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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.

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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.

virtual image of road with text "Incident Ahead Reduce Speed move to left lane"

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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. 

Race to zero emissions banner image with secretary Anthony Foxx

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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.

Secretary Foxx at the UTA's Center for Transportation Research at the TACC’s Visualization Laboratory
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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.

CMAX Stylized Map image

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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.

Image of pedestrians

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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.

spotting a motorcycle on the road can be hard image of traffic

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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.

Image of demonstration of the Microsoft Kinect system at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City
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As holidays go, Memorial Day is one of America’s most important. It is a time to remember the sacrifices made by those who have died in the service of our country.

It is also the traditional start to summer and, with that, summer driving. Last week, our friends at the AAA announced their estimate that 34 million drivers will travel more than 50 miles from home this weekend, making it one of the most highly traveled weekends in more than a decade.

According to FHWA data, the busiest interstates in the nation are Los Angeles’ I-5, which is used by an estimated 452,600 drivers on a normal day, followed by Atlanta’s I-401, which typically serves an estimated 382,000 drivers each day. You can bet those numbers will be even higher this weekend.

Safety first street sign

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Transportation is our lifeblood. It gets us where we need to be, whether it’s to work, to meet friends, to enjoy our kids’ baseball games or be home with our families.

It’s funny, but when it works best, we almost forget about transportation. It’s always there. It’s reliable. We don’t need to think about it.

Unfortunately, everyday transportation has become even more challenging as our cities grow. Congestion, cost, proximity, or the ability to physically access some vehicles are hurdles. These barriers, like a purchasing or driving a car, are even higher for our most vulnerable communities – the working poor, children, seniors, and people with disabilities.

Image of Secretary Anthony Foxx and representatives at the conference table

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