Year in and year out, DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) coordinates the Department's research programs. From the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to universities across the country, we're working hard to advance new technologies and push the boundaries of American transportation.
I'm happy to say that 2013 was another productive year here at RITA with:
- A new round of grants to University Transportation Centers;
- Further developments in connected vehicles; and
- A strong effort to improve safety through apps using publicly available data...
Our core goal at the Federal Railroad Administration is to ensure continuous safety improvement. Year after year, this is our measuring stick for success –and we are succeeding.
Over the past decade, train accidents have declined 43 percent, including a 41 percent drop in derailments and a 34 percent drop in accidents at highway-rail grade crossings. Meanwhile, preliminary data for 2013 shows we’re on pace for another record-setting year in railroad safety, with reductions in all categories of accidents.
In 2013 we worked to drive continuous safety improvements by:
- Advancing technical and human factors;
- Responding decisively; and
- Investing in high-performing rail...
Here at the Maritime Administration (MARAD), we continue working tirelessly to improve our marine transportation system with innovative projects across the country. As our economy rebuilds and jobs are created, we are reminded just how much the maritime industry has contributed to these growing numbers and more importantly. . . Why Maritime Matters!
That's why we spent 2013 continuing to:
- Support port infrastructure in advance of a newly widened Panama Canal;
- Invest in U.S. shipyards;
- Move more freight on our rivers, Great Lakes, and waterways, as well as through American river, lake, and sea ports; and
- Work toward a robust national maritime strategy...
Over the past year, the Federal Transit Administration has delivered on a number of goals, highlighting our ability to truly make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans each day.
In 2013, the FTA continued:
- Bringing new and expanded transit to communities nationwide;
- Developing common-sense improvements to safety and efficiency; and
- Delivering transit aid where it’s needed most...
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s dedication to saving lives is at the forefront of our daily work, and rising above the challenges we face in truck and bus safety is what FMCSA employees will continue to do each and every day in 2014.
FMCSA accomplished a great deal in the name of safety in 2013. We continued:
- Cracking down on unsafe drivers and companies;
- Implementing new safety rules; and
- Protecting consumers against deceitful moving companies...
On the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the binational waterway we operate in partnership with Canada, the end of the calendar year also means the end of the navigation season. And 2013 was another busy year on the Seaway.
The Great Lakes and Seaway system supports 227,000 jobs and annually generates nearly $34 billion in revenue. We know by the number of vessels transiting the Seaway and the volume of cargo they carry that this waterway is a vital artery for the U.S economy.
To support that economic activity this year, we:
- Continued our ambitious Asset Renewal Program for off-season upgrades and maintenance;
- Designated seven ports with increased volume for our annual Pacesetter Awards;
- Celebrated another year of environmental stewardship; and
- Welcomed a new Administrator...
The end of the year is a good time for reflection and looking back, 2013 was filled with accomplishments for the Federal Highway Administration. The new I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington State is a good example of the outstanding work done this year by FHWA in partnership with state and local transportation agencies and the private sector.
Just four weeks after the old bridge collapsed on the Thursday night before Memorial Day weekend, the Washington State DOT put a temporary span in place. And fewer than four months after the collapse, a permanent span was open for business on a route that’s vital to motorists and freight movement in the Pacific Northwest. This work is a fitting representative of FHWA, because it shows how our commitment to using innovative tools and solutions is paying off.
The larger themes that make 2013 a year of accomplishment for FHWA are represented in that example:
- Implementing MAP-21;
- Continuing to work with our partners through our Every Day Counts innovation initiative; and
- Helping Americans respond to disaster with Emergency Relief...
Today, technology moves at the speed of light. That’s why at NHTSA, we act affirmatively to advance technologies that will save lives and create a regulatory environment that encourages innovation and big thinking about vehicle technology.
This year, we worked to advance the adoption of technologies that will deliver enormous lifesaving potential while also ensuring that new vehicle features don’t undermine safety through:
- Significant and Seamless initiative;
- SaferCar app; and
- Manufacturer guidelines for in-vehicle technologies...
At PHMSA, our priority is to make sure that hazardous materials are transported safely and efficiently. Over the past year, we’ve done a lot to promote innovation, raise awareness, and improve operations to achieve our safety goals.
This year, PHMSA:
- Enhanced training and outreach capabilities.
- Provided nearly $75 million to vital safety partners.
- Cut red tape for businesses working with PHMSA.
Our dedicated FAA team works hard all year to ensure we have the best and safest aviation system in the world. And tonight our air traffic controllers will have the opportunity to work with the world’s safest pilot.
Santa Claus has been flying accident-free for centuries, and today our FAA safety inspectors have cleared Santa One--the world’s only known reindeer-powered aircraft--to deliver presents to children around the world.