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Last month, we launched Beyond Traffic, our assessment of American transportation and some of the difficult challenges we'll face in the future. The point was not to publish this draft framework and move on. Instead, we wanted to jump-start a national conversation and draw out your ideas about how we can keep America moving in the decades to come.

Since then, more than 250,000 people have downloaded Beyond Traffic from the DOT website, far more than I ever expected.

Despite that impressive start, we are not declaring victory--not even close. Because we still need to hear from you.

That's why, beginning tomorrow and continuing for the next two weeks, we're hosting five different web sessions, each focused on a different theme of the Beyond Traffic Framework. These webinars will outline our five Beyond Traffic topics and help elicit your ideas on each topic.

And if the webinars don't get your ideas flowing, this Thursday, House Transportation Committee Chair Bill Shuster and I will jointly keynote a session hosted by the National Journal on the future of America's infrastructure...

Beyond Traffic logo

Continue Reading Beyond Traffic web sessions ››
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America's mayors are busy people. They are on the front lines of providing citizens the municipal services they expect from their local government. So when mayors, elected officials, and other local leaders take time away from that duty --as they did yesterday-- to attend the Mayors Summit for Safer People and Safer Streets here at DOT's Washington, DC, headquarters, they're making a positive choice...and a clear statement.

Together, as 180 communities of different size, different geography, and different constituents, they're making a collective statement that improving safety on our streets for everyone who uses them --and particularly for the most vulnerable-- is a national priority. As Mayor Tim Dougherty of Morristown, NJ, said yesterday, "It's like with seat belts and distracted driving; if you hammer at it long enough and loud enough, people understand that this will save lives."

And individually, they're making an explicit statement that improving safety --by pursuing the seven activities of DOT's Mayor's Challenge-- will be a local priority for the foreseeable future...

Victor Mendez delivers opening remarks at the Mayors' Summit
Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez welcomes participants to the Mayors' Summit.
Continue Reading Mayors Summit kicks-off ››
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When she was a baby, you put her in a car seat. In a few years, you’ll insist she buckle up when behind the wheel. Today, however, she’s a tween; she’s tired of hearing mom and dad nag her about wearing her seat belt. And you’re a little tired of saying it.

But this is the fight worth having. Your tween’s life is at stake.

And that’s why DOT and NHTSA have launched our “Never Give Up Until They Buckle Up” campaign...

Continue Reading Don’t Give Up Until They ››
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About 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical appointments every year because they lack a ride to the doctor. Given that America’s population is aging, and about half of us live with at least one chronic condition, getting regular health care is more important than ever.

Creating and supporting communities that are age-friendly allows older adults to age in place and supports their continued health and vitality. Soon, the White House Conference on Aging expects to issue a policy brief on Healthy Aging that explores these concerns as well as potential solutions.

And "Ride to Wellness," a program to make sure people can get a ride to the healthcare they need, is a great step toward addressing these needs...

Man in wheelchair being helped aboard transit vehicle

Continue Reading Healthy aging? FTA's ››
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When most Americans think of California's San Diego County, we think of sun and beaches. But the county is actually quite mountainous, and for the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians that makes it difficult to provide emergency services on steep and winding tribal roads.

That's why the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund (TTPSF) is awarding the La Jolla Band $479,224 to better equip its emergency responders to handle crashes on the reservation.

And, as FHWA announced today, the La Jolla Band is just one of 82 tribes that will receive more than $8.5 million for 94 projects from the TTPSF this year to improve transportation safety on tribal lands...

Photo of Palomar Mountain Road
Continue Reading FHWA helping improve safety ››
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Today, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) joined the National Strategy on Highway Safety Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) effort, a vision for eliminating fatalities on the nation’s roadways. AASHTO has long been a valued partner to DOT, and this aggressive approach to safety —this Department’s number one priority— will only strengthen that partnership.

Rather than accepting a certain number of crashes as unavoidable, a TZD approach commits us to work across sectors and use every tool available to systematically analyze and work toward eliminating traffic crashes among all who use the roadways. The National Strategy on Highway Safety provides a platform of options for state agencies, private industry, national organizations, and others to use in developing safety plans that prioritize traffic safety culture and promote the national TZD vision.

DOT embraces the National Strategy on Highway Safety Toward Zero Deaths vision as a significant step toward eliminating traffic fatalities...

Continue Reading AASHTO announces Toward ››
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Here in Washington, DC, a sure sign of spring was on display this weekend as the melting snow of sidewalks and bike lanes gave way to an outpouring of people walking and biking. And later this week as warm weather continues, we'll see more people outside using foot power to get where they're going.

We'll also see advocates for bicyclists and pedestrians coming to town for the League of American Bicyclists annual National Bike Summit. City leaders are here for the National League of Cities Conference, and public transportation leaders are participating in the American Public Transportation Association’s annual legislative conference. 

So this week is a good time for us to launch an initiative that concerns all three: On Thursday, March 12, DOT is hosting the Mayors' Summit for Safer People, Safer Streets here at DOT Headquarters...

Bike parking at Princeton Junction, N.J., train station
Continue Reading A big week in our Nation ››
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Early Sunday morning --2 a.m. to be exact-- while most Americans are sleeping, most of us will also be springing forward into Daylight Savings Time.

Under law, daylight saving time is observed from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November and is designed to increase the amount of evening daylight.

Although Federal law specifies that those areas observing the time change must use the starting and ending dates set by the law. So, if you live anywhere in the U.S. except Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Marianas, and most of Arizona, you'll be setting your clocks one hour ahead...

Reminder to set clocks ahead, Sunday, March 9, 2 a.m.

Continue Reading Time to Spring Forward ››
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At the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), we're all about innovation and working smarter, and we're always open to new approaches and solutions—especially when it involves  delivering highway projects more efficiently.

Contracting is at the heart of the federal-aid program.  Good contracting practices are good for taxpayers because they can help ensure project costs don’t increase.  Less delay in completing a project also benefits the driving public.

This is why FHWA has approved a New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) proposal to use a prequalification system with contractors. If implemented effectively, this approach can help save time and money over the life of a construction project...

New Mexico D.O.T. road work

Continue Reading Getting the Most for ››
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Yesterday, we dared to write a blog post celebrating data. Today, we are unapologetically following that with a post celebrating wireless technology. The transportation connection? With DOT support, vehicle-to-vehicle communication is coming to the automobile market, and it will make our lives safer and help us go Beyond Traffic.

As we wrote here last month about this game-changing technology, "when a car can see what a driver can't, yours could warn you of a potential crash or icy roads ahead; advise you of a traffic jam ahead and automatically recalculate your travel route; or even help you locate an available parking space."

And it appears that the editors of MIT's Technology Review were listening. Because when the Review released its list of "10 Breakthrough Technologies for 2015" in late February, Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication was right there. Listed among the key contributors were our very own National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as the University of Michigan, where we launched our first large-scale V2V pilot program. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Office of Research Technology (OSTR) here at DOT have also been instrumental...

Continue Reading DOT (unapologetically) ››
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