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Archive for the ‘transportation and travel’ Category

11 No-Fly Zones in the United States

November 26, 2014 Comments off

11 No-Fly Zones in the United States
Source: AllGov.com

For every sensible decision the government makes, there are others that cause plenty of head scratching.

Look at the number—and selections—of no-fly zones in place around the United States. Eleven of them discussed at the website Mental Floss represent a mix of locations, some of which make complete sense.

Planes flying over Washington, D.C., are limited to certain commercial and other pre-approved flights up to an altitude of 18,000 feet. These restrictions came after the 9/11 attacks in the run-up to the Iraq war and are aimed at protecting federal government installations.

The same logic can be applied to the Pantex nuclear facility outside Amarillo, Texas. The Cold War-era facility handles all kinds of nuclear warheads, so it requires special protection from above. Likewise, the Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay, Georgia that serves as the home port of the U.S. Atlantic fleet of Trident nuclear subs has a no-fly zone above it.

Other government installations covered by overflight restrictions are the Kennedy Space Center and the famed Area 51 in Nevada, which has long been a classified government facility for, well, no one truly knows what.

The sky over Camp David is also off-limits to aircraft. Again, makes sense considering it is a popular getaway and meeting place for the president and special guests, including foreign leaders. Another presidential-related area that has been declared off limits to air traffic below 1,000 feet is the Bush family compound near Kennebunkport, Maine.

But then there’s restricted airspace over Disneyland and Disney World. The restrictions below 3,000 feet were slipped into a 2003 spending bill. Disney has fought off previous attempts to remove them because it doesn’t want banner planes flying over its parks.

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Bicycle Friendly Communities in All 50 States

November 26, 2014 Comments off

Bicycle Friendly Communities in All 50 States
Source: League of American Bicyclists

Today the League of American Bicyclists announced 55 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC). With this new round, 69 million people live in a Bicycle Friendly Community as the program extends to all 50 states.

These new awardees join a leading group of more than 325 communities in all 50 states that are improving health, safety and quality of life in cities and towns nationwide. Communities in Hawaii and North Dakota awarded this cycle have rounded out the program to all 50 states.

New From the GAO

November 19, 2014 Comments off

New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Labor Relations Activities: Actions Needed to Improve Tracking and Reporting of the Use and Cost of Official Time. GAO-15-9, October 23.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-9
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666618.pdf

2. Health Care Transparency: Actions Needed to Improve Cost and Quality Information for Consumers. GAO-15-11, October 20.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-11
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666571.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/666514

3. Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act: Additional Outreach and Notification of Tribes about Offenders Who Are Released from Prison Needed. GAO-15-23, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-23
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666974.pdf

4. Overseas Military Construction: Observations on U.S. Contractor Preference. GAO-15-45, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-45
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666981.pdf

5. Public Transportation: Multiple Factors Influence Extent of Transit-Oriented Development. GAO-15-70, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-70
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666993.pdf

6. Highway Projects: Many Federal and State Environmental Review Requirements Are Similar, and Little Duplication of Effort Occurs. GAO-15-71, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-71
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666989.pdf

7. Human Trafficking: Oversight of Contractors’ Use of Foreign Workers in High-Risk Environments Needs to Be Strengthened. GAO-15-102, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-102
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666997.pdf

Related Product

1. Sex Offender registration and Notification Act: Survey of Federally Recognized Tribes on Implementation of the Act (GAO-15-30SP, November 18, 2014), an E-supplement to GAO-15-23. GAO-15-30SP, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/gao-15-30sp

Testimony

1. Information Security: Additional Actions Needed to Address Vulnerabilities That Put VA Data at Risk, by Gregory C. Wilshusen, director, information security issues, before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. GAO-15-220T, November 18.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-220T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666969.pdf

Drones and Aerial Surveillance: Considerations for Lawmakers

November 18, 2014 Comments off

Drones and Aerial Surveillance: Considerations for Lawmakers
Source: Brookings Institution

The looming prospect of expanded use of unmanned aerial vehicles, colloquially known as drones, has raised understandable concerns for lawmakers.[1] Those concerns have led some to call for legislation mandating that nearly all uses of drones be prohibited unless the government has first obtained a warrant. Privacy advocates have mounted a lobbying campaign that has succeeded in convincing thirteen states to enact laws regulating the use of drones by law enforcement, with eleven of those thirteen states requiring a warrant before the government may use a drone.[2] The campaigns mounted by privacy advocates oftentimes make a compelling case about the threat of pervasive surveillance, but the legislation is rarely tailored in such a way to prevent the harm that advocates fear. In fact, in every state where legislation was passed, the new laws are focused on the technology (drones) not the harm (pervasive surveillance). In many cases, this technology centric approach creates perverse results, allowing the use of extremely sophisticated pervasive surveillance technologies from manned aircraft, while disallowing benign uses of drones for mundane tasks like accident and crime scene documentation, or monitoring of industrial pollution and other environmental harms.

Highlights of Ferry Operators in the United States

November 18, 2014 Comments off

Highlights of Ferry Operators in the United States
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Ferries provide links for commuters in major metropolitan areas and offer a means of transportation across bodies of water not easily served by bridges or tunnels. Ferries are also used for emergency evacuations in times of disaster, natural or otherwise.

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP- 21) (Public Law 112-141, section 1121(a))1 set aside $67 million in 2013 and 2014 for the maintenance and improvement of the Nation’s ferry system. It also required the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to use the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) National Census of Ferry Operators (NCFO) data to set the specific formula for allocating Federal ferry funds. This report highlights the findings of the 2010 NCFO. The current census is now being administered with a preliminary data release scheduled for the fall of 2014. Data for the current census will be finalized by winter 2014 with an updated report issued in the spring of 2015.

Understanding Social Effects in the In-Flight Marketplace: Characterization and Managerial Implications

November 17, 2014 Comments off

Understanding Social Effects in the In-Flight Marketplace: Characterization and Managerial Implications
Source: Stanford Graduate School of Business

This paper investigates the in-flight marketplace. It uses detailed data of in-flight purchases to characterize the factors underlying purchasing behavior, including pre- and in-flight factors and in particular social effects. We find that the number of passengers and the flight duration increase in-flight sales. Delays also increase in-flight purchases but they suffer cannibalization from compensations offered to passengers. At the individual level we show that the classical social influence theories do not suffice to explain all patterns in the data. Omission neglect, product contagion and goal balancing are proposed as complementary theories. The analysis shows social effects play a significant role: On average a passenger is approximately 30% more likely to buy after being exposed to a lateral purchase. Importantly, we find that willingness to buy is positively correlated with responsiveness to social influence. Because of this homophily and social feedback effects, otherwise nuisance factors, can provide targeting value for the firm: Behavioral-based targeting can up to double the relative social spillovers of marketing actions.

World Oil Transit Chokepoints

November 14, 2014 Comments off

World Oil Transit Chokepoints
Source: Energy Information Administration

World chokepoints for maritime transit of oil are a critical part of global energy security. About 63% of the world’s oil production moves on maritime routes. The Strait of Hormuz and the Strait of Malacca are the world’s most important strategic chokepoints by volume of oil transit.

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