U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx takes a bike tour of Amsterdam last week to see firsthand Dutch cycling infrastructure.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx last week completed a multi-day visit to Copenhagen, Denmark; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and Oslo, Norway, as part of an ongoing effort to learn from international partners about innovative ways to meet the transportation challenges of the future.
Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Oslo are considered some of the smartest cities in the world. They face many of the same challenges as cities in the United States, including: rapid growth, urbanization, congestion, climate change, increased freight traffic, and risks to pedestrian and bike safety.
In addition to meeting with government leaders, Secretary Foxx engaged in a series of discussions and meetings with city officials, architects, and planners about their efforts to meet these challenges with creative and multi-modal solutions.
“We moved safely through these cities the way so many residents routinely do – on a bike – and we looked at how data and technology are shaping transportation systems for the better,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “I’m excited to put these ideas into practice, and continue the conversation in the United States about making our neighborhoods more inclusive and multi-modal, and to improve access to economic opportunity.”
Secretary Foxx was joined by Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, Texas; Mayor Charlie Hales of Portland, Oregon; and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. These three mayors are part of the Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, an initiative launched by Secretary Foxx in 2014, which allows the U.S. DOT to partner with mayors to make biking and walking safer in cities.
Mayors Adler and Hales are also finalists in the Smart City Challenge, which aims to help define what it means to be an American “Smart City,” and lead the country in planning for the challenges of the future, as determined by U.S. DOT’s Beyond Traffic study. The mayors participated in panels and conversations with experts and thinkers about their experiences as city leaders, and how they can make incremental changes to improve the lives of their constituents.
“Imagining the possibilities is as vital to transforming urban mobility as technological innovations or building new infrastructure,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “If we believe that it is better to use bus lines, bike paths, and boulevards to more closely connect everyone than to divide entire communities, first we must see that it is possible. The cities we visited with Secretary Foxx showed us what is possible, and we are eager to incorporate these ideas into a future for American cities that provides ladders of opportunity for everyone.”
“Cities are the locus of innovation; that’s clear in Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Oslo,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “It was an honor to travel with Secretary Foxx and learn about some of the most advanced bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure systems in the world. Cities have the tendency to share information and successes – that’s how we lead. I’m excited to take this information back to Portland and replicate these transportation innovations.”
“I’m delighted by the opportunity to represent South Bend on this international delegation,” said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “Exchanging ideas with some of the world’s most successful bike-oriented cities will help South Bend accommodate cars, bikes, and pedestrians in our future plans. It’s great to see a city of our scale included in the global conversation about creating safer and more accessible transportation.”
During his visit, Secretary Foxx also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with each of the three countries, formalizing cooperation with each nation on a range of transportation priorities, including automated and connected vehicles, smart cities, and multi-modal urban mobility.