Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday's Words: The Flying Car Is Here

“We believe personal transportation is about to change forever,” said AeroMobil chief executive Juraj Vaculik at a press conference. “We think it’s time to make transportation more emotional and more personal."

Today, Juraj Vaculik and Stefan Klein, of Slovakian company AeroMobil unveiled at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna what they call “the most advanced flying car."

Click on the video below to see the car fly.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bicycle deaths increase for the first time since the 1970s

A total of 722 American cyclists died in motor vehicle crashes in 2012, compared to 680 deaths in 2011 and 621 in 2010, reported the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state transportation safety agencies.

Florida also had the highest number of cyclist deaths per capita, followed by Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina and California. Florida also has the highest number of pedestrian deaths per capita. Kansas ranked 39th among the states in bicycle deaths per capita.

More than two-thirds of all bicycle fatalities occur in urban areas-- usually in intersections.

The GHSA report also pointed out the growing number of cyclists who are killed are adult men, who account for three out of every four cyclist deaths. Boys who are 20 or younger make up 14 percent of cyclist fatalities, followed by adult females (10 percent) and girls 20 or younger (2 percent).

 “The lack of universal helmet use laws for bicyclists is a serious impediment to reducing deaths and injuries, resulting from both collisions with motor vehicles and in falls from bicycles not involving motor vehicles,” according to GHSA.

The safety organization noted that 65 percent of bicyclists killed were not wearing helmets. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia require children to wear helmets, but no states have helmet laws applying to adults.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The transit workout

Want to lose a few pounds?  The answer may be as simple as taking the bus to work. 

A recent study found that people who don't drive to work--no matter how much or how little they otherwise exercise--are likely to weigh an average of five to seven pounds less than someone in a car.

"Public transport use involves a greater level of incidental physical activity than we commonly assume," says lead author Ellen Flint, a research fellow at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. "Walking from your home to the bus stop, standing in a busy train carriage, sprinting up the station stairs to change platforms; a public transport journey usually involves more exertion than traveling by car."

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Walk

Living where we do, it's easy to take for granted the role that quality transportation plays in allowing us access to vital medical services.  For many pregnant women in developing countries, the journey to access quality medical care for child birth is quite difficult.  Check out this powerful video produced by the Every Mother Counts campaign-- a nonprofit organization that strives to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for all mothers.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday

We found this photo in our archives of two boys picking pumpkins.  We know the photo was taken in  October of 1966 but we don't know the identity of the boys.  If you know, tell us in the comment section below.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

KDOT safety campaign receives national recognition

A Kansas Department of Transportation public affairs campaign to highlight the importance of work zone safety has received national recognition.

The recognition was announced earlier this month by the Transportation Communications subcommittee of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). KDOT received a first place award in the category of “Special Events, Public Awareness Event” for its 2014 Work Zone Awareness Week’s Go Orange safety campaign.

KDOT also received honorable mention for the “Best Use of Social Media in a Campaign” for the same work zone safety effort.

AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Its primary goal is to foster the development, operation, and maintenance of an integrated national transportation system.

For more information about work zone safety, visit KDOT’s Go Orange web page.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Royals fans urged to travel early to World Series games

World Series traffic congestion can be expected around the Truman Sports Complex, particularly along I-70 and I-435 from midday today throughout the early evening. MoDOT urges baseball fans heading to the game to leave in plenty of time to ensure you are parked and in your seat by the 7:07 p.m. start of Game 1.

A sell-out crowd combined with the usual afternoon rush hour traffic can lead to backups and delays for those who are accustomed to normal game-day traffic. MoDOT and Kansas City Scout will do their part to help. Motorists are urged to check up to the minute traffic conditions online before heading out by going to and clicking on the Traveler Information Map, and also to for the latest information on delays and congestion. Scout message boards along major routes will help alert motorists to any potential problems. 
Fans going to Wednesday's game should also expect the same conditions.

For both games, the parking lots will open at 2 p.m. and the stadium will open at 4:30 p.m.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Additional improvements being made to Kellogg in Wichita

Highway expansion that will reduce congestion, increase capacity and improve traffic flow on the city’s east side was announced on Thursday by Gov. Sam Brownback.

The work, which is being planned and funded by the Kansas Department of Transportation, the City of Wichita and the Kansas Turnpike Authority, will include new U.S. 54 interchanges at Webb Road and Greenwich Road and new KTA ramps at U.S. 54.

“This is a great collaborative effort between the city, state and turnpike authority,” said Gov. Brownback. “Everyone will benefit from this project.”
Wichita City Councilman Pete Meitzner, who represents District II, which includes the project, said the improvements will improve commute times and traffic safety on the east side.

“This multi-agency partnership will serve motorists, residents and businesses in the Wichita area,” Meitzner said. “The project strategically addresses traffic flow and growth at two of the busiest east-side intersections.”

The work that will begin in 2015 is an expansion of a city/state interchange project at Webb Road for which bids came in significantly over budget earlier this year. That prompted discussions between the city, state and KTA about alternative design and cost-sharing approaches that would benefit travelers on all three systems.

“From those discussions, a cost-share study was undertaken with the aim of producing overall improvements along Kellogg/U.S. 54 and the turnpike ramps,” said Transportation Secretary Mike King, who also serves as KTA director.

“KDOT, KTA and the city have joined together to save time, expand the project scope and limit the construction impacts on traffic on all systems,” said Secretary King.

The total cost of these U.S. 54 corridor improvements is expected to exceed $300 million. The KTA will invest $24 million on the toll road interchange and ramps, only. The remaining amount will be shared by KDOT and the City. The improvements are projected to be completed in 2019.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

KDOT and KTA celebrate the combined facility at Emporia

Kansas Transportation Secretary and Director of the Kansas Turnpike Authority Mike King officiated the grand opening of the combined KDOT and KTA field office in Emporia today.

The Emporia field office is the first co-located KDOT/KTA facility and symbolizes the formalized partnership between the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike Authority enacted during the 2013 Kansas legislative session.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

$380 million to be invested in North Central Kansas -

Local consult meetings conclude today in Salina.  Participants heard updates on projects in the North Central region. More than $380 million worth of projects will be invested in the region by the completion of T-WORKS.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lots happening in Hays today -

Packed room in Hays for the Northwest Local Consult meeting. More than $500 million in projects for this region will be completed before the end of T-WORKs.
Later today, a local bridge improvement program announcement will be made.
Stay tuned for that.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Local bridge improvement program recipients announced tomorrow in Hays

The recipients of 77 local bridge projects will be announced by Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Mike King. Also scheduled to speak are Ellis County Commissioner Barbara Wasinger, Kansas Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chad Bontrager and Kansas Association of Counties Local Road Engineer Norm Bowers.

Time: 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 14

Location: Kansas Highway Patrol Conference Room, 1821 W. Frontier Rd. 

What: Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Mike King will announce the recipients of Kansas Local Bridge Improvement Program funding Tuesday in Hays.

KDOT is providing funding to improve, replace or rehabilitate locally-owned, deficient bridges in order to improve the overall system in Kansas. This bridge program targets bridges with a daily vehicle count of less than 100 and a length of 20 to 50 feet.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The U.S. 40 League Championship Series

San Francisco, Kansas City, St. Louis and Baltimore are the only remaining teams in the MLB postseason.  For baseball fans, these teams offer a nice mix of familiar faces in the postseason with the Cardinals and the Giants and San Francisco and teams that haven’t been to a World Series in decades, the Orioles and the Royals. And there’s something else that these four teams offer fans—the opportunity to see them all play by traveling on the same highway—U.S. 40.

Historic U.S. 40 ran through each of those cities. US Route 40 now terminates on the west at Park City, Utah, but before the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System, U.S. 40 began just a few blocks north of AT&T Park in San Francisco. U.S. 40 was also known as the “Victory Highway," which seems to be appropriate this year, from San Francisco to St. Louis before U.S. route numbers were established in 1926. In fact, the intersection of K-7 and Parallel Parkway near Basehor is called “Victory Junction." 

From Baltimore to just east of St. Louis, U.S. 40 was known as “The National Road," a road trail similar to the Lincoln Highway that allowed early motorists to find their way across the country. The National Road was the first federally funded highway back in 1806. So, back in the early 1920s, an adventurous driver might have followed guidebooks to navigate from Baltimore to San Francisco on the National Road and the Victory Highway, not knowing that in 2014 San Francisco, known then as the New York Giants, would reach the NLCS by way of their victory over the Nationals. This motorist would have driven right down 6th Street, a block north of the Eisenhower Building, KDOT headquarters Topeka on the 3,000 mile journey, and they might have stopped for gasoline in Sharon Springs, WaKeeney, Solomon, or Wamego. More realistically, one would have taken a train from coast to coast because it was much faster, remember, no interstates or freeways.

Before being replaced for most of its length by Interstates 70 and 80, U.S. 40 was a major trade route connecting not only the championship cities, but also Salt Lake City, Denver, Indianapolis, and even continuing to New York City from Baltimore.

It’s a Hall of Fame worthy highway you might say. Now we will just have to wait and see which team turns in a historic performance that lives up to the highway that connects them all.

Did you know?

  •   Alberto Castillo, Sidney Ponson, and Steve Scarsone are the only players to play for all four teams at some point in their careers.

  • St. Louis is the only city that had a major league team in 1950.  The Orioles (formerly the St. Louis Browns) moved to Baltimore in 1953.  The Giants moved to San Francisco from New York in 1958.  And the Kansas City Royals became an expansion team in 1969.