DOT: Innovation is vision
- By Paula Shaki Trimble
- Sep 11, 2000
DOT's Strategic Plan 2000-2005
The World Wide Web and other technologies should play a bigger role in speeding
information to the public and improving the nation's transportation systems,
according to the Transportation Department's latest five-year plan released
late last week.
Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater urged DOT employees to be innovative
in reaching the five strategic goals described in the agency's 2000-2005
Strategic Plan (stratplan.dot.gov) when he presented the plan at DOT headquarters
in Washington, D.C.
"We have added the concept of innovation to our vision statement," Slater
said. "Our new strategic plan raises the bar even higher."
Slater said DOT workers must recognize that the transportation system
is about more than concrete, asphalt and steel, and they should use the
strategic plan to make decisions that increase safety, security and access
to transportation. Much of the innovation involves using Web-based technologies
to collect and distribute more accurate safety, economic, environmental
and national security information that helps improve DOT's performance.
DOT maintains the infrastructure for highways, air traffic control, maritime
navigation, and search and rescue systems.
In the coming months, the agency plans to develop reports that will
guide how transportation planners can design future transportation systems,
including the "Report of Transportation Policy," which details federal,
state and local policies governing transportation development, and an updated
"Trends and Choices" report, which is an analysis of transportation usage,
The strategic plan outlines the agency's goals, the challenges to reaching
them, plans to overcome the challenges and future scenarios that may require
modifying the agency's approach.
"This plan is important to every employee of DOT because it will be
the guide for our work over the next five years," said Mortimer Downey,
deputy secretary of transportation.
For instance, the Federal Aviation Administration's modernization of
the air traffic control system has been plagued by problems identified by
the DOT inspector general's office, according to the plan.
The IG instructed the FAA to strengthen its ability to oversee multibillion-dollar
software-intensive development efforts; institute cost-control mechanisms
for software-intensive contracts to ensure that products are delivered on
time and within budget; identify and resolve human factors issues early
in the acquisition process to avoid cost overruns and schedule delays; and
form baseline plans for transitioning to satellite-based systems for communications,
navigation and surveillance.
In response, the FAA has set milestones for fixing those problems and
will produce an air traffic control system that improves air traffic and
the public's access to affordable, reliable transportation systems.
The plan describes technology as a way to improve transportation safety
and to provide more transportation routes. More importantly, DOT officials
recognize the need to improve the agency's performance results by protecting
the critical information infrastructure.
DOT will approach computer secu-rity in a manner similar to the process
used to identify, fix and test mission-critical systems for Year 2000 code
problems. In response to Presidential Decision Directive 63, which requires
the federal government to achieve and maintain the ability to protect critical
infrastructure by 2003, DOT has identified 110 critical systems all of
which are operated by the FAA and the U.S. Coast Guard.
DOT has also set as goals completing all risk assessments of those systems
by November 2002 and all remediation and testing of the systems by May 2003.