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Summer is around the corner, and families across the country are getting ready for vacation. With summer travel comes summer weather –including thunderstorms that can disrupt and delay flight plans. While we can’t change the weather, the FAA is working to move air traffic more efficiently around it.

Continue Reading Data Comm benefits air ››
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Last week, I helped kick off a bicycle-pedestrian safety assessment in Northern Virginia near the Wiehle-Reston East Station on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority’s Silver Line.  It was one of 52 DOT-led surveys of conditions for pedestrians and cyclists underway this year as part of our Safer People, Safer Streets initiative.

Our goal is to improve conditions for people on foot, riding bikes, or using mobility devices.  From 2011 to 2012, pedestrian deaths rose 6 percent, while bike fatalities went up almost 7 percent.  In that year, one pedestrian died every two hours.  We need to reverse these grim statistics, particularly because -for many people- cycling and walking are not just recreation; that’s how they get around.  We’ve found that people who live in low-income and minority communities are even more at risk; more than a quarter of all bike trips are taken by people who make less than $30,000 a year.

We also know that better conditions can help us solve the last-mile transit problem. Knowing that it’s safe to walk or bike to transit can encourage people to use public transportation, which increases access to opportunity for people who can't or choose not to drive.  The assessments, which shine attention on the good and the bad in the bike-ped network, are a start...

Northern Virginia assessment

Continue Reading The view from the sidewalk ››
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When then Secretary Norman Mineta rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange in 2004 to announce a new monthly transportation index, he kicked off a new era in the use of statistics for measuring transportation. In the decade since, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the DOT’s data agency, has been applying its advanced statistical methods to track the level of transportation activity, issuing an index number every month.

During the past 11 years, the BTS Transportation Services Index (TSI) has shown the changes in transportation activity, including both its low in the 2007-2009 recession and its record highs in recent months...

TSI showing Freight, Passengers, and Total
Transportation Services Index (TSI) Freight and Passengers (Year 2000=100)
Continue Reading TSI measures more than the ››
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From barges that move coal to vessels that carry vital pharmaceuticals and construction materials to ships that transport military cargo overseas, mariners and marine transportation play crucial roles in our society.  Each year on May 22, we observe National Maritime Day to honor the U.S. Merchant Mariners who have served and continue to serve our nation.

National Maritime Day commemorates those merchant mariners who made the ultimate sacrifice while also highlighting the growing global dependence on maritime services.  It also gives us an opportunity to ensure that we encourage and prepare our next generation of merchant mariners, who will be essential to tomorrow's maritime industry...

MARAD Administrator Chip Jaenichen

Continue Reading National Maritime Day: ››
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Fast Lane readers know that two recent DOT programs –our Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets and our LadderSTEP initiative—feature technical assistance as a key element. With those two efforts and the TIGER grant workshops we’ve hosted, we’re reaching out to help communities across America plan better, build better, and move better.

And we’re not alone. Earlier this month, Transportation For America (T4America) –an alliance of elected, business and civic leaders—partnered with TransitCenter—a philanthropy committed to improving urban transportation—to launch the Transportation Innovation Academy.

The year-long academy gathers key leaders from large metropolitan areas that have ambitious plans to expand their regional transportation system. They recognize that world class public transportation is essential to their economic competitiveness and to prosperity for all residents...

Transportation Innovation Academy

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Today we’re taking the next steps to make sure that every American car and truck has air bags that work properly.

Over the last several months, air bags made by the world’s largest manufacturer –Takata– have come under question.  Investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suspected that the air bag inflators did not work correctly.  And we believe that they have been responsible for at least five deaths in the United States.

But up until now, Takata has refused to acknowledge that their air bags are defective. That changes today.

Today, Takata has entered into a consent order with NHTSA.  The company has agreed to declare that the air bag inflators in question are defective, and that it is recalling the inflators...nationwide.  The consent order also requires Takata's full cooperation with NHTSA going forward...

At the Takata announcement

Continue Reading At DOT insistence, Takata ››
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Today the House of Representatives voted on its 33rd short-term funding measure for transportation in the past 6 years, and Americans will pay the price.

On the surface, funding transportation drop-by-drop might not seem like such a big problem.  But it is, and the facts are unassailable.  This era of short-term patches and chronic federal underinvestment has crippled America’s ability to build the transportation system we need.

This is not anyone's idea of the preferred outcome.  And while we recognize that Congress needs more time to complete work on what we do want –a long-term bill that increases investment in our nation’s infrastructure, the White House has made it clear that this pattern of perpetual uncertainty must stop...

Overburdened road
The light might be green, but no one's going anywhere.
Continue Reading Let’s Make it Count in 2015 ››
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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) relies on its partnership with transit agencies and state safety oversight agencies to make a safe industry even safer.  The job of transit safety oversight requires easy and convenient access to the latest training and technical methods and resources.

Earlier this month, the FTA launched its new safety training and resource website, safety.fta.dot.gov, to deliver on our important safety responsibilities...

Screen capture of F.T.A. safety website

Continue Reading New website helps transit ››
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Today -- during National Bike Month -- I am excited to announce the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) new Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide.

What exactly is a “separated bike lane” (sometimes referred to as a “cycle track” or “protected bike lane”)?  In simple terms, it’s a portion of a roadway for bicyclists that is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic.

These lanes are an important tool communities across the U.S. can use to build safe, comfortable, and connected networks of bicycle infrastructure that meet the needs of people of all ages and abilities...

Chicago bike lane

Continue Reading FHWA introduces Separated ››
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If you noticed an unusually high number of commuters on two wheels and under pedal power last Friday, that's because it was Bike To Work Day (B2WD).  And while it's not exactly the most widely-observed day on the national calendar --yet!-- it is something to celebrate.

For regular bike commuters, it might just have been another Friday in May.  But perhaps the most interesting aspect of B2WD is the number of not-so-regular bicyclists who come out of the woodwork. 

Bike To Work Day web image

Thanks to B2WD pit stops and other activities that communities across America hosted, many riders who might otherwise drive, walk, or ride transit, learn that bicycling to work is a reasonable option --not mention fun, healthy, and sustainable.  Some communities also encourage new bike commuters by hosting guided rides and ride-buddy programs...

Continue Reading Bike To Work Day 2015 ››
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