COMTO, AASHTO and Transportation Equity with April Rai

Equity in transportation has become a major topic of interest the past few years, but the need for a more just transportation sector is not new. Groups like the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) began working to promote equity in transportation decades before the concept became mainstream. COMTO was founded in 1971, just over 50 years ago, and as the association representing minorities in transportation they aim to ensure opportunities and maximum participation in the transportation industry for minority individuals, veterans, people with disabilities, as well as minority, women, and disadvantaged business enterprises. COMTO’s work towards equity heavily intersects with environmental topics such as environmental justice, workforce diversity, public involvement and more. Joining us to chat about equity, transportation and the environment is April Rai, the President and Chief Executive Officer of COMTO.

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April Rai

How Carmel, Indiana Became the ‘Roundabout Capital of the United States’

Jeremy Kashman, chief engineer and director of engineering for the City of Carmel, Indiana joins the ITE Talks Transportation podcast to talk about how his city became the “Roundabout Capital of the United States.” With more than 140 existing roundabouts and more in the works, Kashman describes the process of installing these roundabouts and the benefits they provide, including decreased congestion, improved safety, and reduced emissions. Kashman also describes the public’s reaction to the roundabouts, and provides insights for any jurisdictions considering installing the structures.

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Jeremy Kashman

Equity in Electric Vehicle Charging

Empty your pockets at the gas station each week or navigate charging anxiety? Americans are caught in a Catch-22; and that’s just for folks with the income to consider purchasing an electric vehicle. As gas prices climb quicker than electric vehicle charging infrastructure expands, organizations like Forth and the Greenlining Institute are working to ensure equitable access to a growing electric vehicle charging network.

In 2019, the Federal Highway Administration reported that the average American drove 14,263 miles per year- or 274 miles a week. The average electric vehicle battery can go ~250 miles between charges- which would seem to be plenty of range most of the time. But what about that occasional road trip? More importantly, what about people who can’t easily charge up in their garage? 

Leslie Aguayo, climate equity program manager at the Greenlining Institute and Jeff Allen, the executive director at Forth, join us on AASHTO’s ETAP Podcast to discuss just that—equitable electric vehicle charging.

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Leslie Aguayo

Jeff Allen

Interview with Joint Office of Energy and Transportation

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) created the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to facilitate collaboration between the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Transportation.

The Joint Office will align resources and expertise across the two departments toward leveraged outcomes. The office will be a critical component in the implementation of the BIL, providing support and expertise to a multitude of programs that seek to deploy a network of electric vehicle chargers, zero-emission fueling infrastructure, and zero-emission transit and school buses. BIL also created what is now being called the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula program or NEVI.

In early February, FHWA released the guidance for the NEVI program and the state departments of transportation are rolling up their sleeves and getting to work on developing state EV infrastructure deployment plans that will be submitted to the Joint Office by Aug. 1, 2022 In the meantime, state DOTs are partnering with their sister state agencies like state energy offices and working with the Joint Office to leverage the expertise and technical assistance available through this interagency partnership. Today we’re joined on the ETAP podcast by Dr. Rachael Nealer, the Deputy Director of the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation.

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Dr. Rachael Nealer

US Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg – National Roadway Safety Strategy, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and More

Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg joins the ITE Talks Transportation podcast to discuss the Department of Transportation’s newly announced National Roadway Safety Strategy, which utilizes the Safe System Approach to achieve zero fatalities and serious injuries on roadways. She also shares the administration’s plans and perspective on transportation-related goals for the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act, as well as how equitable outcomes are a major priority for implementing this historic legislation.

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Polly Trottenberg

School Bus Electrification with Sue Gander

With school buses providing 10 billion annual student rides, electrification presents a major opportunity to green the transportation industry; and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA, in concert with state DOTs and organizations like World Resources Institute, sets out to do just that. With a coming influx of $5 billion from the IIJA to replace existing buses, and additional funding for EV charging infrastructure, it’s time for a big change in school transportation.

Joining us on AASHTO’s ETAP podcast is Sue Gander, Director of the Electric School Bus Initiative at the World Resources Institute. Sue and her team are currently working at their goal of electrifying all 480,000 school buses by 2030.

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Sue Gander

Moving Innovation to Practice with Gregory D. Winfree, J.D. – Director, Texas A&M Transportation Institute

Gregory D. Winfree, Agency Director of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), joins the ITE Talks Transportation podcast to discuss the impact of innovative approaches in transportation and how they can address real-world challenges and improve safety. He highlights emergent trends and technologies having an impact on the industry, and shares more about TTI’s ongoing safety efforts to improve roadways and reduce serious injuries and fatalities.

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Gregory D. Winfree

How State DOTs Are Dealing With Post-World War II Construction

Since 2020, the AASHTO Committee on Environment and Sustainability has held a weekly webinar series throughout the month of September with each week’s segment hosted by one of its four subcommittees. This year, when the Cultural Resources Subcommittee sat down to plan their webinar, it became clear that there was one topic on everyone’s mind– and that was: Post-World War II construction (and what to do with it).

The Cultural Resources webinar on the topic illuminated the desire for more resources on how to best deal with post war construction as a practitioner. As such, the subcommittee is conducting their own nationwide survey of the state DOTs on their post war practices and protocols. Heading up that effort is Scott Williams, Cultural Resources Program Manager, Washington State Department of Transportation. Scott joins us on the AASHTO’s ETAP podcast to tell us about the project.

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Scott Williams

Advancing the Role of Women in Transportation with Laura Chace, ITS America President and CEO

Laura Chace, president and CEO of ITS America, joins the ITE Talks Transportation podcast to discuss the MobilityXX Pledge, an initiative led by ITS America, The Ray and WTS to advance the role of women as leaders within the transportation industry. She also talks about current priorities at ITS America, including integrating new technologies under the Infrastructure and Investment Act, and the future of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications. Laura also touches on how ITE can continue to partner with her organization to empower transportation professionals to improve their communities.

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Laura Chace

TRB Annual Meeting & SETT Conference Preview

This month’s episode of AASHTO’s ETAP Podcast will focus on the upcoming 2022 Transportation Research Board’s Annual Meeting as well as provide a preview for the TRB Sustainability and Emerging Transportation Technology Conference taking place in March.

This year’s meeting will be of particular interest to environmental practitioners and is titled: Innovating an Equitable, Resilient, Sustainable, and Safe Transportation System. With over 800 information sessions and meetings, TRB will cover a wide array of topics across all modes within this year’s theme.

Joining us to discuss the 101st TRB Annual Meeting is Tim Sexton; Chief Sustainability Officer at the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Chair of the Transportation Research Board’s Transportation and Sustainability Committee. Tim will also provide a preview of the TRB Sustainability and Emerging Transportation Technology (SETT) Conference taking place in Irvine, California, March 15-18, 2022.

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Tim Sexton