A Message from Secretary Slater

A Message from Secretary Slater

Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater

As stewards of America's transportation system, the U.S. Department of Transportation remains vigilant in the face of change and visionary in preparing for the future. We know that to be effective, our transportation system must be international in reachlinking us to new markets and destinations around the world; intermodal in formgaining from the combined strengths of the individual modes; intelligent in characterharnessing the tremendous power of technological advancement to expand our capabilities; and inclusive in servicemoving all forward and leaving no one behind. Perhaps, above all, it must be innovativecreating a system that will grow safer and more efficient over time.

We also know transportation is about more than concrete, asphalt, and steel. It is about people and their daily lives. It is about their dreams and aspirations, their connection to the economy and to each other. Transportation is the tie that binds.

As we take stock of the challenges we face, the Department has embraced a decisionmaking process that ensures the public's interests are served and that the public and all other stakeholders are involved in the process. How is this process different from others before it? The key is a tenacious focus on outcomesbeyond inputs, activities, and outputsand a commitment to measure our performance against the goals we set. We hold ourselves accountable, but our plans aren't prescriptive; they are inherently flexible. This means that we need high-quality, objective data to guide our programs and judge our success. In fact, Congress created the Bureau of Transportation Statistics as an operating administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation precisely for this purposeto ensure the availability and reliability of relevant data for decisionmaking in transportation.

We are moving from strength to strength, taking our planning process to a new level with the assistance of both this document, The Changing Face of Transportation, and its companion document, Transportation Decision Making: Policy Architecture for the 21st Century. As a companion document, the Policy Architecture report will help translate the trends we see and the goals we set into choices that will guide decisionmaking for the next 25 years. Thus, we build on the foundation laid down by those who have gone before us, those who carved the path in National Transportation Trends and Choices 25 years ago.

I invite you to continue improving our nation's transportation system so that it will not only serve the needs of today's Americans, but tomorrow's Americans as well. Each of us has an important role in helping to shape and pave the way for the future in this, the new century and the new millennium. Together we will continue to provide the best transportation system in the world.

Rodney E. Slater Secretary of Transportation