Year: 2020

RSGers lead sessions during virtual 2020 Fall North Carolina Model Users Group Meeting


Four RSGers led two sessions during the virtual 2020 Fall North Carolina Model Users Group (NCMUG) meeting, which was held on Wednesday, December 2 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET. The 2020 meeting focused on COVID-19's impact on travel behavior and data collection as well as the use of passively collected data (“big data”).

The presentation given by RSG Director Michelle Lee and RSG Senior Analyst Abigail Rosenson, titled “Longitudinal Surveys to Understand Short- and Long-Term Impacts of COVID-19,” discussed survey methodology best practices to achieve representative samples using panels and described primary panel data applications. Their presentation also discussed COVID-19 travel implications nationally and in North Carolina, with a particular focus on demographic implications and attitudes about travel resumption. A recording of their presentation can be viewed here.

The presentation given by RSG Senior Consultant Stephen Tuttle and RSG Consultant Steven Trevino, titled “Big Data & Pivoting in the NC Statewide Model (NCSTM),” provided an overview of the location-based service data processing and expansion methodology used in the NCSTM. Their presentation detailed the application of passively collected data to the NCSTM via the pivot process, provided a review of the results from data expansion, and described future big data applications, including post-COVID-19 uses and forecast scenarios. A recording of their presentation can be viewed here.

About NCMUG: The vision of NCMUG is to provide a forum for sharing knowledge and experiences of using state-of-practice transportation modeling tools, techniques, and innovations appropriate to answer transportation planning and policy questions for the State of North Carolina, and promote its implementation across the State.

Seven Days newspaper interviews RSG Sr. Director on commercial drone noise


Seven Days newspaper recently published an article on the future of commercial drone delivery in Vermont. The article features an interview with RSG's Eddie Duncan who, along with Ken Kaliski and Erica Wygonik, authored RSG's recent white paper on commercial drone noise and strategies for mitigation.

More companies are beginning commercial drone delivery pilot programs across the United States as the technology matures and there is more of a demand for these types of services. RSG's white paper uses the Burlington, Vermont, region to demonstrate how community noise mapping can be used to plan for and mitigate (or mask) the potential noise from commercial drone delivery operations.

RSG Sr. Director honored with The William W. Lang Award for the Distinguished Noise Control Engineer


The Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE) honored RSG Senior Director Kenneth Kaliski, PE, QEP, INCE Bd. Cert. with The William W. Lang Award for the Distinguished Noise Control Engineer. The award, which is given every two years, acknowledges Ken’s meaningful service to and enthusiastic support of INCE Board Certification, notable contributions to the field of wind turbine acoustics, and use of rigorous analytics and novel approaches to advance the field of noise control engineering.

INCE’s traditional awards ceremony was canceled this year due to the pandemic. Instead, INCE’s president, Michael Bahtiarian, INCE Bd. Cert., traveled to RSG’s headquarters in White River Junction in September to present the award to Ken in person during a socially distanced ceremony attended by a small group that included RSG’s CEO (Stephen Lawe), President (Thomas Adler), and members of RSG’s acoustics services team.

Ken has been with RSG for over 30 years since our founding in 1986. During that time, he served for 15 years on our Board of Directors. His work focuses on community noise monitoring and modeling, architectural acoustics, transportation noise, and industrial noise control projects. He also works on complex modeling projects in the fields of market and energy research. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for INCE where he is Board Certified, he is certified as a Qualified Environmental Professional through the Institute of Professional Environmental Practice and is a member of the Acoustical Society of America.

To read more, check out this article in Vermont Business Magazine.

RSG-authored op-ed published in Eno Transportation Weekly


Eno Transportation Weekly (ETW) published an op-ed authored by RSG's Eddie Duncan, Erica Wygonik, and Ken Kaliski on drone noise annoyance and mitigation. Their article, titled “Annoyance and Drones: How Optimizing Flight Paths Can Reduce Potential Noise Impacts,” is based on research and insights presented in our latest white paper on the same topic.

ETW is produced by The Eno Center for Transportation (Eno), a non-profit charitable foundation offering rigorous, objective analyses on the problems facing transportation and providing ideas for, and a clear path toward, possible solutions. For nearly two decades, their ETW publication has been the premier federal transportation policy publication for transportation leaders across the country.

RSG Director published in ITE Journal on transportation’s role in rural communities


In ITE Journal’s September issue, RSG Director Steven Gayle highlights the importance of public policy in ensuring rural Americans have access to the same technologies and services currently reshaping the transportation industry.

According to the most recent census data, more than 58 million Americans live in rural areas. Ensuring these residents have equitable access to telecommunications services and broadband is a prerequisite to paving the way for future mobility technologies like ride-hailing services, automated and connected vehicles, and drone delivery.

Check out the full article to read more about the path ahead for transportation planning in rural communities and the unique role public policy plays.

RSG to help lead ActivitySim learning session


On Monday, September 14 from 1-3 p.m. ET, RSG's Ben Stabler and Joel Freedman will help conduct a learning session on ActivitySim. Sponsored by Zephyr, the session will (1) provide updates on ActivitySim project goals, current work program, regional implementation status, and future plan; and (2) include hands-on instruction on downloading, installing, and running ActivitySim, running scenarios, and summarizing and evaluating results.

RSG has been building ActivitySim for over five years for a consortium of Metropolitan Planning Agencies (MPOs). The ActivitySim project is a multi-agency partnership aiming to advance travel demand forecasting practice and cost-effectiveness through shared development of software tools and shared agency experience. ActivitySim has implemented an open source, Python-based version of this activity-based model using best software development practices and popular data science libraries.

New White Paper Published: Three Considerations Around Drone Noise and Strategies for Mitigation


The path ahead for drones looks more promising than ever. But as drones take off, noise remains an unresolved issue despite recent research confirming the sound from their operations is uniquely annoying. 

Even with the Integration Pilot Program (IPP), a federal initiative aimed at safely deploying the technology through public-private partnerships, no detailed guidance exists at the federal level to inform drone design or routing with noise in mind. Without a clear regulatory framework, drone flight path modeling offers the greatest promise to commercial drone operators looking to chart a path ahead without jeopardizing the momentum of the moment. 

Want to learn more? Check out our latest white paper that explores three considerations around drone noise and provides a roadmap for how to proactively plan for and mitigate annoyance associated with continuous overhead drone delivery operations.

RSG launches national panel survey for insights into travel behavior changes caused by COVID-19


As communities begin to open back up, we wanted to learn how the pandemic will shape the ‚Äúnew normal.‚ÄĚ So, we launched the COVID-19 Transportation Insights Panel‚ÄĒsurveying thousands on their teleworking habits, travel plans, and comfort levels around daily activities.

It’s no surprise that COVID-19 will have lasting effects in all these areas, but it isn’t all what you might expect. Check out some of our surprising initial insights in our first Insight on the panel РRSG’s National Panel Survey Offers Insights Into Travel Behavior Changes Caused by COVID-19.

Agencies interested in participating or those interested in data specific to their region can learn more about the survey on our COVID-19 Transportation Insights Panel page.

RSG Director to speak on VPR’s Vermont Edition


After his article and recent presentation on the subject, RSG Director Jonathan Slason was invited by Vermont Public Radio (VPR) to join their conversation on telecommuting and working from home after the pandemic. Is remote work here to stay? If it does, what impact will it have on traffic patterns? 

Tune in to Vermont Edition today (May 13) around 1:20 p.m. to hear more.

New White Paper Published: Forecasting Tools in a Time of Disruption and Uncertainty


Evaluating complex systems to forecast future conditions has never been simple, but disruptive technological changes and outside shocks to the system (like the COVID-19 pandemic) have further challenged practitioners. Strategic models can help.  

Strategic models occupy a unique niche and can flexibly and quickly run hundreds of scenarios, making them ideal for exploring uncertainty in the planning process. These models offer practitioners at state, regional, or local levels capabilities that are normally inaccessible or only possible with significant effort, investment, and expertise. 

Want to learn more? Check out our latest white paper on how strategic models excel as a stand-alone tool or as a complement to other types of modeling. 

RSG Director to present Facebook Live on Sustainable Transportation Vermont


As an unprecedented amount of people across the country have transitioned to short-term telecommuting, many folks are now left wondering if remote work may be here to stay. Did this simply fuel the adoption of an inevitable change?

Today at 12PM ET Sustainable Transportation Vermont’s (@stvermont) will host a Facebook Live event with RSG Director Jon Slason. He will share the latest research on trends in telecommuting, discuss if it is here to stay, and, if so, how it will impact our transportation system.

A note from our CEO on COVID-19


Like many of our clients and collaborators, ensuring the well-being of our employees and the continuity of our business operations during the COVID-19 health crisis has been RSG’s top priority over the last month.

On March 13, we set into motion plans to transition to a fully remote workforce to comply with emerging state-mandated stay-at-home orders for nonessential businesses. We’re fortunate to have access to the talented people and technologies required to make the transition to remote work as seamless as possible for our employees and our clients.

At RSG, we‚Äôve always felt it was our responsibility to proactively make a positive and significant impact on our clients and communities. Right now, fulfilling our responsibility means staying put to ‚Äúflatten the curve‚ÄĚ and stop community spread of COVID-19.

But this note isn’t about us. Every day, millions of Americans now wake up to routines disrupted, trips canceled, and workplaces shuttered. For many of these people, the future has never felt so uncertain. In just the last few weeks, I’ve read COVID-19 news stories contemplating the rise in remote work, the renewed importance of drone deliveries, and the popularity of telemedicine. If even a small percentage of these changes stick after COVID-19, our world may look quite different soon.

Unsurprisingly, many of our clients are now asking themselves what the ‚Äúnext normal‚ÄĚ will look like and how soon it will arrive. I find these questions reassuring because they remind us that what we‚Äôre collectively enduring is only temporary. During these temporary challenges, RSG remains as committed as ever to collecting robust data and delivering actionable insights. Understanding behaviors in a complex system has never been an easy undertaking, but COVID-19 further raises the stakes and challenges us to think big.

As the nation continues to fight this battle against COVID-19, we’re seeing unprecedented actions taken by federal and state agencies. Americans are coming together in response.

As always, RSGers will continue to come together, even while working at a distance. As a small, employee-owned company focused on the success of our clients, we truly are in this together.

If you have any questions, or just want to learn more about how we’re thinking about some of the changes brought about by COVID-19, please reach out. We’re just a phone call or email away.

Stay safe and be well,

Stephen Lawe