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As one of the world’s busiest ports, the Port of Houston represents a large part of the region’s vibrant economy. It is a 25-mile-long complex of terminals that serve more than 8,000 vessels and 200,000 barges each year. No wonder several sections of I-10 and I-45 that link to the port are grappling with freight congestion.

Houston is not alone. In the Federal Highway Administration’s latest series of Freight Economy roundtables – in Houston, Oklahoma City, and Virginia’s Hampton Roads area – we heard about the importance of investments in our waterways, rails, and highways to get goods and products where they need to go and move our economy forward.

Picture of Port of Houston

Continue Reading To Move the Economy Forward ››
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How big could the “Big Data” associated with transportation get? 

By 2020, the International Data Corporation estimates that there will be about 23 billion moving “things” – cars, trucks, mobile phones, buses, drones, etc. – as part of the Internet of Things.  Collectively, these moving things will produce about 27% of the data in the digital universe, or 11 zettabytes. That’s 11 trillion gigabytes a year.

Or, to put it in perspective, that’s like transmitting the text of every book published in modern history, every single second of every day. What will we do with all of this information? 

Picture of Saint Lawrence Seaway

Continue Reading Tech Tuesday: How Big Data ››
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As the public’s preference for more multi-modal transportation options continues to grow, the Federal Transit Administration is at the forefront of improving public transportation connections for America’s communities.

With advances in technology changing how people access rides, we are using our research program to respond to social, economic, and environmental trends by investing in research and demonstration activities that advance innovative approaches and improve how public transportation provides access and mobility for all.

Now, we invite all of you to share your vision for the future of transit research.

Picture of bus stop

Continue Reading Make Yourself Heard on ››
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When people think of sustainability, they don’t often think of the baking heat of Central Texas in July.  But last week, I had the opportunity to see environmental, economic, and social sustainability in action at the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Sustainability Workshop in Austin.

Picture of MLK Jr. station sign

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Every year, it’s a privilege at DOT to award TIGER grants – funds that help revitalize communities in innovative and interconnected ways. Last week, you saw Secretary Foxx’s announcement of the 2016 TIGER winners: 40 communities that will receive a share of close to $500 million in TIGER grants nationwide.

Each of those communities has a story to tell. Today, I’m in Carlisle, Pennsylvania to highlight one of those stories – the story of how  a community came together to better itself, and how a $5 million TIGER grant will amplify their efforts.

Photo of Victor Mendez at podium​​​​​​​

Continue Reading Pennsylvania Leading the ››
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Last week, I was thrilled to attend the world’s largest aviation event – the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture, held annually in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

This year’s AirVenture hosted over half a million aviation enthusiasts and professionals from around the world, and over 10,000 aircraft, from old warbirds to brand new light sport aircraft.

With over 1,000 forums and workshops covering a variety of educational and safety-related topics and 800 exhibitors, AirVenture provides a unique opportunity for attendees to explore the depth and breadth of innovation that exists within the general aviation (GA) industry.

Picture of airplanes in field

Continue Reading Exploring the Excitement of ››
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As part of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) efforts to provide people with better transportation options to visit the doctor and access other non-emergency health services, I hosted a meeting late last month of the Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM).

After sharing ideas with a diverse group of colleagues from across the federal government, I am confident that we have set a path to improve the availability, quality, and delivery of transportation services relating to healthcare.

CCAM Meeting in progress

Continue Reading Federal Agencies Aim to ››
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It's no secret the U.S. is facing a serious infrastructure deficit. No matter who you ask - from civil engineering experts to mayors to parents stuck in rush hour traffic - it's clear that our transportation needs far exceed the federal funds available to invest in improvements to our roads, bridges, rails, and transit systems, and new projects.

This week, I am in Australia to meet with transportation and infrastructure leaders in both government and the private sector to learn lessons from the Australian experience funding infrastructure using public-private partnerships.

Image of handshake -- Courtesy Electronic Frontier Foundation on Wikimedia Commons

Continue Reading Searching the Globe for the ››
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For many of us, transportation and our individual mobility are fairly seamless parts of our daily routine. We don’t even think about it, unless there’s a hiccup—the car doesn’t start, the bus is late, construction makes us take a detour.

But imagine if the hiccups were our daily routine –  if we had to face obstacles every day to get  from point A to point B. Can I drive this car? How will I get to the bus stop? Can I ride on this bus? Is it safe to cross the street? How will I get inside the building once I arrive?

At DOT, the Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI) leads the Department’s efforts to seek technology-based solutions to these problems.

ATTRI logo

Continue Reading Using Technology to Make ››
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Buying a new vehicle can be a difficult, time-consuming process. It’s often hard to find trusted information about what you want to buy, and how the different options compare to each other. That’s true whether you’re a private citizen browsing for new cars in Consumer Reports or a transit agency looking for the best bus to add to your fleet.

With the Federal Transit Administration’s new Bus Testing Final Rule, we’re aiming to make that process easier for the many local transit agencies that rely on our grants to purchase buses – while helping ensure that taxpayers get the best return on their investment and that bus operators and passengers enjoy a safe, reliable ride.

Picture of bus testing -- image from user Ahsanriaz6157, Wikimedia Commons

Continue Reading Looking for a New Bus? FTA’ ››
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