U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is back home after visiting Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Oslo, to learn how these cities tackle future transportation challenges.
Foxx met with government leaders, city officials, architects, and planners to discuss creative and multi-modal transport 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 Foxx.
The USDOT says these three face similar challenges to counterparts in the U.S.: rapid growth, urbanisation, congestion, climate change, increased freight traffic, and risks to pedestrian and bike safety.
“I’m excited to put these ideas into practice, and continue the conversation in the United States about making our neighbourhoods more inclusive and multi-modal, and to improve access to economic opportunity.”
Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, TX; Mayor Charlie Hales of Portland, OR; and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, IN, accompanied Secretary Foxx on his European tour. The tree mayors are part of the Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, an initiative which Secretary Foxx launched in 2014 to make cities safer for bikers and pedestrians.
“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 USDOT states.
“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 honour 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 the visit, Secretary Foxx also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with each of the three countries to work on projects that include automated and connected vehicles.