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Infra Views

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Rural and Small Urban Transit

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Figure 3.1 Public Transportation Benefits Tree

NATIONAL CENTER FOR TRANSIT RESEARCH
Transit systems in rural and small urban areas are often viewed as valuable community assets due to the increased mobility they provide to those without other means of travel. The value of those services, however, has been largely unmeasured, and there are often impacts that go unidentified. As transit systems compete for funding at local, state, and federal levels, it is important to identify and quantify, where possible, the impacts that the services have within local communities, as well throughout the state or country.

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The Economic and Climate Change Benefits of Accelerating Repair and Replacement of America’s Natural Gas Distribution Pipelines

Monday, July 28th, 2014
Figure 1: Historical U.S. Employment, Thousands of Jobs

BLUEGREEN ALLIANCE
As the United States continues a slow but steady recovery from the recession triggered by the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, investment is desperately needed to fuel economic growth and job creation—including modernizing large swaths of our nation’s infrastructure. Repairing the system of distribution pipelines that deliver natural gasto homes and businesses offers an opportunity to drive significant investment in our economy. Doing so will help to fix a critical part of our aging infrastructure while creating jobs and cutting global warming pollution—a winning proposition for both the environment and the economy.

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The 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard

Friday, July 25th, 2014
2014 Energy-Efficiency Scorecard

AMERICAN COUNCIL FOR AN ENERGY-EFFICIENT ECONOMY (ACEEE)
In this second edition of the International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, we analyze the world’s 16 largest economies covering more than 81% of global gross domestic product and about 71% of global electricity consumption. We looked at 31 metrics divided roughly in half between policies and quantifiable performance to evaluate how efficiently these economies use energy. The policy metrics were scored based on the presence in a country or region of a best-practice policy…The United States has made some progress toward greater energy efficiency in recent years, particularly in areas such as building codes, appliance standards, voluntary partnerships between government and industry, and, recently, fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks. However, the overall story is disappointing.

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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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