A few weeks ago, President Obama laid out his plan for a strong America. In his State of the Union address, he called on us to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class – and to do so in part by improving our nation’s infrastructure.
One organization that understands that connection best is the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. So, when I spoke to AASHTO members this morning about improving America’s economy through transportation investments, it was no surprise to see a lot of heads nodding in agreement.
And I was equally pleased that there was plenty of agreement in the room when I talked about doing our best to build safety into our transportation infrastructure.
At DOT, we are very proud of our work to save lives and reduce injuries. But, we also know that our job is never done. This is especially true when it comes to bicycle and pedestrian safety.
We have consistently promoted bicycle and pedestrian safety through public education, such as encouraging bike riders to wear a helmet, and through improved infrastructure and more livable communities that make biking and walking great, safe options for getting around.
But, as demand for walking and biking continues to grow, we must make sure that our policies keep up with the changing ways people move. And that means ensuring that our streets, bridges and highways are safe—whether you are in a car, on foot, or on a bike.
America's business leaders want us to build 21st century infrastructure so they can attract the best and brightest employees to their facilities and so their customers and suppliers can get to them. That's what our communities need to be competitive.
I'm pleased to say that walking and bicycling is part of that infrastructure. AASHTO members know this. Corporate America knows this, too.
So today, I’m proud to say that DOT is looking to create a standard guide for how we will build modern streets that work for everyone who depends on them.
As we begin work on this, we’re going to look at the AASHTO bike guide and other similar resources to help us build streets, bridges and highways that keep all travelers as safe as possible.
Businesses and commuters alike are looking to us to build modern infrastructure that not only keeps their communities economically competitive, but keeps their residents safe as well. We must work together to meet the growing demand for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and we must make these transportation options safe for more Americans.