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Here in Washington, DC, a sure sign of spring was on display this weekend as the melting snow of sidewalks and bike lanes gave way to an outpouring of people walking and biking. And later this week as warm weather continues, we'll see more people outside using foot power to get where they're going.

We'll also see advocates for bicyclists and pedestrians coming to town for the League of American Bicyclists annual National Bike Summit. City leaders are here for the National League of Cities Conference, and public transportation leaders are participating in the American Public Transportation Association’s annual legislative conference. 

So this week is a good time for us to launch an initiative that concerns all three: On Thursday, March 12, DOT is hosting the Mayors' Summit for Safer People, Safer Streets here at DOT Headquarters...

Bike parking at Princeton Junction, N.J., train station
Continue Reading A big week in our Nation ››
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Early Sunday morning --2 a.m. to be exact-- while most Americans are sleeping, most of us will also be springing forward into Daylight Savings Time.

Under law, daylight saving time is observed from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November and is designed to increase the amount of evening daylight.

Although Federal law specifies that those areas observing the time change must use the starting and ending dates set by the law. So, if you live anywhere in the U.S. except Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Marianas, and most of Arizona, you'll be setting your clocks one hour ahead...

Reminder to set clocks ahead, Sunday, March 9, 2 a.m.

Continue Reading Time to Spring Forward ››
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At the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), we're all about innovation and working smarter, and we're always open to new approaches and solutions—especially when it involves  delivering highway projects more efficiently.

Contracting is at the heart of the federal-aid program.  Good contracting practices are good for taxpayers because they can help ensure project costs don’t increase.  Less delay in completing a project also benefits the driving public.

This is why FHWA has approved a New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) proposal to use a prequalification system with contractors. If implemented effectively, this approach can help save time and money over the life of a construction project...

New Mexico D.O.T. road work

Continue Reading Getting the Most for ››
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Yesterday, we dared to write a blog post celebrating data. Today, we are unapologetically following that with a post celebrating wireless technology. The transportation connection? With DOT support, vehicle-to-vehicle communication is coming to the automobile market, and it will make our lives safer and help us go Beyond Traffic.

As we wrote here last month about this game-changing technology, "when a car can see what a driver can't, yours could warn you of a potential crash or icy roads ahead; advise you of a traffic jam ahead and automatically recalculate your travel route; or even help you locate an available parking space."

And it appears that the editors of MIT's Technology Review were listening. Because when the Review released its list of "10 Breakthrough Technologies for 2015" in late February, Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication was right there. Listed among the key contributors were our very own National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as the University of Michigan, where we launched our first large-scale V2V pilot program. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Office of Research Technology (OSTR) here at DOT have also been instrumental...

Continue Reading DOT (unapologetically) ››
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Let's start with a confession: here at DOT, we love data. Miles of freight rail, number of bridges, on-time flight arrivals, transit passenger trips, port economic activity--all of it. Those facts and figures help us tell the story of how American transportation affects each and every one of us.

Some numbers are staggeringly high: the value of goods shipped in the US in 2012? More than 13$ trillion. Some are impressively low: the number of extended tarmac delays in the US for domestic and international flights in December 2014? Exactly zero.

All of that data is compiled by our Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) in DOT's Office of Research and Technology. And this week, BTS released what we think is a real treat: State Transportation by the Numbers Profiles. If you're curious about how your state is moving or what your state is moving, these easy-to-read profiles have a lot to offer...

Transportation capsule for Wisconsin

Continue Reading State Transportation Data? ››
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Fast Lane readers know I believe very strongly that our budget is only as good as how it's spent and, more importantly, the people whose lives it improves. That's why I've emphasized projects that create what we call "ladders of opportunity," where we not only connect people to better schools, jobs, and health care –but also to better lives.

There's another powerful way that investing in a bridge or rail project is more than an investment in a piece of infrastructure: that’s when local residents get a shot at building it.

It's called "local hiring," and today, DOT is proud to embrace it...

Ledaya Epps with Labor Secretary Tom Perez

Continue Reading Local Hiring just makes ››
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As part of a team of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration representatives, I recently returned from a technical assistance visit to Delhi, where we assisted in opening India’s first alcohol breath test device certification laboratory –a foundational step in building a strong and defensible national impaired driving program.

While we are far from resolving the impaired driving problem in our own country, our recent National Roadside Survey reminds us that we have certainly made progress. The rate of driver alcohol use across the U.S. dropped by nearly 80 percent over the past four decades.

And along the way, we have learned many lessons that could benefit other nations on the same path...

Edward Conde briefs officials in IRTE lab

Continue Reading NHTSA lends a hand to help ››
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Two recent commuter rail accidents --one in New York and one in California-- are a tragic reminder that drivers need to respect railroad grade crossings. And, as part of its ongoing efforts to improve grade crossing safety, the Federal Railroad Administration has launched a campaign to make sure drivers are getting that message.

FRA's new campaign will improve safety by strengthening enforcement and increasing safety awareness at America's grade crossings.

The first phase calls upon local law enforcement agencies to increase their visibility at grade crossings and issue citations to drivers that violate rules of the road at crossings. Subsequent phases will deploy smarter uses of technology, increase public awareness of grade crossing safety, support improved signage, strengthen partnerships with states and local safety agencies, and call for new rail crossing safety funding...

Photo of Metra grade crossing in Illinois

Continue Reading FRA steps up grade crossing ››
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In honor of Black History Month, we’re re-publishing Secretary Foxx’s speech from last September at Cass Technical High School in Detroit. The speech is entitled “Transportation and Opportunity For All,” and, in our public affairs staff’s estimation, it’s the best distillation of Secretary Foxx’s views on the intersection of race, class, and transportation. What follows is an excerpt: 
 
“It is fitting that we should be here at a high school today.  I come from a family of teachers.  My grandparents, both of whom were school teachers, helped raise me.  I grew up in their home on Charlotte's west side – not exactly the right side of the tracks. 
My mother was nineteen when I was born.  My father was absent.  My grandmother never had a driver's license, and on Saturdays, I would ride with her into town to shop on the city bus.  I took the bus to apply for my first job.  I know personally what a lifeline it is for so many people. 
Continue Reading Secretary Foxx on ››
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With America's population expected to grow by 70 million during the next three decades, there is no question that we will have to find ways to get more out of our transportation networks. Figuring out how to do that is one of the key goals of our "Beyond Traffic: Framework for the Future."

And thanks to a two-city pilot program --in San Diego and Dallas-- we know that one useful solution is Integrated Corridor Management or ICM. With ICM, the separate data systems that monitor road congestion, incident reports, pavement conditions, and rail and transit operations are combined into a single, powerful tool.

Beyond Traffic graphic

Continue Reading Integrated Corridor ››
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