This afternoon, DOT celebrates another anniversary; this time it's five strong years for the Research and Innovative Technology Administration.
RITA is the home of research and education, statistics, and transportation technology development at DOT. And you would be surprised by how the high-end work of RITA employees touches our lives everyday.
Without RITA's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, for example, we wouldn't know on-time flight rates or key economic indicators like the volume of freight moving around the country in a given period.
Without the Intelligent Transportation Systems team, communities around the country wouldn't have learned from the experience of Syracuse, NY, where retiming traffic lights reduced delays (18.8%), fuel consumption (13.8%), and vehicle emissions (13%).
Without the Research, Development, and Technology office, we wouldn't have the University Transportation Centers Program, and universities that conduct cutting-edge transportation research and develop the next generation of transportation professionals would go underfunded.
And the National Transportation Library, an invaluable storehouse of information for transportation decision-makers.
One great new program RITA announced last week is a challenge to researchers to improve road safety by developing new applications for weather data. The Clarus weather system provides a comprehensive picture of the weather along the nation's roads that is available to any user, at anytime, anywhere in the U.S. Nearly a quarter of all vehicle crashes happen when severe weather strikes, and many of those crashes can be prevented if the data from Clarus is made more useful by application developers. RITA's challenge will make that if a reality.
And that's just one recent example of how the DOT agency you may not have heard of is making a difference in your life.
All of RITA's programs work to ensure that the nation's transportation research investments produce usable results for the American people. They've produced these results for the past five years, and for that I congratulate Administrator Peter Appel and the fine people of RITA.