Apr 182013

OnTheMap is an online visualization tool hosted by the US Census Bureau. Use the interactive map to create & download custom reports of Local Employment Dynamics.

  1. Choose a geography (options include city, county, zip code, school….)
  2. Choose an analysis (options include distance & direction of commute, destination, inflow/outflow)

Quick example: Here’s the map from an inflow/outflow analysis of zipcode 22201 — where GMU’s Arlington Campus is located — for 2010.




Feb 222013

In light of the recent Carnival Cruise ship, the Triumph, engine fire and subsequent multi-day stranding of over 4,000 people in the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are launching an investigation into the accident.  The purpose of the investigation is to identify causal and contributing factors that led to the incident.  Additionally both the crew response and effectiveness of fire fighting systems will be evaluated to help prevent future incidents.   The NTSB keeps a detailed running list of transportation accidents dating back to 1996 on its site.   The reports listing is sortable by the event date, report date, city, and state, and reports feature detailed information on accident types, environmental conditions, probable causes, and recommendations.

Nov 052012
Gas Lines in Cranford, NJ

Photographer Jim Occi captured these photos of gas lines in Cranford on Thursday following Hurricane Sandy. NJ.com

As the East Coast attempts to recover from Hurricane Sandy, how has transportation been impacted?  As New Jersey rations gas and drivers line up for hours to get to the pump in New York, it becomes ever more apparent how reliant we are on cars for day to day transportation. As storms such as these grow more and more common, these two articles highlight both present and future alternatives.

Assessing Sandy: Are Electric Cars a Better Bet in Emergencies?

Locals Embrace Biking in Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath

Nov 052012

Debby Kermer, Data Services Research Consultant for Mason Libraries, will be holding regular office hours in the Arlington Campus Library during the Fall 2012 semester. Stop by room 349 inside the Library on Fridays from 3:00 – 6:00pm to get help with statistical software, such as SPSS and Stata, and data analysis.

If you’d like to arrange an appointment to meet with Debby outside of the above-mentioned hours, please contact her at dkermer@gmu.edu.

May 082012

When conducting research on policies going through Congress, it can be helpful to get political context by going through hearings.  Video-recorded sessions paired with written witness testimonies are available through the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation websites.  These easily accessible hearings demonstrate the increased transparency that the internet has brought to government activity.  The hearings should prove useful in determining the validity and feasibility of proposed policies, as well as their perception in a political environment. Recent and near-term transportation hearings have involved shale gas development as a fuel for transport, tolling oversight, commercial airline safety, TSA oversight, surface transportation bill arguments, and the economic value of the maritime industry and inland waterways.

Feb 092012

There are several large transportation bills at the forefront of debate to start the month’s legislative agenda.  The FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act has already been passed by both the House and the Senate, and sits on the president’s desk, awaiting his signature.  After 1,590 days and 23 short-term extensions since the expiration of the last air transportation bill, the one passed by Congress appropriates $64 billion over 4 years.  Funding surface transportation will take longer for the Republican House and the Democratic Senate to compromise on.  The Senate bill, titled the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, is a two year law.  The House version, called the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012, is a four year bill, which incorporates energy strategies as sources of funding, to avoid raising the gasoline tax.  Keep track of the progress of these bills and others through Thomas.gov, the Library of Congress’s up-to-the-day online documentation of Congressional proceedings.

Jan 252012

In transportation planning circles, the California high-speed rail project is a hot button issue.  The goal of the project is to establish a rail service that can haul passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in less than 3 hours, relying on average speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour.  Initially approved with a $10 billion authorization by California voters in 2008, estimations for development costs and completion time have ballooned since.  In November 2011, the overall estimated cost rose from $42.6 billion to $98.5 billion and the estimated completion time was extended from 2020 to 2034.  The drastic difference in the project’s outlook has created a large debate about how California will finance the project, whether continued funding should be put to another referendum vote, impediments and impacts concerns adding to the project’s cost and timeline, and the overall benefit of a high-speed rail service.  In another setback, the California High-Speed Rail Authority Director resigned and the Board of Directors Chairman recently stepped down in a January 2012 Board meeting.

Dec 162011

If you’re researching trends in national transit, finding data can prove to be difficult.  The Federal Transit Administration’s National Transit Database is a valuable resource, housing a tremendous amount of transit data.  The reports, updated monthly, detail funding levels, mileage, maintenance operations, expenses, operating agencies, fare revenue, taxes, stations, employees, safety and more.  The database is open access and reports are downloadable.  The data stretches back to 1996, the year of the Database’s creation.  Transit is the nation’s fastest growing transportation sector, and the National Transit Database will be invaluable in studying growth and usage patterns.