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Every year around this time, the Washington, DC, metro area sees an influx of tourists in town to visit the historic sites and view the famous cherry blossoms. At the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Spring Break travel boost offers a good opportunity to remind those traveling by bus to choose a carrier with a solid safety record.

The easiest way for passengers to consider a carrier's safety record when planning a trip is to "Look Before You Book" either through our website or through our SaferBus app. You may know already about SaferBus –DOT’s first mobile app– launched several years ago for the iPhone.

It's also available for Android devices. But whatever device you're using it on, the app allows you a quick way to review a bus company's safety record before buying a ticket, chartering a bus, or climbing aboard. It's free; it's easy; and it makes you a more informed passenger...

Continue Reading As spring travel surges, ››
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If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that one of the biggest challenges this nation faces is our ability to move the freight that fuels our economy. Given the population growth experts anticipate and the economic growth Americans expect, we will need to haul 14 billion more tons of freight by 2050.

One of our principal assets in this challenge is our Marine Transportation System (MTS)-- the waterways, ports, and intermodal landside connections that allow the various modes of transportation to move people and goods to, from, and on the water. These resources help us sustain America's global competitiveness and our national security, but getting all of the pieces to work together efficiently and effectively is no easy task.

To help us do that, we leverage the expertise of the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Committee (MTSNAC), a group of leaders from transportation companies, trade associations, state and local government, labor organizations, universities, and environmental groups...

Photo of ship in Port of New Orleans

Continue Reading Maritime advisory committee ››
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On his first full day in office, President Obama signed a memorandum on "Transparency and Open Government," establishing the three pillars of what we now call OpenGov:

  • Government should be transparent to promote accountability;
  • Government should be participatory to benefit from the wide variety of knowledge among Americans; and
  • Government should be collaborative across agencies and with organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector.

Right now, we are currently hard at work developing our updated Open Government Plan—it's a biennial process, and we're up to version 3.0 already!—a blueprint highlighting our progress toward those three goals and establishing a set of new initiatives that we'll pursue in the coming years...

Continue Reading DOT needs your input on ››
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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has one mission: safety. And to pursue that mission, we offer a wide variety of useful services and important information to bus and truck drivers, to carrier companies, and to consumers.

Today, I am proud to announce a significant advance in getting those resources into your hands more easily, our redesigned www.fmcsa.dot.gov...

Screen capture of the new F.M.C.S.A. website

Continue Reading Revitalized FMCSA website ››
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One of the best parts of my job is seeing the great work FAA employees do each day to keep us safe in the skies, and last week I had the opportunity to recognize some outstanding Air Traffic Controllers for their performance under pressure. These awards are well-deserved, but the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) Archie League awards are not the kind of recognition that anyone seeks out.  

These awards are presented to controllers whose actions helped a pilot through a potentially dangerous situation by employing technical skill, quick thinking, and clear communications. A pilot may end up in distress because of bad weather, a mechanical issue, or even a health problem; the controller’s response must be safe, coordinated, and quick...   

Archie League logo

Continue Reading Air Traffic Controllers ››
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When you talk to most people in the transportation industry, their career journey has often been filled with twists and turns and unexpected opportunities. Few students have a clear understanding of how their imagined career paths might lead them to working in this vibrant, multimodal field.

But transportation is always evolving and growing, and the workforce the industry needs is rapidly changing as well. To keep pace, women are now working in once male-dominated career fields. Today, you'll see women filling positions such as skilled high speed rail engineers; technically savvy aviation experts; astute truck, rail, transit, and maritime operators; and quick-minded statisticians and business analysts.

To help improve women’s participation in transportation careers, the industry must do its best to link them to role models and opportunities; show them how their efforts can have a great impact on local and national communities; and create an adaptable workplace that’s fair, flexible, and collaborative for all employees...

Continue Reading Women are making a ››
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For Chris Rhoads – FRA’s Inspector of the Year in 2013 – rail safety is more than a profession. It’s a way of life.

“You take on this job to ensure safety for the general public, but also the railroad employees themselves,” says Rhoads, who gladly trains new State and Federal track inspectors and even volunteers with our rail safety education partner Operation Lifesaver.

Based in Pryor, Oklahoma in FRA’s Region 5, Rhoads specializes in inspecting railroad tracks and structures to ensure compliance with Federal regulations. But last May, while on assignment in Arkansas, Rhodes’ commitment to safety took on new meaning when a massive tornado swept through the area and caused massive flooding...

Continue Reading Meet Chris Rhoads, your ››
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It’s a privilege to be able to serve military veterans and their families who’ve served all of us so well. Too often, though, it’s difficult and time-consuming for our veterans to find a way to get to the many resources that exist to help them.

That’s why the Obama Administration has worked with states, local governments, and transit agencies across the country to make it easier for them to make use of quality, convenient public transit in their communities. Together, we’re building ladders of opportunity that connect veterans and others to jobs, training, medical care, and the services they need.

Just in the last week, the Community Transportation Association of Idaho launched a new website that makes it easier for Idaho’s more than 140,000 veterans and active duty military personnel – as well as members of the general public – to find an affordable ride in one of the nation’s most rural states...

Phot of a flag displaying a logo for Disabled American Veterans

Continue Reading For veterans and others, ››
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On Saturday, a devastating mudslide struck near Oso, Washington, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains along the Stillaguamish River. The slide swept through homes and across state Route 530. Today, our hopes and prayers are with the families and friends of those who died and with those still awaiting word on missing loved ones.

To help Washington state cover the costs of repairing damaged roads in Snohomish County, we have announced the immediate availability of $1 million in emergency relief funds from the Federal Highway Administration...

Photo of debris blocking state Route 530, credit Lindsey Wasson / Reuters
Continue Reading DOT emergency relief funds ››
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Although you've read a few spring-themed blog posts here in the past two weeks, at the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation we don’t consider spring to have truly arrived until the Navigation Season opens and ships begin moving through the Seaway's locks.

And I'm happy to say that--with last Friday's official Seaway opening ceremony, Monday's opening of the two American locks, and Tuesday's transit of our first vessel--spring has sprung on the U.S.-operated portion of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

Photo of the Charlotte Theresa, first vessel to transit Eisenhower Lock in 2014 season
The vessel Charlotte Theresa, first to transit Eisenhower Lock in the 2014 season.

The Seaway offers our nation an efficient, environmentally sound artery for freight moving into and out of American farms, mines, and manufacturing plants. For American businesses, the Seaway is a unique gateway to global markets.

Continue Reading With Seaway navigation ››
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