Transportation Matters in Iowa

Archives: February 2017

Message Monday - Snow happens, crashes don't have to

Message Monday - Snow happens, crashes don't have to

February 27, 2017

2-28 message mondayThere are still a group of people out there who think traffic crashes are bound to happen. What we all need to realize is that the vast majority of fatal crashes, 94 percent according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, happened because drivers made bad choices. Crashes will be drastically reduced when drivers make better decisions each and every time they get behind the wheel.

Cutting costs, not corners in Mason City

Cutting costs, not corners in Mason City

February 22, 2017

IMG_4884Each time the Iowa Department of Transportation begins planning a new maintenance facility, one key component in the process is making sure the new building provides the best environment for every dollar spent.

In January 2016, the Iowa DOT completed the consolidation of five different work units into a single location in Mason City. Employees from the Iowa DOT’s District 2 Office, annex, materials lab, highway maintenance garage, and Britt construction office moved to a shared location on the south edge of Mason City. The new building had been designed from top to bottom with energy efficiency in mind.

The Iowa DOT’s facilities design staff worked with Randy Taylor, district 2 maintenance manager, on the layout and functionality of the facility. Taylor said, “There are two main buildings in the complex. One houses the district office, construction office, and materials lab under one roof. The other facility is the maintenance garage, which includes truck, mechanic, and wash bays, as well as an office area.”

Message Monday - Honestly Abe, you should not text and drive

Message Monday - Honestly Abe, you should not text and drive

February 20, 2017


2-20 message mondayThe truth is many of us are caught up in our own lives and sometimes lose sight of the realities of our behavior that can be dangerous.

The majority of Iowans own cell phones and one truth is many of those phones are being used to text while driving. In recent market research conducted for Iowa’s Zero Fatalities program, 32 percent of the respondents admitted to texting while driving daily, with nearly 14 percent admitting to texting and driving multiple times each day. Yet these same people said distracted driving was only slightly less dangerous than driving drunk.  

Revamped website makes signing up for Adopt-a-highway even easier

Revamped website makes signing up for Adopt-a-highway even easier

February 17, 2017

Available for adoption signThe end of winter is in sight and thoughts of spring cleaning are on the minds of the Iowa Department of Transportation. The agency is revamping its popular Adopt-A-Highway program to make it even easier for individuals or groups to help keep Iowa roadsides beautiful.

When it was developed decades ago, the AAH program was an innovative way to get community groups involved in cleaning up Iowa’s roadsides. The program has been successful in providing a meaningful public service project for groups, families, and individuals all over Iowa, while at the same time reducing the amount of Iowa DOT staff time needed for litter pick up, allowing them time to complete other maintenance tasks.

A new online sign up process has streamlined the AAH sign up process. Anyone interested in seeing which roadsides are available for adoption can simply go to www.iowadot.gov and search for Adopt a Highway. The easy-to-follow web site will guide you through the sign up process.

Personnel Updates for Jan. 27 – Feb. 9, 2017

Personnel Updates for Jan. 27 – Feb. 9, 2017

February 16, 2017

Personnel_updatesInformation provided by the Office of Employee Services

 

 

 

 

 

Iowa in Motion 2045 – It’s not just about highways

Iowa in Motion 2045 – It’s not just about highways

February 14, 2017

IA-Motion_horizontal_color-gradient.fwMany people associate the Iowa Department of Transportation with highways; however the agency plays a vital role in all other forms of transportation including aviation, public transit, bicycle and pedestrian, rail, and water. 

When planning for the future of these modes of transportation, the Iowa Transportation Commission and Iowa DOT planning staff have tapped into multiple sources to get a clearer picture of future needs for all modes of transportation in our state.

Message Monday - Send chocolates, not texts

Message Monday - Send chocolates, not texts

February 13, 2017

2-13 message mondayLove is in the air this week. While it’s great to let your one-and-only know how you feel, texting love notes while you’re driving isn’t the way to do it. Show your sweetie that you care by returning safely home, preferably with a great box of chocolates.

Farmer’s Insurance provides these tips to help you curb distracted driving. Number one on the list – don’t be afraid to turn off your phone when you’re behind the wheel. https://www.farmers.com/inner-circle/car-safety/7-tips-to-avoid-driving-distractions/

Message Monday for Feb. 6 - Both cars and people can be recalled by their maker

Message Monday for Feb. 6 - Both cars and people can be recalled by their maker

February 6, 2017

2-6 message mondayManufacturers issue recalls for products that have defects or don’t function as they were intended to. Auto makers are installing more safety equipment than ever in vehicles, but the driver’s decision-making process is still the most vulnerable to error.

It seems like every week we hear about recalls for this or that. After a while, it seems some people are blocking out the recall notices or not taking them seriously enough. The same goes for safety messages for drivers. Be honest, do your ears perk up when you hear a warning against drinking and driving or an encouragement to wear a seat belt?

Safety messages can have an impact, but only if they can break through the noise of messages that we’re bombarded with every day. We all have choices to make on what information we listen to, watch, or scroll past. Make your choices wisely.

To check for recalls on your vehicle, go to https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/

The fatality count of 21 is an increase of 4 since last Monday. Preliminary number show that in all of 2016, 403 people were killed on Iowa highways. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to daily fatality count

Personnel Updates for Jan. 13 – Jan. 26, 2017

Personnel Updates for Jan. 13 – Jan. 26, 2017

February 3, 2017

Personnel_updatesInformation provided by the Office of Employee Services

 

 

 

 

 

History can repeat itself in interesting ways

History can repeat itself in interesting ways

February 2, 2017

Sandra Larson award photo DSC_3712Back in 1904, the Iowa State Highway Commission (ISHC) was created as part of the Iowa State College in Ames. In 1913, the ISHC was reorganized as a separate state agency (now known as the Iowa Department of Transportation). Four Iowans were prominent in its creation: Anson Marston, Thomas H. McDonald, Thomas R. Agg, and Roy W. Crum. All four would go on to gain national prominence with the development of the Washington, D.C.-based Highway Research Board (HRB), now called the Transportation Research Board (TRB).  

Crum, a 1907 engineering graduate of Iowa State College, started his career as a professor at the school. In 1919, he was tapped to become the materials and testing engineer at the fledgling ISHC. By 1928, his renown for research had grown nationwide and he became the director of HRB, a position he would hold until his death in 1951.

Crum accomplished many feats in his 23 years as HRB director. These included a partnership with the American Association of State Highway Officials (now the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) that continues to be strong today. This partnership with ASSHO led to roadside development and a census of highway research projects that provided a basis for partnership projects throughout the United States.

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