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The morning of September 16, 2013, brought tragedy to those working at the Washington Navy Yard and their families. As members of the Navy Yard community, we at DOT share the sad memory of this senseless event, but sometimes in the darkest moments we can find heroes to provide spots of light.

The Navy Yard was filled with heroes that morning, men and women who risked their lives to help their co-workers evacuate the building to safety. I'm proud to say that DOT had a couple of heroes of our own, Noah Smith and Laurie Flaherty of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And last week, the American Ambulance Association honored them with awards for valor...

Photo of Noah Smith accepting award from American Ambulance Association

Continue Reading Thank you to two NHTSA ››
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Last October, Volpe --our National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts-- launched an eight-session speaker series on Transportation System Resilience, Extreme Weather, and Climate Change. Given the tremendous damage imposed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the long snow-filled winter we're emerging from, and the dramatic climate events predicted for the future, this series is tackling a very important challenge.

Soon after President Obama rolled out a comprehensive Climate Change Action Plan, last summer, I had the pleasure of kicking off this important series at Volpe. It's designed to explore transportation system resiliency and the escalating threats our changing climate poses on our transportation system...

Web banner advertising the speaker series

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Across the country, the Federal Aviation Administration is continuously enhancing and upgrading our air traffic facilities to keep our aviation system the safest and most efficient in the world. And one of the places where we've invested in your safety is at the new Houston Air Traffic Control center (TRACON) we dedicated last week.

The airspace around Houston is getting busier and busier. While that activity is a good sign for our growing economy, it's also a challenge for the 218 controllers, managers, and technical professionals who manage roughly 16,000 square miles of airspace in eastern Texas. During the last fiscal year, those men and women directed or supported 940,000 individual aircraft operations...

Photo of the front of the new Houston TRACON facility

Continue Reading FAA's new Houston ››
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Over the past several years, we have made remarkable progress raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, both as a department and as a country. In 2009, when DOT took up this issue, only 18 states had anti-texting laws. Today, 43 states have banned texting while driving.

But we have more work to do. We are still losing more than 3,000 lives per year –and hundreds of thousands are injured– because of crashes caused by distraction.

That’s why, today – as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching its first-ever national, high-visibility enforcement campaign to crackdown on texting while driving.

U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

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Every year around this time, the Washington, DC, metro area sees an influx of tourists in town to visit the historic sites and view the famous cherry blossoms. At the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Spring Break travel boost offers a good opportunity to remind those traveling by bus to choose a carrier with a solid safety record.

The easiest way for passengers to consider a carrier's safety record when planning a trip is to "Look Before You Book" either through our website or through our SaferBus app. You may know already about SaferBus –DOT’s first mobile app– launched several years ago for the iPhone.

It's also available for Android devices. But whatever device you're using it on, the app allows you a quick way to review a bus company's safety record before buying a ticket, chartering a bus, or climbing aboard. It's free; it's easy; and it makes you a more informed passenger...

Continue Reading As spring travel surges, ››
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If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that one of the biggest challenges this nation faces is our ability to move the freight that fuels our economy. Given the population growth experts anticipate and the economic growth Americans expect, we will need to haul 14 billion more tons of freight by 2050.

One of our principal assets in this challenge is our Marine Transportation System (MTS)-- the waterways, ports, and intermodal landside connections that allow the various modes of transportation to move people and goods to, from, and on the water. These resources help us sustain America's global competitiveness and our national security, but getting all of the pieces to work together efficiently and effectively is no easy task.

To help us do that, we leverage the expertise of the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Committee (MTSNAC), a group of leaders from transportation companies, trade associations, state and local government, labor organizations, universities, and environmental groups...

Photo of ship in Port of New Orleans

Continue Reading Maritime advisory committee ››
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On his first full day in office, President Obama signed a memorandum on "Transparency and Open Government," establishing the three pillars of what we now call OpenGov:

  • Government should be transparent to promote accountability;
  • Government should be participatory to benefit from the wide variety of knowledge among Americans; and
  • Government should be collaborative across agencies and with organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector.

Right now, we are currently hard at work developing our updated Open Government Plan—it's a biennial process, and we're up to version 3.0 already!—a blueprint highlighting our progress toward those three goals and establishing a set of new initiatives that we'll pursue in the coming years...

Continue Reading DOT needs your input on ››
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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has one mission: safety. And to pursue that mission, we offer a wide variety of useful services and important information to bus and truck drivers, to carrier companies, and to consumers.

Today, I am proud to announce a significant advance in getting those resources into your hands more easily, our redesigned www.fmcsa.dot.gov...

Screen capture of the new F.M.C.S.A. website

Continue Reading Revitalized FMCSA website ››
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One of the best parts of my job is seeing the great work FAA employees do each day to keep us safe in the skies, and last week I had the opportunity to recognize some outstanding Air Traffic Controllers for their performance under pressure. These awards are well-deserved, but the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) Archie League awards are not the kind of recognition that anyone seeks out.  

These awards are presented to controllers whose actions helped a pilot through a potentially dangerous situation by employing technical skill, quick thinking, and clear communications. A pilot may end up in distress because of bad weather, a mechanical issue, or even a health problem; the controller’s response must be safe, coordinated, and quick...   

Archie League logo

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When you talk to most people in the transportation industry, their career journey has often been filled with twists and turns and unexpected opportunities. Few students have a clear understanding of how their imagined career paths might lead them to working in this vibrant, multimodal field.

But transportation is always evolving and growing, and the workforce the industry needs is rapidly changing as well. To keep pace, women are now working in once male-dominated career fields. Today, you'll see women filling positions such as skilled high speed rail engineers; technically savvy aviation experts; astute truck, rail, transit, and maritime operators; and quick-minded statisticians and business analysts.

To help improve women’s participation in transportation careers, the industry must do its best to link them to role models and opportunities; show them how their efforts can have a great impact on local and national communities; and create an adaptable workplace that’s fair, flexible, and collaborative for all employees...

Continue Reading Women are making a ››
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