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While on a U.S. Department of State-sponsored trip to Nepal, RSG’s parks and protected lands expert Steve Lawson was interviewed by Annapurna FM Radio and Kathmandu Press. He, along with Penn State University’s Peter Newman, explained that while “building infrastructure is important for tourism promotion… Nepal needs to do it responsibly taking into consideration its fragile ecosystem, and possible impacts of overtourism on local communities, culture and the environment.”
RSG Sr. Director Steve Lawson is in Nepal this week, sponsored by the US State Department. In addition to presenting at two Nepali universities, he is meeting with officials from several government agencies and commercial tourism and trekking enterprises – including Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation; Tourism Board; and Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation – to discuss sustainable tourism and visitor use management, including visitor use, crowding, and safety on Mt. Everest.
Yesterday, RSG Director Erica Wygonik presented at the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) September ‘Talking Freight’ seminar on drones. She provided an overview of the relative strengths and weaknesses of delivery drones as a freight transportation mode compared to other long-established or emerging freight transport methods.
FHWA hosts the ‘Talking Freight’ seminars as part of a broader program aimed at providing technical assistance, training, tools, and information to help the freight and planning workforce meet the transportation challenges of tomorrow.
Today, the City of Burlington, VT is to release their ‘Net Zero Energy Roadmap,’ with transportation elements led by RSG. In addition to providing new economic and environmental analyses across the electric, thermal, and ground transportation sectors in the city, the roadmap will explain how Burlington can achieve one of the most ambitious local climate goals in the country and share new initiatives for support.
Racial and ethnic minorities have traditionally been underrepresented and underserved in outdoor recreation areas. RSG’s Molly Ryan, Steve Lawson, and Abbie Larkin examined this issue alongside the National Park Service’s Steven Roberts and David Pettebone in the Journal of Park and Recreation Administration.
Their article, with research from the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (CASA) in Florida, demonstrates how culturally competent focus groups can be used to engage minority communities in local national park units. By incorporating elements of cultural competence through focus group design, recruitment and retention, and conduct, and by making genuine attempts to incorporate community representation into park planning and decision-making, park managers can better engage and build long-term relationships with underrepresented communities.
RSG CEO Stephen Lawe is featured on the cover of Vermont Business Magazine’s August issue. The cover story highlights RSG’s evolution and how we are shaping the future.
From developing and piloting a system-wide socioeconomic monitoring program to conducting park-level visitor use studies to inform planning and visitor use management, we’re honored to have worked on over 75 projects with the National Park Service (NPS) over the last four years.
Learn more about our work with the NPS and Department of the Interior in our latest summary report.
RSG Senior Director Matt Coogan authors “Understanding Demographics, Preferences, and Locations Influencing the Future of Public Transportation,” published in the Transportation Research Board’s bimonthly magazine, TR News.
Demographic groups respond differently to common sets of transportation options. In this article, Matt goes beyond simply analyzing travel times and costs to explore the underlying factors that influence mode choice.
In the US, road traffic noise levels are typically estimated without including the effects of meteorology. Research shows, however, that atmospheric changes can greatly impact these levels. The Transportation Research Board-sponsored NCHRP 25-52, Meteorological Effects on Roadway Noise, documents these meteorological effects and develops best practices for managing them.
RSG Senior Director Ken Kaliski was co-author to a follow-up article published in the latest issue of Transportation Research Record. It provides further information on the data collection and includes recommendations for applying this data to future highway noise studies.
RSG’s Joann Lynch, Jeff Dumont, and Elizabeth Greene published in the latest issue of Transportation Research Record. Their article, titled “Use of a Smartphone GPS Application for Recurrent Travel Behavior Data Collection,” details RSG’s pilot study for the Metropolitan Council merging the traditional two-part household travel survey into one continuous survey experience via RSG’s smartphone application, rMove™.
The George Wright Society has honored RSG Sr. Director Steve Lawson with their Social Science Achievement Award. The award is given in recognition of excellence in social science research, management, or education related to parks, reserves, and other protected areas.
Steve stands in a unique position at the intersection of theory and practice in public lands planning and management. He has conducted research in some of the United States’ most iconic national parks and has published extensively in the field’s most prominent journals, authoring and co-authoring dozens of influential papers. Though he secured a tenured faculty position in academia, he chose to transition to a consultancy where he could focus on applied projects—putting ideas into action at national parks, national forests, and other protected lands.
To celebrate his dedication, he will receive a Social Science Achievement award plaque, a year’s complimentary membership to the GWS, and recognition at a future GWS award ceremony.
In December of 2015, President Obama signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act—the first federal law in over a decade to provide long-term funding certainty for surface transportation infrastructure and investment. It expires in September 2020 which, in legislative terms, is right around the corner.
Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) International President Bruce Belmore just appointed RSG Director Steve Gayle to serve on a new ITE Reauthorization Task Force around this legislation. Steve, a past president of ITE, has been asked to contribute his policy expertise and knowledge of transportation planning and the federal requirements that govern MPOs.
The Task Force will deliver specific bill recommendations to the ITE Board of Direction later this year. They will use these to develop the official policy of ITE and both organization and individual members will then use this policy as a basis for talking to Congress.
We are proud to have played a key role in the report Who’s on Board 2019: How to Win Back America’s Transit Riders published by TransitCenter, an organization committed to improving transit through innovation. The study, released last week, draws on results from focus groups and a survey of 1,700 transit riders in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Denver, and New Orleans. The findings provide insight into the causes of declining transit ridership and shape solutions for transit agencies aiming to win back riders.
RSG-led research for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) is featured in the latest issue of the Transportation Research Board’s TR News. The article, “Research Offers Insights on Highway Noise,” highlights two of RSG’s research projects, NCHRP 25-52 and 25-44.
Traffic noise from highways can negatively affect human health and quality of life. Though federal legislation has required state DOTs to anticipate and mitigate noise effects of proposed new highways and expansion projects since the 1970s, they continue to receive traffic noise complaints. These two NCHRP reports offer new insights for noise specialists, project designers, and policy makers.
Have you thought about how you’ll get to work (or home? or the grocery store?) over the next two decades? Under requirements for long-range transportation planning, state departments of transportation and regional metropolitan planning organizations are required to have a multimodal transportation plan with a minimum time horizon of 20 years. Because manufacturers and shared fleet operators suggest that CAVs will be present on the highway system in significant numbers well before 2038, the planning community will require procedures and methods to address the potential positive and negative direct and indirect outcomes from their deployment.
In response to this, TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) recently published Research Report 896: Updating Regional Transportation Planning and Modeling Tools to Address Impacts of Connected and Automated Vehicles, co-authored by RSG. Volume 1 of the report summarizes guidelines to help agencies update their modeling and forecasting tools to address expected impacts of connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) on transportation supply, road capacity, and travel demand components. Volume 2 explores ways to develop new planning and modeling processes that include CAVs in the transportation environment.
Find more, including a presentation that can be adapted for presentations to agency decision makers, here.