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When a State develops a project that promises to improve safety, ease congestion, and remove bottlenecks to speed the flow of freight, that's the kind of plan the Federal Highway Administration is proud to support.

The U.S. 301 Mainline in Delaware, which broke ground yesterday, is that kind of project.

Not only will the new U.S. 301 create jobs for the men and women building the route, but when finished, it will also help people keep their jobs at companies that can cut shipping costs. And for the commercial truck drivers struggling to get between Delaware and Virginia, it will help them do their jobs better. 

Continue Reading Innovative DOT financing ››
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A few years ago, in one of my first posts here in the Fast Lane, I wrote that, to make American transportation safer and stronger, "we need every tool in the box and a few we haven't even thought of yet."

Well, last Friday, I saw powerful affirmation of that at Texas A&M University, the site of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design Competition. At this event, more than a thousand high school and college engineers from all over the world presented their designs for the best Hyperloop pod. And I think that level of turnout and excitement from student innovators is the biggest story emerging from the competition...

Secretary Foxx with team MIT
Visiting with student competitors from MIT.
Continue Reading Hyperloop competition ››
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Last week, the Federal Highway Administration reported that, with the data from November now in, it looks pretty clear that 2015 was a record year for Vehicle Miles Traveled.

By the end of November, U.S. drivers had racked up about 2.88 trillion vehicle miles traveled, with each of the first 11 months of the year showing an increase of between 2.5 and 4.9 percent over the corresponding month from 2014. Even if the December 2015 data show no gain from December 2014, which is unlikely, that would put the 2015 total over 3.1 trillion. That's an increase over 2014 of more than 100 billion miles.

Infographic depicting that for Jan-Nov 2015, VMT was 2.88 trillion miles.

No matter how you slice it, that's a lot of miles...in terms of absolute value, and also as an indicator of what kind of volume America's roads are bearing. And, as Secretary Foxx observed on his Facebook page last Friday, that's 2.88 trillion good reasons for America to get #BeyondTraffic...

Continue Reading 2015 likely to have broken ››
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With the Panama Canal expansion slated for completion later this year and the industry-wide boost in U.S. maritime activity that will likely follow, there is no question that 2016 will be a demanding year for the Maritime Administration.  While the course ahead will be full of new challenges, I wanted to highlight our agency’s 2015 accomplishments and reflect on the opportunities this year offers.

TOTE Maritime LNG-powered vessel under construction

Calendar year 2015 was a truly one for the history books for our agency.  I say that because 2015 was a year in which we literally helped make history!  Last year, MARAD closed the Title XI Federal Loan Guarantee to support the launch of the world’s first LNG-powered containership —a development that will help us in our effort to support industry actions to minimize waterborne transportation’s environmental impact.

However, that's not all we were involved with.  We were also incredibly proud of our work to enable Secretary Foxx to designate three new Marine Highway Projects, which will advance our goal of alleviating pressures on congested landside freight corridors...

Continue Reading MARAD in 2016: Anticipation ››
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In a new year, people often resolve to take action to better themselves: learning a new language, or parking a few blocks away from work to get in a little extra exercise. At Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center, we are always trying to better our transportation systems, but we're excited to be taking action on six emerging issues this year.

These six issues will be priorities for our staff of technical researchers, engineers, economists, statistical and policy analysts, community planners, and communications professionals as they work to improve mobility across all transportation modes.

We're also pleased to announce a national search for the next Volpe director. We welcome all qualified applicants to apply for the director position by Friday, February 19...

graphic array of transportation modes Volpe engages in

Continue Reading Volpe Looks Forward to 2016 ››
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Today at CES 2016, I announced another key partnership for our Smart City Challenge: the winning city's public bus system will get installation of Mobileye's Shield +TM on every bus. This driver assistance safety technology helps bus drivers avoid and mitigate imminent collisions and protect road users including bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists.

This technology and support award is in addition to DOT's award of up to $40 million to create an integrated first-of-its-kind city that uses data and technology to shape how people and goods move…and an award of up to $10 million from the Challenge’s launch partner, Vulcan Philanthropy, to support infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Secretarty Foxx at C.E.S. 2016

The Smart City Challenge is an exciting opportunity for cities that want to improve their transportation networks through innovation, and today’s announcement makes it even more exciting. The winning city will be able to collaborate with DOT and with partners like Mobileye and Vulcan to implement bold, data-driven ideas to make transportation safer, easier, and more reliable.  The outcome promises to be a model of what we can achieve when public and private entities work together using leading-edge data and technological tools...

Continue Reading At CES 2016, Mobileye ››
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Throughout 2015, NHTSA worked to improve how we identify and recall vehicles and vehicle equipment with safety-related defects, because doing so will save lives and prevent injuries on the road. Last month, we closed out the year by taking action again—in this case against three companies that failed to follow the laws that help protect us all from unsafe vehicles and equipment on our roads.

In all three  cases, we’re also holding these companies accountable for future actions. All three companies have to follow through on commitments that will ensure future compliance with the law. That is what will make our roads safer going forward.

By now, with record fines issued in 2015, the message should be clear: whether you’re a manufacturer or an importer of vehicles or vehicle equipment that will be on America’s roads, your compliance with life-saving Federal laws is non-negotiable...

Side-impact crash test

Continue Reading Rooting Out Safety Defects ››
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By now, we’ve shared several looks back at 2015 from some of our Operating Administrations –FAA, FHWA, and FTA– and from our Office of Research and Technology. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the terrific work they accomplished last year for their specific mode of transportation. 

As Secretary, it has been a privilege helping shape these initiatives as well as leading a number of significant projects that cut across multiple modes...

Continue Reading 2015 another year of hard ››
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On December 26, the Port of Los Angeles proudly welcomed the largest container ship ever to call at a North American seaport.

The vessel, the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, is built to carry nearly 18,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs or 20-foot containers); that's about a third more cargo than any container ship currently calling in San Pedro Bay or other U.S. ports. CMA CGM named the vessel in honor of one of our founding fathers, and we are honored that they chose Los Angeles as the Benjamin Franklin’s first U.S. port of call.

Benjamin Franklin

For the Port of Los Angeles, the arrival of the Benjamin Franklin says that the nation’s number one gateway for containerized trade is preparing for a new era of international trade; but, it also sends a powerful message to the nation as a whole about what it will take for our nation to compete in the global economy...

Continue Reading Port of Los Angeles makes ››
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The New Year is an occasion synonymous with hope —an opportunity to take the lessons of the past and apply them to the future. And there is no better time than the holiday season to take a moment and reflect on what was accomplished over the past 12 months before turning the page and focusing on the work that needs to be done in 2016. As someone who has led a research-focused organization for nearly five years, I have come to recognize the true value and versatility of transferable lessons.

Research, like the start of a new year, offers the promise of greater clarity —it provides a vantage point for effective decision-making and solutions to problems like pollinator health and transportation land use. It can help us understand how we can improve the way we get around, and how we can meet the freight challenge created by a growing population...

Safety research

Continue Reading The Year in Transportation ››
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