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BTS — National Transportation Statistics Updated

July 11, 2014 Comments off

National Transportation Statistics Updated
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today updated National Transportation Statistics (NTS) – a web-only reference guide to national-level transportation data. NTS, updated quarterly, includes a wide range of national transportation information. NTS consists of more than 260 tables of national data on the transportation system, safety, the economy and energy and the environment, of which 44 were updated today. The next quarterly update is scheduled for October. NTS can be viewed on the BTS website.

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U.S. Department of Transportation Outlines Steps for Managing Impending Highway Trust Fund Shortfall

July 3, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Department of Transportation Outlines Steps for Managing Impending Highway Trust Fund Shortfall
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx today sent letters to state transportation departments and transit agencies outlining steps the Department of Transportation (DOT) will soon be forced to take to manage the impending insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund. In both letters, Secretary Foxx outlined the Department’s proposed plan while emphasizing the need for Congress to act in order to avoid such a shortfall.

“There is still time for Congress to act on a long term solution,” said Secretary Foxx. “Our transportation infrastructure is too essential to suffer continued neglect, and I hope Congress will avert this crisis before it is too late.”

The Department’s most recent projections show the shortfall will reach a critical point in the Trust Fund’s Highway Account in just a few weeks, requiring the Department to institute cash management procedures for highways at that time, with a similar cash management plan to follow for the Trust Fund’s Mass Transit Account when it is expected to reach a similar point this Fall.

FAA Approves First Commercial UAS Flights over Land

June 12, 2014 Comments off

FAA Approves First Commercial UAS Flights over Land
Source: Federal Aviation Administration

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has given approval for energy corporation BP and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturer AeroVironment to fly an AeroVironment Puma AE for aerial surveys in Alaska—the first time the FAA has authorized a commercial UAS operation over land.

Freight Facts and Figures 2013

June 3, 2014 Comments off

Freight Facts and Figures 2013
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

This report provides an overview of freight transportation, focusing on the volume and value of freight shipments, the extent of the freight network, industry employment and productivity patterns, and related safety, energy use, and environmental effects. Produced jointly with the Federal Highway Administration.

The Economic and Societal Impact Of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010

June 3, 2014 Comments off

The Economic and Societal Impact Of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010 (PDF)
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

In 2010, there were 32,999 people killed, 3.9 million were injured, and 24 million vehicles were damaged in motor vehicle crashes in the United States. The economic costs of these crashes totaled $277 billion. Included in these losses are lost productivity, medical costs, legal and court costs, emergency service costs (EMS), insurance administration costs, congestion costs, property damage, and workplace losses. The $277 billion cost of motor vehicle crashes represents the equivalent of nearly $897 for each of the 308.7 million people living in the United States, and 1.9 percent of the $14.96 trillion real U.S. Gross Domestic Product for 2010. These figures include both police-reported and unreported crashes. When quality of life valuations are considered, the total value of societal harm from motor vehicle crashes in 2010 was $871 billion. Lost market and household productivity accounted for $93 billion of the total $277 billion economic costs, while property damage accounted for $76 billion. Medical expenses totaled $35 billion. Congestion caused by crashes, including travel delay, excess fuel consumption, greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants accounted for $28 billion. Each fatality resulted in an average discounted lifetime cost of $1.4 million. Public revenues paid for roughly 9 percent of all motor vehicle crash costs, costing tax payers $24 billion in 2010, the equivalent of over $200 in added taxes for every household in the United States. Alcohol involved crashes accounted for $59 billion or 21 percent of all economic costs, and 84 percent of these costs occurred in crashes where a driver or non-occupant had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or greater. Alcohol was the cause of the crash in roughly 82 percent of these cases, causing $49 billion in costs. Crashes in which alcohol levels are BAC of .08 or higher are responsible for over 90 percent of the economic costs and societal harm that occurs in crashes attributable to alcohol use. Crashes in which police indicate that at least one driver was exceeding the legal speed limit or driving too fast for conditions cost $59 billion in 2010. Seat belt use prevented 12,500 fatalities, 308,000 serious injuries, and $69 billion in injury related costs in 2010, but the failure of a substantial portion of the driving population to buckle up caused 3,350 unnecessary fatalities, 54,300 serious injuries, and cost society $14 billion in easily preventable injury related costs. Crashes in which at least one driver was identified as being distracted cost $46 billion in 2010. The report also includes data on the costs associated with motorcycle crashes, failure to wear motorcycle helmets, pedestrian crash, bicyclist crashes, and numerous different roadway designation crashes.

Fact Sheet – The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Program

May 21, 2014 Comments off

Fact Sheet – The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Program
Source: Federal Aviation Administration

The FAA requires airport sponsors to maintain a safe operating environment which includes conducting Wildlife Hazard Assessments and preparing Wildlife Hazard Management Plans, when there has been a wildlife strike. The Wildlife Hazard Management Plan identifies the specific actions the airport will take to mitigate the risk of wildlife strikes on or near the airport. The FAA’s wildlife hazard management program has been in place for more than 50 years and focuses on mitigating wildlife hazards through habitat modification, harassment technology, and research.

Model National Standards For Entry-Level Motorcycle Rider Training

May 15, 2014 Comments off

Model National Standards For Entry-Level Motorcycle Rider Training (PDF)
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Specific, strong, and measurable education standards are tools to ensure students receive the level of information and experience necessary to properly prepare them for real- world riding situations. In addition to providing that foundation, the Model National Standards for Entry-level Motorcycle Rider Training (“Model Standards”) permit greater flexibility in course development and delivery. The Model Standards also facilitate growth and improvement in State education systems.

The Model Standards establish baseline content that all entry-level riders should be taught in motorcycle rider training classes held in United States. States are encouraged to work with curriculum developers to not only include lessons that meet the Model Standards but to also go beyond the standards where needed to address specific State crash causes and trends Tailoring curricula to specific State needs, in addition to delivering baseline content, will produce informed students and safer riders.

Driver Electronic Device Use in 2012

May 6, 2014 Comments off

Driver Electronic Device Use in 2012 (PDF)
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The percentage of drivers text-messaging or visibly manip – ulating hand-held devices increased from 1.3 percent in 2011 to 1.5 percent in 2012; however, this was not a statistically significant increase. Driver hand-held cell phone use remained unchanged at 5 percent in 2012 (Figure 1). These results are from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), which provides the only nation – wide probability-based observed data on driver electronic device use in the United States. The NOPUS is conducted annually by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The 2012 NOPUS found that hand-held cell phone use continued to be higher among female drivers than male drivers (Figure 2). It also found that hand-held cell phone use continued to be highest among 16- to 24-year-olds and lowest among drivers 70 and older (Figure 3).

Highway Trust Fund Ticker

April 22, 2014 Comments off

Highway Trust Fund Ticker
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

Based on current spending and revenue trends, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund will encounter a shortfall before the end of fiscal year (FY) 2014.

National Transportation Statistics Updated (4/18/14)

April 18, 2014 Comments off

National Transportation Statistics Updated
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today updated National Transportation Statistics (NTS) – a web-only reference guide to national-level transportation data. NTS, updated quarterly, includes a wide range of national transportation information. NTS consists of more than 260 tables of national data on the transportation system, safety, the economy and energy and the environment, of which 50 were updated today. The next quarterly update is scheduled for July. NTS can be viewed on the BTS website.

CRS — Transportation Spending and “Buy America” Requirements

April 9, 2014 Comments off

Transportation Spending and “Buy America” Requirements (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via University of North Texas Digital Library)

The Buy America Act is the popular name for a group of domestic content restrictions that have been attached to funds administered by the Department of Transportation (DOT). These funds are used to make grants to states, localities, and other non-federal government entities for various transportation projects. Specific sources of funding administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) are covered under various Buy America provisions. Generally, these statutes require applicable agency grant programs and spending to be used to fund projects that only include steel, iron, and/or manufactured products produced in the United States. Each provision includes a series of circumstances under which the agency may issue a nationwide or project-specific waiver to these domestic content requirements. Such exemptions may be based upon a finding that application of the domestic content requirement is not in the public interest, the needed materials are not produced in sufficient quantity and/or quality in the United States, or the cost of using domestic materials is unreasonable, among others.

The Buy American Act, another statute requiring domestic content preferences in federal government procurement, does not apply to DOT-administered grant funds because, while the source of the money is federal, purchases are not made directly by the federal government. For more information on the Buy American Act and other domestic preference requirements, see CRS Report R43354, Domestic Content Restrictions: The Buy American Act and Complementary Provisions of Federal Law, by Kate M. Manuel et al.

2013 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance

April 4, 2014 Comments off

2013 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance
Source: Federal Highway Administration
From press release:

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that a new report on the state of America’s transportation infrastructure, 2013 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance, confirms that more investment is needed to maintain and improve the nation’s highway and transit systems. Secretary Foxx has highlighted the need for transportation investment in a series of speeches that take aim at America’s infrastructure deficit and identify ways to use innovation and improved planning to stretch transportation dollars as effectively and efficiently as possible.
…..
The Department of Transportation’s Conditions and Performance report, based on 2010 data, estimates all levels of government would need to spend between $123.7 billion and $145.9 billion per year to both maintain and improve the condition of roads and bridges alone. In 2010, federal, State and local governments combined spent $100.2 billion on this infrastructure, including $11.9 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars.

The report also indicates that as much as $24.5 billion is needed per year to improve the condition of transit rail and bus systems. In 2010, total spending to maintain and expand transit systems was $16.5 billion – a spending level also boosted temporarily by Recovery Act dollars.

Total Passengers on U.S Airlines and Foreign Airlines Serving the U.S. Increased 1.3% in 2013 from 2012

April 1, 2014 Comments off

Total Passengers on U.S Airlines and Foreign Airlines Serving the U.S. Increased 1.3% in 2013 from 2012
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today that U.S. airlines and foreign airlines serving the United States carried 826.0 million systemwide (domestic + international) scheduled service passengers in 2013, 1.3 percent more than in 2012 and the highest total since 2007. The systemwide total was the result of a 0.5 percent increase in the number of domestic passengers (645.6 million) and a 4.0 percent increase in international passengers (180.4 million) (Tables 1, 1A, 5).

NHTSA Announces Final Rule Requiring Rear Visibility Technology

March 31, 2014 Comments off

NHTSA Announces Final Rule Requiring Rear Visibility Technology
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today issued a final rule requiring rear visibility technology in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds by May 2018. This new rule enhances the safety of these vehicles by significantly reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries caused by backover accidents.

Today’s final rule requires all vehicles under 10,000 pounds, including buses and trucks, manufactured on or after May 1, 2018, to come equipped with rear visibility technology that expands the field of view to enable the driver of a motor vehicle to detect areas behind the vehicle to reduce death and injury resulting from backover incidents. The field of view must include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. The system must also meet other requirements including image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation.

On average, there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year caused by backover crashes. NHTSA has found that children under 5 years old account for 31 percent of backover fatalities each year, and adults 70 years of age and older account for 26 percent.

Value of 2013 U.S.-NAFTA Freight on Surface Modes Rose from 2012; Declined on Air and Vessel

March 25, 2014 Comments off

Value of 2013 U.S.-NAFTA Freight on Surface Modes Rose from 2012; Declined on Air and Vessel
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Three of the five transportation modes – the surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline – carried more U.S. trade with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico by value in 2013 than in 2012 while the value of freight transported by air and vessel decreased, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Figure 1 and Table 2).

Trade by pipeline also grew the most from year-to-year, 7.7 percent, partly due to the value of petroleum products, as the overall value on all modes rose 2.6 percent. Smaller increases took place on rail (4.6 percent) and truck (2.2) while vessel trade fell for the second consecutive year (-2.4) and air trade declined for the third straight year (-1.0) (Tables 1, 2).

New From the GAO

March 19, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Whistleblower Protection Program: Opportunities Exist for OSHA and DOT to Strengthen Collaborative Mechanisms. GAO-14-286, March 19.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-286
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661769.pdf

2013 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions & Performance

March 7, 2014 Comments off

2013 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions & Performance
Source: Federal Highway Administration
From Executive Summary:

This edition of the C&P report is based primarily on data through the year 2010; consequently, the system conditions and performance measures presented should reflect effects of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which authorized Federal highway and transit funding for Federal fiscal years 2005 through 2009 (and extended through fiscal year 2012), as well as some of the impact of the funding authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). None of the impact of funding authorized under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) is reflected. In assessing recent trends, this report generally focuses on the 10-year period from 2000 to 2010. The prospective analyses generally cover the 20-year period ending in 2030; the investment levels associated with these scenarios are stated in constant 2010 dollars.

In 2010, all levels of government spent a combined $205.3 billion for highway-related purposes, of which $11.9 billion was a direct impact of the Recovery Act. All levels of government spent a combined $54.3 billion for transit-related purposes, including $2.4 billion of expenditures supported by one-time funding under the Recovery Act.

The average annual capital investment level needed to maintain the conditions and performance of highways and bridges at 2010 levels through the year 2030 is projected to range from $65.3 billion to $86.3 billion per year, depending on the future rate of growth in vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Improving the conditions and performance of highways and bridges by implementing all cost-beneficial investments would cost an estimated $123.7 billion to $145.9 billion per year. (Note that these projections are much lower than those presented in the 2010 C&P report, driven in part by an 18 percent reduction in highway construction prices between 2008 and 2010). In 2010, all levels of government spent a combined $100.2 billion for capital improvements to highways and bridges.

2013 Airline Consumer Complaints Down From Previous Year

February 12, 2014 Comments off

2013 Airline Consumer Complaints Down From Previous Year
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Airline consumer complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Aviation Consumer Protection Division during 2013 were down 14.1 percent from 2012, according to the DOT’s Air Travel Consumer Report released today.

The Department received 13,168 complaints in 2013, down from the 15,338 complaints filed in 2012. In December, the Department received 1,114 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 23.5 percent from the 902 complaints received in December 2012, and up 47.5 percent from the total of 755 filed in November 2013.

For the month of December, airlines reported 10 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and four tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights. Most of the reported tarmac delays involved flights that arrived at or departed from Chicago O’Hare Airport on Dec. 8 that were delayed due to a snowstorm. All of the reported delays are under investigation by the Department.

The larger U.S. airlines have been required to file complete reports on their long tarmac delays for domestic flights since October 2008. Under a rule that took effect Aug. 23, 2011, all U.S. and foreign airlines operating at least one aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats must report lengthy tarmac delays at U.S. airports.

Selection of the Next Generation of Air Traffic Control Specialists: Aptitude Requirements for the Air Traffic Control Tower Cab in 2018

February 12, 2014 Comments off

Selection of the Next Generation of Air Traffic Control Specialists: Aptitude Requirements for the Air Traffic Control Tower Cab in 2018 (PDF)
Source: Federal Aviation Administration (Office of Aerospace Medicine)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) faces two significant organizational challenges in the 21st century: (1) transformation of the current NAS into the Next Generation Air Transportation System (“NextGen”); and (2) recruitment, selection, and training the next generation of air traffic control specialists (ATCSs or air traffic controllers). What aptitudes should be assessed in the selection of future air traffic controllers? This report, the first of three, focuses on the aptitudes required in the air traffic control tower cab. First, the aptitude profile currently required at the time of hire into the ATCS occupation is described based on Nickels, Bobko, Blair, Sands, & Tartak (1995). Second, mid-term (2018) changes in the tower cab are described. Change drivers include increased traffic and the introduction of five decision support tools (DSTs): 1) Airport Configuration; 2) Departure Routing; 3) Runway Assignment; 4) Scheduling and Sequencing; and 5) Taxi Routing (with Conformance Monitoring). Third, the impact of these DSTs on tower cab operational activities, sub-activities, and tasks was assessed. Overall, the activities, sub-activities, and tasks of the controllers in the Ground Control and Local Control positions in the cab will not change with the introduction of these DSTs and associated displays. However, the way the work is performed will change at the keystroke or interface level. Fourth, the impact of the DSTs on aptitudes required of controllers is evaluated. The importance of the following aptitudes will increase in the mid-term: Scanning, across both auditory and visual sources, Perceptual Speed and Accuracy, Translating Information, Chunking, Interpreting Information, Sustained Attention, Recall from Interruption, Situational Awareness, Long-Term Memory, Problem Identification, Prioritization, Time-Sharing, Information Processing Flexibility, and Task Closure/Thoroughness. Two new aptitude requirements were identified: Dispositional Trust in Automation; and Computer-Human Interface (CHI) Navigation. Gaps in current aptitude testing are identified, and recommendations presented for test development and validation to close the gap.

Best Practices and Strategies for Improving Rail Energy Efficiency

February 12, 2014 Comments off

Best Practices and Strategies for Improving Rail Energy Efficiency (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation (Federal Railroad Administration)

In support of the FRA Energy, Environment, and Engine (E3) program, this study reviews and evaluates technology development opportunities, equipment upgrades, and best practices (BPs) of international and U.S. passenger and freight rail industry segments for improving energy efficiency (E2) performance and attaining environmental sustainability goals. FRA’s Preliminary National Rail Plan, the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) initiative and environmental compliance requirements provide new impetus for renewed rail industry E2 advances. This report presents data on comparative rail energy efficiency, emerging energy efficient technologies, and alternative fuels. Based on a comprehensive literature review and on experts’ inputs, the report presents model corporate sustainability plans, rail equipment upgrade opportunities, system-wide BPs, and success stories that measurably improved E2 performance with environmental and economic benefits for all rail industry segments. Findings and recommendations are tailored to intercity and commuter passenger rail, as well as to freight rail carrier (Class I-III) needs and goals for improved, but cost-effective, E2 and environmental performance. Key opportunities include: public-private partnerships (P3) for R&D, demonstrations and equipment upgrades with Federal agencies (FRA), trade associations (AAR, APTA, AASHTO), international rail organizations (UIC), and regional and State environmental protection agencies for E2 and cross-enterprise sustainability improvements.

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