transportation

WAMC News
9:58 am
Fri April 18, 2014

MassDOT Surveys Commuters In Planning I-91 Project

The elevated highway in Springfield, MA known as the I-91 viaduct will be rebuilt beginning in November. The project is expected to take 3 years to finish

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 6:52 pm

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation as part of the planning for a major highway project in western Massachusetts is surveying commuters.

   MassDOT wants to hear from people who travel on Interstate 91 to find out daily routes, arrival and departure times and parking locations.  It is part of the planning for the 3-year $260 million reconstruction of the elevated portion of the highway through downtown Springfield.  Springfield Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Cuiffreda says the online survey is a good first step toward minimizing traffic problems.

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Minority Business Development
11:45 am
Thu April 17, 2014

$2.4 Million Settlement Hailed as Victory for State Minority-Owned Businesses

Credit Chris Reed/iStock / Thinkstock

A Connecticut construction company will pay $2.4 million in fines for alleged fraud tied to a 2007 road project. The settlement is being hailed as one of the most important decisions in decades for minority business owners.

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Minority Business Development
5:04 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Hartford Contractor Identified in Federal Construction Probe

A Hartford-based firm at the center of a federal probe has been identified.
Credit Kyle May / Creative Commons

Manafort Brothers, Inc. will pay $2.4 million in fines for alleged fraud tied to a 2007 road project. A Hartford-based firm has also now been identified at the center of the federal investigation.

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Infrastructure
10:49 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Malloy Announces Major Connecticut Transportation Projects

The William H. Putnam Memorial Bridge over the Connecticut River.
Denimadept Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy announced on Tuesday several major transportation projects across the state that are set to begin this spring.

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Connecticut First
5:26 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Highway Improvement; Curbing Teen Violence; Examining Police Taser Use

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Transportation
2:04 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Dutch Test Glow-In-The-Dark Road Of The Future

Glowing Lines are tested earlier this month on a highway near Oss in the Netherlands. The road markings absorb light during the day and emit the green glow at night.
Remko De Waal EPA/Landov

There's a half-kilometer stretch of road in the Netherlands that looks a bit like something out of the movie Tron, thanks to new luminescent markings that glow green in the dark.

The photoluminescent paint, a sort of amped-up version of what is found on many wristwatches, charges up during daylight hours and then emits the green hue at night along the short test patch of N329 highway in Oss, according to Dutch companies Studio Roosegaarde and Heijmans, a road construction firm.

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Metro-North
9:36 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Report: Over 7,000 Defects Found in Metro-North

Metro-North passengers at the Woodlawn station.
Credit J.P. Chan / Metropolitan Transportation Authority

A newspaper reports that federal inspectors found more than 7,100 defects and deficiencies in the Metro-North Railroad over the last decade, but records show regulators launched an investigation only after two high-profile accidents last year. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Supporting Connecticut Veterans; College Presidents on Reverse PILOT; a Study on Parking

Are parking spaces hurting economic development in cities?
Credit radcliffe dacanay / Creative Commons

A conference was held in Hartford on Thursday to open up discussion about Connecticut’s veterans. The event came just one day after an Iraq War veteran opened fire at Fort Hood in Texas, wounding 16 and killing four, including himself. This hour, we talk about what happened at Fort Hood, and take a look at some of the services that are available to our veterans.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu April 3, 2014

How Clean Is Our Air?

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution exposure was responsible for seven million deaths in 2012.
Credit eutrophication&hypoxia / Creative Commons

A report released by the World Health Organization last week found that some 7 million people died from air pollution exposure in 2012. In other words, one in eight of all global deaths that year resulted from breathing bad air. 

Today, the WHO considers air pollution to be the single greatest environmental health risk, linking it to cases of asthma, heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.

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Parking
11:45 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Study: Hartford, New Haven Hurt By Abundance of Parking

Downtown Hartford has a lot of parking space, and the city is forgoing tax money for it.
Credit Heather Brandon/WNPR

Regardless of how hard it can seem to find a parking spot sometimes, Hartford and New Haven have built a lot more parking over the past few decades. But that can be a bad thing.

A team of researchers at the University of Connecticut recently investigated the impact of parking policies in six cities across the U.S. 

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Flight 370
8:23 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Last Words From Cockpit May Be Clue To Jet's Disappearance

Multi-lingual cards about missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 line a wall at a mall in Kuala Lumpur.
Rahman Roslan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 10:51 am

We're updating this post as new information comes in.

There's still no sign of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 or the 239 people on board.

The plane went missing March 8, less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on what was supposed to be about a six-hour flight to Beijing.

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Flight 370
7:05 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Prime Minister: 'Deliberate Action' Disabled Missing Jet's Systems

A woman reads messages for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Saturday.
Lai Seng Sin AP

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 8:51 am

Malaysia's prime minister says he is now certain that someone disabled the communication systems on the passenger jet that disappeared last week with 239 people aboard.

The missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flew more than six and a half hours after its last communication with air traffic control, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a news conference early Saturday.

"These movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane," he said.

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Air Traffic
6:12 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Boeing 777 Pilots: It's Not Easy To Disable Onboard Communications

In this photo released by Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, a patrol vessel of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency searches for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane off Tok Bali Beach in Kelantan, Malaysia, on Sunday.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 7:48 pm

Commercial aviation pilots tell NPR that they would have no idea how to disable all the systems designed to automatically communicate with ground stations, though they could probably figure it out from checklists and other documentation available aboard an aircraft.

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Metro-North
11:33 am
Fri March 14, 2014

"Operation Deep Dive" Concludes Metro-North Has a "Poor Safety Culture"

The Federal Railroad Administration says Metro-North "emphasizes on-time performance to the detriment of safe operations."
Credit PhillipC / Creative Commons

The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a series of recommendations to improve what they describe as the "poor safety culture" at Metro-North.

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Sky Mystery
7:21 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Missing Jet Reportedly Kept Sending Signals For 5 1/2 Hours

At Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Friday, a woman writes on a banner full of messages about the 239 missing passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Edgar Su Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 12:14 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Frank Langfitt reports

Update at 10:20 a.m. ET: After Flight MH370 Disappeared, It Kept Telling Satellites 'I'm Awake':

Communications satellites continued to receive signals from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane for at least 5 1/2 hours after it disappeared over the Gulf of Thailand, a source familiar with the investigation tells NPR's Frank Langfitt.

Frank, reporting from Shanghai, writes that:

"Flight MH370's last known communication came after 1 o'clock last Saturday morning, local time, according to Malaysian officials.

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Airlines
1:17 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

When Bad Things Happen To Planes, Flight Codes Get 'Retired'

The charred tail section of Delta Flight 191 sits near a runway at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in August 1985 after it crashed on approach. Delta quickly retired the "191" designation.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 10:00 am

Malaysia Airlines announced Thursday that it will stop using two flight numbers associated with the plane that disappeared over the Gulf of Thailand on March 8, following a long-standing practice of retiring codes after similar incidents.

Flight MH370 vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard. That number, which Malaysian Airlines uses to denote that particular route, will no longer be used after Friday as a "mark of respect" for the passengers and crew. MH371, the code used for the return flight, also will be retired.

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Flight 370
7:37 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Officials Dispute Report That Malaysian Jet Kept Flying For Hours

The Malaysian air force, with help from about a dozen other nations, continues to search the seas on both sides of the Malay Peninsula for any sign of Flight 370.
Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 7:49 pm

This post is being updated.

Just a few hours after a stunning report from The Wall Street Journal — headlined "U.S. Investigators Suspect Missing Airplane Flew On For Hours" — the Malaysian officials in charge of the investigation say that story's central premise isn't true.

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Container Ships
3:37 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Hitching A Ride On The World's Biggest Cargo Ship

NPR's Jackie Northam on the Maersk McKinney Moller, a new container megaship that can carry about double what many other big cargo ships can carry. It's 20 stories high and four football fields long.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 10:17 am

I started my journey at the famed Gdansk Shipyard, home of Poland's solidarity movement in the 1980s. It was nearly midnight when I arrived and saw for the first time the Maersk McKinney Moller, the world's largest container ship.

I simply wasn't prepared for just how massive it is. The whole ship really can't be taken in, even standing at a distance, so I gave my neck a good stretch by scanning this behemoth end to end, and up and down.

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Container Ships
8:22 am
Wed March 12, 2014

After A Downturn, Global Shipping Bets Big On Everything

A container ship docked at Port Elizabeth in New Jersey. No one on the pier knows for sure what exactly the containers carry — anything from frozen chicken to computers.
Jonathan Blakley NPR

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 11:22 am

On a cold, blustery day at Port Elizabeth in New Jersey, one of several massive cranes whirs along a rail high above the pier, picks up a heavy container from a ship's deck and loads it on a waiting truck back on land. The truck drives away, another arrives, and the whole process starts again.

It's a scene played out every day along America's coasts as massive container ships from across the globe pull into deep-water seaports, waiting to be unloaded. The ships are enormous — some 10 stories high and several football fields long.

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Missing Aircraft
8:36 am
Sun March 9, 2014

'Trying To Make Sense' Of Malaysian Jetliner's Disappearance

A relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines flight is escorted from a Beijing hotel room for loved ones of the passengers on Sunday.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 5:13 pm

This post is being updated throughout the day Sunday.

After a second day of frantic searching failed to uncover the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, ships and aircraft are combing over parts of the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea where the jetliner is suspected of crashing with 239 people aboard more than 48 hours ago.

Vietnamese officials say search planes have spotted an object that could be debris from the jet — but darkness fell in Asia hours ago, complicating any attempts to verify or expand on that claim.

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Connecticut First
5:24 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Blumenthal Talks Rail Safety; Protecting Children from Toxic Chemicals

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut discussed his priorities for rail safety today in Hartford, in his first hearing as chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation in Washington. Blumenthal stressed the importance of renewed investment in rail infrastructure and strong federal oversight.

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Connecticut First
5:44 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Quinnipiac Poll Released; Staples Closing Stores

A Quinnipiac University poll released today shows Connecticut voters 61 to 32 percent support allowing doctors to legally prescribe lethal drugs to help terminally ill patients end their own lives. Voters were closely divided on whether they would ask a doctor to help them take their own life, as 39 percent say no in all cases, while 33 percent say they would if they were terminally ill.

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Transportation
12:31 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

New Management, New Plan for Metro-North

Credit Connor Harris / Creative Commons

Metro-North's new president, Joseph Giulietti, sent a letter to Connecticut's Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, outlining intended operational  improvements.

The plan follows a terrible year for the railroad in 2013, including a derailment and collision in Bridgeport that injured 76 people and a derailment in The Bronx, New York, in which four people were killed.

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Connecticut First
4:35 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Governors Tout Minimum Wage; Possible Amendment to Transportation Fund

Governor Dannel  Malloy, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin spoke to reporters on a White House conference call over the weekend. The chief executives agree a higher minimum wage is critical to boosting workers’ purchasing power and strengthening the economy.  

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Transportation
11:03 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

3 Cities With Freeways Going Nowhere

An artist's sketch of the revamped I-10/Claiborne Overpass in New Orleans.
CNU

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 9:00 am

When I was growing up in Memphis in the 1960s, the Feds — and state and local officials — unveiled plans to build a short stretch of Interstate 40 to connect East Memphis with downtown.

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Connecticut First
5:00 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

President Obama Visits Next Week; Transportation Committee Hearing

President Barack Obama is coming to Connecticut on March 5 as part of his campaign to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The visit follows Governor Dannel Malloy’s heated defense of the proposal at a news conference this week in Washington. Governor Malloy urged the General Assembly to pass a bill this year that would raise the state's minimum wage after the president—in his State of the Union address-- called on Congress to implement the policy nationwide.

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Moving Violations
1:28 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

State Police to Motorists: Back Off

Credit John Steven Fernandez / Creative Commons

Connecticut State Police are launching an "educational" campaign targeting tailgating motorists on highways.

The program will run throughout March in the areas of Hartford, New Haven, Meriden, Middletown, and Old Saybrook. That includes interstates 84, 91, 95 and 691 and routes 8,9, and 15. 

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Transportation
12:45 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Metro-North Executives Say Efforts to Improve Are Underway

MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast before the state's Transportation Committee.
Credit CT-N

Two Metro-North Railroad executives said on Thursday that the rail line has slowed down its trains, installed new technology, and changed internal management, all in an effort to make commuter rail service better.

MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast and new Metro-North president Joseph Giulietti met with members of the state legislature's transportation committee to talk about reliability and safety with state lawmakers. 

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Transportation
11:24 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Metro-North Conductor Apologizes to Passengers With a Letter on Seats

Credit Susan Sermoneta / Creative Commons

In an unusual move, a Metro-North conductor left a note on passengers' seats Monday morning apologizing for an express train on Friday that never came.

Michael Shaw said he put 500 copies of his written apology on seats after telling passengers at the New Haven, West Haven, Milford, and Stratford stations to wait for an express train that was later canceled. In his note, he said he was "shocked and furious."

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Transportation
9:49 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Hartford-New Britain Busway is on Track, But Lacks a Marketing Budget

James Redeker of the DOT spoke about the busway during a state transportation committee meeting on Wednesday.
Credit CT-N

Connecticut transportation officials told state legislators on Wednesday that a multi-million-dollar bus corridor being built between Hartford and New Britain is on budget and on time.

But DOT Commissioner James Redeker also found himself fielding skeptical questions from members of the Transportation Committee as he pitched Connecticut's first bus-based mass transit project. 

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