Policy

International Walk to School Day and Safe Routes

going to school

Today International Walk to School Day in the USA. Did you know that? You probably did. Everyday can be walk to school day through the work of the Safe Routes to School program, a multidisciplinary coalition with members from transportation, public health, and housing. Their report, Getting Students Active through Safe Routes to School: Policies and Action Steps for Education Policymakers and Professionals, contains information about how schools can implementa a safe routes program and things to consider. The TransForm report, Bringing Safe Routes to Scale, which focuses on the Bay Area. SafeTREC researchers Jill Cooper and Tracy McMillan published a report last year that evaluated 10 low income schools

 

2011 Data Visualization Student Challenge

Can you convert datasets to relevant information? Can you use visualization techniques to shed new light on transportation issues? US DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) is looking for great data visualization ideas from students to support better informed policy and investment decisions. The themes are Transportation Safety and Economic Development. The Challenge website provides details and offers suggestions of possible datasets from the Census Bureau, FAA and other sources. Entries are due by October 31. The two best submissions will be recognized at TRB's Annual Meeting in January 2012; travel expenses will be paid for one member of each of the two teams, and each will be awarded a $2000 scholarship.

Fuel-Economy Standards to Double by 2025

This morning in Washington D.C., away from the debt ceiling debate, President Obama spoke about raising fuel efficiency standards. On stage with auto industry executives, he laid out his plan:

And today, these outstanding companies are committing to doing a lot more.  The companies here today have endorsed our plan to continue increasing the mileage on their cars and trucks over the next 15 years.  We’ve set an aggressive target, and the companies here are stepping up to the plate. 

By 2025, the average fuel economy of their vehicles will nearly double to almost 55 miles per gallon.  (Applause.)  So this is an incredible commitment that they’ve made.  And these are some pretty tough business guys.  They know their stuff.  And they wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t think that it was ultimately going to be good business and good for America. 

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Using less oil also means our cars will produce fewer emissions.  So when your kids are biking around the neighborhood, they’ll be breathing less pollution and fewer toxins.  It means we’re doing more to protect our air and water.  And it means we’re reducing the carbon pollution that threatens our climate.

The President took time to thank California for leading the charge for better fuel efficiency in vehicles. You may remember when the state sued the EPA in 2008 over emissions rules where Federal standards did not meet the aggressive targets of AB 32

FAA shutdown continues.

In the wake of Congress' failure to pass FAA Reauthorization, the US has entered the fifth day of the FAA shutdown. The economic toll is already being calculated. Secretary LaHood urged Congress to look at the larger implications of the FAA shutdown:

Here are the facts. At a time when unemployment in the construction sector is in the double digits, Congress' inaction has forced the FAA to issue stop-work orders on dozens of control tower construction projects already underway, from Wilkes-Barre to Kalamazoo, from Gulfport to Las Vegas and from Oakland to Palm Springs.

The FAA was also on the verge of selecting contractors to build new towers in Cleveland and Fort Lauderdale. These projects are now at a standstill and could be forfeited altogether if this situation continues too much longer. Even worse, $2.5 billion slated for additional airport construction is sitting idle rather than paying salaries.

Furthermore, Congress' irresponsibility has left the FAA with no choice but to put approximately 4,000 public servants on unpaid leave in 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This includes many of the agency's top engineers, scientists, planners, analysts and program managers.

The ripple effects of this crisis will be more destructive still. Middle-class households won't receive paychecks while their bills mount. Contractors will stop buying supplies. Small-business owners will buy fewer goods.

With our fragile economy teetering, these are blows America simply can't afford.

While Congress hasn't budged on the FAA Reauthorization, nevermind the Debt Ceiling, they are demanding that the airlines stop pocketing extra fares.  

 

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