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About OST-R

The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) coordinates the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) research programs and is charged with advancing the deployment of cross-cutting technologies to improve our Nation’s transportation system. As directed by Congress in its founding legislation, RITA leads DOT in:

  • Coordinating, facilitating and reviewing the Department’s research and development programs and activities;
  • Advancing innovative technologies, including intelligent transportation systems;
  • Performing comprehensive transportation statistics research, analysis and reporting; and
  • Providing education and training in transportation and transportation-related fields.

RITA brings together important data, research and technology transfer assets of the Department of Transportation, including:

RITA also provides strategic direction and oversight of DOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Program.

How We Coordinate Research

Much of RITA’s coordinating function within DOT is overseen by the Research, Development and Technology (RD&T) Planning Council, an advisory board made up of all of DOT’s modal Administrators and chaired by the RITA Administrator. Through its leadership of the Council, RITA manages the creation of the DOT Five-Year RD&T Strategic Plan, the document that guides DOT’s research agenda. The draft version of the 2011-2016 DOT Five-Year RD&T Strategic Plan is expected to be released for online public comment by July 2011.

While DOT’s individual operating administrations continue to conduct research based on their unique agency missions, mandates and stakeholder needs, the Council’s work ensures that DOT’s research and technology programs are integrated and that they fully support DOT’s strategic objectives. Through its RD&T Planning Team, comprising DOT’s research leaders, the Council works to:

  • prioritize transportation research programs
  • identify innovation gaps, and
  • coordinate research and technology efforts within DOT and throughout the transportation community.

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