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As drivers and pedestrians alike have become increasingly distracted by their handheld devices, crossing the street safely is not as straightforward as it used to be. So at DOT, we've been thinking, "What if?" What if, while we may not be able to keep pedestrians from using their phones, we could find ways to keep them safer...even while distracted?

What if your smartphone could alert you when it's unsafe to cross the street? And what if it could alert approaching drivers that you were in the crosswalk? That technology would transform your smartphone from a safety detriment into a pedestrian safety asset.

Distracted male pedestrian in intersection

With the growing numbers of pedestrian fatalities in mind, the Federal Highway Administration, through DOT's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, awarded a contract to Savari Inc. to develop a traffic signal interface app for smartphones called SmartCross...

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Americans have been justifiably concerned since news spread of serious safety risks involving air bags made by Takata. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) takes these concerns seriously and has worked to get answers as to the cause of the ruptures, to get these air bags repaired, and to keep the public informed.

That work continued today with a public information meeting led by experts from NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Division, who outlined the risk from Takata air bags, actions taken by the Agency to address this risk, and our next steps to address this serious public safety challenge.

Takata air bag deployment

NHTSA's goal is protecting Americans from a dangerous and deadly defect by having safe air bags in all cars as quickly as possible. And in pursuit of that goal, we have held dozens of meetings with individual manufacturers, gathered massive amounts of data from the affected companies, and made careful study of the legal authority Congress has given us to inform the steps that we might take...

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In 2014, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport handled more takeoffs and landings than any airport in the world. As Fast Lane readers know, O'Hare is a major hub, so an efficient flow of flights is critical for travelers across the nation.

While important to Chicagoans, the O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP) --launched in 2001-- also boosts the performance of the overall National Airspace System. It's also why the Federal Aviation Administration is investing more than $900 million in the project.

Last Thursday morning, the OMP took another major step forward when the City of Chicago and the FAA opened a new runway and a third air traffic control tower...

New O'Hare runway

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Today is a day DOT has waited 30 years for. Literally.

As fans of “Back to the Future” trilogy of movies know, today –Oct. 21, 2015, at 4:29 p.m.– is when Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) arrives in the future from 1985 after a series of misadventures in 1955.

Filmgoers have been waiting for this day because we’ve spent decades trying to imagine what the future will look like. But at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), we haven't been waiting; we've been hard at work trying to create that future...

White House OSTP tweets on autonomous vehicles

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It is one of this Department's most special assets, and perhaps our most unsung. I'm talking about the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system --particularly the U.S. locks I had the pleasure and privilege of visiting yesterday.

If bundled together, the eight states and two Canadian provinces that share this system would comprise the world's third largest economy, behind only the U.S. and China.  The bi-national Seaway is a vital, environmentally sustainable artery for trade into and out of the United States and Canada, supporting $34.6 billion of economic activity, providing America's Opportunity Belt with access to world markets, and supporting and 227,000 jobs. The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), which maintains and operates the two U.S. locks, delivers plenty of return value on America's investment in the Seaway.

Touring the Eisenhower Lock

I went to Massena, NY, yesterday to join SLSDC Administrator Betty Sutton in honoring local emergency responders and the men and women of the SLSDC. When the cruise ship Saint Laurent struck a bumper at the Eisenhower Lock, their quick and effective response ensured that passengers were able to receive the medical care they needed and the vessel itself was able to resume service in less than 48 hours...

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Yesterday Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta and I announced the Department's new approach to creating a culture of accountability and responsibility among the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) community. As you might have heard, that approach will involve registering UAS.

This simple, common-sense approach has already garnered a lot of support in the community, including UAS associations, manufacturers of UAS technology, and for-profit UAS operators.

While we are committed to recognizing the potential of new technologies, we are obligated by the increasing volume of unsafe UAS activity to establish ground rules for safe UAS integration into our national transportation system...

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Receiving a driver’s license has been a rite of passage for American teens for generations. NHTSA urges parents to add a new tradition to this special moment—a discussion of the ‘5 to Drive’: the five rules to discuss with teens before handing the car keys to the family’s newest driver.

Teen Driver Safety Week web banner

While many new drivers take this responsibility seriously, far too many teens are overconfident, inexperienced, and taking deadly risks behind the wheel. They drive too fast, while distracted by an electronic device or too many passengers, without wearing seat belts, and even while drunk despite not being able to drink legally anywhere in the United States. These factors were among the reasons that we lost 2,839 teen drivers (ages 15 to 19) in 2013 alone.

The 5 to Drive campaign is about helping parents send their young drivers a clear message that breaking any one of these five rules when driving means no driving at all. We’re again reminding parents as part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs October 18 to 24, to discuss the five rules for safer teen driving with their teens...

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I was honored this past week to participate in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Boston forum on Beyond Traffic with many of my Northeast regional colleagues who are committed to solving the transportation challenges our urban cities face. We know the path ahead will require collaboration and innovation, as well as significant investment.

DOT Under Secretary for Policy Peter Rogoff with Boston Mayor Martin Walsh
DOT Under Secretary for Policy Peter Rogoff (left) with Boston Mayor Martin Walsh; photo courtesy @marty_walsh.

I grew up in what some might call a multi-modal transportation environment, in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. It was not a car-dependent community. We could walk to the store, to church, to a friend’s house, or a park. We could ride our bikes to school or to Boston Harbor. We could get on a subway train or a bus and go to work, almost anywhere in Greater Boston. And if you did have a car, you could drive downtown or get onto an interstate highway in a matter of minutes.

In many ways that freedom of movement is what made it a strong community -tightly knit and human scaled, but at the same time fully connected to the wider world of jobs, amenities, and culture. Today, that’s the main reason homes in urban neighborhoods are in such unbelievable demand.

Today we have a lot of work to do to find that balance across all our communities, as we adapt to an ever-changing economy. It’s going to take both direct action and close collaboration at every level: federal, state, and local; public and private sector...

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This Press Conference streamed live on October 19, 2015.

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Over the weekend this Department released a National Freight Strategic Plan that we hope will wake the country up and get us moving forward.

Port ofSeattle

Our freight network has been one of the great strengths of our country. Millions of Americans wake up in the morning and go to jobs operating trucks, trains, aircraft, ships, and barges. Freight directly supports 44 million jobs.

And our freight workers do more than ensure goods move successfully from one point to another. What they really do is move our economy. Because the cost of moving goods in America is one of the lowest in the world, the jobs these men and women do give us a competitive advantage over other nations.

Our freight infrastructure should be as good as our workers are, as our businesses are. But it’s not. It’s crumbling. And, we're making matters worse by continuing to underinvest.

It's time for this generation to shoulder the burden, face our transportation challenges, and keep improving our Nation's freight network...

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