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RITA's Assets

RITA's Assets

RITA now brings together critically important research, technology, and data collection assets of the U.S. DOT including:

  • Research, Development and Technology

    RITA coordinates the USDOT’s roughly $1 billion research portfolio through the Research Planning, Investment, and Coordination (RPIC) process—a systematic approach to selecting, coordinating and evaluating research, development, and technology investments. An adaptation of the Capital Planning and Investment Control processes developed in response to the Clinger-Cohen Act, the RPIC processes are iterative with inputs coming from across DOT and feeding into the budget lifecycle.

    RPIC’s benefits include greater collaboration between Operating Administrations and the ability to achieve DOT’s RD&T strategic objectives; clearer alignment between RD&T initiatives with strategic objectives; a forum for measuring and tracking performance and net benefits for dollars invested; a framework for assessing tradeoffs between potential research benefits, costs, and risks; and a protocol for setting RD&T priorities and making appropriate RD&T resource shifts based on priorities at an enterprise level. RPIC works to ensure that greater RD&T budget transparency is achieved across DOT.

    Through an unprecedented focus on RD&T planning and coordination, fosters collaboration in research activities within DOT, across the Federal Government, and with partners in State and local transportation agencies, not-for-profit institutions, academia, and industry, including coordination of activities of the Department’s Research Investment Board.

    Serves the Department and the broader transportation community by pushing the outer limits of multimodal transportation technology and working collaboratively across USDOT’s operating administrations and Secretarial offices to advance cutting-edge technologies, including: nanotechnology, advanced materials, remote sensing for crossmodal infrastructure evaluation, and advanced energy conservation technologies.

  • University Transportation Centers

    Directs and provides Federal oversight of the University Transportation Centers (UTC) Program, ensuring greater alignment with national transportation objectives and goals. The UTC Program invests in university-based centers of excellence to advance innovation, research, education, and technology transfer. The program is managed by RITA and funded by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. The focus of the UTC program is multimodal and supportive of the USDOT’s strategic objectives. The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005 (SAFETEA-LU) authorized the most significant expansion of the UTC program to date, increasing the annual funding for the program and the number of UTCs from the 33 established in Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) to 60. With the expansion of the UTC program comes new opportunities for it to make an even greater contribution to transportation research, education, and technology transfer.

  • The John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

    An innovative, fee-for-service organization, the Volpe Center, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an internationally recognized Federal center of transportation logistics and expertise. Through rapid response and critical long-term analytical, scientific, and engineering support to the USDOT and others, this systems center helps decisionmakers define problems and pursue solutions that will lead transportation into the 21st century. The Center applies its unique multidisciplinary, multimodal, technical capabilities to promote and enable technological and process innovation in response to and in the achievement of U.S. transportation goals and national priorities.

    The Volpe Center plays a unique role in looking across the transportation enterprise to anticipate future transportation issues and challenges so as to better prepare and inform Departmental and other transportation decisionmakers. Funded through work agreements with multiple USDOT and non-DOT agencies, the Volpe Center supports multiple USDOT’s modal administrations and offices, other Federal agencies, State and local governments and organizations, foreign governments and entities, and the private sector.

  • The Transportation Safety Institute (TSI)

    The Transportation Safety Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is the Nation’s leading provider of transportation safety training. The TSI educates more than 50,000 professionals each year in state-of-the-art safety methods and technologies.

    The TSI assists DOT modal administrations in accomplishing their mission-essential training requirements. Since its inception, TSI has expanded its clientele to keep up with the needs of the Department and transportation industry. The Institute offers premier transit, aviation, motor carrier, traffic safety, hazardous material, and risk management training nationally and internationally.

    The TSI supports several key strategies in USDOT’s Strategic Plan. It sponsors and participates in conferences, seminars, and meetings at which transportation consumers and providers can share advances in safety technology, regulation, and procedures. The TSI uses DOT web sites to communicate information on best safety practices, educational materials, consumer information, and other materials relating to safety. The TSI also improves safety in all modes through outreach, education, collaboration with public and industry safety partners, demonstration programs, consumer information, and strategic media usage. Through training transportation industry safety professionals in accident investigation and prevention, TSI accomplishes these strategies and supports the Department’s safety objectives. At the same time, TSI provides subject matter expertise to decisionmakers and the public in transportation safety.

  • The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)

    The BTS will continue to focus on three key areas, each mandated by legislation: compiling, analyzing, and publishing a comprehensive set of transportation statistics; making statistics readily accessible; and implementing a long-term data collection program. A leading source of multimodal transportation data for the Federal, State, and local governments; metropolitan 21 U.S. Department of Transportation Research and Innovative Technology Administration planning organizations; transportation-related associations; the private sector (including the freight community); and the public, BTS is working to strengthen its role as a primary source of aviation and multimodal freight data. BTS will place heightened emphasis on the provision of safety and system performance data.

    As one of the Federal statistical agencies, BTS maintains a special degree of objectivity and independence. BTS products include reports to Congress and the Secretary of Transportation along with stakeholders in the transportation community. BTS efforts focus on getting and helping to interpret data objectively that can be used to better inform decisionmaking, regardless of what the data show. BTS will continue to focus on providing transportation data and analyses for policymakers in areas such as transportation economics, airline, freight and travel statistics.

  • The Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO)

    RITA’s ITS JPO focuses on intelligent vehicles, intelligent infrastructure, and the creation of an intelligent transportation system through integration with and between these two components. The Federal ITS Program supports the overall advancement of ITS through investments in major initiatives, exploratory studies and a deployment support program. Increasingly, the Federal investments are directed at targets of opportunity—major initiatives—that have the potential for significant payoff in improving safety, mobility, and productivity.

    The ITS JPO performs collaborative research and encourages deployment of advanced communications-based information and electronics technologies. When integrated into vehicles and the transportation infrastructure, ITS technologies have significant potential to relieve congestion, improve safety, and enhance system performance and productivity.

    The ITS program carries out its goals through research and development, operational testing, technology transfer, training and technical guidance in the areas of intelligent vehicles, advanced traffic and transit management, commercial vehicle operations, public safety, traveler information, and intermodal freight.

    Moving forward, RITA will complete the transfer of the ITS JPO to RITA, providing necessary administrative funding and staff.

  • Positioning, Navigation, and Timing

    RITA’s PNT and spectrum management responsibilities provide a unified, robust, and effective approach to the Department’s responsibilities in this dynamic and critical infrastructure technology field that is revolutionizing not only our transportation infrastructure, but countless other commercial, scientific, and homeland security applications in the United States and around the world.

    Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) services are critical to the transportation infrastructure and involve cross-cutting technology that supports multimodal applications. U.S. Space-Based PNT Policy states that the United States must continue to improve and maintain GPS, augmentation systems, and back-up capabilities to meet growing national, 22 U.S. Department of Transportation Research and Innovative Technology Administration homeland, and economic security requirements, as well as those from the civil, commercial, and scientific communities. This supports DOT safety, mobility, security, and global connectivity goals.

    The President authorized a new national policy on December 8, 2004, that establishes guidance and implementation actions for space-based positioning, navigation, and timing programs. The policy recognizes that "over the past decade the Global Positioning System (GPS) has grown into a global utility whose multiuse services are integral to U.S. national security, economic growth, transportation safety, and homeland security, and are an essential element of the worldwide economic infrastructure."

    This National Space Policy Directive identifies DOT as the focal point for civil GPS representation. It also established a National Space-Based PNT Executive Committee co-chaired by the Deputy Secretaries of the Department of Defense and Department of Transportation.