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2015 is just around the corner, and that means New Year resolutions. Many of us will resolve to get to the gym more or go on a diet to get a little healthier. At DOT, our resolution isn’t necessarily to put ourselves on a diet –but to put some of our roads on one. A road diet, after all, is one that can do more than improve your life; it can save it.

A typical road diet takes a segment of four-lane undivided roadway and reconfigures it into three lanes with two through lanes and a center two-way left turn lane. Often, a road diet creates space for bicycle lanes. The newly configured stretch improves safety by including a protected left-turn lane for motorists, reducing crossing distance for pedestrians, and lowering travel speeds with very little increase in travel times.

To help cities and towns deliver this safety innovation to their residents, the Federal Highway Administration recently published a Road Diet Informational Guide that walks communities through the decision-making process to determine whether a road diet is a good fit...

Photo of Lawyers Road before and after a road diet

Continue Reading A diet you can live with ››
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Yesterday, I attended a “Global Road Safety Summit” hosted by Safe Kids Worldwide. The crowd was full of policymakers and safety experts, but many of us were not thinking about the titles on our business cards. We were thinking about our more important title –parent.

One particular parent attending the summit was Zoleka Mandela, grand-daughter of the late Nelson Mandela. In June 2010, her 13-year-old daughter Zenani died in a crash on the way back from a concert that opened the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Since then, she has become a strong advocate, calling on the global community to help developing countries reduce road deaths. And we thank her for turning her grief into action.

Now, there’s no one way to combat these crashes; each country is different. But there are some things that the US –and DOT in particular– are doing to prevent these tragedies.

For example, we know that safety requires more than just educating children to be careful when they’re walking and biking along the road. Infrastructure has a role to play, too. After all, there are still too many roads with no safe way to bike or walk...

Photo of Secretary Foxx with Zoleka Mandela
Secretary Foxx with Zoleka Mandela; photo courtesy Safe Kids Worldwide.
Continue Reading Global summit takes on ››
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Yesterday, we wrote here in the Fast Lane about Florida's Billy Hattaway's nod as one of Governing Magazine's 2014 Public Officials of the Year. Today, congratulations are in order for two of DOT's own, policy analyst Avital Barnea and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Both DOTers were honored by WTS International's Washington, DC, chapter earlier this week.

For her service as the chapter's Vice President and her outreach to prospective members, Barnea was selected as the chapter's 2014 Member of the Year. As the chapter's Recognition Chair, Iris Ortiz, said, "Avital never hesitates to step in and volunteer when there is work to be done. From bringing in new members to ensuring that she is intimately familiar with every committee’s duties and responsibilities, Avital has played a major role in getting the chapter up to speed and keeping it running effectively."

For his efforts connecting communities to economic opportunities through transportation Ladders of Opportunity, Secretary Foxx was selected for the chapter's 2014 Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award...

a hands-on, interactive, mentoring program that offers young girls ages 13-18 an introduction to a wide variety of transportation careers. - See more at: http://www.transportationyou.org/#sthash.ywq5bB5p.dpuf
a hands-on, interactive, mentoring program that offers young girls ages 13-18 an introduction to a wide variety of transportation careers. - See more at: http://www.transportationyou.org/#sthash.ywq5bB5p.dpuf

Photo of attendees at WTS-DC 2014 awards

Continue Reading Secretary Foxx garners WTS ››
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In 2012, Florida’s ranking among states for pedestrian deaths per capita fell out of the top three for the first time in decades. For that safety improvement, Governing Magazine says, residents of the Sunshine State might want to thank Florida DOT District One Secretary Billy Hattaway.

Hired back to FDOT in 2011 to lead the state's bicycle-pedestrian safety initiative, Hattaway hit the ground running and hasn't stopped since. Now, Governing has named him one of their 2014 Public Officials of the Year...

Billy Hattaway (center) at 2013 Tampa Bike Safety Summit
Continue Reading FDOT District Secretary ››
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When you take the corners of an oval track at top speed for a living, you're putting a lot of trust in your tires. And for NASCAR drivers --who do exactly that in race after race and practice after practice-- it also means trusting that your pit crew has those tires properly inflated and checked for wear. A blowout at high speed not only puts the driver's life in danger; an out-of-control car threatens the safety of every driver on the track.

And when the rest of us are driving to the grocery store or taking a road trip with our kids in the back seat, we're also trusting their safety and the safety of everyone on the road to our tires. But, we don't have a pit crew to make sure our tires are properly inflated and the tread is healthy.

That's why our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently launched its “TireWise” campaign...

Photo of Secretary Foxx at White House NASCAR tire safety event

Continue Reading NASCAR and NHTSA get ››
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In 2011, President Obama directed federal agencies to reduce out-of-date, ineffective or overly-burdensome rules on the private sector. He challenged us to do better by America's businesses --to cut red tape and waste-- and today, DOT is delivering big on that challenge with a new rule that eliminates unnecessary paperwork for our nation's trucking industry, without compromising safety.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) new No-Defect DVIR Rule means that truck drivers whose pre-trip and post-trip inspections turn up no equipment issues or safety concerns no longer need to file a report. The new rule will result in $1.7 billion dollars annually in time saved...

Photo of driver inspecting truck

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On New Year's Day in 1914, the first commercial airplane flight took off between St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida. It flew only 21 miles and carried only one paying passenger, but it launched the world's first scheduled commercial airline service. One airline, one flight, one passenger.

In 2014, a typical day now sees 100,000 flights carrying eight million passengers, and some of those flights cover thousands of miles. It's a far cry from the world of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Bay Airboat Line.

The world's aviation community is now synonymous with jobs, with economic growth, and with world trade. The world as we know it would not function without a healthy, vibrant, and regulated international aviation system. And that system would not be possible without the work of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)...

Photo of leaders at ICAO anniversary plaque ceremony
Secretary Foxx, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, ICAO President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, ICAO Secretary General Raymond Benjamin, and U.S. Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta unveil a plaque honoring ICAO's 70th anniversary.

Continue Reading ICAO, growing international ››
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In Maine last week, within a day of each other, two events occurred that add up to one compelling argument for investing in America's transportation system.

One was resoundingly positive --the opening of the new Maine Kennebec Bridge-- and I was happy to observe that celebration firsthand on Friday. The other event --Thursday's collapse of a section of the Eastport Pier-- caused at least one injury and damage to several vessels and a truck.

The pier's collapse and the ongoing demand for the limited funding available to rebuild roads and bridges in Maine and across America are a clear demonstration of how we've starved our nation's transportation infrastructure for far too long...

Phot of old and new bridges across Maine's Kennebec River
New and old Kennebec River crossings; photo courtesy Kennebec Journal
Continue Reading Maine bridge opening, pier ››
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Of all the responsibilities we have at the Department of Transportation, none is more important than protecting the lives of the traveling public. Nowhere do we lose more lives than on our nation’s highways where more than 30,000 of our citizens and loved ones perish each year.

As part of our mission to improve highway safety, our Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is charged with regulating the number of hours truck drivers may operate to ensure that they are not driving while fatigued. When we develop those rules, we are required and duty-bound to use the best science available to us...

Continue Reading Why We Care About Truck ››
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As readers of the Fast Lane know, transportation is about a lot more than just how we get from one point to another.  Transportation is, what President Obama likes to call, a ladder of opportunity.  It helps people reach better jobs and better schools, which means they can reach for –and seize– a better life.

That's especially true on Tribal Lands.

DOT is committed to working with tribal communities to build the roads, bridges, and transit systems they need.  And we've got a number of programs that are doing just that...

Phot of  reservation transit work
Continue Reading Transportation a lifeline ››
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