Report shows sharp decline in commuting across America

TrafficjamAmerica has always been a nation on the move – especially during the daily commute to work, which comprises approximately 28 percent of all daily trips on roads and transit systems throughout the country, according to new research. Understanding how the country’s commuters get to work is important for transportation decision makers who are in charge of operating and maintaining America’s transportation infrastructure.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has released the final installment in a series of 16 “Commuting in America” briefs that examine a significant and evolving segment of the nation’s traveling public.

The final brief reveals a slowing growth in commuting due to American workers getting older, and declines in the number of younger people entering the workforce. U.S. Census Bureau projections suggest the population in the working age group 18–64 will see a sharp decline over the next 20 years—approximately 6 million new potential workers from 2015 to 2030, in sharp contrast to 26 million during the period 2000 to 2012.

In addition to age demographics, the brief points to potential impacts of technology and land use decisions that are likely to affect future commuting trends. For instance, recent growth of wireless devices allows transit riders to work or communicate while on buses or subways, and fast-developing technology for autonomous cars and connected vehicles could soon let roadway commuters tend to other tasks while their cars drive themselves.

“Regardless of how these phenomena play out, the boom in commuting growth is behind us, at least at the national level,” the brief claims.

In spite of some rather significant changes in demographics, the economy, technology, and the culture and values of residents, a long-term study of available transportation data shows that commuting behaviors have changed modestly over the past decade.

The Commuting in America 2013 series is used by public policy, planning, research, and education practitioners to better understand the patterns and trends in the nature of work and commuting that are influencing critical transportation policy issues and investment decisions.

“By better understanding how commuters select the mode of transportation they use, decision makers can create policies and programs to increase transit ridership, target traffic congestion and enhance the commuting experience,” says Alan Pisarski, a transportation consultant and co-author of the series.

The briefs include topics such as worker trends, vehicle and transit availability, vehicle ownership and licensure levels. It tracks population trends and the use of transit services, biking, walking and carpool commuting options.

“Our research finds that commute trip travel time and the pattern of commute traveling have remained remarkably stable over the past decade; However, employment conditions and consequently the nature of commuting continue to be in a dynamic period,” said co-author Steve Polzin, Ph.D., of the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida “Over time, these changes may continue to alter work-trip commuting trends and it’s important to continue track this data moving forward.”

NAPA announces winners of national paving awards

NAPA_LogoThe National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) has announced the winners of several awards honoring companies for excellence in construction of an asphalt pavement . The winning companies received their awards at a ceremony during the association’s 60th Annual Meeting in Marco Island, Fla.

2014 Sheldon G. Hayes Award

Northeast Asphalt Inc. of Green Bay, Wis., won the 2014 Sheldon G. Hayes Award for excellence in construction of an asphalt pavement. The award, bestowed annually since 1971, recognizes the country’s highest quality highway pavement.

Northeast Asphalt Inc. and the Wisconsin Department of Transporation Northeast Region were named the winner for Northeast Asphalt’s work on State Trunk Highway (STH) 22 from Gillet to Oconto Falls, Wis. In the spring of 2012, just prior to the start of Northeast Asphalt’s mill and overlay project, a utility conflict running along both sides of the 8.1-mile project was discovered, threatening to wreak havoc with planned completion before year’s end.

“In the typical utility relocation, it would happen just prior to us coming in and doing any work,” said Ric Szalewski, Project Manager at Northeast Asphalt for the winning project. “But they were anticipating a couple of months to relocate those utilities and there was talk of delaying the project until 2013.”

2014 Ray Brown Airport Pavement Award

S.T. Wooten Corp. of Wilson, N.C., took home the 2014 Ray Brown Airport Pavement Award. The honor is presented each year to the highest-rated airport project submitted for a NAPA Quality in Construction Award, which recognize asphalt pavements of excellence. The award is named for Ray Brown, who served many years as Director of the National Center for Asphalt Technology at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.

S.T. Wooten Corp. won the award for its work on Wilmington International Airport’s Runway 17-35, in Wilmington, N.C. The first step involved profile milling the existing pavement to a depth of three inches. Once completed, 24-inch wide high-density stress-relief interlayer fabric material was installed over existing reflective cracks that occurred at roughly 12- to 13-foot intervals.

“We had to put down the fabric interlayer because of the transverse cracks in the pavement that the milling didn’t get out,” said Chris Croom, Division Manager for S.T. Wooten Corp. “The fabric covers the cracks so it doesn’t reflect back through the new asphalt.”

 2014 Larry H. Lemon Quality in Construction Award

The Larry H. Lemon Award recognizes the 10 highest-scoring projects submitted for a Quality in Construction Award in the General Paving (Less Than 50,000 Tons) category.

“As an industry, asphalt pavement producers have devoted a great deal of time and effort to determining the best practices necessary to construct long-lasting, high-quality asphalt pavements that offer the durable performance pavement owners and the public value. This award compares nominated pavements against best practices and standards, and honor those that exemplify excellence in construction standards,” William C. Ensor III, 2014 Chairman of the NAPA Board of Directors stated.

The 2014 winners and their projects, arranged alphabetically, are:

  • Clark Construction of Texas in San Antonio, Texas, for its work on Bitters Road north of San Antonio from 281 West to Tomahawk Trail.
  • John R. Jurgensen of Cincinnati, Ohio for work on East Fork State Park bikepath in Clermont County, Ohio.
  • Knife River Materials Northern Minnesota of Bemidji, Minn., for its work on Barnes County Highway 21, just north of Valley City, N.D.
  • Northeast Asphalt of Greenville, Wis., for its work on State Trunk Highway (STH) 45 in Monico, Wis.
  • Pennsy Supply Inc., an Oldcastle Materials Co., of Pittston, Penn. for its work milling and resurfacing SR 611 in Mount Pocono, Penn.
  • The Shelly Co., an Oldcastle Materials Co., of Findlay, Ohio for its work in the City of Lima including all of West and Elizabeth Streets.
  • The Shelly Co., an Oldcastle Materials Co., of Thornville, Ohio for its workon Licking-Martinsburg Road in St. Louisville, Ohio.
  • The Shelly Co., an Oldcastle Materials Co., of Thornville, Ohio for its workon Gallia County-Jackson Pike (CR 35) in Gallipolis, Ohio.
  • The Shelly Co., an Oldcastle Materials Co., of Thornville, Ohio for its workon State Routes 32, 41, and 124 in Peebles, Ohio.
  • The Shelly Co., an Oldcastle Materials Co., of Thornville, Ohio for the minor rehabilitation of 20.76 miles of roadway on three separate rural roads in Gallia and Lawrence Counties.

Last year, 205 projects completed by 80 companies were honored with a Quality in Construction Award. Out of all the projects, 90 were singled out for their use of sustainable construction practices, such as incorporating reclaimed and recycled materials and using warm-mix asphalt.

“Quality pavements are something every road builder strives to construct. We want to build pavements that deliver on the promise of high performance and drivability for the public,” said William C. Ensor III, NAPA 2014 Chairman. “Projects that earn a Quality in Construction Award have been measured against industry best practices designed to live up to that promise. I’m proud to say that, in earning a 2014 QICAward, winning contractors have met or exceeded these rigorous quality standards.”

Details on all the winners and their projects, arranged alphabetically by state can be seen by clicking here.

Arkansas businessman to chair TRIP in 2015

Don Weaver.

Don Weaver.

Don Weaver,  Executive Vice President of Weaver Bailey Contractors in El Paso, Arkansas, has been elected 2015 chairman of the Board of Directors of TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.

Weaver-Baily Contractors was founded in 1960 as a specialty general contractor with an emphasis on quality concrete paving.  Today, Weaver-Bailey is recognized as the largest main line concrete paver in Arkansas.

Weaver joined the TRIP Board of Directors in 2004 and was appointed to its executive committee in 2008.

“Weaver Bailey Contractors strongly supports TRIP’s efforts to increase public awareness of the need to invest in America’s surface transportation system and I look forward to leading this fine organization,” Weaver said in a statement. “TRIP’s efforts to inform the public and lawmakers about the critical issues facing America’s transportation system are more important than ever as the debate over federal surface transportation funding continues in the nation’s capital; improving America’s surface transportation system not only saves lives and creates jobs, it also impacts our lives every day by increasing our mobility and accessibility, here in Arkansas, and throughout the country.”

In addition to his service as a TRIP director, Mr. Weaver is a past chairman of the AGC of America Highway and Transportation Division and past president of the Arkansas State Associated General Contractors.

TRIP also elected the following individuals as officers for 2015: Scott Williams, President,Hamilton Construction Company, Springfield, Ore., was elected president; Nick Yaksich, Vice President – Global Public Policy, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Milwaukee, Wis., was elected first vice president; David R. Gehr, Sr. Vice President, Highway Market Leader – Americas, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Herndon Va. was elected second vice president; and, L. Jeffrey DiStefano, Vice President, Harrison & Burrowes Bridge Constructors, Inc., Glenmont, N.Y., was re-elected secretary-treasurer.

TRIP also elected the following individuals to three year terms on its Board of Directors: John M. Irvine, Manager, Business Development, The Lane Construction Corporation, Chantilly, Virginia and Seth Myers, Vice President, Business Development, American Infrastructure, Worcester, Pa.

Transportation typo: Street sign misspelled in Brooklyn

Photo: New York Daily News

Photo: New York Daily News

 

If you read a lot of articles – whether it be in the newspaper or online – chances are you have come across several typos. But have you ever come across a misspelled street sign?

Department of Transportation workers in Brooklyn were made well aware of a type they made recently when “Remsen St.” was misspelled “Remsem St.” As reported by the New York Daily News, the typo was made despite the correct spelling being displayed on numerous doorways and awnings along the block.

Related:

Oopsie! DOT forgets to spellcheck interstate sign

Within 24 hours of the error, DOT workers fixed their mistake. The DOT did not release any information regarding the job status of the employee (or employees) who made the error.

AAA, ATA, U.S. Chamber of Commerce urge Congress to pass permanent fix for the Highway Trust Fund

writing a letterWith the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) inching ever so closer to insolvency, organizations are redoubling efforts to ensure Congress is passes a permanent fix, rather than a patch.

AAA, the American Trucking Associations, and the U.S Chamber of Commerce submitted a joint letter to Congress Jan. 26 urging members of the 114th Congress to raise the federal fuels user fee, which funds the HTF. The fee was last increased in 1993 under the Clinton administration. Without another patch, the HTF will no longer be funded beyond May of this year.

A bipartisan bill is in the works that would supply monies from a tax on overseas profits of U.S. companies. However, this may only be a short-term fix, as it’s being reported that the tax would only supply funds for two years.

“There are many challenges that Congress must address this year,” the groups stated in the letter, “ but we believe that finding a solution for funding the Highway Trust Fund is at the top of the list. Rather than continuing to resort to short-term funding patches that only delay tough decisions, our organizations support action to address the issue pragmatically, immediately, and sustainably.”

“While the impact of insufficient funding is evident,” the groups statement continued, “how we got here is not always clear.” To clarify this situation, the groups created an animated and interactive infographic to illustrate the impact of the HTF on the U.S. transportation system and how the federal fuels user fee is used.

The infographic describes in plain language exactly how the HTF benefits not only roadways, but the economic benefits of a sound transportation system. It includes details on the history of the fund, links to state infrastructure and roadwork project reports on The Road Information Program’s (TRIP) web site, and timelines on the funding patches and borrowing that has kept the HTF trudging along.

“While no one wants to pay more,” the groups added, “we urge you to support an increase to the federal fuels user fee, provided the funds are used to ease congestion and improve safety, because it is the most cost efficient and straightforward way to provide a steady revenue stream to the Highway Trust Fund.”

Article written by Chris Hill, Senior Editor of Equipment World.

Boehner discusses Highway Trust Fund on 60 Minutes

John Boehner.

John Boehner.

During a 60 Minutes interview, House Speaker John Boehner urged the importance of finding a long-term solution to the Highway Trust Fund, which is currently scheduled to run out of money in May.

“The biggest problem we have is that the Highway Trust Fund, which is funded by gasoline taxes, continues to shrink as cars get more and better mileage standards, Boehner told CBS anchor Scott Pelley. “So, the money that’s in the Highway Trust Fund isn’t sufficient to meet the infrastructure needs of the country.”

“When the Democrats controlled the House, the Senate and the White House, they couldn’t increase the gas tax,” he said. So what’s left? “We believe that through tax reform [and] a couple of other options that are being looked at, we can find the funds to fund a long-term highway bill. It’s critically important to the country.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has recently supported raising the country’s gasoline tax. “Gas prices are so low — oil prices are so low — (now) is the time to do it,” she said.

Excavator operator survives nasty rollover off of bridge

Fire officials snapped this shot of the rolled over excavator. Credit: Meriden Fire Dept. via @MeridenFire on Twitter

Fire officials snapped this shot of the rolled over excavator. Credit: Meriden Fire Dept. via @MeridenFire on Twitter

 

An excavator operator escaped a serious machine rollover while working alongside a bridge in Connecticut recently.

According to a report from the Record-Journal, Tom Bryda, was operating the excavator January 14 when it rolled over and slid down an embankment, settling below the Columbs Avenue bridge in Meriden.

A report from the Meriden Fire Department said Bryda suffered a head laceration and an injury to his left hand. He could not recall what caused the rollover. Two cranes were brought into the site to pull the excavator back up the embankment.

Bryda was working for Terryville-based Schultz Corp., a subcontractor for Wendell, McDonnel & Costello Inc., on a $1.1 million project to excavate the area around the bridge in order to widen the Harbor Brook channel that passes beneath it and add culverts.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun an investigation of the incident.

Operators and crews find discuss and prepare for tip over/rollver incidents using our collection of safety lessons for these types of accidents at our Safety Watch hub.

Article written by Wayne Grayson, Online Managing Editor of Equipment World.

Ohio worker’s death creates urgency on inspecting NJ bridges

Photo from the scene of the accident. | Credit: Jackie Congedo, Twitter.

Photo from the scene of the Ohio accident. | Credit: Jackie Congedo, Twitter.

Aging infrastructure issues are well-known topics across the political landscape, as President Obama alluded to in his recent State of the Union address. Unfortunately, it takes a tragic incident such as the death of an Ohio construction worker in an overpass collapse to really grab the attention of officials.

As a direct result of the Ohio incident, the New Jersey Department of Transportation is in the process of inspecting nearly 300 of what it calls “structurally deficient” bridges throughout the state. By the middle of the last week in January, the NJDOT plans to have inspected 40 such bridges. These inspections already prompted several lanes of a major route over the Hackensack River to be closed just before rush hour on January 21, according to the New Jersey Record.

In its recent report titled “New Jersey Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” The Road Information Program (TRIP) reveals that 10 percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and have “significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports, or other major components.” An additional 26 percent of the bridges don’t meet modern designs standards, which includes alignment, clearance, and lane-width issues.

According to TRIP’s report, the conditions of all New Jersey’s bridges and roadways cost the motorists of that state $11.8 billion each year in traffic crashes, congestion delays and operating costs. That comes to roughly $2,000 per driver.

“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director, in a statement regarding the report.

He alludes to the ongoing saga of funding the Highway Trust Fund, for which Congress passed a patch in August 2014 funding it only until May 31.

New Jersey for example, received $1.20 in road improvements from the federal surface transportation program for $1 it paid into federal motor fuel fees between 2008 and 2012, so the program is a significant funding source.

“Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source,” Wilkins added. “If not, New Jersey is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in fewer road and bridge repair projects, loss of jobs, and a burden on the state’s economy.”

Article written by Chris Hill, Senior Editor of Equipment World. 

John Keating named NAPA Man of the Year

John Keating.

John Keating.

The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) has named John J. Keating, President and Chief Operating Officer, East, for Oldcastle Materials, as its Man of the Year. The award was handed out during a surprise ceremony at the association’s 60th Annual Meeting in Marco Island, Florida.

The Man of the Year honor, which was last presented in 2009, recognizes outstanding contributions by industry leaders for the betterment of the entire asphalt industry. Keating was honored for his leadership in developing the asphalt industry’s marketing and communications platform and strengthening and unifying the partnership between the Asphalt Institute, the State Asphalt Pavement Associations, and NAPA.

“John possesses a clarity of purpose that has guided the industry’s market share efforts from inception to today. He clearly saw that the asphalt industry needed to stand up and talk about its product, using sound science and the trusted relationships held with road owners to share why asphalt pavements have always been and should always remain the pavement of choice when building new or reconstructing old pavements — they are smoother, safer, quieter, and quicker and easier to construct,” said Ron White, the 2007 Chairman of NAPA, who presented the award. White leads the Pavement Economics Committee, which directs NAPA–SAPA-funded research efforts.

Keating currently heads the industry’s Marketing Council, which brings together leadership from AI, NAPA, and the SAPAs to oversee research, marketing, and deployment activities for the asphalt pavement industry. These activities are grounded in pavement science and engineering and are backed by extensive market research into the needs of road owners and drivers.

NAPA names 2015 Chairman

Michael M. Cote.

Michael M. Cote.

The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) has named Michael M. Cote as its 2015 Chairman at a ceremony during the association’s 60th Annual Meeting on Monday. As chairman, Cote will be responsible for guiding NAPA’s efforts to support and advance the asphalt pavement industry.

Cote is executive vice president and chief development officer for The LANE Construction Corp., based in Cheshire, Connecticut. The company specializes in heavy civil construction services and products for the transportation, infrastructure and energy industries with some 60 asphalt plants and 12 quarries across the eastern United States.

Cote takes over as NAPA Chairman at a time when a series of industry-backed research projects are being completed. These efforts will help quantify the high-performance attributes of asphalt pavements, and will be supported by industry marketing and deployment efforts to deliver information about pavement innovations to departments of transportation, public works agencies, and other road owners.

“It is an exciting time for the asphalt pavement industry. We face many challenges — from uncertainty in Washington about how to fund needed investment in our national infrastructure to a strong competitive threat from alternative paving materials — but I am certain we are well aligned to ensure drivers continue to enjoy smooth, safe, easy-to-maintain asphalt pavements for the foreseeable future,” Cote said in a statement.

Cote has been an active member of NAPA since The LANE Construction Corp. joined the association over a decade ago. He has served on multiple committees and task forces focused on industry innovations and best practices, including the Warm-Mix Asphalt Task Force, which helped bring energy-saving WMA technology to the U.S. Most recently, he was a leader of an industry scan tour of Japan that sought to understand how Japanese roadbuilders are making quality pavements from mixes that incorporate very high levels of reclaimed asphalt pavement.

“Being the leader for the industry and putting innovation into practice is something NAPA has always done, and will continue to do,” says Cote. “I am proud to be a part of that, as are all NAPA members.”

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