You might not expect the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to write about what her agency is doing to help more people join the middle class, but that is exactly what I’m about to do. With safety oversight and regulatory support from FMCSA, trucking connects people to opportunity.
Last month, I was honored to speak at the Women in Trucking conference in Dallas about the important issue of connecting people in all communities to economic opportunities. I met so many women there who were involved in all facets of the trucking industry –from fleet owners, to drivers, to logistics and marketing professionals.
Most of the women I talked to are creating better opportunities for themselves and their families, and they have found it in the ever-expanding trucking industry...
Deputy Administrator Jefferson with Ellen Voie, President and CEO of Women In Trucking.
Last month, here in the Fast Lane, we launched what I've been calling BATIC 2.0 --a staffed-up Build America Transportation Investment Center led by Andrew Right, whose background in civil engineering and finance will be critical to helping advance infrastructure projects throughout the country.
Yesterday, it was my distinct privilege to introduce BATIC to a group of stakeholders at a White House roundtable hosted by Vice President Joseph Biden.
Now, last year, President Obama charged this Department with creating BATIC to help us build the roads, bridges, ports, transit systems, and other transportation infrastructure that America needs to thrive in the 21st century. And since then, BATIC has already leveraged $18 billion in infrastructure investment across the country...
Last February, a CSX train hauling tank cars filled with crude oil from North Dakota to a transportation terminal in Yorktown, Virginia, derailed near Mount Carbon, West Virginia. Numerous tankers exploded, sending up plumes of black smoke and igniting a fire that burned for days, destroyed one home, and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents.
Our Federal Railroad Administration immediately responded to the derailment and began investigating. And last week, following that thorough investigation, the FRA announced that a broken rail caused this derailment. The broken rail itself resulted from what the rail industry calls a vertical split head rail defect, a defect that CSX and its contractor, Sperry Rail Service, failed to identify during two separate inspections in the months leading up to the accident.
But our work doesn't end when we determine the cause of a derailment; in fact, that's when the important, forward-thinking work of preventing future derailments begins...
FRA Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg making the announcement in Mt. Carbon.
Let’s say you work for a public transit agency, and you are trying to respond to a question about accommodating a passenger who uses a service dog. You consult the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) transportation regulations to find an answer, but in the regulation, service animal provisions appear in three different places. You want to be sure you’re giving the right answer.
With the release of the Federal Transit Administration’s ADA Circular last week, we've clarified the ADA and its complex rules, making it easier for you –and transit agencies across the country– to find a definitive answer.
By making sense of the lengthy regulations, FTA furthers the goal of ensuring transportation access for all. We know that public transportation provides a lifeline to jobs, education, medical care and other critical services. And we want to be sure that everyone, regardless of age or ability, has an opportunity to ride...
As our population grows by 70 million over the next 30 years, we know that a boom in freight demand is coming.
At the same time, we know that the median age of America's truck drivers --the folks who we'll need to move and deliver that freight-- is higher (49) than the median age of all workers (42), so we can expect a wave of driver retirements just when we'll need more and more drivers. We also know that the trucking industry is already experiencing a shortage of drivers right now, with the American Trucking Associations indicating a need to hire 47,500 drivers this year alone, just to meet existing demand.
To trucking industry experts, the combination of those trends sounds like a perfect storm.
Fortunately, America's military Veterans, the men and women who have already served their nation so well, might be called to serve again --this time behind the wheel. And last week, our Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced nearly $2.3 million in grants to 13 technical and community colleges across the country to help train veterans and their families for jobs as commercial bus and truck drivers.
While the Federal Highway Administration continues to innovate toward the future, we also know it’s important to address issues that have concerned roadway engineers in the past. Design flexibility is one of those areas that have interested State DOTs and local governments for a while. And today, we're proposing to revise current policies to encourage road design that is better tailored to community needs.
Flexibility means that state, city, and county engineers can develop projects --such as lower-speed roads-- that meet the needs of a full range of users -drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders. We also want those projects to support communities’ environmental needs and to connect people to work, school, health care, and other essential services.
These benefits are at the heart of our emphasis on making sure transportation projects create access to opportunity for all users of America's roads...
After Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, federal agencies scrambled to respond. Last night, I was privileged to be in the audience as Secretary Foxx gave one of the country’s most prestigious awards for federal service to a Federal Transit Administration employee who was instrumental in that response.
Last year, data from our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that America's highway fatality rate had dropped to its lowest point ever. And a recent NHTSA study shows that new vehicle safety technologies --from seat belts to electronic stability control-- saved 614,000 lives.
The vehicles we drive today are loaded with technology, and they are safer than they've ever been. But we're not stopping there. In coming years, connected vehicle technologies like crash-avoidance systems and automated driving will very likely change the game.
But one thing we know is that vehicle safety features only work when drivers know how to use them. And as our vehicles become more and more complicated, that's no easy task. The National Safety Council and the University of Iowa are changing that with the new website, https://mycardoeswhat.org...
This week, in San Francisco, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has been holding its annual meeting. And when I spoke with APTA folks on Monday night, I found myself reflecting on the thoughts on opportunity I shared with Fast Lane readers last week.
A strong economy, health, education, housing and job skills are all pillars of opportunity. But they are not the only pillars. There is one more, and that is transportation. It’s time for us –the community of transportation planners, engineers, contractors, and decision-makers– to embrace our role in closing the opportunity gap.
During APTA, DOT took another step toward managing for opportunity. We launched a transit-oriented development initiative focused on revitalizing economically distressed communities...
Today, thousands of students, parents, community leaders, and state and local officials across the United States are walking and bicycling to school for Walk To School Day. More than 4,500 different events are planned to celebrate the benefits of more physical activity and safer transportation environments for our Nation's kids.
Walk to School Day in the U.S. --which started in 1997 with a single school-- is part of an international effort in more than 40 countries to celebrate these benefits and to encourage more families to consider getting out of the car and onto their feet.
After all, walking improves children's health, prepares them for the school day, and helps keep emissions out of the air they breathe...