Live More, Commute LessLive More, Commute Less

Feb
27

Road Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility

By Norah Ocel P.E., Safety Partnerships Coordinator ñ FHWA Office of Safety

Our communities experienced 37,133 traffic related deaths in 2017.

Think about that number for a minute…. It means more than 100 fatalities every single day. Each death is someone’s family member or friend not arriving home!

Road Safety is a US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) strategic goal. It aims to reduce transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries across the transportation system. 

The FHWA Office of Safety’s vision and mission is ZERO traffic related deaths on our transportation system. The Office of Safety provides tools and technical assistance to states and local agencies to make better and more informed decisions that will result in saving lives. (https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/).

We have taken a focused approach to safety.  This means that based on crash data, FHWA provides additional resources to high priority states to address critical safety challenges.

There are three focus areas: Roadway Departure, Intersections and
Pedestrians/Bicycles. 

Did you know that on average 50% of roadway fatalities every year are related to roadway departure? Followed by intersections?

There are safety countermeasures that can help with roadway departure, for example rumble strips, guardrail, enhanced delineation, high friction surface treatments, and
SafetyEdgesm. The Proven Safety Countermeasures (https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/) .

Initiative (PSCi) began in 2008 and now it has a total of 20 countermeasures and strategies. This initiative encourages the widespread implementation of those treatments and strategies to accelerate efforts and save lives as well as prevent injuries on our roads.

During project development, FHWA encourages agencies to use data-driven safety analysis (https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovation/everydaycounts/edc_4/ddsa.cfm ) during the planning, alternative analysis, design and construction, operations & maintenance processes to have the additional benefit of better targeted investments while reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries.

While states and local agencies work hard at incorporating safety into their processes to make better and more informed decisions every day that will lead to zero deaths, they can’t do it alone. We need everyone’s help. We need you! 

Drive, bike and walk alert always.

Don’t get distracted–that text or call can wait.

Wear your seatbelt!

At the end of the day we ALL want to get home safely.

Feb
27

Dulles Matters: A New Way to Lounge at Dulles International Airport

Across the travel industry there is a focus on helping travelers maximize their time on flights, in hotels and also in airports. This winter, Dulles International Airport embraces this trend with the debut of a new traveler lounge giving passengers a reason to explore more often, comfortably and effortlessly. 

Sleepbox Lounge is one of the first in-terminal lounges of its kind featuring 16 comfortable, secure and sound-proof modular rooms where travelers can work and relax. Offered at a fraction of the cost of a traditional hotel room and far more
convenient, Sleepbox Lounges are a comfortable option for travelers to enjoy their time at the airport.

Keeping comfort and convenience as the priority features, each Sleepbox is equipped with a memory foam extra-long twin bed, a pull out desk, organizational drawers and a reading lamp to meet the multiple needs of passengers. To enhance the experience, rooms are outfitted with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth speakers, mood lighting, privacy window tint and charging ports.

Accessibility to Sleepbox modules is simple. Travelers can instantly make
reservations through the Sleepbox smartphone app by the hour or in 15-minute increments after the first hour. The Lounge is full-service and fully staffed around the clock with concierge attendants, maintenance staff and hospitality personnel.

Beyond the visible amenities and the service advantages, Sleepbox Lounges are also sustainably conscious as a hotel model using existing and underutilized spaces like airports. Each Sleepbox room is built in America with sustainable materials and energy-efficient lighting.

Sleepbox is conveniently located on the Mezzanine level of Concourse A between Gates A6 and A14. 

Photos: Sleepbox Lounge and Sleepbox Room.

Feb
27

Metro Matters: Dynamic Testing Begins on Phase 2 of the Silver Line

By Marcia McAllister

The first Silver Line Phase 2 trains now are running between Innovation Station and the west side of Dulles Airport; they aren’t shiny new cars and they aren’t carrying passengers.

The very first trains that rolled in early February were actually two-car trains used to grind or polish tracks to get rid of rust that had appeared since the tracks were laid. That’s a common natural occurrence when track is put down and not used right away. Once the rust was gone, testing trains moved in and dynamic testing started.

Dynamic testing takes place on energized tracks and signals a major milestone as the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and its two major contractors continue to build Phase 2 of the rail line. Phase 1 opened in 2014.

The testing is being done by Capital Rail Constructors (CRC), the contractor building the $2.7 billion dollar system, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The testing operations go on for several months.

Meanwhile, construction continues at all six stations and support facilities such as traction power substations and storm water ponds.

Drivers along the Dulles Toll Road now see pedestrian bridges from both sides of highway to the stations are in place. Each station is clearly visible and crews continue to work on the systems that will power the trains.

Project officials have asked the public to remember that the rail line tracks are now “live.” The site is secured, but everyone should pay attention to all warning signs and keep away from secured areas.

“Trains could be running and sections rail can be energized day and night,” according to a CRC spokeswoman. 

The Silver line is a 23-mile extension of Washington’s Metro system. Phase 1 runs from the East Falls Church Metrorail Station through four stops in Tysons to the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station. Phase 2 will run from the Wiehle station to Reston Town Center Station, Herndon Station, Innovation Station, Dulles Airport Station and into Loudoun County with stops at Loudoun Gateway Station (near Route 606) and terminating at Ashburn Station (near Route 772).

Feb
27

The Nation’s Only Statewide House and Garden Tour Continues to Keep Virginia Beautiful

April 27-May 4, 2019 

“Historic Garden Week is unprecedented as a fundraiser that underwrites restoration projects and supports our centennial project with the state parks,” explains Jean Gilpin, President of the Garden Club of Virginia (GCV), the event’s sponsoring organization. With 40 active restoration sites and 24 grants to Virginia’s parks in the past three years, the work of the Garden Club of Virginia has broad and significant statewide impact. 

While Virginia might be the “Mother of Presidents,” Historic Garden Week, as the oldest and largest house and garden tour in the nation, is surely the “Mother of House and Garden Tours.” The inspiration happened early in the organization’s history when a flower show organized by GCV volunteers raised $7,000 to save trees planted by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. The first tours, known as “pilgrimages,” took place two years later. Tour proceeds have continued to fund the restoration and preservation of the Commonwealth’s significant historic public gardens ever since. 

“Historic Garden Week has raised millions of dollars to keep Virginia beautiful,” notes Lynn McCashin, the Garden Club of Virginia’s Executive Director. “The grounds of our most cherished landmarks including Mount Vernon and Stratford Hall have been restored with tour proceeds.” Additionally, this annual event funds a historic landscape research fellowship program that is building a comprehensive library of Virginia’s important gardens and landscapes. Since its inception in 1996, it has documented twenty-five. 

“Much more than a benefit, Historic Garden Week is a beloved springtime tradition – for both our members and for the nearly 24,000 people that attend,” commented Stephie Broadwater, the event’s State Chair. The only statewide house and garden tour in the nation, it promotes tourism while showcasing communities both large and small across the Commonwealth. “Perhaps most importantly, this enduring legacy brings our membership together towards a common goal,” Gilpin adds. “Historic Garden Week would not be possible without the hard work of our 3,300 members.” 

“Virginia is especially beautiful during Historic Garden Week,” Gilpin continues. “For eight days at the end of April and early May visitors from all over the world will tour beautiful homes and gardens and enjoy all Virginia has to offer.” The 2019 event encompasses 31 tours organized and hosted by 47 member clubs. Approximately 200 private homes, gardens and historical places will be open especially for Historic Garden Week. “Every year the properties opened and the tours offered are different, making each year a unique experience,” she explains. 

“It’s hard to conceive of the scope of Historic Garden Week, so we like to share some surprising numbers,” Broadwater notes. “In addition to the amazing interiors and gardens on display, our volunteers will design over 2,200 spectacular floral arrangements to decorate rooms open to the public. Most of the plant materials will come from their very own gardens.” 

The event’s 2019 marketing materials will showcase the Virginia bluebell and Waverley Hill, the former home of the President of the Garden Club of Virginia from 1928 to 1930. “Designed by William Lawrence Bottomley, with gardens by the landscape architect that did the restoration at Colonial Williamsburg, Arthur Shurcliff, this gorgeous Georgian- Revival country house was completed in 1929 – aptly, the year of the first Historic Garden Week,” Broadwater shared. 

Feb
27

The True Cost of Driving – An Eye-Opening Analysis

INRIX, the company that delivers a congestion management app, is also a very sophisticated analytical firm that has conducted studies on congestion-related issues worldwide.  A recent report on the cost of driving, based on their capture of data and analysis of parking, maintenance and other related costs (lost time, carbon emissions, etc.) is a staggering eye-opener that should give everyone pause to examine the potential benefits that car sharing may really afford each individual.  We might want to think long and hard about car ownership after looking at these results.  The INRIX analysis is summarized below.

INRIX announced the findings of the first ever Cost of Driving study that calculated vehicle ownership costs in 30 major cities in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany. The study found that the indirect, hidden costs of driving, such as sitting in traffic and searching for parking, carry a significant economic burden for drivers in the U.S. – to the tune of $3,037 per driver in 2017.

The average U.S. driver faced a total driving cost of $10,288 in 2017, made up of direct (maintenance, fuel, insurance, and parking and toll fees) and indirect/hidden costs (wasted time and carbon emissions, parking fines and overpayments). Interestingly, traffic and parking-related costs made up nearly half (45 percent) of the total cost of ownership in the U.S.

“The true cost of driving was staggering but what was truly surprising was the size and breakdown of the hidden costs. Parking, for example, made up a third of the total cost of vehicle ownership,” explains Dr. Graham Cookson, Chief Economist, INRIX. “On average, drivers spent more than $3,000 a year on all parking-related costs.”

INRIX Cost of Driving Index U.S. City Results

On the local level, New York City was the most expensive city for drivers out of the 30 cities studied. In 2017, the total cost of driving in NYC was nearly two times the national average at $18,926 per driver, mostly due to the cost of parking. New Yorkers parked more often (10 times/week), paid more frequently (60 percent) and paid the most (average off-street rate of $28 for two hours). At $10,203 per driver, Detroit had the lowest total cost of car ownership mostly due to cheaper on-street and off-street parking rates.   (SEE FIGURE 1.)

INRIX Cost of Driving Index Country Results

The average U.S. driver faced a total driving cost of $10,288 in 2017, which was 55 percent more than the average U.K. driver and 14 percent more than the average German driver. However, U.S. drivers use their cars more than their German counterparts (13,467 miles driven annually in the U.S. and 8,709 miles driven annually in Germany), but the congestion impact is smaller. (SEE FIGURE 2.)