Our Vision for the Future
Where We Are Going
Data and information of high quality will inform transportation policy decisions at all levels thus advancing the quality of life and economic well being of all Americans.
Who are our customers?
What does this look like over our time horizon through 2008 and beyond?
- BTS will become the leading source of multimodal transportation data for the federal, state, and local governments; metropolitan planning organizations; transportation-related associations; the private sector (including the freight community); and the public. BTS will also be the primary source of aviation and multimodal freight data.
- We will strive to ensure that the data required for significant transportation policy analysis are available.
- The data will be high quality and timely. We help establish the processes that will ensure that data are accurate, clean, and timely.
- We will improve the access to BTS data, so that more people will use it. People will use the data in many different ways to help make transportation better. High schools and colleges will use our data for teaching.
- We will also monitor our data to stay current on emerging trends as they unfold.
- We will publicize relevant results and circulate them, to stimulate the synthesis of even more information, and we will make sure that the essentials are delivered to those who can make transportation better.
- We will routinely observe system performance so we will know how well transportation is doing and find out where attention is needed. We will have the data to approach these areas and with effective solutions.
Our job is to support the five strategic goals of the Department of Transportation - to enhance safety, mobility, global connectivity, environmental stewardship, and security. RITA/BTS can provide leadership for our part of the mission, and the goals that fall within, through the availability and effective use of data.
How Our Strategic Plan Will Work
We will measure our success not in terms of activities but of outcomes. We will do this in six key areas identified by the statistical agencies and statistical units represented on the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP):
- Relevance-the degree to which products and services are useful and responsive to the needs of our customers and stakeholders.
- Accuracy-the correctness, validity, and reliability of data and information products.
- Timeliness-the timing of information releases.
- Cost-the dollar amount used to produce data products and services.
- Dissemination-the availability, accessibility, and distribution of products and services.
- Mission Achievement-the effectiveness of RITA/BTS information programs in satisfying our customers and stakeholders.
These six strategic areas reflect the key attributes of data and analysis, its production and utility that we have to get right if we are to accomplish our mission in a dynamic environment and realize the vision for BTS. By meeting these objectives, we will ultimately contribute to the larger strategic goals of DOT. But that will require great flexibility in what we do and how we do it.
Our strategic goals and objectives will be our guideposts for measuring success. Our guiding principles will provide general standards for how we must do our work in order to maintain our long-term effectiveness. Together, these make up the foundation for developing strategies and a mix of initiatives and activities that help us achieve success.
Our strategies and initiatives must be flexible. We will plan our activities and set milestones to track progress, but always with an eye on our strategic goals. The BTS Strategic Plan will guide decisionmaking and all other plans and work. This includes budget priorities, as well as decisions on program and project scope or direction.
DOT's Strategic Goals
The overarching purpose of BTS' work is embodied in the strategic goals of the Department. The six BTS goals derived from the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy, and the performance goals derived from them, reflect the most important things that DOT aims to achieve. They focus programmatic efforts as well as budget priorities, and they convey to the public the value they get for their tax dollar. By concentrating on outcomes derived from our strategic goals, they help assure that what we achieve as an organization will be worthwhile.
The challenge for RITA/BTS in this context is to help develop data and analyses that are relevant, accurate, timely, cost-effective, accessible, and contribute to mission achievement. Clearly, the six BTS strategic goal areas should support the broader DOT goals.
And within this framework, lies several important and specific concerns that BTS must help address over the next several years:
Data Needs for Safety
- An ability to make comprehensive comparisons of fatality, injury, and accident rates across modes, with comparable scope and denominators.
- Better use of technology for collecting data and better methods for analyzing the data.
- Integration of databases to connect a variety of related records, achieve data synergy, and provide "one-stop shopping" for program managers and researchers.
Data Needs for Mobility
- A means of measuring user transportation cost and travel time with time series data.
- Better approaches for measuring access to various modes of transportation.
- A more complete understanding of variables influencing travel behavior.
- More timely and comprehensive data on the condition and use of the transportation system.
- More comprehensive data on the intermodal nature of the transportation system.
Data Needs for Global Connectivity
- More complete data on our import shipments.
- Better measures of productivity in the transportation sector.
- Better measures of the impact of transportation on the economy.
Data Needs for Environmental Stewardship
- Compilations of data on transportation emissions, noise, hazardous materials releases, and wetlands impacts.
Data Needs for National Security
- Better data on the impact on the transportation system of intentional acts and natural occurrences that disrupt or destroy portions of the transportation infrastructure.