I don't know about you but sometimes a little friendly competition spurs me on to take that extra step. The US Census office has a very cool map that shows us our state census participation rate. I had a chance to look at it today and realized that we were losing, well not really losing, but definitely behind several states in our participation rate.
Current participation "scoreboard" as of March 30, 2010:
I think we can do better, don't you? Take the time today to fill out and get that census form into your mailbox, it really matters for allocation of federal transportation dollars. We can't let Oregon beat us! :)
UPDATE 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 30: And, so that fickle Mother Nature went and threw us a curveball...Due to the threat of more severe winter weather forecast for the Cascade mountain range, Washington State Department of Transportation officials today extended the deadline to remove studded tires through April 10. Drivers must remove their studded tires by 12:01 a.m., Sunday April 11.
Travel over the mountain pass highways and in typically-snowy Eastern Washington sure has been odd this year. Now, the word “drought” seems to be popping up all over the news.
But first we have to get through the last few weeks of March and into April. April 1, 12:01 a.m. is the deadline to remove your studded tires. In Washington, studded tires are legal Nov. 1 - Mar. 31. You can receive a $124 fine for studded tire use after the deadline.
Studded tires damage the highway, and make it harder to stop on wet or dry pavement. In icy conditions, studded tires add some benefit.
Our forecasts don’t call for any large-scale snow or ice storms. (well, oops..that changed today) And next year, please talk to your local tire dealer about alternatives that offer that same ice benefit, are safer and don’t damage the highway.
If you are driving into the higher elevations, be prepared as El Nino may bring some typical late March and early April conditions. While good for the summer water supply, those of who have enjoyed some almost 70-degree days may be a little surprised to see snow in the mountains.
Some mountain snow is typical in March and April. Please remember, no one can guarantee bare and wet roads everywhere, all the time. Plan ahead, carry chains and drive for conditions.
On the WSDOT Winter Driving Web site, you can find answers to some questions we receive over and over (FAQ), ways to prepare for winter driving, winter driving tips, plus more about WSDOT’s winter roadway operations, snow and ice removal and avalanche control.
|Vern Potts takes photos from this Aero |
The camera is mounted on
the floor of the plane
to image the ground underneath.
|For pinpoint accuracy, WSDOT’s aerial|
mapping camera is equipped with a
survey grade GPS receiver. The receiver
interfaces with the camera to take photos
at specific GPS coordinates.
|Aerial photograph of flood waters over I-5 in Lewis County.|
Explore WSDOT’s Aerial Photography Web site where you can see the most requested aerial images produced by Vern and the team. To purchase a print, to search the archives, or to arrange for a flight, contact the aerial photography office at 360-596-8950.
Measuring communication is one of the more difficult things about this business. Experts have debated for years the science of measurement for public relations and public involvement. Especially in a non-profit/government context, which is not tied to a distinct bottomline, defining success by the numbers is a tremendous challenge.
This year, the WSDOT communications team decided to ask our blog readers, Facebook friends, Twitterati and other on-line contacts to give us some feedback. The results were very interesting and for us, very valuable. In November we sent out a link to an online survey to more than 65,000 e-mail addresses that are part of our GovDelivery listserv databases, and we also posted the link on Twitter and on this blog. Within a few hours we had thousands of responses.
The results of that survey have been incorporated into our 2009 communications annual report (pdf 1.8 mb). We know this was not a scientific sampling. But the feedback was tremendously helpful in identifying areas in which we can improve.
Please take a moment to look through our annual report. We have organized the report to explain our outputs - those things we published and sent to the public and the media - and the outcomes, which mostly is comprised of your survey feedback. Since this is the first annual report of this kind, we have considered many of these measures as baselines against which we will be able to chart progress in future years.
Perhaps the reason that measurement and return on investment has been so difficult for public relations and public involvement has to do with how much of our success is based on relationships. We value you as a reader, as a person who uses the transportation system. And, we look forward to continuing to serve you with creative, interesting and useful communication information in 2010 and beyond.
For the past few months, a group of us have spent hours and hours talking trash. We have – and still are – working very hard to increase participation in WSDOT’s Adopt-a-Highway program.
I would like to personally thank those of you who have adopted 35 percent of Washington’s highway miles. Yes – only 35 percent of our state’s highways are “adopted.”
Own a business? Think about Adopt-a-Highway. Get your business name on a highway sign and let your customers know you care about the community.
You don’t have to own a business to participate. Anyone (age 15 or older) can get a group of family, friends or colleagues who want to help keep Washington “Everclean and Evergreen.”
And don’t just take my word for it. See for yourself. And then join Adopt-a-Highway.
If you can't access YouTube, see the video here.
by guest blogger Ann Briggs
You may have noticed links to the 2010 Census on WSDOT’s web site and wondered, “What the heck does the Census have to do with transportation?”
Well, quite a lot actually. As you may know, the federal Census Bureau counts the entire United States population every 10 years. The results of this year’s Census will determine where federal money gets directed in support of community services such as schools, roads and public transportation. As much as $400 billion in federal dollars are distributed back to states and communities.
The Census results also determine the number of seats each state gets in Congress, based on population. Washington’s congressional delegation helps secure federal funding for important transportation projects such as the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program ($0.24 billion), I-5/SR 16 Tacoma/Pierce County HOV ($70 million) and the US 395 North Spokane Corridor ($18 million).
Here at WSDOT, we use Census data when we plan and design transportation projects. We evaluate both the negative and positive effects that can be expected on a community. Census data helps us develop a snapshot of the community – everything from population, to home ownership, to identifying the needs of residents. Using Census data, we can determine when interpreters and translated materials are needed, and determine how best to reach people who are transit dependent, low-income or have other needs. This helps us ensure that all affected people can participate in our public processes.
You should be receiving your Census materials in the mail soon. We join our federal partners in encouraging you to complete and mail back your Census form – by doing so, you’ll be helping Washington’s communities.
Learn more: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/
There has been a lot going on lately in regards to federal transportation funding, otherwise known as SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users).
Our own Larry Ehl has a great synopsis of recent events.