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transportation

If you're reading this on your phone while driving, stop it. Especially if you're a young neurotic extroverted guy who drives a lot.

Two seconds of attention to the insistent beeping and blinking of our mobile phones or simply changing the radio station accounts for at least 12 percent of car accidents worldwide and 14 percent of them in the U.S., according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Alaska Airlines is saying "Adios" to Cuba. The Seattle-based airline Tuesday announced it will discontinue flights to Havana after the holidays. Alaska joins a parade of other U.S. carriers who are trimming back flights to Cuba or dropping service entirely.

A prototype of a single-seat passenger drone has arrived at Pendleton, Oregon's airport for flight testing. That according to the Silicon Valley-based Airbus subsidiary A^3—or “A-cubed”—behind the Vahana Project.

The battery-powered, self-flying aircraft has been reassembled after shipping and is now undergoing ground tests.

Tough new laws against handling a cell phone behind the wheel  took effect in Washington and Oregon this year. Each state’s legislature made it illegal to drive while holding an electronic device for most any reason.

Vancouver elected a new mayor this week, Anne McEnerny-Ogle. She talked to All Things Considered host Kate Davidson about her plans and hopes for the Southwest Washington city.

She wants a new bridge over the Columbia River.

Construction continues on the SR-99 tunnel on Thursday, November 2, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The downtown Seattle tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way viaduct is edging closer to completion.

The upper level of the double-decker highway is about 90 percent complete, according to project manager Chris Dixon.

Traffic on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1irsJLd

When the Highway 99 tunnel through Seattle opens to traffic in 2019, state transportation officials plan to charge a toll to drive through it.

That has prompted another idea to gain steam: a toll on downtown surface streets.

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke talks with Mark Hallenbeck about a pay-by-mile approach to funding roads and bridges in Washington. The state is rolling out a pilot program in January where drivers would pay taxes on the miles they drive, instead of the gas they purchase.

Police in Honolulu on Wednesday will begin writing tickets for people who get distracted by their cellphones while walking in a crosswalk. Honolulu is the first major city in the country to pass such a law, citing a high rate of pedestrians being hit in crosswalks.

"Starting today, texting while walking in a crosswalk can get you a ticket," Hawaii Public Radio's Bill Dorman reports for our Newscast unit. "In fact, a downward glance at a screen of any kind will cost you — a phone, a tablet, a video game."

Sound Transit's light rail shot from the SeaTac Airport Station.
Flickr Photo/Michael @NW Lens (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9P9hnJ

Republicans in the Washington State Senate say Sound Transit misled them two years ago, and that they have a report to prove it.

Democrats are crying foul, saying that's not true.

As heavy rains move into the Northwest, geologists are watching the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. This summer’s wildfires have made slopes that are already prone to landslides even more treacherous.

Courtesy of Washington Department of Transportation

Bill Radke speaks with Charlie Raines, director of the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition, about the wildlife overpass that is being built east of Snoqualmie Pass on I-90.

Self-driving cars would one day take over Interstate 5 to the exclusion of human drivers under a proposal aired out before Washington state transportation advisors Tuesday.

On Saturday, March 19 light rail stations opened serving Capitol Hill and the University of Washington (pictured).
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle suddenly seems like a very small town —  at least when you look at the mayoral candidates and their family ties.


Courtesy of Michael Violandi

Many of us spend large portions of our lives in cars. Many of us are annoyed by other people in their cars.

The fact is, human beings behind the wheels of their automobiles are dangerous. In 2015, over 35,000 Americans died in fatal car crashes. With the advent of texting while driving, those numbers are trending up. 

The Seattle area has given birth to aviation icons such as the Boeing 747 jumbo jet and carbon fiber 787 Dreamliner. Could a low-emissions electric jet someday join that hall of fame?

On Thursday, Kirkland, Washington-based startup Zunum Aero unveiled the specs for a hybrid electric jet.

Tesla gets more than its fair share of media hype, but it appears to be stumbling in the spotlight.

Citing "production bottlenecks," Tesla reported this week that it delivered only 220 Model 3 sedans and produced 260 in September. That's far below some pretty ambitious goals set out by its CEO, Elon Musk.

Big money is pouring into the Port of Vancouver commissioner race from backers of a proposed oil terminal.

On Monday, state election filings showed Vancouver Energy has put an additional $150,000 into the race. It’s the largest single contribution made to any candidate running for office in the state of Washington this cycle. 

The Washington Department of Ecology on Monday denied a permit for a proposal to build North America’s largest coal export terminal in Longview, Wash, citing a raft of concerns about impacts to the region’s environment, transportation and culture.

Millennium Bulk Terminals, the last standing of a half dozen proposals to export coal to Asia from terminals built in the Pacific Northwest, needed a water quality from Ecology to move forward with construction.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

Saudi Arabia has reversed its long-standing and widely criticized ban against women driving.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud issued an order on Tuesday that paves the way for women to obtain driver's licenses, according to Saudi state media.

In addition to helmets. proper signaling and the use of front and rear lights are required for bikers in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/iurikothe

It's illegal to ride a bike without wearing a helmet in Seattle and greater King County.

Since three bike sharing companies launched in the city, however, there's been a lot of talk about how that law is enforced.

See that car in the middle lane zipping to the front of the line? You hate that driver, but they're actually doing the right thing, known as the zipper merge.
WSDOT

Three years ago, we ran a story about a little-known traffic tip known as the "zipper merge." 

In short: Drivers should use all lanes leading up to a merge point, rather than clog up one lane. Arrived at the front of the line, drivers in all lanes take turns merging. This is not cheating! (See image above for why the seemingly polite way gunks up traffic.) 

The threat of a nuclear attack, immigration enforcement and paying by the mile to drive are all on the agenda as Washington lawmakers hold meetings the week of September 11.

Are Seattle drivers really so terrible?

Sep 6, 2017
If we're terrible drivers, so is everyone else, because there's little difference between driver behavior across regions.
Flickr Photo/Susan Murtaugh (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7rdUUW

If there’s one thing Seattleites want to know, it’s this: Why is everyone else such a terrible driver?

Jeremy Noble flies his Cessna 182 airplane on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, to the Renton Municipal Airport during his morning commute to work.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It's after 3 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, and Jeremy Noble is about to leave his job as an air traffic controller at Sea-Tac International Airport. 

If he were driving home to Stanwood, north of Everett, his commute would take two hours. But today, he's taking his plane.


Fiona 'Jell' Pena-Rolla commutes on the Monorail to Seattle Center on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

For 27 years, Jayme Gustilo has been a cashier and conductor on the Seattle Center Monorail.


A majority of large ship operators are cooperating with a request to temporarily slow down in the shared border waters between Victoria and San Juan Island. The Port of Vancouver in British Columbia is running an experiment there to reduce underwater noise that bothers whales.

The city of Seattle is allowing Limebike, Spin and Ofo bike-share companies to operate under a six month pilot program.
Courtesy of LimeBike and Spin

First orange and green bikes, and now yellow bikes are for rent in Seattle. This month marked the U.S. debut for China-based bike share Ofo.


A project to build a new runway at Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport will stay on track if the Washington State University Board of Regents approves a deal Wednesday.

Road congestion has more than doubled in the Puget Sound region in the last five years. Sound Transit has been trying to build a light rail system to give commuters an option to get off the roads. Now, federal funding for the Lynnwood line is in danger.
Sound Transit

Voters approved a light rail line to Lynnwood from Northgate in 2008. Now there’s word the cost of that line is half a billion dollars over estimate.

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