Deadhorse, Alaska – 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle – is about as far outside the DC Beltway as you can be, in every respect, and still be in the United States. Deadhorse’s semi-arid tundra, 10:00 p.m. sunsets and astounding array of wildlife that I’m told exists in the adjacent area (including caribou, polar bears and musk oxen) were the backdrop for an interesting and informative visit last week to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) at Prudhoe Bay.
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, former USDOT Deputy Secretary Vice Admiral Tom Barrett, and PHMSA’s Acting Regional Director Kim West accompanied me to TAPS Pump Station 1 and Milepost 0.
Dangerous high wind conditions can be a major cause of highway crashes and trucks blowing over, putting lives at risk and, in the case of places such as Wyoming, jeopardizing America’s freight.
Nearly 18.1 billion tons of goods worth about $19.2 trillion moved on our nation’s transportation network in 2015, based on the current Freight Analysis Framework 4 (FAF4) estimates. On a daily basis, 49 million tons of goods valued at more than $53 billion are shipped throughout the country on all transportation modes. Trucks are by far the single most-used mode to move freight around the country, moving 63 percent of the tonnage in 2015 and 68 percent of the value.
The modern-day United States can trace its economic strength and resiliency to the maritime industry, built on a foundation of waterways, canals, locks and barges. The industry remains vital to America’s economy, and is still growing in its impact.
The American Waterways Operators recently released a study documenting the contribution of the American tugboat, towboat and barge industry to the U.S. economy. Developed through a cooperative agreement between AWO and MARAD, and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, it quantifies the industry’s impact on U.S. employment, gross domestic product, and taxes, and highlights the rich array of commodities transported on American waterways.
The study delineates how water transport uses 75 percent less energy than trucks and 31 percent less than rail to haul a ton of freight; the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, in turn, are directly responsible for more than 50,000 jobs. And of all the products carried on the nation’s waterways, 69 percent of the lumber, stone and ore, 82.4 percent of petroleum and petroleum products as well as 90 percent of coal are transported by the tugboat, towboat, and barge industry. On a nationwide basis, including direct, indirect, and induced impacts, the industry supported more than 300,000 jobs and $33.8 billion in GDP in 2014.
National Train Day was created in 2008, as a way to promote rail travel and its rich history in the U.S. It has been observed annually on or around May 10, the anniversary commemorating completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 when the Golden Spike was ceremonially driven at Promontory Summit in Utah. This year, National Train Day is May 13.
Railroads are vital to our nation’s intermodal transportation network and economy. Passenger trains connect people to work, school and family. So naturally, every day is National Train Day at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). While this day is usually marked by celebrations of railroad history, we think it’s a good time to emphasize the importance of railroad safety—the Department of Transportation’s top priority.
Cutting-edge technologies are helping to improve America’s highway system, and real-time data reporting systems are helping us make better use of our highways and bridges.
The Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment Program (ATCMTD) is doing just that by funding state-of-the-art transportation improvement technologies that reduce congestion and help us maintain our infrastructure. Now in its second round, the program is providing $60 million in funding again this year. Last year, the program funded eight innovative projects in various parts of the country intended to improve the efficiency and safety of the transportation system and make the most use of existing capacity for commuters and businesses.
New technologies are disrupting transportation every day, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has an unprecedented opportunity to shape how Americans move, and how America does business.
That’s no small order, but at the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, our history of providing multimodal expertise shows we are up to the task. The Volpe Center is a unique federal organization within USDOT that for more than 45 years has supported modal agencies and others pursuing innovative solutions to America’s most pressing transportation challenges.
About every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train.
Last year, 232 people were fatally injured in rail crossing accidents.
That’s the message of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) heightened two-year effort to reduce accidents and fatalities at railroad crossings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have partnered in this nationwide, month-long effort to encourage motorists, particularly young males, to use caution when approaching railroad crossings.
All five major transportation modes carried a share of the more than $1 trillion in freight that crossed the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico in 2016. Based on the value of the freight, trucks carried most – 65.5 percent – a higher share than a year earlier and a decade earlier in 2006.
Rail (15.5 percent), vessel (5.5 percent), pipeline (4.6 percent) and air (3.9 percent) carried the remaining share of cross-border freight. Here is a more detailed look at the shipments on both borders.
Sometimes the U.S. Department of Transportation’s many agencies, or modes, as they are often called, can be tricky to keep up with. What does each do? Who and what does each serve?
We hope to answer questions about and introduce anyone who is interested in each mode – and a few sub-offices – in a series called 10 Things on US DOT Modes.