The Future of Mobility Demands We Make Transportation Investment a Priority

By Jill Ingrassia, Managing Director of AAA’s Government Relations and Traffic Safety Advocacy Department

America’s transportation infrastructure needs help. A recent study from The American Society of Civil Engineers gives low marks to U.S. roads and bridges and estimates that by 2025 we will have a surface-transportation funding gap of $1.1 trillion. Meanwhile, a 2017 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) driving data report showed we’re buying more cars and driving more miles, with miles traveled increasing for the sixth straight year. The widening transportation funding gap and increases in vehicle miles traveled are further evidence that improving the nation’s infrastructure is as important as ever, and our needs will only grow.

American Automobile Association (AAA) has long advocated for increased and specifically dedicated funding for transportation infrastructure. In the immediate term, raising the federal gas tax is the easiest and most direct solution to increase funding. That being said, it won’t be viable as a long-term solution, so consideration of other options is also necessary. Presidents from both parties have previously signed gas tax increases into law; however, Congress has avoided taking action since the last increase in 1993. Failing to index the federal gas tax to inflation, or take action to keep pace with increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles, has significantly reduced the buying power of a 1993-era fuel tax. In turn, many states have been forced to increase their own gas tax in lieu of action at the federal level.

The widening transportation funding gap and increases in vehicle miles traveled are further evidence that improving the nation’s infrastructure is as important as ever.

Looking beyond the gas tax, AAA has been supportive of pilot testing user-based alternatives — like road usage charges (RUC) — to fund transportation in the future. However, even supporters of current RUC pilots, like those in Oregon or California, admit that widespread implementation will take more time.

As an organization that is first and foremost concerned with the safety of our members, the structural integrity of the nation’s transportation infrastructure needs to be a top priority. But we also need to plan for the future of mobility. Any agreed upon funding solutions, infrastructure repair, or new project construction needs to be executed in a way that factors in laying the foundation for future transportation needs. Continuity between signage, AV systems, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and infrastructure embedded with technology to allow all of it to function in a safe and efficient manner requires significant forethought and financial resources. If we don’t first agree that these are indeed priorities and find fair and sustainable ways to fund them, then the nation’s infrastructure will remain stagnant — and likely less safe — as other countries realize a fully modern transportation system.

Do you know a GRIDSMART Man?

Who is the GRIDSMART Man, you ask?

The GRIDSMART Man works hard and independently. This person values demanding responsibilities, but appreciates the Simple, pursues the Flexible, and knows the best means to “get ’r done.” The GRIDSMART Man boldly punches a new trail, because he knows where to go and how to get there. Not a follower but a leader by standard, the true GRIDSMART Man is always a notch above and has no equal.

The GRIDSMART Man is not always a bloke. Sometimes the GRIDSMART Man is a doyenne, a woman more highly respected and prominent than others in her field. Because the GRIDSMART Man is not just a description, it’s an ideal, a title to strive for. It is the essence of GRIDSMART; conviction, principle, a strong belief in doing things right and fair, every time.

Do you have someone in mind? Someone who:

  • has unfailing competence and the quiet confidence of a trueborn leader;
  • is in control, works hard, values demanding responsibilities, and is always ready to learn;
  • is Flexible and ready to step up and fill a gap at a moment’s notice to make sure the job gets done;
  • knows that there are multiple ways to do things, but always demands the Simple, best way;
  • is Transparent, like the crystal-clear waters of Fiji – with a GRIDSMART Man what you see is always what you get.

Have someone in mind? Let us know! Nominate your consistent MVPs, team players, and all around best men below. Awards (including a plaque, GRIDSMART Carhartt jacket, and more) will be given out quarterly.

GRIDSMART Man Nomination

  • Who would you like to nominate as the next GRIDSMART Man?
  • What makes this person official GRIDSMART Man material?

GRIDSMART Installation Best Practices

Written by Matt Greenoe, Director of Technical Services

The GRIDSMART system is designed to be easy to use, simple to install, and built to provide years of unmatched service – if it’s been installed properly. We have found a common reason for system malfunctions or unsatisfactory service comes from improper installations. Just like a high-performance gasoline Ferrari won’t run on diesel, the world’s original fisheye lens won’t monitor an intersection if it’s not connected right.

That’s why following our recommended Installation Best Practices Guide is absolutely essential to getting the very best out of your GRIDSMART products. We’ve tested our method thoroughly to ensure that your system operates at peak performance, and we’ve made sure it works with any modern electronic you decide to add to the traffic cabinet.

We know exactly what works best with our products – that’s why we require all GRIDSMART systems to be installed using our tried-and-true method. Installation is important to us. We’ve worked hard to perfect the method so you get the best service every time. And what we’ve found is that no method is perfect without just the right tools for the job.

Trust us, we’ve done a lot of tests, and we’ve found that the Diligent Instruments DLG Di-120b Tester and the Triplett Real World Certifier are the best for this system.

All GRIDSMART installations require burial grade, shielded, gel-filled, Cat5e cable, no more than 300 ft. long, with solid core 24 AWG conductors. The maximum length is vital to the life of the system because anything above 300 ft. requires a repeater be installed, so proper measurement of the cable is mandatory. And while some people may think they can measure right by sight or “walking off,” we know the only exact results come from meters. Because of its high level of accuracy in length measurements and its ability to provide cable quality measurements, we require the Triplett Real World Certifier be used for all installation measurements. It is easy to use, stores up to 250 test results, and provides quick, understandable results, in addition to telling you if your cable is wired correctly and at which speed it is capable of operating.

Similarly, we recommend the Diligent Instruments DLG Di-120b Tester for all ground resistance measurements during installation of a GRIDSMART system. A proper cabinet ground helps mitigate interference from electrical noise at the intersection, and the Diligent Instruments DLG Di-120b Tester measures multiple ground systems, data logging with 99 data points for exceptional results. It also provides a USB port for data downloading and storage for future testing and comparison.

We know what it takes to ensure excellent performance every day – and how important that performance is to you. So, we’ve simplified installation to make sure it works perfectly, every time. A key to a successful installation is having the right tools. You wouldn’t try to wash your car with a wooden spoon, so why try to install something as important as traffic cameras with anything less than the absolute best?

POLICYSMART #17 Featuring Zeina Nazer, Senior Transport Advisor and Member of WTS Board of Directors

This episode of POLICYSMART is the last of our Women in ITS Series for the month of May. We end on a high note with a far-reaching interview with Zeina Nazer, a Senior Transport Advisor with 23 years of experience in Intelligent Infrastructure Systems. The “Best Business Woman of the Year” at the 8th Middle East Businesswomen and Leaders Achievement Awards, Dubai, UAE, and a member of the WTS Board of Directors, Zeina joins us from Dubai to talk about her journey in transportation and what the world is doing with ITS. 

POLICYSMART #16 Featuring PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards

Women in Transportation month continues with a discussion featuring PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards. Having just been named WTS (Women’s Transportation Seminar) Woman of the Year, Leslie is changing the way states are looking at merging traditional and new infrastructure. GRIDSMART’s Regina Hopper talks with her as she explains her proven leadership in dealing with issues around autonomous vehicles.