Today, I was pleased to join federal, state, and local officials to celebrate the opening of a state-of-the-art transit system that provides Central Connecticut residents with rapid transport to jobs, schools, and community services. CTfastrak will carry passengers almost 10 miles, between the state’s capitol and surrounding suburbs, opening new connections and ladders of opportunity for both the car-less and those who wish to leave their cars behind. For some, CTfastrak will provide their first convenient access to a full-scale grocery store.
CTfastrak buses run in an exclusive lane, offering fast trips primarily because they won’t compete with cars. The system also features off-site fare collection, level boarding platforms, and even wifi. The electric hybrid buses, which are 90 percent cleaner than standard buses, will work a lot like light rail, but on rubber tires. Outside the window, hikers, bikers, and joggers will enjoy a new multi-use trail.
I was thrilled to join Governor Dannel Malloy, U.S. Representatives John Larson and Elizabeth Esty, and other State and local officials, for the inaugural ride from Hartford to New Britain. Federal transportation sources, including FTA, contributed 80 percent toward the project’s $567 million price tag.
One of the trends anticipated in our Beyond Traffic study of the challenges we face in the next 30 years is an increase in extreme climate events. And when disaster strikes, natural or man-made, getting an accurate and timely assessment of critical infrastructure damage is critical for restoring the free flow of people and goods – and doing so safely.
What if there was a way to get a bird’s eye view immediately after a disaster, but without putting ground crews in danger, and at a lower cost than using traditional aircraft surveillance? The first 24 hours following an earthquake, hurricane or tornado are critical in terms of damage assessment, and search and rescue. Further still, how can disaster response engineers capture and compare structures to what condition they were in prior to a disaster?
Yesterday, I moderated a panel discussion of business leaders and policy wonks, including my friend, Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado.
The venue? The Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA Conference.
The topic of discussion? How to bring more private sector dollars to America’s streets – and also bridges, waterways, airports, subways, and rails.
Fastlane readers know that our transportation system is screaming for more investment. The United States is on track to underinvest in transportation by about one trillion dollars by the end of the decade, and this is happening at a time when demand for transportation is increasing. America will be home to 70 million more people by 2045, and we will have to move 45 percent more freight.
This week, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics --part of our Office of Research and Technology-- released the 2014 North American freight numbers.
As often happens with transportation data, there are many different stories emerging from the BTS spreadsheets. But, one story rings out loud and clear: A lot of freight --$1.2 trillion worth in 2014-- is moving into and out of the U.S. across our northern and southern borders...
Because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is charged with reducing the number and severity of crashes involving large trucks and buses, we continually work to develop and deploy new safety enforcement tools. Ultimately, those tools serve to help protect every traveler on our highways and roads.
I’ve observed highly trained commercial motor vehicle inspectors working at roadside weigh stations, and I can attest that it is not always easily and immediately apparent to distinguish by sight alone which trucks and buses and drivers may be operating in violation of our safety regulations. While State and Federal inspectors already use customized software to access national safety databases that help prioritize carriers and drivers for inspections, thanks to the advent of smartphones and cloud computing, we’re now able to make a generational leap in technology.
Today, we’re unveiling a new app called “QCMobile” (the "QC" stands for “Query Central”) that provides inspectors --wherever they're working-- more convenient access to motor carrier safety information...
Let's start with a confession: here at DOT, we love data. Miles of freight rail, number of bridges, on-time flight arrivals, transit passenger trips, port economic activity--all of it. Those facts and figures help us tell the story of how American transportation affects each and every one of us.
Some numbers are staggeringly high: the value of goods shipped in the US in 2012? More than 13$ trillion. Some are impressively low: the number of extended tarmac delays in the US for domestic and international flights in December 2014? Exactly zero.
All of that data is compiled by our Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) in DOT's Office of Research and Technology. And this week, BTS released what we think is a real treat: State Transportation by the Numbers Profiles. If you're curious about how your state is moving or what your state is moving, these easy-to-read profiles have a lot to offer...
With America's population expected to grow by 70 million during the next three decades, there is no question that we will have to find ways to get more out of our transportation networks. Figuring out how to do that is one of the key goals of our "Beyond Traffic: Framework for the Future."
And thanks to a two-city pilot program --in San Diego and Dallas-- we know that one useful solution is Integrated Corridor Management or ICM. With ICM, the separate data systems that monitor road congestion, incident reports, pavement conditions, and rail and transit operations are combined into a single, powerful tool.
It is hard to overstate America’s reliance on a safe and efficient freight network. This network is the circulation system that fuels our economy health and helps secure our Nation, and the Obama Administration has consistently emphasized the importance of improving our infrastructure.
That is exactly what brought me to Quincy, IL, earlier this month. With $12 billion in goods transported to global markets each year through Quincy by road, rail, or river, this community is a domestic and international economic hub.
Because our population will grow by 70 million during the next 30 years --and to support that population our freight volume will have to increase by 45 percent-- community leaders in Quincy are working with DOT's Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC) to develop a port that can support the region’s expected freight growth...
Last Friday afternoon, our GROW AMERICA Express bus tour pulled into Washington, DC's, Union Station after a 1,100-mile journey through five states. We had gone on the road four days earlier for one reason: to encourage Congress to act on a long-term transportation bill.
In Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and DC, I saw great examples of the kind of investment in transportation infrastructure that can help communities grow, help businesses compete, and help people get more safely and reliably to jobs and other opportunities.
We also visited places where strong projects that would achieve those same goals were stuck perpetually on the launch pad.
Many thanks to everyone who turned out to welcome us back to DC!
When you're making the case for stable investment in American passenger rail, it helps to have with you the nation's greatest champion for passenger rail --Vice President Joe Biden.
The Vice President and I have been traveling up the East Coast this week as part of the GROW AMERICA Express to focus America’s attention on our infrastructure, and to remind the American people that we are at a crucial crossroads. And as we consider our options for moving forward, Vice President Biden knows well that passenger rail is an important piece of the transportation puzzle...