US DoT unveils safer and cleaner transport budget

Nearly 100 billion dollars will be pumped into the US transport network during 2017 as part of the country’s “Beyond Traffic” integrated transport programme.

The US Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx has provided details of the 2017 budget, which amounts to 98 billion dollars to be spent on the country’s transport infrastructure for cleaner, safer mobility and reflecting expected population increases and the need to serve a broader spread of communities.

According to the “Beyond Traffic” programme, the population of the USA is expected to grow by 70 million over the next three decades, creating pressures that cut across modes and infrastructure – road, rail, aerospace and maritime.

The Budget addresses the Department’s top priority, safety, with high impact investments in the safe integration of emerging technologies, such as autonomous vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which have the potential to transform transport systems, save lives and reduce carbon emissions.

Of the funding that has been allocated, road safety is a high priority with $730 million going towards the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for researching and developing new, life-saving technologies and over $640 million to support nationwide motor carrier safety through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

With Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) having a significant role to play in terms of ecology, safety and mobility, it is no surprise that there is funding available to pilot deployments of safe and climate-smart autonomous vehicles to create better, faster, cleaner urban and corridor transport networks. To accelerate the development and adoption of autonomous vehicles, the Budget includes $3.9 billion over ten years for large-scale deployment pilots to develop a common multistate interoperability framework for connected and autonomous vehicles.

$35 million has also been allocated into vehicle safety testing with the money earmarked for the development of the NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Programme, an initiative that will bring the USA in line with other regions of the world that currently lead the way in testing vehicles for safety technology, such as Japan, Europe and Australasia.

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