US-DOT: Accelerating Innovative Mobility program, and other DOT news

January 29, 2020

On January 14, 2020 Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams announced the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) program.

“The Accelerating Innovative Mobility initiative will enhance the service, design, and financing of public transportation systems through forward thinking and innovative practices,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The FTA included in the AIM program $11 million in grants to assist transit agencies in investigating new business approaches. The FTA will issue a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for these funds in the near future.

top view of two trains in a train station

Photo by Sara Cottle on Unsplash

USDOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao also announced new transportation initiatives aimed at improving road safety, including the next phase of the Partnership for Analytics Research in Traffic Safety (PARTS) program. This next phase increases the U.S. automobile market’s participation to almost 70 percent and will also collect data on additional advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).

USDOT also announced its intent to invest up to $38 million for the First Responder Safety Technology Pilot Program. The program will assist in equipping emergency response vehicles and vital infrastructure with vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication technology. USDOT is endorsing the standardization of ADAS terminology through the “Clearing the Confusion” initiative.

The Special Committee to Review the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aircraft Certification Process released its report. The committee consists of a panel of independent aviation and safety experts commissioned to review the procedures of FAA’s product certification and the processes followed during the certification of the 737 MAX 8 by FAA and Boeing.

The committee’s findings and recommendations include:

  1. Broader requirement for Safety Management Systems (SMS) for design and manufacturing organizations
  2. Expansion of System Safety Assessments (SSA), which are an essential component of safety risk management
  3. Expansion of the FAA’s global engagement and influence
  4. Better data gathering and utilization
  5. Closer and more specified coordination among the different FAA offices engaged in the certification process
  6. Aggressive development of the FAA workforce to meet evolving industry needs
  7. Continued use and enhancement of the FAA’s system of delegation within the certification process
  8. Clarification and updating of the FAA’s policies with respect to amended type certificates
  9. Continued focus on the FAA’s innovation efforts to support new entrants and the further implementation of performance-based regulations
  10. Review and action on recent recommended actions from industry-government advisory committees and government oversight agencies to enhance the safety and efficiency of the certification process
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