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In January, the average low temperature in Rochester, NY, is 18 degrees; in December, it's a balmy 26. Imagine yourself riding a Regional Transit Service bus into downtown Rochester early on a winter morning, then waiting on a windy sidewalk for the connecting bus that takes you to work. Maybe the wait is only 5 minutes, but maybe it's 15.

Now, imagine that instead of lining up on a frigid downtown street, you're waiting inside the new Downtown Transit Center. It’s warm. It’s well-lit. It’s safe. And there’s up-to-the-minute information about when your next bus arrives. Your day just got a lot better. And so did the day after that, and the day after that.

For the hard-working men and women of Rochester who rely on public transportation, that’s reason to celebrate...

Web banner from Rochester Transit Center

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This morning, I read a column in The Washington Post about service to others, and the writer observed that, although “’Giving back’ has become a trite cliché...there are people who actually do it.”

I can assure you that he’s correct because yesterday I met a group of young people who work relentlessly for a cause that’s near and dear to DOT: safe driving.

The advocates and peer mentors of the National Organizations for Youth Safety give their time and their talent to stop distracted driving, an epidemic that threatens everyone on or near a road...

Photo of NOYS students gathered for distracted driving prevention summit

Continue Reading NOYS advocates offer a ››
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Last month, here in the Fast Lane and at the Pro Bike, Pro Walk, Pro Place conference in Pittsburgh, Secretary Foxx said that bicycling and walking should be as safe as any other form of transportation and that, "This Department is putting together the most innovative, forward-leaning, biking-walking safety initiative ever."

Part of that initiative will require new transportation policies, new data, and new research. And while we've had an exciting development with the release of BIKESAFE, the new Bicycle Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System from the Federal Highway Adminsitration, we have a lot of work ahead.

Many of the University Transportation Centers that DOT works with are already conducting research into bicyclist-pedestrian safety and helping shape the future of bicycle and pedestrian planning, management, and use. So the DOT Office of Research and Technology invited UTC representatives to a workshop with DOT experts to see how we can work together and continue moving the needle on bike-ped safety.

Photo of sign indicating bicyclists and pedestrians

We focused on four comprehensive areas: networks and connectivity; data needs; tools to address bike/ped safety; and equity considerations and ladders of opportunity...

Continue Reading UTCs play a key role in ››
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It’s no small matter to hand the keys of a two-ton vehicle over to sons or daughters who not that long ago were having their training wheels taken off their bike. It’s particularly worrying when you know that motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of 14-to-18 year-olds. In 2012 alone, 2,055 teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes, and 859 (42 percent) were killed.

At USDOT, we share the same goal as parents: to stop these tragedies from happening. Which is why we’re spreading awareness about Teen Driver Safety Week. It runs through October 25, and it’s a perfect time for parents to set some ground rules.

We call these rules the “5 to Drive,” and they might just save your child’s life...

Web banner for Teen Driver Safety Week 2014

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When you have an Interstate Highway project that will enhance safety, relieve congestion and the extra emissions associated with traffic jams, improve access to jobs and create new ones, and improve local commuting routes for residents of nearby communities, something like that ought to be easy to get accomplished.

If you don't invest in boosting a community's economy and making life better for residents, then what do you invest in?

Continue Reading Albuquerque, other U.S. ››
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In each of our nation's ports, we have a gateway to global economic opportunity. We have access to the world's oceans, and we have workers ready to move freight efficiently from ship to trucks (or the trains) to the shelves.

But as the world's ships grow larger – and as our economy grows larger too – our ports will need to handle more cargo. By 2050, the United States will have to move nearly twice the amount of freight we currently transport.

That’s why I was at the Port of Newark yesterday. On the coasts of Jersey – so close to the trade hub of New York City that you can see the Empire State building through the marshes – work is underway to keep the region a commercial and shipping powerhouse. Just last month, DOT awarded a $15-million TIGER grant to the port. The money will go towards improvements that will help the port handle more cargo and trucks move in and our faster.

This is good news. But my message to Newark, however, was: This isn’t enough.

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October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. And all of us at DOT are proud to recommit to creating a workplace that is as open, tolerant and accessible as possible.

In fact, just a few weeks ago, Secretary Foxx did just this. He reaffirmed the Department’s commitment to a work environment that ensures accessibility to job applicants and employees with disabilities by announcing changes to procedures for providing accommodations.  (You can view the policy here.)

Banner for NDEAM

Continue Reading “Expect, Employ, Empower” ››
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Last week, I visited the Security and Emergency Response Training Center outside of Pueblo, Colorado, to see first-hand a new 3-day course in Crude by Rail Emergency Response. 

Funded by a $5 million commitment from the rail industry, in an agreement secured by Secretary Foxx, this training adds to local first responders’ levels of preparedness for a crude emergency.  Emergency responders at SERTC spend more than 60 percent of their time in the field, getting advanced tactical experience in dealing with crude oil accidents.  At the end of the course, the students participate in a full-scale derailment exercise that tests every skill they’ve learned. 

Photo of FRA Administrator Szabo at SERTC

Continue Reading FRA safety facility trains ››
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Public transportation is a $55 billion industry that employs thousands of Americans in jobs at all levels –from executives and managers, to planners and engineers, to bus drivers, electricians, and mechanics.  As these workers retire, and as demand increases for more transportation services, job opportunities in transit are expected to grow rapidly—creating a range of opportunities for a new generation to join a dynamic profession that is so vital to the health of our economy and the future of our nation.

That’s why I am excited that the Federal Transit Administration is supporting a new online tool that connects job-seekers and students with employment opportunities in transit.  The Transit Virtual Career Network (VCN) acts as one-stop shopping for those preparing for a career in transit, with a window onto nearly 60 different career choices...

Screenshot of Transit Career Site

Continue Reading New Transit Career Website ››
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“Get loud.”

That was my message to the hundreds of transit stakeholders gathered in Houston yesterday for the American Public Transit Association’s Triennial EXPO.

For years, particularly over the past year, many of us have watched our buses and subway platforms grow crowded –and our backlog for transit repairs grow larger. That backlog now stands at $86 billion, more than the federal government spends on all forms of transportation every year...

Photo of Secretary Foxx at APTA meeting
Secretary Foxx (right) with APTA Chair Phillip Washington (left) and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman
Continue Reading Investing in transit is ››
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