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Matthew W. Daus, Esq.
Partner and Chairman, Windels Marx Transportation Practice Group
President, International Association of Transportation Regulators
Transportation Technology Chair, University Transportation Research Center

156 West 56th Street | New York, NY 10019
T. 212.237.1106 | F. 212.262.1215


Airlines Log Busiest Days Since Early 2020 over Thanksgiving but Omicron Poses New Challenge

U.S. airlines over Thanksgiving week had some of their busiest days since before the coronavirus was declared a pandemic as travelers returned in droves to reunite with family after a subdued holiday last year.

The Transportation Security Administration screened nearly 2.5 million people on Sunday, the most since Feb. 15, 2020. That was about 15% below the number of people TSA screened two years earlier.

Airports, planes, and parking lots were packed but travelers and airlines lucked out with mostly good weather and small numbers of cancellations, unlike the mass disruptions that affected hundreds of thousands of passengers during several episodes since this summer.

Despite the surge in air travel over the holiday, airlines are now facing a new challenge as more countries report cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19, just as international travel was rebounding as more nations loosened travel rules.

Airline executives said bookings surged when travel restrictions that barred international tourism from more than 30 countries in the U.S. were lifted on November 8. International travel is key to carriers’ financial recovery from the pandemic.

Scientists in South Africa were the first to detect the new variant. The Biden administration starting Monday is temporarily banning visitors from South Africa and seven other southern African nations, less than one month after it lifted pandemic rules that barred visitors from South Africa, the U.K. and more than 30 other countries.

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Is the On-Demand Model Foundational to the Future of Transit?

It is not that these will replace fleets of buses and trains — those will likely remain the workhorses they have always been — but on-demand transit seems to embody so many of the larger trends to emerge in transit, particularly since the COVID-19 crisis. On-demand is nimble, flexible and easily modified. It is guided by data with operators having a deeper understanding of users and where they are headed. In addition, these projects are almost always built out of public-private partnerships.
Transit agencies have come to realize their role in society reaches far beyond running a bus or a train. Armed with the lessons of COVID-19, or the unprecedented largesse to come from the newly signed infrastructure law, agencies are anxious to redefine themselves, reorient their bearings and think seriously about concepts like public-private partnerships, flexibility, social and digital equity, convenience and other characteristics which — accidentally or not — have come to define on-demand transit.
Neighborhood-based, nimble, convenient and socially responsive are all central themes of on-demand transit. And these are the kinds of philosophies tickling into the larger transit ecosystem.
“The pandemic really challenged our traditional way of thinking around what does transportation mean, what does mobility mean, and how does it serve the neighborhoods that need it the most,” said Eulois Cleckley, CEO of the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works, speaking on a panel titled “Urban Mobility at an Inflection Point.”

“The pandemic changed government a little bit to think outside of the box, be more nimble, and react much more quickly than we otherwise would have,” he added.
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Windels Marx Transportation Practice Group News Feed - Volume 2 (2021), Edition 212

Uber on Brink of Pausing Operations in Brussels after Court Ruling
Uber has been ordered to stop offering its main ride-hailing service in the Belgian capital of Brussels from Friday evening.
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UAE Reveals Its First Driverless Taxi
The fleet of vehicles will begin trials on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi this month.
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Baidu Kicks Off Its Robotaxi Business, after Getting the OK to Charge Fees in Beijing
Baidu said it would charge a premium level fare for the robotaxis, without disclosing an exact price.
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Lobbyists Turn to Infrastructure Law’s Implementation
The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill is enshrined into law, but the lobbying over its implementation is just getting started.
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The Deadly Myth That Human Error Causes Most Car Crashes
U.S. traffic deaths are rising because the blame usually goes to road users rather than bad road design. 
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Battery-Powered Airplanes, the Next Phase of Green Transportation
Electric vehicles fill roads across the country, Tesla's Elon Musk is one of the richest men on the planet, and engineers are focused on making another form of transportation greener: air travel.
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Atlanta’s Night Mayor Will Govern More Than Parties
In a span of three months, vehicles killed four people on e-scooters — all but one at night. That is when Atlanta took action.
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Boston Mayor Pushes for More Fare-Free Buses
Boston’s newly elected mayor, Michelle Wu, has requested the City Council allocate $8 million in federal coronavirus relief funding to eliminate fares on three bus lines over a two-year period.
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San Francisco Updates Vision Zero Plan to Cute Road Deaths
San Francisco is updating its Vision Zero strategy to include quick-build bike and pedestrian infrastructure and lower speed limits.
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The Infrastructure Bill Is Big, but It Will Not Transform America’s Focus on Cars


While the massive law is a historic achievement in a time of toxic partisanship, some analysts, transit advocates, and environmentalists say it does not go far enough in upending the fundamental emphasis on automobiles embedded in federal transportation policy. It contains $110 billion in new spending for highways, roads, and bridges, compared with $39 billion in new spending on public transit — close to the usual ratio. The president had wanted $85 billion for transit. Voluminous research has shown that widening roads does not cure traffic congestion because of “induced demand,” an econometrics term that says, basically, “If you build it, they will come.”

The new law, however, has the potential to dramatically improve infrastructure and road safety for people who get around cities by bicycling or walking, advocates of so-called active transportation say. It includes 60% more for the federal Transportation Alternatives program, and increasing every year over five years. Local governments compete for grants under the program to pay for bike lanes, sidewalk improvements, shared-use trails, and other projects that make walking and cycling easier and safer.

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Copyright © 2021 Windels Marx - Transportation Practice Group, All rights reserved.

About Windels Marx
With offices in New York, NY, New Brunswick, NJ, Madison, NJ, and Stamford, CT, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP is a full service law firm formed in the mid-nineteenth century. Today, we represent domestic and international clients in the banking and financial institutions, energy and environmental, government and tribal interests, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, technology and intellectual property and transportation industries.

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