It's time to cue the balloons and streamers, because today marks an exciting milestone here at DOT: the 10th anniversary of the Federal Safe Routes to School Program!
On August 10, 2005, Congress passed the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). This legislation established our Safe Routes to School program and ushered in a decade of working to create safer, more active routes to school.
Safe Routes programs examine conditions around schools and conduct projects and activities in school communities that improve safety and accessibility. When Safe Routes was created, the late Congressman Jim Oberstar, a champion of including Safe Routes in SAFETEA-LU, said, “The Safe Routes to School Program is giving us the opportunity to change the habits of an entire generation to ensure that healthy children grow to be healthy adults.”
This was a bold prediction, but I’m happy to report that he was absolutely right...
Rarely does DOT miss an opportunity to focus our transportation investments where they can boost local economic development.
Our funding commitments to America’s infrastructure are about more than throughput. They pay off for individual residents who gain improved access to jobs, education, and other services even while they also boost economic growth in the community at large. From construction jobs during the building phase to more permanent jobs created when companies invest locally because of improved transportation, the taxpayer dollars we invest in infrastructure pay our nation back several times over in the economic activity these projects stimulate.
We have a long list of transportation projects to get done just in the deferred maintenance area alone, to say nothing of investing in increased capacity that stimulates development through improved access for businesses to markets, customers, and employees...
Excavation damage remains a leading cause of serious pipeline incidents that cause death, injury, and property damage. In fact, between 1988 and 2014, 1,815 pipeline incidents caused by excavation damage resulted in 193 deaths, 757 injuries, and nearly $545 million in property damage.
As you prepare to tackle summer projects that require digging –like gardening or installing a new fence– are you including a call to 811 in your plans? Whether you use a rototiller or a shovel to do your dirty work, calling 811 at least two days before digging is required by law in all 50 states...
Small businesses embody the American dream of seizing opportunities. They represent innovation at its best. They’re the heart of the American economy.
I experienced this personally when I was the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, and most of the community’s businesses were small. In many ways, what I learned then is still relevant: leaders in government need to proactively reach out to small businesses and forge connections.
Yes, we want to make sure that small business owners aren't missing out on potential opportunities that could lead to expansion and new hires. But, we also want to make sure that we’re not missing out on what they offer, either. We want to make sure we’re tapping into their expertise.
DOT's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization pursues those two outcomes every day. And the Small Business Day they held here at DOT's DC Headquarters yesterday is just the most recent example of that pursuit...
Last month at NHTSA, we brought together many of our safety partners to discuss how we might better protect children when they ride school buses.
Today, thankfully, school buses are the safest way for children to get around. On average each year, four school-age children lost their lives in bus crashes from 2000 to 2012. Contrast that with the 490 school-age children killed in passenger vehicle crashes over that same time period and you begin to understand why parents can feel confident in their children’s safety when they get on the big yellow bus.
That said, NHTSA doesn’t accept that we have to lose any children in school bus tragedies—not a single one—and we brought experts together to ask tough questions about whether --and how-- we can make school bus travel even safer...
The work of advancing transit safety doesn’t take a summer vacation, and neither does the Transit Advisory Committee on Safety (TRACS).
TRACS is a safety advisory group chartered by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation that provides information, advice, and recommendations on transit safety matters to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Last week, along with FTA Senior Advisor Carolyn Flowers, I had the opportunity to take part in their latest meeting.
TRACS members are currently finishing up advisory work on two critical issues: fatigue management and preventing assaults on transit workers...
Last Friday, President Obama signed the 34th short-term surface transportation extension passed by Congress in the past 6 years, saying:
"Instead of long-term approaches where we can actually strategize on what are the most important infrastructure projects, how are they getting paid for, providing certainties to governors and mayors and states and localities about how they’re going to approach critical infrastructure projects -- roads, bridges, ports, airports -- instead, we operate as if we’re hand-to-mouth three months at a time, which freezes a lot of construction, which makes people uncertain, which leads to businesses not being willing to hire because they don’t have any long-term certainty."
Which is not to mention the fact that America's roads, rails, and transit systems --the ones that get you where you need to go and deliver the goods you use every day-- will continue to go underfunded and under-maintained. They will continue to be denied the upgrades that might ease congestion and more safely connect people to opportunity.
So beginning today and running throughout the August recess, we're going to turn our Instagram account over to you. Just snap a photo --please do it safely!-- of the worn-out infrastructure in your neck of the woods and share it with @USDOT using #ShowUsYourInfraWear...
With summer heat pounding down on cities and towns across America, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is again urging everyone to remember that heatstroke can be deadly to a child left in a hot car.
Other than crashes, heatstroke is the leading cause of death involving children 14 years and younger in motor vehicles. They represent 61 percent of all non-crash deaths in this age group. San Francisco State University’s Department of Geosciences estimates that, in 2014, at least 30 kids died from heatstroke. And, with several weeks of hot weather still to come, 10 kids have already died in 2015.
Heatstroke kills. But it is 100 percent preventable. So we're reminding everyone to protect children with this simple message: “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock.” Today, as part of National Heatstroke Prevention Day, we’ll be highlighting heatstroke dangers on Twitter throughout the day. You can follow our tweetup on @NHTSAgov using #checkforbaby and #heatstrokekills...
Underpinning DOT’s many safety programs and regulations is a wealth of data, much of it publicly shared. That data informs our decision-making and supports our objective of the safest possible outcomes for all users of the transportation system.
But that data also gets used by others pursuing similar safety goals, so we recognize the need to continually improve the value of data we collect and share, particularly as the quantity and variety of that data increase.
To help DOT better understand how we can improve our surface transportation safety data, we worked with the Center for Open Data Enterprise to hold an Open Data Roundtable last March. And today, the Center has released its report on that Roundtable...
Since 2009, our TIGER competitive grant program has provided a combined $4.1 billion to 342 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. That's a terrific outcome, right? Hundreds of good projects making it easier for people to get where they're going and easier for freight to get to markets. And any Department would be rightfully proud of that achievement --as DOT is.
But during that same period, demand has been so overwhelming that the Department received more than 6,000 applications requesting more than $124 billion. That means that for every project selected, 17 projects that communities across the country need go unfunded. And for every dollar requested, we have only been able to provide about 3 cents. Three cents.
For this year's TIGER grants, communities are facing the same disappointment: We've received 625 applications seeking $9.8 billion in funding, 20 times more than the $500 million Congress has made available. Again, we're seeing a demonstration of the continued need for transportation investment nationwide.
Now, we're looking forward to selecting the best of those projects, but the consistent number of high quality projects we’re unable to fund through TIGER every year demonstrates the need for Congress to give more communities access to this vital lifeline.
That's why earlier this year, we sent Congress the GROW AMERICA Act, a transportation proposal that included more than doubling the amount available for TIGER...