Friday, September 25, 2015

Transportation News Round-Up: September 25, 2015

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There's been a lot of news this week in transportation policy, from federal permitting to high-speed rail to maritime transportation and ports. Here are some of my favorite reads from the week:

The Hill: Feds move to accelerate permitting for transportation projects
The Obama Administration is currently working on improving the speed of permitting and environmental reviews for transportation infrastructure projects. This is both to get important projects going faster, but also to try to push Congress towards passing a long-term, fully-funded surface transportation bill, which has been elusive to the legislature for years. It will be an interesting balancing act between getting good projects up and running quickly, while still ensuring that their environmental impacts are minimized.

VentureBeat: Here’s what IoT will do for transportation
This glimpse-of-the-future piece explores just some of the many possibilities in the realm of transportation if we embrace the Internet of Things. Such benefits of connectedness between our vehicles and infrastructure include cars that identify open parking spaces, driverless vehicles that can turn into mobile meeting spaces, and infrastructure that alerts drivers to traffic or accidents so that people can avoid that route. As Congress continues debating a long-term surface transportation authorization bill, it's important to think about what lies ahead if we make the necessary investments today.

Baltimore Sun: Maglev venture opening Baltimore office
Northeast Maglev, the company interested in creating a high-speed maglev line connecting DC to NYC, opened up a Baltimore office this past week, bringing the DC-Baltimore leg one (small) step closer to a reality. This project is still in the very early stages of development but could end up playing a large role in updating the Northeast corridor's lagging transportation system. Click here for my blog post on the topic.

Transportation Infrastructure News Daily: PortMiami ready to handle new class of mega ships 
PortMiami recently completed deep-dredging and on-dock intermodal rail projects to accommodate the rise of mega-ships calling to port. I did a research project a few months ago on port performance, and one of the biggest challenges facing our nation's ports is their ability to handle the rise of ocean carrier alliances and the giant megaships bringing unprecedented volume of cargo into the port at one time. Linked to that is the issue of funding, as a dedicated federal funding stream specifically for ports doesn't (yet) exist. Ports are an engine of our economy, and a lot of jobs depend on well-functioning ports, so their ability to adapt to this challenge will be important.

Happy reading, and happy weekend!

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