The news is out: 77 cities from Reno to Rochester and Anchorage to Albuquerque have submitted applications for DOT's first-of-its-kind Smart City Challenge.
If you don't know about our Challenge, we asked mid-size US cities to send us their plan for using data, technology, and creativity to shape how people and goods move. The winning city will receive up to $40 million in Federal funding. In addition the winner will receive $10 million in support from Paul Allen's Vulcan, Inc., to help mitigate emissions plus free installation from Mobileye of Mobileye Shield+ TM safety technology for the city's fleet of transit buses.
Having a plan is essential when building something long-lasting and worthwhile. As public transportation faces an increase in ridership along with aging infrastructure, a safety plan is key to meeting growing demand while keeping passengers and workers safe.
Today, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a proposed rule for the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (Agency Safety Plan) and a notice of availability for the proposed National Public Transportation Safety Plan (National Safety Plan) that would provide a blueprint for transit agencies to make that happen.
At the FHWA, safety is our top priority. We remind ourselves of it frequently, and to most people it probably seems like a simple mission. In fact, it‘s complicated.
Safety can only happen when nothing is overlooked, even the font used on highway signs. We strive to make the U.S. road system consistent from coast to coast. To minimize driver confusion, for example, STOP signs in California should look the same as they do in Maine.
Recently, we published a notice in the Federal Register that an experimental font called “Clearview” – for which we gave conditional use approval starting in 2004 – will not be approved for use on public roads after February 23...
Highway Gothic signage, photo courtesy KXRO
Yesterday, as Fast Lane readers probably noticed, the Department kicked off our year-long 50th Anniversary commemoration with a terrific bang: a ceremony that DOTers are not likely to forget very soon. Today, the hard work of the past 50 years continues.
We've dedicated this 50th Anniversary year to a different theme each month, a different aspect of transportation that DOT has been engaged in and continues to advance. So let's start with February and Transportation's Role in Advancing Ladders of Opportunity...
When President Lyndon Baines Johnson prepared to name his first U.S. Secretary of Transportation, he knew it would take a creative and intelligent leader to stand up the new Department of Transportation. And he knew that then-Under Secretary of Commerce Alan Boyd was the right man for the job.
Since then, 16 other men and women have taken the Oath of Office for that position, and they have continued down the path that Secretary Boyd blazed. It's a path toward greater safety and mobility, paved by listening to a diverse array of stakeholders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors --and made a lot easier by the professionals at DOT who serve the American people faithfully day in and day out.
Secretaries and audience honor DOT's inaugural Secretary, Alan Boyd (far right) at the 50th Anniversary ceremony.
Today, we were fortunate to have seven of them --including me-- on the stage for the kickoff ceremony of our year-long 50th Anniversary celebration, and I can’t thank them enough for joining us. We also were joined by Lynda Johnson Robb --daughter of President Johnson—and Deputy Postmaster Ronald Stroman, and I thank them, too!
2016 brings us to a significant milestone here at DOT, our 50th anniversary! And today we're kicking off a year-long celebration of our five decades of public service.
That celebration begins at 11 AM (ET) with a kickoff ceremony that we will stream live at www.transportation.gov/50/events.
We've invited some special guests --including the very first Secretary of Transportation, Alan Boyd, and Lynda Johnson Robb, daughter of President Lyndon Baines Johnson-- so we hope you'll join us online. If you're sharing the livestream on social media, or just want to wish us a “Happy Anniversary!” please use our anniversary hashtag, #DOTat50.
After the stream ends, you can visit our new 50th Anniversary website for a look at how far we've traveled together over the past 50 years!
If you're Punxsutawney Phil, whether you see your shadow today or not, you're going to be missing out. Because the sight to see in the first week of February 2016 --at least around DOT-- is not your shadow; it's the applications being submitted by mid-sized cities for our Smart City Challenge.
The Smart City Challenge applications could determine something far more important than the duration of this single winter, which is --let's face it-- already halfway over. They could show us how we can manage the transportation challenges we'll be facing in the next 30 years.
But first, they have to make their way to DOT...by February 4...
A few years ago, in one of my first posts here in the Fast Lane, I wrote that, to make American transportation safer and stronger, "we need every tool in the box and a few we haven't even thought of yet."
Well, last Friday, I saw powerful affirmation of that at Texas A&M University, the site of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design Competition. At this event, more than a thousand high school and college engineers from all over the world presented their designs for the best Hyperloop pod. And I think that level of turnout and excitement from student innovators is the biggest story emerging from the competition...
Visiting with student competitors from MIT.
Cross-posted from the White House blog.
“It is fitting that with the very first bill I sign…we are upholding one of this nation’s first principles: that we are all created equal and each deserve a chance to pursue our own version of happiness.” —President Barack Obama, January 29, 2009
Seven years ago today, President Obama signed into law his first piece of legislation as President: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which empowered women to recover wages lost to pay discrimination. While the gender pay gap has narrowed slightly over the past two years, there is much more work to be done to ensure fair pay for all. Today, the median wage of a woman working full-time year-round in the United States is about $39,600—only 79 percent of a man’s median earnings of $50,400.
Today, the President is highlighting several additional actions that his Administration is taking to advance equal pay for all workers and further empower working families..
Cross-posted from the U.S. Department of Labor blog.
In the 25 years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we have lived through a technological revolution. We have seen technology empower people with disabilities in all aspects of life. This is especially true in the workplace, as the tremendous advance of technology has been the great equalizer for people with disabilities who are employees or job seekers. The department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy has focused on promoting universal design in information technology, and on increasing the availability of accessible technology for use in the workplace.
But technology isn’t just important at work; it’s essential to getting to work. The best employment program is of little help if people cannot access reliable, independent and affordable transportation. The recent innovation in wayfinding and other technologies has greatly enhanced the ability of millions of Americans with mobility challenges to get to and from their jobs − but we aren’t done yet...