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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-19-003    Date:  Spring 2019
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-19-003
Issue No: Vol. 83 No. 1
Date: Spring 2019

 

Along The Road

Along the Road is the place to look for information about current and upcoming activities, developments, trends, and items of general interest to the highway community. This information comes from U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let’s meet along the road.

Public Information and Information Exchange

FHWA Case Study Features Dockless Bike Share

The Federal Highway Administration recently published a case study in its livability series highlighting the dockless bike share program in Seattle, WA. The case study examines how Seattle adopted dockless bike share and the manner in which the city successfully leveraged innovation in the private sector to improve mobility in the city.

Three bikes parked beside a sidewalk.
An FHWA case study examines Seattle’s successful dockless bike share program.

Seattle is the largest city in the State of Washington, with a population of nearly 725,000 people--of which approximately 4 percent commute by bicycle. In July 2017, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) formally adopted citywide dockless bike share.

Traditional bike share systems operate with permanent docks located throughout the system's operating area, where all trips must start and finish. Dockless bike share systems enable users to unlock bicycles with a smartphone app and drop them off wherever they wish, such as in a park or beside a sidewalk, regardless of whether there is a bike rack.

SDOT was the first agency to begin a pilot program at scale. Over the initial 6-month period from July to December 2017, riders took approximately 469,000 rides on dockless bicycles throughout Seattle, nearly 10 times the number of rides on the docked system during the same period in 2016. Moving forward, Seattle is expanding dockless bike share through a new permit approved in August 2018 that will put up to 20,000 bicycles on the streets, from up to four private operators, two of which are currently active.

The case study may serve as a beneficial resource for cities and towns that are exploring how to integrate dockless bike share into their transportation networks.

For more information, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/livability/case_studies/seattle_bikeshare/fhwahep19008.pdf and www.seattle.gov/transportation/projects-and-programs/programs/bike-program/bike-share.

ITD Expands Outreach with New Podcast

The Idaho Transportation Department's (ITD) Grant Anticipation and Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) Transportation Program and Office of Communication recently collaborated to launch an ITD podcast. The goal is to use this new communication tool to expand outreach to the driving public prior to major commute impacts on Interstate 84 (I-84). The program intends to reach a different audience than television, radio, or other media.

The focus of the first episodes of the podcast is on widening I–84 in Canyon County. Future podcasts will address significant milestones and upcoming traffic switches as the work in the Nampa to Caldwell corridor kicks into high gear later in summer 2019 and for the next few construction seasons.

The I–84 corridor team brainstormed the podcast idea in 2018 and began to work on the first few podcasts later that year. Vince Trimboli, ITD's communication manager, hosts the podcast and brings on various guest experts to discuss specific topics.

“The podcast is an outreach tool that the department hadn't yet put into practice, and we thought that with the many commuters on the I–84 corridor, perhaps we could give people another way to keep in touch with what we're planning and doing in the corridor,” says GARVEE Manager Amy Schroeder, Trimboli's first guest on the podcast.

A highway with an overpass in Idaho.
The Idaho Transportation Department recently launched its “Drive Idaho” podcast.

ITD chose the podcast name “Drive Idaho” because it represents what the department does every day, and because it can be used statewide. The podcast is available on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/drive-idaho/id1450572101?mt=2.

Seattle SR 99 Tunnel Opens to Traffic

In February 2019, Seattle, WA, celebrated the opening of the SR 99 tunnel, which replaces the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct.

A crowd of people at the starting line for an 8-kilometer run in Seattle.
Participants line up for an 8K fun run/walk as part of the celebration of the opening of the SR 99 tunnel in Seattle.

Crews began the tunnel opening sequence at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 3. The first vehicle rolled through the tunnel's northbound lanes just after 11 p.m. and by 12:15 a.m. Monday, all ramps to and from the tunnel were open to drivers, with the exception of the new northbound offramp to Dearborn Street, which opened a couple of weeks later. The Washington State Department of Transportation, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Police, and Washington State Patrol coordinated closely to ensure the tunnel was opened safely.

The tunnel is currently toll free, but tolling could begin as soon as summer 2019. Toll rates will range from $1 to $2.25 with a Good To Go! pass, depending on time of day. Users can learn more about how tolling will work at www.wsdot.wa.gov/tolling/sr-99-tunnel-tolling.

GDOT Opens Northwest Corridor Express Lanes

In September 2018, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) celebrated the opening of the State's largest infrastructure project, the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes. Construction of the project began in October 2014, and the lanes opened to traffic in September 2018.

The $834 million infrastructure project adds 29.7 miles (47.8 kilometers) of reversible express lanes along I–75 from Akers Mill Road to Hickory Grove Road, and along I–575 from I–75 to Sixes Road. The barrier-separated express lanes operate southbound in the morning and reverse to northbound in the evening.

GDOT is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the roadway. Operation of the pricing aspects of the lanes, including all customer service functions related to Georgia's Peach Pass system, is managed by the State Road and Tollway Authority. The lanes feature dynamic pricing with rates rising as demand increases during peak travel times and falling at offpeak times.

The express lanes are open to drivers with a registered Peach Pass in vehicles with two axles and six wheels or fewer. Registered transit, vanpool, and emergency vehicles are exempt from paying a fee.

For more information, visit www.dot.ga.gov/DS/GEL/NWC.

GDOT

Highway construction with machinery and men in hard hats and safety vests.
Crews work on Northwest Corridor Express Lanes in Georgia early in the construction process. The lanes opened to traffic in September 2018.

 

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