Yesterday, NASA released data indicating evidence for liquid water on Mars, and it's got a lot of people pretty excited, including me. But the reality is, whether we find water on Mars or not, we have important needs to attend to right here on Earth. And we will have to attend to those for a very long time.
One of those needs is to create and maintain a transportation system that gets people where they need to go and delivers the goods that drive our economy and sustain our lives. And while building roads and bridges might not sound as interesting as exploring the conditions for life on Mars, it's critically important to the lives Americans lead right here, right now.
Last year, President Obama charged this Department with creating the Build America Transportation Investment Center to help us accomplish that mission. And today, we are formally announcing that we have hired a talented team of individuals to operate the center, which we call "BATIC," and outlined its three areas of activity.
BATIC serves as the single point of contact and coordination for states, municipalities, and project sponsors looking to harness federal transportation expertise, apply for federal transportation financing programs, and explore ways to access private capital in public private partnerships...
In a new DOT pilot program, New York City and Pensacola, Florida, will test delivery and pickup of goods during off-peak hours, such as nighttime, to help relieve congestion on city streets.
The problem of local traffic is well-known to any major U.S. city; truck operators suffer when forced to crawl through crowded city streets, and residents suffer when trucks block travel lanes or parking access. With commuter traffic lighter and parking more available, off-peak hours should make delivery easier for truck drivers as well as peak commuters and people scrambling for parking.
And thanks to DOT research, development, and deployment grants totaling $200,000, these two pilot cities will helps us test this idea...
Last weekend, the Federal Highway Administration, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, the Connecticut DOT (CTDOT), and New Haven area residents celebrated the opening of the highly anticipated Pearl Harbor Memorial “Q” Bridge. This $677 million bridge –of which nearly $590 million was federal funding– is a key part of the much larger $2 billion corridor project to improve I-95 through the New Haven area.
The original “Q” Bridge –so named because it spans the Quinnipiac River– was designed to accommodate up to 40,000 drivers each day. The new bridge, a 10-lane wonder, will accommodate triple that number...
So, we know our revenues and our certainty are about as low as they’ve ever been. We know for sure that our country is growing and that we’re going to have more people accessing our roads, rails, and airports and more freight to move than ever before. Rather than having a single strategy, we need to have an all-of-the-above strategy. We need to use every financing tool available. When it makes sense, we need to turn to the private sector.
That's where Public-Private Partnerships come in. Now, it’s not that public-private partnerships haven’t been happening in U.S. infrastructure. They’ve been happening for a while. Earlier this week, I spoke with members of the Long Term Infrastructure Investors Association about the environment for these partnerships in the U.S. and DOT's efforts to improve that environment...
Over the past year I have been visiting research labs, technology companies, and manufacturers to deliver a simple message: The U.S. Department of Transportation wants to roll out the red carpet, not the red tape, for new technologies in transportation. If an emerging technology can improve safety and improve how we move, we want to see it on the market as quickly as possible.
And, as many Fast Lane readers know, we are especially bullish about the use of connected and autonomous vehicle technology. Because, who among us has never started to switch lanes thinking that the lane next to them was clear when it wasn’t? And who has never once had a hard time seeing an upcoming stop sign at night?
None of us are perfect, and when we're behind the wheel, mistakes can --and do-- happen.
So imagine having a car that is equipped with technology that can correct human error. Imagine riding a bicycle to a transit stop during rush-hour or walking across a busy street. Except now, you can basically communicate with the drivers and infrastructure surrounding you, and you're armed with information, so you're much less vulnerable.
This is what connected vehicle technology can do. It promises to eliminate 80 percent of accidents in which drivers were not impaired...
When cars see what drivers can't, we can get #beyondtraffic. Anonymous data preventing crashes, improving mobility. #transportation #infrastructure #instalogistics #connectedvehicles #v2v #its #research #engineering #technology #transit #safety #traffic #mobility
A photo posted by U.S. Dept. of Transportation (@usdot)
Seattle’s industrial district in the south of the city is one of our nation’s busiest intermodal transportation hubs. The interplay among ships, trains, and trucks exchanging cargo destined for U.S. points of delivery or export markets overseas churns incessantly day and night. To someone new to the Pacific Northwest, the area South of Downtown –known locally as “SoDo”– would seem an unlikely first choice as an ideal spot for a relaxing bicycle ride or leisurely stroll.
But an increasing number of bicyclists and pedestrians are looking for connections between SoDo and downtown, and finding ways to protect their safety as they navigate a sea of freight activity is important.
One year ago this week, Secretary Foxx announced the “Safer People, Safer Streets - Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Initiative,” and one of the first steps in that initiative called for DOT field offices to lead non-motorized traffic, road-safety assessments in cities across the country. I am proud that the Washington State Division of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration answered that call, leading a DOT team with folks from NHTSA, FHWA, and FTA in an assessment of the safety challenges facing bicyclists and pedestrians along the SoDo commuter route.
It's no secret that freight rail and rail transit services are growing. With transit ridership breaking records year after year and expanded domestic fuel production putting more energy freight on the network, the rail industry in North America just continues to grow. This growing demand for rail services is exactly why the new Research and Innovation Laboratory (RAIL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Rail Tech and Engineering Center (RailTEC) is so important.
Last month, I had the pleasure of touring the new lab and helping celebrate its official opening. There's no question that this world-class facility --funded by DOT's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, the Federal Railroad Administration, railroads, and rail industry suppliers-- underscores RailTEC’s status as a national leader for rail transportation research and innovation.
DOT's University Transportation Centers (UTC) program supports critical transportation research at competitively selected colleges and universities like Illinois around the country. As the lead UTC for rail research, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign works with rail industry leaders and state organizations to ensure that the research and curriculum continue to be relevant and timely...
Today is September 1, but don't let that fool you. The 114th Congress has another week left in its August recess. What does that mean for Fast Lane readers? There's still time to #ShowUsYourInfraWear!
That's right, our summer vacation campaign to demonstrate how your community would benefit from Federal transportation funding continues on Instagram and on Twitter [external link]--where much to our delight the campaign took on its own momentum.
If you've been following the hashtag for the past 31 days, then you've seen some good snaps of crumbling bridges, damaging pavement, disappearing bike lanes, missing sidewalks, treacherous bus stops, and a host of other symptoms of an America that needs to invest more aggressively in how we move people and freight...
On March 5, 2009, Jason Rivenburg –a 35 year-old truck driver from upstate New York– pulled his truck off the highway to rest at an abandoned gas station. The next day, his body was discovered in the cab of his truck; he'd been gunned down for the seven dollars in his pocket. Thirteen days after his murder, Jason’s wife, Hope, gave birth to twins who will never know their father.
Jason didn't decide to rest at an abandoned gas station because of preference –he had little choice. Because he was ahead of schedule, the distribution center where he would unload his freight wasn't available to him, and there simply weren’t any safe places for Jason to wait. This is the dilemma many truckers face every day.
We have nearly six million commercial motor vehicle drivers out on our roads each day –a number expected to increase dramatically by 2045– and the safety of everyone on our roadways demands that drivers pull off the highway and rest periodically. That means safe truck parking is a necessity. And that’s why, last week, I was honored to join Hope Rivenburg in announcing the National Coalition on Truck Parking, a call to action for a national dialogue on trucking needs and strategies for immediate, near-term and long-term solutions...
Whether traversing through deep-water ports, over winding railroads or in the back of a long-haul truck, consumer products travel across the world before reaching the shelves of local markets in Lincoln and throughout Nebraska. Transportation fuels our economy.
Investing in our transportation infrastructure is vital to our nation’s economic health and global competitiveness. By doing so, we strengthen safety and commerce, and, in the process, create good, well-paying jobs for hardworking people in Nebraska and elsewhere. After all, nearly 12 million Americans work in transportation-related jobs.
The federal government must provide state and local policymakers with the right tools to maintain and update our infrastructure or build new projects. Unfortunately, Congress has relied on 34 short-term extensions since 2009, disrupting major infrastructure projects and causing stress for road builders, local officials and the traveling public. We can and should do better...