April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Part III

April2014_3Distraction.gov, the official U.S. government online resource for information about distracted driving, works to educate drivers, passengers and others of the dangers associated with distracted driving. The site identifies distractions in three categories:

  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel.
  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road.
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off driving.

The primary goal of operating a motorized vehicle is driving…and safely arriving at your destination. Distracted driving diverts attention away from this primary objective. Distractions include texting, using a phone, eating or drinking, reading, and using video, audio or navigation equipment.

The distraction.gov website offers users a variety of resources, including  statistical information, research information, educational materials for download and an online pledge to drive phone-free.

Please join MARC and many other agencies in recognizing April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month and urge everyone to follow these steps:

  • Stop using cell phones while driving.
  • Recognize that hands-free devices offer no safety benefit.
  • Understand the dangers of the cognitive distraction to the brain.
  • Tell others about the dangers of cell phone distracted driving.
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Community celebrates completion of TIGER projects

By Stephen Lachky

On Monday, April 21, city officials, local partners and dignitaries gathered to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the Troost Avenue pedestrian bridge that signifies the completion of the region’s $50 million TIGER (Transportation Improvements Generating Economic Recovery) grant.

KCATA General Manager Mark Huffer thanked all of the regional award partners who helped implement the regional TIGER projects. Speakers at the event included FTA Region VII Director Mokhtee Ahmad, Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James, and U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver II.

The Kansas City Regional TIGER funds, received in 2010, were used to revitalize our urban core, create employment opportunities, expand transit resources and positively impact area residents. More details about the TIGER grant and funded projects are available online at www.marc.org/TIGER.

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Join MoDOT’s discussion about freight priorities

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The Missouri Department of Transportation will host one of three freight priorities and investment forums in the Kansas City area to share key findings from Missouri’s statewide freight planning efforts.

MoDOT representatives encourage business people, local leaders, industry stakeholders and others to participate in its discussion to prioritize projects that will help encourage economic and job growth for Missouri.

April 25, 2014

9–11:30 a.m.

Kansas City Aviation Department
KCI Ambassador Building
12200 NW Ambassador Drive
Kansas City, MO 64153

R.S.V.P. now for this event.

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Join the “green” TIGER celebration!

On Monday, April 21, the city of Kansas City, Mo., will celebrate the completion of its final project from the region’s $50 million TIGER (Transportation Improvements Generating Economic Recovery) grant. Local partners and dignitaries will join Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II and Mayor Sly James in celebrating completion of the last infrastructure project — the Troost Avenue pedestrian bridge — along Brush Creek in the Green Impact Zone.

When: Monday, April 21 at 10 a.m.

Where: The north side of the pedestrian bridge over Brush Creek east of Troost Avenue.

For more information, contact Cindy Baker at 816.346.0209.GreenTIGER directions

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We want your input!

Periodically, MARC seeks public comments on transportation planning efforts and major amendments to transportation plans. Our public input page provides details about how to submit your comments. All comments will be documented and reviewed by MARC’s Total Transportation Policy Committee.

We are currently seeking public feedback on one transportation-related item:

Amendment #3 to the Unified Planning Work Program
(comments due May 1)

The UPWP is a planning document that provides a regional scope of area-wide transportation goals and objectives. In short, the UPWP:

  • Details each major project with information about who will perform the work, project schedule, activity goals and project budget.
  • Documents the proposed spending of federal, state and local funds.
  • Compiles information from local governments, area transit providers and the state departments of transportation.

We are currently seeking input regarding the following program changes:

  • Revision of task 2.2, Long-Range Transportation Plan: removal of facilitation services to assist with establishing regional priorities (decrease funding by $22,500).
  • Revision of task 2.5, Transportation research and database management: removal of the integrated TIP and LRTP database system (decrease funding by $49,500).
  • Adjustment to the MARC consultant budget in Appendix C, Schedule 3: reflect consultant contract budget changes in tasks 2.2 and 2.5, as described above.
  • Adjustment to the budgets throughout the document to reflect the adjusted Missouri/Kansas shares of the overall CPG funding of the UPWP.
  • Addition of new task E.7:  SHRP2 C20 Freight Data Improvement Project.

Amendment details can be reviewed at: http://marc.org/Transportation/Public-Input/assets/Amend3_2014UPWP

Additional information about the MARC transportation planning process can be found in A Guide to Transportation Decision-Making and MARC’s Public Participation Plan.

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April TTPC Wrap-up

The Total Transportation Planning Committee (TTPC) convened on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, with a full room of committee members and interested parties. Here is a summary of this month’s topics and discussions:

  • A representative from MoDOT presented information on a new Missouri Statewide Freight Plan, a part of the state’s “On the Move” initiative. Missouri realizes that freight is a $14 billion industry — and is likely to grow in the coming years. Freight movement in the state primarily uses rail and trucks and the main transport items are coal and petroleum. Going forward, MoDOT will determine how the state’s waterways can be more fully integrated into the system. This topic launched a healthy discussion with questions about the net cost of transporting freight on the highway system. Kansas is also working on a statewide freight plan that will be shared in a future TTPC meeting.
  • The committee approved the second quarter amendment to the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The TIP amendment was open for public review and comment last month, but received no comments. One committee member was interested how the TIP amendments are promoted, given that no single comment was received. Staff and co-chair David Bower briefly reviewed our public participation policy.
  • Staff presented information on the recent call for projects for Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ), Surface Transportation Program (STP) and Transportation Alternatives (TA) funding. Local governments and other project sponsors throughout the metro show a high demand for transportation funding. MARC received a total of 178 completed applications for the three programs; the applications totaled more than $400 million dollars in funding requests. An estimated $112 million will be available. Currently, staff is reviewing and scoring the applications. Anyone can review the proposed projects online and submit comments. A half-day project review workshop is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on June 3 at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center to develop advisory priorities. The priorities will be shared with MARC’s programming committees, which will develop project recommendations over the summer months as follows:
    • Kansas and Missouri STP Committees will review the STP applications, respectively by state.
    • The Regional Transit Coordinating Council (for transit items), the STP Committees (for traffic flow), Active Transportation Programming Committee (for bike/ped projects) and Air Quality Forum (for outreach and other items) will review the CMAQ funding applications.
    • The Active Transportation Programming Committee will review all TA applications.
  • Several organizations have requested letters of support for the current funding round for TIGER projects for both planning and implementation projects that are consistent with the vision and framework of Transportation Outlook 2040, the current long-range transportation plan. A copy of the sample letter of support was shared with the committee. TTPC approved issuing letters for the requesting organizations and any additional organizations’ requests that are consistent with Transportation Outlook 2040. The TIGER application deadline is April 28.
  • The committee voted to release Amendment #3 of the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) for public comment this month. The amendment includes updated budget numbers from the Kansas and Missouri departments of transportation, along with resulting changes to some of MARC’s budgeted funds.
  • Staff presented an update of the long-range Metropolitan Transportation Plan — or Transportation Outlook 2040 — process. Staff summarized the outcomes of an April 14 transportation workshop, and reviewed handouts that further illustrated the region’s needs, public input and the limited funds available for transportation investments in our region. The next TO2040 workshop is scheduled for the morning of May 22 at Sylvester Powell Community Center in Mission, Kan.
  • Staff reviewed the Pedestrian Crash Analysis, a part of UPWP safety efforts, with the committee. The analysis looked at a range of crash characteristics in the context of the safety priorities outlined in the Kansas City Transportation Blueprint that was released earlier this year. Committee members commented on the helpfulness of a one-page infographic on safety information and asked about other factors in the reports, such as pedestrian age and targeting of funds to help address safety in crash “hot spots” in the region.

The next TTPC meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

 

 

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Part II

April2014_2The Destination Safe Coalition — a partnership of federal, state and local agencies in the Kansas City metropolitan and rural areas that are dedicated to improving the safety of our region’s transportation system — is joining many other agencies in recognizing this month as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Earlier this year, Destination Safe released the Kansas City Regional Transportation Blueprint which highlights the dangers of distracted driving and names the issue a key safety priority in the region. According to the blueprint:

Distracted Driving comes in many forms and is a significant contributor to roadway crashes resulting in fatalities and serious injuries. Anytime a person’s attention is diverted away from the primary task of driving, the likelihood of a crash increases. Due to an increase in cell phone use, texting and use of other technological devices, distracted driving has gained national attention resulting in numerous public education campaigns to curb dangerous behavior. Fatalities involving distracted driving made up 15 percent of fatalities in the Kansas City region.

From 2008–2012, distracted driving was a factor in 163 fatalities and 1,828 serious injuries in the region — an average of 33 fatalities and 366 serious injuries per year.

Learn more about Destination Safe and its activities online.

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National work zone awareness week, April 7-11

WorkZone_MoDOTThis is National Work Zone Awareness Week, a local, state and federal effort to draw attention to the safety needs of workers during roadway construction season. As road construction and improvement projects kicks off around our region’s network of streets and highways, please use caution when navigating work zones:

  • Slow down.
  • Pay attention to the primary task of driving.
  • Be mindful of roadway workers.

“Many sections of our nation’s roads will be busy with workers and drivers in the coming months as construction activity picks up,” said FHWA Deputy Administrator Greg Nadeau. “By following the rules of the road in work zones, we can keep people safe during National Work Zone Awareness Week and all year long.”

The nation saw an increase of highway work-zone fatalities in 2012, with a total of 609 people killed in accidents in work zones. Speeding was a factor in more than 35 percent of those cases. Speeding is a risky behavior that puts drivers, passengers, roadway workers and many other drivers at risk.

Let’s make sure this year is safer for both workers and drivers in Kansas City area work zones.

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The 2013 MARC Annual Review is now available online

2013AnnualRev_cvrMARC is pleased to announce that its 2013 Annual Review is now available online. The report summarizes a broad range of activities that MARC and its many committees and partners have worked on over the past year.

As a metropolitan planning organization, MARC helps the region anticipate and adapt to change as we work on a broad agenda that includes healthy people and families, efficient transportation systems, more effective local governments, a strong and competitive regional economy, safe and prepared communities, and a healthy environment.

In 2013, we celebrated the completion of several multi-year projects funded by grants from the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development. Working with partners across the metro, we’ve made investments that bring us closer to our vision of a region that is more vibrant, connected and green. The 2013 Annual Review highlights the connections that strengthen our region.

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NHTSA to require backup cameras in all vehicles

Backup_camBy Stephen Lachky

On March 31,the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that “rear-view visibility systems” will be required in all light vehicles including cars, SUVs, trucks and vans built on or after May 1, 2018. This technology, more commonly referred to as back-up cameras, provides drivers up to a 10-by-20-foot view of the zone immediately behind the vehicle.

“Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of back-over accidents — our children and seniors,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

In a 2010 report, NHTSA estimated that approximately 210 people are killed and 15,000 are injured each year in light-vehicle backup incidents. Of the fatalities, 31 percent were children under the age of five and 26 percent  were adults over the age of 70. The NHTSA estimates that broader use of rear-view systems could save 59 to 69 lives each year.

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