In July 2008 BTS held a meeting of the Advisory Council on Transportation Statistics (ACTS). BTS staff briefed the Council on current and planned statistical activities including the International Freight Data System, the Commodity Flow Survey, and National Transportation Library. The Council recommended that BTS examine ways to expand statistical collections on passenger travel and to improve the timeliness, quality, and accessibility of commercial aviation data. Information about the Advisory Council and a copy of the meeting minutes and related materials can be accessed at the Federal Advisory Committee Act website (www.fido.gov/facadatabase) maintained by the General Services Administration.
As one of the designated federal statistical agencies, BTS is a member of the federal Interagency Council on Statistical Policy, chaired by the Chief Statistician, Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Council meets regularly to discuss best practices, national data needs, and developments throughout the statistical community. More detailed information on the federal statistical agencies is available from the report Statistical Programs of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2009. An electronic version can be accessed through the OMB website (www.whitehouse.gov/OMB).
BTS will continue to explore techniques for more efficient and less costly data collection, including online survey submission and data automation methods. The collection of airline data will be made more efficient through the use of the internet (e.g., e-filing of reports and data), which promises to expedite data processing and ease the reporting burden on the airlines.
BTS continues to look for new ways to assess and meet the varied needs of its customers. The Bureau is developing strategies for responding to recognized needs and identifying pressing issues within the transportation community. For example, website visits and inquiries will be studied to identify topics of increasing interest and importance.
As BTS continues its course of producing relevant, accurate, and timely transportation data and analyses, it will pursue new opportunities for partnering, collaborating, and sharing information within the U.S. Department of Transportation and with external constituencies and stakeholders to meet the Nation's present and future transportation statistical needs.