oversight

Transportation Research: Actions Needed to Improve Coordination and Evaluation of Research

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-05-01.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

             United States General Accounting Office

GAO          Report to the Committee on
             Appropriations, House of
             Representatives


May 2003
             TRANSPORTATION
             RESEARCH
             Actions Needed to
             Improve Coordination
             and Evaluation of
             Research




GAO-03-500
             a
                                               May 2003


                                               TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH

                                               Actions Needed to Improve Coordination
Highlights of GAO-03-500, a report to the      and Evaluation of Research
Committee on Appropriations, House of
Representatives




The Research and Special                       RSPA has met some, but not all, legislative and DOT requirements pertaining
Programs Administration (RSPA)                 to the coordination of departmental research efforts. For example, while
within the Department of                       RSPA develops an annual plan and meets monthly with other DOT research
Transportation (DOT) is                        officials, RSPA does not review the status of all DOT research activities.
responsible for coordinating and               Thus, it cannot determine whether duplication of research efforts within
ensuring the evaluation of DOT                 DOT does or does not occur. Additionally, RSPA has not developed
research programs to promote the               standards against which to measure its performance in coordinating
efficient use of departmental                  research within DOT. Moreover, RSPA has not fully met all legislative and
research funds, which in fiscal year           DOT requirements to measure research results and oversee research
2002 totaled over $1 billion. RSPA
                                               evaluations across DOT. RSPA officials cited a lack of ready information on
is also responsible for conducting
                                               DOT research activities budget constraints and a lack of authority over other
multimodal research that cuts
across different modes of                      DOT agencies as reasons why they served primarily an information-sharing
transportation. The House                      role, rather than as an overseer and manager of the coordination and
Committee on Appropriations                    evaluation processes.
directed GAO to examine RSPA’s
coordination and evaluation of                 Extent to Which RSPA Meets Coordination and Evaluation Requirements
research within DOT and the status
of its own multimodal research.



GAO is recommending that DOT
and RSPA develop strategies to
identify potential research
duplication and ensure that the
results of all DOT transportation
research activities—including
those conducted by RSPA—are
evaluated. Further, GAO
recommended that RSPA assess
the effectiveness of its research
coordination efforts by developing
appropriate performance measures.

DOT reviewed a draft of this report
and generally agreed with its                  Since 1999, RSPA has budgeted $37 million to conduct four major research
contents but did not comment on                programs with applicability to more than one mode of transportation—for
the report’s recommendations.                  example, using technology to improve energy efficiency and reduce
                                               emissions and transportation dependence on petroleum. According to the
                                               Associate Administrator for Innovation, Research, and Education, RSPA’s
                                               current multimodal research programs are scheduled for completion by the
                                               end of fiscal year 2004 and have had a variety of positive results. However,
www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-500          RSPA does not have an evaluation process to systematically evaluate the
                                               results of its multimodal research programs.
To view the full report, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact Kate Siggerud
at (202) 512-2834 or siggerudk@gao.gov.
Contents



Letter                                                                                               1
                           Results in Brief                                                          3
                           Background                                                                5
                           RSPA Has Met Some, but Not All, Legislative or DOT Requirements
                             for Coordinating DOT Research Efforts                                   6
                           RSPA Has Met Some, but Not All, Legislative or DOT Requirements
                             to Evaluate DOT Research                                               16
                           RSPA Has Conducted Multimodal Research in Four Areas but Does
                             Not Have a Process to Systematically Evaluate Program
                             Results                                                                19
                           Conclusions                                                              32
                           Recommendations for Executive Action                                     32
                           Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                       33


Appendixes
             Appendix I:   Stakeholders and Researchers Involved in the Four
                           Multimodal Programs Conducted by RSPA                                    35


Tables                     Table 1: Information on and Status of Multimodal Research
                                    Programs Conducted by RSPA from Fiscal Years 1999 to
                                    2003                                                            21
                           Table 2: Advanced Vehicle Technologies Program                           35
                           Table 3: Commercial Remote Sensing and Spatial Information
                                    Technologies Program                                            38
                           Table 4: Human-Centered Systems: Operator Fatigue Management
                                    Program                                                         40
                           Table 5: Transportation Infrastructure Assurance Program                 41


Figures                    Figure 1: Extent to Which RSPA Meets Selected Legislative and
                                     DOT Requirements for Coordinating DOT Research
                                     Efforts                                                         7
                           Figure 2: RSPA Funding Dedicated to Research and Development
                                     Planning and Management Activities (Fiscal Years
                                     1999-2003)                                                     12
                           Figure 3: Extent to Which RSPA Meets Selected Legislative and
                                     DOT Responsibilities for Evaluating DOT Research
                                     Efforts                                                        16
                           Figure 4: Electric Vehicle at a Recharging Station                       22




                           Page i                                    GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
Contents




Figure 5: Satellite-based Photographic Image of U.S. Interstates 25
          and 40 in Albuquerque, New Mexico                                                24
Figure 6: Airline Pilots Participating in Fatigue Research                                 25
Figure 7: Global Positioning Satellite                                                     27
Figure 8: RSPA’s Multimodal Research Funding (Fiscal Years
          1999-2003)                                                                       29




Abbreviations

DOT          Department of Transportation
FAA          Federal Aviation Administration
FHWA         Federal Highway Administration
FMCSA        Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
FRA          Federal Railroad Administration
FTA          Federal Transit Administration
GPRA         Government Performance and Results Act of 1993
MARAD        Maritime Administration
NASA         National Aeronautics and Space Administration
RSPA         Research and Special Programs Administration
TEA-21       Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
TRB          Transportation Research Board
TSA          Transportation Security Administration
USCG         United States Coast Guard


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Page ii                                               GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
A
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C. 20548



                                    May 1, 2003                                                                   Leter




                                    The Honorable C.W. Bill Young
                                    Chairman
                                    The Honorable David R. Obey
                                    Ranking Minority Member
                                    Committee on Appropriations
                                    House of Representatives

                                    In fiscal year 2002, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) research and
                                    development budget totaled more than $1 billion. This sum supported the
                                    many individual projects undertaken by the Federal Highway
                                    Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the other
                                    operating administrations that constitute DOT. This research is vital to
                                    meeting the department’s key transportation priorities, such as increasing
                                    transportation safety, enhancing mobility for all Americans, supporting the
                                    nation’s economic growth, and protecting the environment. The Congress
                                    has recognized the importance of coordinating and evaluating research
                                    throughout DOT and established requirements in the Transportation Equity
                                    Act for the 21st Century to ensure that those tasks are accomplished. In
                                    turn, the department has given responsibility to the Research and Special
                                    Programs Administration’s Office of Innovation, Research, and Education
                                    (hereafter referred to as RSPA) for coordinating, and ensuring the
                                    evaluation of, DOT research programs to promote the efficient use of
                                    research funds. RSPA is additionally responsible for conducting
                                    multimodal research—research that applies to more than one mode of
                                    transportation—for the department that contributes to the safe, effective,
                                    and efficient transportation of people and goods.

                                    In House Report 107-722, accompanying the DOT and Related Agencies
                                    Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2003, the House Committee on
                                    Appropriations, directed us to examine RSPA’s role in coordinating
                                    research activities and conducting multimodal research throughout the
                                    department. Specifically, in subsequent discussions with Committee staff,
                                    we agreed to address the following questions: (1) To what extent has RSPA
                                    fulfilled requirements for coordinating DOT research efforts? (2) To what
                                    extent has RSPA fulfilled requirements for evaluating research within DOT?
                                    and (3) What types of multimodal research has RSPA conducted since 1999,
                                    and what have been the results?

                                    To address questions regarding RSPA’s efforts to coordinate and evaluate
                                    the department’s research efforts, we examined pertinent legislation, DOT



                                    Page 1                                       GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
policy guidance, and DOT performance reports and plans as well as reports
and documents provided by RSPA, including the department’s Research,
Development, and Technology Plan. Although we did not review the
individual research programs and agendas of each DOT modal
administration, we reviewed external assessments conducted by us and the
National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board regarding
RSPA’s role and efforts in coordinating DOT research.1 Further, we
interviewed RSPA officials, including RSPA’s Associate Administrator for
Innovation, Research, and Education (hereafter Associate Administrator);
officials from the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in
Cambridge, Massachusetts; and all of the members of the department’s
Research and Technology Coordinating Council (hereafter Coordinating
Council), to discuss research coordination efforts and identify potential
improvements. At the time of our review, the council was made up of 15
members representing the department’s Office of the Assistant Secretary
for Transportation Policy, Office of Intelligence and Security, Office of the
Assistant Secretary for Budget, Office of Intermodalism, United States
Coast Guard, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Highway
Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Maritime
Administration, RSPA, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration, and Transportation Security
Administration.2 In addition, to determine the types and status of
multimodal research that RSPA conducted, we (1) reviewed and analyzed
RSPA budget data from fiscal years 1999 through 2003 and (2) reviewed
RSPA’s multimodal project plans agreements and published project results
for the same period. (One of RSPA’s multimodal research programs—the
Transportation Infrastructure Assurance Program—is also the subject of a
separate GAO review.)3


1
 The Transportation Research Board is a unit of the National Research Council, a private,
nonprofit institution that is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of
Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. The board’s mission is to promote
innovation and progress in transportation by motivating and conducting research,
facilitating the dissemination of information, and encouraging the implementation of
research results.
2
 The U.S. Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration were transferred to
the Department of Homeland Security in March 2003.
3
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Transportation Security Research: Coordination Needed
in Selecting and Implementing Infrastructure Vulnerability Assessments, GAO-03-502
(Washington, D.C.: May 1, 2003).




Page 2                                                GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
                   We conducted our review from September 2002 through February 2003 in
                   accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.



Results in Brief   RSPA has met some, but not all, legislative and DOT requirements for
                   coordinating departmental research efforts. To meet the requirements of
                   the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, RSPA developed an
                   annual surface transportation research and development plan and holds
                   monthly meetings of the department’s Research and Technology
                   Coordinating Council to coordinate surface transportation research and
                   technology development activities. The council also provides a venue for
                   discussing research processes, procedures, and policies as well as a forum
                   for networking among the department’s researchers to meet DOT
                   requirements for routinely sharing research information. However, RSPA
                   has not met all of its legislative and DOT requirements for coordinating
                   ongoing research efforts to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort because
                   it does not review all DOT research projects. According to RSPA’s
                   Associate Administrator, RSPA has not reviewed all DOT research projects
                   to identify unnecessary duplication because (1) RSPA does not have ready
                   access to information on all research activities across the department
                   because efforts to implement a DOT-wide computer-based research
                   tracking system have stalled and (2) staff and resources dedicated to
                   research coordination activities have declined. The Associate
                   Administrator said that he did not believe that unnecessary duplication of
                   research projects occurred, and that even if such duplication were
                   identified, RSPA’s limited authority within DOT would hinder efforts to
                   eliminate that duplication.




                   Page 3                                       GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
RSPA has met some, but not all, legislative and DOT requirements for
evaluating research within DOT. The Secretary of Transportation delegated
responsibility to RSPA for measuring the results of federal surface
transportation research—a legislative requirement—and overseeing and
developing ways to improve research evaluations throughout the
department, which is a DOT requirement. Of these requirements, RSPA
partially meets one: it oversees research evaluation by discussing the issue
at Coordinating Council meetings. According to RSPA officials, they do not
measure the results of surface transportation research throughout DOT
because the operating administrations perform their own evaluations and
RSPA lacks the resources needed to review the individual research
evaluation efforts of each of the operating administrations. Because RSPA
does not oversee specific research evaluation efforts, it cannot ensure that
evaluations are being conducted or assess the quality of DOT’s operating
administrations’ evaluations. Neither RSPA nor DOT has developed a
strategy to address the resource limitations cited by RSPA officials, and our
previous work indicates that more specific oversight is warranted. For
example, we have previously reported that the Federal Highway
Administration does not have an agencywide systematic process to
evaluate whether its research projects are achieving intended results and
does not generally use a peer review approach,4 consistent with federal
research best practices.5

Since 1999, RSPA has conducted multimodal research in the following four
areas: using technology to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions,
and reduce transportation dependence on petroleum; using satellite images
to improve transportation safety and disaster planning; developing more
effective means to reduce the fatigue of drivers and pilots; and assessing
key transportation systems’ vulnerabilities to damage from disasters or
terrorist threats. RSPA budgeted about $37 million to conduct these four
multimodal research programs from fiscal years 1999 through 2003.
According to RSPA’s Associate Administrator, all four programs have
resulted or will result in significant contributions and improvements to the
transportation industry. For example, he said that research aimed at
advanced vehicle technologies has resulted in the testing and development


4
 Peer review is a process that includes an independent assessment of the technical and
scientific merit or quality of research by peers with essential subject area expertise and
perspective equal to that of the researchers.
5
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Highway Research: Systematic Selection and Evaluation
Processes Needed for Research Program, GAO-02-573 (Washington, D.C.: May 24, 2002).




Page 4                                                  GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
             of components currently used in the production of commercially available
             hybrid electrical vehicles. RSPA officials said they use expert or peer
             review to assess their multimodal research process and status of their
             research programs, an approach that is widely recognized as a research
             evaluation best practice. However, we found that RSPA has not established
             a systematic approach for using peer or expert review to evaluate the
             results of all of its multimodal research programs. For example, RSPA has
             no plans to evaluate the results of its Transportation Infrastructure
             Assurance Program. As a result, RSPA is limited in its ability to determine
             the extent to which these programs are achieving their intended goals.

             This report contains recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation
             and the Administrator of RSPA for actions to improve RSPA’s ability to
             meet its legislative and DOT requirements pertaining to research
             coordination and evaluation. In commenting on this draft, DOT officials
             generally agreed with our findings and provided technical comments that
             we incorporated, as appropriate. They did not comment on the report’s
             recommendations.



Background   RSPA has both legislative and departmental responsibilities for
             coordinating and evaluating DOT’s research and development programs,
             which, in fiscal year 2002, amounted to about $1 billion. The Transportation
             Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21)6 made DOT responsible for
             establishing a strategic plan for surface transportation research. The plan is
             to include a discussion of efforts to coordinate federal surface
             transportation research and technology development activities to avoid
             unnecessary duplication of effort. It also is to contain a description of
             program evaluations and a schedule for future evaluations of DOT research
             projects, among other things. DOT policy delegates the responsibility for
             meeting this and other legislative mandates related to research and
             development activities to RSPA’s Associate Administrator as chair of the
             department’s Coordinating Council. Moreover, DOT policy requires RSPA’s
             Associate Administrator, through the Coordinating Council, to coordinate
             all research activities by developing processes for sharing information
             about research and technology and reviewing the status of all research and
             technology projects throughout DOT.



             6
             Section 5108 codified at 23 U.S.C. § 508.




             Page 5                                        GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
                           RSPA’s Office of Innovation, Research, and Education had nine full-time
                           employees and a budget of about $560,000 for fiscal year 2003. In addition
                           to coordination and evaluation duties, RSPA manages and supports a
                           variety of other programs for the department, including its Technology
                           Transfer and Technology Sharing Programs, Small Business Innovation
                           Research Program, and University Transportation Centers Program.7 RSPA
                           also conducts research on multimodal issues that affect the U.S.
                           transportation system as a whole in contrast to the other operating
                           administrations within DOT that focus on specific sectors of the U.S.
                           transportation system.8 In fiscal year 2003, RSPA conducted and managed
                           four major multimodal research programs. Participants in RSPA’s
                           multimodal research programs include stakeholders from the departments’
                           operating administrations; other federal departments and agencies; state
                           departments of transportation; private and state universities; private-sector
                           partners; and various consortia.9 (See app. I for a listing of project
                           stakeholders and researchers involved in RSPA’s multimodal research
                           programs.)



RSPA Has Met Some,         Although RSPA has developed an annual plan and taken other steps to
                           facilitate research coordination, it has not fully met legislative and DOT
but Not All, Legislative   requirements for coordinating departmental research. Figure 1 summarizes
or DOT Requirements        these requirements and the extent to which RSPA has met them.
for Coordinating DOT
Research Efforts



                           7
                            Through the University Transportation Centers Program, DOT supports 33 university-based
                           research centers to advance transportation research and education. In fiscal year 2003,
                           RSPA received almost $30 million in reimbursable funds from the Federal Highway
                           Administration and the Federal Transit Administration to manage the program.
                           8
                           Operating administrations include the Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Highway
                           Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Federal Railroad
                           Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Maritime Administration, and National
                           Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
                           9
                            A consortium focuses on research and development of products in a priority area and
                           includes technical application and demonstration projects carried out in partnership with
                           industries and service providers.




                           Page 6                                                GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
Figure 1: Extent to Which RSPA Meets Selected Legislative and DOT Requirements for Coordinating DOT Research Efforts




RSPA Facilitates Research                RSPA has met its legislative requirement under TEA-21 to develop an
Coordination by Developing               annual surface transportation research and technology development plan
                                         to coordinate and document research efforts. The plan covers not only
an Annual Plan and
                                         surface transportation but also air and maritime. Now in its fourth edition,
Conducting Monthly                       the plan discusses state and local transportation research activities;
Meetings                                 describes each operating administration’s mission; and conveys priorities
                                         for the department’s research activities, including identifying examples of
                                         research programs that are necessary to achieve the department’s strategic
                                         goals. According to the Associate Administrator, the plan is an important
                                         resource for the department’s budget and program deployment processes
                                         and helps to avoid unnecessary duplication of research among the
                                         operating administrations. In March 2000, the National Research Council,
                                         acting through the Transportation Research Board (TRB), assessed DOT’s
                                         strategic planning process, including the first edition of its research plan,
                                         and generally commended RSPA’s efforts in coordinating the department’s




                                         Page 7                                         GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
research activities.10 In September 2001, we reported that the department’s
research plan achieved a number of important strategic functions,
including supporting the department's budget and program development
process, conveying priorities, linking research and development initiatives
occurring throughout the department to specific strategic goals, and
focusing on research and technology needs that concern the department as
a whole.11 However, upon reviewing the fiscal year 2003 research plan, we
found that it does not summarize results of the previous year’s surface
transportation research programs. Such a summary is also absent from the
department’s overall performance plan and reports, where it is required by
TEA-21.12 Since the explicit intent of the research plan is to focus the
department’s research efforts, and the department is required to gather
summary information on the previous years’ research results, this
information could provide continuity and context for observations about
planned research for future years.

The research plan is the culmination of monthly Coordinating Council
meetings in which the Associate Administrator meets with members from
each of DOT’s operating administrations as well as representatives from
DOT’s Office of Policy, Office of Budget, Office of Intelligence and Security,
and Office of Intermodalism. These meetings also serve as a means to fulfill
the legislative requirement to coordinate surface transportation research
and technology development and the DOT requirement to coordinate
research across all modes within DOT. Agendas and minutes from these
meetings indicate that the Coordinating Council’s discussions involve
research processes, procedures, policy,13 and presentations from council

10
 TRB study conducted by the Committee for Review of the National Transportation Science
and Technology Strategy (Washington D.C.: Mar. 28, 2000) 3.
11
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Combating Terrorism: Selected Challenges and Related
Recommendations, GAO-01-882 (Washington D.C.: Sept. 20, 2001) 85.
12
 According to the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, each federal
department is required to submit a performance plan to the Congress annually. The TEA-21
requirement to include results of the year’s research in the department’s annual
performance plan is at 23 U.S.C. § 508 (c) (4) (A).
13
   For example, in October 2002, the Coordinating Council was delegated responsibility for
coordination of all actions related to research misconduct, including providing guidance in
research misconduct policy implementation. The federal policy on research misconduct
was released in December 2000 by the Executive Office of the President’s Office of Science
and Technology Policy and directs all federal agencies that conduct or support research to
implement this policy. In addition, the council is revising DOT Order 1700.18B dealing with
acquisition, publication, and dissemination of DOT scientific and technical reports.




Page 8                                                GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
                            members and guest speakers. According to the Associate Administrator,
                            these meetings further provide a forum for networking among DOT
                            researchers, a venue for DOT operating administrations to learn about each
                            other’s research, and an opportunity for information sharing and
                            technology transfer. In addition, in instances where research has
                            multimodal applicability, the Associate Administrator said RSPA staff and
                            representatives from the other operating administrations have been active
                            in sharing information through working groups, such as the Human Factors
                            Coordinating Committee, which shares information on research conducted
                            by each of the operating administrations focusing on identifying ways to
                            better manage human operator fatigue.



RSPA Has Not Reviewed All   RSPA does not fully meet its legislative requirement to coordinate surface
DOT Research Projects to    transportation and technology development activities because it does not
                            review all surface transportation research projects to determine whether
Identify Unnecessary
                            surface transportation researchers within DOT are unnecessarily
Duplication                 duplicating research efforts. A similar DOT requirement broadens this
                            responsibility to make RSPA responsible for reviewing the status of all
                            research projects throughout DOT for the same purpose. In its March 2000
                            report, TRB reported the absence of information on the current status of all
                            DOT research programs in the department’s annual research plan.14 We
                            discovered that this information also remained absent from DOT’s fiscal
                            year 2003 research plan. The Associate Administrator said that RSPA
                            lacked (1) readily accessible data on the research activities of other parts
                            of DOT and (2) the staff and resources to review all research projects
                            across the department to, at a minimum, identify and report on the extent
                            of unnecessary duplication, if any, across the department. He also said that
                            even if RSPA reviewed all of the department’s research activities and
                            identified any unnecessary duplication of effort, RSPA does not have the
                            program and budget authority to direct changes in other operating
                            administrations’ research activities.




                            14
                                 TRB study, 13.




                            Page 9                                       GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
RSPA’s Associate Administrator explained that RSPA does not have readily
accessible data on the research activities of other parts of DOT because
efforts to develop a computer-based tracking system to share DOT research
program and budget information have stalled. RSPA’s 1998 strategic plan
discussed the need to create and deploy such a system to meet its strategic
goal for coordinating research and technology. In fiscal year 1999, RSPA
planned to allocate $200,000 annually for 4 years to develop and implement
a system. According to the Associate Administrator, as of January 2003,
RSPA had spent about $500,000 of its allocation and completed
development of a prototype database. He said that implementing the
centralized information system would (1) make basic project information
(such as project methodologies, funding levels and sources, schedules, and
planned products) across the department more accessible; (2) provide
greater levels of organization and clarity on historical research; (3)
facilitate strategic planning and coordination; and (4) improve the
department’s annual research plan by providing decision-makers with more
complete, accurate, and timely information on all DOT research activities.
According to the Associate Administrator and Coordinating Council
members, some operating administrations do not support implementation
of the system because they believe that the system would put additional
demands on limited resources and would produce little in terms of tangible
results. Coordinating Council members also said it would duplicate
existing information systems already in place at some operating
administrations and the new system would not be integrated into their
other, modal-unique information systems (such as budget and accounting
information systems). According to the RSPA official in charge of
developing the database, each operating administration would require up
to approximately 2 full-time employees for up to 1 year to input the
historical research project data going back 5 years, and an additional ½ to 1
full-time employees per year to manage and update the database.




Page 10                                       GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
The Associate Administrator also said that RSPA did not review the status
of all operating administrations’ research projects to identify any
unnecessary duplication because his office lacks sufficient staff and
resources to do so. He noted, for example, that RSPA’s total research and
technology budget for fiscal year 1999 was about $3.7 million—of which
$2.2 million was allocated for research and development planning and
management activities15—and 13 full-time employees. However, in fiscal
year 2003, this decreased to a total budget of about $2.9 million—of which
$560,000 was allocated for research and development planning and
management activities—and 9 full-time employees. The Associate
Administrator said that the decline in RSPA’s staff and resources—the only
such staff and resources in the department for conducting long-term
transportation research planning and coordinating research plans and
programs—has also severely limited RSPA’s efforts to coordinate with
transportation research stakeholders outside of DOT, such as state, local,
and other federal agencies. Figure 2 shows RSPA’s funding levels for its
research and development planning and management activities from fiscal
years 1999 through 2003.




15
 According to RSPA, research and development planning and management includes funding
for transportation research and development strategic planning, DOT research facilitation,
coordination and partnerships, DOT technology transfer and technology sharing programs,
National Science and Technology Council activities, Small Business Innovation Research
Program support, and international research and development activities.




Page 11                                               GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
Figure 2: RSPA Funding Dedicated to Research and Development Planning and
Management Activities (Fiscal Years 1999-2003)




RSPA’s Associate Administrator said he believes that little or no duplication
of research activities occurs. He said that, because the monthly
Coordinating Council meetings provided a forum for discussing ongoing
and planned research, unnecessary duplication of research efforts would
be identified. Also, he said that most DOT operating administrations have
discrete research programs and budgets that support their mode-specific
regulatory and safety mandates. For example, the Federal Highway
Administration research focuses on public roads and highways, and its
primary users are state and local transportation departments that seek
better ways to repair the public infrastructure and find improved materials
for pavements. Similarly, the Federal Railroad Administration focuses on
the rail industry’s privately owned infrastructure and these owners—freight
railroads, Amtrak, commuter railroads, and shippers—look to Federal
Railroad Administration to conduct research that will reduce track failure,
equipment failure, and human error.

According to members of the Coordinating Council, apparent duplication
in research programs might reflect a number of conditions—for example,
research that was intended to validate previous research results, expand
research applications, and address different needs (such as pavement



Page 12                                       GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
research for airport runways and highways)—or an effort to explore
alternative approaches before selecting one for further development. None
of the council members, however, could provide us with specific examples
of research projects that reflected these conditions.

Other Coordinating Council members with whom we spoke, however, said
that the council should take further steps to more effectively coordinate
DOT research. For example, one member said the Coordinating Council
should review all of the current projects across the department to improve
the level and quality of the department’s research coordination efforts.
Another member said that the primary functions of the Coordinating
Council should be to universally review DOT research projects to eliminate
unnecessary duplication of effort and to provide opportunities for joint
research partnerships on similar work. Such opportunities might include
research focusing on safety, environmental, training, and human factor
issues. However, Coordinating Council members said that DOT support for
the council and research coordination in general had declined in recent
years (e.g., lower ranking members of the operating administrations attend
the meetings, instead of the more senior personnel that had once attended,
and meetings were shortened from 2 hours to 1 hour per month), and that
greater departmental support for this effort was warranted.

The Associate Administrator said that RSPA did not have the program and
budget authority over the department’s operating administrations’ research
activities to direct changes in research programs, even if opportunities for
greater joint efforts or elimination of unnecessary duplicative research
were found. In a 1996 report examining the status of the department’s
coordination of surface transportation research, we identified RSPA’s lack
of internal clout within the department as an obstacle to its ability to
function effectively as its research strategic planner because it had no
direct program or budget authority over the department’s operating
administrations’ research activities.16 Although DOT proposed the creation
of such an organization to have budgeting and program authority for DOT
research in its fiscal year 1996 budget submission, the Congress did not
approve the agency’s proposal. According to the Associate Administrator,
there are no current legislative or budget initiatives to pursue this proposal.




16
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Surface Transportation: Research Funding, Federal
Role, and Emerging Issues, RCED-96-233 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 6, 1996).




Page 13                                            GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
                           Although DOT’s earlier effort to overcome RSPA’s lack of internal authority
                           was not implemented, neither the department nor RSPA has developed
                           alternative approaches to overcome this obstacle as well as to address the
                           information and resource limitations that continue to hinder RSPA’s efforts
                           to meet legislative and DOT requirements for coordinating departmental
                           research. Developing a strategy that incorporates information about the
                           costs involved in reviewing research projects throughout DOT to ensure
                           that unnecessary duplication does not occur, and that determines whether
                           finalizing the development and implementation of the DOT-wide research
                           tracking system database could serve this purpose, is an important first
                           step for RSPA to meet the legislative and DOT requirements entrusted to it.
                           A strategy is also critical for communicating to the Congress and the
                           Secretary of Transportation the challenges RSPA faces, and the specific
                           actions it can take, in meeting the requirements with the resources it
                           possesses.



RSPA Has Not Developed     RSPA has not established performance measures to systematically
Performance Standards      document the results and benefits of coordinating DOT research
                           activities.17 In the absence of systematically gathered data on research
Against Which to Measure   activities across the department and associated performance measures, it
Its Coordination Efforts   is difficult to determine RSPA’s overall success in coordinating DOT’s
                           billion-dollar research program. Demonstrated successes could garner
                           greater departmental support for RSPA’s research coordination efforts. In
                           its fiscal year 2003 budget submission, RSPA cited the difficulty in defining
                           and measuring the effectiveness of research coordination activities.
                           According to RSPA, it is because of this difficulty that it relies upon
                           external program assessments to provide independent evaluation of its
                           research and coordination activities.18




                           17
                            In RSPA’s fiscal year 2003 budget submission to the Congress, it reported one quantifiable
                           performance measure. This measure is aimed at gauging RSPA’s progress in administrating
                           the University Transportation Centers Program and focuses on the number of students
                           graduating with advanced degrees from universities funded under the program. For fiscal
                           year 2003, RSPA’s performance goal is 1,228 students.
                           18
                                TRB conducted such an assessment in March 2000.




                           Page 14                                                GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
Although we support the use of external assessments, we have reported
that quantifiable measures are necessary to assess agency performance to
meet the intent of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993
(GPRA).19 Among the stated purposes of GPRA is the improvement of
federal program effectiveness and public accountability. For agencies to
successfully become high-performing organizations, their leaders need to
foster performance-based cultures, find ways to measure performance, and
use performance information to make decisions. A fundamental element in
an organization’s efforts to manage for results is its ability to set meaningful
goals for performance and, using performance information, measure
performance against those goals. High-performing, results-oriented
organizations establish a set of measures to gauge progress over various
dimensions of performance.

In crafting GPRA, the Congress expressed its interest in American
taxpayers’ getting quality results from the programs they pay for as well as
its concern about waste and inefficiency in federal programs. The
fundamental reason for collecting information on a program’s performance
is to take action in managing the program on the basis of that information.
By using performance information to assess the way a program is
conducted, managers can consider alternative approaches and processes in
areas where goals are not being met and enhance the use of program
approaches and processes that are working well. Performance information
also allows program managers to compare their programs’ results with
goals and thus determine where to target program resources to improve
performance. When managers are forced to reduce their resources, the
same analysis can help them target the reductions to minimize the impact
on program results.

GPRA’s emphasis on results implies that federal programs contributing to
the same or similar outcomes should be closely coordinated to ensure that
goals are consistent and complementary, and that program efforts are
mutually reinforcing. Thus, measuring the effectiveness of RSPA’s
coordination of DOT research is a critical element of fulfilling its legislative
and departmental coordination responsibilities—an element RSPA has not
yet addressed.




19
 GPRA requires federal agencies to set strategic goals and establish performance measures
for management.




Page 15                                              GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
RSPA Has Met Some,                        RSPA has not fully met all legislative and DOT requirements for evaluating
                                          research within the department. RSPA does not meet a legislative
but Not All, Legislative                  requirement for measuring the results of federal surface transportation
or DOT Requirements                       research and partially meets a related DOT policy requirement to oversee
                                          and develop ways to improve research evaluations throughout the
to Evaluate DOT                           department. Figure 3 summarizes these requirements and the extent to
Research                                  which RSPA has met them.



Figure 3: Extent to Which RSPA Meets Selected Legislative and DOT Responsibilities for Evaluating DOT Research Efforts




                                          Page 16                                         GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
Although the department has delegated to RSPA the responsibility for
meeting legislative and DOT requirements for evaluating research projects
throughout the department, RSPA’s oversight of DOT research evaluation is
limited to facilitating exchange of information on evaluation approaches.
As delegated by the Secretary of Transportation, RSPA is responsible for
measuring the results of federal surface transportation research activities
and how these results impact the performance of the surface
transportation systems of the United States, as stated in TEA-21.20 Also,
TEA-21 calls for a strategic planning process21 that includes information on
research program evaluations conducted and a schedule of future
evaluations.22 RSPA has not taken steps to meet these legislative
responsibilities for measuring the results of DOT surface transportation
research, describing research program evaluations, and establishing a
schedule for future evaluations.23

In terms of DOT policy, RSPA is responsible for overseeing and developing
more efficient, effective, and participative ways to evaluate and measure
research program effectiveness and progress across all operating
administrations.24 RSPA has taken steps to develop and communicate more
effective means of evaluation by discussing this issue at monthly
Coordinating Council meetings. For example, in October 2002, the council
provided a forum for discussing four different agency approaches to
research evaluation. In addition, according to RPSA officials, the council
has discussed criteria established by the Office of Management and Budget
for federal investment in research and how these criteria can have an
impact on performance evaluation. RSPA, however, does not oversee
operating administrations’ research evaluation efforts and therefore cannot
ensure that steps are being consistently taken to improve evaluation
approaches.



20
     23 U.S.C. § 508 (a) (3) and (b) (3).
21
     As defined at 5 U.S.C. § 306.
22
     23 U.S.C. § 508 (a) (1).
23
 We noted that the department’s performance plan for fiscal year 2003 contained an
appendix detailing DOT program evaluation methods, results, and schedule for future
evaluations for programs that represent significant DOT activities (other than research) that
contribute to its strategic goals.
24
     DOT Order 1120.39.




Page 17                                                GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
The Associate Administrator said that RSPA does not measure the results
of federal transportation research activities or provide oversight of the
operating administrations’ research program evaluation processes for the
following two reasons: (1) the operating administrations have
responsibility for performing and measuring their own research programs
and (2) the resource constraints that have limited RSPA’s ability to
coordinate DOT-wide research also limit the agency’s ability to oversee
research program evaluations across the department.

Coordinating Council members said that increased oversight of DOT-wide
research programs would be beneficial. Our previous work examining
DOT’s research activities also indicates that such oversight is
warranted. For example, in reviewing the Federal Highway
Administration’s research program, which accounts for almost half of
DOT’s research budget, we found that the Federal Highway Administration
lacked a systematic process for conducting research evaluations, and that
the processes it used were not always consistent with federal research best
practices because it generally did not use a peer review approach.25 Thus,
without oversight, RSPA and the department have no assurance that, at a
minimum, operating administration research programs are routinely
evaluated or that approaches to evaluations are consistent with established
best practices.

DOT and RSPA also have not developed a strategy to meet the requirement
to measure the results of federal transportation research activities and how
they impact the performance of the surface transportation systems of the
United States. Developing such a strategy that incorporates information
about the costs involved in ensuring that evaluations are completed and
performed according to best practices is an important first step for DOT
and RSPA to meet the requirement. A strategy also is critical for
communicating to the Congress and the Secretary of Transportation (1) the
challenges that RSPA and the department face and (2) the specific actions
that can be taken to meet this requirement given available resources. After
we raised these issues to senior RSPA officials as a result of our review,
they developed a proposed model for reorganizing the Coordinating
Council to provide an opportunity for RSPA to meet legislative and
departmental requirements to oversee DOT research evaluation. They said
they were still considering the proposal when we completed our review.



25
     GAO-02-573.




Page 18                                      GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
RSPA Has Conducted            Since 1999, RSPA has conducted four multimodal research programs—
                              advanced vehicle technologies, commercial remote sensing and spatial
Multimodal Research           information, operator fatigue management, and transportation
in Four Areas but Does        infrastructure assurance. According to RSPA’s Associate Administrator,
                              these four programs have resulted or will result in significant contributions
Not Have a Process to         and improvements to the transportation industry. For example, he said that
Systematically                research aimed at advanced vehicle technologies has resulted in the testing
Evaluate Program              and development of components currently used in the production of
                              commercially available hybrid electrical vehicles. Nonetheless, RSPA does
Results                       not have a process to systematically evaluate the results of all its
                              multimodal research programs. In the absence of such a process, RSPA
                              manages its multimodal research programs by monitoring research
                              contract agreements and using expert or peer review panels to assess the
                              quality and relevance of ongoing research. By not systematically evaluating
                              program results, however, RSPA is limited in its ability to determine the
                              extent to which its multimodal research programs are achieving their
                              intended goals.



Status of RSPA’s Multimodal   Since 1999, RSPA has conducted four multimodal research programs, of
Research Programs             which two were congressionally mandated. Specifically, TEA-21 required
                              DOT to conduct research on using (1) technology to improve energy
                              efficiency, and reduce emissions and transportation dependence on
                              petroleum, and (2) satellite images to improve transportation safety and
                              disaster planning. Transportation research experts within DOT developed a
                              third RSPA research program to develop more effective means to increase
                              the endurance and reduce fatigue of drivers and pilots. Finally, the catalyst
                              for research in a fourth area that assesses key transportation system
                              vulnerabilities to damage from disasters or terrorist threats came from the
                              National Research Council’s TRB.26




                              26
                               TRB, Improving Surface Transportation Security, A Research and Development Strategy
                              (1999).




                              Page 19                                           GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
According to the Associate Administrator, RSPA identified and selected
individual projects for these multimodal research programs by obtaining
input from experts within and outside DOT. For example, RSPA, in
conjunction with other DOT operating administrations, published a plan in
June 1999 to guide the selection of human fatique-related projects. In
addition, in April 2000, RSPA issued a strategic multimodal research and
development program plan to help focus advanced vehicle technology
research. Also, in December 2000, RSPA and TRB held a conference on
remote sensing and spatial information research to, among other things,
discuss and define issues and possible research needs with representatives
from academia, transportation agencies, remote sensing businesses,
consulting firms, and other groups.27 (See app. I for a list of project
stakeholders and researchers involved in RSPA’s multimodal research
programs.) Table 1 provides summary data concerning the scope, funding,
and status of RSPA’s four multimodal research programs.




27
 See GAO-03-502 for a discussion of the coordination issues involved in developing and
implementing RSPA’s Transportation Infrastructure Assurance Program.




Page 20                                              GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
Table 1: Information on and Status of Multimodal Research Programs Conducted by RSPA from Fiscal Years 1999 to 2003

Dollars in thousands
                                                                                    Direct and   Number of
Multimodal research                      Reasons for initiating         Fiscal   reimbursable      projects    Program status as of
program                                  programs                         year         funding     initiated   January 14, 2003
Advanced Vehicle                         TEA-21, section 5111            1999          $9,908            21    In process: 12 of 55
Technologies Program                                                     2000           5,000            15    projects still ongoing—
                                                                                                               planned program
                                                                         2001               0            11    completion, end of 2004.
                                                                         2002               0             8
                                                                         2003               0             0
                                                                         Total        $14,908            55
Commercial Remote                        TEA-21, section 5113            1999          $4,000             0    In process: 14 of 18
Sensing and Spatial                                                      2000           6,000             9    projects still ongoing—
Information Technologies                                                                                       planned program
Program                                                                  2001           8,000             6    completion, end of 2003.
                                                                         2002               0             3
                                                                         2003               0             0
                                                                         Total        $18,000            18
Human Centered            Generated by research                          1999            $750             0    In process: 2 of 4 projects
Systems: Operator Fatigue experts within DOT                             2000               0             4    still ongoing—planned
Management Program                                                                                             program completion, end of
                                                                         2001             300             0    2004.
                                                                         2002               0             0
                                                                         2003               0             0
                                                                         Total         $1,050             4
Transportation                           Identified in TRB’s             1999               0             0    In process: all 4 of the
Infrastructure Assurance                 Improving Surface               2000               0             0    projects still ongoing—
Program                                  Transportation Security, A                                            planned program
                                         Research and                    2001          $1,000             2    completion, end of 2003.
                                         Development Strategy            2002           1,000             2
                                         (1999).
                                                                         2003           1,000             0
                                                                         Total         $3,000             4
Source: GAO presentation of RSPA data.


                                                           • The Advanced Vehicle Technologies Program was mandated in 1998
                                                             under section 5111 of TEA-21. This program combines transportation
                                                             technologies and innovative program elements to produce new vehicles,
                                                             components, and infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty
                                                             transportation needs. Since 1999, approximately $15 million has been
                                                             allocated toward 55 separate research projects, 43 of which have been



                                                           Page 21                                       GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
   completed, with the goal of improving energy efficiency and U.S.
   competitiveness while reducing emissions and transportation
   dependence on petroleum. According to the Associate Administrator,
   the program has resulted in (1) the testing of components that are being
   used in the development and production of commercially available
   hybrid electrical vehicles and (2) the development and implementation
   of electric vehicle recharging stations in Hawaii. A picture of an electric
   vehicle at a recharging station is shown in figure 4. RSPA plans to have
   all of the projects completed by the end of 2004.



Figure 4: Electric Vehicle at a Recharging Station




Page 22                                              GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
• The Commercial Remote Sensing and Spatial Information
  Technologies Program was mandated in 1998 under section 5113 of
  TEA-21. The joint program between RSPA and the National Aeronautics
  and Space Administration (NASA) began in 1999. This research program
  focuses in part on using satellite images to assess transportation
  hazards and improve disaster recovery; provide opportunities to
  monitor and evaluate regional traffic flow, including the movement of
  freight; plan for improvements in the maintenance and security of
  transportation infrastructures; and aid in transportation corridor
  planning. Figure 5 shows an example of satellite-based photography of
  interstate highways. According to the Associate Administrator, RSPA
  has also supported transportation security technology project activities
  in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. For
  instance, according to RSPA officials, the Remote Sensing Program
  reoriented two unmanned aerial vehicle projects toward monitoring for
  security as well as traditional transportation applications. RSPA has
  allocated $18 million to this research program since it began in 1999 and
  has disseminated program information; results to date have been
  disseminated through Web sites, publications,28 workshops, and
  conferences. Eighteen separate research projects constitute the
  program; 4 have been completed, and RSPA plans to complete the
  remaining 14 projects by the end of 2003.




28
 In April 2002, DOT and NASA issued Achievements of the DOT-NASA Joint Program on
Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Technologies: Application to Multimodal
Transportation, which presented 3-year accomplishments from the program.




Page 23                                          GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
Figure 5: Satellite-based Photographic Image of U.S. Interstates 25 and 40 in
Albuquerque, New Mexico




• The Human Centered Systems: Operator Fatigue Management
  Program was conceived by DOT researchers and experts with the
  primary goal to develop techniques that transportation operating
  companies can employ to ensure endurance and fatigue-free
  performance of their workforces. Since fiscal year 1999, approximately
  $1 million has been allocated to the Human Centered Systems: Operator
  Fatigue Management Program. According to the Associate
  Administrator, this program has resulted in significant benefit to the
  varied DOT transportation community stakeholders. For example, in
  January 2003, the program resulted in the production of the Commercial



Page 24                                           GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
   Transportation Operator Alertness Management Handbook, which
   describes measures to better manage driver and pilot fatigue. According
   to RSPA’s Associate Administrator, this handbook has been in high
   demand by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Maritime Administration, and the
   Federal Transit Administration. Two of the four projects being
   conducted are ongoing. RSPA plans to complete the program by the end
   of 2004. In figure 6, airline pilots participate in NASA research in this
   area.



Figure 6: Airline Pilots Participating in Fatigue Research




Page 25                                            GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
• The Transportation Infrastructure Assurance Program29 consists of
  assessments on four separate transportation vulnerabilities. These
  include assessing the (1) relationship between the safety and security of
  the nation’s transportation infrastructure and some of the nation’s other
  critical infrastructures, such as energy, e-commerce, banking and
  finance, and telecommunications; (2) transportation and logistical
  requirements for emergency response teams in response to terrorist
  attacks using biochemical, nuclear, and explosive weapons of mass
  destruction; (3) costs, benefits, and practicality of alternative backup
  systems for the global positioning system; and (4) trade-offs between
  the different modes of transportation and security for hazardous
  materials. Since fiscal year 2001, the Congress has appropriated $3
  million to conduct these assessments. In total, RSPA plans to publish 11
  formal reports on the four vulnerabilities being assessed and develop a
  series of presentations and workshops to further disseminate the
  information. Figure 7 shows a picture of a global positioning satellite.




29
     GAO-03-502.




Page 26                                      GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
Figure 7: Global Positioning Satellite




Page 27                                  GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
From fiscal years 1999 through 2003, RSPA budgeted about $37 million to
conduct these four major multimodal research programs. Of this $37
million, about 9 percent, or $3.3 million, came to RSPA from direct
congressional appropriations. For example, in fiscal year 2001, the
Congress appropriated $1 million for the Transportation Infrastructure
Assurance Program and $300,000 for the Human Centered Systems:
Operator Fatigue Management Program; in fiscal years 2002 and 2003,
RSPA received an additional $1 million for the Transportation
Infrastructure Assurance Program. The remaining $33.7 million for these
programs was provided through reimbursable funding from other DOT
administrations.30 Figure 8 summarizes RSPA’s annual budget for
multimodal research from fiscal years 1999 to 2003.




30
 RSPA conducts and manages its multimodal research programs, excluding the
Transportation Infrastructure Assurance Program, almost exclusively using reimbursable
funds provided by the DOT administration sponsoring the research—that is, the Federal
Highway Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration,
and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.




Page 28                                              GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
Figure 8: RSPA’s Multimodal Research Funding (Fiscal Years 1999-2003)




According to the Associate Administrator, RSPA’s current multimodal
research programs are scheduled for completion by the end of fiscal year
2004. He added that RSPA has made budgetary and legislative proposals to
undertake future multimodal research to, among other things, further
examine applications of unmanned aerial vehicles for commercial remote
sensing or examine infrastructure safety issues in hydrogen energy
systems. He noted, however, that there are no approved plans for future
multimodal research, pending the President’s budget proposal for the
department and the reauthorization of TEA-21, which might affect RSPA’s
multimodal research roles and responsibilities.




Page 29                                        GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
RSPA Oversees Research          RSPA oversees its multimodal research programs by monitoring research
Contracts and Assesses the      contract agreements. Specifically, the Associate Administrator said that
                                RSPA assesses project progress against contractual milestones to ensure
Status of Its Ongoing           that the research is being completed on time and within cost, while meeting
Research but Lacks a            research objectives. He added that researchers must meet or exceed
Systematic Process for          contractual expectations, or corrective actions are taken. These actions
Evaluating the Results of Its   may include project cancellation. RSPA provided a recent example of the
Multimodal Research             impact of its monitoring efforts that dealt with a project being conducted
                                under its Commercial Remote Sensing and Spatial Information
                                Technologies Program. The evaluation focused on an unmanned aerial
                                vehicle application to real-time traffic flow monitoring, a demonstration
                                project with the Ohio Department of Transportation and several
                                universities and industry partners. Due to a technical problem, the
                                scheduled demonstration could not be conducted. The Remote Sensing
                                Program Manager, working with the Federal Highway Administration
                                Project Manager assigned to the project, pulled together a technical team
                                to assess the state of the project. The technical team became convinced
                                that the contractor could remedy the technical situation, allowed 3
                                additional months to make the milestone, and successfully encouraged the
                                project partners to cover the costs of the delay. According to the Associate
                                Administrator, these actions resulted in a demonstration to a state partner
                                with no cost increase to RSPA.

                                In addition to providing this contractual oversight, RSPA uses the
                                principles of expert or peer review through the use of multimodal and
                                multiagency program oversight panels to assess the status, quality, and
                                relevance of its ongoing multimodal research programs, according to the
                                Associate Administrator. For example, in December 2000, TRB and RSPA
                                held a conference on remote sensing and spatial information research with
                                representatives from academia, transportation agencies, remote sensing
                                businesses, consulting firms, and other groups. During the conference,
                                participants met in breakout sessions to discuss and assess research
                                progress and interim results. As we have reported, expert or peer review is




                                Page 30                                      GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
a particularly effective means to evaluate federally funded research.31 The
Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy has also reported
that expert review is widely used to evaluate the quality of current research
as compared with other work being conducted in the field and with the
relevance of research to the agency's goals and mission.32 However, RSPA
has not established a process or policies for systematically using peer or
expert reviews to evaluate the results of all its multimodal research. For
example, RSPA has no plans to evaluate the results of its Transportation
Infrastructure Assurance Program.

We, among others, recognize that federal agencies that support research in
science and engineering have been challenged to find the most useful and
effective ways to evaluate the performance and results of the research
programs. For example, since GPRA was passed in 1993, some questions
have been raised about its applicability to the research activities of
government agencies. Because the process required by GPRA is based on a
5-year strategic planning horizon, concerns exist that GPRA constrains, and
perhaps prohibits, the long-term thinking and planning that characterize
the federal role in research. This concern is particularly relevant for basic
research, but even successes from highly applied research (the type
sponsored by DOT) can require 5 to 10 years before achieving widespread
recognition.33 Nonetheless, as we noted in our report examining DOT
highway research,34 without systematic program evaluation, it is unclear as
to whether research efforts are having the intended results. Such a
systematic approach to evaluation, according to best practices used in
other federal research programs, includes review of all ongoing and
completed research on a regular basis and in accordance with GPRA
principles.




31
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Federal Research: Peer Review Practices at Federal
Science Agencies Vary, GAO/RCED-99-99 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 17, 1999) 2.
32
 Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, Evaluating Federal Research
Programs: Research and the Government Performance and Results Act (Washington, D.C.:
February 1999) 39. The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy is a joint
committee of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and
the Institute of Medicine.
33
 Applied research is original work undertaken to develop new knowledge with a specific,
practical application in mind.
34
     GAO-02-573.




Page 31                                              GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
                      RSPA’s Associate Administrator acknowledged that a documented process
                      for systematically evaluating the results of its multimodal research
                      programs would be beneficial, but that the process should be tailored to
                      match the type of research and its objectives. He added that RSPA had not
                      developed and implemented a process for systematically evaluating the
                      results of its multimodal research because of a lack of funding and staffing
                      resources. For example, he estimated that an external evaluation to assess
                      the results of its multimodal programs could cost as much as $100,000 for
                      each program. Nonetheless, without establishing and implementing a
                      process for systematically evaluating the results of its research, RSPA
                      cannot ensure that its multimodal research programs are achieving their
                      intended goals.



Conclusions           To its credit, RSPA has taken steps in recent years to meet its legislative
                      and department responsibilities for coordinating and overseeing the
                      evaluation of the department’s transportation research activities.
                      Nevertheless, ensuring that no unnecessary duplication of research
                      programs occurs and that research programs—including the ones that
                      RSPA conducts—are evaluated for results are critical responsibilities,
                      given the importance of, and amount of money spent on, DOT research.
                      Without a strategy to meet legislative and DOT requirements to coordinate
                      and oversee evaluation of departmental research, RSPA may not be able to
                      meet these responsibilities, particularly given its lack of authority within
                      the department and resource limitations. In addition, a lack of performance
                      standards against which to measure coordination efforts limits RSPA’s
                      ability to identify areas where coordination is working effectively and areas
                      that could be improved upon. With a strategy and performance measures in
                      place, however, RSPA and DOT should be in a better position to assure the
                      Congress that the department is making the most of its significant research
                      dollars through effective coordination and evaluation of its research
                      programs.



Recommendations for   To better meet legislative and DOT requirements for coordinating and
                      evaluating transportation research within the department, we recommend
Executive Action      the Secretary, in conjunction with RSPA’s Administrator, work with DOT
                      operating administrations to:




                      Page 32                                       GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
                      • Develop a strategy for reviewing all DOT research projects to identify
                        areas of unnecessary research duplication, overlap, and opportunities
                        for joint efforts. The strategy should address time frames for
                        implementing this review as well as discuss the extent to which
                        finalizing the development and implementation of a DOT-wide research
                        tracking system database could serve to facilitate this process. Once this
                        strategy has been developed and implemented, the results of this effort
                        should be incorporated in the department’s annual research plan and
                        reported to the Congress on an annual basis.

                      • Develop and apply quantifiable performance measures to assess the
                        effectiveness of research coordination efforts (once a strategy for
                        review has been developed and implemented), and document the results
                        of these efforts in the department’s annual research plan. These
                        measures could include the number of research projects identified as
                        possible candidates for joint effort or elimination and/or the associated
                        reduction in the department’s research spending.

                      • Develop a strategy to ensure that the results of all DOT’s transportation
                        research activities are evaluated according to established best practices.
                        This strategy should include estimates of the costs for ensuring that
                        evaluations are completed. Once the strategy has been developed and
                        implemented, the results of these efforts should be incorporated in the
                        department’s annual research plan and reported to the Congress on an
                        annual basis.

                      • Include in the department’s annual research plan a summary of all
                        research program evaluations conducted and a schedule of future
                        evaluations.

                      In addition, we recommend that the Secretary direct RSPA’s Administrator
                      to document RSPA’s process for systematically evaluating the results of its
                      own multimodal research programs, and apply this process to any future
                      multimodal research programs that RSPA conducts.



Agency Comments and   We obtained oral comments on a draft of this report from RSPA officials,
                      including the Associate Administrator for Innovation, Research, and
Our Evaluation        Education. These officials generally agreed with the contents of the draft
                      report but did not comment specifically on the report’s recommendations.
                      They also provided technical comments that we incorporated as
                      appropriate.



                      Page 33                                      GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
Regarding RSPA’s evaluation of its own multimodal research, the officials
said that RSPA had conducted evaluation activities—peer and expert
reviews of the progress of three of its four multimodal research programs
and had no plans to evaluate the fourth. We acknowledge that RSPA has
used peer and expert review to evaluate the status of at least one of its
ongoing multimodal research programs—commercial remote sensing and
spatial information technology—and we describe this example in this
report. Nevertheless, we continue to believe that our recommendation for
documenting and applying a process for systematically evaluating the
results of any future multimodal research programs conducted by RSPA is
warranted to ensure that such evaluations are consistently conducted in
accordance with established best practices.


We are sending copies of this report to congressional committees and
subcommittees with responsibilities for transportation, the Secretary of
Transportation, the Research and Special Programs Administration
Administrator, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
We will make copies available to others upon request. In addition, the
report will be available at no charge on the GAO Web site at
http://www.gao.gov.

If you have questions about this report, please contact me at (202) 512-2834
or siggerudk@gao.gov. Other key contributors were Colin Fallon,
Christopher Keisling, Bert Japikse, Steve Morris, and Jason Schwartz.




Katherine Siggerud
Acting Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues




Page 34                                      GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
Appendix I

Stakeholders and Researchers Involved in the                                                                                            Appendx
                                                                                                                                              ies




Four Multimodal Programs Conducted by
RSPA                                                                                                                                     Append
                                                                                                                                              x
                                                                                                                                              Ii




Table 2: Advanced Vehicle Technologies Program

                                                                                                                   Project
Project title                                        Project performer(s)                                          stakeholders
Model Park                                           Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium/Boston Edison           FTA
Hybrid School Bus                                    Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium/Solectria               FTA
Extended Hybrid Electric Heavy Duty Vehicle          Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium/MJ Bradley              FTA
Emission Test Certification
Jet Vapor Deposition for Catalyzing Fuel Cell        Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium/Jet Process             FTA
Membranes                                            Corporation
AV 900 Cycler for a 600-900 Volt System for Heavy Electricore/Allison Transmission Division of General Motors FTA
Duty Hybrid Electric Vehicles                     Corporation
Installation of Capstone Microturbines into AVS      Electricore/Advanced Vehicle Systems, Inc.                    FTA
Passenger Trams
Novel Silicon Carbide JFET-Gated Thyristor           Electricore/Rutgers University                                FTA
Electric Vehicle Ready State                         Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project                 FTA
Zero Emission 100-Passenger Electric Tram for        Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project/U.S.            FTA, FAA
Airports                                             Electricar
Battery Life Cycle Prediction                        Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project/Hawaii          FTA
                                                     Natural Energy Institute/University of Hawaii/SOEST
Extension of the Hybrid Electric HMMWV Power         Southern Coalition for Advanced Transportation/PEI            FTA
Train Development Program                            Electronics
Optimization of Hybrid Electric Vehicles             Mid Atlantic Regional Consortium for Advanced                 FTA
Compression Ignition Auxiliary Unit Control Strategy Vehicles/Navistar International Transportation Corporation
for Emissions Reduction and Improved Fuel
Economy
Integrated Simulation and Testing System for         Mid Atlantic Regional Consortium for Advanced                 FTA
Electric Vehicle Batteries                           Vehicles/Pennsylvania Transportation Institute
Smaller Better Inverters with Polymer Multi-Layer    Mid Atlantic Regional Consortium for Advanced                 FTA
Capacitors                                           Vehicles/Sigma Technologies International, Inc.
NiMH Battery System Development for an Electric      Sacramento Municipal Utility District/Ovonic Battery          FTA
Vehicle Bus
Advanced PLI Hybrid Electric Vehicle Battery         Sacramento Municipal Utility District/Compact Power           FTA

Reliable Electric Propulsion System for Medium and CALSTART/Santa Barbara Electric Bus Works                       FTA
Heavy Duty Vehicles
All-Purpose Electric Tractor                         CALSTART/ISE Research Corporation                             FTA, FAA
Development of Advanced Electrochemical              CALSTART/University of California, Davis                      FTA
Capacitors Using Carbon and Lead-Oxide
Electrodes for Hybrid Vehicle Applications
Hybrid Transit Bus with Flywheel                     CALSTART/Trinity Flywheel Power                               FTA
Auxiliary Power Unit Project Using Fuel Cell         CALSTART/Freightliner Corporation                             FTA
Technology




                                                Page 35                                                GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
                                              Appendix I
                                              Stakeholders and Researchers Involved in
                                              the Four Multimodal Programs Conducted by
                                              RSPA




(Continued From Previous Page)
                                                                                                                  Project
Project title                                        Project performer(s)                                         stakeholders
Caterpillar Heavy Duty Powertrain Applicable to      Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium                        FTA
Heavy Duty Machines
Design/Integrate/Test Auxiliary Power Units/Hybrid   Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium                        FTA
Electric Vehicles for Deployment in Commercial
Delivery Fleet
Low Cost, Modular, Highly Reliable, Universal     Electricore                                                     FTA
Propulsion Inverter for Heavy-Duty Commercial and
Military Hybrid Vehicles
Design and Fabrication of 4H-SiC Hybrid JBS          Electricore/Rutgers University                               FTA
Diode for High Temperature and High Efficiency
Inverters for Medium and Heavy Duty Applications
Electric Vehicle Ready State (Phase II)              Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project                FTA
Hybrid Drive System for Heavy Duty Transit Buses     Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project/Hawaii         FTA
and Trucks (Phase I)                                 Technology Development Corporation
Georgia 1 - Design, Manufacture and Test a Low       Southern Coalition for Advanced Transportation               FTA
Speed Industrial Motor System in Heavy-Duty
Vehicles
Texas 1 - Enhanced Safety and Risk Reduction for     Southern Coalition for Advanced Transportation               FTA
University of Texas Demonstration Program
Simulation and Field Test Hybrid Ultra-Capacitor     Mid Atlantic Regional Consortium for Advanced                FTA
Battery Energy Storage System for Electric Transit   Vehicles/Pennsylvania Transportation Institute
Vehicles
Development of Scalable Direct-Methanol Fuel Cell Mid Atlantic Regional Consortium for Advanced                   FTA
Stacks                                            Vehicles/GATE Center for Advanced Energy Storage
Zebra Battery Demonstration in an Electric School    Sacramento Municipal Utility District/Santa Barbara Electric FTA
Bus                                                  Bus Works
Fuel Cell Auxiliary Power Unit Demonstration in a    Sacramento Municipal Utility District/ISE Research           FTA
Heavy-Duty Truck                                     Corporation
DOT Center for Climate Change and Environmental CALSTART/WestStart Corporation                                    All modes
Forecasting Conference Support
Hybrid Electric Prototype Truck, Phase II Program    CALSTART/ISE Research Corporation                            FTA
150 kW Traction Drive/Hybrid Auxiliary Power Unit CALSTART/Unique Mobility, Inc.                                  FTA
System for Large Electric or Hybrid Electric Vehicle
Applications
Hickam Air Force Base Project Development            Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project                FTA, Department of
                                                                                                                  the Air Force
Rapid Chargers                                       Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project                FTA, Department of
                                                                                                                  the Air Force
Electric Bus Conversion                              Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project                FTA, Department of
                                                                                                                  the Air Force
U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Tour Boat Study              Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project                FTA, Department of
                                                                                                                  the Navy, National
                                                                                                                  Park Service




                                              Page 36                                                 GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
                                              Appendix I
                                              Stakeholders and Researchers Involved in
                                              the Four Multimodal Programs Conducted by
                                              RSPA




(Continued From Previous Page)
                                                                                                                         Project
Project title                                        Project performer(s)                                                stakeholders
Advanced Vehicles for Great Smoky Mountains          Mid Atlantic Regional Consortium for Advanced                       FTA, National Park
National Park                                        Vehicles/Electric Power Research Institute                          Service
Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles Energy Control System        Mid Atlantic Regional Consortium for Advanced Vehicles              FTA
Phase I Fast Track Fuel Cell Bus Project             Sacramento Municipal Utility District/Sacramento Electric           FTA
                                                     Transportation Consortium/CALSTART/WestStart
Development of NiMH Battery System for               Sacramento Municipal Utility District/Sacramento Electric           FTA
Application in Heavy Duty Hybrid Electric Vehicles   Transportation Consortium
Lightweight Hybrid Electric Transit Bus Program      CALSTART/NOVA Bus Incorporated                                      FTA
Airport Clean Fuel Vehicle Outreach -- Targeted      CALSTART/WestStart Corporation                                      FTA, FAA
Project Development
Phase I, Fast Track Fuel Cell Bus Project            CALSTART/WestStart/Sacramento Electric Transportation               FTA
                                                     Consortium
National Conference on Climate Change                Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium                               All modes
Development and Fabrication of a PEM Fuel Cell       Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium/University                    FTA
Power Plant for Heavy Duty Vehicle Applications      Transportation Centers Fuel Cells
Drive Line Development Team and Industry Work        Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium                               FTA
Group
Route-Ready Fuel Cell Component Testing              Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium/Concurrent                    FTA
                                                     Technologies Corporation
Hybrid Electric Bus (Phase II)                       Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project                       FTA, Department of
                                                                                                                         the Air Force
Multi-Vehicle Charging System                        Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project                       FTA, Department of
                                                                                                                         the Air Force
Data Acquisition Systems                             Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project                       FTA, Department of
                                                                                                                         the Air Force
Aircraft Loader                                      Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project                       FTA, Department of
                                                                                                                         the Air Force
Source: RSPA.

                                              Legend
                                              FAA Federal Aviation Administration
                                              FTA Federal Transit Administration
                                              Note: This program is performed in partnership with seven major consortia consisting of (1)
                                              Sacramento Electric Transportation Consortium; (2) Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium; (3)
                                              CALSTART-WESTSTART; (4) Electricore, Inc.; (5) Mid-Atlantic Regional Consortium for Advanced
                                              Vehicles; (6) Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project; and (7) Southern Coalition for Advanced
                                              Transportation.




                                              Page 37                                                     GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
                                               Appendix I
                                               Stakeholders and Researchers Involved in
                                               the Four Multimodal Programs Conducted by
                                               RSPA




Table 3: Commercial Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Technologies Program

                                                                                                               Project
Project title                                         Project performer(s)                                     stakeholders
Airborne Sensor Fusion: A Fast-Track Approach to NCRST-E/Earthdata Int'l of NC                                 FHWA
National Environmental Policy Act Streamlining and
Environmental Assessment
Remote Sensing of Environmental Parameters for        NCRST-E/ICF Consulting                                   FHWA
Use in National Environmental Policy Act
Documentation in Support of Highway Corridor
Studies
Remote Sensing Applications in Transit                NCRST-F/Bridgewater State College                        FHWA, FTA
Airborne Ground-Penetrating Radar to Support          NCRST-H/Aeris Inc.                                       RSPA/Office of
Monitoring of Pipeline Safety and Performance                                                                  Pipeline Safety
Environmental Impact and Risk Modeling of             NCRST-H/EarthWatch, Inc.                                 RSPA/Office of
Petroleum and Gas Transmission Lines Using                                                                     Pipeline Safety
Interferometry and High Resolution Imagery from
Satellite and Airborne-based Remote Sensing
Systems
Facilitating the Operation Efficiency and Growth of   NCRST-I/ASL Consulting Engineers (Tetra Tech Corp.)      Office of the
Intermodal Freight Traffic: Application of Remote                                                              Secretary of
Sensing Technology to the Alameda Corridor, Los                                                                Transportation/
Angeles, CA                                                                                                    Office of
                                                                                                               Intermodalism
Remote Sensing Applications Supporting Regional       NCRST-F/Veridian System Division (formerly Veridian      FHWA, FTA
Database for Transportation Planning                  ERIM)
Road Network Planning Tool                            NCRST-F/Technology Service Corp.                         FHWA
Impact of Instant Imagery Access on a Regional        NCRST-I/Orbimage                                         FHWA
Database for Transportation Planning

Development of Regional Databases for                 NCRST-E/Veridian Systems Division                        FHWA, FTA
Transportation Planning
Remote Sensing for Airport Development and            NCRST-F/Grafton Technologies, Inc.                       FAA, FHWA
Transportation Planning
Remote Sensing of Invasive Aquatic Plant              NCRST-F/TerraMetrics, Inc.                               MARAD
Obstruction in Navigable Waterways
Using an Unmanned Airborne Data Acquisition         NCRST-F/GeoData Systems, Inc.                              FHWA
System (ADAS) for Traffic Surveillance, Monitoring,
and Management
The Application of Remote Sensing                     NCRST-H/ImageCat, Inc.                                   All modes
Technologies in Post-Disaster Damage
Assessment
Long-Term Monitoring of Changes in Transportation NCRST-I/University of Massachusetts                          FHWA
and Land Use Associated with the Central
Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel in Boston, MA.




                                               Page 38                                             GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
                                             Appendix I
                                             Stakeholders and Researchers Involved in
                                             the Four Multimodal Programs Conducted by
                                             RSPA




(Continued From Previous Page)
                                                                                                                         Project
Project title                                       Project performer(s)                                                 stakeholders
Implementing Remote Sensing Applications to         NCRST-E/FHWA/Mississippi Department of Transportation                FHWA, FRA
Develop and Environmental Impact Statement and
Decision Options to Relocate the Current CSX
Railroad from Mississippi Gulf Coast townships to
the I-10 Right of Way
Remote Sensing Applications for                     NCRST-E/Washington State Department of Transportation                FHWA
Environmental Analysis in Transportation
Planning
Highway Features and Characteristics Database       NCRST-I/Florida Department of Transportation                         FHWA
Development Using Commercial Remote Sensing
Technology, Combined with Mobile Mapping, GIS
and GPS.
Source: RSPA.

                                             Legend
                                             FAA  Federal Aviation Administration
                                             FHWA Federal Highway Administration
                                             FRA  Federal Railroad Administration
                                             FTA  Federal Transit Administration
                                             MARAD Maritime Administration
                                             RSPA Research and Special Programs Administration
                                             Note: This program is performed in partnership with four major consortia consisting of (1) the National
                                             Consortia for Remote Sensing in Transportation - Environmental Assessment/Application (NCRST-E);
                                             (2) the National Consortia for Remote Sensing in Transportation - Traffic Flow (NCRST-F); (3) the
                                             National Consortia for Remote Sensing in Transportation - Safety, Hazards, and Disasters (NCRST-H);
                                             and (4) the National Consortia for Remote Sensing in Transportation - Infrastructure Management
                                             (NCRST-I).




                                             Page 39                                                      GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
                                              Appendix I
                                              Stakeholders and Researchers Involved in
                                              the Four Multimodal Programs Conducted by
                                              RSPA




Table 4: Human-Centered Systems: Operator Fatigue Management Program

                                                                                                                 Project
Project title                                       Project performer(s)                                         stakeholders
Framework for Multimodal Synthesis and Cost         ORC Macro                                                    All DOT modes
Benefit Analyses                                                                                                 through the Human
                                                                                                                 Factors Coordinating
                                                                                                                 Committee
Work Schedule Representation Analysis Software      XIMES GmbH                                                   All DOT modes
                                                                                                                 through the Human
                                                                                                                 Factors Coordinating
                                                                                                                 Committee
Development of a Fatigue Management Reference       Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus Operations             All DOT modes
Handbook                                                                                                         through the Human
                                                                                                                 Factors Coordinating
                                                                                                                 Committee
Fatigue Analysis Systems for Transportation         Science Applications International Corporation               All DOT modes
Operations: Railroad Applications                                                                                through the Human
                                                                                                                 Factors Coordinating
                                                                                                                 Committee
Source: RSPA.

                                              Legend
                                              DOT Department of Transportation




                                              Page 40                                                GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
                                                 Appendix I
                                                 Stakeholders and Researchers Involved in
                                                 the Four Multimodal Programs Conducted by
                                                 RSPA




Table 5: Transportation Infrastructure Assurance Program


Project title                                               Project performer(s)               Project stakeholders
Interdependency of the Transportation System with           Volpe National Transportation      Office of Intelligence and Security, TSA, FAA,
Other Critical Infrastructures                              Systems Center                     Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, TRB.
Transportation and Logistical Requirements for   Volpe National Transportation                 DOT Maritime Academy, FAA, Federal
Emergency Response Teams in Dealing with Weapons Systems Center                                Emergency Management Adminstration,
of Mass Destruction                                                                            FHWA, MARAD, RSPA’s Office of Emergency
                                                                                               Transportation.
Feasibility of Alternative Backup Systems for the           Volpe National Transportation      Booz-Allen Hamilton, DOT Office of the
Global Positioning System                                   Systems Center                     Secretary, FAA, FRA, Northrop-Grumman,
                                                                                               USCG.
Options to Transition Hazardous Materials                   Volpe National Transportation      TSA, American Association of Railroads,
Transportation Security Guidelines to Security              Systems Center                     American Chemistry Council, Bureau of
Requirements                                                                                   Transportation Statistics, DOT Office of the
                                                                                               Secretary, FMCSA, FRA, GAO, TRB, RSPA’s
                                                                                               Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, RSPA’s
                                                                                               Office of Pipeline Safety, and USCG,
                                                                                               American Institute of Chemical Engineers,
                                                                                               the National Transportation Safety Board, the
                                                                                               Inland Rivers, Ports and Waterways
                                                                                               Association, the Bureau of the Census, the
                                                                                               U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Vanderbilt
                                                                                               University.
Source: RSPA.

                                                 Legend
                                                 DOT       Department of Transportation
                                                 FAA       Federal Aviation Administration
                                                 FHWA      Federal Highway Administration
                                                 FMCSA     Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
                                                 FRA       Federal Railroad Administration
                                                 MARAD     Maritime Administration
                                                 RSPA      Research and Special Programs Administration
                                                 TRB       Transportation Research Board
                                                 TSA       Transportation Security Administration
                                                 USCG      United States Coast Guard




(542013)                                         Page 41                                                  GAO-03-500 Transportation Research
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