A new opinion piece in the Washington Post from Transportation for America takes a contrarian view of all the talk about money during Infrastructure Week. In short, let’s skip a special infrastructure plan and focus on policy; without good policy more spending could actually do more harm than good.
It’s Infrastructure Week again and politicians are back at it, bemoaning our “crumbling roads and bridges” and insisting we must spend more to fix the problem. But we’ve got some cold water to throw on this pity party: Despite more transportation spending over the last decade, the percentage of the roads nationwide in “poor condition” increased from 14 to 20 percent.
Advocates and policy makers around the country are working hard to make streets safer. But the messages some twitter accounts were sending on Bike to School Day inadvertently highlight how far we still have to go to make sure everyone can safely use the road.
Under President Trump, the USDOT has effectively turned the formerly innovative BUILD program—created to advance complex, hard-to-fund, multimodal projects—into little more than a rural roads program, dramatically undercutting both its intent and utility. A new analysis illuminates how the program has changed and what Congress can do about it.
Like a number of other 1950’s-era, aging elevated highways that are (or have already) reached the end of their designed lifespans, the elevated Buffalo Skyway bridge in New York could be the latest to be replaced with a more people-centric design that better connects the city to its waterfront. Smart Growth America’s CEO Calvin Gladney has been selected to join a panel of other notable experts to judge a state-chartered design competition about its future.
This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we talk with Kendra Freeman, the director of community engagement for the regional Metropolitan Planning Council, about TOD in Chicago. A recent update to the city’s TOD policy puts a new focus on equitable development in a city that has seen stark differences in outcomes based on zip code.
State departments of transportation (DOTs) direct most of the transportation spending in the United States but they’re often focused on building highways and are ill-equipped to address the far more diverse mix of challenges they’re tasked with solving today. In a month-long series we just wrapped up, we examined how we got here, what state DOTs need to change, and how one state is putting its intentions into practice.
State DOTs have a major role to play in reversing the nation’s epidemic of pedestrian deaths. But that can be hard to do when most DOTs are still set up to build roads that prioritize high-speed car travel, even if that jeopardizes the safety of some of the people using those roads. Tennessee DOT is working to change that through a comprehensive approach to Complete Streets.
State DOTs often use guidance and a project selection process that leads to overbuilt projects that don’t fit their context and are ill tailored to the needs of the community. To build better projects that fit in the areas they serve, state DOTs need to acknowledge land use and context and update their project selection process to focus on outcomes.
Last week the arts & culture team caught up with this year’s State of the Art (SOTA) Transportation Training participants to learn how arts organizations and transportation agencies in these communities are successfully collaborating to address unique transportation challenges. We’re also releasing the DIY Toolkit so that you can hold SOTA Transportation Trainings in your own community.