PennDOT on track to meet 2022 lettings projection

October 28, 2022

PennDOT has crossed the $2 billion mark in lettings for this calendar year, and with two months remaining, appears to be well on the way toward hitting the year’s projection of $2.5 billion.

The good news is that federal dollars, an improving economy and a rollback of funds diverted from the Motor License Fund for State Police operations have managed to keep PennDOT’s capital program where it has been in recent years. Still, Pennsylvania is under-investing in its transportation infrastructure, as are many other states.

At next month’s APC fall seminar, PennDOT will announce its projection for the 2023 capital program. We look forward to seeing how things will shape up next year.

To view the PennDOT letting history, click HERE.



How do PA drivers rank in confrontational behavior?

September 30, 2022

We can’t vouch for the soundness of its methodology or the reliability of its data, but we pass along the following, for what it’s worth: In a nationwide online survey of 5,000 U.S. drivers, Pennsylvania’s ranking of the most confrontational drivers came in at – drumroll, please – 49th.

In other words, except for good old North Dakota, Pennsylvania drivers are the second-most docile in the country, according to the study. Topping the list as the most confrontational were Utah (this surprises us), Missouri, Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

The survey was conducted by the Forbes Advisor, which describes itself as a provider of educational content and is affiliated with the Forbes business magazine.

Each state was scored on a list of 10 confrontational behaviors, which include ramming another vehicle on purpose, following another car and exiting the car to confront the other driver, forcing another car off the road, and threatening another driver with a gun.

To view the complete rankings and the rest of the confrontational behaviors, follow this link.



California zero-emission vehicle mandate spurs discussion

September 2, 2022

California’s recent ban on the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 – and the auto industry’s apparent acceptance of it – represents a major momentum boost to the conversion to zero emission cars across the globe.

While there has been chatter for years about this conversion, continuing advances in electric vehicle technology, battery life and recharging capability, the emergence of public policy incentives and the public’s growing concern about climate change are lining up to nudge market transformation.

Last week, a Washington Post article argued that the forces driving this market shift face “a much heavier lift” – convincing skeptical consumers to come along for the ride.

“The (Biden) administration’s push to upend an entrenched culture of fossil-fuel-powered motoring comes as electric cars are struggling to shake their image as a trophy of coastal elites, unreliable and a headache to charge,” the Post wrote.

The Post cited a nationwide survey by Consumer Reports that revealed that while more than a third of consumers would consider purchasing an EV, concerns related to EV ownership must first be addressed, such as creating greater access to charging, extending vehicle range, and lowering purchase prices.

While 2035 is 13 years away, remember the adage that “dates on the calendar are closer than they may appear.” To read the Post article, follow this link.


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Electric vehicle update

August 15, 2022

They may not be getting lots of attention, but electric vehicles are gearing up to take a significant bite out of market share in the years ahead.

PennDOT reports that there are now more than 31,000 EVs registered in Pennsylvania, three times the number that were registered in March 2019.

Last month, PennDOT submitted its plan to the federal government for building a network of charging ports across the state. The plan (which can be found at this link) calls for at least 5,000 EV charging ports at 2,000 sites in Pennsylvania by 2028.

PennDOT counts 2,800 public charging ports at more than 1,200 locations across Pennsylvania at present.

The plan was required in order to receive $171.5 million in National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure funds over the next five years. An additional $2.5 billion in grant funding is available as well.

Also tied to the funding is something called the EV Equity Guiding Principles, which states are obliged to follow. They include making EVs more affordable and charging more accessible; investing in fleet electrification; investing in traditionally underserved, low-income, persons of color and otherwise vulnerable population areas; and increasing EV awareness, education and technical capacity.

Vehicle manufacturers across the globe have expressed strong interest in growing the EV market, and advances in battery and charging technology have piqued consumer interest. Prices will become more competitive as the market grows and as environmental standards tighten.

Pennsylvania also must settle in on a system to assure that all vehicle users make a fair contribution to bridge and road construction and maintenance. Currently, EV users do not contribute to paying for the wear and tear on the transportation system.



National study shows fatalities are increasing for traveling public

June 30, 2022

TRIP, a national nonprofit transportation research organization, released a study this week that chronicles alarming national trends in motorist, bicycle and pedestrian safety. In essence, it documents significant increases in fatalities, even as vehicle travel rates dropped due to the COVID pandemic.

The data show an abrupt reversal in fatality rates, which had been dropping before the pandemic. The data show that U.S. traffic fatalities increased by 19% from 2019 to 2021.

Pennsylvania’s data track with national trends. Traffic fatalities during the same period increased by 17% in Pennsylvania, and fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled increased by 24%, while vehicle miles traveled decreased by 6% per billion.

Nationally, bicycle and pedestrian fatalities also increased significantly. Bicycle fatalities increased by 16%, and pedestrian fatalities by 18%.

Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that the fatality increases were related to increased risks being taken by drivers. These risks include speeding, failure to wear seat belts and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

To combat the increase in fatalities, in early 2022 the U.S. Department of Transportation adopted a comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy, a roadmap for addressing the nation’s roadway safety crisis based on a “Safe System” approach, which is also being adopted by state and local transportation agencies. For more information, click here.

The TRIP study also said that new funding for improved roadway safety through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide additional resources to address traffic safety.

Click here to view the TRIP report, appendix, infographics and video interview footage with report authors.