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A Longer View on Longer Trains: Part 2 Costs

01 May 2023, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Analysis, Blog Posts

In this blog series, we are tackling the question of what longer trains mean for the United States and the world. We are using three lenses to evaluate this policy issue: safety, costs, and climate impact. Be sure to read our first blog overviewing modern day freight rail and explaining…

How Soon Can Hydrogen Help Decarbonize?

12 Apr 2023, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Blog Posts

There seems to be agreement from all sides that hydrogen is the fuel of the future. It is combustible and energy rich, and because its molecular formula is all H, there is no carbon in the equation to emit. If our utility-scale electricity on the grid, industrial and commercial heat,…

Pipeline Safety Agency Highlights Innovative Technology

05 Apr 2023, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Blog Posts

Every year, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) provides funding opportunities to states and stakeholders to improve and protect pipeline safety. One way that is done is by promoting the “damage prevention” process – known by many as the “Call Before You Dig” program. Through a number of…

How to Halve Excavation Damages in Five Years

08 Mar 2023, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Blog Posts

Construction and excavation activity that damages buried infrastructure in the United States is on the rise. For over 10 years, damage numbers have risen – now exceeding 500,000 annual incidents of striking pipelines, cables, and wires below the surface. It is estimated that this leads to economic harm of over…

National Infrastructure Think Tank Launches Original Educational Campaign

01 Mar 2023, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Washington, D.C. (March 1, 2023) — The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) today is launching its third annual Modern Roots March educational campaign to build up America’s infrastructure IQ and explain the importance of the relatively obscure issue of damage prevention. The campaign features original educational content and encourages the…

What is Causing 1,000 Derailments Each Year?

25 Feb 2023, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Blog Posts

In one of his early responses to the derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg referenced the apparent common phenomenon of derailments in the United States. Whether to downplay or simply place it in context, Buttigieg stated that around 1,000 trains derail every year – around three each…

A Longer View on Longer Trains: Part 1 Safety

22 Feb 2023, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Analysis, Blog Posts

Longer trains can be a blessing or a curse, depending on where you sit. Certainly when stuck at a blocked crossing, one can only see the negatives. But what does a more wholistic assessment of longer trains reveal? Does the frustration outweigh the benefits, or are longer trains a key…

Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure Announces New Leadership

15 Feb 2023, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 15, 2023)— The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) has tapped Benjamin Dierker (@BenDierker), its longtime researcher and public policy director, as the new Executive Director. “Aii has an incredible mission and has made a real impact on infrastructure policy over the past decade,” Dierker said. “It…

Uncoupling Derailment from Disaster in East Palestine

14 Feb 2023, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Blog Posts

On Friday, February 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern freight train moving through Ohio derailed in the city of East Palestine. While the definitive cause is still being investigated, reports indicate that 38 cars, including 11 carrying hazardous materials, derailed from a 150-car train with many damaged by fire. Subsequently, officials…

Decoding the Hydrogen Rainbow

31 Jan 2023, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Blog Posts

Blue, Grey, Green – oh my! The road to the emerald city of the future seems to feature a number of alternative energy projects with varying levels of promise. Perhaps the most touted yet least utilized at scale is hydrogen. But there seem to be many variations of hydrogen comprising…

More Damage, Most Costs, Less Clarity

17 Jan 2023, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Blog Posts

The Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report from the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) is the definitive word on excavation damage to underground facilities. Stakeholders and policymakers alike go to this resource to understand the level of damage, estimate the costs imposed on society, and peer inside the root causes in…

What Did We Read in 2022?

28 Dec 2022, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Blog Posts

What did our team read this year? We are glad you asked! The work we do at the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure very much revolves around public policy, innovative ideas, infrastructure topics, and related fields. In our personal lives, however, we sometimes venture down different avenues. We think this…

What the Data Says About Train Crew Size

13 Dec 2022, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Analysis, Blog Posts

Following two significant railroad incidents in 2013, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) began taking a sharper look at train crew sizes. Under the theory that human error was causing substantial harm to rail workers, the public, and the environment, the FRA proposed a minimum crew size on locomotives to ensure…

New Rail Report Calls for More Data Before New Rules

12 Dec 2022, Posted by bdierker in All Posts, Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Washington, D.C. (December 12, 2022) – The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) published its latest report Monday, The Safety Impact of Technology and Crew Size: An analysis of accident data, incorporation of technology, and train crew staff levels on rail safety trends. This report will also be submitted to…