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The choices we make about future transportation projects, the people they touch and places they connect, will play a critical role in determining how widely opportunity expands throughout America. Opportunity begins with thoughtful, creative minds and transcends from concept to reality. Through the USDOT University Transportation Centers (UTC) Grant Program, we’ve witnessed tremendous interest in propelling our aging transportation system into a cleaner, more efficient and connected future.

Since 1987, the UTC program has funded critical academic research on issues vital to the long-term safety and vitality of the nation’s transportation system, while opening doors for men and women who want to use their careers to do something about it. That’s why today, I am pleased to announce the recipients of over $300 million in five-year grants to 32 UTCs.

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We encourage innovation at the Department of Transportation, and Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center, is a key resource for innovative transportation research.


The Volpe Innovation Challenge inspires solutions to emerging transportation problems through cross-center collaboration, staff development, leadership, and mentoring. It’s a chance for Volpe staff to develop creative ideas that can lead to real-world results.

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Today's #TranspoStory feature comes from Lessie from Prince George's County, Maryland. In the video below, Lessie shares the transportation challenges faced by many passengers she encountered while working on a passenger ferry in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

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I recently participated in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the Johnson County Gateway project in Kansas.  The project will relieve congestion and improve safety in the cities of Lenexa, Olathe and Overland Park.

At a total $296 million cost, including $266 million in federal-aid funding, the second phase of the Johnson County Gateway Project is the largest of the three-phase reconstruction of I-435. This second and largest phase of the project includes the addition of two brand new interchanges, linking Interstates 35 and 435 and state highway K-10, and new lanes on I-435.

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At the Federal Highway Administration, we know that a multimodal transportation network is key to getting people where they need to go, whether they make the trip by car, on foot, on a bicycle, or all of the above.

However, when it comes to designing highways and other roads, our local partners are often unaware of the flexibility they have to safely accommodate all road users – including bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders.

That’s why we recently published a new guide to help states, local governments, transit agencies, and others make the most of their road infrastructure.

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Today, for the first time in more than fifty years, a scheduled, commercial flight took off from the United States and landed in Havana, Cuba. I had the privilege of joining the passengers and crew on that flight this morning as it left Miami and made the one hour journey across the Florida Strait, marking another important milestone in our ongoing efforts to reengage with Cuba.


President Obama took the historic step last year of declaring that it was time to “begin a new journey” with the Cuban people. Since then, under the president’s leadership, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and all of us at the Department of Transportation have been working to reestablish scheduled, commercial air service between our two countries, creating new opportunities for eligible travelers from the United States to visit Cuba.

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Today I am announcing the launch of a new Automation Proving Ground Pilot Program. Through this program, the Department will designate facilities as qualified proving grounds for the safe testing, demonstration and deployment of automated vehicle technology. We believe that by designating facilities as part of a Community of Practice, we can foster a safe environment for these entities to share best practices related to testing and developing this technology.

Safety is our top priority at USDOT and over the past year we have leaned in on ushering in these innovations that will transform transportation as we know it. Through efforts such as our Smart City Challenge, and the first of its kind Federal Automated Vehicle Policy released in September, and now the Automation Proving Ground Pilot Program, we are setting a new foundation for this technology to be safely leveraged and implemented into the coming decades.

picture with road stripes

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When you head out the door in the morning, you probably don’t consider the number of organizations that work together to operate, maintain, and oversee the transportation systems you use to travel to work, school, and other destinations. However, you do expect to arrive safely and on-time.

Through financial and technical assistance, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) helps keep our transportation systems moving safely and efficiently. Within DOT, we’re always looking for ways to share that knowledge across industries and organizations—and we are making new safety connections between planes and trains.

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This month, FHWA and its partners began a year-long effort to engage state DOTs, first responders, community traffic reporters, drivers’ education instructors, grassroots preparedness organizations, and motorists as part of preparation for the first National Traffic Incident Response Week, which will take place November 13-17, 2017.

Why is this so important?



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See no danger, hear no danger, think solution.

For those of us with sight, it may be difficult to truly understand the challenges that some of our peers face on a daily basis. In addition to our sight, we depend on our other senses to alert us to possible danger. 

In many cases, being able to hear a possible danger is equally or more important than seeing it. That’s the logic behind NHTSA’s new sound requirement for all newly-manufactured hybrid and electric vehicles. 

Pedestrian crossing graphic

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