Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday's Words

“Tragedies involving children have a profound effect on everyone involved. What is most tragic is that the majority of these deaths could have been prevented,” said Lt Amy Ayers of the Kansas Highway Patrol.  “A child dies from heatstroke nearly every 10 days from being left in a hot vehicle. As outside temperatures rise, the risks of children dying from being left alone inside a hot vehicle also rises.  We remind parents and caregivers to Look Before You Lock.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 1998-2013 606 children died due to heatstroke, representing 61 percent of total non-crash fatalities in this age group.

 Of the 606 deaths: 

  • 52% were forgotten in the vehicle. 
  • 29% gained access by themselves and became trapped 
  • 18% were left intentionally 
  • 1% were unknown cases   
For tips about how to keep your child safe in the summer heat, click here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Trivia Tuesday

In what year did wearing seat belts first become a requirement for competitive racing?
A. 1938
B. 1954
C. 1963
D. 1978

The Sports Car Club of America (precursor to NASCAR) required all competing racers to wear lap belts in 1954.  It wasn't until the 1980s that states began passing laws requiring seat belts be worn in the front seat. NASCAR has a proud history of leading the way for car safety advancements among the general public.  And NASCAR drivers, perhaps more than anyone, understand the importance of car safety.

We're fortunate to have Kansas native and NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer agree to participate in a PSA for us about the importance of wearing seat belts.  The PSA was filmed on July 18 and will be released soon.  Stay tuned for that video.  Below is a  photo from the set to give a little sneak peek.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Motoring Monday: Galena/Route 66

Lots of history and a little fun trivia about the movie “Cars” can be found in and around Galena.

Outside the Four Women on the Route restaurant souvenir shop along Route 66 is “Tow Tater,” the 1951 International Boom truck that inspired the character of “Tow Mater” in the movie “Cars.”

Galena is along the Kansas Route 66 Historic Byway, which includes 13.2 miles of highway throughout the very corner of southeast Kansas. Several small towns and lots of notable places to visit are along the byway including:

  • The Marsh Arch “Rainbow” bridge
  • Schermerhorn Park
  • Nelson’s Old Riverton Store
  • Fort Blair
  • Galena Mining Museum
  • “Field of Dreams” baseball park

More information about this area can be found on the Kansas Byways website by clicking here.

Friday, July 18, 2014

What's happening in Kansas Transportation?

Summer is busy time for everyone and in case you haven’t been able to keep track of the latest Kansas transportation news here’s a quick recap of recent announcements.

Kansas Aviation Expo will be Sept. 22-26.
 After a successful inaugural event last year, state aviation officials are gearing up and partnering with the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education to host the 2nd Annual Kansas Aviation Expo, Sept. 22-26. This year’s Expo will feature a week’s worth of events, including the Fly Kansas Air Tour, two around-the-world pilots and business seminars.  More information about the Expo including the tour stops and list of speakers can be found here.

20 Transportation Alternatives projects selected.
KDOT received 43 applicants from local units of government for funding through the Transportation Alternatives program and announced the 20 projects that were selected on Tuesday. Transportation Alternatives projects under this federal program include facilities for pedestrians and bicycles; rehabilitation of historic transportation buildings, structures or facilities; construction of turnouts, overlooks and viewing areas; conversion of abandoned railway corridors to trails; community improvement activities such as downtown streetscape enhancements and the control or removal of outdoor advertising. Total cost for the 20 selected projects is $11.5 million. A minimum of 20 percent of the project cost must come from the applicant.  To see the list of projects selected click here.

Traffic fatalities are higher than last year in Kansas.

From January through June in 2013, there were 153 traffic Fatalities in Kansas.  This year there have been 184—or 31 more in the same time period.  However, 2014 still falls below the 5-year average of 187 for same time frame.  More motorcycle and pedestrian deaths are one of the key reasons the numbers are higher in 2014 than last year.  Read more about this troubling trend here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Today's Throwback Thursday photo is 2007.  This is the bike/pedestrian path adjacent to Lake Shawnee in Topeka.  This project was part of KDOT's Transportation Alternatives program.  This week KDOT selected 20 new projects for funding through the program.  Click here to see what projects were selected.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday's Words

"What if the best way to end drunk driving is to end driving?"
-- Sommer Mathis, columnist for

Companies such as Uber and Lyft, which allow customers to book a ride through their smartphones may have added benefits to communities by reducing the number of drunk drivers.  Uber claimed that DUI's dropped by 10 percent in Seattle once its services became available.  If these services, which run on credit cards, take cash out of transactions as well, they may also cut down on other kinds of crime like theft as well.  The Washington Post recently looked into the impact that these companies may be having on communities.  Click here to see its findings.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Checking in on the $8 million promise

When the Kansas Legislature passed the transportation program, T-WORKS, it required that at least $8 million be invested in every Kansas county by the end of the program in 2020.  As we near the mid-way point of the program, we thought it would be helpful to check in and see how we're doing in meeting that $8 million promise.  To date, 69 counties out of 105 have received $8 million or more and all counties have received at least a million dollars in transportation investments.  These totals include funds spent on highways, airports, public transit or short-line rail.  Counties that haven't received the full $8 million should not fret as more work continues to be scheduled each year for T-WORKS.

The map below shows the counties that have received the full $8 million.  To learn how much exactly each county has received, click here.