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Forty-seven years ago this week, Apollo 11 launched towards the moon, fulfilling President Kennedy’s 1961 goal of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth” and doing it “before this decade is out.” In the years since that landing, the phrase “moonshot” has become synonymous with innovation in the pursuit of audacious goals.

But the moonshot didn’t take place in a single step.  Rather, it was a sequence of carefully planned missions that built new prototypes, engaged an ever-growing team of astronauts, engineers, contractors and stakeholders and solved unexpected challenges.  When President Kennedy set the goal of a moon landing on May 25, 1961, there had only been one successful American mission into space – Alan Shepard’s flight on Freedom 7 as part of the Project Mercury.  Another 19 manned flights, numerous component tests and the development of the intermediate Project Gemini would be needed to bridge between that flight and Apollo 11’s landing.

NASA’s success at building moonshots one mission at a time provides a valuable lesson to innovators.

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As we continue to look toward a transportation network that is not only increasingly safe and efficient environmental impact remains a priority. Fast Lane readers will know that we haven't been shy about sharing the environmental benefits of shipping freight by water.  From lower greenhouse gas emissions to higher fuel efficiency, we think the relative sustainability advantages of maritime shipping add up to a significant benefit for shippers and the public.

That said, I was excited to learn that Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) was recently honored for its environmental performance results for 2015. Presented by Green Marine, a North American environmental certification program, the receipt of this award demonstrates SLSDC’s continued excellence and leadership in environmental sustainability.

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It’s a cloudy day in Spokane, WA but we are making one thing very clear: every place counts.

Today we kick off the first of four design sessions in winning cities across the nation. In Spokane, the transcontinental I-90 was constructed through the heart of the city, dividing the working-class suburb of East Central. While here, together with city officials, USDOT regional representatives, community members and our partners at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and the National  Endowment for the Arts, we hope to identify opportunities to reconnect this community and ensure that other communities are not similarly disconnected by projects currently underway.

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Today, DOT is taking another step toward delivering on President Obama’s promise to reengage with Cuba by restoring scheduled air service to the nation’s capital and largest city.

As part of the Obama Administration’s historic efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, DOT proposed to select eight U.S. airlines to begin scheduled flights between Atlanta, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, Orlando, and Tampa and Havana as early as this fall.

Having regular air service for the first time in more than 50 years holds great potential – Cuban American families will be reunited and it will foster education and opportunities for American businesses of all sizes.

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Just two weeks ago, the world watched as the first commercial vessel, M/V COSCO SHIPPING PANAMA, successfully navigated the Panama Canal’s new expanded locks.  The inaugural event was broadcast live to a worldwide audience as the Panamanians in attendance cheered and waved flags in celebration of their country’s newest engineering marvel.

Along with numerous heads of state and with representatives from many nations, I had the opportunity to attend the ceremony to congratulate the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and the citizens of Panama on a successful expansion.  Given that two out of every three ships that transit the Panama Canal are headed to or from the United States, our nation is the largest market served by the canal, so we have a strong interest in the canal’s long-term success.  The project to build a third set of expanded locks doubled the canal’s capacity and nearly tripled the size of ships that can transit through it. 

In this new age of increasingly larger vessels -  necessary in the ultra-competitive global shipping market - the opening of the new locks should ensure the canal’s viability for years to come.

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In December, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a new initiative to help communities across the country advance transit-oriented development (TOD) projects to grow their economies, achieve their social equity goals, and improve quality of life for everyone.

That effort, the TOD Technical Assistance Initiative, provides on-the-ground and online technical assistance to communities working on—or planning to work on—TOD projects across the country. The initiative is designed to help elected officials, municipal staff, advocates, developers, transportation professionals, and urban planners discover new ideas, connect with one another and, ultimately, build great projects.

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This morning, I addressed the common and dangerous misconception that children lost to heatstroke in hot cars are being left behind intentionally. We know that these incidents most often occur when a child is mistakenly left alone in a vehicle or gains access to a vehicle when a parent isn’t around, which tragically occurred in Texas recently. It can happen to loving, caring parents who, in a moment of forgetfulness, are visited by tragedy.

If you see a child alone in a car, act. Act quickly. Act to save that child’s life. Make it your business.

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Every summer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) engages the public about the dangers of leaving children are unattended in hot vehicles. And sadly every year, these tragedies continue to happen. Already in 2016, sixteen children have lost their lives, adding to the total of 676 heatstroke deaths since 1998.

We all have more work to do, and that’s why NHTSA continues to spread the word about heatstroke, to offer tips to prevent it, and to urge Americans to act to save a life if they see a child unattended in a vehicle.

Continue Reading Heatstroke: It Can Happen ››
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Biking is an efficient and fun way to commute and it’s also a great way to get physical activity. To promote biking, it’s important for communities to provide comfortable, safe, and convenient bikeways. During the summer months, the number of cycling enthusiasts increases – making it all the more timely to point out that adding bikeways to a roadway can enhance safety and comfort for cyclists and drivers alike. It is also one of our many Every Day Counts-3 successes.

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Transportation connects people—and connections provide economic opportunity and social mobility.

That’s the message that U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx brought to the Volpe  Center for his keynote address kicking off The Future of Transportation: Safety, Opportunity, and Innovation speaker series on June 27.

Because, for all the visions and visionary figures working on the next big thing in transportation—self-driving cars, commercial space flight, the Hyperloop—the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) is working toward a transportation future that offers safety, efficiency, and opportunity to all Americans.

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