility and Inclusive Growth, with Robin Chase, Founder of Zipcar, and others.

October 9, 2014

Minnesota Governor Wants New Tax For Infrastructure

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, is running for a second term (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, is running for a second term (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

In a debate Wednesday night, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, proposed a wholesale state sales tax on gasoline to raise revenue to pay for transportation infrastructure. He said the tax would raise close to the $6.5 billion the state needs for infrastructure projects over the next 10 years.

The state already has a 28.6 cents per gallon tax on gasoline.

Full story

September 12, 2014

Sidewalks, Rail & Highway Projects On the Winners List As Foxx Awards $600M

The 2006 Tour de Georgia bicycle race as it passed through Dahlonega, Ga.

The 2006 Tour de Georgia bicycle race as it passed through Dahlonega, Ga.

It was Christmas in September on Friday for state and local transportation officials in 46 states as Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced $600 million in grants for projects ranging from a new streetcar in Providence, R.I., to building on-ramps and off-ramps at a key freight chokepoint in City of Industry, Calif.

Full story

August 1, 2014

Lame-Duck Transportation Bargaining Scenario Fades

On Thursday night the Senate passed by a vote of 81-13 the House bill to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent until next spring. Score it as a win for beleaguered House Republican leaders who were coping with a fiasco after they couldn’t find the votes to pass their version of an emergency spending bill to respond to the southern border crisis.

Full story

July 30, 2014

In Fight for Urban Street and Curbside Space, Can Pricing Create Peace?

US-LIFESTYLE-FOOD-TRUCKS

People order food from the BBQ Bus food truck during lunch at Farragut Square in Washington, D.C., in August 2013. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

A thriving city with new restaurants and other businesses has a healthy surge of revenue, but there’s one constraint the transportation manager or mayor can do little about: space on the roads and at curbsides.

“Our biggest challenge would certainly be use of right of way or space,” said Larry Marcus, the Transportation and Engineering Bureau Chief for Arlington County, Va., at a transportation data panel this week sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Full story

July 21, 2014

Foxx Touts Bicycle Commuting and Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications

In a wide-ranging appearance Monday at the National Press Club, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said he’d figured out how to bicycle to his office, and he touted vehicle-to-vehicle communications for cars as a technology that will reduce accidents in the future.

But Foxx avoided substantive comment on two of the most pressing current issues: the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine last week, and a pending rule from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on rail shipment of volatile Bakken crude from North Dakota.

Full story

July 9, 2014

Columnist’s Screed Against ‘Biker Terrorists Out to Rule the Road’ Sparks Angry Rebuttals

If generating controversy is the measure of a pundit, Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy scored a smashing success this week with his outburst against bicyclists.

Milloy delivered an indictment of alleged offenses committed by what he called “biker terrorists out to rule the road” in the nation’s capital – including riding their bikes on sidewalks, going the wrong way in a bike lane, and dawdling “at a snail’s pace, holding up traffic while motorists wait for a chance to pass.”

Full story

June 26, 2014

Tech Evangelists Hit the Hill to Showcase Transportation Inventions

Cars talking to nearby cars to avert accidents, cars sending collision avoidance warnings to pedestrians’ cell phones, and traffic signals adjusting their sequencing in real time to respond to surges in bicycle traffic — those were a few of the technology-enabled ideas displayed at Wednesday night’s Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA) showcase at the Cannon House Office Building.

Full story

June 12, 2014

‘Shared Use Mobility’ – Trendy or Mainstream?

Anybody who has ever carpooled to the office or given the next-door neighbor a lift to the train station is a practitioner of “shared use mobility.” But the term covers a lot more.

Full story

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