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The Infra Blog

Green Highway Snow and Ice Control Cuts the Chemicals

Monday, November 24th, 2014
Xianming Shi with the industrial size mixer he uses to concoct green deicers and ice-free pavement. (Photo by Rebecca Phillips, University Communications)

By Rebecca Phillips, University Communications, Washington State UniversityPULLMAN, Wash. – Ice-free pavement. “Smart snowplows.” Vegetable juice ice-melt. Cold-climate researchers at Washington State University are clearing the road with green alternatives to the salt, sand and chemicals typically used for highway snow and ice control.As a nation, “we are kind of salt addicted, like with petroleum, […]

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Interactive Map: Visualizing Urban Watersheds

Friday, November 21st, 2014
Los Angeles Freshwater Sources

Want to learn more about water’s journey to reach your tap? Check out The Nature Conservancy’s massively informative Urban Water Blueprint.

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Guest on The Infra Blog: Robyn Boerstling, Director, Transportation & Infrastructure Policy, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)

Monday, November 17th, 2014
Robyn Boerstling, NAM, on The Infra Blog

Robyn M. Boerstling joined the National Association of Manufacturers in April 2008 as the Director of Transportation and Infrastructure Policy. Robyn helps direct the NAM’s transportation advocacy agenda and works on legislative and coalition efforts that seek to repair and modernize the nation’s infrastructure.

“I think citizen engagement is absolutely critical and that’s one of the reasons why this issue is so important to our members. We also don’t just talk about issues at the NAM, we get our members engaged in talking on the Hill about the significance of these things.”

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Do You ORCycle? New App Aims to Improve Cycling in Oregon

Friday, November 14th, 2014
ORCycle

Responding to a clear lack of data relating to infrastructure issues, safety, and cycling routes, ORCycle proposes to connect cyclists directly with transportation planners, potentially leading to rapid improvements in the efficiency and safety of Oregon’s cycling network.

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Transportation Policy and Funding in the Post-Election Climate

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 15
The mid-term elections have put an end to any lingering hope of passing a long-term transportation bill during the congressional lame duck session. Such hope was recently expressed by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and two Democratic senators, Tom Carper (D-DE) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee…But with the November elections heralding a fiscally more conservative political climate and with Congress preoccupied with a whole lot of unfinished business, passing a massive multi-year multi-billion funding bill for transportation during the lame duck session will be the last thing on the lawmakers’ minds.

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Interactive Map: Geothermal Energy Potential

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014
U.S. DOT: Geothermal Energy Interactive Map

The U.S. Department of Energy has collected data on heat flows in the United States for decades, and has visualized the information in a variety of ways. Their latest interactive map shows where the most geothermal energy potential is located, and where energy companies are already capitalizing on geothermal sources to bolster the grid.

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How to Be Prepared For the Inevitable Takeover of Autonomous Vehicles: A Letter to Jeff Brandes

Friday, November 7th, 2014
"I sure hope no one else gets in here." Photo from Car and Driver.

In Florida, Republican state senator Jeff Brandes is making the case that Pinellas County – home of the last metro area in the U.S. to develop a regional transit network – shouldn’t invest in light rail because autonomous vehicles will make mass transit pointless…In that spirit, I’ve put together a list of recommendations that Mr. Brandes can use in developing policy to prepare for this brave new world of robotic transportation. It’s one thing not to waste money on a boondoggle technology like light rail that’s faithfully served people for barely even 100 years –if we’re serious about autonomous vehicles and their guaranteed ability to solve all of our problems, we need to be more proactive.

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Introduction to Solar Roadways

Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Introduction to Solar Roadways

If you have seen this viral video, you will know that Julie and Scott Brusaw have grabbed the imagination of several million people, with an invention that could benefit the lives of hundreds of times that number…When I saw it, several questions occurred to me about things such as cost, practicality, durability, traction and (a bit later) the effect of dirt covering, power generation/distribution, and several more…Here’s a small selection of questions from a large number that have already been answered (and whose answers are kept current as the project evolves)

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National ‘Bicyclist Safety’ report gets actual safety trends backwards

Thursday, October 30th, 2014
bikereport1

By Michael Andersen, News Editor, BikePortland.org

A report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association Monday is a perfect example of what can go wrong when safety experts get stuck behind their own windshields. The GHSA, an umbrella organization for state departments of transportation whose claims to fame include popularizing the phrase “aggressive pedestrians,” is surely staffed by smart people who are working hard to reduce injuries and deaths. But the problems in this report start right at the top.

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Guest on The Infra Blog: Aaron M. Renn, Urban Affairs Analyst and Founder of The Urbanophile

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Aaron M. Renn on The Infra Blog

Aaron M. Renn is The Urbanophile, an opinion-leading urban affairs analyst, entrepreneur, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive in the 21st century.

“Fundamentally, we have to take a hard look in the mirror and realize that, to some extent, the systems that we have in place in America are a reflection of the values of the people who live here…The public needs to take a look in the mirror and say this is what we’ve chosen as a society.”

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