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Author: Bernie Wagenblast

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Interviews with transportation newsmakers by transportation journalist Bernie Wagenblast.
132 Episodes
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In this month’s episode of AASHTO’s ETAP Podcast, host Bernie Wagenblast sits down with Matthew Quirey, a Landscape Design & Research Fellow at The Ray. For his thesis, Matthew partnered with The Ray to produce new classifications of the most beneficial and well rounded roadside vegetation systems which can now be used to guide Georgia’s efforts in sustainability and harmonious roadside ecology.
Eulois Cleckley, the outgoing Executive Director of the Denver Department of Transportation & Infrastructure, discusses how he helped launch a new transportation and infrastructure department in a large urban city. Cleckley, who serves as president of both the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) as well as the Colorado Chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), also shares insights on how cities are working together to achieve safer, more equitable environments for all road users in a post-COVID environment. Finally, he touches on an upcoming career move this summer to Miami-Dade County in Florida as its new Director and CEO of Transportation and Public Works.
This month's AASHTO ETAP Podcast will focus on how state agency partnerships are helping Connecticut both achieve its state climate goals and implement the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program, or TCI-P. State DOTs are critical stakeholders in deciding how to re-invest revenue generated caps on emissions. TCI-P is a historic multi-state effort to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation In Connecticut, for example, TCI-P is projected to generate roughly a billion dollars over the next decade, much of which will support transportation systems.To learn more about TCI-P and the ongoing collaboration between state agencies in Connecticut, we are joined by Katie S. Dykes, the Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, or DEEP, as well as Garrett Eucalitto, the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Transportation.
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has been around for nearly 100 years, and is the federal standard for regulation of all things signs, markings, and signals in the US transportation system. But how has the manual changed throughout the years, and how has ITE played a role in influencing those changes? ITE Deputy Executive Director and Chief Technical Officer Jeff Lindley joins the podcast to demystify these issues. He also describes ITE's response to the current Notice of Proposed Amendments issued by FHWA, which is expected to result in a new edition of the manual, the first to be issued since 2009.
This episode of the AASHTO ETAP podcast will focus on transportation equity and environmental justice. Transportation systems are critical to people’s ability to reach jobs, educational opportunities, health care, and a number of other goods and services. However, underserved and marginalized communities often lack transportation options that are accessible and affordable. In its efforts to address these issues, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has earned national recognition for its Rethinking I-94 project. MnDOT began the project in 2016, working with communities negatively affected by the construction of I-94 in the 1960s to develop a new vision for the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area. MnDOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Rethinking I-94’s Livability Director, Gloria Jeff, join us on this episode to discuss transportation equity and environmental justice.
Lorraine Martin, President and CEO of the National Safety Council, discusses the NSC 2020 Motor Vehicle Fatalities preliminary data, which estimate that as many as 42,060 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020. That marks an 8 percent increase over 2019 in a year where people drove significantly less frequently because of the pandemic. She also talks about workplace safety guidelines issued by NSC during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they were utilized by employers.
State departments of transportation will play a critical role in rolling out electric vehicle infrastructure. Shoshana Lew, the Executive Director of Colorado DOT, is leading the march towards a greener future for her state’s drivers and riders. This month’s podcast discusses how Colorado is ramping up its efforts to promote electric vehicles and provide the infrastructure necessary for the future of transportation.
Ryan Russo, Director of Transportation at the Oakland, California Department of Transportation, is the guest on the ITE Talks Transportation podcast and discusses the city’s Slow Streets program and the challenges of meeting the community’s transportation needs during COVID-19. He also highlights the department’s strategic plan, including the establishment of a Racial Equity team that works to address inequities, build trust within the community, and make transportation more accessible for all. Russo is also a keynote speaker at ITE’s Virtual Technical Conference in March.
In this episode of the  AASHTO ETAP Podcast, Paula Hammond – market leader-multimodal at consulting firm WSP USA and a former secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation – talks about the career challenges and opportunities for women in the transportation industry.
On the February edition of the ITE Talks Transportation podcast, Bryan Mistele, President and CEO of INRIX, talks about the impact of big data and data analytics on the transportation sector, including how his company utilizes real-time information to improve location-based insights for companies, cities, and road authorities around the world.
Jeff Bennett — head of the Transit Delivery Division of the District of Columbia Department of Transportation and president of the DC Chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials — is interviewed by host Bernie Wagenblast about how Washington, DC is advancing transportation equity on this episode of the AASHTO ETAP Podcast.
Jim Tymon, Executive Director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), discusses the impacts of COVID-19 on the transportation industry over the past year and how state departments of transportation are faring. He also talks about the new US presidential administration and upcoming legislative activities, including what AASHTO hopes to see in terms of congressional investment in infrastructure and transportation, as well as the FAST Act reauthorization.
The January AASHTO ETAP Podcast focuses on the Transportation Research Board’s 2021 Annual Meeting, taking place throughout the month of January. Like most organizations, TRB has shifted to a virtual meeting due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting will celebrate TRB’s centennial with the theme, “Launching a New Century of Mobility and Quality of Life.” The program covers all transportation modes and addresses a range of topics, including dozens of sessions on how COVID-19 has affected transportation and how transportation professionals and researchers are responding. This month’s guest is Martin Palmer, Washington State DOT engineering services manager and co-chair of TRB’s Standing Committee on Environmental Analysis and Ecology.
Jennifer Toole, founder and president of Toole Design, discusses the implications of COVID-19 for complete streets in communities and whether they will last beyond the pandemic. She also talks about starting a business from scratch, and how she and her staff work to promote a spirit of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond.
In this episode, host Bernie Wagenblast interviews Jannine Miller and Charles Robinson of the Georgia Department of Transportation about the I-85 Corridor Study, an innovative effort that is using a new approach – Planning and Environmental Linkage, or PEL. EPISODE NOTESPlanning and Environmental Linkages or PEL represents a collaborative and integrated approach to transportation decision-making that 1) considers environmental, community, and economic goals early in the transportation planning process, and 2) uses the information, analysis, and products developed during planning to inform the environmental review process.The benefits include: Improved relationships with stakeholders; improved project delivery timelines; and better transportation programs and projects.More information about PEL can be found at the Center for Environmental Excellence website.
Shelley Row, P.E., CSP, CEO and founder, Blue Fjord Leaders, discusses effective professional development within this new virtual landscape brought on by COVID-19. Hear her advice for those wanting to develop their leadership traits and perspective on how well transportation professionals have adapted their communication and interpersonal skills to the new environment. As the facilitator for LeadershipITE, she also highlights the adaptation of LeadershipITE to the virtual format for 2021 and discusses the engaging features that participants can expect from the program.
California DOT Director Toks Omishakin about the important role active transportation — primarily walking and cycling — plays in a healthy transportation system during the AASHTO ETAP Podcast. Omishakin, chairs AASHTO’s Council on Active Transportation, and is a considered a national leader in policies that promote safe and equitable active transportation opportunities.
Robin Phillips, Executive Director of the National Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP), discusses the challenges of delivering safe and effective public transportation in rural and tribal areas, and highlights some of the challenges faced by these communities, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. National RTAP serves as a training and technical assistance resource for agencies across the United States to facilitate more efficient use of public transportation resources, and Phillips highlights how the program works to ensure a high quality of life for communities through access to jobs, healthcare, education, shopping, and other services.
Futurist Garry Golden shares how he sees the global COVID-19 pandemic shaping future outcomes for the transportation industry as a whole and for professionals. Garry was a Plenary Speaker at the 2020 ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibition and the session was sponsored by the ITE Consultants Council.
Hawaii is no stranger to natural disasters — over the course of several months between 2018-2019, the state faced flooding, landslides and volcanic eruptions. In this episode of the AASHTO ETAP Podcast, Ed Sniffen, Hawaii DOT deputy director for Highways, explains how HDOT plans and prepares to ensure organizational resilience.
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