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New web resources, grants seek to fight disturbing safety trend

Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian. Unfortunately, in 2011, pedestrians in the U.S. were one of the very few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities.

So as part of the campaign to combat that increase, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is making available $2 million in pedestrian safety grants. NHTSA has also joined with the Federal Highway Administration to launch a one-stop shop of safety tips and resources at www.nhtsa.gov/everyoneisapedestrian.

Photo of Secretary Foxx with children of the safety patrol

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Our Federal Railroad Administration has helped reduce train accidents by 43 percent over the last decade; their work helped make 2012 the safest year in American rail history. But when safety is your number one priority, there's no resting. Last Friday, the FRA took another step forward in rail safety, issuing an Emergency Order and Safety Advisory to help prevent unattended trains carrying hazardous materials from moving unintentionally.

Friday's announcement was made in response to the tragic July 6 derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. While the full investigation has not yet to concluded, we can't afford to wait to take steps that would help prevent a similar incident from occurring here in the U.S.  The American people deserve no less.

Photo of train with fuel cars

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Since the iconic Gateway Arch opened nearly 50 years ago, its grounds have been separated from downtown St. Louis by Interstate 70. Today, it was a pleasure to join my Cabinet colleague Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay in breaking ground on a project that will finally connect this famous landmark with the rest of downtown.

When completed, the "Park Over The Highway" project that began today will be source of national pride for years to come.

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Infographic showing the connection between transportation infrastructure and physical activity

Transportation investments that support active travel --like greenways, trails, sidewalks, traffic-calming devices, and public transit-- create opportunities to increase routine physical activity, improve health, and lower health care costs. The same investments promote sustainability. Click here to learn more.

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At DOT, we understand that a strong transportation system depends on a vibrant and diverse workforce, a workforce that reflects America. And that includes women.

So, we've made it a priority to help encourage women to join the next generation of transportation professionals. We want women to be excited by the opportunities available to them in highways and transit, rail and aviation. And we need their skills, experience, and unique point of view to ensure we design the best and most efficient transportation systems possible.

One of our efforts to encourage women to pursue careers in transportation is our Women In Transportation video playlist on YouTube. Today, we added another entry, this one submitted by Cathy Gillen, and I encourage you to watch it and share.

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Proposed rule will save trucking industry $1.7 billion annually

In January 2011, President Obama outlined a plan to create a 21st-century regulatory system – one that protects public health and welfare while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation. Part of that plan was an unprecedented government-wide review of regulations already on the books. During my confirmation hearings, I pledged to accept the President's challenge and to make improving efficiency one of my top priorities.

And with today’s announcement from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, we are delivering on that pledge.

Today, we are proposing a rule that will dramatically eliminate a major burden and save trucking companies about $1.7 billion each year.

Photo of trucks on a highway

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Pie chart showing modal share of freight movement.

In May, $98.6 billion in goods moved into and out of the U.S. across our borders with Mexico ($43.8 billion) and Canada ($54.8 billion). Wondering how those raw materials, parts, supplies, finished goods, and food that fuel our economy got where they needed to go? The pie chart above has your breakdown. Is there an alpha dog in the NAFTA trade pack? Trucking makes its claim with nearly 61 percent of U.S. trade with our North American neighbors.

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Cross-posted from the NTSB Safety Compass, courtesy NTSB.

“Many of the NTSB’s recommendations drive our research.” This is what FAA Technical Center Fire Safety Branch Manager Gus Sarkos said when asked how he sets his agenda for the Aviation Research Division at one of the nation’s premier aviation research, development, test, and evaluation facilities.

As part of my NTSB advocacy efforts on fire safety and its inclusion on this year’s Most Wanted List,  I recently visited the Technical Center. Its world-class laboratories, top-notch scientists, and leading engineers are at the forefront modernizing the U.S. air transportation system and making air travel safer than ever before.

Photo of NTSB Board Member Mark R. Rosekind watching a fire insulation test at FAA Technical Center outside of Atlantic City, NJ. Fire Safety is an issue on the NTSB's Most Wanted List.
NTSB Board Member Mark R. Rosekind watches a fire insulation test at FAA Technical Center outside of Atlantic City, NJ. Fire Safety is an issue on the NTSB's Most Wanted List. Photo courtesy NTSB on Flickr.
 
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DOT's Transportation Technology Center puts American-made Cities Sprinter through its paces

In May, the first of Amtrak's new fleet of electric locomotives, called Cities Sprinters, rolled out of the Siemens plant in Sacramento. They were manufactured in America by Americans, and they featured parts and materials from more than 70 different American suppliers in 60 different U.S. cities. They are faster, more reliable, more sustainable, and easier to maintain  than the locomotives they'll replace.

And, at the DOT Transportation Technology Center (TTC) in Pueblo, Colorado, the Federal Railroad Administration is making sure that they are--first and foremost--safe.

Photo of Amtrak Cities Sprinter on test track as observers watch

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Where's baby? Always look before you lock

Today, as part of National Heatstroke Prevention Day, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Safe Kids, and safety advocates across the country are taking a new approach to raise awareness about the dangers of children in hot cars. During a day-long social media conversation, we're posting child heatstroke prevention messages, statistics, and tips on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. We'll be posting every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. using the hash tag #heatstroke, and we urge you to help spread the word by doing the same.

Already in 2013, at least 24 children have died from heatstroke from being left in a car. An unknown number of children are also injured each year by heatstroke, suffering permanent brain damage, blindness, hearing loss, and other life-changing injuries. With August and September ahead--heatstroke can occur even when the outside temperature is in the 50s--I'm deeply concerned that we will lose more children to a cause that is 100 percent preventable.

Graphic saying "Look before you lock"

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