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Introduction to the Research and Innovative Technology Administration

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  • 1. A Tour of the Research andInnovative Technology Administration Implementing Transportation Solutions to Define a New Era PETER H. APPEL PHOTO © ISTOCKPHOTO/DEITSCHEL F ive years ago, Congress passed the Nor- science and rigorous analysis. Secretary of Trans-The author is man Y. Mineta Research and Special Pro- portation Raymond H. LaHood has stronglyAdministrator, Research grams Improvement Act, which created embraced this philosophy and has championedand Innovative the Research and Innovative Technology cross-disciplinary, multimodal research and analysisTechnology Administration (RITA) within the U.S. Department as the foundation for transportation policy making.Administration, of Transportation (DOT). RITA coordinates the RITA is working closely with its partners within theWashington, D.C., and Department’s multimodal research and education U.S. DOT operating administrations to advance the TR NEWS 267 MARCH–APRIL 2010an ex officio member of programs, advances the deployment of cross-modal Secretary’s priorities: safety, livable communities,the TRB Executive technologies into the transportation system, supplies environmental sustainability, state of good repair,Committee. comprehensive transportation statistics research and and economic competitiveness. analysis, and supports education and training in transportation and transportation-related fields. (Photo above:) RITA’s 5-year ITS Strategic Research RITA is positioned to help researchers communi- Plan focuses on enhancements to the transportation cate across modes to share research and best practices system through technology and connectivity, such as in support of the nation’s transportation goals. The vehicle-to-vehicle systems that allow vehicles to Obama Administration is committed to making communicate with each other on the road and that policy and investment decisions based on sound have shown the potential to reduce crashes. 3
  • 2. Harnessing Resources RITA has made great strides in fulfilling Secretary RITA is harnessing U.S. DOT resources in a vigilant Mineta’s vision. Much more can be accomplished, push for collaborative research and innovative trans- however, to ensure that RITA effectively addresses portation solutions—solutions that will define a new the nation’s transportation challenges. RITA’s mission era and transform America’s transportation system. is crucial in ensuring that U.S. DOT’s research invest- The Transportation Research Board (TRB) commu- ments produce results for the American people. nity is invited to partner in this effort. RITA staff RITA is structured to bring together important members are involved in a variety of roles at TRB; research, technology, and data collection assets 53—or 7 percent of the administration’s staff—are within U.S. DOT, including involved in 93 different TRB activities, including lead- ership roles on standing committees at the council, u The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS); group, and section levels; and with the Cooperative u The Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Research Programs and the Second Strategic Highway Joint Program Office; Research Program (see sidebar, below). This level of u The Office of Positioning, Navigation, and involvement will continue and will increase. Timing (PNT); RITA and TRB A Growing Partnership F rom the RITA staff, 53 individuals—7 percent of the employ- ees—are involved as volunteers in TRB, filling 93 roles: u UTC Spotlight Conference on the Impact of Changing Demographics on the Transportation System (October 2008); and u For the Executive Committee: 1 member; u UTC Spotlight Conference on Developing a Research u For Technical Activities: 1 council chair, 1 council member, Agenda for Transportation Infrastructure Preservation and 1 group chair, 2 group executive committee members, 4 section Renewal (November 2009). executive committee members, 3 committee chairs, 1 commit- tee vice chair, 4 committee secretaries, 37 committee members, Planning is under way for the following: and 4 committee young members; u For Cooperative Research Programs panels: 1 with the Air- u UTC Spotlight Conference on Transportation Systems for port Cooperative Research Program; 10 with the National Coop- Livable Communities (October 2010); erative Freight Research Program (NCFRP); 11 with the National u Commodity Flow Survey Workshop (November 2010); Cooperative Highway Research Program; and 7 with the Tran- and sit Cooperative Research Program; and u TRB policy study on Strategies for Improved Passenger u For the Second Strategic Highway Research Program and Freight Travel Data (cosponsor). expert task groups: 2 members. In addition to its sponsorship of NCFRP since 2006, RITA has sponsored the following activities at TRB from 2005 to 2010: u Commodity Flow Survey Data Users Conference and Peer Exchange (July 2005); u Freight Demand Modeling: A Conference on Improving Tools for Public-Sector Decision Making (cosponsor; September 2006);TR NEWS 267 MARCH–APRIL 2010 u Meeting Freight Data Challenges Workshop (July 2007); u Information Assets to Support Transportation Decision Making Peer Exchange with the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning (April 2007); u University Transportation Centers (UTC) Spotlight Confer- ence on Radio Frequency Identification (October 2006); u UTC Spotlight Conference on Research Issues in Freight A 2007 conference on Research Issues in Freight Transportation— Transportation: Congestion and System Performance (October Congestion and System Performance featured a poster session in the 2007); atrium of the National Academies’ Keck Center. 4
  • 3. u The Office of Research, Development, andTechnology (RD&T); u The Transportation Safety Institute (TSI); and u The Volpe National Transportation SystemsCenter. These programs provide valuable transportationdata, research, education, and training for informedpolicy and decision making; combined, they allowU.S. DOT and RITA to become more than the sum oftheir parts.Bureau of Transportation StatisticsDecision makers need data, information, and analy-ses to develop relevant and valuable transportationpolicies and programs for the nation. Data are at theheart of critical decisions that affect the American grows and transcends borders, comprehensive data The North Americanway of life. Comprehensive transportation data play about international freight traffic and its movement Transportation Statisticsa crucial role, from tracking the airline industry’s across borders and through the transportation system Data Interchange in June 2009 brought togetherefforts to reduce flight delays to analyzing the move- become essential. The BTS Transborder and Border representatives fromment of passengers and freight across the country. Crossing data provide measures of these trade ele- Mexico, the United BTS provides key insights into the interconnec- ments. States, and Canada totions of the transportation system with the U.S. econ- To reach their full potential, however, BTS data share data.omy and livelihood. BTS collaborates with U.S. DOT must match up with the emerging needs of decisionmodal administrations and with other agencies, such makers. To improve its data products and servicesas the Census Bureau, to offer products and services and position them to meet user needs, BTS continu-essential to the transportation community. ously engages stakeholders and customers through a variety of outreaches. BTS works closely with TRB Freight trucks at theTools for Decision Makers on several of these efforts, such as the CFS data users primary inspection lineBTS also provides lawmakers with a lens into the workshop scheduled for November 2010, the at the United States– Canada border. BTSdynamics of America’s transportation networks, National Research Council–appointed Committee assembles and analyzesrevealing how people, goods, and vehicles move on Strategies for Improved Passenger and Freight key data about thethrough the system, as well as measuring the impact Travel Data, and the North American Transportation movement of freightof social, economic, and environmental factors on Statistics Interchange. across U.S. borders.system performance. Through the TransportationStatistics Annual Report and the National Trans- PHOTO: CANADA BORDER SERVICES AGENCYportation Atlas Database, BTS supports nationalefforts to improve the transportation system. BTSairline data—such as reports on flight delays or airtraffic trends—supply tools for policy makers, theairline industry, and consumers evaluating the safetyand performance of the aviation industry. The Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) is a crucialtool for evaluating freight movement across thenation’s ports, railways, roads, and airways. The vol- TR NEWS 267 MARCH–APRIL 2010ume of goods—including hazardous materials ship-ments—that flows across U.S. transportationnetworks is ever increasing; decision makers requirerobust, high-quality data to evaluate the safety, secu-rity, and performance of these flows. BTS assembles economic indices to measure thetrends in the U.S. economy; the Transportation Ser-vices Index, for example, synthesizes data on pas-sengers, vehicles, and goods moving across thetransportation system. As the nation’s commerce 5
  • 4. Information Platform PHOTO: MICHAEL CHAPMAN, UCAR BTS employs a variety of communication methods to connect customers to the most recent transportation statistics. The National Transportation Library, the BTS website, and a Twitter network disseminate sta- tistical information.1 BTS also sponsors the Advisory Council on Transportation Statistics, which exam- ines the quality, consistency, objectivity, and rele- vance of the agency’s statistics and analyses. The National Transportation Library serves as a platform for organizing critical transportation infor- mation and for ensuring that stakeholders, the pub- lic, and other consumers have access to relevant A prototype of IntelliDriveSM, a multimodal initiative resources. As a national transportation knowledge to enable vehicles to communicate wirelessly with warehouse, the library maintains extensive digital each other and with transportation infrastructure, was tested in Detroit, Michigan, in 2009. The and print collections—all available through its web- onboard equipment collects, stores, and transmits site—and supports many of the federal government’s weather data—future equipment will be smaller and most complex data and statistical projects. integrated into the car design, instead of taking up To ensure that BTS is best aligned with stake- trunk space. holder needs, however, more proactive outreach to customers is needed. BTS is redoubling its efforts to and for the environment. request and to listen to feedback from its customers U.S. DOT has a legacy of cooperative research with to improve products and to develop new ones to major automobile companies, producing innovative meet the needs of the transportation community. safety advances. Although improved safety features in These listening sessions and other outreaches will be vehicles have made it possible for people to survive critical to position BTS to support complex trans- crashes that once were considered fatal, the ITS pro- portation decision making. gram is now advancing vehicle, transportation man- agement, and roadway applications that move beyond Intelligent Transportation Systems mitigating crash severity to preventing crashes. Joint Program Office ITS technologies and applications that capture real- In 2008, more than 37,000 Americans lost their lives, time data about weather and road conditions, traffic and another 2.3 million were injured in vehicle patterns, and other elements critical to safe and effi- crashes on America’s highways. Additional fatalities cient transportation management will change how and injuries occurred across the other modes of operators and users approach travel. State and local transportation. Vehicle crashes remain the leading transportation agencies will have a new arsenal of cause of death among persons 4 to 34 years old. Yet cost-effective traffic management tools to ease gridlock efforts to reduce roadway fatalities and injuries face and improve the quality of life in their communities. an emerging challenge that Secretary LaHood has vowed to fight—driver distraction. Strategic Research Plan Released in January 2010, the 5-year ITS Strategic Advancing Safety Technology Research Plan, 2010–2014 outlines a comprehensive Advances in safety technology—particularly for vision that builds on progress made and that positions crash avoidance—show promise in contributing to the program for continued progress. The theme of the unprecedented safety on the roads, on the rails, in plan is Transforming the Nation’s Transportation Sys- fleets, in the air, in pipelines, and on the waterways. tem Through Connectivity. The connectivity thatTR NEWS 267 MARCH–APRIL 2010 The ITS program, managed by RITA and with part- defines the information age will have a similar impact ners across U.S. DOT, in academia, and in the inter- on travel; harnessing this technology will benefit all national transportation community, is pioneering Americans. Crafted with extensive input from stake- research and development into systems that can holders across the transportation enterprise, the plan achieve once-unimaginable safety benefits across all moves beyond research, development, and demon- modes of transportation. The ITS program also stration to lay the groundwork for the deployment focuses on the benefits of technology for mobility and integration of ITS in the United States. 1See sidebar, page 11, for a list of RITA websites that offer At the core of this research plan is IntelliDriveSM, a additional information about these and other initiatives multimodal initiative to enable vehicles to communi- 6 described in this article. cate wirelessly with each other and with transportation
  • 5. infrastructure to alert drivers to—and to help pre- Global Positioningvent—potential crashes and to provide other safety, System (GPS) satellitesmobility, and environmental enhancements. Specifi- are providing an expanding range of datacally, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) systems that enable for transportationvehicles to communicate with each other on the road systems; the Office ofhave shown the potential to prevent up to 82 percent Positioning, Navigation,of the most severe vehicle crashes. V2V will create an and Timing (PNT)awareness-driven environment for drivers. conducts all-inclusive V2V systems can alert drivers safely and reliably technical and policyto imminent dangers on the road, such as sudden discussions about GPS and PNT applications.traffic stops ahead or a car in the blind spot during alane change. The research will determine how todeliver warnings effectively to vehicle operators toenhance safety and to minimize driver distraction. The plan focuses on proven technologies andaccommodates developments that may support orimprove on current research and development. Ded-icated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) wasestablished to underwrite time-critical safety appli-cations like V2V; the plan ensures that DSRC remains on GPS to support performance-based navigation, asthe core technology. By answering the remaining well as aircraft surveillance, to improve safety in allquestions for the program, the planned research will flight phases, reduce airspace and airport congestionact as a catalyst for the implementation of Intelli- and environmental impacts, reduce weather impacts,Drive by enabling deployment. and expand airspace capacity and improve the man- The ITS strategic plan also provides state and agement of air traffic flow through Collaborative Airmunicipal agencies with tools and applications to Traffic Management.enhance the management and performance of the RITA leads the National PNT Architecture efforttransportation system and to use their resources most in cooperation with the Department of Defense,efficiently. The 5-year program supports technology looking to 2025 and beyond to provide more efficienttransfer and the development of the knowledge and and effective PNT technologies and to overcomeskills of ITS professionals across the country. The capability gaps, such as physically and electromag-plan envisions a transportation future that will be netically impeded environments that hamper GPS.safer, greener, and more mobile. Office of Research, Development,Office of Positioning, and Technology RITA Adminsitrator Peter Appel and U.S.Navigation, and Timing RITA’s mission involves transforming the ideal of Transportation SecretaryAll modes of transportation rely on the Global Posi- coordinated, multimodal, and synergized trans- Ray LaHood confertioning System (GPS) and its augmentations and on portation research and education into a reality. U.S. during the U.S. DOT’sother PNT capabilities to provide safe and reliable DOT’s modal administrations traditionally have Distracted Drivingoperation of transportation systems. Increasingly, the engaged in research that has led to historic advances. Summit in 2009.use of the precise time available via GPS is support-ing communication systems, finance and banking,freight logistics, and energy and other critical infra-structure systems on which shippers and carriersrely. RITA’s Office of PNT ensures that all civil-sector TR NEWS 267 MARCH–APRIL 2010users—not just those in transportation—are repre-sented in technical and policy discussions about GPSand PNT across and outside the federal government. PNT is crucial for planning and tracking ship-ments and for mapping routes; it is integral to thefuture of American transportation. For example, ITSsafety applications will require reliable and accuratenavigation to support vehicle crash avoidance andother safety features of IntelliDrive. In addition, FAA’sNext-Generation Air Transportation System will rely 7
  • 6. munity through such forums as the Distracted Driv- ing Summit, the U.S. DOT Safety Council, and the ITS Management Council. RITA’s Office of RD&T embraces this commit- ment to maintaining dialogues between stakehold- ers. The RD&T Planning Team comprises research leaders from each agency and outlines avenues for coordination and collaboration; the RD&T Planning Council, composed of the modal administrators, sets RD&T policy and priorities. The RD&T office coordinates an information exchange to optimize the U.S. DOT’s more than $1 billion annual investment in transportation research, recognizing that the benefits of research do not accrue unless the results are implemented. The office also works to advance transportation technology by providing cross-modal research, analysis, and oper- ational support; managing multimodal research pro- The National Cooperative Although much of the focus of this research reflects grams; and advising U.S. DOT leadership on Freight Research Program the agencies’ missions, opportunities arise to find cross-modal research. (NCFRP) Oversight synergies across the programs. Committee met to discuss Secretary LaHood’s effort to confront the issue of Sampler of Initiatives upcoming projects in October 2009. NCFRP is a distracted driving represents an excellent example. Initiatives include the following: collaborative initiative of Distracted driving affects every mode of transporta- RITA and TRB. tion—cars, trucks, buses, transit, trains, maritime u Sponsored by RITA and managed by TRB, the vessels, and aircraft. When the Secretary convened National Cooperative Freight Research Program car- the Distracted Driving Summit in 2009, RITA ries out applied research on freight issues. worked collaboratively with its modal partners to u The virtual Climate Change Center, an online, bring together the best thinking on the topic for each interactive knowledge base on transportation and mode. The intent was, for example, to leverage climate change, includes information on greenhouse research on aircraft pilot distraction to address gas emissions, the potential impacts of climate emerging issues for drivers of other vehicles, or to change on the infrastructure, approaches for inte- leverage research by the National Highway Traffic grating climate change considerations into trans- Safety Administration to address issues confronting portation decision making, and ideas for adaptation the railroad industry. and mitigation. RITA is positioned not only to facilitate, sup- u The Remote Sensing and Spatial Information port, and institutionalize the coordination of Technologies Program leverages existing and emerg- research between agencies or between a modal ing remote sensing and spatial information tech- administration and a stakeholder, but also to facil- nologies and technology applications—such as itate communication and awareness that can iden- satellite-based GPS and topographic technologies— tify synergies across research and among people to implement a technology. Information Exchange RITA seeks specific areas of common ground withinTR NEWS 267 MARCH–APRIL 2010 scientific disciplines or research clusters—such as human factors—and identifies common pursuits, research issues, and technology products that can be leveraged across modes and research projects. Ini- tiatives that expand across modal boundaries support U.S. DOT priorities and foster technological advances in the interconnected transportation sys- tem. Secretary LaHood has created an environment The Climate Change Center (www.climate.dot.gov) is that facilitates communication among researchers in an interactive online knowledge base on 8 the department and across the transportation com- transportation and climate change.
  • 7. to address multimodal issues through a university-based grant program. u General and multimodal research is under wayon alternative fuels, and technical support is beingprovided for RITA’s leadership in hydrogen and alter-native fuels research and development. RITA repre-sents U.S. DOT on the Interagency Working Groupon Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, which is facilitating thesafe transport, delivery, and storage of alternativefuels.Education and TrainingWithin the Office of RD&T, the University Trans-portation Centers (UTC) program funds transporta-tion research at 136 colleges and universities andprovides the education and training needed toadvance the nation’s transportation system. Theresearch and education programs address criticalnational transportation challenges while developing sities trained 32,000 practicing transportation pro- RITA sponsors generalthe next generation of transportation professionals. fessionals in 2009. and multimodal research The UTCs focus on transportation issues aligned The development of the U.S. transportation work- on hydrogen andwith U.S. DOT priorities and maintain vital partner- force is a priority for U.S. DOT, RITA, and the UTC alternative fuels.ships with regional, state, and local transportation program. In an initiative led by RITA Deputy Admin-and transit agencies, to help find solutions to chal- istrator Robert Bertini, the UTC program is partner-lenges affecting their communities. The projects are ing with internal and external stakeholders on apeer-reviewed, and the results are shared with the transportation workforce development program totransportation community through the Transporta- ensure that the workforce of the future can addresstion Research Information Services—housed on the changing technologies, emerging environmentalTRB website2—and through other forums that challenges, safety issues, and other evolving trends inencourage collaboration. UTC colleges and univer- the transportation enterprise.2 http://tris.trb.org/. The RD&T office recently began the development PEOPLE IN TRANSPORTATION Peter H. Appel, RITA Administrator C onfirmed by the U.S. Senate as Administrator of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration Before joining RITA, Appel worked with A. T. Kearney, Inc., a global management consulting firm, heading up busi- ness improvement initiatives for clients in the private and (RITA) in April 2009, Peter H. Appel has public sectors, with a focus on transportation and infra- worked with Secretary Raymond H. structure. Appel has more than 20 years of experience in LaHood to advance key U.S. Department transportation and has supported organizations in the rail- of Transportation (DOT) initiatives by road, trucking, airline, and ocean shipping industries in leveraging effective research and cross- growth strategy, supply chain improvement, postmerger TR NEWS 267 MARCH–APRIL 2010 modal coordination. These initiatives integration, public–private partnerships, and other business Appel include the Distracted Driving Summit, and policy assignments. which convened key transportation researchers, advocates, He previously served as the Special Assistant to the Admin- decision makers, and other leaders to address a growing safety istrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and as Assistant issue; the bolstering of the U.S. DOT Intelligent Transportation Director for Pricing and Yield Management at Amtrak. Appel Systems Program to improve safety, efficiency, and environ- earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and computer science mental sustainability across all modes of surface transporta- with highest honors from Brandeis University and a master of tion; and the establishment of the U.S. DOT Safety Council, science degree in transportation from Massachusetts Institute convening all 10 modal administrators. of Technology. 9
  • 8. disciplinary expertise. The more than 700 innovative PHOTO: UNIVERSITY RELATIONS, UNIVERSITY courses and seminars presented at the state-of-the-art facilities prepare safety professionals to handle emer- gencies and other critical incidents through a hands- on, real-world training experience. For example, aircraft crash investigation classes use staged debris fields, and another class presents a simulated sce- nario of a city bus hijacked by terrorists. OF ALABAMA TSI has trained more than 750,000 transporta- tion safety professionals since its inception in 1971; in 2009, class enrollments totaled more than 35,000. Each year, TSI trains more than 1,000 Department of Defense personnel, as well as 8,000 highway, enforce- ment, and motor carrier personnel in the safe trans- port and handling of hazardous materials. TSI also trains officials from safety entities, such as the National Transportation Safety Board, in the skills needed to conduct investigations of aviation, Jay Lindly, professor, and of a strategic plan and has reached out across modes transit, and rail crashes. TSI offers a variety of student researcher and to stakeholders to invite participation, input, selected accident samples, including aircraft wreck- Zachery White investigate and involvement. age and parts, as well as a large, open-bay laboratory pupil seating patterns on building for accident investigation exercises involv- school buses, under a 3-year pilot project at the Transportation Safety Institute ing large wreckage, accident scene layout, and other University Transportation Located in Oklahoma City, TSI conducts worldwide hands-on activities for specialized training. Center for Alabama, safety, security, and environmental training for the More than 85 percent of TSI courses are held off- Tuscaloosa, to assess the public and private sectors across transportation dis- site, and web-based training and other cost-effective efficacy of lap and ciplines, with transit, aviation, pipeline, motor car- approaches are offered, including a new Internet cer- shoulder seat belts. rier, highway safety, hazardous material, and risk tification course for motor carrier safety. RITA will management training sessions. The program sup- continue to work with transportation stakeholders to ports the protection of life, property, and the envi- identify emerging workforce development needs for ronment across all modes. TSI differs from most TSI to address and to incorporate innovative educa- federal organizations in that it receives no direct tional techniques and training technology into the The Transportation Safety appropriation from Congress. Its entire funding courses. Institute, Oklahoma City, maintains a plane crash comes through a fee-for-service structure—all costs “boneyard” that serves as are covered by sponsored project work. John A. Volpe National a hands-on laboratory in Drawing on U.S. DOT and other sources, TSI has Transportation Systems Center training. assembled a cadre of instructors with robust, multi- RITA’s John A. Volpe National Transportation Sys- tems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, partners with stakeholders across government and the pri- vate sector to engage in research into emerging trans- portation issues and to develop solutions that meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. Cele- brating its 40th anniversary this year, the Volpe Cen- ter is organized into eight cross-modal Centers of Innovation, each focused on key issues. Each Cen-TR NEWS 267 MARCH–APRIL 2010 ter of Innovation is modeled for cross-modal collab- oration and has the capabilities and expertise to support the priorities established by President Obama and Secretary LaHood. Like TSI, the Volpe Center is funded through a fee-for-service structure—all costs are covered by sponsored project work. Volpe has more than 500 employees—including many leading experts in fields across transportation research and systems—with 7510 sponsors for 400 projects. Strategic priorities include
  • 9. high-speed rail, distracted driving, and next-genera-tion air traffic control systems. Volpe has established itself as a Center of Excel-lence in the transportation community; it recentlyreceived the Regional Laboratory Award, recognizingits national and regional technology transfer activi-ties; and the Innovations in American GovernmentAward for the development of the Maritime Safetyand Security Information System (MSSIS). Created inpartnership with the U.S. Navy, MSSIS is a web-basedplatform that provides a near real-time view of mar-itime vessel activity worldwide, enhancing surveil-lance and management and eliminating costlyshipboard inspections and flyover surveillance. The system has proved critical in strengtheningglobal sea safety—reducing piracy, human traffick-ing, and contraband smuggling. Called a “wiki on thewaves,” the program fosters an unparalleled level ofcooperation among participating nations, whichhave partnered to enforce environmental and safety pared to build on the Center’s successes. Johns is A laboratory simulator isregulations, to prevent oil spills, and to reduce port committed to a new emphasis on workforce devel- used to conduct researchcongestion and collisions. opment at Volpe and will continue to strengthen ties on locomotive cab The Volpe Center is collaborating with U.S. DOT to TRB and to the UTC communities by exploring technology integration at the Volpe Center.leadership on two priorities—environmental sus- partnership opportunities.tainability and livable communities. The Volpe Cen- Volpe Center Directorter is supporting U.S. DOT efforts to provide Moving Forward Robert C. Johns conductsaffordable housing and transit and to improve inter- These six components of RITA—some that have a meeting of the TRBagency collaboration on these issues, building on existed for decades, others that have emerged in the Technical Activitieswork with metropolitan planning organizations on past few years—are positioned to work in coordina- Council, which he chairs.quality-of-life issues, including transportation, jobs, tion with each other and with stakeholders acrossand education. The work supports U.S. DOT efforts U.S. DOT and the transportation community toto ensure that livability and environmental sustain- address emerging challenges. The nation’s trans-ability are integral to transportation decision making. portation challenges are increasingly difficult, and in Volpe’s newly appointed Director, Robert C. an era of constrained resources and rapidly changingJohns, has more than 20 years of experience leading technology, RITA looks forward to collaborating withtransportation research organizations and has played the TRB community to make the best and most inte-a leadership role within TRB, currently as chair of the grated use of research, data, and education to con-TRB Technical Activities Council—he is well pre- front these challenges. Selected RITA Websites u Bureau of Transportation Statistics, www.bts.gov u National Transportation Library, u Bureau of Transportation Statistics on Twitter, www.ntl.bts.gov twitter.com/TransportStats u Research, Development and Technology Office, TR NEWS 267 MARCH–APRIL 2010 u Climate Change Center, www.climate.dot.gov www.rita.dot.gov/ordt u Intelligent Transportation Systems, www.its.dot.gov u Research and Innovative Technology Administration, u ITS Strategic Research Plan, 2010–2014, www.rita.dot.gov/ www.its.dot.gov/strat_plan/strategic_plan2010_2014/ u Transportation Safety Institute, u John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, www.tsi.dot.gov www.volpe.dot.gov u University Transportation Centers, u National Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Architecture, www.utc.dot.gov http://pnt.rita.dot.gov/major_initiatives/national_pnt_ architecture.html 11