DOT: Innovation is vision

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, Slater said.

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.

Featured

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.