The Outcomes We're Aiming to Achieve
We aim to anticipate the needs of decision makers, provide the information that is most useful to them, and demonstrate a thorough understanding of major transportation issues and trends. If our work is not relevant, BTS is not needed.
Our objectives for relevance:
- By 2000, good data and sound analysis will underpin every DOT strategic goal and performance measure, and every major DOT program evaluation (as scheduled in the DOT strategic and performance plans).
- By 2001, "leading" indicators will be available for DOT strategic goals and most DOT performance measures, to help anticipate trends in each of these outcomes.
- By 2003, good data will be available in advance to support every major transportation policy decision. BTS analyses of the data will also trigger major policy reviews.
We aim to provide data, analysis and information of high quality for transportation decision making. Whatever we provide will be accurate, reliable, and objective.
Our objectives for quality:
- By 2001, all data that BTS collects will meet "high" professional standards.
- By 2003, consensus data standards will be in use throughout DOT.
- By 2005, DOT will consistently use "good statistical practice" in its program and policy analyses, program evaluations, reports, and publicationssubject to external peer review.
- Confidentiality policies will be clearly communicated, and confidentiality will be maintained for all voluntary survey data.
We aim to reduce the lag in data reporting, so that decision makers have a nearly "real-time" view of the transportation system and the factors that affect it. Where appropriate to the data, program managers and senior leadership should be able to talk about where things stand "as of last night."
Timeliness, quality and cost are related variables that must be balanced by the programmatic value that is associated with each. However, historically DOT often has sacrificed timeliness for a level of quality or completeness that may be unnecessary for management use of the data. Timeliness can be improved in a variety of ways.
Our objectives for timeliness:
- Every year, past year results or reliable estimates of results (CY or FY depending on the measure) will be available for the DOT Performance Report.
- By 2003, transportation safety data will be available at least monthly, with no more than 30 days lag time.
- By 2003, BTS aviation data will be available in the public domain within 30 days of receipt.
- By 2005, all data that are both collected and published by DOT will reflect the past year, and most of these data will be available before June.
We aim to provide a view of transportation that is consistent across modes and across time, to enable people to make comparisons and to make broad program and resource decisions. Comparability is hindered to some extent by the separate, historical development of transportation programs. It is also constrained to some extent by the need to rely on external data sources.
Our objectives for comparability:
- By 2003, every important measure of transportation system condition, use and performance will be easily aggregated to a cross-modal measure. This will include risk and exposure data.
- Worldwide transportation data will be increasingly comparable over time, with measurable progress.
We aim to have data that cover transportation in every area of interest.
Our objectives for completeness:
- By 2001, critical gaps in all departmental data systems will be identified, by consensus.
- By 2003, most of these critical gaps will be filled.
We aim to make data easy to access, easy to understand, and easy to use.
Our objectives for utility:
- Documentation for DOT data will be complete, to prevent misunderstandings or misuse.
- By 2002, all major data sets for transportation will be accessible through the web, with user-friendly interfaces, and the ability to make links easily across data sets. And because transportation is inherently spatial, most data sets will also be accessible as spatial displays.
- By 2003, research papers and reference material for transportation research will be readily available via the web.
- The usefulness of BTS publicationsas judged by customers/userswill improve measurably each year.
- Access to DOT data will be so good that they become a first choice for use in teaching from secondary school classes to advanced research methods, even in courses unrelated to transportation.