Mobility service providers are focused on increasing safety and efficiency in transportation for those working to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Providers have expanded commute options for first responders, reduced mobility costs, facilitated critical information exchange and implemented policies and technology to protect passengers and drivers.
Electric vehicles can power critical systems in the aftermath of natural disasters, writes Peter Lyon, who describes how workers scrambled for car batteries to help get systems online when Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was flooded by a tsunami in 2011. He notes that after another natural disaster -- a 2016 earthquake -- a hybrid electric Mitsubishi Outlander powered television network lights used to illuminate an emergency task force area.
Spot market prices for trucking have spiked this month, while transportation companies encountered an over 50% increase in grocery and discount store orders last week, compared with the same time last year, and largely empty return runs due to retail closures. Drivers are also contending with rest area and restaurant closures and are struggling to find gloves and other protective gear.
Virginia plans to reduce the minimum amount required on E-ZPass accounts from $35 to $20 and Maryland will push up the date for lowering toll bill late fees from December to July 1. Virginia is also expanding its cashless tolls where possible, while Maryland recently stopped accepting cash at its toll booths due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Autotalk has received dual-band Wi-Fi pre-certification for its vehicle-to-everything chipset, which will allow for a wider range of out-of-vehicle connectivity. Diagnostic services, mobile data offloading, over-the-air updates, public hotspot access and self-parking are among the features enabled by the chipset.
Eight engineering services contracts totaling $270.3 million have been awarded by the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors. Since the Move Illinois Program began in 2012, $7.5 billion has been invested by the Illinois Tollway.
Automobile traffic on the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge from New York to Canada decreased by 90% this week and truck traffic fell by as much as 25%, according to the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority. Commuter traffic on the Thousand Islands International Bridge declined by 20% during March, while commercial traffic dropped by 5%.
With the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority's revenue stream reduced by a decline in ferry service fares, the agency has requested $4 million of emergency funding from regional, state and federal sources. The WETA's operations are mainly funded through ferry ridership and bridge tolls.
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