Yesterday, we concluded the Maritime Administration's first National Maritime Strategy Symposium, and we're pleased that it included so many leaders who work every day providing for the economic and national security of our nation’s waterways.
The U.S.-Flag commercial fleet, crewed by U.S. merchant mariners, provides safe, reliable, and environmentally-responsible transport of cargo to support economic activity –both domestically and internationally. Maritime trade is a critical part of our country’s economy.
That’s why the three day symposium was so important. More than 250 people representing shippers, operators, labor, academics, and government agencies participated in roundtable discussions, panel sessions and presentations, all focused on developing a national maritime strategy.
Between Communities, Across Modes
Each year, the Transportation Research Board's Annual Meeting brings thousands of professionals to Washington, DC, to discuss an extraordinary range of transportation topics from the 30,000-foot policy view down to the minute details of pavement performance data. It's a real highlight of the calendar for many in the transportation community, including a lot of us here at DOT.
If you attended TRB this week, you probably heard the words "partnership" and "collaborate" more than once. And if you work in transportation, you'll probably be hearing a lot more of them.
Today I spoke at the Transportation Research Board’s Annual meeting about a deficit that is threatening our country and the priorities I’m proposing to counter it.
In recent years, we've been a nation careening from crisis to crisis, keeping our foot on the brakes of economic growth, and creating uncertainty because we can’t agree on how to fix a deficit. Except that the deficit most people think of --the fiscal deficit-- is not the one I mean.
I spoke today about our infrastructure deficit.
While the fiscal deficit has been shrinking, the infrastructure deficit is growing every year.
For the past few years, it is has been my privilege to see firsthand a dramatic change in government culture: the public availability and application of data. This rapid increase of Open Data is not valuable in and of itself; its value lies in the ability of data to tell a story, guide how we direct our resources during a disaster, and help consumers make more informed decisions.
At DOT, we've been leaders of Data.Gov's Safety community. And yesterday, at the second annual Safety Datapalooza, innovators from government and the private sector shared some of the achievements in public safety made possible by this revolution in Open Data.
In the transportation sphere, leaders of two startups using safety data --Keychain Logisitcs and Bustr--shared how they've taken the data DOT makes publicly available and created useful apps for consumers as well as business owners.
Motorcoach travel provides mobility and connectivity for millions of Americans of all ages. In fact, last year, buses carried nearly three quarters of a billion passengers around the country. Motorcoaches help us meet our enormous energy and environmental challenges by removing cars from our roadways and reducing congestion. They are a major part of a vibrant national transportation network.
They also provide one of America's safest forms of transportation. But our job at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is to make it even safer. DOT and FMCSA are committed to the vision that passengers should enjoy the same standard of safety regardless of whether they are traveling by car, bus, train, or plane.
That's why my message to the American Bus Association's Bus Industry Safety Council yesterday was unequivocal: In 2014, FMCSA will be relentless in our pursuit of one level of safety for all bus passengers.
When you get a bunch of transportation people in a room to talk about highway operations--like we did yesterday at the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board--interesting things are bound to happen. Okay, it might not appear to be an exciting topic, but roadway operations really can make a big difference in our everyday lives.
What exactly do we mean by operations? Keeping our highways open and flowing at the speed a growing economy requires...
It was a real honor to help kick off the North American International Auto Show this morning in the auto capital of the world, Detroit.
And especially at this moment, as the auto industry continues its dramatic comeback and the City of Detroit launches one of its own.
On Monday, four new, modern train cars rolled out of a railyard in Greenbelt, MD, and made the short trip to the station platform. They weren’t there to pick up passengers; instead, they were providing a first look at an entirely new generation of rail cars, designed --in part-- with the input of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Agency (WMATA) customers and train operators.
They are the first of more than 500 new "7000 Series" cars --all made in the United States-- that will provide a safer, more reliable ride for millions of passengers and expand the Metrorail system’s capacity overall.
In 1977 –the year after I began my railroading career– 48 railroad employees lost their lives in switching accidents. That’s four lives every month in switching accidents alone. That's more than a statistic to me. My father is a retired switchman; I switched box cars; and five of my friends have been killed on duty during my railroading career.
More than three decades later, we have made significant progress. In 2013, only one employee died during a switching operation. And while we still see this as one too many, it shows us what’s possible when the Federal Railroad Administration, the rail industry, and rail labor come together to form safety partnerships and eliminate risks.