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Detailed Justification for Compilations, Methods and Standards

Detailed Justification for Compilations, Methods and Standards

FY 2008 Request: $7,416,000
FTE: 30.0 [includes 12.0 overhead]

Overview

The statistical compilations component of this program brings together data from the Bureaus programs and other national data sources to produce the Congressionally mandated Transportation Statistics Annual Report, which presents the state of transportation data and discusses 13 different topics specified by Congress in SAFETEA-LU. In response to SAFETEA-LUs mandate to compile and publish a comprehensive set of transportation statistics, the program produces National Transportation Statistics as a broad reference, now updated quarterly on the web. The BTS pocket guide to transportation provides aggregate statistics in an easy to use format, consistent with the SAFETEA-LU mandate to make statistics published by BTS readily accessible to the public. The data in these products cover the DOT strategic goals of safety, mobility, global connectivity, security, and environmental stewardship.

To assure the quality of these compilations and of individual data programs throughout the Department, the Methods and Standards program coordinates efforts to develop standards for transportation data; develops and implements statistical standards and policy for the BTS; maintains with the DOT-CIO the statistical quality guidelines for the Department; consults with other DOT operating administrations on statistical issues; and provides statistical support for DOTs annual performance report. These also are Congressionally mandated roles for BTS under SAFETEA-LU, and relate to the DOT strategic goal of organizational excellence.

The Compilations, Methods and Standards program also prepares publications and other materials for printing and posting on the web, and handles product distribution. Publishing statistics is a Congressionally mandated role for BTS under SAFETEA-LU.

Without the Compilations, Methods and Standards program:

  • RITA/BTS would not be able to fulfill its legislative mandate under SAFETEA-LU to review and report to the Secretary on the sources and reliability of statistics proposed to be used to measure outputs and outcomes under the Government Performance and Results Act;
  • RITA/BTS would not be able to fulfill its legislative mandate under SAFETEA-LU to develop guidelines for collection of transportation statistics in a number of areas; this could result in less accurate, reliable and relevant information than might otherwise be the case;

Congress would not have the annual report on transportation statistics it has mandated since 1991, and the information available for that report could be less accurate, reliable and relevant because the guidelines mentioned above would not be developed;

Transportation planners, decisionmakers, the media, and the public would lose many authoritative compilations of multimodal transportation data covering most transportation topics and updated regularly.

FY 2007 Base

Statistical compilations include recurring print and web publications: National Transportation Statistics, the annual report to Congress, and the BTS Pocket Guide to Transportation. The program also provides transportation data to the White House website, and improves and disseminates transportation data through multinational exchanges. As required under SAFETEA-LU, the program also interacts with the Transportation Research Board on a data needs assessment.

The Methods and Standards program will conduct statistical standards compliance reviews to assess and help promote quality for BTS data systems and information products; refine BTS statistical standards and guidelines to provide procedural tools and specific descriptions of minimum levels of quality; provide consulting support to other DOT modes to help ensure that rulemakings and other program actions are based on sound, defensible data; and provide statistical support for the Departments Performance and Accountability Report.

Anticipated FY 2007 Accomplishments

  • Publish the Transportation Statistics Annual Report (TSAR) to provide Congress with key indicators on transportation issues.
  • Monitor progress of National Research Councils National Transportation Information Needs Assessment required by SAFETEA-LU to be completed in FY 2008.
  • Produce and release monthly on the web the Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is a measure of the movement of freight and passengers, and is an indicator of changes in the economy.
  • Update, publish, and distribute the annual BTS Pocket Guide to Transportation, including revisions resulting from consultations with key customers.
  • Produce the website version of National Transportation Statistics compendium and an associated volume of state statistics.
  • Provide the White House Economic Statistics Briefing Room website with key Transportation Indicators.
  • Prepare BTS products for print publication and web posting, including scheduled data releases, recurring publications and special reports, and distribute products to the public.
  • Continue the North American Interchange with Canada and Mexico and other data exchanges with other nations.
  • Complete the review of compliance with BTS Statistical Standards and Guidelines. Provide training in the application of these standards and monitor their implementation.
  • For the DOT Performance and Accountability Report (PAR), provide assistance to the DOT operating administrations with rebaselining of performance measures, and performance measure estimation, projection, and extrapolation methodologies. Assemble data from the DOT operating administrations and prepare the data presentation for this annual report, to help ensure the reliability of the data, transparency in the process, and utility in data presentation.
  • Support DOT in the interpretation and implementation of the statistical portion of the DOT Information Dissemination Quality Guidelines. Support other ad hoc requests from DOT such as review of statistical methods in rulemaking processes.
  • Continue monitoring agency-wide confidentiality procedures. Review information products for potential disclosures of confidential information. Continue annual confidentiality training to all BTS employees and contractors. Assess privacy compliance of RITA information systems.

FY 2008 Budget Request

BTS will continue to produce, publish and make available a core set of online and print documents, and scheduled data releases, at a level commensurate with resources. This includes a Congressionally mandated annual report, a web edition of National Transportation Statistics; a Pocket Guide to Transportation, and regularly scheduled data releases. It also includes data interchanges with Canada and Mexico. This program will also provide assistance to the DOT operating administrations for the DOT Performance and Accountability Report, perform data quality reviews of BTS data systems requested by the BTS Director, and provide training on BTS data quality standards and its confidentiality standards.