Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Laser-equipped drone helps improve safety, efficiency on Hwy 4 improvement project

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Screenshot from drone video of construction work at the Highway 4 and Balfour Road interchange in Brentwood, Tues., Sept. 12, 2017. Courtesy of Alta Vista Solutions.

Emerging drone technology moves construction and engineering into the future

On Tuesday morning, September 12, 2017, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and Alta Vista Solutions showcased two emerging technologies on a construction project aimed to improve commutes on Highway 4 in Brentwood (aka the Bypass). Engineers piloted drones equipped with light detection and ranging (LiDAR) lasers–a surveying tool that uses a laser to create high-resolution geographical data.

The combination of the two emerging technologies has never been done in construction before and opens untold possibilities for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology and related jobs in the future.  CCTA featured the system in action by providing a live feed of a drone flight.  The feed from this morning’s drone flight can be viewed at altavistasolutions.com/media – bar .

With assistance from engineering firm Alta Vista Solutions (Alta Vista), who proposed the new method, CCTA is flying the LiDAR scanners to measure the volumes of earth that need to be moved during this $74-million project to rework the Balfour Road interchange. The drones ensure that the cut-and-fill earthwork goes efficiently. With LiDAR’s pinpoint accuracy, CCTA can now make needed calculations and monitor site conditions faster, eliminating the unavoidable guesswork involved in manual surveys. Putting LiDAR on drones gathers 15 gigabytes of precise, high-quality data per month, cutting down drastically on time spent surveying. The drones also improve safety by taking workers out of live traffic.

Drone capabilities enable CCTA to track construction progress firsthand as work on Highway 4 continues.

“We are always looking for new ways to increase safety and efficiency on construction projects,” said CCTA Executive Director Randy Iwasaki. “Drones give us aerial views of the site that were hard to come by before, making it safer for surveyors to do their job and helping us manage the large volumes of dirt that are being used to improve this intersection. This technology also allows us to monitor environmentally sensitive areas without disturbing the habitat.”

“This will change engineering and surveying,” said Ed Greutert, principal engineer at Alta Vista Solutions. “Innovations like combining LiDAR and UAVs are opening doors in infrastructure and making us efficient, effective, and safe in ways we couldn’t achieve before.”

Greutert also addresses fears of job loss as automation increases. “Using technology to do the surveying work can lead people to ask if this is the next step to the robot apocalypse – are drones going to take our jobs?” he speculates. “Not quite. It’s going to change jobs. It’s going to create new jobs in technology—and in the Balfour Road case, help people get to work faster.”

CCTA has faced challenges in being the first to test these technologies together.

“This has never been done. LiDAR on a UAV hasn’t worked until now – there are huge possibilities if we can be creative enough to really tap into them,” Greutert noted.

Handling the unprecedented quantity of data generated has also posed a challenge. However, in recent months, the team has succeeded in processing the hundreds of gigabytes collected.

“There are always challenges to pioneering new technology,” Iwasaki said. “But with the benefits this technology can provide in terms of keeping workers safe and managing a complicated construction project, I believe we’ll start to see more widespread use of drones on construction sites within a few years – especially as we discover new applications that can help save time and money. Right now, CCTA is excited to be leading efforts in this new frontier.”

About the Contra Costa Transportation Authority

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is a public agency formed by Contra Costa voters in 1988 to manage the county’s transportation sales tax program and oversee countywide transportation planning efforts.  CCTA is responsible for planning, funding and delivering critical transportation infrastructure projects and programs that connect our communities, foster a strong economy, increase sustainability, and safely and efficiently get people where they need to go.  CCTA also serves as the county’s designated Congestion Management Agency, responsible for putting programs in place to keep traffic levels manageable.  More information about CCTA is available at ccta.net.

About Alta Vista Solutions

Alta Vista is a California-based engineering firm that has been recognized as the 20th fastest-growing engineering firm in America by Inc. 5000 and was named by Zweig Group as one of America’s Hot Firms. Alta Vista has quickly differentiated itself by performing customized quality management strategies for some of the most complex infrastructure projects in the world. Over the past decade, Alta Vista has worked with public and private organizations to complete large-scale engineering projects that better serve their regions. Known for engineering services that include engineering, inspection, testing, unmanned aerial systems, quality management, and structural health monitoring, Alta Vista has grown and diversified and has been acknowledged in 2017 by ENR Magazine and other media outlets for using innovative solutions and technologies to deliver infrastructure projects faster, better and more cost effectively.  For more information about Alta Vista, visit altavistasolutions.com.

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BART reducing speed systemwide during heat wave until 8 p.m.

Friday, September 1st, 2017

As a precaution against potential rail movement, BART will be reducing speeds between noon and 8 p.m. on most outdoor parts of the system for the duration of this regional heat wave. Riders should anticipate travel time increases of 10 to 20 minutes.

BART is taking this unusual step in response to the extreme temperatures forecast for the Bay Area over the next several days. BART rail is heat-treated prior to installation, which allows for thermal expansion and contraction of the rail in the Bay Area’s widely varying temperatures.

However, when actual temperature variations reach extreme levels, the thermal forces exerted on the rail increase, making it possible—though unlikely—that there could be some rail movement. Train speeds are being reduced in targeted parts of the system as a precautionary measure to give Train Operators more time to react to any observed abnormal rail conditions.

BART anticipates these reduced speeds to be in effect through at least Sunday, though the final decision on the duration of these changes will be based on weather forecasts and observed track conditions on the BART system. 

As a reminder, BART crews will be rebuilding trackway in downtown Oakland during Labor Day weekend from the end of service on Friday through Monday, to make the system safer, quieter, and more reliable. No trains will run between 19th Street and Fruitvale stations or between West Oakland and Fruitvale stations and Lake Merritt station will be closed. Riders on the Warm Springs/So. Fremont, Dublin/Pleasanton, and Oakland Airport lines will be impacted.

BART crews cannot complete these critical trackway repairs during the overnight hours when we are normally closed for maintenance, which is why we require this extra time. For more information on the track closure, please visit: http://www.bart.gov/news/articles/2017/news20170814

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Traffic delays expected for Marsh Creek Road slope shoulder repair Sept 5-Oct 5

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Contra Costa County Public Works Department will perform work on Marsh Creek Road from Deer Valley Road to the Clayton City limits, from September 5 through October 5, 2017. The work will occur Monday through Thursday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to shape slopes, repair shoulders and erosion along the road edge. The work may be rescheduled based on weather conditions. Electronic message boards will alert drivers of the scheduled work. There will be traffic control through the work area and drivers can expect delays of 10-15 minutes.

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Camino Diablo Road closure from Main Street to Byron Highway in Byron

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Construction of the Byron Highway and Camino Diablo Intersection Improvement Project is underway. The project will widen roadway pavement, install a traffic signal, sidewalk and upgrade the Union Pacific Railroad crossing on Camino Diablo.  Camino Diablo, from Main Street to Byron Highway, will be closed for the construction of the upgrades to the railroad crossing effective 3:00pm August 29th until 7:00 am September 28th.

Traffic will be detoured to Holway Drive for access to Camino Diablo and Byron Highway.  Drivers can expect delays. The project is funded by Federal Highway Safety Improvement Funds, Traffic Mitigation Funds, and Local Road Funds. Project completion is expected by the end of November. For project updates, visit the Public Works website at: http://www.cccounty.us/pwdmap.

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Marsh Creek Road repair work during daytime, Mon.-Fri. from July 10-20

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

Expect delays

Contra Costa County Public Works Department will perform work on Marsh Creek Road from Deer Valley Road to the Clayton City limits from July 10 through July 20, 2017. The work will occur Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to shape slopes and shoulders along the road edge where mudslides occurred during the winter storms.

The work may be rescheduled based on weather conditions. Electronic message boards will alert drivers of the scheduled work. There will be traffic control through the work area and drivers can expect delays of 10-15 minutes.

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Public meetings and input sought for Plan Bay Area 2040

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy Final Environmental Impact Report

The Final Environmental Impact Report (Final EIR) (SCH# 2016052041) for Plan Bay Area (PBA) 2040, the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)/Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) (proposed Plan) for the San Francisco Bay Area is available for review as of July 10, 2017. Additional information and notice of public meetings is provided below.

The proposed Plan is a regional strategy for accommodating household and employment growth projected to occur in the Bay Area region through 2040, and a transportation strategy for the region based on expected revenues. The primary objective of the proposed Plan is to achieve mandated reductions of greenhouse (GHG) emissions and to provide adequate housing for the projected 2040 regional population level pursuant to The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (Senate Bill (SB) 375, Statutes of 2008). The proposed Plan sets forth a transportation and land use blueprint for how the Bay Area can address transportation mobility and accessibility needs, regional housing responsibilities, economic conditions and forecasts, environmental concerns, and GHG emissions reduction requirements through the year 2040.

The region includes nine counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma) totaling approximately 4.4 million acres (7,000 square miles). In 2015, the region had 4.01 million jobs, 2.76 million households, and 7.57 million people. The proposed Plan would accommodate projected growth for an additional 688,000 jobs, 666,000 households, and 2.06 million people by 2040 with a transportation investment strategy of $303 billion. MTC is required under State and Federal law to update the RTP/SCS every four years.

The Final EIR includes the Draft EIR, a copy of each comment on the Draft EIR received by MTC/ABAG during the public comment period, responses to comments on environmental issues raised in those comments, and corrections and clarifications to the Draft EIR.

The Final EIR is now available for public review online at the web link listed below or a free electronic copy may be obtained by contacting MTC at the contact information provided below.

http://2040.planbayarea.org/reports

MTC Public Information
375 Beale Street, Suite 800
San Francisco, CA, 94105
415.778.6757 office / 415.536.9800 fax
eircomments@mtc.ca.gov

The document will also be available for public review in at least one library in each of the nine member counties. A list of library locations is available at the website listed below:

http://www.planbayarea.org/2040-plan/access-plan

MTC/ABAG will be conducting two public meetings to consider certification of the Final EIR and adoption of the proposed Plan. All interested agencies, organizations, and individuals are welcome to participate in these public meetings for the Final EIR. Oral comments will be accepted during these meetings.

July 14, 2017       

Joint MTC Planning Committee with the ABAG Administrative Committee (9:30 a.m.) at the Bay Area Metro Center – Board Room, First Floor, 375 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. At this meeting, the decision-makers will make a recommendation to the MTC Commission/ABAG Executive Board regarding certification of the Final EIR and adoption of the proposed Plan.

July 26, 2017       

MTC Commission/ABAG Executive Board (7:00 p.m.) at the Bay Area Metro Center – Board Room, First Floor, 375 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. At this meeting, a final action will be taken regarding certification of the Final EIR and adoption of the proposed Plan.

The following statement is required to be included in this notice: Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15087(c)(6), the nine county Bay Area region contains hazardous waste sites as enumerated under California Government Code Section 65962.5.

Do you need an interpreter or any other assistance in order to participate? Please call us at 415.778.6757. We require three days’ notice in order to provide reasonable accommodation.

為了便於參加,您需要口譯員或其他任何協助嗎?請致電415.778.6757聯絡我們。我們需要提前3天通知才能提供合理的輔助服務

¿Necesitas un intérprete o cualquier otra asistencia para participar? Comunícate al 415.778.6757. Necesitamos aviso con tres días de anticipación para proporcionar asistencia razonable.

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BART issues Rider Guide and route for Warriors Victory Parade on Thursday

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Warriors Victory Parade route for Thursday, June 15th.

The Warriors have taken care of business by bringing home another NBA championship and now it’s BART’s turn. We’re gearing up for an epic day Thursday when Oakland hosts a victory celebration starting at 10 a.m. We’ve put together some tips to help make your championship parade day safe and enjoyable.

Ten tips for riding BART to the victory celebration in Oakland

  1. Be patient, it’s going to get crowded; our busiest hours in 2015 were 8am-10am
  2. Use 19th Street Station, avoid the much smaller Lake Merritt Station
  3. Buy a Clipper card (clippercard.com) in advance to avoid extremely long lines at ticket machines
  4. Look for tables with cash only $15 Clipper card sales at 10 of our busiest stations
  5. Parking will be packed; think about taking the bus or walking to BART or getting dropped off
  6. “Permit” spaces in parking lots are for permit holders only, a citation will ruin the fun day
  7. When boarding trains, move to the center of the car so more can fit, remove backpacks
  8. Don’t jam a train door- it will take the whole train out of service and everyone will boo you
  9. Some trains may not stop at Lake Merritt if the Rally Zone has reached capacity or crowding
  10. Our service will not match the published schedule so listen and pay attention

The Details

First, know that BART is going to be crowded like you’ve never seen it before. On the day of the 2015 Warriors parade, BART carried 548,076 people – second only to the 568,061 people who rode BART when the Giants held a victory parade on Halloween 2012. If you’re not going to the celebration and will be taking BART to work or elsewhere, we suggest leaving home early – maybe even before 7 a.m.

Getting to the Station

If you must drive and park at a BART station, consider getting there very early. Parking will be packed so instead, if you can, we suggest taking the bus or walking to BART or getting someone to drop you off at your station. 

If you do drive and park, remember that “Permit” spaces are for passengers who have paid for monthly and single day permits in advance.  Those without a Permit may only park in the “Fee” areas, which are First-Come/First-Serve.  If you park in the “Permit” area without a permit, you are subject to citation.

The Lake Merritt Station permit parking lot (located near Laney College) will be CLOSED all day.

Overflow Parking (NEW!)

BART staff is working to gain permission from parking lots located near BART stations that can be used as overflow parking. We will continue to update this information.

Fremont Station- Riders can use the upper lot of the City of Fremont parking garage located at 39701 Civic Center Drive in Fremont at no cost. Please use upper lot only; not library or police parking. Map: https://tinyurl.com/y8zp8qnj

San Francisco Stations- SFMTA has several public parking garages in San Francisco that are located within walking distance to BART stations.

From Antioch Park and Ride to Pittsburg/Bay Point BART Station- Lots A & C (lot B is still under construction) of the Antioch Park and Ride have 400 spaces available for use. Address: 1474 Slatten Ranch Road, Antioch, CA (this address drops the pin on the road that gives access to the lots for map apps) Enter the lot at Sunset Drive & Hillcrest OR take SR-4 Map: https://tinyurl.com/y9uckvqv  

From there, take a Tri-Delta Transit bus to Pittsburg/Bay Point station. Routes that will take you to the Pittsburg/Bay Point Station: 300 (express), 380, 388, 390, 391, 392, 393, 394

Tri-Delta Transit System Map

Map of bus stops at Pittsburg/Bay Point (for return trip)

Tri-Delta Bus Schedules 

Purchasing Fares

Don’t be the person stuck in a line for the ticket vending machine while Steph and KD are waving to the crowd. We suggest you buy a Clipper card or ticket at least a day or two in advance.

Go to www.clippercard.com and find a retail location closest to you. 

If for some reason you don’t, BART will be selling $15 Clipper cards at special cash-only ticket tables at the stations listed below.  We picked these stations because they had long lines in 2015.  Be sure to keep these Clipper cards and register them. They work on other Bay Area transit.  

Stations with $15 cash only Clipper card table sales

 4am-10am

·         Fremont

·         Warm Springs

·         Dublin/Pleasanton

·         El Cerrito del Norte

·         Coliseum

·         Bay Fair

·         Millbrae

10:30am-2:30pm

·         12th Street

·         19th street

·         Lake Merritt

Heading to Downtown Oakland

We are doing extra maintenance now so we can put every available train out to carry passengers, but you’ll be joining a half million or more fellow riders. 

The Lake Merritt BART Station will be in the epicenter of the celebration so it’s best to avoid it. We strongly suggest taking BART to either 12th Street or 19th Street stations in Oakland. They are bigger and they’re right along the parade route so you’ll have more elbow room. They will also be your best options for starting your trip home.

Trains coming from Dublin/Pleasanton and Fremont Warm Springs towards Oakland may skip Lake Merritt after 8:30am if the rally zone has reached capacity and has closed or if the station becomes too crowded.  Listen to announcements and use 12th or 19th street instead. 

Service changes to be aware of

The Pittsburg/Bay Point morning service WILL NOT match the regular published schedule. Some trains will be rerouted to other crowded areas in the system.

Specifically:

The following trains that originate at North Concord in the morning will be redistributed to other areas and will not run on the Pittsburg/Bay Point line: 6:59 a.m., 7:14 a.m., 7:29 a.m

The following trains that originate at Pleasant Hill in the morning will be redistributed to other areas and will not run on the Pittsburg/Bay Point line: 8:12 a.m., 8:27 a.m., 8:42 a.m. 

After 8 am every other train from the Warm Springs to Daly City line will not go to San Francisco and instead go to Downtown Oakland to serve the parade route. These trains will terminate at MacArthur Station.

At any time, we may need to skip a station due to crowding, or hold riders outside the fare gates and wait until the platform clears to allow riders to enter the paid area.  Listen to instructions from BART workers- we’re here to help.

What we’re doing to prepare

Besides getting all the train cars ready, we are staffing up to make sure we can quickly respond to any issues that pop up. We will have extra paramedics on standby and extra police officers on patrol including the Transportation Security Administration’s Vipr team.

We’ll have extra escalator and elevator technicians in our stations, and train technicians ready to respond to an equipment problem on a train. 

Code of Conduct

Finally, it probably goes without saying but we’ll say it anyway: smile and have fun. We at BART enjoy serving you on what should be a joyous and memorable day. We only ask that you show common courtesy to your fellow riders, follow our simple rules and -if you start to get a little impatient- think about the folks in Cleveland who wish they had a parade.  

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Vasco Road work to replace safety roadway delineators on May 17-18

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

The Contra Costa County Public Works Department will perform roadwork on Vasco Road from the Alameda County line north to Camino Diablo Road on May 17 and 18, 2017. The work will occur between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to replace roadway delineators. The purpose of the delineators and rumble strips is to increase driver awareness and safety when travelling through this commute corridor.

The work may be rescheduled based on weather conditions. Electronic message boards will alert drivers of the scheduled work. There will be traffic control through the work area and motorists can expect delays.

 

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