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Infra Views

Modeling Taxi Demand with GPS Data

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Figure 1. Taxi Pickups and Drop-Offs from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE
Taxis provide an alternative to conventional public transit services in many cities, and understanding the demand for taxis requires consideration of the role that taxis serve in the greater transportation system. This report presents the results of a study to model taxi demand across time and space, explicitly accounting for the presence and quality of transit service. The primary objective of the study was to identify the factors that drive taxi demand and to understand how this varies by location and time of day. This was accomplished by developing demand models for taxi trip generation and mode choice that explicitly account for the characteristics of transit service in the neighborhoods where trips are made. The resulting insights are useful for making regulatory, planning, and engineering decisions about how to manage taxi markets, accounting for their role in the transportation system.

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The Effect of Smart Growth Policies on Travel Demand

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
Table 1. Summary of Background Research Assessment

STRATEGIC HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM
TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD
While the transportation-land use connection and the impact of various smart growth strategies on travel demand are well-documented, practical guidance and tools for interpreting these insights to make them useful at key project decision points have been lacking. The objective of SHRP 2 Capacity project C16 was to provide transportation planning agencies with improved tools and methods for more accurately and comprehensively integrating transportation investment decision-making with land development and growth management.

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Catching the Wind: State Actions Needed to Seize the Golden Opportunity of Atlantic Offshore Wind Power

Monday, July 21st, 2014
EAST COAST ENERGY GOLD MINE

NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION
The Atlantic coastline is at the epicenter of America’s energy and environmental challenges, with state leaders currently facing critical decisions to meet the region’s growing energy demands and protect our communities and wildlife from the impacts of climate change. The cities, metropolitan areas, and sprawling suburbs that stretch along the East Coast have a massive, pollution-free energy source ready to meet these challenges –– offshore wind.

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An Economic Analysis of Transportation Infrastructure Investment

Friday, July 18th, 2014
Why Congress Needs to Reauthorize Funding to Rebuild America

THE WHITE HOUSE: NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL & THE PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISORS
A high quality transportation network is vital to a top performing economy. Investments by previous generations of Americans – from the Erie Canal in 1807, to the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, to the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s and 1960s – were instrumental in putting the country on a path for sustained economic growth, productivity increases, an unrivaled national market for good and services, and international competitiveness. But today, current estimates indicate that America’s transportation infrastructure is not keeping pace with demands or the needs of our growing economy, for today or for future generations.

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Water & Climate Risks Facing U.S. Corn Production

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Competition for Water in Areas of Irrigated Corn Production

CERES
U.S. corn farmers are among the most productive and technologically advanced in the world, generating a record harvest of nearly 14 billion bushels in 2013—enough corn to fill a freight train longer than the circumference of the Earth. This production supports a mammoth agricultural sector comprised not just of farmers, but also major food, feed and energy companies that have an enormous stake in the long-term productivity and resilience of American agriculture. However, in the face of this bounty, three major threats to U.S. corn production loom: climate change, unsustainable water use and inefficient and damaging fertilizer practices.

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Rural America’s Rental Housing

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Too many rural homes are unaffordable or substandard

NATIONAL RURAL HOUSING COALITION
For several decades, communities in rural America have struggled to provide access to clean, decent, and affordable housing. With lower incomes and higher poverty rates, rural renters—including aging seniors, individuals and families with very low incomes, persons with disabilities, and farmworkers—face especially daunting barriers to affordable housing.

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Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland

Monday, July 14th, 2014
Chart 1. Rural Population Change 2010-2012 by County

TRIP
America’s rural heartland plays a vital role as home to a significant share of the nation’s population, many of its natural resources and popular tourist destinations, and as the primary source of the energy, food and fiber that supports America’s economy and way of life. The strength of the nation’s rural economy relies greatly on the quality of its transportation system, particularly its roadways, which link rural America with the rest of the U.S. and to markets in other countries. The economy of rural America, which supports the quality of life for the approximately 46 million Americans living in rural areas, rides on the quality and connectivity of the rural transportation system.

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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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