Provide leadership to the USDOT and the transportation community by accelerating, enabling,
and facilitating transportation innovation through a variety of methods, including the advocacy of
cross-cutting RD&T aligned with USDOT’s strategic goals.
Innovations have been introduced into the transportation system that involve all modes and that
result in improvements in safety, congestion reduction, environmental stewardship and energy
independence, global connectivity, organizational excellence, and overall transportation system
To achieve its
objective for enabling and expediting innovation within the transportation
enterprise, RITA will:
- Provide Thought Leadership and Identify Gaps and Priorities: Work across the Department
and with the transportation community to anticipate and prioritize future transportation
challenges and opportunities, identify technology and knowledge gaps, and enable needed
innovations. Conduct forums and outreach in order to bring diverse communities together to
find common ground and common understanding of challenges and strategies for tackling the
Nation’s toughest transportation issues and achieving USDOT’s strategic goals.
- Lead Multimodal Research, Development, and Technology (RD&T) and Accelerate the
Implementation of Transportation Technology and Institutional Innovation: Serve as USDOT’s
principal advocate for, and advisor on, multimodal transportation RD&T and RD&T
investment, for both passenger and freight transportation issues, in step with achieving the
USDOT’s goals and the Transportation Vision for 2030. Efforts in this area will be aligned
with the following Communities of Interest:
- Multimodal and Transportation Systems
Contributes to a compelling vision of the 21st century transportation enterprise and
supports decisionmaking in the development, management, operation, and financing
of an integrated multimodal national and global transportation system that is safer,
less congested, and meets the 21st century mobility needs for goods and people.
- Safety Systems Management
Serves as a national and international resource for knowledge exchanges on the
acquisition, maintenance, distribution, and analysis of transportation safety data with
the goal of reducing the number of transportation-related deaths and reducing the
severity of transportation-related injuries and property damage.
Stewardship and Energy Independence
Provides support at all levels of government and industry on decisionmaking relative
to: (1) the selection, utilization, and impact associated with the use of alternative
energy resources (e.g., petroleum, biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen) to power
transportation enterprise; and (2) the impact and mitigation of transportation-related
global warming, air, noise, and water pollution. Works to establish a multimodal
approach to and program for addressing Departmental issues related to energy
conservation and energy delivery.
- Logistics and Transportation
Enhance global connectivity through RITA’s overall freight transportation effort,
which includes research on reducing related congestion at our borders, seaports,
and on our major surface transportation corridors; national and international port
operations and security; transportation and logistics chain resilience; freight demand
modeling; and alternatives for freight infrastructure financing. Maintain overall
cognizance of the implications of shifting global passenger and freight flows and their
implication for the transportation and logistics infrastructure. Ensure knowledge
exchange on resiliency of global transportation and logistics chains when subject to
natural and man-made disruption.
- Physical Infrastructure
In the face of ever-increasing demand and accumulated loads, maintain cognizance
and promote technical support in the inspection, maintenance, and rehabilitation
of the existing and future transportation infrastructure including vehicles, guideways,
and intermodal facilities. Maintain a knowledge base including utilization of
new materials, engineering concepts, and institutional approaches to ensuring the
infrastructure is safe, less congested, and resilient in its ability to respond to natural
and man-made disturbances.
- Navigation, Communication and Surveillance
RITA serves as the focal point for the interagency coordination and understanding
of the civil sector requirements and technologies for space and ground-based
positioning, navigation, and timing systems in step with National Space Policy
Directive-39. Navigation, Communication, and Surveillance is critical to the Nation’s
transportation infrastructure and involves cross-cutting technology that supports
- Human Factor Research and Applications
Provides means for knowledge exchange within the national and international
community with the goal of advancing human factors research and its role in
transportation safety and efficiency. Pioneers new inter-relationship between humans
and current and emerging automation technology to enhance transportation safety,
security, and productivity with due concern for the unintended consequences of
- Intelligent Transportation Systems
Lead the research, development, and demonstration and accelerate the
implementation of ITS solutions to achieve dramatic improvements in surface
transportation safety, congestion reduction, and environmental sustainability.
Improve situational awareness and real-time information on all roads and all modes
to improve safety for the traveling public while reducing gridlock and its impact
on our quality of life. Enable technologies to reduce congestion, including seamless
electronic payment processing and integrated parking, transit, congestion pricing, and
tolling and complete trip payment options. Foster new institutional relationships and
partnerships to enable better use of technologies in transportation.
New materials including nanotechnology will impact all areas of transportation and
lead to a safer, less congested, and more efficient and cost-effective transportation
network. Knowledge will be shared on new light-weight composite materials for
transportation vehicles, materials with extended life for supporting infrastructure,
and nano-structured catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells.
- Small Business Innovation
Research Program (SBIR): Through the SBIR program, invigorate
small businesses in the United States to ensure that new technologies focus on smart
transportation solutions. Link the SBIR program to the RPIC process in an effort to improve
the return on investment and help ensure that the topics identified in each solicitation are
consistent with USDOT strategic goals and Transportation Vision for 2030.