Once again, demand for our TIGER competitive grant program has been overwhelming.
With 337 applications coming from urban areas and 248 from rural communities, the continued high level of interest in this widely successful program underscores the desperate need for transportation investment nationwide. In its eighth year with $500 million in available funding, TIGER applications totaled $9.3 billion. Communities across the country know that if we want a strong, multimodal transportation system that will meet our needs in the future, we need to make meaningful investments today.
Innovation is paramount at USDOT. We have long supported cutting-edge transportation research and development, and believe in giving innovators access to the data and tools necessary to help launch pioneering technologies in their own communities. This partnership of research and deployment can generate even more creative problem-solving and forward-looking solutions for meeting our current and future infrastructure challenges. That said, I’m excited to give our Chief Innovation Officer a platform here on my blog every week to showcase the hard work being done at the Department that will allow for 50 more years of thought leadership and innovative transportation solutions. Welcome to #TechTuesday!
-Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx
Ever think about how engineers will design bridges in the future? That topic may not be the first thing on your mind but it is a critical one. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) points out that 66,749 bridges – totaling about a third of the bridge decking in the US – are structurally deficient and will need to be replaced or repaired. We have a lot of bridge building in our future!
How do we make sure these new bridges will last, not just for a while but for 100 years or more? The key is to eliminate some of the ways a bridge can fail.
That’s where Dr. Kornel Kerenyi and his team at the Federal Highway Administration’s Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center come in.
Today, Secretary Foxx and the FAA announced a $500 rebate to encourage general aviation pilots to install a crucial piece of NextGen equipment in their aircraft.
We’ve talked quite a bit about NextGen and how the FAA is harnessing satellite technology to modernize the nation’s air traffic system and make it safer, greener, and more efficient.
When the USDOT began its research into connected vehicles over a decade ago, we knew this wireless communications technology had the potential to transform our nation’s transportation system. We also knew we had a long journey ahead of us of extensive research, development, and testing. But we are now in that sweet spot of pilots and deployments. This powerful technology is finally coming to a road near you.
Last September, the future of transportation took a huge leap closer when we selected three connected vehicle deployment sites as participants in the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment program. The three sites include using connected vehicle technologies to improve safe and efficient truck movement along I-80 in southern Wyoming, exploiting vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and intersection communications to improve vehicle flow and pedestrian safety in high-priority corridors in New York City, and deploying multiple safety and mobility applications on and in proximity to reversible freeway lanes in Tampa, Florida. Since September, the connected vehicle pilots have been smoothly moving forward, and we should see deployment plans for these pilots by this summer.
All month at the Department of Transportation, we’re highlighting how the past 50 years of innovation have transformed the way in which we move people and goods across the country and around the world. We’re also looking ahead at the ways in which advancements in technology are allowing us to work toward 50 more years of forward-thinking innovation that will continue to keep us on the forefront of game-changing transportation.
But we can’t just talk about it – we must be proactive in our approach, and so we’ve put ourselves to the test. Today at the U.S.-China Transportation Forum in Los Angeles, we launched the Race to Zero Emissions (R2ZE) Challenge. This collaborative and friendly competition encourages transit agencies here in the United States and China to deploy innovative, advanced, non-polluting Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs) with the target of having such buses make up at least 35% of our fleets by 2025. In doing so, we aim to reduce greenhouse gas and emissions while fostering demand for zero emission, heavy-duty vehicle technology.
Across the country, millions of students are heading to the podium, taking part in commencement ceremonies at institutions of higher education. These sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends and colleagues equate to more than just numbers, they are our Nation’s future.
In addition to their degrees, these graduates hold the key to innovation. Many students spend four or more years working on the “the next big thing” – that cog in the wheel that will turn our present mode of thinking, living and doing into tomorrow’s reality.
Transit plays a critical role in connecting Americans to economic opportunity, and that’s why I was proud to be in Columbus, Ohio, this week to announce a federal grant for a new bus rapid transit (BRT) project. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is providing $37.5 million to the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) for its CMAX BRT project. The funds are provided through FTA’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program, the federal government’s primary grant program for funding major transit projects.
COTA’s new BRT line will strengthen and revitalize the communities it serves along Cleveland Avenue, connecting downtown Columbus with the northern suburbs, and improving access to jobs, education and medical care for thousands of residents.
When it comes to vehicle safety, we often envision protecting the lives of occupants traveling inside a vehicle. But while roadway fatalities have successfully declined in recent years, the number of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities have increased.
In 2014, there were 4,884 pedestrians killed and an estimated 65,000 injured in traffic crashes in the United States. On average, a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes in traffic crashes.
As such, I declared pedestrian and bicyclist safety a top priority for the USDOT and the deployment of connected vehicle technology has the potential to yield significant safety benefits for all pedestrians including cyclists, people in wheelchairs, children in strollers and passengers getting on and off of buses.
As the month of May comes to a close, so too does the annual observance of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. But that doesn’t mean the end of efforts to make riders, and indeed all road users, safer.
Across the country, decision makers at the local, state and federal levels rely on data and analysis to make important decisions about making the communities we live in, and the transportation system we rely on, safer.
There are clear trends showing that the number of motorcycle fatalities is on the rise in recent years. We know this from compiling and analyzing reams of data points. Our Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), established in 1992, is designed to administer data collection, analysis, and reporting and to ensure the most cost-effective use of transportation-monitoring resources. Our challenge is to develop data and analyses that are relevant, high quality, timely, comparable, complete, and accessible-our strategic goals for transportation statistics.
In honor of its 50th Anniversary, the US Department of Transportation has designated June as “Innovation Month.” But what exactly does that mean?
The word “innovation” gets tossed around so much these days that it has almost lost its meaning. Everywhere you turn, things are being labelled “innovative” even though they often seem, well… rather ordinary. As a result, the word “innovation” can start to sound like a hollow buzzword.
When Secretary Foxx asked me to serve as USDOT’s first Chief Innovation Officer, it wasn’t to bring more buzzwords to government. My enthusiasm to take leave from Stanford University, where I work as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and join USDOT was not because of the trendy title. It was instead because I saw a huge challenge and a chance to do my part to help meet it.