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Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation is issuing a Final Rule that will enhance the safety of transporting flammable liquids –including crude oil and ethanol– by rail.

Secretary Foxx with Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt

We are in the midst of an unprecedented increase in North American energy production.  This boom in continental production has pushed America's dependence on foreign oil to a 40 year low, created jobs, and helped grow the U.S. and Canadian economies.

It also means that petroleum crude oil and ethanol are being shipped by rail in much larger quantities, and over much greater distances. In 2014, nearly 500,000 carloads containing more than 410 million barrels of Canadian and U.S. crude oil were transported by rail in the United States, and 99.9 percent reached their destination without incident. 

The accidents that have occurred, though –involving both crude and ethanol– have had significant and devastating consequences to local communities and the environment. They have shown us that 99.9 percent isn’t good enough. We have to strive for perfection, and today's rule moves us closer to that goal...

Continue Reading New Final Rule offers ››
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The flying public scored a big win today with the completion of an air traffic system that will significantly improve air travel through every phase of flight.

Transportation Secretary Foxx and I were pleased to announce this morning that the En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM), a highly advanced computer system used by air traffic controllers to safely manage and separate aircraft, is now complete.

FAA Administrator Huerta at ERAM announcement

Looking at the future of air travel, we know that there will be more planes in our skies and more people in our airports. To meet this challenge we must integrate cutting-edge technology into our aviation system.  ERAM is a major step forward in our relentless efforts to develop and implement NextGen.  With this new technology, passengers will be able to get to their destinations, faster, safer, and have a smoother ride – all while burning less fuel to get there...

Continue Reading The backbone of NextGen is ››
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Fast Lane readers have probably noticed that traffic congestion is on the rise because of higher volume on our roadways, which means more stress on pavements. And because one of the Federal Highway Administration’s primary goals is to ensure the nation’s highway system is maintained in a state of good repair, that means greater stress on our resources.

But the longer lasting pavement sought by our Long-Term Pavement Performance research program would help state and local DOTs to stretch their budgets. It would also mean fewer damaging potholes for drivers.

At FHWA's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, we have a machine that specifically helps us understand pavement durability. It’s called the Accelerated Load Facility, or the “ALF,” and it does just what the name suggests: it simulates the effects of many years of heavy traffic in just a few months...

Paving

Continue Reading Researching Ways to Keep ››
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For a very long time, transportation planners have measured the success of our transportation network by looking at its hardware: How many cars can travel across a road and how fast? How often buses do arrive and are they on schedule? What is the pavement condition and how quickly is it deteriorating?

And while these measures are valuable, they ignore the end users of our system —the people.  Every day, millions of Americans use our transportation system to reach jobs, schools, healthcare, shopping, friends, and family. How long it takes and how much it costs them to accomplish these daily tasks is an important measure that we call connectivity

Connectivity measures how well the transportation network connects people to the places they need to go. And last Monday, DOT hosted more than 75 State DOTs, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), transit agencies, national associations, researchers, and other federal agencies to talk about the importance of connectivity in their daily work...

Map showing Equitable Target Areas

Continue Reading DOT Connectivity Roundtable ››
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Every day, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration works to identify and force the recall of vehicles and products with safety-related defects to protect the American people from harm. In 2014, NHTSA's work led to 803 recalls involving 63.9 million vehicles—the highest number of vehicle recalls in more than three decades. The year also saw two of the ten largest recalls in history.

Over the last several months, we’ve been improving how we identify vehicle defects. But it’s not enough to just identify defects —protecting the public means ensuring that those defects are remedied. Yet, today, 20 percent or more of recalled vehicles go unrepaired, and that poses its own safety challenge.

Remedying recalls is a collaborative effort, so yesterday at DOT Headquarters, we brought together all of the players —manufacturers, dealers, automotive safety advocates, and others— to brainstorm around the best ideas. Recent high-profile recalls have taught us important lessons about the obstacles to higher completion rates, and we brought everyone to the table to help spread those lessons and develop new approaches to the recall process...

Secretary Foxx and NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind at Retooling Recalls workshop

Continue Reading Retooling Recalls: NHTSA ››
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If you're not a datahead, you might have missed this news.  Last month, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported that, "U.S. airlines and foreign airlines serving the United States carried an all-time high of 848.1 million systemwide (domestic and international) scheduled service passengers in 2014."

Sure, 848 million is a lot of passengers, and more often than not, that would be interesting enough.  But today we want to go one better than the absolute number of enplanements; we want to talk about the "all-time high."  Because the previous record high was reached in 2007, and that means that, after the brutal recession, air travel --and the economy-- are truly back.

Want to see the relationship between economic activity and air travelers without pesky numbers getting in the way?  Thanks to BTS, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and a little spreadsheet wizardry, you can:

Air passengers and GDP by year

Continue Reading Record 2014 airline ››
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Fast Lane readers know that we've been talking about the Obama Administration's GROW AMERICA surface transportation proposal since we sent it to Congress last month.  But a lot of Americans don't know what GROW does and why this nation needs it.  So today, we've got a fresh out of the box explainer video to share.

If passed by Congress, the GROW AMERICA Act will provide 6 years of transportation funding certainty, increase investment in our transportation system, and implement smart policies that ensure taxpayers get a bigger bang for their buck.

We think those long-overdue benefits are worth 101 seconds of your time, and we hope you'll agree...

Continue Reading New video answers key GROW ››
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Maritime history plays a central role in our national narrative, and DOT has a responsibility to protect and promote this rich legacy.  That’s why the Maritime Administration (MARAD) has partnered with the National Park Service (NPS) to use proceeds from MARAD’s Federal Ship Disposal Program to support the .  And today, MARAD and NPS announced the award of $2.6 million for 35 maritime heritage preservation and education projects.

Our agencies established this partnership to promote public awareness and appreciation for the Nation’s maritime heritage, and the projects we're awarding this year are exactly what we envisioned in 2013 when we entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Park Service...

Photo of 1889 tugboat Arhtur Foss

Continue Reading Maritime history woven ››
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As readers probably know, Wednesday was our 45th Earth Day celebration. Earth Day offers all of us us an opportunity to showcase our nation’s efforts to protect the planet. For those of us in transportation, it’s also a chance to celebrate the Earth-friendly transportation planning practices going on in all corners of the United States.

So we at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) used the occasion to announce our latest Environmental Excellence Awards, FHWA’s highest honor for those committed to protecting the environment through state-of-the-art transportation-related innovation.

This year’s winners have three things in common: creativity, passion, and imagination. And these qualities fueled their cutting-edge advances in environmental sensitivity and helped strengthen the balance between humans and nature without sacrificing mobility...

FHWA environmental award logo

Continue Reading FHWA Celebrates ››
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Earth Day offers all of us an opportunity to consider how the decisions we make today affect not only the quality of our air, land, and water, but also our quality of life. Our nation’s mix of transportation options, and how we keep them running, will help determine whether our nation can maintain that quality of life even as our population and our economy grow.

The essence of sustainability is making decisions today that will allow our nation to continue growing in the future while also preserving our quality of life.

And as “Beyond Traffic” makes clear, there are urgent reasons to make sustainability our byword and transit a key part of achieving that goal...

Non-diesel transit bus

Continue Reading Expanding transit options ››
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