The Stream by AASHTO: Solar Eclipse Preparations

The latest episode of the “The Stream by AASHTO” podcast – formerly the Environmental Technical Assistance Program or ETAP podcast – is the first of a two-part series exploring effective transportation management tactics ahead of and during a solar eclipse.

[Above image by AASHTO]

“The Stream by AASHTO” podcast is part of a technical service program for state departments of transportation provided by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. It explores a wide array of environmental topics that affect transportation and infrastructure programs.

The first episode of this two-part series on solar eclipse preparations features insights from Michael White, assistant director of the Safety and Emergency Management Division within in the Missouri Department of Transportation.

White digs into the significance of preparation, planning, training, and effective communication conducted by his division ahead of the solar eclipse event scheduled to affect the United States on April 8. He also offers perspectives on advancing safety protocols and bolstering resilience to ensure operational continuity during such celestial events.

To listen to the full podcast on this topic, click here.

Caltrans Unveils New Transportation Equity Tool

The California Department of Transportation – known as Caltrans – recently unveiled a new “equity tool” designed to ensure all state residents benefit from the agency’s transportation projects. The tool also identifies communities most negatively impacted by the state’s transportation system, especially in the cases of high rates of traffic, vehicle crashes, air pollution, and limited transit options.

[Above image by Caltrans]

Caltrans said its new Transportation Equity Index or “EQI tool” will help inform project selection, program evaluation, and policy decisions; better align the transportation system to state environmental and equity goals; and help address other transportation-related inequities.

The agency said data from this new tool will be used to identify transportation-based priority populations to help end harms created or worsened by the state’s transportation system. Caltrans added that it also aims to advance equitable outcomes during project planning, development, and design phases – for both the department and partner public agencies – through the use of its EQI tool.

“We will use this tool to help ensure all California communities benefit from our transportation projects,” noted Tony Tavares, director of Caltrans, in a statement. “We need to identify the ways our transportation infrastructure has negatively impacted our communities and neighborhoods. Better data lets us build equity into our transportation system from the ground up.”

“Establishing the EQI tool shows our serious commitment to embedding equity in our decision-making to improve the quality of life for all Californians,” added Toks Omishakin, secretary of the California State Transportation Agency and a former Caltrans director.

“By more easily identifying and prioritizing communities with the greatest transportation needs, there is tremendous potential in this tool to help achieve an equitable transportation future for all,” he said.

The new EQI tool includes three key data indicators. The first focuses on household income and federally recognized tribal lands; the second measures traffic proximity, volume, and crash exposure; and the final considers access to destinations, measuring gaps in the transit, bicycle, and pedestrian networks.

Caltrans said its new EQI tool – which began development in 2021 as part of the “equity commitment” built into the agency’s Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure – relies on both publicly available and internally developed datasets from public and private sources.

The department said the first application of its EQI tool will be to deepen the analytical capabilities within the Caltrans System Investment Strategy, which is a data and performance-driven system that guides transportation investments by Caltrans statewide. Additional applications for the new EQI tool are still under development, the agency added.

Environmental News Highlights – March 13, 2024


USDOT issues $3.33 billion to 132 projects through its Reconnecting Communities Pilot and Neighborhood Access and Equity discretionary grant programsUSDOT (media release)

AASHTO Participates in USDOT’s Air Mobility Meeting -AASHTO Journal

The Power Of Community Engagement In Transportation -ITE Talks Transportation (podcast)

FHWA Announces Request for Information on Updating Federal Standards for EV Charging -FHWA (media release)


NEPA Reform Long Overdue Say Western Tribes, Ranchers, And Local Governments -Western Wire


Oregon court rejects cities’ request to toss climate rules -Oregon Public Broadcasting

Ensuring Climate-Smart Transportation Planning -National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (blog)

Governor discusses progress in Rhode Island’s EV charging infrastructure effort -WJAR-TV

USDA invests nearly $66M to improve roads, trails, and water quality as part of Investing in America Agenda -Forest Service (media release)



Air quality in AZ is already bad, but Republicans want to end most vehicle emissions testing -AZ Mirror

House Bill Would Reset Connecticut’s Emission-Reduction Goals, Incentivize Businesses to Adopt Environmentally Sustainable Practices –CTNewsJunkie


Caltrans Launches Equity Tool to Help All Communities Benefit from Transportation Projects –Caltrans (media release)


Georgia DOT Forges Historic Bat Conservation Agreement -AASHTO Journal

Snowy days often lead to salty streams. Ohio’s trying to fix that -WYSO Radio

FAQs: Air Quality in National Parks -National Parks Conservation Association


Red Covered Bridge: Illinois DOT Fixing an Antique –Illinois DOT (blog)

Ambassadors for active transportation, honoring women in flightKUAF Radio

Arkansas governor, agency heads lay out plans for April 8 solar eclipse -KARK-TV

A Vote for Safer Streets from the Heart of Car Culture –Governing

Sioux Falls, South Dakota opens trail system to more motorized bicycles -Dakota Scout



Pittsburgh wants to make streets safer with Vision Zero -KDKA-TV

Hawaii’s e-bike dilemma: Safety, laws, confusion -KHON-TV

Silencing the Roar: Noise Pollution in Aviation –Airways

Los Angeles voters approve ‘Safe Streets’ Measure HLA -KTLA-TV

A new approach to transportation: Pairing off-street parking with electric scooters -Argonne National Laboratory

Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments seeking public’s input in 2050 “Active Transportation Plan” survey -KRDO-TV

WisDOT joins nationwide effort to prevent traffic deaths -Wisconsin DOT (media release)


Lessons of Agency Resilience During Periods of Disruption -TRB (webinar)

Concrete Pavement Preservation -TRB (webinar)


Request for Information on the J3400 Connector and Potential Options for Performance-Based Charging Standards -FHWA (Notice)

Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity (ACTE); Notice of Public Meeting -Office of the Secretary, Department of Transportation (Notice of public meeting)

Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity (ACTE); Notice of Public Meeting -Office of the Secretary, Department of Transportation (Notice of public meeting)

Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity (ACTE); Notice of Public Meeting -Office of the Secretary, Department of Transportation (Notice of public meeting)

Electric Vehicle Working Group -Department of Energy (Notice of open meeting)

Request for Information; Extension of Comment Period (Vessel Response Plans) -Coast Guard (Notice)

National Navigation Safety Advisory Committee Meeting; April 2024 Meeting -Coast Guard (Notice)

Notice of Final Federal Agency Action on the Authorization for the Revolution Wind Farm and Revolution Wind Export Cable Project Offshore Rhode Island -Army Corps of Engineers (Notice of limitation on claims for judicial review of actions by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Florida Trustee Implementation Group Draft Restoration Plan 3 and Environmental Assessment: Water Quality -EPA (Notice of availability; request for public comments)

Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS) (Renewal) -EPA (Notice)