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Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles

How We Will Manage Our Work

Each decision we make and each strategy we construct, must meet certain basic norms for how we want to manage. Each of these guiding principles is necessary to ensure the long-term health and survival of BTS:


  1. We must meet our congressional mandates. They provide the basis for the very existence of BTS and reflect what Congress and the public expects of us.
  2. We must stay within the scope of our mandates. We do not formulate policy options; we support those who do. We must remain objective and unbiased in our data and information.


  1. We must focus first and foremost on relevant data. Providing our customers and stakeholders with the information they need to accomplish their goals is paramount.
  2. We must stay abreast of all transportation developments and on top of the latest statistical and information technologies that are germane to the functioning of a statistical agency.


  1. We must be customer oriented - responsive to their needs and interested in their feedback.
  2. We must work with data providers with mutual respect, including appropriate protections of confidentiality and concern for the burden of data collection. This will ensure access to quality data.
  3. We must work cooperatively with collectors and users of transportation data in the private and public sectors to enhance our understanding of the entire system without danger of duplicating effort. The burden of reaching out rests with BTS.
  4. We must continually nourish and sustain our staff-our key asset. Their intellectual capital is critical to our capabilities, and their personal and professional development are important long-term investments to be measured on a performance basis. If we ignore this, we cannot maintain our performance or retain our staff.


  1. We must continually search for more efficient ways to do our work - to automate or streamline processes where possible, and design low maintenance systems. The taxpayer expects us to spend every dollar wisely, and every efficiency permits greater opportunity for increasing our effectiveness. We may have to discontinue processes if they are not efficient.
  2. We must move quickly and take risks. Rapid changes in technology and a complex policy environment directly affect our operations. We must keep up with the pace so we do not lose relevance.
  3. We must always do our work with grace and humility-virtues unto themselves. We must also acknowledge that many of the best ideas are outside BTS and rely on others to help us achieve our mission.
Updated: Saturday, May 20, 2017