Monthly Archives: June 2010

Attention, walkers!

United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recency blogged about distracted walkers who text, listen to music or talk on cell phones while crossing streets.   There’s no doubt, pedestrians who don’t pay attention pose a safety risk to themselves and others.

“And, it’s not just cars and trucks that pedestrians are ignoring,” writes LaHood. ” …Pedestrians distracted by cell phone calls and text messages also risk deadly encounters with the transit buses and commuter trains around them.”

The Federal Transit Administration is promoting Operation Lifesaver, a safety campaign that shows the dangers of distracted walking around trains.

Maybe we should have payed more attention in kindergarten. Remember the song “Stop, Look and Listen?”  Here’s a video to share with little walkers:

What does the 2010 Census have to do with transportation?

The Census collects information about population, which plays a fundamental part in predicting road use

Walt Steinvorth works in Transportation Planning at the Utah Department of Transportation. He doesn't wear a turban like the Great Carnack, but he does have an "all knowing" look about him, don't you think?

Walt Steinvorth calls himself  “the firm’s fortune teller” but he doesn’t use Tarot Cards or a crystal ball. Steinvorth depends on “a lot of science” to predict the number of vehicles expected to use an existing or future transportation facility using a traffic demand model or TDM. Census information is a fundamental ingredient of a TDM.

UDOT gets population numbers from demographers at the Governor’s office of Planning and Budget who look at historical trends, employment, birth and death rates to predict future population. Transportation planners use these population forecasts as inputs to the TDM to predict future highway and transit demand.

The Federal Government requires the departments of transportation and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to develop long range multi-modal transportation system plans for 20 years into the future. TDMs are used to determine where and when to expand highway and transit systems to meet future demand.

During long range transportation planning, UDOT and the MPOs uses a TDM to test various transportation alternatives. When planning future improvements for existing roads, a TDM is used to determine if more lanes are needed, and if so, how many. TDMs also provide information about pedestrian and bike use.

April 2010: Eleven-year-old Henry Johnson attaches the completed census form to the mailbox after watching his mom fill in the blanks.

NOTE: UDOT is an ARE (acronym rich environment).  MPO and TDM are a few acronyms that see frequent use here at the DOT.  Click this link to see a list of other commonly used transportation acronyms. Then, impress your friends and family by using ATMS, LOS, or MUTCD with confidence. Your mom will be so proud.

View UDOT on YouTube

With a few key strokes and mouse clicks, you can watch a bridge move, take a virtual tour of the Traffic Operations Center or hear some fine cowboy poetry on UDOT’s YouTube channel. Over 30 videos are posted that show how UDOT uses innovation in construction, contracting and design to make our transportation system better.

Here’s a video of UDOTs Diverging Diamond Interchange in American Fork:


A revised website has been launched for the Mountain View Corridor, a planned freeway, transit and trail system in western Salt Lake County and northwestern Utah County.  The site provides:

The project will be built in phases designed to balance transportation needs with available funds. Initial construction includes building two lanes in each direction with signalized intersections where future interchanges will be located.

In Salt Lake County construction has started on a 15-mile segment between 5400 South and Redwood Road (at approximately 16000 South). Construction will be completed in 2013.

In Utah County, the three-mile construction area is on 2100 North from Redwood Road to I-15. Construction will be completed in 2011.

Sad U2’s not in town? UDOT to perform bridge act in American Fork this weekend

Pioneer Crossing bridge move in October, 2009

While not as loud or colorful as an uber-famous rock band, a UDOT bridge move is a show worth catching. UDOT is, after all, a world leader in using new technology to replace bridges.

The public will be able to see that technology in action this weekend in American Fork when UDOT moves two segments of a new interchange from a staging area into place overnight on Friday June 4 and Sunday June 6 beginning at about 10:30 p.m. both nights.

The bridge move can be viewed from the existing Main Street Bridge both nights.  Parking will be available at the park-and-ride lot southwest of the interchange.  A flagger will be posted to help visitors enter the viewing area beginning at 9:30 p.m. Visitors will only be allowed to cross the freeway ramps to enter the viewing area at locations where a flagger is present.  Seating will not be provided.

The new segments should be in place sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Once in position, the  segments will form the north bridge of the new Diverging Diamond Interchange at American Fork Main Street.

What to expect

Watching a bridge move is an fascinating but slow process. Workers will be using a Self Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMT) which are multi-wheeled vehicles equip with lifts. The SPMTs are moved using a small box with controls that look like joy sticks. The bridge will be very carefully and slowly rolled into place over hours of time.

These segments are the among the longest and heaviest structures that UDOT has moved, according to Carmen Swanwick, Chief Structural Engineer at UDOT. Asked if those factors pose any difficulties, Carmen said “no, we’ve designed for it.” Engineers are uber-planners, after all.

For more information about Pioneer Crossing and the Diverging Diamond Interchange, please visit the Pioneer Crossing Web site or call the project information hotline at 1-877-222-3757.

Do you truck? UDOT helps truckers and dispatchers avoid delay

i-Truck website and weekly email update gives trucker-specific road construction information

UDOT has a website and a weekly email update service that helps truckers and dispatchers anticipate or avoid road construction that may cause delay.

The Web site has an interactive map that allows users to view construction information by choosing a region or a specific project. To view the map, click this link to see the i-Truck website.

To sign up for a free weekly e-mail construction update called the Trucker’s Concierge, contact