Automated speed enforcement subject of rally

May 3, 2018

A group known as PA Vision Zero descended on the Statehouse this week to urge the PA House to advance Senate Bill 172 to provide for automated speed enforcement in highway work zones, along with one of Philadelphia’s most dangerous roads, Roosevelt Boulevard.

The highway construction industry, PHIA and bicycle and pedestrian advocates have tried for several years to persuade lawmakers to implement a system similar to what Maryland put in place several years ago. Those who exceed work zone speed limits by 11 miles per hour or more have their license plate photographed and receive notice of a fine in the mail.

When the Maryland program began, 7 percent of drivers were traveling at least that fast through work zones. Once the program gained awareness, that number dropped to less than 1 percent.

“There’s absolutely no question that automated speed enforcement reduces speeding in work zones,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “It’s also evident that a majority of legislators support the concept. We hope the House will take up the measure and work out their differences with the version that passed overwhelmingly in the Senate.”



PennDOT lets $312 million in projects during March

April 6, 2018

PennDOT continued its 2018 construction letting season by issuing just over $311.8 million in projects in March, bringing the year-to-date total to almost $474 million according to numbers compiled by the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC).  PennDOT finished 2017 with just over $2.578 billion in project lettings.  PennDOT forecasted the 2017 letting program to be $2.4 billion and they anticipate the same for 2018.

As in year’s past, PHIA will continue to track contract lettings on a monthly basis.

To view the full March letting report and year comparisons, click the link below.

March Letting Report* (PDF)

*The report lists the total contracts awarded at each letting date, a comparison to the same period in the previous calendar year, and letting adjustments made since the previous month. PHIA staff will track PennDOT lettings throughout the year and provide monthly update.



Recent projects illustrate importance of Act 89

March 29, 2018

Recent announcements of plans to improve our transportation system reinforce the importance Act of 89. Created in 2013, Act 89 provides additional funding for improvements to all modes of transportation. Recent projects include:

  • Gov. Tom Wolf announced that $489 million will be disbursed to municipalities throughout Pennsylvania, $22.8 million more than last year, to help maintain roads and bridges. These funds were made possible through Act 89’s increased liquid fuel tax allocations.
  • The final stage of the $107 million four-lane extension of US 322 from Sand Mountain Road to Potters Mills is underway. The project will yield improve safety and traffic flow.
  • Together, the Rail Transportation Assistance and Rail Freight Assistance programs will fund 31 projects spanning the next five years. The State Transportation Commission approved $36 million in grants that will rebuild tracks and retain nearly 40,000 jobs.
  • Luzerne County plans to fund local road and bridge repairs with a new $5 vehicle registration fee. PennDOT would match revenue raised by the registration.

All of these projects are made possible by Act 89.

“The existence of well-funded projects like these is proof that Act 89 is having a positive effect on Pennsylvania’s transportation system and those who use it,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “And as we also point out, it boosts the economy by creating and retaining a large number of jobs.”



Report examines elderly involvement in fatal accidents

March 14, 2018

Pennsylvania is among the states with the most vehicle fatalities involving elderly drivers.  A report by TRIP, a nonprofit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C., discusses fatalities involving elderly drivers nationwide, as well as possible solutions.

“Largely because of the transportation funding measure known as Act 89, Pennsylvania reached a record low number of overall highway fatalities in 2016,” noted PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner.  “This is very positive news.  However, this report shows there is still much to be done to improve safety for older drivers and improve mobility for seniors.”

To view the “Preserving the Mobility and Safety of Older Americans” report, click here.  To view the news release, click here.



Ride-sharing firms make inroads in health care sector

March 9, 2018

Several recent articles show that ride-sharing firms such as Lyft and Uber are continuing to broaden their scope, most recently beginning to work with health care providers.

A service initially associated with social life in the city is now teaming up with doctors and hospitals to reduce the rate of missed appointments caused by unreliable transportation.

Technology creates options, but it can also create barriers. In a pilot program that includes about 100 hospitals and doctors’ offices, Uber has developed a way for doctors to hail rides for their patients who may be unfamiliar with the app. Rides can be scheduled as far as 30 days in advance. Patients are not required to have a smart phone or the app.

Ride sharing also shows promise in reducing unnecessary ambulance rides. A recent study by the University of Kansas found that ambulance use is down at least 7 percent  in hundreds of cities where ride sharing apps are used. Relying on ride sharing for transportation to medical facilities leaves the ambulances for those with medical emergencies and saves money.

“Lyft, Uber and other ride-sharing companies are having a significant impact on mobility,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “It’s great to see ride-sharing evolve and have a positive impact in health care as well.”