Geek Alabama's Redo AL's Roads


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Geek Alabama's Redo AL's Roads

  1. 1. By: Nathan Young @nvyoung
  2. 2. Alabama Facts• In 2007; the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the current backlog of unfunded but needed road, highway and bridge repairs and improvements is currently $461 billion. • Alabama needs $4.3 billion dollars to complete transportation projects. • U.S. 431 in Russell County has been ranked one of the 40 most dangerous roads in the world. • According to Georgia Tech, Southeast rural 2-lane roads are the deadliest in the nation. • Alabama is #1 for highway fatalities caused by speeding; #9 for deaths caused by DUI, and #9 for having overall the deadliest roads. • Alabama is second only to Mississippi for the most teen driving fatalities. • Alabama only has one truck weigh station. Heavy trucks not being restricted tear up Alabama’s roads. Truck traffic will increase 28% by 2020. • In 63 % of car crashes investigated by State Troopers; people were not buckled up. • 23 % of roads in Alabama are in poor or mediocre condition; it’s 47% in Montgomery.
  3. 3. Alabama Facts • 11 % of Alabama’s bridges are structurally deficient, showing significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports, or other major components. An additional 13% of Alabama bridges are functionally obsolete. • Drivers are the other factor creating dangerous roads, such as distractions from cell phones, driving slow in the left lane, and driving too slow and holding up many cars. • Driving on roads in need of repair costs Alabama motorists $836 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs – $230 per motorist. • 38% of Alabama’s urban highways are congested. • Vehicle travel on Alabama’s highways increased by 41 percent from 1990 to 2005. • Motor vehicle crashes cost Alabama $2.8 billion per year, $627 for each resident, in medical costs, lost productivity, travel delays, workplace costs, insurance costs and legal costs. • A total of 5,315 people died on Alabama’s highways from 2001 through 2005. • In Alabama, 48 percent of major roads, excluding the Interstates, are two lanes.
  4. 4. What we want to do? on Repair interstate lights Increase state funding for roads Ban all driving distractions Increase driver skills and alertness while in car Design new Alabama route shield Repair roads and increase funding to maintain No lights on 65 mph Increase scenic routes for visitors Enforce truck weight and restrictions New route sign color Clean up DOT and corruption Draft new laws to project people
  5. 5. Problem U.S. 280 is a major 4-lane corridor that runs from Birmingham to Columbus, GA and on into Georgia. 280 was mostly a 2-lane road that was very dangerous and was 4-laned in late 2000’s. U.S. 280 has grown into a 4-lane cogged corridor with dangerous intersections that have killed many, and many traffic lights that slow down commerce and grow yearly. 280 has 60+ pairs of signals Solve the Problem U.S. 280 has suffocated cities along the route with lost jobs and the road is holding back growth. We need to remove signals and upgrade to interchanges to create high tech growth.
  6. 6. Public Perception of ALDOT • Many people feel contracts are too high and someone is getting a “kickback”. • ALDOT has had environmental lawsuits filed against them against U.S. 98 in Mobile County. • Some people feels it takes too long for ALDOT to study the improvement of a road. • Past corruption within ALDOT has sent some employees to prison. • Using political favors for road projects is a corrupt practice that needs to end. • Some people also feel that the Alabama Road Builders Association (Road PAC) bribes and gives money to politicians to vote a certain way for a road project.
  7. 7. Alabama Funding Problem In some work zone projects in Alabama, there are signs put up before the work zone that tells you how much taxpayer money it costs to repair or build a new road or bridge. As you can see in the pictures above almost all the funding in this work zone is from federal funding. Why is there hardly any state funding?
  8. 8. It Takes Too Long Bridges are often in service for years beyond it’s lifespan Roads are often in service for years beyond it’s lifespan
  9. 9. We Need a Good Road System • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support 27,800 jobs. Another 14,000 jobs would be created outside of the construction sector. • The USDOT also found that every dollar invested in the nation’s highway system yields $5.40 in economic benefits in reduced delays, improved safety and lower vehicle operating costs. • Traffic congestion costs American motorists $63.1 billion a year in wasted time and fuel costs. Americans spend 3.7 billion hours a year stuck in traffic. • Vehicle travel on America’s highways increased by 39 percent from 1990 to 2005, while new road mileage increased by only four percent. The nation’s population grew by 19 percent during that period. • A good system of roads helps in the growth of trade and other economic activities all over the country. • Roads are essential for the economic development of a country. For speedy transportation of commodities a good network of roads is essential. • During emergencies such as accidents, the injured person can be rushed immediately to a hospital through a good system of roads. In such cases only a sufferer can understand the value of good system of roads. • A good network of roads enables villagers to transport their commodities to the market speedily and easily. • According to a study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration, $100 million spent on highway safety improvements will save 145 lives over a 10-year period.
  10. 10. Alabama Gas Tax Alabama charges 16¢ a gallon on gas (19¢ diesel) on a gallon of gas. The problem is cars are getting more fuel efficient and costs to build and repave roads are going higher. Do you notice that part of the gas tax goes to things other than roads and does not include mass transit? Auburn Opelika News Cities can pass a tax increase by city council vote. But counties must get legislative approval to pass a tax increase. This ties up business during the legislative session.
  11. 11. ALDOT Funding • ALDOT estimates that from 2008 to 2017, approximately $16.2 billion is needed to allow the state to significantly improve road and bridge conditions, make reasonable roadway safety improvements and address needed traffic congestion relief. • According to ALDOT estimates, anticipated funding levels from 2008 to 2017 will be only $9.3 billion. As a result, needed highway improvement and maintenance projects will not be able to move forward without additional transportation funding. • The estimated costs, according to the date, to repair rural roads in each county is staggering. For example, in Marengo County it would cost $50.5 million to resurface all paved roads.
  12. 12. Solve the Funding Problem • Besides the possible loss of federal money, the department took a $63 million hit this year when the Legislature moved $35 million to the state courts and $28 million to the state troopers. • The stark reality of federal debt reduction for Alabama road building is the possible loss of $200 million that could stop construction of new roads. • If we lose $200 million out of $1 billion that we have some discretion over, it will kill our capacity projects because it will take every penny we have to maintain the roads we have. • If congress fails to pass a transportation bill, the federal gas tax will expire which will put a huge strain on Alabama’s roads. One option is to use a mileage based tax using a gps system. It will not work, people will not want to be tracked. One option is to use more toll roads. Hard to do because we are used to free roads and the device to pay toll, tracking issue. One option is to levy a percentage tax on crude oil and imported refined petroleum products. Hard to do with more car efficient standards and using less oil. One option is to us a Vignette (road tax) sticker you buy every year when you renew your tag. Hard to do because people forget to do things. We need to form a commission of road builders, DOT officials, government officials, business officials, and average citizens to come up with ways to come up with new ways to fund our highways.
  13. 13. Road Building Costs The Birmingham Northern Beltline costs to build has soared to around $4.7 Billion. Up from $3.4 Billion in late 2009. That equals to around $90 million per mile to build. For a typical local roadway about $30 per square yard is a good approximation, including sub base, base course, surface and friction courses. The average cost to build a three-lane collector road is $3.2 million, about $100,000 per mile. The fact people are driving less because of higher gas prices means the city is getting about $200,000 less in gas tax money for road repairs from the state, compared to $1 million last year.
  14. 14. Things Are So Bad Cities like Alexander City are repaving roads with tar and gravel.
  15. 15. Bring Down Costs Offer incentives for finishing road construction projects early and penalties for finishing late. Recycle old concrete and asphalt into new road construction and use new technology in road building to reduce costs. Enable Private partnership with governments to build roads with less costs and tax breaks.Enable mass transit reform using smaller buses, trains, and bike lanes to reduce the need to build roads. Have a conference involving road builders and government officials to come up with ideas to reduce costs. Enable funding reforms in state and federal governments to give out funding in fair amounts to all projects.
  16. 16. Construction Problems • We must streamline road construction companies to include stricter standards for completing projects on time. • Include bonus for finishing projects ahead of time. • Include penalty for finishing projects after the contract expires. • After a certain amount of late finishes, the company can not bid a project for one year.
  17. 17. Construction Delays • There have been numerous delays in building a new road in the State of Alabama. • It should not take 5-10 years to build a road, so we need to find ways to speed up construction of a new road. Has been under construction since May 2006. It was finished in 2013. It took over 40+ years to 4-lane the entire highway from Birmingham to Columbus, GA AlabamaTalladega, AL
  18. 18. All State Conference • Dot Director and Governor official • Three people from road building companies • Four people from mayors of cities or county commissions • Two people from news media • Two people from trucking industry • Two average citizens, great knowledge of roads(example would be daily commuters). I would do a conference involving several parties to come together to save money, restructure ALDOT, and build better roads in the state. (15 people) Created by state legislature to reform ALDOT and process money is handed out for road maintaining and road building.
  19. 19. Stop the Road Building • I would propose a moratorium stopping any new road building in the state until we can solve the road funding and construction issue. • The 2009 issue of The Report Card for America’s Infrastructure graded the nation's critical infrastructure systems a "D" and noted a five-year investment need of $2.2 trillion. -American Society of Civil Engineers Bridge was closed because of cracks in the steel in Sept. 2011. The bridge carries an estimated 80,000 vehicles daily. Collapsed in 2007 killing 13 and injuring 145. The failure was blamed on a design flaw and heavy weight on the bridge. The Tunnel in Mobile, AL is Alabama’s top choke point and one of the top choke points on the interstate system. There are plans for a new wider bridge but some residents are fighting the bridge plans for no alternative. George Wallace TunnelLouisville, KY Minneapolis, MN
  20. 20. Truck Traffic • Alabama has only one truck weigh station on I-20 near Heflin. Alabama has some weigh in motion sensors around the state but you can not see if the truck has non secured equipment or broken parts. • Alabama also has a problem with truck parking around the state. There are limited parking spots for trucks and it forces truckers to park on interstate off-ramps. • I-20 between Atlanta and Birmingham has some of the highest truck traffic volumes in the country and is projects to grow much more by 2020.
  21. 21. Truck Solution  Put permanent weigh station at each major entrance into the state.  Continue to use weigh in motion scales in random places  Use State Troopers to use portable scales.  Use pre-pass in trucks to bypass certain trucks to lower truck traffic at weigh stations.  Let weigh stations allow drivers to park to allow drivers to get their mandatory 10 hour rest.
  22. 22. Rest Areas • Alabama has rest areas spaced along interstates and some major highways across the state • Some places like I-20 and I-22 need a rest area. • Rest areas need to expand truck parking to accommodate additional parking. • Welcome centers need to be updated with technology. One is needed on I-22. • Rest areas are being closed due to lack and funds and no way to earn income. If there are not adequate rest areas, drivers have no place to stop and rest. This creates a dangerous problem by creating sleepy drivers.
  23. 23. Reform Rest Areas • Rest Areas need extra truck parking • Rest Areas could be converted to service areas such as toll roads that provide services without getting off the highway. This requires an act of congress. • New technology needs to be used for traffic info., weather, construction, and any other information needed for travel. • Provide refreshment for drivers so they would not fall asleep in front of wheel. • Rest areas and welcome centers need to provide free WIFI.
  24. 24. Social Media • ALDOT would create a Facebook page to update on projects, alerts and news. • ALDOT would create 5 separate Twitter pages based on regions (Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, SE Alabama) that people can subscribe to receive traffic alerts and news. • ALDOT would create a YouTube page highlighting news and projects. • ALDOT would create a blog highlighting news and projects.
  25. 25. Go Around in Community • ALDOT could create a character (mascot) that would visit schools and community events to highlight ALDOT and state infrastructure. • Start a state wide contest to let people design and then choose a winner. • The character would create positive thinking about ALDOT in a statewide view that currently feels that ALDOT is a corrupt organization.
  26. 26. Examine State Highways Monsanto Rd in Marshall County is a 4-lane 65 mph speed limit road that dead ends 2 ½ miles down the road. In Marshall County is a wide 3-lane road with little traffic counts. In Butler County, AL it dead ends in the middle of nowhere.
  27. 27. Reexamine State Highways • All state highways can not end at county lines and smaller roads • State highways can only end at other state highways, cities, or state parks • All highways with an temporary end like AL-145 must be connected to a state highway • Reexamine low traffic count highways to see if they need to be decommissioned
  28. 28. State route sign • Several states have ditched a black and white shield for a color theme route shield. • The Birmingham Metro is having a problem having rows of interstate lights out at night. • ALDOT would be required to fix and/or replace broken interstate lights within a time period. Interstate Lights
  29. 29. Retire the Shield Each shield has its own color scheme, while the state cannot change a federal shield we can change the state shield to a color scheme that is not used by another shield. I would propose a contest where everybody in the state can submit a new design (2 color design) for the state route shield. School kids would be able to draw a design and people could upload to the internet or mail in their design and the top 10 would be chosen. The top 10 would be voted on by the public by internet or mail and a statewide media campaign. The winner would get a money award plus the first shield made.
  30. 30. New City Route A new route shield would be developed that would allow cities an option to sign busy city streets with a route shield to make streets easier to find and directions easier for people. In this map of Oxford, AL the streets highlighted would receive a route shield, only streets that have high traffic amounts and allow trucks would get a route shield. Only numbers not used within a 25- mile radius could be used.
  31. 31. Interstate Business Loops • Allow communities along a interstate to let ALDOT sign a business loop that goes through a downtown between two exits. Cities like Heflin, Clanton, Cullman, Greenville, Fort Payne and others would be allowed if they decide to sign a business route along existing state highways.
  32. 32. ALDOT Website • Many people have concerns that the website is not in best interest of travelers, and that it is only for construction plans. • Reform website with a traveler mind in view. With traffic info, road closed info, pictures, and traffic alerts. • Have a separate section for ALDOT info. Include construction plans. • Have a social media presence with Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and a Blog.
  33. 33. Start Up 511 • Alabama needs to start up the 511 program. • 511 is a free call that informs you about traffic and weather info anywhere in a state. • Most states have started the 511 program with great success. • Signs would be placed throughout the state that would inform travelers of the program. • It would save people money by allowing them to avoid in traffic jams.
  34. 34. Technology on Roads • Birmingham message boards have been criticized since the first ones were erected in 2001. They never worked properly. • In 2003, ALDOT Director Joe McInnes ordered the malfunctioning boards taken down and replaced. Urban areas would use overhead VMS Rural areas would use roadside VMS New signs being used in Washington State use symbols and speed limits updated for traffic jams and wrecks ahead. Cameras along highways would monitor traffic and if traffic jams or wrecks are spotted signs can be changed to alert drivers.
  35. 35. Technology on Roads • Travelers and Commuters could log on to a website or use their smart phone app to get up to date traffic speed, can view roadway cameras, and can read the latest info. on variable message signs. You could also get Twitter alerts of traffic accidents and backups. Indiana DOT uses a map with traffic speed and camera images on the main webpage. Georgia DOT puts message signs on its website for travelers to read.
  36. 36. Weather Alerts • On the April 27th tornado outbreak. Some travelers were unaware a huge tornado was heading toward them. Some travelers died in their cars on that day. • During winter weather events; travelers need to know what is open and closed to ensure safe travel. Placed along highways; travelers would know what stations would cover long form tornado warnings from a TV station or their own coverage. Only stations that does this would be listed on sign. Inform travelers where a tornado shelter is located to take shelter and get off the road. Many out of state travelers listen to satellite radio which provides no local weather alerts. Cell phone alerts could be used to alert travelers as well.
  37. 37. Speed Limit Abuse • Some towns in Alabama artificially set the speed limit below the road design standard to create ticket revenue. Glencoe, AL East Alabama Speed limit goes to 45 mph but you look above and there’s nothing there to make traffic go slower. (It has been changed) Speed limit was set to 55 mph due to some one getting killed by bad condition of road. Laws would be passed that would prevent cities and counties to set low speed limits for ticket revenue. Speed Limit would be set to what is around the area (neighborhoods or road design.)
  38. 38. Traffic / Caution Lights Replace all traffic lights with ones painted black Replace all traffic lights with dimmed signals Repair traffic signal sensors when broken All traffic light intersections must have two signals / each direction Increase number of caution lights at intersections with them No traffic lights on 65 mph 4-lane highways
  39. 39. Reporting Highway Problems • ALDOT would set up a toll-free phone number and a easy to use website to allow citizens to report a road problem. • Examples would be potholes, fallen down signs, traffic signal sensor loops broken, overhead lights out, grass too tall on side of road, shrubs to close to road, and more. • ALDOT could also develop a cell phone app that would allow people to report a road concern.
  40. 40. Mass Transit • From a constitutional amendment from 1952. There is no funding from the state of Alabama that is earmarked for mass transit. It leaves cities and counties to fund mass transit. • Not everyone can afford or is not able to own a car for transportation. With spotty mass transit, it is hard to go to work, go to a doctor appt., or to do anything requiring travel. • With hardly any funding, the mass transit in Birmingham has trouble keeping on schedule with broken down buses and routes. • Part of mass transit would construct more HOV lanes and bike lanes that would lower traffic counts. With the amount of people increasing to commute to work every day and no extra roads being built, we need to encourage people to use alternative ways of transportation to get where they need to go. • ALDOT, the legislature, and local governments would find ways to fund mass transit. (buses, light rail, bike lanes, etc.) that would give people an option to not use a car when going out.
  41. 41. Driving Distractions • Driver distractions are the leading cause of most vehicle crashes and near-crashes. • According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction. The distraction occurred within three seconds before the vehicle crash! Pass a law like the city of Scottsboro, AL did in 2011. Called a distracted driving ordinance; it would let police pull over a driver for being dangerous on the road while being distracted for anything while driving like eating, texting, talking on cell phone, etc.
  42. 42. Some new Laws • Some laws are needed to make roads safer and to move people and products faster. • With more people on our roads and our highways not being widened. Smart laws are needed to make the drivers safer. Require all cars to be in the right lane with any road with 2 passing lanes or more. Only get in left lane to pass or to turn left. Require slow cars going 10+ below the speed limit and holding up over 3 cars to pull over at the next available area to let the cars go ahead of you.
  43. 43. Complete Streets • Cities across the country are passing laws requiring new streets to be complete streets. • Creating complete streets means transportation agencies must change their approach to community roads. By adopting a Complete Streets policy, communities direct their transportation planners and engineers to routinely design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users. • Complete streets would include bike lanes, bike paths, sidewalks for pedestrians, frequent and safe crossings, narrow travel lanes to slow down drivers, roundabouts, areas for mass transit, and many more things.
  44. 44. Don’t Destroy Scenic Routes ALDOT must do the right thing and not destroy scenic routes like mountain road and US 431 in Eufaula, just to get people do their destination faster!
  45. 45. Inform travelers where a tornado shelter is located to take shelter and get off the road in severe weather. ALDOT could also set up text alerts warning travelers who sign up of incoming severe weather. Message signs need to be placed along major highways all around the state (not just in cities) to alert travelers to get off the road in bad and severe weather. Many travelers and truckers listen to satellite radio while traveling. They provide NO alerts to severe weather. Plus out of state travelers have no idea which local radio station to tune to in a event of severe weather. Placed along highways throughout the state travelers would know which radio stations in their area cover severe weather from a TV station or provide their own coverage during a major severe weather event. Only radio stations that do a hourly weather update and stay on the air during the entire severe weather warning in their area can be placed on the sign. Alabamians for better roads On the April 27 tornado outbreak. Around 250 people were killed. Some were killed while traveling which we can prevent. Alert Travelers to Bad Weather
  46. 46. 14 facts about Redo AL’S Roads Remove all signals on 65 M.P.H. stretches and replace with interchanges. Come up with new ideas for state funding to replace aging roads and bridges and to maintain current infrastructure. Stop all attempts to toll the entire Interstate system in Alabama. Help provide safety info. to travelers in Alabama. Enforce current trucking laws and provide extra safety areas for truckers. Enact design changes to make Alabama roads and highways safer. Examine ALDOT and make changes to streamline state department. Redesign state highway shield. Stop cities in the act of enforcing too low speed limits (traps) Enact new laws to make driving safer. Enact changes to speed up road construction and road work. Enact laws to make teenager drivers safer. Use social media to inform travelers of road conditions. Use better signs; paint lines; and reflectors.
  47. 47. @GeekAlabama Plus.Google.Com/+GeekAlabama Presentation Brought To You By: Infographic Created By: Nathan Young 256-452-1565 @GeekAlabama Plus.Google.Com/+GeekAlabama Presentation Brought To You By: Presentation Created By: Nathan Young
  48. 48. About Nathan Young Thanks for checking me out; Nathan Young is an experienced writer, blogger, photographer, and videographer who blogs at Geek Alabama. Nathan is a big Road, Weather, and News Junkie Geek and is a great person to be around who is funny and informative. Nathan is an accomplished media person who regularly covers topics on Geek Alabama and gets numerous requests to cover things from businesses, products, TV shows, movies, books, games, food, events, conventions, concerts, and other reviews. He is open to speaking, covering products or events, and representing your brand. The most interesting fact about me, I draw roads! #Aspie proud! #ASD
  49. 49. View this presentation, other presentations, infographics, and other great stuff from Nathan Young at: Enjoy other awesome presentations!