RESEARCH AND INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY ADMINISTRATION (RITA) - FY 2012 Congressional Budget Submission

RESEARCH AND INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY ADMINISTRATION (RITA) - FY 2012 Congressional Budget Submission

ADMINISTRATOR'S OVERVIEW

RITA's FY 2012 budget request is $52.6 million, an increase of $12.6 million over the FY 2010 level. This request reflects RITA's Surface Transportation Reauthorization proposal to greatly enhance the data collection and statistical analysis program in support of data-driven decision-making across the USDOT. It will enable RITA to:

  • Provide robust transportation statistics research, analysis, and reporting in support of USDOT and stakeholder needs.
  • Coordinate, facilitate, review and maximize the effectiveness of the USDOT's research, development and technology (RD&T) portfolio.
  • Advance innovative technologies in an increasingly multi-modal transportation system and further education and training in transportation and related fields.

As the USDOT's research and innovation focal point, RITA advances DOT strategic goals by working across the modal administrations and collaborating with partners from other federal agencies, state and local governments, universities, stakeholder organizations, transportation professionals and system operators. From conducting advanced research to providing funding to test and evaluate new approaches across modes; from collecting and analyzing data to training transportation professionals, RITA enables and accelerates transportation innovation.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REQUEST

Quality Data & Analysis for Sound Decision-Making

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) develops and disseminates timely, relevant and high quality data and information for all transportation modes. Users include federal, state and local agencies, researchers, and public and private sector transportation decision-makers. BTS provides data through programs that address:

  • Freight and Travel Statistics (National and International);
  • Transportation Economics;
  • Geospatial Information Systems;
  • Statistical Methods and Standards Performance Metrics; and
  • Airline Statistics (Funded through the Research and Development appropriation).

The budget request for BTS is $35 million, an increase of $8 million over the FY 2010 funding level. This represents a new baseline to reflect RITA's Surface Transportation Reauthorization proposal to substantially enhance the data collection and rigorous statistical analysis programs in support of data-driven decision-making that will affect major DOT strategic objectives moving forward, such as advancing transportations safety, driving economic competitiveness through programs such as high speed rail, and ensuring environmental sustainability. This funding will allow RITA to meet DOT's objective of making transportation investments and policy decisions based on sound analytical data.

The $8 million increase to BTS will initiate or provide enhancements to the following programs:

  • A new Safety Data and Analysis Program (+$2 million) will support the modal administrations in the areas of safety data collection, statistical expertise, and methodology to improve safety data access, as well as address emerging issues in transportation safety such as the objective to achieve improvements and consistency in the safety of transit systems across the U.S. Safety data from across the modes will be integrated into a centralized source for cross-modal decision-making, in support of the USDOT Safety Council.
  • A bolstered BTS Freight Statistics Program (+$5.9 million) will fund expansion of the highly valued Commodity Flow Survey (CFS), Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (VIUS) and International Freight Data System (IFDS). These programs collect, compile and analyze freight data across all modes of transportation and provide analytic reports and stakeholder-focused products from multimodal and intermodal perspectives. The CFS data collection will be completed, a methodology for VIUS will be developed, for-hire truck data and targeted surveys will be developed and IFDS data will be delivered to modal customers. These enhanced data collection efforts will provide further refinement to the analysis of freight transportation trends in support of USDOT priorities particularly enhancing economic competitiveness by driving supply chain efficiency.

Robust Transportation Research

  • RITA requests $17.6 million for its Research and Development account, which is a funding increase of $4.6 million over the FY 2010 level. RITA manages and conducts the strategic planning, coordination, facilitation and review of the USDOT's research programs.
  • USDOT is responsible for coordinating and developing Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) (+$.600 million) technology, as well as PNT policy coordination and spectrum management. The PNT program enables RITA to fulfill the USDOT's civil PNT leadership role in ensuring federal civil agencies have significant participation in and are adequately represented in the joint management of global positioning systems (GPS). RITA also funds the Nationwide Differential Global Positioning System (NDGPS) program (+$3 million), which provides national, real-time accurate dynamic positioning and navigation information at one-to-three meters for surface transportation users.

Additionally, key components such as the RESEARCH Development &Technology (RD&T) (+$.900 million) Planning Council and Planning Team provide critical coordination and leadership among USDOT modal administrations and stakeholders.

These are critical elements for ensuring lab-to-marketplace application of new ideas and technologies.

Critical Components of RITA's Programs

  • The University Transportation Center (UTC) program ($100 million) advances U.S. technology and expertise in many transportation-related disciplines, and advances DOT RD&T priorities through baseline funding for university-based transportation education, research and technology transfer as well as a new competitive cross-modal component. The program is jointly funded by reimbursable agreements with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) [$72 million] and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)[$8 million]. An additional $20 million competitive pool funded through the FHWA will be reserved for a targeted collaborative multimodal research program for high priority needs and topics.
  • A new Multimodal Innovative Research Program, funded at $20 million, will build on an existing advanced research program and provide cutting-edge research focusing on USDOT priorities under the governance of the RD&T Planning Council. The multi-modal structure of the Planning Council will ensure collaboration across the USDOT. This program is funded by a reimbursable agreement with FHWA.

Cutting-Edge Technologies

The Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program requests $110 million for the ITS core program in FY 2012, along with an additional $100 million increase in conjunction with the President's Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative, Wireless Innovation (WIN) Fund. This additional $100 million from the WIN fund will be used over a five year period, and will provide the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program the ability to seek new and innovative opportunities to pursue ground-breaking research and competitive deployments of wireless technology applications.  Deployment of the resulting proven ITS applications will greatly advance the safety, efficiency, convenience, and environmental sustainability of surface transportation. 

RITA coordinates, facilitates, and reviews well over $1 billion in transportation-related research, analysis, technology transfer, deployment, education and training activities spanning Departmental priorities. The John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center and the Transportation Safety Institute, both fee-for-service organizations, provide critical support to meet this mission.

RITA's FY 2012 budget supports all of the Department's strategic goals. It ensures that decision-makers will have access to robust data collection and analysis, advanced research, and cutting-edge technologies.