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As the weather warms, Americans are stepping out of their cars to walk, bicycle, or motorcycle to their destination. Unfortunately, while Americans increasingly choose transportation alternatives, motor vehicle crash-related pedestrian and cyclist deaths are also on the rise. With this in mind, and as we recognize May as National Bike Month, it is more important than ever for everyone to Share the Road

In 2015, America endured a large and significant spike in motor vehicle fatalities, with a 9 percent and an 8.3 percent jump in pedestrian and motorcyclist deaths respectively. A total of 5,376 pedestrians and 4,976 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle-related crashes that year.

Deaths among bicyclists rose by 10 percent in 2015, with motor-vehicle-related crashes taking 818 lives and injuring an estimated 45,000 bicyclists.

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More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and small businesses create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. The importance these small businesses hold in our economy is why every year since 1963 the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

This year Small Business Week is April 30 - May 6, and we want small business owners to know that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization is here to help. OSDBU provides technical and financial assistance, small business outreach and training services to help members of the nation’s small business community compete and participate in federally funded contracts.

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It’s generally safer when riding a bike on the road to stay to the right so cars can pass, but in some circumstances it’s actually safer to “take the lane,” which means to move to the center of a lane and essentially assert control of the space.

Taking the lane might not be the first thing cyclists think of when considering bike safety, but it’s an important topic covered in the Federal Highway Administration’s video series Bicycle Safer Journey, which is a suite of resources available for educators and parents to use in sparking conversations with children and youth about bicycle safety. The resources include three videos — one for ages 5 to 9, one for ages 10 to 14, and one for ages 15 to 18— accompanied by quizzes and discussions.

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As National Distracted Driving Awareness month draws to a close, the Department of Transportation wants to remind drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. In 2015, distracted driving killed 3,477 people and injured 391,000.

To help raise awareness of the potentially tragic outcomes of texting and driving, NHTSA is hosting a Tweet Up on Friday, April 28, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to spread the message about the dangers of distracted driving. People can follow along using the hashtag #JustDrive, and should feel free to mention @NHTSAgov.

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America’s highways are in need of upgrades, especially when more people are expected to be on the roads in the years ahead.  Because the nation’s travel needs are continuing to grow, we need to find new ways to pay for improvements. 

The Highway Trust Fund still provides the bulk of highway funding, but it’s not keeping up with the rising cost of repairs and construction. Thankfully, the Federal Highway Administration’s Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) program is helping guide the country toward new options.

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Cutting-edge technologies are helping to improve America’s highway system, and real-time data reporting systems are helping us make better use of our highways and bridges.

The Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment Program (ATCMTD) is doing just that by funding state-of-the-art transportation improvement technologies that reduce congestion and help us maintain our infrastructure.  Now in its second round, the program is providing $60 million in funding  again this year. Last year, the program funded eight innovative projects in various parts of the country intended to improve the efficiency and safety of the transportation system and make the most use of existing capacity for commuters and businesses.

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In addition to its Washington, D.C., headquarters office, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has pipeline safety and hazardous materials safety offices in five regions around the country, and a pipeline inspector training center in Oklahoma City. While many people may hear about happenings from our D.C. office, we’d like to introduce you to PHMSA's Pipeline Inspector Qualifications and Training Division's Training Center to examine the crucial role that it plays in our shared safety mission.

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New technologies are disrupting transportation every day, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has an unprecedented opportunity to shape how Americans move, and how America does business.

That’s no small order, but at the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, our history of providing multimodal expertise shows we are up to the task. The Volpe Center is a unique federal organization within USDOT that for more than 45 years has supported modal agencies and others pursuing innovative solutions to America’s most pressing transportation challenges.

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This week, we remember the anniversary of a bombing that, just after rush hour on April 19, 1995, claimed 168 lives – including 11 FHWA employees. The bomb of a domestic terrorist destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, causing a pain that – even now – America still feels.  I urge you to join me in remembering our fallen colleagues and families of all the victims who have spent the last 22 years in grief. Let us never forget their loss, and let our actions honor their sacrifice.

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America’s first responders put their lives on the line every day to help save ours.

In 2016, 135 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty. Of the 53 that were killed in traffic-related incidents, 15 were struck and killed while performing their duties outside of their vehicle and on the roadside. In fact, in the 20 years prior to 2016, traffic-related incidents were the No. 1 cause of officer fatalities for 15 of the years. These roadside deaths are 100 percent preventable. It’s up to us to move over to give law enforcement the room they need to work more safely.

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