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Last November, I wrote here in the Fast Lane that the Federal Transit Administration has been working hard to establish our new safety authority and develop a framework that will allow us to better protect the nation's transit riders and transit employees.

And earlier this week, we marked another important milestone in that development as George Good, Jr., began his first day as the first full-time safety investigator for our 50-year old agency.

Day-to-day, George will support round-the-clock operations for accident investigations. He will also work closely with the transit industry and other DOT agencies to promote transit safety and develop recommended practices and procedures that can help make a safe mode of transportation even safer. And when safety issues are identified at a transit agency, George will help draft recommendations and advisories to eliminate those risks...

Photo of George Good, Jr.

Continue Reading FTA suits up first safety ››
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The number one mission of the Department of Transportation is to keep the traveling public safe.  And one aspect of that is ensuring that our nation’s transportation network is not used for harm. Human trafficking is harm. It is a crime, and we must all work to prevent it.

Unfortunately, not many Americans understand how serious a problem human trafficking is. But this Administration does. We understand that millions of men, women, and children are victims of this horrific crime. And we are doing what we can to prevent it...

Poster to raise awareness of human trafficking signs

Continue Reading National Slavery and Human ››
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Earlier today, I went to Capitol Hill to speak with the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. Now, as Fast Lane readers know, we're in a new year, with a new Congress. But I went to the Senate to discuss an old issue: America's need for better transportation.

Specifically, as Senators and House members from both sides of the aisle have said, our country needs a multiyear transportation bill with funding growth and policy reforms focused on our nation’s future.

America is in a race. Not just against our global competitors, but against time and against the high standards of innovation and progress our nation has upheld for generations. You don't need to read the data from transportation experts to know that we're slipping behind in that race. You can look around --at our road congestion, at the tens of thousands of bridges that need to be replaced or upgraded, at our cities' legacy transit systems. And when you are behind, you must do more than just keep pace; you must run faster...

Continue Reading For a viable future, we ››
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Many Americans are familiar with NHTSA’s work to prevent deaths and injuries on America’s roads. Just last week at the DC Auto Show, for example, Secretary Foxx looked back at more than 50 years of lives saved –more than 600,000—by technology use, and he looked ahead at incorporating new technology to prevent crashes. But you might not know the degree to which we’ve worked to help other countries improve their roadway safety efforts and how their experiences are now informing our own work here in the U.S.

NHTSA’s relationship with the Japanese National Police Agency (NPA) is a prime example of international cooperation delivering safer roads across borders. For fifteen years, NHTSA and the NPA have collaborated through joint meetings to help share experiences and knowledge aimed at improving safety for Americans and Japanese. Past discussion topics have ranged from pedestrian safety and the challenges faced by older drivers to emergency response and traffic speed management. Most recently, our Japanese colleagues share lessons learned from traffic management during the mass evacuation of the 2011 Tohoku tsunami area and how recent driving study data may apply to safety efforts in Japan...

Photo of Mark Rosekind, NHTSA team, and NPA team

Continue Reading Collaborating for Safer ››
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The men and women who assist motorists on our roads perform an extraordinary service. Most of us rarely think of them, but when our vehicle breaks down or a crash occurs, we rely on police and fire departments, emergency medical providers, and towing companies.

But investigating and clearing traffic incidents is dangerous and complicated work.  The number of responder deaths, injuries, and near misses makes that all too clear. That's why the Federal Highway Administration is working to mitigate those dangers and prevent harm to our responders.

And today, we've gathered Traffic Incident Management (TIM) leaders from across the country for a summit where they can share their experiences and ideas for increased responder safety...

Photo montage of traffic incident management

Continue Reading Safety and Traffic Incident ››
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Those who read Friday's Fast Lane post will recall my challenge to America's mayors to help us help them raise the bar for bicyclist and pedestrian safety.  I went back to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting the very next day to secure more support from our mayors --this time for our long-term transportation bill, the GROW AMERICA Act

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If you're a regular reader of the Fast Lane, you might recall our December post when we reported that the number of people killed on our roads has declined nearly 25 percent since 2004 and that America's highway fatality rate --1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled-- was at it lowest point ever.

Unfortunately, in the five years from 2009 to 2013, bicyclist deaths were up 15 percent and pedestrian deaths are up 16 percent. In 2013, more than 5,000 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed, and more than 100,000 were injured.

Most of those deaths and injuries happened in urban areas, so yesterday, when I spoke to the men and women gathered in Washington, DC, for the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting, I issued a challenge to those elected officials to help us help them make America's streets safer...

Photo of Secretary Foxx

Continue Reading My challenge to mayors: Are ››
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It's always good to hear confirmation that the data supports your case. And in the case of automotive technology and government oversight, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has completed a crunch of 52 years of data, from 1960 to 2012. The conclusion? Over the last half-century, the technologies that improve safety --and the regulatory standards that ensure those technologies are in our nation's cars-- have saved 614,000 lives.

That's more than the entire population of Oklahoma City, and it proves that NHTSA's rules and oversight have helped make Americans safer on our nation's roads.

And today, we're taking another step to bring us closer to a future where crash deaths are a thing of the past, NHTSA's plan to add Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)to its list of Recommended Advanced Technology Features under the New Car Assessment Program...

Photo of Secretary Foxx at Washington D.C. Auto Show

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In one of the most powerful lines of his 2015 State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama said, “If you want somebody who’s going to get the job done –and done right— hire a veteran.”

With veterans accounting for more than a quarter of our workforce here at DOT, we’re already familiar with our returning troops’ strong professional skills and work ethic.  But, that doesn’t mean we’re not taking the President’s message to heart.

Helping our nation’s veterans transition to civilian careers remains a top priority for DOT and for America’s transportation industry.  And this morning, I joined the First and Second Ladies of the United States at the Joining Forces Forum on Veterans Hiring in Transportation to keep the ball rolling on this issue and renew the call to connect veterans with promising careers supporting our nation’s transportation...

Photo of First Lady and Second Lady

Continue Reading Joining Forces to Connect ››
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The economic news from President Obama's State of the Union address last night is good: "Our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999."

In fact, over the past five years, American businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs. That 58-month streak of job creation is the longest on record, and since 2010, we have put more people back to work than all of the advanced economies of the world combined. The economic growth reported for the 3rd quarter of 2014? The strongest in more than a decade. And our federal deficit? Cut by two-thirds.

As the President said, "The verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works."

Good news indeed, but no one at DOT is confusing that good news as a sign that we can afford to rest. Because we cannot; we can't rest on transportation, and we can't rest on opportunity. As President Obama pointed out, "No one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the future. But we do know we want them here in America..."

Chart showing job creation over past 58 months

Continue Reading Our path to the future ››
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