April 29, 2016
Are the transportation investment decisions being made in line with what the public wants and expects with regard to the future of our transportation system? This basic question is driving a public input effort related to the state’s long-range transportation plan, Iowa in Motion 2045.
During February 2016, the Iowa Department of Transportation posted an online survey asking questions about our transportation system and what strategies should be adopted to address perceived needs. There were a total of 520 visitors who submitted responses, almost double the number of responses (264) to the survey conducted for the 2012 iteration of Iowa in Motion.
Worldwide, there are estimated to be 305 million active monthly Twitter users. Facebook has 1 billion users and Instagram is up to an estimated 100 million. Throw in SnapChat, Pinterest, and a myriad of other social platforms and it seems like everyone is electronically engaged. The vast majority of these social media users connect using a mobile device.
Many states, including Iowa, have some sort of ban on using a hand-held device while driving. Laws certainly have their place, but changing the way we think about cell phone use while driving is what will need to happen to change behaviors and save lives.
It’s a rare gift to be able to connect with the customers you serve on a very personal level. A large portion of the professional drivers that the Iowa Department of Transportation’s motor vehicle officers come into contact with are not native to the United States. Most have immigrated to the U.S. to find a better life. Motor Vehicle Officer Senad Suljic can relate.
Suljic’s story begins in a small city called Bratunac, Bosnia, on the western edge of the current country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, only a river crossing away from neighboring Serbia. In 1992, war broke out between the two countries. Suljic wasn’t quite seven years old. When his small city was invaded by Serbian troops, the Suljic family, including Senad, his parents, two younger brothers, and grandmother, was forced to flee.
Everyone has heard that using your phone while driving is dangerous. So you’ve made the safe choice to put your phone away while driving and instead use your car’s hands-free system to call or send texts or emails. Think you are free from distraction?
Actually, hands-free does not mean risk free. Research is showing that hands-free systems can cause even more of a mental distraction than hand-held devices.
Trapeze artist? That wasn’t in the job description when Ben Petty became a highway technician in the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Davenport garage 20 years ago. But Petty, who is a fall protection trainer for District 6, says hardly a day goes by that he or someone else in the shop isn’t climbing on a bridge or working in a bucket truck. His job is to make sure they do it as safely as possible.
Orange is the new black isn’t just a popular TV series. Because of its contrast to natural surroundings orange is the symbolic color of safety. And safety is always in style.
For National Work Zone Awareness week, April 11-15, the Iowa DOT and our safety partner challenge you to make orange the new black. The American Traffic Safety Service Association is encouraging everyone to wear orange on Wednesday, April 13. Post your safety photos to Facebook and Twitter using #OrangeforSafety and #NWZAW.
There’s something about being able to hold a driver’s license or identification card in your hand that gives a sense of freedom and accomplishment. For some Iowans, just getting to the driver’s license station or county treasurer’s office is an obstacle that can hinder the ability to obtain a driver’s license or ID.
One way the Iowa Department of Transportation is working to better serve our customers who might encounter issues in getting to an issuance site is the use of the DOT2Go, mobile station. The vehicle, outfitted to conduct motor vehicle business was most recently available to customers March 12 at Financial Fitness Day at the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families.
Wouldn’t it be great if the items you need just showed up automatically at your doorstep, right when you needed them? That’s the new reality for county standard license plates that are shipped to Iowa’s 99 county treasurer’s offices.
In Iowa, each vehicle owner registers their vehicles at the local county treasurer’s office and receives a set of license plates from that office. The registration data is recorded in an Iowa Department of Transportation database. Using this database and working with license plate manufacturer Iowa Prison Industries and the county treasurers, the Iowa DOT developed an automated, license plate inventory system that was implemented in November 2015. The system was designed to help counties control the inventory of plates they keep on hand.