Tag Archives: USDOT

USDOT Secretary LaHood is excited about Austin’s BRT

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is an extra-long bus that operates in a dedicated lane and gets priority at intersections. Some say it’s “rail on wheels.”

Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff came to Austin to sign a federal grant of $38 million for the system. It’s expected to be running in 2014.

Bus Rapid Transit is a component of the All Systems Go plan, which has been designed to link transit modes and improve connectivity in the system. BRT service will give better transit options for the MoPac and I-35 corridors. Here’s the Cap Metro information page on the Bus Rapid Transit routes. Because of their extended length, these busses have more room for bikes and wheelchairs.

-Kari Banta, Transportation Associate

DART’s Green Line gets kudos from USDOT

You know you’ve got a good thing when US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood comes to check it out in person–and then blog about it. Along with Federal Transit Administration Director Peter Rogoff, LaHood toured the economic development in Dallas that is coming as a result of the light rail line.

Dallas is expecting an estimated 48,000 long term jobs created by development along the light rail line. That’s beyond the jobs directly created by the rail from engineering, construction, maintenance, operations, etc. Since these jobs are right by the rail line, chances are the workers will choose to ride. Just the thought of that makes me breathe easier!

While we’re talking about jobs, investment in rail and federal requirements to use American made products means the potential for jobs in the manufacturing sector. Though DART doesn’t currently use American made trains, other cities do. New street car lines also contribute to demand. Secretary LaHood blogged about this, too.

Why is a Sierra Club blog talking about jobs? We’re part of the Blue Green Alliance.

Kari Banta, Transportation Associate

New Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards!

The EPA and USDOT have announced a proposal to establish stronger fuel economy and emissions reductions for cars and light duty trucks for model year 2017-2025.  This proposal also includes a number of incentive programs to promote early adoption and advanced technologies, such as hybridization for pickup trucks.

For those keeping score at home, here’s the timeline for fuel efficiency standards. The fleet average must achieve:

  • 35.5 miles per hour by 2016
  • 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

This proposal saves Americans $1.7 trillion, reduces oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels per day by 2025, and slashes greenhouse gas emissions by 6 billion metric tons from 2011-2025.

But what about fuel economy if you can’t afford to buy a new, more fuel efficient vehicle?

Here are some gas saving tips from the Sierra Club.

The Department of Energy has a website dedicated to gas mileage tips.

There’s even an app to help!

For those who don’t feel like following the links, the best advice is to drive responsibly.

Maintain your car with regular tune ups and filter changes. Check your tire pressure. Don’t accelerate rapidly or drive (too much) over the speed limit. If you’ve ever taken a defensive driving class, this should sound familiar.

To avoid traffic jams, plan alternate routes, try to vary your commute times, and keep your cool in the car. How much idle time can you save by not switching lanes and sneaking along the shoulder? Try 30%. A detailed explanation (with a cool video showing how too many cars cause a traffic jam) is on the Scientific American blog.

Or, frankly, take transit! You knew I’d have to say that eventually.

Kari Banta, Transportation Associate

$928.5 Million for Transit from US DOT: Green Jobs, Cleaner Fuels

Exciting news for transit improvements! The $928.5 million  is available through the Federal Transit Administration’s fiscal year 2011 Alternatives Analysis, Bus Livability, and State of Good Repair Programs. It will go toward replacing or refurbishing aging buses, building or improving bus terminals, garages, and other transit facilities, installing bus-related equipment, and conducting studies to help communities select the best transit options to meet future transportation needs.

Transit investment creates 31% more jobs per dollar than investments in  new construction of roads and bridges. Replacement vehicles will use cleaner fuels than the the standard diesel.

Texas will get $57,078,664 for sixteen projects, distributed across the state in major metropolitan regions and outlying areas.

Southeast Texas:

  • Houston and Harris County get funding for a circulator study for Houston’s East Downtown, vehicle replacements, and facility improvements for Kashmere and Hiram Clarke. They also get money for transit asset management, enabling better decision-making based upon quality information and well-defined objectives.
  • The alternatives analysis for the Galveston-Houston Mobility Corridor will receive the funding needed for completion.  Galveston will also get the Seawall Boulevard Transit Pedestrian Access and Beautification Plan and construction of bus stop amenities to support new
    transit services.
  • The Woodlands will get a transit terminal.
  • A plan for Conroe on Complete Street and Transit Access to Support Multi‐Modal Options will be funded as well.

East Texas:

  • Longview Transit Facility Rehab

North Texas:

  • Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART): Vehicle replacements.
  • Denton County Transportation Authority: Facility Replacement
  • Texoma: Paratransit Vehicle Replacements

Central Texas:

  • Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Cap Metro) will receive money for the Austin Bike & Rides for Livable Communities‐Last Mile Solution. This will allow Cap Metro to install MetroBike bike share facilities at seven major transit facilities, all of which connect to Metrobus service. Cap Metro will also have funds for vehicle replacements.
  • VIA Metropolitan Transit  in San Antonio will get funds for its VIA Primo: Bus Rapid Transit service Leon Valley Extension (Bandera
    Rd) and for facility improvements.

West Texas:

  • El Paso: Millennium Vehicle Replacements

Kari Banta, Transportation Associate