Dear JTS Readers,
In February 2005, the Norman Y. Mineta Research and Special Programs Improvement Act created a new U.S. Department of Transportation modal administration, known as the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). The mission statement for this new organization is straightforward: identify and facilitate solutions to the challenges and opportunities facing America's transportation system.
RITA's staff came from the former Research and Special Programs Administration's Office of Innovation, Research and Education, the Secretary's Office of Intermodalism, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Transportation Safety Institute in Oklahoma City, and the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. More than 750 DOT employees make up this unique organization.
RITA will enable DOT to more effectively coordinate and manage the Department's research portfolio and expedite implementation of crosscutting innovative technologies. Secretary Mineta's vision of RITA is part university research lab and part Silicon Valley entrepreneurial company. He wants this administration to foster the exchange of ideas and information in a high-priority incubator committed to research and move these innovative ideas from the laboratory into the field. We look forward to Journal of Transportation and Statistics (JTS) readers coming along and even participating in our journey of discovery.
RITA is dedicated to the advancement of DOT priorities for innovation and research in transportation technologies and concepts. These innovations will improve our mobility, promote economic growth and safety, and ultimately deliver a more integrated transportation system.
RITA is not intended to displace the R&D activities of the various DOT operating administrations, neither will it intervene with their associations with particular transportation entities or modal communities. While the offices assigned to RITA continue their current, vital work, they will grow. This growth will afford DOT the opportunity to realize greater collaboration, information sharing, coordination, support, and advocacy for its widespread research efforts.
As the first Deputy Administrator of RITA, I thank all the JTS readers for their continued interest in this publication. Please feel free to share this publication with others. We look forward to expanding our readership through you, our valued readers. I hope you find this publication and our new administration a valued resource.
Please do not hesitate to contact me or the JTS editorial staff with your questions and comments about either this publication or other transportation interests.
ERIC C. PETERSON
Research and Innovative Technology Administration