View from the Chair by Missouri Transportation Commission Chairman Stephen R. Miller
Three months ago, in Kansas City's historic Union Station, we announced our "Road to Tomorrow" initiative - an effort by MoDOT to inspire, attract and identify innovations for the re-construction of Interstate 70 - not only for the purpose of building a "smart highway" for the 21st century, but also for identifying new revenue sources. Last Wednesday, we gathered in the shadow of another symbol of Missouri's transportation heritage - the St. Louis Arch - to receive a progress report.
Since June, more than 190 ideas have been submitted to MoDOT's "Road to Tomorrow" team. Some are technical innovations that could be incorporated in the design and construction of a new roadway; others offer the opportunity to move freight more efficiently; and still others propose different ways to fund the 200-mile project.
The ideas have been screened and sorted by topic. For example: energy/utilities, trucking efficiencies, advertising, data / communications, funding, alternative travel modes and freight choices. Nearly a third of them have been examined in more detail, and 15 to 20 of those are being seriously studied to learn how they might benefit Missouri and I-70.
The R2T team offered some examples of the kind of innovations they are reviewing:
Solar Roadways is pioneering the use of solar panels to replace our current asphalt and concrete surfaces. The panels would generate electricity, melt snow and provide additional lighting for safety. Solar Roadways has already completed a prototype in a parking lot in Idaho with funding from the Federal Highway Administration and is looking for a place to test the panels under traffic conditions.
Peloton Technology uses vehicle-to-vehicle communications and radar-based active braking systems combined with vehicle control algorithms to link pairs of heavy trucks. The system controls braking and acceleration, similar to adaptive cruise control, and drivers remain fully engaged and retain steering control. The wireless link enables the trucks to travel in close proximity thereby dramatically reducing aerodynamic drag and providing fuel economy savings to both the trailing and leading truck.
These are just a couple of the exciting possibilities. Where all of this takes us is uncertain - but it is moving us forward and generating enthusiasm. Read More.
Know Before You Go!
Planning on traveling down one of Missouri's interstates? Check the website before you go.
Missouri maintains 8 Welcome Centers, 15 Rest Areas, and 22 Truck-Only Parking sites across the state.
Located on seven different Interstates, the facilities feature a variety of easy-to-access amenities to serve travelers.
View a map of each location. Click on the areas to see more information on each site.
Child Passenger Safety - It's More Than Just a Law
National Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 13-19. The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety wants to ensure all caregivers of young children know the importance of buckling children in an appropriate child restraint. Motorists can also expect increased enforcement of Missouri's child seat safety laws during this campaign.
In 2014, seventeen children less than eight years of age were killed and 86 suffered serious injuries as occupants in motor vehicle crashes in Missouri. Thirty-one percent of the children killed were not restrained in a car seat or safety belt.
Missouri law requires all children under eight to be in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat unless:
They are at least 80 pounds.
They are at least 4'9" tall.
"All parents and caregivers need to understand the importance of booster seats. It's not just about following the law - booster seats help prevent serious injury and may even save your child's life," said Bill Whitfield, chair of the executive committee for the coalition.
Serious injuries can result from improperly-fitted safety belts, particularly for children ages four through seven who are secured only in a regular safety belt during a crash. These injuries are commonly known as "seat belt syndrome," which are often life-threatening or disabling injuries. Booster seats help prevent this syndrome from occurring by raising the child up so the lap and shoulder belt fits them properly.