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Last night, President Obama delivered the final State of the Union address of his Administration, and --to start at the end-- he made it clear that, "the State of the Union is strong."

I couldn't agree more. And I am proud of the role this Department has played in helping make it strong.

Economic Progress

In early February, 2009, just weeks after President Obama took the oath of office, First Lady Michelle Obama visited DOT and set the tone for the Administration by reminding us that, “There isn’t a day that goes by that the work of the Department of Transportation doesn’t touch the lives of every single person in America.”

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In its very first year, the Obama Administration asked senior leaders across Federal Agencies to establish 2-year Agency Priority Goals in key areas where agencies were focused on accelerated performance improvement.

Recently, the White House closed the books on the goals for Fiscal Years 2014-15, and we’re pleased to say that, for two of DOT’s goals –Improving Efficiency through ERAM at Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs) and Reducing Aviation Accidents– we’ve achieved a status of “Above Target.”

ERAM at Air Route Traffic Control Center

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In a new year, people often resolve to take action to better themselves: learning a new language, or parking a few blocks away from work to get in a little extra exercise. At Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center, we are always trying to better our transportation systems, but we're excited to be taking action on six emerging issues this year.

These six issues will be priorities for our staff of technical researchers, engineers, economists, statistical and policy analysts, community planners, and communications professionals as they work to improve mobility across all transportation modes.

We're also pleased to announce a national search for the next Volpe director. We welcome all qualified applicants to apply for the director position by Friday, February 19...

graphic array of transportation modes Volpe engages in

Continue Reading Volpe Looks Forward to 2016 ››
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Opportunity belt logoTo increase outreach with minority serving institutions, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) Deputy Administrator Craig Middlebrook met with officials from the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) in downtown Milwaukee back in June 2015.  The discussion focused on opportunities for the SLSDC, the Port of Milwaukee, and others to engage with area students and raise awareness about career opportunities in maritime transportation and waterway logistics.

The effort was part of our strategic vision and ongoing commitment to highlight the Great Lakes region as an Opportunity Belt for economic growth and job creation.  

From these early discussions, we embarked upon an exciting new initiative: SLSDC would host a marine transportation forum at MATC featuring local employers and others associated with marine transportation and waterway logistics.  And last November, we did exactly that...

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Today at CES 2016, I announced another key partnership for our Smart City Challenge: the winning city's public bus system will get installation of Mobileye's Shield +TM on every bus. This driver assistance safety technology helps bus drivers avoid and mitigate imminent collisions and protect road users including bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists.

This technology and support award is in addition to DOT's award of up to $40 million to create an integrated first-of-its-kind city that uses data and technology to shape how people and goods move…and an award of up to $10 million from the Challenge’s launch partner, Vulcan Philanthropy, to support infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Secretarty Foxx at C.E.S. 2016

The Smart City Challenge is an exciting opportunity for cities that want to improve their transportation networks through innovation, and today’s announcement makes it even more exciting. The winning city will be able to collaborate with DOT and with partners like Mobileye and Vulcan to implement bold, data-driven ideas to make transportation safer, easier, and more reliable.  The outcome promises to be a model of what we can achieve when public and private entities work together using leading-edge data and technological tools...

Continue Reading At CES 2016, Mobileye ››
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If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to get healthier in 2016, here’s some advice: in addition to eating better and getting more exercise, try transit.

Sitting on a bus or a train may not strike you as being especially active, but, in fact, researchers have found that people who regularly use public transportation actually walk a lot more than those who don’t. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults take a minimum 10-minute brisk walk three times a day, five days a week, and choosing transit as part of your everyday activities can help you get closer to that ideal. Innovations like modern streetcars, urban circulators, and bikeshare services give more people the option to choose a healthier – and less expensive – way to travel short distances than hopping in a cab.

Passengers walking to and from transit in Hoboken, NJ

Taking transit can also be good for your mental health. Last year, researchers in England found that commuters reported feeling better after traveling by public transportation compared to driving. The researchers attributed that to the fact that transit gives you more opportunity to relax, read, and socialize, while the short walk to and from transit stops also contributes to well-being. Not surprisingly, they found that the more time people spend commuting in cars, the worse they feel; they also found that regular walks have the opposite effect...

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Throughout 2015, NHTSA worked to improve how we identify and recall vehicles and vehicle equipment with safety-related defects, because doing so will save lives and prevent injuries on the road. Last month, we closed out the year by taking action again—in this case against three companies that failed to follow the laws that help protect us all from unsafe vehicles and equipment on our roads.

In all three  cases, we’re also holding these companies accountable for future actions. All three companies have to follow through on commitments that will ensure future compliance with the law. That is what will make our roads safer going forward.

By now, with record fines issued in 2015, the message should be clear: whether you’re a manufacturer or an importer of vehicles or vehicle equipment that will be on America’s roads, your compliance with life-saving Federal laws is non-negotiable...

Side-impact crash test

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By now, we’ve shared several looks back at 2015 from some of our Operating Administrations –FAA, FHWA, and FTA– and from our Office of Research and Technology. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the terrific work they accomplished last year for their specific mode of transportation. 

As Secretary, it has been a privilege helping shape these initiatives as well as leading a number of significant projects that cut across multiple modes...

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In 2009, former Federal Highway Administrator and current DOT Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez ushered in Every Day Counts (EDC), a new era of partnership by FHWA with state, local, and tribal transportation agencies intent on using innovative materials, techniques and project delivery methods in order to save time, save money and save lives.  It’s a five step process that can be summed up this way: Innovate. Demonstrate. Communicate. Replicate. Repeat.

We’re now in the third round of EDC and looking toward the future.  As 2016 opens and we continue our efforts to deploy innovations through EDC-3 and other initiatives, we want your input in preparing for the next round, EDC-4.  We’re looking for more technologies, materials and processes that will ensure we can continue delivering transportation to the American people better, faster, and smarter.

Our hope is that by adding new innovations and processes to the EDC roster, we can continue transforming the way the highway transportation community does business by shortening project delivery time, enhancing roadway safety, reducing traffic congestion and/or improving environmental sustainability.

EDC Call for Ideas

On December 10, 2015, FHWA made a Request for Information in the Federal Register to help us identify proven, market-ready innovations for potential deployment through the fourth round of EDC in 2017-2018. Just to be clear, FHWA is not using the RFI to solicit proposals or applications, but rather to conduct market research and determine what processes and technologies are working to deliver highway projects...

Continue Reading Attention Innovators: Help ››
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On December 26, the Port of Los Angeles proudly welcomed the largest container ship ever to call at a North American seaport.

The vessel, the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, is built to carry nearly 18,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs or 20-foot containers); that's about a third more cargo than any container ship currently calling in San Pedro Bay or other U.S. ports. CMA CGM named the vessel in honor of one of our founding fathers, and we are honored that they chose Los Angeles as the Benjamin Franklin’s first U.S. port of call.

Benjamin Franklin

For the Port of Los Angeles, the arrival of the Benjamin Franklin says that the nation’s number one gateway for containerized trade is preparing for a new era of international trade; but, it also sends a powerful message to the nation as a whole about what it will take for our nation to compete in the global economy...

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