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In December, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a new initiative to help communities across the country advance transit-oriented development (TOD) projects to grow their economies, achieve their social equity goals, and improve quality of life for everyone.

That effort, the TOD Technical Assistance Initiative, provides on-the-ground and online technical assistance to communities working on—or planning to work on—TOD projects across the country. The initiative is designed to help elected officials, municipal staff, advocates, developers, transportation professionals, and urban planners discover new ideas, connect with one another and, ultimately, build great projects.

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This morning, I addressed the common and dangerous misconception that children lost to heatstroke in hot cars are being left behind intentionally. We know that these incidents most often occur when a child is mistakenly left alone in a vehicle or gains access to a vehicle when a parent isn’t around, which tragically occurred in Texas recently. It can happen to loving, caring parents who, in a moment of forgetfulness, are visited by tragedy.

If you see a child alone in a car, act. Act quickly. Act to save that child’s life. Make it your business.

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Every summer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) engages the public about the dangers of leaving children are unattended in hot vehicles. And sadly every year, these tragedies continue to happen. Already in 2016, sixteen children have lost their lives, adding to the total of 676 heatstroke deaths since 1998.

We all have more work to do, and that’s why NHTSA continues to spread the word about heatstroke, to offer tips to prevent it, and to urge Americans to act to save a life if they see a child unattended in a vehicle.

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Biking is an efficient and fun way to commute and it’s also a great way to get physical activity. To promote biking, it’s important for communities to provide comfortable, safe, and convenient bikeways. During the summer months, the number of cycling enthusiasts increases – making it all the more timely to point out that adding bikeways to a roadway can enhance safety and comfort for cyclists and drivers alike. It is also one of our many Every Day Counts-3 successes.

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Transportation connects people—and connections provide economic opportunity and social mobility.

That’s the message that U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx brought to the Volpe  Center for his keynote address kicking off The Future of Transportation: Safety, Opportunity, and Innovation speaker series on June 27.

Because, for all the visions and visionary figures working on the next big thing in transportation—self-driving cars, commercial space flight, the Hyperloop—the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) is working toward a transportation future that offers safety, efficiency, and opportunity to all Americans.

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When it comes to transportation incidents involving hazardous materials, PHMSA’s Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) has been the go-to manual for emergency responders since the first edition was released in 1980. PHMSA released the 10th iteration of this ubiquitous little orange manual in April.

Beginning at 1pm ET today, June 30, subject matter experts from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will host a live Twitter chat to discuss updates and answer questions about what’s new in the 2016 edition, how to use the guidebook, and other resources related to the ERG.

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Today, the Interstate system turns 60.  On this date in 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Act of 1956 into law from his hospital bed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., only two days after it was passed by Congress.  It didn’t give us a nation, but it certainly helped to ensure our 50 states were united. Back then, there were only 48 states – Alaska and  Hawaii were only territories then.

As the highway system grew, so too did the nation. Where better quality, high-speed interstates took root, businesses and suburbs followed. As you can see from this population density map spanning the decades, America’s population centers were as linked to interstates as they are today.  

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The Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets is in its final stretch, and we are hearing more and more about the impressive accomplishments of the 246 participating communities. 

In March, I announced that we would recognize the great work that these communities are doing to advance pedestrian and bicycle safety with the Mayors’ Challenge Awards. Awards will be considered for work relating to the seven Challenge Activities, Ladders of Opportunity, and for best use of DOT resources and active engagement in Challenge events. We will be excited to recognize the award winners this September at the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place Conference in Vancouver, BC and at the Safer People, Safer Streets Summit here in Washington, DC.

Miami-Dade Police Bicycle Club

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“If you are going to innovate, you have to have a passion for what you do.”

Nancy Egan, General Counsel and EVP of Policy at 3D Robotics, drew that connection between innovation and passion during our discussion at USDOT’s Innovation Fair last week.  Surrounded by a trade fair showcasing new hardware and concepts by department innovators and their partners, we looked for lessons from small business that could apply to government.

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Today, I traveled to Philadelphia and met Mayor Kenney on the plaza of the Vine Street Expressway. For Philadelphians, this roadway represented almost 30 years of planning and was intended to expedite commuting between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, ultimately decreasing half-hour trips to just a few minutes. However, that vision was never realized and three communities, including Chinatown and the Callowhill District bore the brunt of the damage as many homes, businesses, schools, places of worship, and other places of cultural and community significance were razed to make way for the expressway. Presently, the Vine City Expressway is a six-lane corridor not easily navigated on foot or in vehicle, and represents a very real, physical barrier for those that must traverse it daily.

Whether it’s North, South, East or West, infrastructure development and placement can have a profound impact on opportunities. Highways like the Vine City Expressway are not unique to Philadelphia or to large cities across the country – they are both urban and rural divisions. That’s why U.S. DOT is also proud to partner with Philadelphia, PA; Spokane, WA; Nashville, TN; and the Twin Cities, MN to offer technical assistance through the Every Place Counts Design Challenge to work to rectify these issues.

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