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On the Trans Blog
Student Challenge: Real World Design

The annual Real World Design Challenge asks high school students to work on real world engineering challenges in a collaborative environment. Each year, student teams address a challenge that confronts one of our nation's leading industries. This yearís Challenge: design of an aircraft wing that provides better operational performance and improved fuel efficiency. This experience provides the students with the background and framework for competing effectively in a 21st century workforce through an innovative partnership involving government, private industry and education.

View the complete Real World Design blog posting

Focus on "Telework"

"Telework", or telecommuting, involves working remotely from locations other than a central workplace. Employers worldwide have used telework to reduce business costs and improve productivity, while employees who telework reduce expenses and increase the 'work-life' balance. Transportation industry professionals say telework has the potential to reduce congestion and add environmental benefits.

View the complete "Telework" blog posting

The Road to Reform

Record Funding for Local Road, Bridge Projects

Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill to provide cities and towns a record $200 million in state Chapter 90 funds this year to rebuild and repair local roads and bridges. This allocation, approved by the Legislature, represents a 29% increase in Chapter 90 funding compared to last year, providing a significant investment that will create construction jobs, improve transportation and public safety and encourage long-term economic development.

Each city and town will receive an increase in Chapter 90 funding for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2011 compared to the previous year, with funds allocated using a longstanding formula based upon community road miles, population and employment. This investment represents a $45 million increase over 2010 and continues the Patrick-Murray Administration's legacy of investing in the Commonwealth's aging infrastructure.

Chapter 90 funds approved by the Legislature may be used for road, bridge and multi-use path projects and related needs.

View a complete list of awards, broken down by community.

The Patrick-Murray Administration continues to build on a legacy of record investments in transportation infrastructure. In FY 2010, nearly 400 road and bridge projects totaling an unprecedented $965 million put thousands of people to work on road and bridge projects in every corner of the Commonwealth, funded by the Statewide Road and Bridge Program, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the Patrick-Murray Administrationís historic Accelerated Bridge Program to repair structurally-deficient bridges. In FY 2011, another record $1.2 billion will fund state road and bridge projects, more than double the investment in FY 2007.


Route 9 Resurfacing Project Continues

The $12.5 million Route 9 Resurfacing Project has resumed, funded by the federal stimulus American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) as part of Governor Deval Patrick's Massachusetts recovery plan. The project includes resurfacing of approximately 7.8 miles of Route 9 from Walnut Street in Natick to the Framingham/Southborough line. The work also includes the ramps at Route 27 in Natick and Route 126 in Framingham. The project began in 2010 and will be completed by June 2011.

Beginning this month, the contractor is cleaning catch basins and drainage pipes throughout the project, seen at left. Other work includes completion of sidewalks and wheel chair ramps, curbing, guard rail, and signs. Milling work on Route 126 over Route 9 is expected to begin in late April.

Overnight lane closures Sunday-Friday, 8pm-5am, will be posted at various locations throughout the corridor as work continues. Visit the Route 9 Resurfacing Project web page for the latest information.


Where's the Train? Check "Rail Radio"

The MBTA and the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company announced the launch of an updated "Rail Radio" service. "Rail Radio" provides real-time information about the status of approaching trains on car radios. It is now integrated with commuter railís Passenger Train Information System, a computerized system that links real-time information from approaching trains to LED monitors at stations.

"The integration of Rail Radio and PTIS delivers real-time information directly from approaching trains to customersí cars," said MBTA General Manager Richard Davey. "This service gives commuter rail customers more accurate information about when their train will arrive."

The low wattage AM radio service is currently available at more than 80 MBTA commuter rail stations with over 50 parking spaces in Eastern Massachusetts. Customers should check LED monitors at their local stations for the "Rail Radio" frequency in their area.


MassDOT May Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next regular public business meeting on Wednesday, May 4, 1:00pm, MBTA Board Room, Suite 3910, State Transportation Building, Boston.

The MBTA Board will meet first at 1pm, followed by the MassDOT Board. All meetings are open to the public.

The meeting schedule is available on the MassDOT website.