Department of Transportation
About the DOT
   The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is at work 
   for America building a safe and efficient transportation 
   system for the 21st century B one that is international 
   in reach, intermodal in form, intelligent in character, 
   and inclusive in service. With a budget of $48 billion 
   for Fiscal Year 1999, the DOT vision of leading the way 
   to transportation excellence is carried out by its 
   nearly 100,000 employees. 
   Established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, 
   the Departments first official day of operation was 
   April 1, 1967. The mission of the DOT is to 
       serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, 
       efficient, accessible and convenient transportation 
       system that meets our vital national interests and 
       enhances the quality of life of the American people, 
       today and into the future. 
   The DOT consists of the Office of the Secretary and 
   eleven individual operating administrations. These 
   include the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, US 
   Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration, the 
   Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Railroad 
   Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the 
   Maritime Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety 
   Administration, the Research and Special Programs 
   Administration, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development 
   Corporation, the Surface Transportation Board and the 
   Transportation Administrative Services Center. A more 
   detailed description of each organizations roles and 
   responsibilities follows.
   Office of the Secretary
   Leadership of the DOT is provided by the Secretary of 
   Transportation, who is the principal adviser to the 
   President in all matters relating to federal 
   transportation programs. The Secretary is assisted by 
   the Deputy Secretary in this role. The Office of the 
   Secretary (OST) oversees the formulation of national 
   transportation policy and promotes intermodal 
   transportation. Other responsibilities range from 
   negotiation and implementation of international 
   transportation agreements, assuring the fitness of US 
   airlines, enforcing airline consumer protection 
   regulations, issuance of regulations to prevent alcohol 
   and illegal drug misuse in transportation systems and 
   preparing transportation legislation. Website: 
   Bureau of Transportation Statistics
   The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has an 
   intermodal transportation focus with a mission to 
   compile, analyze, and publish statistics relevant to the 
   nations transportation system. 
   Created to improve the knowledge base for public 
   decision making and to improve public awareness of the 
   nation's transportation system, BTS collects information 
   on transportation and other areas as needed. The 
   Bureau's largest data collection programs are the 
   Commodity Flow Survey and the American Travel Survey, 
   conducted jointly with the Bureau of the Census to 
   identify where freight and people go by all modes of 
   transportation. Website: http://www.bts.gov
   Coast Guard
   The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) ensures safe transportation 
   on Americas waterways and protection of the marine 
   environment. Defending U.S. interests at home and around 
   the world, the USCG is at work around the clock, 365 
   days a year, patrolling shores, saving lives, protecting 
   property and enhancing the flow of commerce. Whether 
   helping the victims of floods and storms, keeping 
   millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs from flooding 
   American communities, teaching boating safety or 
   cleaning up oil spills, the Coast Guard is, as its motto 
   suggests, Semper Paratus, Always Ready. Website: 
   Federal Aviation Administration
   The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversees the 
   safety of civil aviation. The safety mission of the FAA 
   is first and foremost and includes the issuance and 
   enforcement of regulations and standards related to the 
   manufacture, operation, certification and maintenance of 
   aircraft. The agency is responsible for the rating and 
   certification of airmen and for certification of 
   airports serving air carriers. It also regulates a 
   program to protect the security of civil aviation, and 
   enforces regulations under the Hazardous Materials 
   Transportation Act for shipments by air. The FAA, which 
   operates a network of airport towers, air route traffic 
   control centers, and flight service stations, develops 
   air traffic rules, allocates the use of airspace, and 
   provides for the security control of air traffic to meet 
   national defense requirements. Other responsibilities 
   include the construction or installation of visual and 
   electronic aids to air navigation and promotion of 
   aviation safety internationally. The FAA, which 
   regulates and encourages the U.S. commercial space 
   transportation industry, also licenses commercial space 
   launch facilities and private sector launches. Website: 
   Federal Highway Administration
   The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) coordinates 
   highway transportation programs in cooperation with 
   states and other partners to enhance the country's 
   safety, economic vitality, quality of life, and the 
   environment. Major program areas include the Federal-Aid 
   Highway Program, which provides federal financial 
   assistance to the States to construct and improve the 
   National Highway System, urban and rural roads, and 
   bridges. This program provides funds for general 
   improvements and development of safe highways and roads. 
   The Motor Carrier Safety Program develops regulations 
   and enforces federal requirements for the safety of 
   trucks and buses to reduce commercial vehicle accidents. 
   It also governs the movement of hazardous cargoes on 
   Americas highways. The Federal Lands Highway Program 
   provides access to and within national forests, national 
   parks, Indian reservations and other public lands by 
   preparing plans and contracts, supervising construction 
   facilities, and conducting bridge inspections and 
   surveys. The FHWA also manages a comprehensive research, 
   development, and technology program. Website: 
   Federal Railroad Administration
   The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) promotes safe 
   and environmentally sound rail transportation. With the 
   responsibility of ensuring railroad safety throughout 
   the nation, the FRA employs safety inspectors to monitor 
   railroad compliance with federally mandated safety 
   standards including track maintenance, inspection 
   standards and operating practices. The FRA conducts 
   research and development tests to evaluate projects in 
   support of its safety mission and to enhance the 
   railroad system as a national transportation resource. 
   Public education campaigns on highway-rail grade 
   crossing safety and the danger of trespassing on rail 
   property are also administered by FRA. Website: 
   Federal Transit Administration
   The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) assists in 
   developing improved mass transportation system for 
   cities and communities nationwide. Through its grant 
   programs, FTA helps plan, build, and operate transit 
   systems with convenience, cost and accessibility in 
   mind. While buses and rail vehicles are the most common 
   type of public transportation, other kinds include 
   commuter ferryboats, trolleys, inclined railways, 
   subways, and people movers. In providing financial, 
   technical and planning assistance, the agency provides 
   leadership and resources for safe and technologically 
   advanced local transit systems while assisting in the 
   development of local and regional traffic reduction. The 
   FTA maintains the National Transit Library (NTL), a 
   repository of reports, documents, and data generated by 
   professionals and others from around the country. The 
   NTL is designed to facilitate document sharing among 
   people interested in transit and transit related topics. 
   Website: http://www.fta.dot.gov
   Maritime Administration
   The Maritime Administration (MARAD) promotes development 
   and maintenance of an adequate, well-balanced, United 
   States merchant marine, sufficient to carry the Nation's 
   domestic waterborne commerce and a substantial portion 
   of its waterborne foreign commerce, and capable of 
   serving as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war 
   or national emergency. MARAD also seeks to ensure that 
   the United States enjoys adequate shipbuilding and 
   repair service, efficient ports, effective intermodal 
   water and land transportation systems, and reserve 
   shipping capacity in time of national emergency. 
   Website: http://www.marad.dot.gov
   National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
   The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
   (NHTSA) is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries and 
   economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. 
   NHTSA sets and enforces safety performance standards for 
   motor vehicles and equipment, and through grants to 
   state and local governments enables them to conduct 
   effective local highway safety programs. NHTSA 
   investigates safety defects in motor vehicles, sets and 
   enforces fuel economy standards, helps states and local 
   communities reduce the threat of drunk drivers, promotes 
   the use of safety belts, child safety seats and air 
   bags, investigates odometer fraud, establishes and 
   enforces vehicle anti-theft regulations and provides 
   consumer information on motor vehicle safety topics. 
   Research on driver behavior and traffic safety is 
   conducted by NHTSA to develop the most efficient and 
   effective means of bringing about safety improvements. A 
   toll-free Auto Safety Hotline, 1-888-DASH-2-DOT, 
   furnishes consumers with a wide range of auto safety 
   information. Callers also can help identify safety 
   problems in motor vehicles, tires and automotive 
   equipment such as child safety seats. Website: 
   Research and Special Programs Administration
   The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) 
   oversees rules governing the safe transportation and 
   packaging of hazardous materials by all modes of 
   transportation, excluding bulk transportation by water. 
   RSPA also assists local and state authorities with 
   training for hazardous materials emergencies. Pipeline 
   safety standards are established and maintained by RSPA, 
   ensuring public safety and environmental protection from 
   gas and hazardous liquids transported by pipeline. 
   Research and development plays a major role in RSPAs 
   mission. With responsibility for research policy and 
   technology sharing, the agency partners with national 
   and international organizations and universities. In 
   addition, RSPA operates the Volpe National 
   Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Mass., which 
   is dedicated to enhancing the effectiveness, efficiency, 
   and responsiveness of other Federal organizations with 
   critical transportation-related functions. Website: 
   Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
   The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation 
   (SLSDC) operates and maintains a safe, reliable and 
   efficient waterway for commercial and noncommercial 
   vessels between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. 
   The SLSDC, in tandem with the Saint Lawrence Seaway 
   Authority of Canada, oversees operations safety, vessel 
   inspections, traffic control, and navigation aids on the 
   Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Important to 
   the economic development of the Great Lakes region, 
   SLSDC works to develop trade opportunities to benefit 
   port communities, shippers and receivers and related 
   industries in the area. Website: 
   Surface Transportation Board
   The Surface Transportation Board (STB) is an 
   independent, bipartisan, adjudicatory body 
   organizationally housed within the DOT. It is 
   responsible for the economic regulation of interstate 
   surface transportation, primarily railroads, within the 
   United States. The STB's mission is to ensure that 
   competitive, efficient, and safe transportation services 
   are provided to meet the needs of shippers, receivers, 
   and consumers. The Board is charged with promoting, 
   where appropriate, substantive and procedural regulatory 
   reform in the economic regulation of surface 
   transportation, and with providing an efficient and 
   effective forum for the resolution of disputes. The 
   Board continues to strive to develop, through 
   rulemakings and case disposition, new and better ways to 
   analyze unique and complex problems, to reach fully 
   justified decisions more quickly, to reduce the costs 
   associated with regulatory oversight, and to encourage 
   private-sector negotiations and resolutions to problems 
   where appropriate. Website: http://www.stb.dot.gov 
   Transportation Administrative Service Center
   The Transportation Administrative Service Center (TASC) 
   provides technical and administrative services for the 
   Department of Transportation's (DOT) operating 
   administrations and other Government entities, ranging 
   from the latest in information technology support 
   services to printing and personnel management services. 
   TASC is an entrepreneurial organization that offers 
   competitive quality services that are responsive to its 
   customers' needs. TASC services are not financed through 
   Congressional appropriations but instead, are billed 
   according to actual customer usage on a fee-for-service 
   Website: http://www.tasc.dot.gov