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State Transportation by the Numbers Profiles

March 3, 2015 Comments off

State Transportation by the Numbers Profiles
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has released the State Transportation by the Numbers Profiles 2014 – two-page collections of transportation information for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The profiles include information on infrastructure, safety, freight transportation, passenger travel, registered vehicles and vehicle-miles traveled, economy and finance, and energy and environment. The profiles present highlights of more detailed tables found in BTS’ State Transportation Statistics. State-by-state data can be viewed in the United States Transportation Facts and Figures mapping application.

DOT and FAA Propose New Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

February 15, 2015 Comments off

DOT and FAA Propose New Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration today proposed a framework of regulations that would allow routine use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in today’s aviation system, while maintaining flexibility to accommodate future technological innovations.

The FAA proposal offers safety rules for small UAS (under 55 pounds) conducting non-recreational operations. The rule would limit flights to daylight and visual-line-of-sight operations. It also addresses height restrictions, operator certification, optional use of a visual observer, aircraft registration and marking, and operational limits.

The proposed rule also includes extensive discussion of the possibility of an additional, more flexible framework for “micro” UAS under 4.4 pounds. The FAA is asking the public to comment on this possible classification to determine whether it should include this option as part of a final rule. The FAA is also asking for comment about how the agency can further leverage the UAS test site program and an upcoming UAS Center of Excellence to further spur innovation at “innovation zones.”

Mobility Challenges for Households in Poverty

February 13, 2015 Comments off

Mobility Challenges for Households in Poverty (PDF)
Source: Federal Highway Administration (National Travel Survey)

The NHTS team has released a news brief concerning the mobility challenges for U.S. households in poverty. As the second highest household expenditure, transportation costs can have a disproportionately negative impact on lower income households. As a result, 2009 NHTS data has revealed that low income households have higher rates of carpooling, biking and walking. Additionally, low income households have lower rates of vehicle ownership as well as a shorter average daily radius of travel.

Lowest Numbers of Tarmac Delays on Record in 2014

February 11, 2015 Comments off

Lowest Numbers of Tarmac Delays on Record in 2014
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced today that in calendar year 2014, airlines reported the lowest number of tarmac delays longer than three hours on record. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report, in 2014 there were 30 domestic flights with tarmac delays longer than three hours and nine international flights with tarmac delays longer than four hours at U.S. airports. There were no long domestic or international tarmac delays in December 2014.

In 2009, the last full year before the Department’s domestic tarmac rule went into effect, airlines reported 868 domestic flights with tarmac delays longer than three hours. There were 84 domestic flights with tarmac delays longer than three hours and 55 international flights with tarmac delays longer than four hours at U.S. airports in 2013.

Drunk driving declines, while drug use behind the wheel rises

February 9, 2015 Comments off

Drunk driving declines, while drug use behind the wheel rises
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The nation’s decades-long campaign to combat drunk driving continues to make our roads safer, but use of marijuana and prescription drugs is increasingly prominent on the highways, creating new safety questions, according to a pair of ground-breaking studies released today by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

One study, the latest version of NHTSA’s Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers, found that the number of drivers with alcohol in their system has declined by nearly one-third since 2007, and by more than three-quarters since the first Roadside Survey in 1973. But that same survey found a large increase in the number of drivers using marijuana or other illegal drugs. In the 2014 survey, nearly one in four drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect safety.

A second survey, the largest of its kind ever conducted, assessed whether marijuana use by drivers is associated with greater risk of crashes. The survey found that marijuana users are more likely to be involved in accidents, but that the increased risk may be due in part because marijuana users are more likely to be in groups at higher risk of crashes. In particular, marijuana users are more likely to be young men – a group already at high risk.

This was the most precisely controlled study of its kind yet conducted, but it measured the risk associated with marijuana at the levels found among drivers in a large community. Other studies using driving simulators and test tracks have found that marijuana at sufficient dosage levels will affect driver risk.

Beyond Traffic: US DOT’s 30 Year Framework for the Future

February 3, 2015 Comments off

Beyond Traffic: US DOT’s 30 Year Framework for the Future
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

Beyond Traffic is an invitation to the American public—including the users, developers, owners, and operators of the transportation network and the policy officials who shape it—to have a frank conversation about the shape, size, and condition of that system and how it will meet the needs and goals of our nation for decades to come.

Beyond Traffic is a draft framework for the future, it’s not prescriptive. It does not advocate for specific policy solutions. Rather, it underscores critical decision points facing the country, by means of data driven analysis, research, expert opinions and public engagement.

Tricyclic Antidepressants Found in Pilots Fatally Injured in Civil Aviation Accidents

January 21, 2015 Comments off

Tricyclic Antidepressants Found in Pilots Fatally Injured in Civil Aviation Accidents (PDF)
Source: Federal Aviation Administration

Since the 1950s, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) have been used for treating depression. The prevalence of this group of antidepressants in the pilot population has not been explored. Therefore, the National Transportati on Safety Board (NTSB) aviation accident and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) toxicology and medical certification databases were searched for the necessary information related to pilots fatally injured in aviation accidents.

During 1990 – 2012, CAMI received biological samples of fatally injured pilots from 7,037 aviation accidents for toxicological evaluation. Of these, 2,644 cases (pilot fatalities) were positive for drugs. TCAs were present in 31 pilo t fatalities. Only TCAs were found in nine cases; in addition to TCAs, other substances were also present in the remaining 22 cases. Blood samples were available for TCA analysis in only 17 cases. TCA blood concentrations ranged from therapeutic to toxic l evels.

The NTSB determined that the use of drugs and ethanol as the probable cause or contributing factor in 35% (11 of 31) of the accidents, and six pilots had taken TCAs, as documented in their personal medical records and histories obtained by the NTSB . None of the 31 pilots reported the use of TCAs during their aviation medical examination, though 45% of them did report other drugs.

The present study disclosed that the prevalence of TCAs in aviators was less than 0.5% (31 of 7,037 cases). This study s uggests that aviators should fully disclose the use of medications at the time of their aviation medical examination for the improvement of aviation safety.

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