More from John Latta

John Latta is Editor-in-Chief of Better Roads magazine who has spent the last decade writing about roads, construction equipment, trucks and trucking, bridges, and Washington’s influence on all of the above. He is a former daily newspaperman who has pursued news in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S.


Beat the heat (and other transportation problems) with some thinking

Jul 24, 2013

Beat the heat (and other transportation problems) with some thinking

Just what can extreme heat do to our transportation infrastructure? Quite a lot. What the current heat wave hovering over large portions of the country can do is not only disrupt travellers but also damage roadways and rails. You’d have to wonder ...

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Texas county tries “mechanical concrete”

Jul 23, 2013

Texas county tries “mechanical concrete”

A major Texas county is trying out a road bed system that uses old tires. Thousands of them, not chewed up into small pieces but basically intact. Once the worn out tires come off a vehicle and head to used ...

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The Park-O-Meter turns 78

Jul 19, 2013

The Park-O-Meter turns 78

On July 16, 1935, in Oklahoma City, parking changed forever. There, on the sidewalk, the parking motorist found a new contraption. The parking meter had arrived. Thank you, Carl C. Magee. No more free parking, not even parking under time limit signs, ...

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Can your bridges withstand a hit by a heavy semi?

Jul 18, 2013

Can your bridges withstand a hit by a heavy semi?

A disturbingly large number of America’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete (see Better Roads’ November bridge inventory). But how many are “fracture-critical?” Washington State’s collapsed I-5 bridge was fracture-critical when it was hit by a heavily loaded truck. But ...

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Out of my way, lower-class person!!! Why rich drivers cut us off.

Jul 17, 2013

Out of my way, lower-class person!!! Why rich drivers cut us off.

Surely you aren’t surprised when the driver of the luxury sedan cuts you off and pretends to never have seen you as he speeds away. You are dirt under his high-end radials. You know that drivers of more expensive cars are ...

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New tolls on old interstates? Almost unthinkable.

Jul 16, 2013

New tolls on old interstates? Almost unthinkable.

The issue of tolling existing interstates isn’t going away. It’s not popular and it’s down in the “slim and none” chances category in most analyses. But with highway funding hopelessly inadequate and no new source on the short-term horizon, this ...

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VMT is here!

Jul 15, 2013

VMT is here!

So, let’s see if this VMT thing works. Oregon is replacing the state's gas tax with a "pay per-mile road usage charge" A.K.A. a vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) tax/fee--you choose which to call it. Wait, wait, don’t get all excited. Swapping your fuel tax ...

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Highway expansion and local traffic: oil and water?

Jul 12, 2013

Highway expansion and local traffic: oil and water?

The highway, that venerable American institution--that core value, that industry and community building institution--is under assault again. Better Institutions, a blog about transportation and urban planning policy, joins a chorus of blogs addressing what it calls, “The self-defeating nature of highway ...

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FHWA pushes dynamic management of transportation networks

Jul 11, 2013

FHWA pushes dynamic management of transportation networks

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is trying to help agencies strapped for transportation infrastructure funding dollars. One way FHWA says it is doing this is by “working to promote a dynamic approach to manage the transportation network.” Which means? According to FHWA: “The ...

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Is Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere” going somewhere?

Jul 10, 2013

Is Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere” going somewhere?

Maybe someone is getting ready to take the "dead end" sign off America’s most infamous non-bridge. According to the Associated Press, Alaska has “proposed six ‘build’ alternatives to improve access between the Southeast Alaska community of Ketchikan and Gravina Island, where ...

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Coming up: Major bridge detours

Jul 09, 2013

Coming up: Major bridge detours

Most people who are aware of the inadequate funding available for America’s highways and bridges probably figure that deteriorating road surfaces will be the most common problem drivers face. But maybe detours could challenge for the top spot first. As funds for ...

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Parking It

Jul 05, 2013

Parking It

I remember being in Paris once and after a few days it occurred to me I had not seen an available parking space. Ah yes, the parking space. Surely there is a commodity exchange for those? And anger management courses? Well, the ...

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