If you noticed an unusually high number of commuters on two wheels and under pedal power last Friday, that's because it was Bike To Work Day (B2WD). And while it's not exactly the most widely-observed day on the national calendar --yet!-- it is something to celebrate.
For regular bike commuters, it might just have been another Friday in May. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of B2WD is the number of not-so-regular bicyclists who come out of the woodwork.
Thanks to B2WD pit stops and other activities that communities across America hosted, many riders who might otherwise drive, walk, or ride transit, learn that bicycling to work is a reasonable option --not mention fun, healthy, and sustainable. Some communities also encourage new bike commuters by hosting guided rides and ride-buddy programs...
Fast Lane readers know that public transportation provides support for millions of hardworking Americans trying to get to jobs, a doctor's office, school, and other key places. For some families, even a routine trip to buy groceries requires multiple transit buses.
And when bus service is less than reliable --a bus breaks down or is even just late enough that you miss the next connection-- it's not just an inconvenience; it's a hardship. And it's an obstacle to the basic struggle not just of trying to get a little bit ahead, but of simply trying to stay afloat.
So for folks in L.A. who depend on the bus, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (LACMTA) Division 13 Bus Maintenance and Operations Facility, a new, state-of-the-art facility that will significantly improve bus service in the heart of the city, is more than just a garage.
It's a lifeline, and it's exactly the kind of investment in public transportation infrastructure that we need to continue making...
Photo courtesy @MetroLosAngeles.
The signs of spring are all around: warmer weather, blooming flowers, and the return of America’s pastime, baseball. When the weather heats up, it’s time for us all to step up to protect kids from heatstroke caused by being left unattended in a vehicle.
On an 80 degree day, the temperature inside your car or truck can rise to deadly levels in only 10 minutes, even if the window is rolled down two inches. When a child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child dies.
Since 1998, 636 children have died of heatstroke when left in a car or truck. It happens even when the weather outside isn’t very warm, it can happen fast, and it's 100 percent preventable...
Safety is our first priority here at the DOT. It always has been; it always will be. That's why today, it was my privilege to take part in events highlighting vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) and vehicle automation technology innovations.
Companies like these are at the forefront of producing one of the most sought after technologies in transportation –the self-driving car. In April, Delphi Automotive completed a 3,400 mile journey from California to New York with 99 percent of the drive taking place in fully automated mode. The company has said before “Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication are key to achieving Delphi’s vision of zero fatalities, zero accidents and zero injuries on the world's roadways.”
We couldn't agree more with those goals. Like Delphi, DOT is also committed to a world with zero traffic fatalities.
And in light of that commitment, I'm proud to announce that DOT is accelerating our timetable on a proposed V2V rule that would require vehicle-to-vehicle equipment --technology that allows cars to “talk” to one another-- in all new vehicles. V2V technology is a critical element of the connected automation that makes driverless cars as safe as possible...
Last night around 9:30 p.m., Amtrak train #188 bound from Washington, DC, to New York City derailed in Philadelphia. At least six people have been reported dead, and many others were injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board has investigators on the scene, and NTSB is leading the accident investigation.
Secretary Foxx was alerted immediately after the derailment occurred and vowed "to work with NTSB to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of this devastating event.”
In the spirit of #InfrastructureWeek, it is important to recognize that the future presents a number of serious transportation challenges.
Our population is increasing, our roads are deteriorating, and as the President likes to say, “We have 100,000 bridges old enough for Medicare.” Congestion is choking economic growth and slowing job growth. Business owners are finding it harder to ship their goods, and folks are finding it harder to get to work. In fact, the New York Times recently reported that commuting time is the single largest factor when calculating the odds of escaping poverty. Never before has the connection between economic prosperity and transportation been so self-evident. So Congress must be acting to meet the needs of modern transportation, right? Think again.
Yesterday, Shaun Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, sent a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations expressing his concerns with the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. In his letter, Mr. Donovan made it clear that the bill proposed by members of the committee seriously underfunds important investments that are necessary to address the very real challenges of both housing and infrastructure.
I echo Mr. Donovan’s concerns...
In yesterday's #InfrastructureWeek edition of the Fast Lane, I wrote that even if Congress does manage to pass its 33rd short-term extension of our nation's transportation law, "the previous 32 short-term measures have all but stripped away the ability of state and local governments to complete big projects."
And this morning, I saw first-hand how our inability to invest adequately in transportation is affecting the everyday lives of people in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The nearly one million people living in the greater Knoxville area look a lot like the folks in communities I've visited across America. They're trying to get their children to school on time, get themselves to work, and get home for dinner. They're doing their part, trying to get a little bit ahead if they can, trying to ensure a better life for their kids.
But, short-term extension after short-term extension, their government is failing them. And exhibit "A" of that failure is the Alcoa Highway...
It's happening again. The May 31 expiration date for federal transportation funding is fast approaching.
Earlier today, I wrote to State Department of Transportation leaders, informing them that all federal participation in transportation infrastructure construction will stop if we reach that date without action by Congress. States will not be reimbursed for construction costs. They will not receive technical support. And, as construction season begins after a long winter, projects will grind to a halt.
Maybe Congress will act in time. But at best, they’re likely to pass another short-term extension, the 33rd such patch in the past 6 years. And at best, they’ll prolong a dangerous status quo of funding infrastructure at a level that has left our transportation system gasping for air.
That's why thousands of stakeholders across the nation are rallying for the 3rd annual Infrastructure Week to urge Congress to say “no” to more short-term measures and “yes” to a long-term solution.
I’ll be leading the charge with kick-off events here in Washington, DC, and a week of activities in Tennessee, Iowa, and California...
Photo courtesy of Eric Wagner (@WagnerEric), Bloomberg Government (@BGOV)
We're now more than a week into May, and DOT is hearing about some great National Bike Month initiatives from participants in our Mayors' Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets. It looks like the Challenge that Secretary Foxx launched earlier this year has already helped local leaders promote safe walking and bicycling in communities across the country.
We've added a few initiatives of our own to the mix as well. Last week, we held a virtual forum where Challenge participants could share their activities, and today we're sharing our fun new Bike To Work Week video!
Click on the jump to learn about biking activities in Fergus Falls (MN), Bellevue (WA), and Burlington (VT)!
It's hard to believe that the 2013-2014 round (EDC-2) of the Federal Highway Administration's Every Day Counts (EDC) initiative, our partnership with state departments of transportation and other stakeholders to speed up innovation in project delivery just ended...and that we're already advancing another batch of innovations for EDC-3.
Judging from results compiled in our EDC-2 Final Report, our partners are indeed making every day count. Together, we’re saving money, saving time, and saving lives –exactly the results we said were possible if we made innovation a standard industry practice. And exactly the kinds of steps we need to keep taking to prepare for the future outlined in DOT's Beyond Traffic draft framework.
I invite you to review the report to see the progress we’ve made accelerating use of the 13 EDC-2 innovations in projects from coast to coast. You'll also learn about some impressive wins for transportation agencies across America...