Environmental News Highlights – January 11, 2023


U.S. DOT RD&T Strategic Plan (FY 2022-2026) – Building a Better Transportation Future for All – USDOT

Inflation could sap infrastructure act’s buying power this year – Construction Dive

A new EPA proposal is reigniting a debate about what counts as ‘renewable’ – Grist

2023 Transportation Trends That Could Impact The Future Of Transportation – Forbes (contributed content)

EPA Proposes to Strengthen Air Quality Standards to Protect the Public from Harmful Effects of Soot – EPA (media release)

President Biden, Vice President Harris, Senior Administration Officials Kick Off 2023 Implementing Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – White House (media release)


As pandemic wanes, subway cars remain half-empty – The Hill


NYC launches $2 million study to ‘reimagine’ the Cross-Bronx Expressway – Gothamist

The Great Lakes Authority chipping away at the rust – Seatrade Maritime News

Updating local regulations may ease EV charging rollout – Smart Cities Dive

Challenges loom for gondola to Dodger Stadium planned for the 2028 Olympics – Los Angeles Times


Massachusetts Governor issues her 1st executive order, creating climate chief – MassLive

DOE Boosts Hydrogen Efforts With $750 Million in FundingTransport Topics


Tampa Mapping Effort Expands City Access for Visually Impaired – Government Technology

Funding for Central Mass. transit focuses on senior/disabled ridership – Telegram & Gazette

More than 100 businesses, residences at risk of displacement under TxDOT I-35 proposal – KXAN-TV

New SEPTA chief equity and inclusion officer wants to help the homeless – PhillyVoice

Governor Unveils Transportation Plan for Rural and Urban Tennessee – Tennessee Governor’s Office (media release)


Rollback of Trump-era water rules unlikely to alter Michigan regulations – mlive.com


How Dual-Language Highway Signs In Wisconsin Will Revive Native Languages ‘In Crisis Mode’ – Wisconsin Public Radio

Vermont towns prepare for tourists as crews work to finish final stretch of Lamoille Valley Rail Trail – WCAX-TV

Expensive, Treacherous, Beautiful: The Battle Over Dirt Roads – New York Times


New York Governor Signs ‘Complete Streets’ Package – AASHTO Journal

Oklahoma DOT announces development of first Active Transportation PlanKXII-TV

Oregon DOT unveils new Innovative Mobility Program – KLCC Radio

New Massachusetts law adds protections for pedestrians and bicyclists – WBUR Radio

Stamford, Connecticut Moves Ahead With ‘Tactical Urbanism’ Solutions for Pedestrian Deaths – Connecticut Examiner

Atlanta eyes subsidizing e-bikes as popularity surges – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

New pedestrian and bike paths set to revitalize Downtown Rockford, Illinois – WREX-TV


National Environmental Policy Act Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change Council on Environmental Quality (Notice of interim guidance; request for comments)

Fiscal Year 2023 Competitive Funding Opportunity: Areas of Persistent Poverty Program – FTA (Notice of Funding Opportunity)

Port Access Route Study: Approaches to Maine, New Hampshire, and MassachusettsCoast Guard (Notice of availability of draft report; request for comments)

National Boating Safety Advisory Committee; January 2023 Virtual Meeting – Coast Guard (Notice)

Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee Meeting; February 2023 Meeting – Coast Guard (Notice)

Finding of Failure To Attain and Reclassification of Las Vegas Area as Moderate for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard – EPA (Final rule)

ETAP Podcast: The I-24 Motion Test Bed

In this episode of the Environmental Technical Assistance Program or ETAP Podcast, Lee Smith – interim traffic operations division director at the Tennessee Department of Transportation – and Professor Dan Work from Vanderbilt University discuss the I-24 Motion test bed.

[Above image via the Tennessee DOT]

Formally known as the I-24 Mobility Technology Interstate Observation Network, the “test bed” encompasses a six-mile stretch of I-24 in the Nashville-Davidson County Metropolitan equipped with over 300 ultra-high definition cameras. The images from those cameras are then converted into a “digital model” to demonstrate the behavior of every vehicle using the roadway.

[Editor’s note: This test bed is part of the larger I-24 SMART Corridor project directed by Tennessee DOT, which seeks to integrate freeway and arterial roadway elements, along with physical, technological, and operational improvements, to provide drivers accurate, real-time information for actively managing traffic volumes. The agency noted in April 2022 that it completed Phase 1 of the I-24 SMART Corridor project in December 2021 and expects to wrap up Phase 2 by the spring of 2023.]

Tennessee DOT noted the I-24 Motion test bed’s “digital model” is formed anonymously via artificial intelligence or AI trajectory algorithms developed by Vanderbilt University. That vehicle trajectory data allows traffic researchers to uncover new insights into how traffic flow influences individual vehicle behavior – particularly critical due to the increasing automation capability of individual vehicles.

By unlocking a new understanding of how autonomous vehicles influence traffic, vehicle and infrastructure design can be optimized to reduce traffic concerns in the future to improve safety, air quality, and fuel efficiency, Smith and Professor Work noted.

To listen to this episode of the ETAP Podcast, click here.

New York Governor Signs ‘Complete Streets’ Package

Governor Kathy Hochul (D) (above) recently signed a legislative package so the New York Department of Transportation can boost support for municipal “Complete Streets” projects.

[Above photo by the New York Governor’s Office]

A “Complete Street” is a roadway planned and designed to consider the safe, convenient access and mobility of roadway users of all ages and abilities. This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation riders, and motorists; it includes children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.

New York’s legislation increases the state share of funding for municipalities incorporating Complete Street features. Under the new legislation, the state’s contribution to the non-federally funded portion of complete street projects will increase to 87.5 percent, which will help municipalities to implement these street designs.

“Whether you’re on the sidewalk, in the bike lane or riding the bus, you deserve a high-quality trip that gets you safely to your destination,” Gov. Hochul said in a statement.“Transportation is all about connections: bringing people closer to their jobs, their homes, and the people they love. I’m proud to sign two new laws that will make our streets safer and our communities more connected.”

There is a growing push at both the federal and state level to integrate complete street policies in surface transportation strategies across the country.

In March 2022, the Federal Highway Administration sent a report to Congress detailing the agency’s commitment to “advance widespread implementation of the Complete Streets design model” to help improve safety and accessibility for all users.

That report – entitled “Moving to a Complete Streets Design Model: A Report to Congress on Opportunities and Challenges” – identifies what FHWA calls “five overarching opportunity areas” that will guide the agency as it moves ahead with efforts to increase “Complete Streets.”

Many state departments of transportation have already adopted “Complete Streets” programs on their own, as noted in this report compiled by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

For example, in December 2021, the California Department of Transportation unveiled a new “Complete Streets” policy for all new transportation projects it funds or oversees in order to provide “safe and accessible options” for people walking, biking, and taking transit.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation put in place what it called a wide-ranging “Complete Streets” policy for the state-owned highway system in February 2021.

Meanwhile, on January 3, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation awarded $6.65 million to 15 local communities as part of round two of the fiscal year 2023 Complete Streets grants. This is the 14th overall grant round from MassDOT’s Complete Streets program; funds from which municipalities use to support local multimodal infrastructure projects that improve travel for bicyclists, pedestrians, public transit users, and people using other forms of transportation. “MassDOT is pleased to continue to work with municipal leaders to encourage the installation of infrastructure to help make for ‘Complete Streets’ everywhere,” noted MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler in a statement. “We want everyone in every city and town in the Commonwealth to have sidewalks, crosswalks, and other features which make it easy and safe to get to where they want to go.”