The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) was established within the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) in 1992 to collect, report, and analyze transportation data. Today, BTS is a component of the USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). RITA coordinates the Department's ever-increasing range of innovative transportation activities, statistics, research, and technologies. RITA has several statutory missions, including comprehensive transportation statistics research, analysis, and reporting.

The BTS mission is to create, manage, and share transportation statistical knowledge with public and private transportation communities and the Nation. This mission is served by developing quality transportation data, promoting transportation knowledge through statistical products, and advancing the effective use of this knowledge by public and private transportation decision makers, researchers, and the American public. In sum, BTS is a high-performance, results-oriented organization committed to creating, managing, and sharing transportation statistical knowledge.

Originally created under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991, today BTS' authorizing legislation is the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which authorizes $27 million for the agency each year from 2005 through 2009. BTS is led by a Director, appointed by the Secretary of Transportation, who reports to the Administrator of RITA. BTS staff focus their expertise in transportation, statistics, economics, information technology, library science, and geographic information systems on a wide-range of transportation matters—with authoritative results.

The Bureau's products include reports to Congress, the Secretary of Transportation, and stakeholders in the Nation's transportation community. BTS stakeholders include:

  • Federal agencies,
  • State and local governments,
  • Metropolitan planning organizations,
  • Universities,
  • The private sector, and
  • The general public.