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MassDot Greening the State Transportation System

April 18, 2013 in Transportation

 

Massachusetts Department of Transportation launched GreenDOT, a comprehensive environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative that will make MassDOT a national leader in “greening” the state transportation system. GreenDOT will be driven by three primary goals; reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, promote the healthy transportation options of walking, bicycling, and public transit, and support smart growth development.  In May of 2012, MassDOT released a Draft GreenDOT Implementation Plan for public review. The Plan was written to embed the sustainability vision of GreenDOT into the core business practices of MassDOT. According to the website, GreenDOT calls for MassDOT to incorporate sustainability into all of its activities; from strategic planning to project design and construction to system operation. The initiative includes greenhouse gas reduction targets mandated under the Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by Governor Patrick in 2008. GreenDOT was designed in response to several existing state laws, Executive Orders, and MassDOT policies.

For more information about GreenDot visit the website at http://transportation.blog.state.ma.us/blog/2013/03/greendot-plan-leads-the-way-sustainable-transportation.html

GCRTA HealthLine named ‘Best BRT in USA’

April 17, 2013 in cleveland, Transportation

Photo by Joshua Gunter, The Plain Dealer

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) recently received a Silver rating for the HealthLine – the highest ranking of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System in United States.

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) presented the award for the HealthLine to Joseph Calabrese, CEO and General Manager, RTA, as well as to Mayor Frank Jackson, City of Cleveland, for its support of the project, on Tuesday, April 16 at 200 Public Square.

“The HealthLine is an example of how BRT can help to revitalize city centers, speed commutes, improve air quality, and leverage investment and development near transit, as we’ve seen with Cleveland,” said Walter Hook, ITDP CEO. “We consider the HealthLine to be a best practice for BRT in the US, and our hope is that it encourages other US cities to adopt this cutting-edge form of mass transit.”

Former Senator George Voinovich supported this project from his many years in Cleveland and served as its champion.

“It is a credit to the dedicated staff at RTA and the City of Cleveland that the HealthLine has been rated by the BRT Standard as the highest-quality bus rapid transit corridor in the United States,” said George Voinovich, retired Senator. “The HealthLine has not only dramatically improved transportation options from downtown to University Circle, it’s also been a catalyst for nearly six billion dollars of real estate investment along Euclid Avenue and is contributing a great deal toward revitalizing the city.”

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Interested in Learning About Natural Gas Vehicles?

April 15, 2013 in ACT, News, Transportation

Click on the flyer below to register…

Stark County Area Transportation Public Meeting on Wednesday

April 8, 2013 in Stark, Transportation

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is developing the State Fiscal Year 2014-2017 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The STIP is the four-year plan listing highway, transit, pedestrian and bicycle projects that will occur throughout Ohio for the next  four fiscal years.

Projects are derived from Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO), ODOT Central and District Offices, and from others throughout the State. This includes projects originated from
the Stark County Area Transportation Study (SCATS), which is the MPO for Stark County. As part of the public involvement process, SCATS will hold a Public Meeting at the Stark County District Library Main Branch on Wednesday, April 10th, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. You are invited to review and comment on the current list of projects scheduled by ODOT for state fiscal years 2014-2017 as well as the SCATS 2014-2017 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and SCATS 2040 Long Range Plan.

For more information, visit their website.

Oberlin Project: Rethink Your Ride

April 1, 2013 in ACT, Transportation

The Oberlin Project is launching another Rethink Your Ride Alternative Transportation Challenge from today through April 21.

From their website

2013 Rethink Your Ride Alternative Transportation

Last year during the Fall Rethink Your Ride Challenge, participants avoided over 3,700 single occupancy vehicle miles during the six-week competition. This year the Oberlin Project is coordinating this community-wide alternative transportation challenge in association with Oberlin College’s Ecolympics event for those who live, learn, work, and play in Oberlin. The Ecolympics is a competition between dorms to reduce electricity and water. In addition, there will be dozens of events aimed at education and integrating principles of sustainability into the entire Oberlin community.

Transportation and housing costs can account for as much as 45% of a household income. Using alternative methods of transportation for local shopping and daily commute to work may create a healthier lifestyle, reduce transportation expense while also reducing carbon emissions. The goal is to “Rethink Your Ride” and eliminate at least one trip of single miles traveled in a personal vehicle week and replacing it with walking, biking, car-sharing, Oberlin Community Connector Bus or other low-carbon modes of transportation while also helping the community reduce carbon emissions. We encourage all Oberlin community members, Oberlin College staff and students to develop healthy yet sustainable travel habits that eliminate carbon emissions. This is a fun and friendly three-week challenge that begins on Monday, April 1 through Sunday, April 21.

For more information visit The Oberlin Project.

Learn: What is the cost to live here and get there?

March 28, 2013 in Housing, News, Transportation

As two of the most significant expenses in our personal lives, housing and transportation cost can play a key role in our quality of life and where we choose to live.  Over the last few years a new tool has been developed by the Center for Neighborhood Technology to analyze some of these costs relative to income and geography.

To integrate this way of thinking into the choices and decisions made by home buyers, renters, urban and transportation planners, and developers, CNT and our collaborative partner, the Center for Transit Oriented Development (CTOD), developed a groundbreaking tool, the Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, that measures the true affordability of housing choice-by factoring in both housing and transportation costs in a neighborhood.

The cost of getting around takes a significant bite out of household budgets. The average family in the United States spends about 18% of after-tax income on transportation, but this varies significantly by income and geography. The H+T Index establishes an affordability standard for transportation costs of 15% of household income.

The H+T Index offers an expanded view of affordability that combines housing and transportation costs and sets the benchmark for housing and transportation affordability at no more than 45% of household income. By this measure, the number of affordable neighborhoods in the United States drops to 28%.

A regional view of H + T Costs can be found on the Conditions and Trends platform. You can use the index on-line to compare different geographies in Northeast Ohio as well as other parts of the country.

Digi-NEO…facts about Northeast Ohio

March 15, 2013 in Conditions and Trends, Connections, Engagement, Environment, News, Quality Connected Places, Transportation

During the course of developing the NEOSCC Conditions and Trends Platform, we developed 33 findings across the subject matter areas of economic development, transportation, housing, the environment and quality connected places in Northeast Ohio.  In order to communicate some of these findings, we have developed the Digi-NEO program which highlights different facts about the region’s successes as well as its challenges.

Visit our Digi NEO Gallery to learn more about our region.

Exploring Alternative Fuels and Efficiency in Oberlin

February 14, 2013 in climate action, Sustainability, Transportation

College Joins Project to Reduce Vehicle Emissions and Adopt Alternative Fuels

FEB 11, 2013

Oberlin College has joined in a collaborative project with the city of Oberlin to improve energy efficiency and plan for alternative fuels for its fleet of vehicles.

The city, along with Oberlin College and eight other local partners, recently applied for an $86,000 grant from the Local Government Innovation Fund. The city will select an independent consultant to develop fuel- and cost-saving strategies, and to assess the feasibility of alternative fuels. The project will result in action plans to reduce fuel costs and emissions by 15 percent over three years, as well as logistical and infrastructure plans for the shared use of alternative fuels — including compressed natural gas, propane, electric/hybrid, and biofuels.

Fleet efficiency and alternative fuels are important measures toward achieving Oberlin’s goal of becoming the first climate positive city in the United States, says Oberlin City Manager Eric Norenberg. As signers of the Clinton Foundation Climate Positive Development Program, the city and college are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions below zero by 2050 and 2025, respectively.

“We are committed to good stewardship of the city’s financial resources and the environment, and this grant will help us do both,” Norenberg says. “The city and its partners in this effort will learn how to operate our fleets more efficiently and develop plans to further reduce emissions with alternative fuels and technologies.  Combining these strategies in one project will help move our community towards carbon neutrality.”

The Oberlin Project, a Joint venture between the City of Oberlin and Oberlin Ohio

To promote the expanded adoption of alternative fuels in Lorain County and throughout Ohio, a case study about each fleet’s progress, as well as the complete process and methodology for calculating potential demand alternative fuels will be published on cityofoberlin.com.

In addition to the city and college, the Oberlin Fuel Forward Project includes Oberlin City Schools, New Russia Township, Kendal at Oberlin, Lorain County Joint Vocational School, Lorain County Community College, Republic Services, Custom Cleaning Services, and Lorain County Metroparks.

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Transit Space Race 2013

February 6, 2013 in News, Transportation

At Reconnecting America’s Transit Space Race page you’ll find a map of all the under construction and planned fixed guideway transit projects in the United States.  These projects were gathered in 2012 from local sources including but not limited to, long range plans, discussions with local officials, and newspaper coverage.   We understand that these projects are fluid and the estimates of cost as well as the projects themselves are subject to change frequently.  This list should be seen as a snapshot in time and not a definitive source on the subject matter.

Projects listed within the Transit Space Race are fixed guideway projects including heavy rail, commuter rail, LRT, streetcars, various technologies such as cog railways, and Bus Rapid Transit lines that have more than 50% of their right of way dedicated to the bus alone.  Rapid buses without dedicated lanes are an important part of any transit network however the inclusion of them in this project would have made the list hard to create.   Additionally, this catalog is not a list of projects we would like to see built or an endorsement of any project.  It is simply a list of what regions around the country have listed as potential projects.

Check out Reconnecting America’s page to learn more!

Cleveland Launches a Bike Share Study

January 25, 2013 in News, Sustainability, Transportation

Over the next 6 months, Cleveland’s Bike Share Task Force will be taking a look at the feasibility of bike sharing and reviewing recommended business models for operating a system in the city. Building off of recent momentum in cycling and complete and green streets, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability issued a Request for Proposals in autumn 2012 and has contracted with Toole Design Group (TDG) as the lead consultant for this project.

Bike Share Task Force: In anticipation of the feasibility study, the Bike Share Task Force formed to provide a platform to advise the project and to assist with stakeholder engagement. The Bike Share Task Force consists of representatives from many organizations who see the potential benefits of bike sharing in Cleveland:

  • Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
  • ClevelandCity Planning
  • GreenCityBlueLake Institute
  • Bike Cleveland
  • Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
  • Cleveland City Planning Commission
  • Positively Cleveland
  • Midtown Cleveland
  • Ohio City Inc.
  • Downtown Cleveland Alliance/Cleveland Bike Rack
  • Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency
  • Cuyahoga County
  • University Circle Inc.

Consultants: The lead consultant, TDG is a leading engineering, planning, and landscape architecture firm specializing in multi-modal transportation.  TDG served as the author and principal investigator for Bike Sharing in The United States: State of the Practice and Guide to Implementation (2012), an independent study of current bike sharing programs in the United States, on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The purpose of the guide is to assist communities contemplating bike share with answers to common questions, guidance on conducting feasibility studies, and information on how to successfully launch and manage a program. www.bicyclinginfo.org/bikeshare

BrownFlynn is a sub-consultant that will lead the community engagement portion of the feasibility study. BrownFlynn is a women-owned sustainability and corporate social responsibility consulting firm

bikesharemap

Current bike share systems operating in the United States. Click for an interactive map.

Why Now? Bicycling in Cleveland is on the rise. The most recent American Community Survey indicated an increase of 280% from 2000 to 2010 of people commuting to work by bicycle. Numerous bicycle-related businesses and services have opened in the City, including a commuter bike parking station, The Bike Rack. This past September cyclists and civic leaders created Bike Cleveland, a unified bicycle advocacy organization serving greater Cleveland.

Also, the City has recently adopted two pieces of legislation that will increase safety for the growing number of cyclists:

1. The first Complete and Green Streets ordinance in the state that requires road projects to incorporate best practices in Complete Streets and Green Infrastructure.

2. The Bicycle Transportation Safety ordinance that includes provisions to make streets safer for biking and walking, including a 3-ft passing requirement.

Benefits of Bike Sharing: Bike-sharing in urban areas can positively affect how residents, employees, and visitors experience a city.  Bike-transit systems allow for more people to access cycling for short trips, replace vehicle use, cycle for fitness and recreation, and for tourists and residents alike to explore a city.

Project Details: The Bike Share study is divided into two sections: a feasibility study and, dependent on the results of the feasibility study, an implementation plan for a flexible and automated on-demand bicycle sharing system. The feasibility study will include locations and sitings, integration with the existing transit system, technical discussions, and best practices. The feasibility study will incorporate public engagement in order to gather data about public interest and public feedback pertaining to bike sharing in the City. We anticipate the engagement process will address the particular needs of geographic areas of the City and the transportation network.

If determined feasible, the Implementation Plan portion of the project will provide a concise and comprehensive plan for the launch of the bike share network, including:

  • realistic projected costs of implementation;
  • recommended business model and business plan;
  • timeline for implementation;
  • performance standards/evaluation criteria; and
  • operations and maintenance plan.

Cleveland is  looking forward to launching this project this month and determining if and how bike sharing can be a beneficial option for Cleveland’s citizens, commuters and visitors provide economic development opportunity and reduce our city’s carbon footprint.

What Can I do today?