Archive for the 'National' Category

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in June 2016 expanded the categories of people to whom EPA may disclose confidential business information (CBI).  Authorization now extends to state, tribal, and local governments; environmental, health, and medical professionals; and emergency responders, under certain conditions, including consistency with guidance that EPA is required to develop.  Accordingly, last week EPA made available draft guidance for each of three new expanded TSCA CBI access provisions. The guidance covers the content and form of the agreements and statements of need required under each provision and includes some basic logistical information on where and how to submit requests to EPA. The Agency is seeking comments on the drafts; comments are due by April 16.
*  The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will conduct a 5-year review of populations of threatened sturgeon – from the of Gulf of Maine to the New York bight, the Chesapeake Bay, Carolinas and the South Atlantic; pretty much the whole eastern seaboard.  This 5-year review is required by the Endangered Species Act “to ensure that the listing classification of the species remains accurate.”  The framework for the review depends on five critical factors: (1) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of habitat or range; (2) overuse for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (3) disease or predation; (4) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or, (5) other natural or manmade factors affecting continued existence.  The Agency seeks comments that can help inform this study, particularly new information since the last review in 2012.
*  On March 28, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and EPA will participate in a free webinar sponsored by the Center for Resource Solutions. “Renewable Energy Markets 101.” The webinar will provide an introduction to voluntary green power markets in the US. This is a partnership with EPA’s Green Power Partnership.  NREL will discuss market trends using up-to-date data from NREL’s voluntary green power procurement research.  Topics will include definitions of eligible resources, relevant regulations and policies, and a primer on best practices for renewable energy accounting and claims. Presentations will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Tom Ewing
reply” or EPA
513-379-5526 voice/text


Executive Summary

Today’s older Americans enjoy a level of mobility and an active lifestyle that far outpaces previous generations. Demographic trends indicate that the number and proportion of older Americans have increased dramatically in recent years and will continue to do so. The provision of transportation improvements that will make it easier for older American’s to maintain their mobility will benefit users of all ages. And anticipated developments in self-driving and connected vehicles have the potential to provide older Americans with additional mobility options in the future.

As the number and proportion of older drivers increases, roadway safety improvements designed to make it easier for older drivers to navigate traffic are becoming increasingly important, as older Americans grapple with the effects of aging while trying to maintain a level of mobility that matches their active lifestyle.

This report explores mobility and safety issues for older Americans and presents a set of recommendations for implementing a transportation system that can better serve the safety and mobility needs of older Americans and the population at large.

older American demographics

Older Americans form a significant proportion of the overall population and a rapidly increasing number and share of licensed drivers. The number and proportion of older Americans is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years.

  • An estimated 46 million Americans are 65 or older, accounting for 15 percent of the total population. By 2060, the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double to over 98 million, and the proportion of the total population over 65 will rise to nearly 24 percent.
  • The number and proportion of licensed drivers 65 or older has surged in the last decade. From 2006 to 2016, the number of licensed drivers 65 or older has increased 38 percent – from 30.1 million in 2006 to 41.7 million in 2016. The proportion of licensed drivers 65 or older has risen from 15 percent in 2006 to 17 percent in 2012 to 19 percent in 2016.
  • The number of all licensed drivers in the U.S. increased by nine percent from 2006 to 2016 from 202.8 million to 221.7 million and the number of licensed drivers less than 65 increased by four percent from 2006 to 2016 from 172.7 million to 180 million.
  • The number of licensed drivers who are 65 or older increased by 16 percent from 2012 to 2016.
  • The number of all licensed drivers increased by five percent from 2012 to 2016 and the number of licensed drivers less than 65 increased by two percent from 2012 to 2016.
  • California, Florida, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania lead the nation in the number of licensed drivers 65 and older. West Virginia, Florida, Maine, Vermont and Arkansas lead the nation in the proportion of licensed drivers who are 65 years or older. Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee and Hawaii have seen the greatest increases in the number of licensed drivers in the last five years. The chart below details the 20 states with the highest number of licensed drivers 65 and older, the highest proportion of licensed drivers 65 and older, and the states with the largest increase in the number of licensed drivers 65 and older from 2012 to 2016. Data for all 50 states can be found in the appendix.


The number of older drivers killed or involved in fatal crashes has increased significantly in the last five years, partly due to the increasing number of older drivers and the larger share of drivers who are 65 and older.

  • From 2012 to 2016, there was a 22 percent increase in the number of fatalities in crashes involving at least one driver 65 or older. The number of drivers 65 or older killed in crashes increased 21 percent from 2012 to 2016. Data for all 50 states, as well as a comparison to 2012, can be found in the appendix.
  • The overall number of traffic fatalities in the U.S. increased 11 percent from 2012 to 2016, from 33,782 to 37,461 fatalities.
  • The chart below details the 20 states with the highest number of traffic fatalities in crashes involving at least one driver age 65 or older in 2016, as well as the states with the highest proportion of fatalities in crashes involving at least one driver 65 or older.


  • The chart below details the 20 states with the greatest increase between 2012 and 2016 in the number of fatalities in crashes involving at least one driver 65 or older. Nationwide, fatalities in crashes involving at least one driver 65 or older increased 22 percent from 2012 to 2016.

  • The chart below details the 20 states with the highest number of drivers 65 and older killed in traffic crashes in 2016. Data for all 50 states, as well as a comparison to 2012, can be found in the appendix.


Older Americans are more mobile and active than ever and want to maintain that lifestyle for as long as possible. Private vehicles remain the overwhelming transportation mode of choice for older Americans. The level of mobility enjoyed by older Americans is closely tied to their quality of life.

  • For those 65 and older, 90 percent of travel takes place in a private vehicle, and for Americans 85 and older, 80 percent of travel occurs in a private vehicle.
  • The majority of older Americans – 79 percent- tend to live in car-dependent suburban and rural communities, which typically require frequent, longer distance trips by automobile.      Because they tend to limit their driving to non-peak hours (typically 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.), older drivers are disproportionately affected by growing levels of congestion. Their window of opportunity for travel narrows considerably as morning and evening rush hours become longer and midday congestion continues to grow.
  • Many older drivers report self-regulating their driving by traveling only on familiar routes during daylight hours, avoiding left turns and sticking to less complex roads with lower traffic volumes during off-peak travel times.
  • More than 600,000 people aged 70 or older stop driving each year and become dependent on others to meet their transportation needs. Men typically outlive their driving days by seven years and women by ten years.
  • Compared with older drivers, older non-drivers in the U.S. make 15 percent fewer trips to the doctor, 59 percent fewer shopping trips and restaurant trips, and 65 percent fewer trips for social, family and religious activities.


Certain situations and driving environments can be especially challenging or hazardous for older motorists. The higher instance of fatalities among older drivers is largely attributable to the physical fragility that makes surviving a crash less likely than younger drivers.

  • Beginning at age 65, the primary danger facing older drivers is their physical fragility, making older drivers much more likely to die when they do crash.
  • Compared to experienced middle-aged drivers, research has found that 60-95 percent of the elevated fatality rates per mile driven for older drivers can be attributed to the fragility that makes surviving a crash more difficult. By comparison, for drivers younger than 20, over-involvement in crashes accounts for more than 95 percent of their excess fatality rates compared with middle-aged drivers.
  • On average, drivers in their mid- to late-eighties have lower crash rates per miles driven than drivers in their early twenties, and roughly half the crash rates of teenagers.
  • In the face of elevated risks, older drivers tend to be very responsible on the road, with a higher rate of seatbelt use than younger drivers, greater avoidance of higher-risk driving environments (such as at night or in rain), and a lower likelihood to drink and drive or be otherwise impaired.
  • As people age, their eyesight, reaction time, cognitive ability and muscle dexterity may deteriorate, often making the tasks associated with driving more difficult. Aging may also limit a body’s range of motion, making it more difficult to scan all directions for nearby vehicles or potential hazards. 
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, 37 percent of all fatal crashes where at least one driver was aged 65 or older occurred at an intersection or were related to an intersection. However, for fatal crashes where no driver was aged 65 or older, only 20 percent were at an intersection or intersection related.
  • In 2015 74 percent of traffic fatalities in crashes involving older drivers occurred during the daytime, 70 percent occurred on weekdays, and 67 percent involved other vehicles. This is compared to all fatalities in 2015, where 49 percent occurred during the daytime, 59 percent on weekdays, and 44 percent involved another vehicle
  • Left-hand turns are more problematic for older drivers, as they must make speed, distance and gap judgments simultaneously to enter or cross the through roadway.
  • Deteriorated vision among older drivers may make small or complex road signage difficult to process. Signs may be misunderstood or not seen quickly enough to caution older drivers about upcoming exits, obstacles or changes in traffic patterns. The amount of light needed by drivers doubles every 13 years, starting at age 20. A 72-year-old needs 16 times the amount of light required by a 20-year-old to drive safely.


Older drivers who decide to give up the keys still have options available for maintaining their mobility, though some may come with challenges or drawbacks. Advancements in self-driving and connected vehicle technology may eventually allow older Americans to retain the convenience of private vehicle travel after they are no longer able to drive.


  • While public transit offers an alternative to driving, for older Americans, public transit accounts for just two percent of trips.
  • Older Americans may be reluctant to use transit options because they may have difficulty getting from home to the transit pick-up, or from the transit drop off to their ultimate destination. Crowding, long waits and the physical challenges of boarding a bus may also deter older travelers from using available transit options.
  • A significant proportion of older Americans live in rural areas, where transit options may not be readily available. Seventy percent of Americans over fifty live where transit does not exist or serves the area very poorly.
  • Transit systems can be improved to better accommodate older Americans as well as the population at large. These improvements include expanded bus routes; transit vehicles, stops or facilities that better accommodate older or physically challenged passengers; and, additional non-traditional and private sector approaches to transit, including formal and informal ridesharing and taxi services.


  • Ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft can help older Americans maintain their mobility if they are no longer driving. Ridesharing services allow a passenger to use a smartphone app to set a specific pick-up and drop-off point for their trip and summon a private vehicle driven by its owner to complete the trip. However, ride-sharing services often require the use of smartphones, yet less than one -third of Americans over age 65 own a smartphone.
  • Ride-sharing services may not be available or may be limited in rural areas, where many older Americans live.


  • Advances in automotive technology include self-driving vehicles, which do not require the driver to be in control of the vehicle, and connected vehicles, which recognize potential collision situations and allow for crash avoidance through communication between nearby vehicles.
  • Approximately 94 percent of crashes involve human error. Advanced vehicle technology can be of particular assistance to older drivers as it addresses the deficits that may impact motorists as they age. These include identifying vehicles or objects in blind spots, intersection navigation, left turn assist, early warning when vehicles ahead slow or brake suddenly, or warnings when it is not safe to change lanes or pass another vehicle. While these technologies can provide warnings that help drivers avoid a collision, they may also increase distractions behind the wheel.
  • For those who have completely stopped driving, self-driving vehicles may offer the ability to regain their mobility in a private vehicle. However, the timeline for the widespread use of self-driving and connected vehicles is uncertain, and their adoption by older drivers may be slower than that of the general population.
  • In addition to the long timeframe for potential widespread adoption of self-driving vehicles, other uncertainties about the technology still exist, including: the relatively early stage of research and deployment of self-driving technology outside tightly controlled environments, questions about human interactions with the technology, and the potential detriment of overreliance on self-driving technology.
  • While widespread use and adoption of self-driving vehicles may not happen in the near future, many vehicles are already equipped with technological features that are found in self-driving cars. These include adaptive cruise control and headlights; backup and parking assist; blind spot, forward collision and lane departure warning systems; navigation assistance; and integrated Bluetooth capabilities for cell phones. Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly 60 percent of older drivers surveyed had at least one advanced technology in their primary vehicle.


The following set of recommendations can improve the mobility and safety of older Americans. These improvements will also improve mobility and safety for all motorists.


  • Clearer, brighter and simpler signage with larger lettering, including overhead indicators for turning lanes and overhead street signs. This should include minimum levels of retroreflectivity.
  • Brighter street lighting, particularly at intersections, and bright, retroreflective pavement markings. Studies also show that increasing the width of pavement markings from 4 inches to 6 inches helps with decreasing lane departure and crashes, especially with older drivers.
  • Where appropriate, widening or adding left-turn lanes and increasing the length of merge or exit lanes.
  • Where appropriate, replacing intersections with roundabouts can eliminate left turns and slow the speed of traffic through an intersection, both of which address common challenges among older drivers.
  • Where appropriate, widening lanes and shoulders to reduce the consequence of driving mistakes.
  • Adding rumble strips to warn motorists when they are leaving the roadway.
  • Making roadway curves more gradual and easier to navigate.
  • Where appropriate, design and operate roads to accommodate all users of the roadway.
  • Adding countdown pedestrian signals and leading pedestrian intervals, which allow for additional time for pedestrians in the intersection before cars get a green light.
  • Adding refuge islands for pedestrians at intersections.
  • Highway network and transportation system planning, design, maintenance, and operations functions are all likely to require adaptation to meet technical, policy, and legal expectations of a changing vehicle fleet that is technologically connected to other vehicles and the roadway itself.


  • Promotion of education and training programs for older drivers.
  • Raising awareness among older drivers of appropriate safety precautions and seat belt use.


  • Implementing self-driving and connected vehicle technology and the inclusion of additional safety features on new vehicles to address the deficits drivers may face as they age.
  • Improving crashworthiness of vehicles to better protect occupants and withstand impacts.
  • Development of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies, including crash avoidance technologies.


  • Ensuring public transit vehicles, facilities and stops are easily accessible and accommodating to elderly or disabled passengers.
  • Expanding bus and transit routes.
  • Implementing non-traditional and public sector approaches that are tailored to the needs of older adults, including ridesharing, volunteer driving programs, door-to-door community transportation services, taxi services, and vehicle donation.


    Older Americans represent an increasing share of the nation’s population and of its licensed drivers. As they strive to maintain the active and fulfilling lifestyles to which they have become accustomed, the nation’s transportation system will need to be improved to accommodate them. Providing transportation improvements that will make it easier for older American’s to maintain their mobility benefits users of all ages.

    For older Americans, as well as the population in general, the ability to travel represents freedom, activity, and choice. Older Americans prize their mobility and active lifestyles and want to maintain them as long as possible, often by maintaining their ability to drive.

    Improvements in roadway design, additional highway safety features, expanded transportation options, driver education and the development of self-driving and connected vehicles can help older Americans maintain their mobility in a safe manner while also providing significant benefits to the larger traveling public.

For full report visit:

All data used in this report is the most current available. Sources of information for this report include: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), ChORUS (Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety), AAA, The Brookings Institution, Monash University, AARP Public Policy Institute; the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety(IIHS) and the U.S. Census Bureau.


Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

Water infrastructure: This Thursday the US House Transportation Committee Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment meets for a hearing titled “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Water Resources Projects and Policy.”  The Army Corps of Engineers will testify on Reports to Congress on Future Water Resources Development, and on Chief’s Reports.  Congressional review of these reports, along with an explanation of the process by which the Corps develops projects and activities, is a necessary step in the development of a Water Resources Development Act, which the Committee considers later this year.  The hearing will be chaired by U.S. Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA).  It’s scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building.
Regulatory reform: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) seeks comments on its Draft 2017 Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations and Agency Compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. The Draft Report has two parts. Part I contains three chapters. Chapter I examines the benefits and costs of major Federal regulations issued in the fiscal year 2016. Chapter II discusses regulatory impacts on State, Local, and tribal governments, small business, wages and employment, and economic growth. Chapter III offers recommendations for regulatory reform. Part II summarizes agency compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. Comments are due by April 16.  This is an annual OMB report; the White House website presents reports going back 10 years.  In the current report, Chapter III is worth a close look because that’s where the President’s team describes what they want to do differently, rather than just continuing to crank out feel-good rhetoric every year.
Political pipelines: Politics may be local but energy is regional, especially in New England.  Consider a Connecticut bill, SB 332, “An Act Concerning Solicitation for Natural Gas Transport Capacity.”  SB 332 would disallow Connecticut’s ability to join other New England states to expand interstate natural gas transmission capacity.  That’s a big deal because the energy in CT depends on the thicket of interstate infrastructure that allows energy service in New England.  At a hearing on March 6, 20 people submitted comments to support or oppose SB 332.  Connecticut Business and Industry Association: “It is well established that Connecticut alone, cannot and will not be able to achieve the necessary capacity expansion on its own. This must be a regional effort. Accordingly, it is critical that Connecticut maintain its current authority to enter into the very interstate agreements this bill seeks to prohibit.”  Toxics Action Center: “We have worked for many years with citizen groups across the state to protect public health and the environment by working to clean up hazardous waste sites, curb pesticide spraying, and reduce pollution from dirty and dangerous waste, energy and industrial facilities. I’ve come to ask that you (sic) Senate Bill 332 prohibit Connecticut consumers from being forced to subsidize these expensive and unnecessary pipelines.”

Tom Ewing
reply” or 
513-379-5526 voice/text

A History Lesson About Mistakes

I received this as an email from a friend. In light of all the negativism filling

our world I thought it was worth sharing as it puts a positive perspective

on one of the most tragic events in our history. It also serves as a reminder that

we need to stand together in support of our country. We the people are what makes

America Great

“What God did at Pearl Harbor that day is interesting and I never knew
this little bit of history:

“Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii
every thirty minutes.
“We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes. I went into a
small gift shop to kill time.
“In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled, “Reflections on
Pearl Harbor” by Admiral Chester Nimitz.
“Sunday, December 7th, 1941–Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a
concert in Washington, DC.
“He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered
the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone.
He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of
the Pacific Fleet. Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of
the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941.
There was such a spirit of despair, dejection, and defeat–you would
have thought the Japanese had already won the war. On Christmas Day,
1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on
Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.  Big sunken battleships and navy vessels
cluttered the waters everywhere you looked. As the tour boat returned
to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, “Well Admiral, what do
you think after seeing all this destruction?”
“Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked everyone within the sound of his
voice.   Admiral Nimitz said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest
mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of
America.  Which do you think it was?” Shocked and surprised, the
young helmsman asked, “What do mean by saying the Japanese made the
three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?”
“Nimitz explained:
“Mistake number one:
“The Japanese attacked Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen
of those ships were ashore on leave.
If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk–we would have
lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.
“Mistake number two:
“When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got
so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our
dry docks opposite those ships.  If they had destroyed our dry docks,
we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be
repaired.  As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be
raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have
them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to
America. And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.
“Mistake number three:
“Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the
ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane
could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.  That’s
why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack
force could make or God was taking care of America
“I’ve never forgotten what I read in that little book. It is still an
inspiration as I reflect upon it.  In jest, I might suggest that
because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in Fredericksburg
, Texas — he was a born optimist.  But any way you look at
it–Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and
circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.
President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. We
desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst
of the clouds of dejection, despair, and defeat.
“There is a reason that our national motto is, IN GOD WE TRUST.
“Why have we forgotten?
“In God we trust!
“Please pass this important message to others.  Americans need to
stand behind one another!”

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Peer review?  Federal Highway is proposing to formally add a value engineering (VE) requirement to big-ticket projects in which the feds are
significant contributors.  VE is a systematic review and analysis during a project’s concept and design phases by a multi-discipline team of persons not involved in the project.  Project managers would undertake VE to get recommendations and ideas that assure project functions – safety, reliability, efficiency – are delivered at the lowest overall cost.  VE would be required for National Highway System projects receiving Federal assistance with an estimated cost north of $50 million.  For bridge projects, that cost is $40 million.  FHWA started this process last week, requesting the Office of Management and Budget to approve this “new information collection.”  Public comments are due April 30.

*  GM and Toyota asked EPA to approve off-cycle carbon dioxide (CO2) credits allowed under EPA’s light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emissions
standards.  ‘‘Off-cycle’’ emission reductions can be achieved by “employing technologies that result in real-world benefits, but where that benefit is not adequately captured on the test procedures used by manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with emission standards.”  EPA’s light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas program may recognize these benefits and automakers have several options for generating “off-cycle” CO2 credits.  First, however, the companies have to provide EPA with a methodology that documents the benefits, which EPA must approve.

*  Gordon van Welie, president and CEO of ISO New England, spoke to the press last week during the ISO’s annual press briefing.  Van Welie said
New England’s power grid “continues to operate reliably and competitive markets are working, but significant challenges are on the horizon.”  This is a complex (maybe ‘perfect storm’) set of issues.  As more oil, coal and nuclear plants retire in the coming years, keeping the lights on becomes more tenuous. To avoid greater reliability risks, van Welie said: “we soon may need to make sure replacement energy from new resources will be online before non-gas resources can be allowed to retire.”  That’s going to be difficult.  This is not just “drop-in fuels.”  Reliability is more than just substituting electrons.  And if you take a look at the project approval queue there aren’t many renewable generation projects, at scale, ready to go.  Critically, of the projects that are proposed, the ISO reports that “historically, about 68% of the megawatts proposed are never built.”

Tom Ewing
reply” or
513-379-5526 voice/text