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Infra Views

Toward a 21st Century Electricity System in California

Monday, August 31st, 2015
Figure 1: California

ADVANCED ENERGY ECONOMY INSTITUTE (AEE INSTITUTE)
California’s portfolio of policies, statutes and regulatory actions, whether existing or proposed, has set the state on a path to significant de-carbonization of its energy sector. When coupled with broader industry and societal trends, a transformation of the grid is underway at both the wholesale and retail levels.

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Dynamic Scoring and Infrastructure Spending

Friday, August 28th, 2015
Figure 1: Federal Capital Spending Lags Real GDP

MCGRAW HILL FINANCIAL
GLOBAL INSTITUTE
We review recent trends in federal infrastructure spending and the policy case for dynamic scoring of revenue and spending legislation. The use of dynamic scoring depends upon the magnitudes of near‐term impacts on economy‐wide spending and the long‐run impacts on productivity. We conclude that federal infrastructure investment should be dynamically scored…A simple example suggests that $100 billion in new infrastructure spending could generate an extra $62.5 to $165.5 billion in national output over the next twenty years, based on a range of scenarios. Assuming a 20 percent effective tax rate, this $100 billion infrastructure investment would generate a 20‐year revenue offset ranging from $12.5 to $33.1 billion.

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Scenario Planning for Freight Transportation Infrastructure Investment

Thursday, August 27th, 2015
Figure 7. Stress Map of the United States from participants’ sample form (back)

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD
The future rarely moves in predictable, incremental ways. Often seemingly small changes in technology, demographics, regulations, economics, or a myriad of other factors have dramatic and unintended impacts on how any organization (public or private) plans and operates. These nonlinear impacts are very difficult to predict using traditional forecasting methods and techniques since they, by definition, do not follow any historical patterns.

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Status of Positive Train Control Implementation

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION
In 2008, after multiple accidents and urging from safety advocates and experts, as well as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Congress mandated that railroads implement Positive Train Control (PTC) systems by December 31, 2015. A majority of railroads will not meet this statutory deadline.

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An Evaluation Study of Plants for Use on Green Roofs

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
Green Roof plants

CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN
The environmental benefits include conserving water, reducing interior noise pollution, mitigating stormwater runoff, reducing the urban heat-island effect, improving urban air quality through carbon dioxide-oxygen exchange, and creating habitats for a diversity of birds, insects, and animals. Along with extending the life of the roof by two to three times over a conventional roof, economic benefits include reducing energy costs—both heating and cooling—increasing property values, and meeting requirements for stormwater management.

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Everyone Walks: Understanding & Addressing Pedestrian Safety

Monday, August 24th, 2015
Family on crosswalk

GOVERNORS HIGHWAY SAFETY ASSOCIATION
EVERYONE IS A PEDESTRIAN. WHETHER YOU DRIVE A CAR, RIDE a bicycle or take a bus to school, work, shop or play, your journey always begins and ends on foot. While we continue to ponder the age old question, What came first, the chicken or the egg?, when it comes to mobility there is no doubt our feet preceded the wheel.

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Wind Technologies Market Report

Friday, August 21st, 2015
Figure 1. Annual and cumulative growth in U.S. wind power capacity

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Annual wind power capacity additions in the United States rebounded in 2014, and continued growth through 2016 is anticipated. Recent and projected near-term growth is supported by the industry’s primary federal incentive—the production tax credit (PTC)—which is available for projects that began construction by the end of 2014. Wind additions are also being driven by recent improvements in the cost and performance of wind power technologies, which have resulted in the lowest power sales prices ever seen in the U.S. wind sector.

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The Benefits of Transit in the United States

Thursday, August 20th, 2015
Figure 2. Average Benefit-Cost Ratios by Urbanized Area Population Using Only Congestion Savings Benefits

MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE
This white paper documents the findings from a review of available research literature on the benefits and costs of transit systems in the United States. The primary goals of this research were to 1) identify benefit-cost (b-c) ratio estimates for U.S. transit systems, and 2) identify the main categories of monetized benefits that derive from transit services in the U.S.

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Cool Innovators: Cutting Carbon & Growing the Economy in Massachusetts

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

ENVIRONMENT MASSACHUSETTS
This document profiles Massachusetts-based companies and projects that are embracing each of the ten innovative, game-changing trends identified in Cool Solutions. The businesses profiled here are just a handful of the thousands of Massachusetts companies making a difference in the fight against global warming while creating jobs and boosting the state’s economy.

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A People’s History of Recent Urban Transportation Innovation

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015
BEGINNING IN THE 1950S, THE MAJORITY OF TRANSPORTATION POLICY WAS ALMOST ENTIRELY AUTO-ORIENTED. WEST SIDE HIGHWAY, NEW YORK CITY, 1951. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.

TRANSIT CENTER
Though much progress has been made in several cities, the human-oriented transportation changes examined here are not pervasive nationwide. Only a handful of cities have made lasting reforms that will stand the test of time, while the majority of federal and state transportation policies continue to support auto-oriented development. With the information here, we hope that more urban residents will take up the fight and continue to challenge the status quo and reclaim the streets that are the lifeblood of their cities.

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