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transportation

Beginning next month, driver’s licenses in Washington state will be changing. Regular licenses and ID cards will be marked with the words “federal limits apply.” Oregon is going down this path too, but not until mid-2020.

Tesla Lays Off 9 Percent Of Workforce

Jun 12, 2018

Tesla will lay off about 3,500 workers in an effort to boost profitability, CEO Elon Musk wrote in a company email.

"What drives us is our mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable, clean energy, but we will never achieve that mission unless we eventually demonstrate that we can be sustainably profitable," Musk wrote.

KUOW Photo / John Ryan

Complaints have poured in over the yellow, green and orange bikes that have sprouted like mushrooms across Seattle, yet 74 percent of Seattleites have a favorable opinion of the rapidly expanding bike share program, according to a Seattle Department of Transportation survey.


New biometric technology will match your face with your passport photo at airport customs. Is this a cause for celebration or concern?
Flickr Photo/Kat (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/6gTcVm

Assumptions about which passport line you belong in, the president's so-called Muslim ban, "random" screening that seems to target certain populations - airports are increasingly a frontier of ethnic and religious bias. Could we bypass some of those problems by taking the human element out of screening?

Filmmaker, photographer, and King County Metro Transit bus driver Nathan Vass.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Nathan Vass is an 11-year veteran of King County Metro Transit - no small feat at 32. Even more impressive is his ability to stay engaged and delighted by his job over all those years. He's been called 'the only happy bus driver in Seattle', which he's quick to dispute on behalf of other equally cheerful colleagues. But he's pretty stoked to be here.


Seattle traffic was ranked 9th worst in the country in 2017, according to INRIX
KUOW Photos / Megan Farmer

It was 8:30 a.m., and I was crawling south on Interstate 5 in gummy Seattle commuter traffic. 


Commuters ride the E Line bus southbound on Aurora Avenue North, around 5:30 a.m., on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It was standing room only on the E Line RapidRide bus when the man seated next to Sonnet Stockmar started talking to her. "Take your top off," he said in front of the other bus riders.


This stretch of 99 is looking more walkable today because Tukwila took it from the state.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It started with street trees. Tukwila wanted to plant some along state Route 99 to slow down traffic and beautify the area.

But the state said no. Trees, it turned out, were not safe, at least not as safe as lamp posts. 


MV Puyallup is one of the biggest ferries in the fleet
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Ferries have been running a few minutes behind, and listener Nick Wilson wanted to know what was up.

Turns out ferries can reduce CO2 emissions significantly by laying off the throttle just a bit. Like, equivalent to taking more than 1,200 cars off the road.


Drive across Oregon and it’s hard not to notice that many of the state’s steel bridges — from the foggy coast to high desert — are the same shade of sage green. It’s so ubiquitous that the paint’s manufacturer calls it “ODOT Green" after Oregon’s Department of Transportation.

But ODOT Green — a color that started a national phenomenon — is a color that almost didn’t happen: Oregon’s first green-painted bridge, the St. Johns, was initially supposed to be striped black and yellow like a bumblebee.

Light rail runs on the surface in Seattle's Rainier Valley.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Nonprofit developers plan to build more than 300 affordable apartments in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood. The project is slated to go on surplus land that Sound Transit is handing over for free.

The Battery Street Tunnel in downtown Seattle in 1954 during a carbon monoxide test. The tunnel will come down this year with the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Item 45797, Engineering Department Photographic Negatives (Record Series 2613-07), Seattle Municipal Archives.

What will happen to the Battery Street tunnel after the viaduct comes down?

This is a question KUOW has received multiple times as the new Highway 99 tunnel, built to replace the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct, inches closer to completion.

Bike share bikes in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Kim Malcolm talks with Dr. Frederick Rivara about whether the increasing popularity of bike sharing has led to more head injuries. Dr. Rivara is professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.

This interview was inspired by a question from KUOW listener Patricia Boiko.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee was on the shore of Lake Union in Seattle Wednesday to launch a cross-border flight service between the Emerald City and Vancouver, British Columbia.

An image from King County Metro Transit's anti-sexual harassment campaign, 'Report It to Stop It.'
Courtesy King County Metro Transit

Ridership is up on King Country Metro. Night bus services are up. And so are reports of sexual misconduct.

A view of the sky over Bertha the tunnel borer, whose efforts brought the SR-99 tunnel to life.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/yNcg1q

Let's say you owe me $20.

You decide that to pay me back, you'll set up a lemonade stand. There's about $50 in overhead: lemons, sugar. And don't forget wages for the younger siblings you'll be pressing into service to man the booth.

In the meantime, I decide to charge you $13 in interest. And suddenly, you find yourself needing to raise $100 to pay me that original $20.

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

You know the phrase: "You have to spend money to make money." That's the case for tolling the state Route 99 tunnel in Seattle.

Washington state says it will spend about $500 million to run a tolling system on the tunnel in order to fulfill its obligations.

Students from Oregon State University, Granite Falls High School in Washington and the University of British Columbia are among 99 teams pushing the boundaries of automotive fuel efficiency. The Northwest students are driving in an international competition in California through this weekend.

Cameras on the Highway 520 bridge take pictures of license plates as vehicles pass to assess tolls.
Flickr Photo/Wonderlane (CC-BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9ftjw3

Drivers will have a free ride on the state Route 99 tunnel in Seattle when it first opens this fall. After a few months, however, expect to pay a toll of $1.00-$2.50 for each trip.

The Washington State Transportation Commission has proposed multiple tolling options and will present them in public meetings this spring. 


An Emergency Evacuation Route sign is shown on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, inside the SR 99 tunnel in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Soon, state Route 99 — and the rest of us —will have a new asset: a completed Alaskan Way tunnel.

The $3.2 billion tunnel provides an earthquake-safe route under our downtown. However, the state highway department says it’s taken the highway off its list of Seismic Lifeline routes


The road that winds around Sea-Tac Airport.
Flickr Photo/Ping Li (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) http://bit.ly/2aPcgPp

The taxi business ain’t what it used to be.

That's partly why cabbies picketed at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Tuesday, fighting back against a new ultimatum from one cab company. 

An Uber driver near the San Francisco International Airport.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Last spring, an Uber heading north in Seattle hit another car so hard it was cut in half

That brings us to today's KUOW listener question: Who has more insurance coverage to handle your medical bills in case of a crash — an Uber driver or a taxi driver? 


Safety representative for the Seattle Tunnel Partners, Marisa Roddick, wears stickers on her helmet for each year that she has worked on the tunnel project, from 2013 to 2018, on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

When Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct was built in the 1950s, we didn't know much about earthquakes. California's Loma Prieta quake in 1989 opened our eyes when their viaduct collapsed and crushed 41 people. 

And when the Nisqually quake in 2001 damaged our own viaduct, it sealed the deal for officials: The viaduct had to go.

Commuters ride the E Line bus southbound on Aurora Avenue North, around 5:30 a.m., on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The RapidRide E Line is Seattle's most crowded bus route, with more than 17,000 boardings each weekday. It connects Aurora Avenue North to downtown.

Bellevue and Seattle in the distance from Jeremy Noble's Cessna 182 airplane during his evening commute on Wednesday, August 23, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Kim Malcolm talks with Steve Marshall about Bellevue's plan to implement electric, self-driving van pools and shuttles. Marshall is transportation technology partnership manager for the city of Bellevue.

Nichole Fabre drives the RapidRide E Line bus up and down Aurora. On a recent weekday morning, she started driving around 3:55 a.m., beginning in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The most congested bus route in King County runs down Aurora. It’s called the RapidRide E Line. The crowding on those buses brings all kinds of people together.


These cyclists did not forget (or 'forget') their bikes on the ferry.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

This may be the most Seattle of problems: people abandoning their bike share rentals on the ferry. 


This take on congestion pricing might blow your mind

Apr 9, 2018
There are around 12,000 paid on-street spaces in Seattle (that does not include private parking) .
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

An urban planning professor at UCLA examines congestion pricing and its impact on the poor. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan proposed the idea last week. 

An Uber driver near the San Francisco International Airport.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution Monday to consider regulating transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

The city could end up raising base fares to $2.40, which is the minimum fare charged by taxis. Currently, both Lyft and Uber charge $1.35 as a base fare in Seattle.

Kim Malcolm talks with journalist Kevin Schofield about the impact of potential regulations on drivers and consumers.

KUOW PHOTO/KARA MCDERMOTT

This week, KOMO anchors had to read a script written by their conservative bosses, Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Seattle considered several traffic solutions, including prescribing downtown drivers a traffic decongestant

And a UW researcher says bowhead whales are singing jazz.

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