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

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

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.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Creative Crosswalks

This zipper crosswalk in Baltimore, Md. was named one of the five most creative crosswalks in the world.  To see the others, click here.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Transparent Car

Japanese researchers have unveiled a transparent car that eliminates blind spots for drivers.

While this is just a test model, the technology may be available for real cars soon.

Susumu Tachi and Masahiko Inami of the Graduate School of Media Design at Keio University, the creators write:
"Next we built a setup specifically for a Toyota Prius that made the backseat virtually transparent, so that the driver could see everything behind the car when driving in reverse. In this application, the system had one projector and six lenses, allowing the driver to act naturally without the system’s having to track the movements of the driver’s head. The result is a panoramic view that the driver can use intuitively—quite unlike the current, counterintuitive system, which sends output from a rearview camera to a display mounted on the dashboard. We are now collaborating with several automakers and automotive electronics companies in turning our concept into a commercial system."

Check out the video below to see this car.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Here's a shot of paving work on Southwest Blvd. in Kansas City from 1918.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Three states offer free rides on election day

In an effort to increase voter turnout, Minnesota and parts of Texas and Florida will offer free rides to the polls for voters who want to use public transportation.

Minneapolis’ Metro Transit agency, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and Tampa’s Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) are all offering free rides on Election Day.

Only 57 percent of Americans voted in the 2012 election and less are expected today in the mid-term elections.

If these free ride programs are successful, other states may look to adopt them as well to increase voter participation.  What do you think?  Are free rides a good idea?