Safety is our first priority here at the DOT. It always has been; it always will be. That's why today, it was my privilege to take part in events highlighting vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) and vehicle automation technology innovations.
Companies like these are at the forefront of producing one of the most sought after technologies in transportation –the self-driving car. In April, Delphi Automotive completed a 3,400 mile journey from California to New York with 99 percent of the drive taking place in fully automated mode. The company has said before “Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication are key to achieving Delphi’s vision of zero fatalities, zero accidents and zero injuries on the world's roadways.”
We couldn't agree more with those goals. Like Delphi, DOT is also committed to a world with zero traffic fatalities.
And in light of that commitment, I'm proud to announce that DOT is accelerating our timetable on a proposed V2V rule that would require vehicle-to-vehicle equipment --technology that allows cars to “talk” to one another-- in all new vehicles. V2V technology is a critical element of the connected automation that makes driverless cars as safe as possible...
Last night around 9:30 p.m., Amtrak train #188 bound from Washington, DC, to New York City derailed in Philadelphia. At least six people have been reported dead, and many others were injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board has investigators on the scene, and NTSB is leading the accident investigation.
Secretary Foxx was alerted immediately after the derailment occurred and vowed "to work with NTSB to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of this devastating event.”
In the spirit of #InfrastructureWeek, it is important to recognize that the future presents a number of serious transportation challenges.
Our population is increasing, our roads are deteriorating, and as the President likes to say, “We have 100,000 bridges old enough for Medicare.” Congestion is choking economic growth and slowing job growth. Business owners are finding it harder to ship their goods, and folks are finding it harder to get to work. In fact, the New York Times recently reported that commuting time is the single largest factor when calculating the odds of escaping poverty. Never before has the connection between economic prosperity and transportation been so self-evident. So Congress must be acting to meet the needs of modern transportation, right? Think again.
Yesterday, Shaun Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, sent a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations expressing his concerns with the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. In his letter, Mr. Donovan made it clear that the bill proposed by members of the committee seriously underfunds important investments that are necessary to address the very real challenges of both housing and infrastructure.
I echo Mr. Donovan’s concerns...
In yesterday's #InfrastructureWeek edition of the Fast Lane, I wrote that even if Congress does manage to pass its 33rd short-term extension of our nation's transportation law, "the previous 32 short-term measures have all but stripped away the ability of state and local governments to complete big projects."
And this morning, I saw first-hand how our inability to invest adequately in transportation is affecting the everyday lives of people in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The nearly one million people living in the greater Knoxville area look a lot like the folks in communities I've visited across America. They're trying to get their children to school on time, get themselves to work, and get home for dinner. They're doing their part, trying to get a little bit ahead if they can, trying to ensure a better life for their kids.
But, short-term extension after short-term extension, their government is failing them. And exhibit "A" of that failure is the Alcoa Highway...
It's happening again. The May 31 expiration date for federal transportation funding is fast approaching.
Earlier today, I wrote to State Department of Transportation leaders, informing them that all federal participation in transportation infrastructure construction will stop if we reach that date without action by Congress. States will not be reimbursed for construction costs. They will not receive technical support. And, as construction season begins after a long winter, projects will grind to a halt.
Maybe Congress will act in time. But at best, they’re likely to pass another short-term extension, the 33rd such patch in the past 6 years. And at best, they’ll prolong a dangerous status quo of funding infrastructure at a level that has left our transportation system gasping for air.
That's why thousands of stakeholders across the nation are rallying for the 3rd annual Infrastructure Week to urge Congress to say “no” to more short-term measures and “yes” to a long-term solution.
I’ll be leading the charge with kick-off events here in Washington, DC, and a week of activities in Tennessee, Iowa, and California...
Photo courtesy of Eric Wagner (@WagnerEric), Bloomberg Government (@BGOV)
We're now more than a week into May, and DOT is hearing about some great National Bike Month initiatives from participants in our Mayors' Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets. It looks like the Challenge that Secretary Foxx launched earlier this year has already helped local leaders promote safe walking and bicycling in communities across the country.
We've added a few initiatives of our own to the mix as well. Last week, we held a virtual forum where Challenge participants could share their activities, and today we're sharing our fun new Bike To Work Week video!
Click on the jump to learn about biking activities in Fergus Falls (MN), Bellevue (WA), and Burlington (VT)!
It's hard to believe that the 2013-2014 round (EDC-2) of the Federal Highway Administration's Every Day Counts (EDC) initiative, our partnership with state departments of transportation and other stakeholders to speed up innovation in project delivery just ended...and that we're already advancing another batch of innovations for EDC-3.
Judging from results compiled in our EDC-2 Final Report, our partners are indeed making every day count. Together, we’re saving money, saving time, and saving lives –exactly the results we said were possible if we made innovation a standard industry practice. And exactly the kinds of steps we need to keep taking to prepare for the future outlined in DOT's Beyond Traffic draft framework.
I invite you to review the report to see the progress we’ve made accelerating use of the 13 EDC-2 innovations in projects from coast to coast. You'll also learn about some impressive wins for transportation agencies across America...
Every day, thousands of public servants in the federal government toil to make our nation more safe, efficient, and competitive. Since 2013, I have had the privilege of working with some of the most remarkable federal employees here at the DOT, and during Public Service Recognition Week, I want to thank them for their dedication.
In affirmation of the commitment I’ve seen at DOT, the Partnership for Public Service has selected three of our own as finalists for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, known affectionately in the federal service as the “Sammie” award. Adam Schildge of the Federal Transit Administration, Paul Gilmour of the Maritime Administration, and Constantine Sarkos of the Federal Aviation Administration were nominated for their contributions to public service.
The achievements of all three of these individuals are particularly exceptional, and I was impressed to hear not only about the contributions they have made to the country, but to the world...
The unmanned aircraft (UAS) industry is changing faster than any segment of the aviation industry. So many bright minds are focused on advancing this technology. People are finding new ways to use these devices on almost a daily basis. And the energy I saw yesterday at the Unmanned Systems 2015 conference hosted by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) is proof of that.
That's why the AUVSI conference was the perfect spot to announce the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) next step to determine if and how we can safely expand unmanned aircraft operations in America: our Pathfinder research partnership with three leading U.S. companies.
These three companies --CNN, PrecisionHawk, and BNSF Railroad-- have committed extensive resources toward research that will help us expand the range of FAA-approved UAS operations in the next few years. Their work will provide significant insight into how unmanned aircraft can be used to transform the way certain industries do business –whether that means reporting on a natural disaster, checking on the health of crops, or making sure trains run on time...
Every year, thousands of Americans die or are seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes because they fail to wear safety belts. Surprisingly, professional drivers who handle commercial motor vehicles every day are less likely than other drivers to buckle up.
That's why elementary school kids from around the country spent the winter creating art that urges truck and bus drivers to "Be Ready. Be Buckled."
Their colorful messages were part of the annual calendar art contest run by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership. And last Monday, Transportation Secretary Foxx congratulated this year's winners...