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Regional Roundup

A roundup of transportation news from daily, weekly and online outlets.

$12M in Federal Funding to Upgrade NJ Airports, 7/24/20 - U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker announced a combined $12,180,000 in federal funding for New Jersey airports from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make needed upgrades and improvements.
Forget your mask? NJ Transit has 245K donated masks to be handed out at stations, 7/23/20 - More than 245,000 cloth masks are being donated to NJ Transit from a federal agency to help out commuters who forget or lose their mask at certain stations.
Public officials question NJ DOT about rock blasting, construction plans for rockfall on I-80, 7/23/20 - New Jersey’s transportation commissioner cautioned one mayor about speculating and sensationalizing, but provided few answers herself to questions posed during and before Wednesday’s invite-only meeting about a controversial project to prevent rocks falling on Interstate 80.
Street Smart Campaign Has Presence on LBI NJTPA Mention
The Sand Paper, 7/22/20 - Police departments along the Jersey Shore and throughout New Jersey are working to raise awareness about pedestrian safety this summer by partnering with Street Smart NJ, coordinated  by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.
As Shore Opens Up, Risk Increases For Crashes NJTPA Mention, 7/21/20 - Even though a lot of shore destinations aren’t fully re-opened, police are urging pedestrian safety. Drivers should keep an eye out for people walking and pedestrians should keep an eye out for cars.
Little Silver to participate in summer pedestrian safety campaign NJTPA Mention
The Monthouth Journal, 7/21/20 -  Police Departments along the Jersey Shore — including in Litle Silver — and throughout New Jersey are working to raise awareness about pedestrian safety this summer by partnering with Street Smart NJ.
N.J. city aims for new NYC ferry as project gets $5M boost from feds, 7/21/2020 - Millions of federal dollars will flow to Middlesex County to help bring a new ferry service to life.

Powerful lobbyists hired by DOT to negotiate with local, federal officials on Rt. 80 project NJTPA Mention, 7/21/2020 - One of New Jersey’s biggest lobbying firms, typically hired by those who have business before state agencies, has been hired by the state Department of Transportation to help coordinate a summit with local and federal officials about a highway project on the western part of Route 80.
Traffic deaths climb back to pre-pandemic levels, even with fewer cars on N.J. roads. Here’s why., 7/20/2020 - Troubling statistics show traffic fatalities have returned to their pre-COVID levels, even with wide swaths of the population continuing to restrict their travel.

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Issues & Insights

A list of links to recent articles, reports and announcements relating to transportation policy, legislation and research.

Corona Bicycle Metrics: Where Bicycling Increased and (Surprise!) Decreased Street Light Data, 7/21/20 - Bike shops sold out quickly, and cyclists seemed to be everywhere during May’s widespread stay-home orders. But were Americans actually cycling more? Our analysis provides cycling facts instead of anecdotes about cycling during COVID. And some of the results surprised us. To understand the shifts in cycling behavior beyond the anecdotal headlines, we used our bicycle Metric from StreetLight Insight. We’ve just released updated data through May of 2020 to enable these sorts of trend analyses. 
I’ve Seen a Future Without Cars, and It’s Amazing The New York Times, 7/9/20 - As coronavirus lockdowns crept across the globe this winter and spring, an unusual sound fell over the world’s metropolises: the hush of streets that were suddenly, blessedly free of cars. City dwellers reported hearing bird song, wind and the rustling of leaves. (Along with, in New York City, the intermittent screams of sirens.)
How Cities Are Trying to Avert Gridlock After Coronavirus Lockdowns The New York Times, 6/26/20 - As coronavirus lockdowns loosen around the world, city leaders are scrambling to address a new problem: the prospect of gridlock worse than before the pandemic. From Shenzhen to Milan to Austin, officials are trying to coax people back onto buses and subways and reclaim road space for cyclists and pedestrians.
Five ways to ensure that models serve society: a manifesto, 6/24/20 -  The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates perfectly how the operation of science changes when questions of urgency, stakes, values and uncertainty collide — in the ‘post-normal’ regime.

Well before the coronavirus pandemic, statisticians were debating how to prevent malpractice such as p-hacking, particularly when it could influence policy. Now, computer modelling is in the limelight, with politicians presenting their policies as dictated by ‘science’ Yet there is no substantial aspect of this pandemic for which any researcher can currently provide precise, reliable numbers. 

Emissions Are Surging Back as Countries and States Reopen The New York Times, 6/17/20 - 
After a drastic decline this spring, global greenhouse gas emissions are now rebounding sharply, scientists reported, as countries relax their coronavirus lockdowns and traffic surges back onto roads. It’s a stark reminder that even as the pandemic rages, the world is still far from getting global warming under control. In early April, daily fossil fuel emissions worldwide were roughly 17 percent lower than they were in 2019, as governments ordered people to stay home, employees stopped driving to work, factories idled and airlines grounded their flights, according to a study published in May in Nature Climate Change.