Some 440 miles northeast of DOT headquarters lies one of our greatest success stories, and perhaps one of our best-kept secrets, the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. And today, we're celebrating the Volpe Center's 40 years of excellence.
Now, the Volpe Center's mission is really quite simple: improve our nation's transportation systems.
But the work the Center's professionals do to advance that mission is state-of-the-art. From human factors research to global maritime tracking, the Volpe team is a world leader in finding innovative, research-based solutions to America's complex transportation challenges.
And although the Volpe Center operates within DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) and DOT sponsors the bulk of the Center's projects, the Center also has paying clients in other federal, state, and local governments, academia, industry, and even foreign governments.
Simply put, the Volpe Center's experts are problem-solvers hard at work on the center's strategic goals:
- Contribute to solving U.S. DOT's key challenges
- Influence the direction of America's transportation enterprise
- Ensure a sustainable business model
- Continuously develop the center's human capital
When I visited the center last August, I blogged that it was "a catalyst for innovation," and I wrote about the award-winning Global Maritime Domain Awareness Program and posted a photo of the Human Factors Lab's locomotive simulator.
- Working to prevent car crashes through wireless inter-vehicle safety communications
- Modernizing our air-traffic control system through NextGen,
- Examining the safety impact of quieter cars on blind pedestrians, and
- Researching the critical links between transportation and climate change.
And that's just a brief glimpse into the center's innovative work on our nation's transportation systems.
After my visit last year, I also blogged that it "looks like government is working at the Volpe Center." Well, as we celebrate the Center's 40th anniversary today, I think it's safe to say that government is still working at the Volpe Center, as it has been since 1970.
So, my heartiest thanks and congratulations--to Volpe Center Director Bob Johns and RITA Administrator Peter Appel, of course--but also to the terrific professionals who make the Volpe Center work for all of us.