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Talking Michigan Transportation

Michigan Department of Transportation

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The Talking Michigan Transportation podcast features conversations with transportation experts inside and outside MDOT and will touch on anything and everything related to mobility, including rail, transit and the development of connected and automated vehicles.
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This week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast focuses on National Work Zone Awareness Week. An event in Midland on Monday, April 15, will kick off the week with officials from the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Michigan State Police and several industry advocates and others. First, Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist…
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This week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast features explanations about how Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) officials prioritize road projects. MDOT Chief Operations Officer Gregg Brunner talks about the factors that go into selection and how planners and engineers strictly adhere to asset management principles. …
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On this week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation about revisiting the state’s Complete Streets policy, adopted by the State Transportation Commission in 2012. Amy Matisoff, whose duties include strategic alignment and outreach for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), explains why she’s spearheading …
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You may have heard about the federal government’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program, funded in the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law at $1 billion a year for five years. Michigan was fortunate to receive $110 million of those funds. On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, Steve Minton, an innovative contracts …
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a veteran Michigan pollster discusses a recent survey of active and likely November general election voters that shows an overwhelming number want the taxes they pay at the pump to fix roads and bridges. Michigan is among states with a sales tax on motor fuels. That tax, 6 percent, does not go…
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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget include additional funds for MI Contracting Opportunity, a program that supports contractors and suppliers who are socially or economically disadvantaged. The $5 million recommendation represents a renewal of the item in the previous budget, with a $2 million increase. On this week’s…
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This week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast features conversations with two people who participated in a Feb. 6 announcement by the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) of an additional $2.6 million being invested in 13 community projects as part of construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge (GHIB). First, Heathe…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation about the road usage charge (RUC) survey conducted to gauge citizen’s thoughts on funding transportation infrastructure. Jean Ruestman, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Office of Passenger Transportation, explains how the department sought and won a f…
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On this week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation with Garrett Dawe, who was recently named engineer of traffic and safety at the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). Dawe succeeds Mark Bott, who is retiring. Dawe talks about what he’s learned in a variety of positions at MDOT, including as a Transportat…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, MDOT’s coordinator for snow plowing and other maintenance on state routes in four west Michigan counties talks about preparations for heavy snow in the forecast for this weekend. Kurt Fritz, who coordinates maintenance on state trunkline (I, M and US routes) in Mason, Oceana, Muskegon and Otta…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation with Mike Hayes, who was recently named chair of the Michigan State Transportation Commission (STC). Hayes, who has been active in community affairs in Midland for many years and served in the Michigan House of Representatives, has been a member of the STC since 2011. He talks a…
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This week on the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, Joann Muller, co-author of the Axios What’s Next newsletter, offers her thoughts on trends in the automotive industry, including electric vehicle (EV) sales and more. Three recent stories explored the rapidly changing landscape: How consumers are finding comfort in hybrid vehicles before ful…
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On this week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation with Stefan Tongur, vice president of business development in the United States for Israel-based Electreon, a developer and provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions. He first discussed the technology on the podcast shortly after the contract was announ…
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Experts are trying to parse data that shows a dramatic decline in the number of trips Americans take on foot. Axios summarized findings from Streetlight Data, including a 36 percent drop in average daily walking trips in the contiguous U.S. between 2019 and 2022. On this week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, Emily Adler, di…
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On this week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a discussion about why distracted driving initially trended down in Michigan after the state's hands-free law took effect and why those numbers are not dropping as rapidly now. Ryan McMahon, senior vice president of strategy for Cambridge Mobile Telematics, a Massachusetts-based…
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This week, the Michigan Senate’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee heard testimony on legislation that would allow for the use of safety cameras to monitor the speeds of vehicles driving through road construction projects. Pam Shadel Fischer, senior director of External Engagement at the Governors Highway Safety Association, returns to th…
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On this week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, conversations with two people seeking to better understand the reasons for an uptick in wrong-way driving and to mitigate the risks. First, Gary Bubar, a traffic safety specialist for AAA Michigan, talks about the trend and his organization’s awareness and education efforts. He …
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Understanding the intricacies of a state's transportation funding can be a daunting task. On this week’s episode of the Talking Michigan Transportation, Bill Hamilton, a policy analyst in the Michigan House Fiscal Agency and transportation luminary, talks about his work. The discussion also includes an overview of Michigan's Transportation Fund (MT…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, Shane Peck, communications and public involvement director and vice president at WSP, talks about a major study he co-authored examining the most effective way to explain the benefits of transportation. The research identified and tested a broad range of evidence-based themes and presented fiv…
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On Tuesday, Oct. 10, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation enabling Michigan’s first high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on a segment of I-75 in Oakland County. This week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast features conversations with the project manager and an official with the American Association of State Highway …
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Ryan Mitchell, recently named director of the newly established Office of Major Projects at the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), joins the podcast. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) categorizes major projects as those with a price tag of $500 million or more. Mitchell helped establish and refine the alternative delivery and cri…
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Early in 2022, the Detroit News reported that criminals had taken to the city's freeways to settle arguments with guns and avoid the city's network of high-definition surveillance cameras at gas stations and other locations. Michigan State Police reports show at least two shootings happened every month on Wayne, Oakland and Macomb county freeways i…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation with John Peracchio, a veteran strategic consultant in the intelligent transportation systems (ITS) sector and automotive industry. Topics include: How concerns about what electric vehicles (EVs) mean to the future of work in the industry. https://www.npr.org/2023/09/13/11992603…
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Last week, before tornadoes devastated communities across Michigan, record rainfall overwhelmed drainage systems and tributaries in Wayne County. The highest total was nearly 7.4 inches reported at a station in Belleville, a 24-hour total nearly all of which fell during this event. The deluge also flooded the tunnels at Detroit Metro Airport and cl…
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Jason Gutting joins the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast this week to talk about his new role as director of MDOT’s Bureau of Field Services. He talks about standards and specifications for paving materials and how MDOT engineers confer with counterparts from across the country; innovations in road building, winter maintenance and operations…
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On this week’s podcast, Michael J. Coren, the Washington Post’s climate advice columnist, talks about his recent reporting (subscription) on the cost of filling a vehicle’s fuel tank versus charging an electric vehicle (EV) battery. The answer, he explains, is less straightforward than it seems. He writes, “Just calculating the cost of gasoline ver…
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This week on the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, conversations with two people committed to equity in transportation and access for all. First, Valerie Lefler, founder and executive director of Feonix - Mobility Rising (pronounced like "Phoenix"), talks about what inspires her work and this week’s launch of the Mobility Wallet Pilot Progra…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a reflection on 10 years of success in MDOT’s Transportation Diversity Recruitment Program (TDRP). The 10-week program allows students to work alongside other on-the-job training program participants, internal staff and external professionals who provide engineering, technical, inspection, and…
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Regular Talking Michigan Transportation podcast contributor Lloyd Brown joins this week’s conversation to talk about a number of topics in the news. Brown is formerly the director of communications for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and now a Phoenix-based senior strategic communications consultant f…
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Bridge Michigan reported this week that fatal crash numbers remain high in post-pandemic Michigan, with safety advocates again citing risky driving behavior as the reason. On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, Bridge Michigan reporter Mike Wilkinson talks about his analysis of the data and what he found. In a second segment, Pamel…
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This week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast features a discussion about legislation, House Bill 4353, to allow for a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) component on newly built freeway lanes. This will be a first for Michigan. Mark Dubay is a senior project manager for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) working on modernization of I…
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On this week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a topic that provokes strong feelings among everyone who drives: when to merge when a freeway lane is closed for construction. Tom Vanderbilt explained in his 2008 book, Traffic, there are two schools of thought: The first camp - let us name it after the bumper sticker that says…
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Last week, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation that bans the use of hand-held electronic devices while driving. The legislation had a number of advocates, none more so than the League of Michigan Bicyclists. On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, Matt Penniman, communications and advocacy director for the League, expl…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research for AAA, talks about the disturbing rise in crash fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic. Since pandemic stay-at-home advisories went into effect in 2020, traffic fatalities have risen. The National Highway Traffic Safety Ad…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation with Jeff Farrah, executive director of the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association (AVIA). As discussed in previous installments, U.S. traffic deaths jumped 10.5 percent in 2021 to 42,915, marking the highest number killed on American roads in a single year since 2005. Farrah t…
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Michigan is poised to become the 26th state to implement a ban on the use of hand-held phones while driving. The new laws, passed as House bills 4250, 4251 and 4252, are headed to Gov. Whitmer’s desk for her signature and are expected to take effect on June 30. This follows adoption of similar legislation in Ohio in April. An early analysis of data…
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The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released their infrastructure report card for Michigan at a May 8 news conference and gave the state a cumulative grade of C-, which counts as improvement since the previous grade was D+. On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, two people who participated in the news conference talk abo…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, conversations about how grants from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), will help the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) rebuild or shore up major roads and bridges over the next few years. First, Beckie Cu…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation about the success of efforts by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to attract pollinators with roadside sunflowers and other vegetation. Amanda Novak, a resource specialist in MDOT’s Bay Region, talks about the origins and successes of MDOT’s pollinator program and…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a look at transportation-related legislation being debated. Aarne Frobom, senior policy analyst at the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and Troy Hagon, MDOT director of government affairs, break down the proposals. Among those discussed: House bills 4132 and 4133. These bills, res…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, some good news for innovative projects aimed at enhancing mobility. On March 21, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced winners of Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) grants. Michele Mueller, MDOT senior project manager for connected, automated, a…
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With the introduction of a new bill in the Michigan Legislature to enable the use of automated technology to enforce speeding laws on segments of road under construction, this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast reprises an episode from Aug. 30, 2022, after a similar bill was introduced last legislative session. House Bill 4132 has bipar…
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As Black History Month 2023 winds down, this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast highlights the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program and some of the success stories. First, Lisa Thompson, administrator of MDOT’s Office of Business Development, which includes the DBE program, explain…
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On part II of special Black History Month editions of the Talking Michigan Transportation, Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist talks about the importance of the project to convert the I-375 depressed freeway to an at-grade boulevard, reconnecting neighborhoods. As a child growing up near those neighborhoods, and hearing the stories of relatives who …
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On special Black History Month editions of the Talking Michigan Transportation, conversations about the Michigan Department of Transportation’s project to transform the I-375 freeway into an at-grade urban boulevard, reconnecting neighborhoods to the east with downtown Detroit. In this episode, retired Detroit Free Press reporter and editor Bill Mc…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, Trevor Pawl, who recently moved on from his pioneering role as the state’s chief mobility officer, reflects on all the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) accomplished during his tenure and why he thinks more good things are ahead. Pawl talks about why it made sense of him and…
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On this episode of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, conversations about how supplemental appropriations legislation will boost a long-sought rebuilding of a freeway interchange that is vital to the regional flow of commuters, commerce and quality of life. First, Michigan Department of Transportation Grand Region Engineer Erick Kind talk…
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On this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation with Eric Morris, Michigan office lead for HNTB, the transportation consultant selected to complete a tolling study. Some 35 states have at least one facility with tolling. But that number is a little deceiving because Michigan would be counted in that total since there is tolli…
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On this week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, a conversation with Heather Grondin, vice president of corporate affairs and external relations at the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA), which is overseeing the building of the Gordie Howe International Bridge (GHIB). She talks about the progress made on the bridge in 202…
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On this week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, Brad Wieferich, MDOT chief operations officer and chief engineer, talks about major road and bridge projects completed on state trunklines in the past year, featured in MDOT’s year-end video. Among the projects discussed: I-69/I-475 in Flint, rebuilding bridges and 2 miles of hi…
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