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Infra Views

Wasting Our Waterways: Toxic Industrial Pollution and Restoring the Promise of the Clean Water Act

Friday, July 11th, 2014
Figure ES-1. Industrial Discharges of Toxic Chemicals to Waterways by Watershed Region

ENVIRONMENT CALIFORNIA
Industrial facilities continue to dump millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s rivers, streams, lakes and ocean waters each year – threatening both the environment and human health. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), toxic discharges from industrial facilities are responsible for polluting more than 17,000 miles of rivers and about 210,000 acres of lakes, ponds and estuaries nationwide.

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Modal Shift and High-Speed Rail: A Review of the Current Literature

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE
This report provides a review of scholarly literature with direct relevance to the topic of modal shift and high-speed rail (HSR). HSR systems are usually planned on the expectation that they will attract riders who would have chosen other modes (such as air, automobile, bus, etc.) had the HSR not been created. Identifying and measuring the actual ability of HSR to effect modal shift is therefore critical. To establish the most current systematic research on the topic, this report examines the evidence concerning HSR and modal shift in both secondary analyses of previous studies and in newer studies that use primarily original data. The studies that were reviewed comprise a large variety of HSR systems, time periods, data sources, and means of analysis.

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Making the Grade: A National Six-Point Plan to Regain America’s Infrastructure Leadership

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
SPECIFIC ECONOMIC IMPACTS BY 2020

AUTODESK
Making The Grade represents the consensus of many who attended the meeting “Executing a Sustainable Infrastructure Vision” convened by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) initially in 2012. The Making the Grade roundtable that followed in 2013 was comprised of experts from 45 companies representing the scope of the U.S. infrastructure industry—planning, engineering, construction, and technology—and their counterparts from local governments, professional organizations, think tanks, financial advisors, academic institutions, and others. Participants agreed to an ambitious goal: describe a new vision and path forward for regaining and sustaining America’s public infrastructure leadership.

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Effects of Natural Gas Vehicles and Fuel Prices on Key Transportation Economic Metrics

Monday, July 7th, 2014
Figure 1: World, OECD, and U.S. Oil Demand (U.S. EIA, 2012)

WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
This report responds to an inquiry by the State of Washington about the viability of natural gas as an alternative source of energy for transportation. The report is organized around responses to several key research tasks. These tasks are to: 1) Document the increase in supply of natural gas, estimate future price, and availability; 2) Assess the extent to which natural gas is likely to substitute for petroleum; 3) Estimate the extent to which price and performance effects will influence VMT trends in Washington State; 4) Estimate changes in GHG emissions in Washington State attributable to increased use of natural gas; 5) Estimate potential loss of fuel tax revenue attributable to substitution of natural gas for petroleum fuels.

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Lessons from the Green Lanes: Evaluating Protected Bike Lanes in the U.S.

Friday, July 4th, 2014
Figure ES-2. Protected Bike Lanes included in the research

NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNITIES
As cities move to increase levels of bicycling for transportation, many practitioners and advocates have promoted the use of protected bike lanes (also known as “cycle tracks” or “protected bikeways”) as an important component in providing high-quality urban infrastructure for cyclists. These on-street lanes provide more space and physical separation between the bike lane and motor vehicle lane compared with traditional striped bike lanes. However, few U.S. cities have direct experiences with their design and operations, in part because of the limited design guidance provided in the past.

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Features of a Fully Renewable US Electricity System: Wind and Solar PV

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
Figures 1 and 2

STANFORD UNIVERSITY
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
CO2 and air pollution emission reduction goals as well as energy security, price stability, and affordability considerations make renewable electricity generation attractive. A highly renewable electricity supply will be based to a large extent on wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) power, since these two resources are both abundant and either relatively inexpensive or rapidly becoming cost competitive. Such a system demands a fundamentally different design approach: While electricity generation was traditionally constructed to be dispatchable in order to follow the demand, wind and solar PV power output is largely determined by weather conditions that are out of human control.

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Parking in San Francisco: Pilot Project Evaluation

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Smart meters, legacy meters and SFpark areas: Location of smart meters and blocks participating in rate adjustments

SFpark
SAN FRANCISCO MUNICIPAL TRANSPORTATION AGENCY
While the SFpark pilot project had many goals, its primary focus was to make it easier to find a parking space. More precisely, the goal was to increase the amount of time that there was parking available on every block and improve the utilization of garages. Besides helping drivers, making it easier to park more of the time was expected to deliver other benefits (e.g., reducing circling, double parking, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.).

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The Highway Trust Fund and Surface Transportation Programs in the Federal Budget

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
Figure 1: Receipts, Outlays, and Balance or Shortfall for the Highway Trust Fund Under CBO’s April 2014 Baseline

CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE
The federal government spends more than $50 billion per year on surface transportation programs, mostly in the form of grants to state and local governments. Much of this spending is for highways and mass transit programs financed through the Highway Trust Fund. Those programs have an unusual treatment in the federal budget, and the way they are classified in the budget facilitates the spending of more money from the trust fund than there are dedicated revenues to support such spending. Those revenues come from excise taxes on the sale of motor fuels, trucks and trailers, and truck tires, and from taxes on the use of certain kinds of vehicles.

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The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply

Monday, June 30th, 2014
Figure 2. Total water supply and demand changes with four drought response strategies, in thousand acre-feet per year, by hydrologic region

PACIFIC INSTITUTE
NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL

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The BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) Standard

Friday, June 27th, 2014
EXAMPLE OF TWO-WAY MEDIAN-ALIGNED BUSWAY THAT IS IN THE CENTRAL VERGE OF A TWO-WAY ROAD 8 POINTS

INSTITUTE FOR TRANSPORTATION & DEVELOPMENT POLICY

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