Commentary

Featured Research Articles

At less than 4%, the unemployment rate in San Francisco is at an almost unprecedented low. As I walk to my office from the transit station each morning, I pass hordes of enthusiastic, mostly young "techies" streaming into the headquarters of Uber, Square and Twitter. These magnet employers offer excellent compensation, stock options, free snacks and meals (including wine and beer on tap), and on-site amenities like dry cleaning. Some even allow workers to bring their dogs to the office. As if that's not enough to attract the best employees, these companies are world-renowned, offering exciting opportunities in the forefront of new technology. How is a relatively staid public employer, grinding along in a highly-regulated civil service environment, to compete for top talent? Read more...

Accessibility is a very important service offered by transit agencies. We know that because the Washington Metro is accessible. Hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities in our three-state service area can depend on Metro to get where they are going. Our 1200 low-floor 'talking' buses and 91 rail stations with elevators mean that someone who is blind or uses a wheelchair can use bus and rail. Metro can be the family car for someone who cannot drive. And for those who are unable to use bus or rail, there is our paratransit service, MetroAccess. Our 675 lift-equipped paratransit vans deliver over 2 million rides every year to nearly 40,000 customers. Metro really is very important to people with disabilities, and Metro will be even more important to them in the future. But it is not just about Metro. Accessible transit will become more important everywhere. Read more...

The Ontario price index for asphalt binder peaked at $932/ton just before the start of the recession in August 2008 and had climbed there from only $270/ton just three years earlier while today it hovers around $730/ton. This rapid increase has made it highly tempting and profitable to dilute virgin material with cheap waste products such as recycled asphalt mix from old pavement, recycled shingles (tear-off or post-industrial cuttings), waste engine oil residues, waste vegetable oils, and likely a range of other unknowns. Some of what is yet to come sounds rather outlandish-biobinder from pig manure, hydrothermal oil from microalgae, toner waste, and lignin and tall oils from the pulp and paper industry, to name a few, are actively being investigated as substitutes or additives for petroleum derived asphalt binder. Read more...