Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Thanks for making our blog a success

We want to say thank you to all of our viewers for this blog.  In our first year, we reached over 40,000 views, which literally would not have been possible without all of you.

Here's a look back at some of our most popular blog posts this year in case you didn't get to see them all.

Watch 10 hours of bridge construction --- in less than three minutes!

12 Snow plows were struck during last week's storm

Technical Tuesday: The need for speed...limits

Motoring Monday: Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary & Education Center

License to draw

This is our last blog post for 2014.  We want to wish you a wonderful holiday season and please check back with us in the new year.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Massive storm may cause delays for holiday travelers

If you're planning to travel this week, make sure you check your flight status or the road conditions before you go.

Starting Tuesday,  a major storm system--stretching from the Midwest down to the South and up the East Coast — will bring heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong winds that are likely to cause travel headaches on the roads and flight delays from the Great Lakes to the Mid-Atlantic and New England.

For road conditions, you can call 511 to get the latest road conditions on most states in the country.  (There are few places without coverage.  Check this map to see where the gaps are.)

Kansas does utilize 511 and you can also visit Kandrive.org for travel information.

If you're flying, click here to see if your flight is on-time.

As always, please wear your seat belt and be safe this holiday season.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Year in Search

"Did you try googling it?"  This is a top response in most offices when a colleague is having trouble finding the solution to a problem.

Many of us don't go a day without using a search engine of some kind.  What do those searches say about us?  Google answers that along with what the top searches were for 2014 in the video below.  Check it out and see if some form of transportation made the list.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Current Road Conditions

Here's the condition of Kansas highways as of 8:30 a.m. today.  The routes highlighted in pink are completely snowpacked, those in light blue are partially snowpacked and those in brown have slush. 

For the latest road conditions, please visit Kandrive.org or call 511.  And for some winter driving tips, please click here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A remarkable journey

How do you transport something that weighs as much as 400 cars?  That's the question that ABB, a multinational corporation, had to figure out in order to transfer the world's largest HVDC transformers from Sweden to Brazil.  Find out how they did it in the video below.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Technology Tuesday: 10 inventions that will supercharge your journey

Tech Radar has identified 10 inventions that will revolutionize transportation in the future.  Click on the video below to check them out.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Here's a look at the Governor's mansion all lit up for the holidays.  Can you guess what year this photo was taken?  Here's a hint: "Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind."  Give us your guess in the comment box below.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

KDOT to transfer money from highway fund

Under the Governor’s allotment plan announced Tuesday, the Kansas Department of Transportation will transfer $95.7 million out of the State Highway Fund.
In addition, a 3 percent reduction from KDOT’s operations budget will be included in a rescission bill that will be considered by the 2015 Legislature. The 3 percent reduction amounts to $7.8 million out of an operations budget of $260 million. Although the 3 percent reduction will impact the agency’s salary budget, there will be no layoffs or salary reductions.

Projects announced under the T-WORKS transportation program will continue as planned. Projects already let under the 10-year program have cost less than planned, federal and state revenues have been higher than anticipated, and bond rates have been more favorable than expected. 

KDOT leaders also continue to look for savings through technology and innovation where possible.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's not easy driving a snow plow

As we get closer to winter, it's always good to remember the important role our snow plow drivers play in allowing us to get where we need to go in inclement weather.  Travelers play a role in allowing our snow plow drivers to do their job safely. Check out the video below to learn more.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mature drivers rank their top technology needs

Can you guess which new vehicle technology older drivers ranked as the best feature?  It wasn't an emergency response system or drowsy driver alerts.  The top pick was a blind spot awareness system. Check out the photo below to see how all the features ranked.

Friday, December 5, 2014

License to draw

Thursday morning at the KDOT offices started normal enough, until we checked our twitter notifications and the whole day turned around.

Shane Heiman’s second grade class from Lawrence’s New York Elementary sent KDOT their choices for new license plates.

Every school day Mr. Heiman has his class of 18 students do a daily journal entry and then they tweet their responses to people or businesses that might be interested in their ideas. So far this school year, Heiman’s class of 7 and 8 year olds have gotten at least one response a week from the people they tweet at.

Unfortunately, KDOT doesn’t handle the license plates it’s the Kansas Department of Revenue, but these journal entries were too good not to share and we will make sure to pass on your ideas to them. 

Check out the designs below.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Here's a look at the intersection of Broadway and Kellogg streets in Wichita in late November back in '63.  Oh, what a night.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Why transportation is important for older adults

It's Older Driver Awareness Week.  Check out the video by the Tufts Health Plan Foundation that explains what it's like to lose your freedom to drive.

Monday, December 1, 2014

How fast could you travel across the U.S. in the 1800s?

Did you know that in 1830 you could travel across the U.S. nearly twice as fast as you could thirty years before?  The Mother Nature Network has put together an excellent article showing how much travel times changed during the 1800s.  Click here to see the maps of routes and learn more about why travel times improved so much.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

We want to wish our readers a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!  If you're traveling, please be safe.

Click here to see some travel tips for Kansas.  And if you're flying this year, here's a great place to find out if there are significant delays at an airport.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How has transportation evolved over the last 100 years?

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), is celebrating its 100th year. Over the past century AASHTO and its member departments of transportation in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have benefited from the strong partnerships forged in both the public and private sectors. This commemorative video takes viewers on journey –highlighting the many people, partnerships and historic events that make up AASHTO’s century of achievement for a better tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2014

New I-235 & 13th Street interchange opens in Wichita

 The ribbon was cut on Friday, November 21 to officially open the new I-235 and 13th Street Interchange in west Wichita. The $35 million project adds two new bridges over the Wichita – Valley Center Floodway and provides access to I-235 in two directions: eastbound 13th St. to southbound I-235 and northbound I-235 to westbound 13th St.

The traffic improvement project also includes upgrades to adjacent city streets plus a new entrance to the nearby Sedgwick County Park. The project began in November 2012 and was completed on schedule and on budget. The City of Wichita designed and financed the project; KDOT’s Wichita West Construction office handled administration and inspection.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Western New York snow removal

Some areas of New York state along the Great Lakes had around 2 feet  of new snow on Thursday on top of accumulations as deep as 5 feet from earlier in the week.

The National Weather Service said parts of the region could expect 3 feet more snow before skies clear on Friday.

It's the worst storm that most New Yorkers have ever experienced.  At least 10 deaths have been associated with the storm. We are keeping the residents and snow removal crews in our thoughts as they continue to battle the storm.

As you would expect this is requiring a massive snow removal effort.  Here are some tweets that give you insight into what the situation is like.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday

We're going back to November 14, 1956, when Kansas completed the first section of the interstate on U.S. 40 now I-70.  There is some discrepancy between three states Kansas, Pennsylvania and Missouri about which state is actually first.  According to Kansas Gov. Fred Hall, who participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new road, this section was the "first project in the United States completed under the provisions of the new Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday's Words

 "We have the technology to do it, but I don't think we have the vision to do it," said University of Washington-Bothell professor Tyler Folsom.

The Washington DOT says driverless cars could be a way of fixing disastrous commutes.  These cars could reduce accidents caused by distracted drivers. And there could be improved efficiencies as well.

"You really could push a lot of vehicles through and they all brake in advance of an incident and accelerate at the same time, you didn't have that stop and go. Theoretically, yeah, it's great stuff," said Mark Leth, WSDOT engineer.

To learn more, click here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Trivia

Are more Americans commuting to work by car now than they did in 2000?

No.  Nationwide, the percentage of workers who commute by car declined from 88 percent in 2000 to 86 percent in 2010-2013, according to a Stateline analysis of census numbers.  Car commuting percentages were down dramatically in some urban areas, but also in smaller Western towns that are making a focused effort to promote alternatives.

Which city had the biggest decrease in commuting?
Washington D.C.
New York City
Los Angeles

The District of Columbia decreased the number of commuters by 11 percent over the last 14 years.

Experts attribute these decreases to a number of reasons. For example, some workers are wanting to save money by not owning cars. Younger workers are more likely to have environmental concerns about car pollution and are more likely to want to walk/bike to work.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Comet Landing

Some times the biggest news in transportation is out of this world.  Check out the video below to learn more about Rosetta Comet Landing.

Friday, November 14, 2014

In case you missed it

 More than $1 million invested in Safe Routes to Schools program
KDOT selected 15 cities to receive Safe Routes to Schools funding, which is a program that encourages students to walk or bike to school to increase exercise as well as additional benefits. A total of $1,335,000 will be allocated for the development of a Safe Routes to Schools plan and infrastructure.  To see what cities were selected and learn more, click here.

KDOT crews are ready for winter
This year KDOT has implemented new snow fighter training courses to better educate new equipment operators on all aspects of roadway snow and ice control as well as how to maintain their equipment. KDOT has a staff of 1,200 ready for winter weather, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; they have taken their dry runs and have stored 200,000 tons of salt in preparation for this Kansas winter.   For the latest on road conditions, go to www.kandrive.org

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Here's a shot of our crews putting down salt brine in 2008.  This weekend calls for snow in parts of Kansas.  Are you prepared for winter weather? Remember for the latest on highway conditions, check www.kandrive.org

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How did transportation fare at the ballot box?

American voters have been very supportive of transportation approving 71 percent of all ballot measures this year.

The Center of Transportation Excellence noted that 41 or 58 transportation related initiatives passed in 2014.  Public transit measures in particular were very successful resulting in at least $6 billion of new revenue. CFTE has tracked 528 transit measures since 2000 and has seen a 72% success rate across the 14 years of data along with growth in the number of measures annually.

“While American voters have become more discerning on what issues to support with their tax dollars, citizens continued to vote to overwhelmingly support public transportation ballot initiatives because it helps to grow their communities,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “This very strong support serves as a sign to elected officials nationwide that voters place great value in public transit and are willing to vote to tax themselves to invest in their communities.”

There were two local transportation ballot measures in Kansas on Election Day.  Shawnee County voters approved a sales tax extension, which will support road and bridge projects as well as other initiatives. Wichita voters rejected a proposal for a sales tax increase to address public transit, street maintenance, water resources and create a job development fund.

There were several states that approved transportation measures:

  •  In Hawaii, California, Rhode Island, Texas, Wisconsin, and Maryland, voters approved ballot initiatives to secure funding for water resources, roads, and transit.

  • In Texas, 81 percent of voters approved a measure to dedicate half of the state's oil and gas revenues to a state highway fund, as long as that money isn't going to tolled roads.

  • Maryland and Wisconsin voters approved "lockbox" initiatives to make it harder to take money out of the state's transportation coffers.

"The outcomes of these elections demonstrate that Americans value well-maintained infrastructure and are willing to make the investment," said American Society of Civil Engineers President Robert Stevens.

Not all statewide initiatives were successful though.  Massachusetts voters rejected automatic gas tax increases linked to inflation.  And Louisiana voters declined to give the state legislature the authority to create an infrastructure bank.

All told though, 2014 proved to be a successful year for transportation funding advocates.