You are here

Detailed Justification for Research, Development and Technology Coordination

Detailed Justification for Research, Development and Technology Coordination

FY 2008 Request: $536,000

Overview

RITA was created by Congress with the primary objective of serving as the Department’s focal point for coordinating, facilitating and reviewing crosscutting and cross-modal research, and for enabling new technology deployment across all modes.  To fulfill this role, RITA provides strategic direction to and coordinates the Department’s research programs through annual program reviews, budget and performance planning and prioritization, and performance tracking and reporting. 

In response to the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) 2006 recommendations, in FY 2008 RITA will improve Departmental RD&T coordination by:

  • Completing a strategy for reviewing all DOT RD&T activities to identify opportunities for joint efforts across Operating Administrations;
  • Ensuring that DOT research is evaluated according to established best practices;
  • Preparing and reporting on a schedule of research program evaluations; and
  • Developing common performance measures for DOT RD&T activities.

FY 2007 Base

The base funding in FY 2007 for the RD&T Coordination program is $247,500.  RITA will continue to lead the RD&T Planning Council and Team to identify research priorities and opportunities for collaboration on crosscutting RD&T.

FY 2007 Accomplishments

In direct support of the DOT Organizational Excellence strategic objective, RITA managed RD&T coordination through the RD&T Planning Council and Team (per DOT Order 1120.39A) to promote the efficient use of DOT RD&T funds, prevent duplication and encourage joint RD&T efforts.  In FY 2007, the following accomplishments are planned:

  1. Framework for a Web-based database of DOT RD&T projects.
  2. Develop common performance measures for RD&T activities.
  3. Engage external stakeholders in identifying emerging research priorities.
  4. Provide staff support to the RD&T Planning Council and RD&T Planning Team and other crossmodal working groups.
  5. Strengthen RD&T coordination and reviews, including:
  • Providing recommendations to the Secretary on strategic RD&T priorities.
  • Preparing the FY 2009 RD&T budget priorities for inclusion in the Department’s FY 2009 budget guidance.
  • Reviewing FY 2009 RD&T budget requests to ensure alignment with DOT strategic objectives and priorities.
  • Conducting annual RD&T program reviews.
  • Preparing the RD&T Funding Report to Congress (SAFETEA-LU, sec. 5208).

FY 2008 Budget Request

The proposed FY 2008 activities will enhance Department-wide coordination by focusing DOT’s efforts to increase evaluation and measurement activity and engage internal and external stakeholders.  These activities will enable RITA to recognize unnecessary duplication and help identify the Department’s best opportunities for concentrating research efforts to gain the best investment.  In addition to ongoing planning and coordination activities, such as the Annual Report to Congress, staff support to the Planning Council, updates to the strategic plan, budget guidance, budget reviews, and program reviews, RITA will initiate or enhance the following in FY 2008:

  1. Further develop the Web-based data tracking system for research coordination started in FY 2007.
  2. Conduct one stakeholder workshop on crossmodal research priorities or emerging technologies as part of a strategic update to the current RD&T Strategic Plan.
  3. Develop and implement tools and a performance management system that monitors DOT’s R&D portfolio and collects data about its management and progress.
  4. Conduct cost-benefit analysis and return-on-investment analysis on key segments of DOT’s research agenda and targeted technologies.
  5. Perform assessments to determine DOT’s most promising technologies.

Explanation of Funding Changes for RD&T Coordination

Amount:  +$289,000

The funding increase will provide for an enhancement of Department-wide coordination efforts to increase evaluation and measurement activities and engage internal and external stakeholders.  These activities will enable RITA to recognize unnecessary duplication and help identify the Department’s best opportunities for concentrating research efforts to gain the best investment.