transportation

Heather Brandon / WNPR

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is asking the public for input on daily routes, parking locations, and commute timing in anticipation of the reconstruction of an elevated highway through Springfield.

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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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.

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.

Denimadept / Creative Commons

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

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.

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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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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Quinnipiac Poll Released; Staples Closing Stores

Mar 6, 2014

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.

New Management, New Plan for Metro-North

Mar 4, 2014
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.

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.  

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.

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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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. 

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. 

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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