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President Dwight Eisenhower is widely known as the “Father of the Interstate System,” due in part to his experiences with highways in World War II and his years’ of work with Congress to fund a national highway system. With Father’s Day around the corner, it is an important legacy to remember. 

In 1919, just after the end of World War I, young Lt. Col. Eisenhower led the U.S. Army’s Cross-Country Motor Transport Train – a mission to send a convoy of six dozen trucks and other military vehicles across the country. The convoy would take the most famous road of the day – the Lincoln Highway – which ran between New York City and San Francisco, Calif. The Army needed to know if motor vehicles, which had been used in combat on since 1916, could stand the trip. The convoy also included a speaker who would talk about the importance of good roads at each stop.

Infographic with picture of President Eisenhower

Continue Reading Father’s Day and the Father ››
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Rev your engines—June 19 is National Ride to Work Day. The national motorcycle safety initiative is an opportunity to raise awareness about motorcyclist safety, and to remind other motorists to share the road.

In 2015, there were 4,976 motorcyclists (4,684 riders and 292 passengers) killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes—an increase of more than 8 percent from the 4,586 motorcyclists killed in 2014. From 2013 to 2014, there was actually a decrease (2%) of motorcyclists killed. However, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured during 2015, a 3-percent decrease from the 92,000 motorcyclists injured in 2014. Even though motorcycles only account for about 3 percent of registered vehicles on the road, motorcyclists are dramatically overrepresented in fatal crashes—especially those involving alcohol.

Safe riding practices and cooperation from all road users will help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways. But it’s especially important for motorists to understand the safety challenges faced by motorcyclists, who are more vulnerable due to size and visibility, as well as their riding practices, such as downshifting and weaving.

Continue Reading Ride to Work on June 19 ››
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According to new data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), drivers are spending more time stuck in rush-hour traffic than ever.  Increased congestion is outpacing system improvements gained from investments in gridlock reduction strategies, such as road widenings, better intermodal connections and traffic and demand management technologies.

Based on data from America’s 52 most populous metropolitan areas, FHWA’s “2016 Urban Congestion Trends” shows that the average congestion worsened, with drivers spending an additional three minutes stuck in traffic compared to 2015—with some areas improving and others deteriorating.  

Congested Atlanta Urban Highway

Congestion got worse during peak hours in 2016, as represented by the Travel Time Index which compares peak hour or commuter travel times to free flow travel times. The index increased slightly to 1.35 in 2016 from 1.34 in 2015, meaning that a trip taking 10 minutes in free-flow traffic would now take 13.5 minutes during peak hours. 

Continue Reading America’s Drivers Continue ››
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Friday was a historic day for our Department as we hosted the President to close out Infrastructure Week. He visited the Department to highlight the importance of rebuilding and modernizing our nation's infrastructure, and to underscore the key role this Department plays in providing safe, efficient and modern infrastructure for our country.

I want to thank our colleagues who helped and participated in this event.  Putting it together took teamwork and all the hard work could be seen in the packed house and great welcome for the President and his message of infrastructure renewal.  

So thank you again, and I look forward to continuing to work with you on our important mission.

Continue Reading A Message from the Secretary ››
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Today, I was proud to join President Donald J. Trump and hundreds of infrastructure workers and stakeholders in the closing event of “Infrastructure Week” at USDOT Headquarters in Washington.

It was a real honor to hear the President outline the Administration’s vision for improving America’s roads, railways, and other infrastructure projects.  We are so fortunate because this President is a builder who understands the challenges facing our country’s infrastructure better than any national leader in recent memory.

I am pleased to announce today that USDOT has published a Federal Register notice seeking public input on ways to identify and reduce unnecessary regulatory obstacles that too often stand in the way of completing important infrastructure projects across the nation.

Continue Reading Secretary Chao Joins ››
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Secretary Elaine L. Chao was in Detroit to address the 25th Enhanced Safety of Vehicles Conference Monday. ESV is a biannual international conference that brings together experts to discuss emerging safety technologies. In the city where Henry Ford first revolutionized the automobile, Secretary Chao and the automotive industry are focused on the next great advances in vehicle safety and, in particular, the benefits of automated vehicle systems.

ESV  2017 Conference Logo

ESV is addressing a wide array of vehicle safety technologies—everything from occupant protection and biomechanics, to electronic cybersecurity and advanced crash avoidance systems. That’s important because, after decades of declines, motor vehicle fatalities are again on the rise. In the United States alone, 35,092 people lost their lives on the highways in 2015—an increase of more than 7 percent above the previous year.

Continue Reading An Exciting Time for Safety ››
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Since 2008, the National Pipeline Mapping System’s Public Viewer – a web-based geographic information system (GIS) – has enabled the public to view layered maps of hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines in a given area.

With PHMSA’s new NPMS Public Viewer app for iOS, users may now generate pipeline maps anytime, anywhere – with a smartphone.

Continue Reading Want to Know if There are ››
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It’s no secret that safety is one of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) top priorities. At the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), one of our top safety initiatives is the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC). PTC is a communication-based system designed to prevent train-to train collisions, over-speed derailments, intrusion into established work zones, and trains routed to the wrong tracks due to a switch error. Here’s how it works: Let’s say a train operator fails to react to a potentially catastrophic situation, like a train-to-train collision. PTC systems will automatically detect the impending collision and take appropriate action to safely stop the train.

Because of USDOT’s commitment to safety, specifically the railroad industry in this case, the FRA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are pleased to announce the PTC grantees selected to receive $197 million in funding.

Twenty-seven applications, totaling $455 million, were submitted to FRA requesting funding to help commuter and intercity passenger railroads meet the December 2018 PTC implementation deadline. Of those 27 applications, FRA identified 17 projects to receive the funds. The FTA will award and administer the funds during fiscal year 2017. In 2016, a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) was issued and made $197.01 million available for grants; $2 million was reserved for program oversight.

Continue Reading FRA and FTA Announce ››
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Autonomous vehicle technologies have captured America’s imagination. The reason is simple: their potential to reduce and even eliminate the devastating loss of life to road deaths worldwide.

According to World Health Organization, motor vehicle-related crashes killed 1.3 million people in 2015. In the United States alone, we lost 35,092 people to road deaths in 2015—a spike of more than 7 percent above the previous year.

Autonomous Vehicles on road

With 94 percent of fatal vehicle crashes attributable to human error, the potential of autonomous vehicle technologies to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads urges us to action.

Continue Reading Autonomous Vehicles Driving ››
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American air travelers want – and deserve – the best airport facilities in the world. For decades, federal support has been a key factor in improving the safety and efficiency of our nation’s airports and making sure they remain a vital contributor to the nation’s transportation system.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now continuing that critical financial contribution with grants to 584 airports totaling $527.8 million. The FAA’s airport grant program provides more than $3 billion in annual funding for projects needed to maintain the safety, security, capacity, and efficiency of the nation’s airports.

FAA's AIP Program cover page

The funding comes from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which funds various projects, including runways, taxiways, aprons, perimeter fencing, and airport signage, lighting, and marking. More than 3,300 airports are eligible for AIP grants that will benefit commercial passengers, cargo operations, and general aviation activities throughout the nation.

Continue Reading FAA’s Airport Grant Program ››
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