Matt Slocum / AP


A judge has ordered the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to pay a former worker more than $3 million after finding he was wrongly fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on agency practices.

Ralph Bailets sued the turnpike commission and two of its officials over his 2008 termination. He says he was dismissed for questioning a major computer contract, hiring practices and how large trucking firms qualify for E-ZPass discounts.

Prosecutors in 2013 used his testimony to file corruption charges against several agency officials.



When a construction fire damaged Pittsburgh's Liberty Bridge last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation closed it for 24 days to do repairs.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

The Liberty Bridge reopened on Monday to vehicles weighing less than nine tons.

“The bridge is good for cars, ambulances and pick-up trucks,” said PennDOT District Executive Dan Cessna. “It excludes buses, empty tri-axle trucks and heavier trucks than that.”

Feds Preview Rules Of The Road For Self-Driving Cars

Sep 20, 2016
Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Obama administration officials are previewing long-awaited guidance that attempts to bring self-driving cars to the nation's roadways safely — without creating so many roadblocks that the technology can't make it to market quickly.

Pokemon Go trainers will do almost anything for a rare find, including getting into a car and speeding around to catch them. And then they tweet about it. According to a study, there were over 113,000 social media messages in 10 days last July that showed people getting into potentially unsafe traffic situations while trying to catch cute virtual monsters.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Police Zone 2 Commander Anna Kudrav rented awhile, then bought her own wheels. Riding a bicycle calms her, she said.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Smoke enveloped the Liberty Bridge this afternoon after sparks fell onto plastic piping below and caught fire. Workers were torching beams to replace the bridge deck, says Scott Fennell, a laborer with Joseph B. Fay Company. There were no injuries, but Fennell said the incident would cost them time.

The final phase of the bridge deck replacement began August 29 as part of the $80.8 million Liberty Bridge Rehabilitation Project.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Advocates from Lawrenceville-based advocacy group Bike Pittsburgh said a fatal accident this week between a motorist and cyclist could have been prevented.

Oil Train Traffic Is Down — For Market Reasons

Aug 26, 2016
Frederic J. Brown / Getty via Marketplace



Oil and its downstream products enable most transportation methods, from the gas in automobile tanks to the rubber in shoes. For oil itself, however, there are only a few methods of movement, and each is controversial. In the U.S., one method that saw a recent boom is now on the decline.

Self-Driving Uber Cars To Carry Passengers Soon In Pittsburgh

Aug 18, 2016
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Uber's move to carry people with autonomous vehicles is not surprising, given the company's history of pushing into gray areas where there is little or no regulation, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina professor who studies self-driving technology.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Blue roadside signs reading “Bus Stop” could become a thing of the past as the Port Authority of Allegheny County begins its rollout of more robust bus stop signage this summer.

Starting in July, roughly 85 Downtown bus stops will be outfitted with signs that include route maps, bus schedules and frequency information. Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said the new wayfinding system will eventually be at all PAT bus stops in the county.

Bob Gaffney / Flickr

Pennsylvanians with aging family members are underutilizing many of the state’s assistance programs, Department of Aging officials said.

Secretary Teresa Osborne said the department could be doing more to inform the public.

“While we’re doing an okay job of it, we need to do better,” she said. “So, what better opportunities are we going to take advantage of in order to ensure that the services and support that are available to older Pennsylvanians and their caregivers are known before somebody is in a crisis mode?”

Colton Point State Park /

Bicyclists exploring northern Pennsylvania’s scenery along Route 6, the state’s longest highway segment, can soon expect changes.

This month, PennDOT will collaborate with the departments of Conservation and Natural Resources and of Community and Economic Development to find ways to make the route safer and more accessible for bike riders. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Members of the Port Authority of Allegheny County board unanimously approved a measure to adopt a flat fare system by doing away with the three-zone system Friday. 

Google Maps

Around 55,000 commuters who cross the Liberty Bridge on a daily basis may need to choose a different route starting this month.

An $80.08 million renovation project begins at the end of April and finishes sometime in 2018, according to PennDOT District 11 spokesman Steve Cowan.

90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto wants electric avenues, responsive stoplights, a drop in city emissions totals and more self-driving cars, and he doesn't want to wait for a $50 million grant to get them.

The Steel City is one of seven finalists for a multi-million “Smart City” prize offered through the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve urban transit.

At an event Tuesday, Peduto said city officials need to treat the ensuing notoriety as an opportunity to consider innovative but realistic changes to city infrastructure regardless of the contest's outcome.

Self-Driving Cars Are Coming, But They’re Not Ready For Pittsburgh Yet

Mar 4, 2016
Anita DuFalla / PublicSource

Ninety percent of car crashes are preventable.

As it stands, about 30,000 people die in car crashes every year in the United States, said Mark Kopko of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation [PennDOT]. “If you could reduce that by 90 percent, that’s huge.”

Autonomous cars have the capacity to do that.

In Allegheny County, that could mean a vast reduction in the roughly 12,000 crashes in 2014 — especially of those attributed to driver error, like drunk or distracted driving and speeding.

Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

Port Authority of Allegheny County officials heard from the public Wednesday on a proposed fare change that would take place next year.

Currently Port Authority buses and light rail lines run through two zones. Riding through one zone costs $2.50, with an additional $1.75 to ride through a second. Officials are proposing consolidating service into one zone, costing a flat $2.50 fee.

PennDOT Crews Brace For Icy Conditions Next

Jan 25, 2016
Stark / Flickr

After the weekend storm blanked parts of the state with as much as three feet of snow, commonwealth authorities must balance competing priorities: keeping state-owned roads clear while extending help to municipalities still digging out.

“This storm ... it’s historic,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards on Monday. “A lot of these cities and municipal public works departments are really trying to get on top of it... there are some very small roads, and it’s very hard with cars parked on the side.”

Pittsburgh Commuter Survey

  City officials released initial results from a survey of Pittsburgh-area commuters on Thursday, sharing insight into the commuting patterns of some city travelers. 

swong95765 / flickr

The Pittsburgh International Airport is adding nonstop flights to Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, Ga. and expanding nonstop service to Paris. The airport also announced Frontier Airlines will return in June, with nonstop flights to five cities.

Frontier will fly to Atlanta, Denver, Las Vegas and Orlando Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The airline will fly to Chicago on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.   

The destinations are already serviced nonstop by other carriers, but Spokesman Bob Kerlik said the added airline gives travelers more options.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

This is the third in a three-part web series looking ahead to 2016 with members of Pittsburgh's City Council.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The North Side will become the home of the city's newest bike lanes. 

The City of Pittsburgh is installing bike lanes on East Street in the North Side, between Suffolk Street and Lareda Street.

In September, the city installed bike lanes along Bigelow Boulevard and Bayard Street in Oakland.

Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr

Hands-free systems, supposedly the answer to safe texting and calling in the car, are still distracting us -- even after we're done using them.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

  From July through September, more than 40,000 trips were made on Healthy Ride bicycles through Pittsburgh’s bike sharing program, an average of about 440 trips per day.

Healthy Ride Executive Director David White said that’s a slight uptick from the June numbers, when 300-400 trips were taken each day. The program launched on May 31 and stations were still being installed through mid-July.

Three weeks after rejecting Yellow Cab’s request to impose a surcharge of up to $8 per trip on weekends and holidays, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has tentatively approved two other fare increases for the taxi service.

The PUC rejected one provision of the request but agreed to a jump in the flag drop rate — the starting amount on the meter — from the current $2.25 up to $4 and a 30-cent-per-minute increase in the wait time rate. The charge to customers to have drivers wait will cap at be 55 cents per minute.

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

  Ridership along the Penn Avenue bike lanes is up at least 25 percent since June, according to data released last week by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Spokesperson Leigh White said they counted roughly 1,000 trips per day on average in July. Ridership also spiked on weekends, she said.

Better Bikeways Plan / BikePgh

Pittsburgh may not yet be a mecca for bicyclists and walkers, but local officials are trying to change that and make area roadways accessible for a mixture of transportation options. Efforts are not going unnoticed.

TransitCenter, a group that advocates for public transit and comprehensive transportation policies, released a report this week profiling Pittsburgh among six innovative U.S. cities for transportation policy planning. 

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey said this week he wants to prevent a provision in the federal transportation spending bill that would allow 85-foot tractor-trailers on Pennsylvania roads because he believes the bigger rigs will exacerbate state infrastructure problems.

These “Twin 33” trucks are 17 feet longer than the current 68-foot models.


Pittsburgh is putting more capital budget dollars into bicycle lanes and infrastructure this year than it has in recent memory, but it’s still not enough to accommodate the growing number of cyclists on the road, according to Patrick Roberts, Pittsburgh's principal transportation planner.