“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.
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.
Our nation is entering a transportation landscape rich with possibility, and full of challenges. As we witness the emergence of driverless cars, unmanned package deliveries, smart cities and other exciting changes, technology is going to play a key role in ensuring the safety and reliability of our transportation system, while also offering more Americans the ability to reach economic opportunity.
Simply put, technology offers us a powerful ability to improve the way we live and move going forward. That’s why Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center, is excited to be launching The Future of Transportation: Safety, Opportunity, and Innovation. This four-month program will bring together top innovators who are thinking beyond the horizon about the big issues defining transportation in the 21st century—and will advance the ongoing conversation started by Secretary Foxx’s framework for the future, Beyond Traffic 2045.
In the last decade, our energy landscape has fundamentally changed. A prime example is the growth in natural gas production – our country is a leading producer of natural gas, a relatively clean fuel that heats millions of homes and provides nearly a third of our total electric power generation this year. While the growth in domestic natural gas production has strengthened our economy and energy security, it has created transportation challenges as we move more natural gas across the country.
That is why I want to express my gratitude to the President for signing into law the PIPES Act of 2016.
So by now, you’ve heard.
Ohio finally got to bring home the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship trophy.
While I missed the parade in Cleveland, today I was joined by Mayor Andrew Ginther in Columbus to congratulate them on a hard-fought yet deserving Smart City Challenge win.
The U.S. interstate highway system helps society. Highways help people get to and from work and get goods to market – thereby supporting the world’s most powerful economy. Thanks to a partnership signed last month by the FHWA with six states, the highway system is also helping to strengthen the pollinator community, which includes bees and Monarch butterflies, along I-35 from Texas to Minnesota.
Every third bite of food on our plates is there thanks to the work of pollinators, making the health of our bee and butterfly population an issue that affects everyone. And now, the transportation community is playing an important role in keeping them healthy and thriving by helping to turn our roadways into pollinator-friendly habitats.
At the USDOT, we promote the safety of the traveling public. To do that, we’ve relied heavily on creativity. We’ve inspired a culture of innovation, and – to paraphrase a line from Star Wars – the force of our innovation is strong. From unmanned aerial vehicles to bridge-inspecting robots, the marvels showcased in yesterday’s “Innovation Fair” here at USDOT headquarters proves that.
The Interstate system itself represents one of the greatest innovations in the nation’s history. A network of uniformly built roads connecting communities to each other makes us more than a nation – it makes our states UNITED. When President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act into law in 1956, our highway system almost immediately became a 41,000-mile-long backbone for the world’s greatest economy, changing our nation for the better.
What could you dream of doing if all of the objects in your life were connected to the internet?
I could imagine walking out of DOT HQ at the end of the day and feeling my phone buzz with a notification from my refrigerator. It warns me of a serious lack of ice cream in the freezer but, fortunately, also informs me my favorite brand of mint chocolate chip is on sale at the grocery store on the corner. Crisis averted. Sensing that I am on the move, the air conditioner in my apartment springs to life to make sure the place is comfortable when I arrive. A replacement light bulb automatically ordered by my ceiling fixture when one burned out is there when I return and a task to replace it has been added to my to-do list…
Welcome to the future, courtesy of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Cross-posted from www.whitehouse.gov:
America’s capacity for creativity, innovation, and invention is the envy of the world. Over the past seven years, the Obama Administration has strengthened our foundation for innovation through investments and reforms to drive technological breakthroughs that will power the American economy and inspire the world for generations to come. Today, we’re building on that track record by finalizing new ground rules to govern the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems, more commonly known as “drones.” These rules will open up the National Airspace System to a major new technology and create new jobs while ensuring that we protect privacy and safety.
Taking a step back, it’s no secret that technology has been rapidly changing the world, and that comes with both opportunities and challenges. But this Administration has been forward-looking, working to shape and prepare for technological breakthroughs, so we can harness technology for the benefit of all Americans. For example, we have supported research and development for next-generation technologies across an array of disciplines and applications, like healthcare, clean energy, and national security.
Early this month, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined U.S. Housing And Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and U.S. Education Secretary John King in announcing plans for stronger collaboration among federal agencies to promote opportunity and diversity in communities across the country. In a joint letter, they also called on “local education, transportation and housing leaders to work together on issues at the intersection of our respective mission in helping to guarantee full access of opportunity.”
Additionally, Department of Transportation officials participated in a tri-agency convening at the Department of Education to discuss strategies for collaborating around issues of opportunity. The “Joint Listening Session” featured transportation, housing, and education leaders and advocates who together explored approaches and tactics for creating well-connected transportation networks, affordable housing, and high-quality educational opportunities.