USDOT Issues Series of Reports Ahead of Administration Change

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a series of draft and final reports on a variety of issues ahead of the changeover to the Biden-Harris administration.

The USDOT issued a draft of its first Strategic Plan on Accessible Transportation ahead of its publication in the federal register: a plan that “reflects ongoing and future initiatives” across all USDOT divisions – from the Federal Highway Administration to the Federal Transit Administration – to “enhance accessibility and remove barriers in transportation for people with disabilities.”

Photo by the Maryland Transit Administration

The agency added in a statement that this plan represents a “unified vision for progress” that would serve as a guide for its accessible transportation efforts from fiscal year 2021 through 2025.

USDOT also issued its final Complementary Positioning, Navigation, and Timing and GPS Backup Technologies Demonstration report to Congress: a report that provides details regarding 11 alternative navigation technologies that can work in the absence of satellite-based global positioning system or GPS networks.

“The results of the thorough scientific research conducted by this demonstration effort indicate that there are suitable, mature, and commercially available technologies to back up or to complement the timing services provided by GPS,” noted Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former USDOT deputy assistant secretary for research and technology, in a statement.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth

“However, the demonstration also indicates that none of the systems alone can universally back up the positioning and navigation capabilities provided by GPS and its augmentations,” she added. “This necessitates a diverse universe of positioning and navigation technologies.”

Finally, USDOT released its Hyperloop Standards Desk Review, compiled by the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology or NETT Council. This document serves to assess the status of hyperloop standard development, starts a “dialogue” regarding future standardization efforts, and identifies stakeholder perspectives on the applicability of existing standards to domestic testing and deployment.

The agency’s Hyperloop Standards Desk Review also provides a preliminary mapping of existing standards and regulations to specific hyperloop systems components, though that review “is not intended” to be “comprehensive, prescriptive, or definitive,” USDOT said in a statement.

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