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In Los Angeles County, a 2014 TIGER grant is going toward improvements on a 2-mile stretch of highway where the congested 57/60 freeways converge.  If you drive in the County, you probably know the 57/60 Confluence all too well...and for all of the wrong reasons.

The 57/60 Confluence is a vital route for the movement of goods from the Southern California ports.  The 60 Freeway carries trucks from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to warehouses in eastern Los Angeles and Riverside counties, as well as the entire United States. The 57/60 Confluence Project is named after the stretch of roadway where the 57 and 60 freeways become one and 17 lanes of traffic merge sharply into only 14, resulting in frequent traffic delays and accidents.  More than 356,000 trucks and cars use that segment each day, and drivers approaching the bottleneck attempt to weave across multiple lanes.  

Photo of traffic jam at the 57-60 confluence

Last year's TIGER grant is going toward the $260 million total cost of the project, expected in three phases, and earlier this month the cities of Diamond Bar and Industry kicked off the construction of phases one and two. 

This critical section of highway —with its intertwined freeways, dangerous lane configurations and heavy truck traffic— was ranked Number 1 for delays and truck accidents in California and Number 8 in the Nation by the American Transportation Research Institute. Caltrans ranked it among the top five most congested freeway interchanges in Los Angeles and Ventura counties...

Continue Reading TIGER helping fix worst ››
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Photo of an unmanned aircraft in flightLast month, Secretary Foxx and I announced that the Department of Transportation would work to develop a process for owners of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to register their aircraft.

Registration will instill a sense of accountability and responsibility among UAS pilots, and also will prompt them to become educated about safe flying in the National Airspace System (NAS). For those who choose to ignore the rules and fly unsafely, registration is a tool that will assist us and our law enforcement partners in finding them.

We are moving quickly and flexibly to establish this new registry. Our first step was to appoint a UAS Task Force to develop recommendations for a streamlined registration process, and suggest which UAS could be exempt from registration due to a low safety risk. A group of 25 experts were chosen, based on experience, from across the UAS and manned aviation communities. They included hobbyists, retailers, manufacturers, law enforcement, airports and commercial and general aviation. They were advised by the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, and State along with the Office of Management and Budget and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We also accepted public comments on the same questions we asked the Task Force to consider. 

On Saturday, the Task Force will deliver its report to the Federal Aviation Administration. We will consider their recommendations and the public comments as we develop an Interim Final Rule on registration, which will likely be released next month and go into effect shortly thereafter. This step will be followed by another opportunity for the public to comment as we move toward issuing a final rule on registration. 

Continue Reading Registration process marks ››
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Since we announced our 2015 TIGER grants late last month, we've been talking a lot about the tremendous difference TIGER projects make in their communities and about the impact they have on important national priorities like mobility, safety, sustainability, and even public health.

And yesterday at Houston's recently opened Buffalo Bayou Park, I had the great privilege of sharing one of our TIGER projects with one of America's strongest champions of infrastructure investment, Vice President Joe Biden.

The $15 million grant we awarded to the City of Houston in 2012 for construction of new, safe, and accessible connections to transit service is a powerful example of how DOT's TIGER can help communities achieve multiple goals with a single transportation project...

Photo of Vice President Biden speaking in Houston

Continue Reading Vice President Biden touts ››
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As many have written here in the Fast Lane, DOT is very enthusiastic about connected vehicle technology and the safety, mobility, and environmental benefits that it promises. We in the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) also recognize that this may be a new concept for some. That's why we have recently launched a new website describing the basics of connected vehicles.

Through this new site, everyone can understand the fundamentals of connected vehicles and learn why everyone at DOT is so excited about this promising technology.

Screen capture of the Connected Vehicles Basics website

Connected vehicle technology will wirelessly connect our vehicles to each other, to our roads, and to our personal mobile devices so they can exchange secure information about their position, speed, brake status, and more. It can also provide timely, situation-appropriate warnings and recommendations to drivers. The Connected Vehicles Basics website answers questions regarding how this technology works, what it makes possible, and how it will be used...

Continue Reading New "Connected ››
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Today, the American Highway Users Alliance released a report identifying the 50 worst traffic bottlenecks on American highways, providing even more truth that America is stuck in traffic.

The question is: What is the country going to do about it? 

After 36 short-term extensions, I am encouraged that Congress is finally conferencing on a long-term surface transportation bill, and to see that there are many places where the proposed House and Senate bills align with needs we foresaw in the GROW AMERICA Act.

But important areas of opportunity remain.

If, after 36 extensions and so much uncertainty and false starts, Congress passes a bill that still results in worse traffic, we will have missed a great opportunity.

Continue Reading Miles to go as Congress ››
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At DOT we’re always working to build a stronger, more sustainable American transportation system. Part of that process is promoting new vehicle technologies and infrastructure that can reduce costs, fuel consumption, and our impact on the planet.

After all, we only have one planet—and our children depend on us to care for and protect it.

Logo for D.O.E. workplace charging challenge

That’s why as Chief Sustainability Officer for DOT, I’m excited to announce that we are the first Federal Agency to join the Department of Energy’s (Energy.gov) Workplace Charging Challenge...

Continue Reading DOT First to “Plug-in” to ››
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At the U.S. Department of Transportation, we aren’t reserved about our ambitions for the future of roadway safety.

In 2012, traffic fatality rates fell to historic lows. Our roadways saw just 1.14 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.  In 2013, that number fell even lower to 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.  Passenger vehicles, large trucks, motorcycles, and pedestrians all saw declines in crash-related fatalities.

In fact, since 2004, road fatalities have dropped 25 percent. And since this Department’s founding, the United States has seen the motor vehicle fatality rate drop by 80 percent.

But, while we’re proud of this accomplishment, we know it is not enough.  Our vision for the future of road transportation is one Toward Zero Deaths, and yesterday I was proud to honor winners of the 2015 Roadway Safety Awards, who share our vision.

Group photo of 2015 Roadway Safety Award winners

Continue Reading Honoring the Roadway Safety ››
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In 2013 --the most recent year of available data-- 3,964 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks. That includes 78 bicyclists and 338 pedestrians, or 2 and 8.5 percent respectively of all fatalities. A recent analysis also shows pedestrian and bicyclist deaths from crashes involving large trucks increasing at roughly the same rate as those from all motor vehicle crashes.

Cyclist in bike lane near large trucks

This Department is committed to improving safety for everyone, including bicyclists and pedestrians who may be required to sometimes share the road with large commercial trucks and buses.

And this Wednesday, November 18, at 2 pm EST, FMCSA takes the next step with a webinar examining large truck crash fatalities involving pedestrians and bicyclists...

Continue Reading Webinar examines bicyclists ››
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The City of Willmar is a proud partner in a project to construct a railway by-pass on the community's west side. The project --officially called the Willmar Rail Connector and Industrial Access Project-- is known locally as the Willmar Wye project. Last Friday, Willmar was proud to welcome Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg, who announced that the city and its project partners have been awarded a $10 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant to support the estimated $46 million cost of the project.

The Willmar Wye project is being developed with the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), Minnesota Department of Transportation, Kandiyohi County, and Kandiyohi County/City of Willmar Economic Development Commission. Currently, trains coming either from the northwest or from the southwest on BNSF lines have to pull all the way into the Willmar yard, reverse direction, and then head back to either the southwest or northwest.  The project will result in approximately 10,000 feet of new track being constructed to connect two BNSF mainlines so the railway can bypass the City of Willmar to the west. It will provide for rail access to the west end of the expanded Willmar Industrial Park being developed at the site of the former airport.

With the award of TIGER funding, we anticipate that actual construction could begin in 2017, following land acquisition...

Continue Reading TIGER grant advances rail ››
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This Sunday, November 15, is World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, a day honoring the millions who have been killed in crashes on the world’s roads.

This year happens to be the 20th anniversary of this commemoration and the 10th anniversary of its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly. Here at the United States Department of Transportation, we think this 20/10 milestone in raising awareness of the need for greater road safety warrants something more from us than a Tweet or Facebook post.

In particular, given that the number of fatalities on America’s roads have generally declined in recent years except for a noticeable spike in deaths among bicyclists and pedestrians, we want to focus our attention this World Remembrance Day on crash victims who were walking or biking...

Continue Reading World Day of Remembrance ››
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