Category Archives: Transportation

Platooning and Dedicated Truck Lanes

Interest continues to grow in making use of partial automation to enable big-rigs to travel close together in platoons on long-distance highways. In addition to reduced accidents from partial automation (lane-keeping and connected adaptive cruise control), platooning offers significant reductions … Continue reading

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North Virginia’s Metro is Failing

How bad is the Washington Metro rail system? So bad that only 84% of its trains ran on time, mainly due to poor maintenance. So bad that ridership declined 5% since 2010, even as transit ridership nationally was up. So bad that the system needs an extra $1.3 billion every year to invest in capital projects, and no one knows where the money will come from. The Metro rail system is so bad that even the Washington Post has perked up and taken notice. Continue reading

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Taking the Teeth Out of Federal HOV/HOT Performance Requirements

In the MAP-21 surface transportation reauthorization bill enacted in 2012, Congress required FHWA to actually start enforcing its standard for the performance of federally assisted HOV and HOT lanes. Specifically, that the average speed in such lanes during peak periods must exceed 45 mph at least 90% of the time during any 180-day period. State DOTs would thenceforth be required to take action within 180 days to remedy the failing status of such lanes by either: (1) increasing the HOV occupancy requirement, (2) increasing the toll rate (if it’s a HOT lane), or (3) adding lane capacity. In the December 2012 issue of this newsletter, I commended the new provision as “a gift from Congress for HOV and HOT lanes,” because the threat of sanctions would give state DOTs a defensible reason to do what they were reluctant to do on their own: increase the HOV occupancy requirement “because the feds made us do it.” This, I expected, would lead to a lot more HOV to HOT conversions. Continue reading

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Implications of Concession Company Chapter 11 Filing

Early this month, the SH 130 Concession Company in Texas filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company was formed by Cintra and Zachry to finance, build, operate, and maintain Segments 5 and 6 of the SH 130 toll road that … Continue reading

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Managed Lane Projects – Growth and Growing Pains

Around the country, express toll lanes (aka managed lanes) continue to expand, bringing welcome congestion relief to clogged expressways. An informal tally of projects currently in operation, compiled by Chuck Fuhs (co-chair of the TRB Managed Lanes Committee) identified 475 … Continue reading

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