Transportation

The challenge of strategizing the best route to work against the herd of other drivers can be as routine as the daily commute itself. A number of apps are out there to help shortcut one's route and evade traffic jams. But which ones are the most accurate? And how?

The All Tech Considered team put a few competing traffic apps to the test in Robert Siegel's usual short commute from Arlington, Va., to NPR's D.C. headquarters.

The Test Drive

This ride is about 15 minutes in no traffic. But it's now morning rush hour.

A cyclist rolls down University Way Northeast in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Ross Reynolds speaks with Cathy Tuttle, executive director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, about what a "sharrow" is, how it helped knock Seattle off the top-10 list of most bikeable cities in America and why she thinks that's a very "healthy" change.

One key safety feature was missing from the stretch of track where an Amtrak passenger train going more than 100 mph derailed and killed seven people.

Investigators say that if positive train control had been installed on that stretch, the technology could have automatically slowed the train and perhaps saved lives.

NPR's David Schaper tells our Newscast unit that Amtrak and other railroads are behind schedule in rolling out the technology.

He filed this report:

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales has withdrawn his support for a proposed propane export terminal on the Columbia River.

That's bad news for the $500 million project proposed by Pembina Pipeline Corp. of Canada. The project needs a zone change from the city of Portland. The issue is scheduled to come before the city council June 10.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announces revisions on a $930 million transportation package the wants to go to voters in November
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced Wednesday he’s making changes to the nearly billion-dollar transportation package that will go to voters in November.

He wants to spend more money than he had originally had proposed: The $900 million proposal he announced in March has now grown to $930 million.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

In a city known for tech wizards, you might expect parking costs to depend on huge data sets collected electronically in real time. You’d be wrong.

Seattle finds just the right algorithm in the old-fashioned way: It counts cars once a year in a survey.

The call of the open road beckons to electric car owners now that Washington and Oregon have completed their portions of the West Coast Electric Highway, a network of rapid recharging stations to enable long distance electric-powered travel.

Oil trains are getting stronger tank cars, better brakes, slower speed limits and possibly new routes. Many in the Northwest say that’s still not enough.

Northwest emergency responders have complained about receiving little information about oil train movement through their community. They’re about to get even less.

EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Ross Reynolds talks with King County Executive Dow Constantine about his concerns about coal and what he wants the state to do about it.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct sends cars streaming past Seattle's waterfront.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Visionaries conceive of a future most of us can’t imagine. And when it comes to transportation in one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., vision is crucial.

Beyond the annoyance factors we all face as we navigate our region, there are serious questions to address. How can we plan for a sustainable transit future? What is the impact of infrastructure spending, or the lack thereof? What national and international best practices can we look to? Will technology help solve our transportation problems? And how does the way we commute affect our health and happiness?

Oregon’s U.S. senators want to put a $175 fee on each older model railroad tank car used to ship flammable oil.

Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined four other Democrats in introducing a bill Thursday that would create a surcharge on each DOT-111, a tank car model known to be flawed and puncture-prone.

Test Driving The Electric Highway

Apr 30, 2015

The West Coast Electric Highway is a network of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles that runs all the way from Vancouver, Canada, to the California border. Oregon completed its section of the electric highway this month, with the installation of a charging station at a Fred Meyer store in Brookings, near the California border.

When reporter Tom Banse heard that, he rented a Nissan LEAF and drove the length of Oregon to try out the electric highway.

OPB’s All Things Considered host Kate Davidson called him on the road.

Anyone who drives through Oregon knows that the state doesn't let people pump their own gas.

The Access Map by team Hackcessible, a team of University of Washington students, won Seattle's Hack the Commute competition on Wednesday night.
Access Map

A few months ago the City of Seattle launched a search for the next big commuter tool.

The idea was to Hack the Commute – and make a real difference in the lives of people who need to move around our region. Wednesday night they picked a winning project.

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