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US Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters: Innovation for a Nation on the Move

US Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters: Innovation for a Nation on the Move

Mary E. Peters - U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Mary E. Peters
U.S. Secretary of Transportation

Today, congestion is choking our cities, clogging our highways and airways, and complicating our lives. There are countless examples of how gridlock is taxing our economy, our environment, and our way of life. We must develop 21st century solutions to these 21st century mobility challenges.

The Department is committed to helping state and local governments find fresh and innovative ways to reduce gridlock. And I believe that one of the most promising options for combating out-of-control congestion is to incorporate technology and invest in innovation. This is exactly the kind of approach we are embracing as part of our Congestion Initiatives.

The Department's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) has taken the lead in finding cutting-edge solutions to congestion. And while there is no technological silver bullet that will solve our transportation challenges, the technologies and leading-edge approaches that exist today are just the beginning when it comes to reducing both congestion and our reliance on gasoline to fuel our lives.

We are actively working to improve safety and reduce congestion using technology like collision avoidance and lane departure warning systems. We also are exploring innovative technologies to provide commuters with the real-time traffic information needed to plan their morning commute. Using this information, transportation managers can also plan better and take action to prevent problems from arising, instead of trying to manage from one crisis to the next.

And, we're advancing new technologies to help price the use of the transportation system's peak periods to help cut rush hour gridlock. In fact, there are few ideas that hold more promise to reverse, not simply just slow, the growth of traffic tie-ups. We have seen this concept used in major cities around the world and along individual roadways in the United States . However, we have yet to see a broad demonstration here.

I believe that when you combine new approaches to pricing highway systems with expanded commuter transit services, commitments from employers to expand work schedule flexibility, an expansion of real-time traffic information, and other successful operational strategies, we can provide swift relief from congestion, better quality of life for our citizens, and new opportunities for businesses to keep the American economy moving.