Shifting Gears – Car Automation and Mobility

September 28, 2012

By now you may have heard the recent news out of California regarding autonomous car legislation. California Senate Bill 1298, which lays out the framework for the testing, development and deployment of self-driving vehicles, was signed Tuesday by Governor Jerry Brown.

While the technology will likely take time and effort to mature (Google CEO Sergey Brin predicts widespread availability within five years) it’s easy to envision the benefits offered by an autonomous car, such as increased safety, fuel efficiency, decreased traffic congestion and that block of “down time” for commute productivity which patrons of transit have long enjoyed. Undoubtedly, a perfected driverless car represents the absolute pinnacle of Intelligent Transportation Systems.

However, perhaps the greatest benefit offered would be the promise of increased mobility for individuals whose disabilities currently limit their transportation options. A fully developed driverless car has the potential to help fill the gaps in coverage of some existing human services transportation (HST) services, while also helping to stretch decreasing federal funds (such as the FTA New Freedom and Elderly Transportation programs) for traditional HST services.


Public Comment Period to Open for TIP Amendment

September 27, 2012

ARC opens a 30-day review and comment period on Amendment #1 to the FY 2012-2017 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) on October 1, 2012.  The primary purpose of this amendment is to document technical analysis that confirms the region’s current long range transportation plan is in conformity with new federal clean air requirements.  For more information on this amendment and where to submit comments, see www.atlantaregional.com/tip.


Webinar to Explain Revamped GDOT Roadway Maintenance Funding Program

September 27, 2012

On Friday, September 28th at 10:00 AM, the Georgia Department of Transportation will present an informational webinar for project sponsors interested in recent changes to GDOT’s Local Maintenance Improvement Grant (LMIG) program. The LMIG program provides local jurisdictions funding for roadway maintenance projects. Funding levels are set by a formula which accounts for jurisdiction population and roadway centerline mileage.  All funding awarded in the Atlanta region requires a local match of 30 percent. The LMIG program is the successor to the the department’s old Local Assistance Road Program (LARP).

To view the webinar, livestream.com/gdot this Friday at 10AM. Visit GDOT’s LMIG webpage for more information on this funding program.


Save the Date: Beltline Eastside Trail Opening Dedication

September 26, 2012

Eastside Trail

The Beltline Eastside trail is set to open soon. This new 2.25-mile long section of the Atlanta BeltLine, running from Irwin St. to 10th St. and Monroe Dr., connects the neighborhoods of Virginia Highland, Midtown, Poncey Highland, Historic Inman Park and the Old Fourth Ward. This section of trail also connects Piedmont Park to Freedom Park and Historic Fourth Ward Park and Skatepark – and connects to the PATH Foundation trail running from Stone Mountain to downtown.

The official dedication for the new trail will be held on Monday, October 15 at 10 a.m. We will follow up with the exact location and further details when they’re made available.


Project Call Pending for FY 2012 JARC & New Freedom Funding

September 24, 2012

The Atlanta Regional Commission , in partnership with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, is planning to call for projects in the 18-County Atlanta Urbanized Area for Job Access & Reverse Commute (JARC) and New Freedom Program funds for fiscal years 2012. In addition, the ARC will also award funds carried over from FY 2011. These Federal Transit Administration (FTA) program funds are available for projects that improve transportation for low‐income individuals, people with disabilities, and older adults.

The call for projects applies for available JARC and New Freedom funds. The total funds available are shown below. The amount actually awarded during this call process may be less than the total available and will be determined based on the number and quality of applications.

FY 2012 Funds Available:

$1,561,449 for JARC projects

$994,221 for New Freedom projects

FY 2011 Residual Funds Available:

$138,037 for JARC projects

$230,671 for New Freedom projects

Funds will be awarded through a competitive selection process, which will be administered by ARC. The selected projects will be forwarded to FTA for final review and approval before funds will be available for use by successful applicants. The application package will provide additional information about the selection process.

A grant application workshop is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, October 18th from 9:30- 12:00 PM. Further information and materials will be made available early next week at ARC’s Human Services Transportation page.


Route and Vehicle Technology Settled for Connect Cobb Transit Study

September 12, 2012

Click to Enlarge LPA Alignment

Cobb County DOT staff and consultants, through analysis and collaboration with the public and key stakeholders, recently revealed it’s recommended Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for transit in the US 41/I-75 Northwest Corridor. Fully realized, the project would provide a multi-stop, bidirectional bus rapid transit service along the US-41 corridor in Cobb County as well as a limited stop express service within I-75, utilizing existing HOV and planned HOT lane facilities. The service would link the cities of Acworth, Kennesaw, Marietta, Smyrna and Atlanta as well as the Cumberland, Town Center, Atlantic Station and Dobbins AFB areas. Direct access to Kennesaw State University, Southern Polytechnic State University along with indirect access to the Georgia Institute of Technology will also be offered. The two-line, 20-station transit system would tie into the existing MARTA Arts Center rail station. At a price tag of $1.1 billion, the project is projected to attract 24,000 to 25,000 new daily riders and eventually support the development of 12 million square feet of office and retail space.

To learn more about the Connect Cobb project and LPA, plan on attending a detailed presentation on the subject currently planned for the the upcoming Board of Commissioners meeting on September 25th at 1:30PM at the Cobb County Board Meeting Room (2nd floor, 100 Cherokee Street, Marietta) or visit the Connect Cobb homepage.


Register for Metro Atlanta’s First-Ever Bike to Work Challenge – October 2012

September 8, 2012

Whether you’re an avid bike rider or even if you haven’t ridden a bike since you were a kid, this event is all about trying a greener and healthier way to get around. Some people ride all the way into work. Others ride just to the bus stop or train station. In fact, more than 20,000 commute trips each week around the Atlanta region happen on a bicycle.

The Bike to Work Challenge runs from October 1-28 and is open to commuters who live and work in Georgia. Compete as an individual or in teams of 2-5 cyclists (teams must include at least one new bike commuter). You can keep track of how many miles you’ve ridden and compete for prizes, not to mention bragging rights on the leader board.

Plus, there are instructional classes and educational events open to bike commuters of all skill levels. You can even get linked up with local cycling groups and communities , and get some ideas on how to approach your employer about creating a more bike-friendly workplace.

• Compete during October for REI gift cards, bicycle commuter backpacks and other cool prizes.
• Get connected with Confident City Cycling classes provided through the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.
• Help The Clean Air Campaign spread the word about this fun event to your friends and co-workers.

Whether you challenge a friend, a co-worker or just yourself, grab your commute by the handlebars and register now at www.ATLBikeToWork.org.

The Bike to Work Challenge is brought to you by The Clean Air Campaign, in partnership with Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and the Atlanta Regional Commission’s RideSmart division.