Opening Transportation Data for the Public Good: Getting Our Bits in a Row
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Opening Transportation Data for the Public Good: Getting Our Bits in a Row

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    The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Public Access Plan was issued in November 2015, in response to the February 22, 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies entitled "Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research ." Through this memorandum, OSTP directed all Executive Departments with greater than $100 million in yearly research and development expenditures to prepare a plan for improving the public's access to the results of federally funded research.

    The USDOT plan establishes objectives to ensure public access to publications and digital datasets arising from USDOT-managed research and development (R&D) programs. USDOT already provides access to intramural and extramural research in progress, technical reports, and many final publications. USDOT’s Open Data Plan and Data Governance Policy already require openness for data as well as listing on the Enterprise Data Inventory. Coupled with the implementation of the USDOT Public Access Plan, both extramural and intramural research programs are taking comprehensive steps to increase data sharing and management.

    The USDOT plan requires that intramural researchers and extramural awardees submit publications and metadata for datasets resulting from research projects that fall within the scope of the public access plan to the National Transportation Library’s (NTL) digital repository. As USDOT’s solution for public access, NTL’s systems –which are built on international standards and protocols for interoperability, information exchange, federated searching, and metadata sharing– maximize the potential for creative reuse to enhance value to all stakeholders. As the lead for implementation, NTL is also the source for guidance, best practices, and training for compliance with the USDOT Public Access Plan.

    NTL’s legislative mandate is a primary reason the library serves a central role in public access implementation at USDOT. The mandate includes a requirement to maintain a repository; instruction to be a portal to federal transportation data; and direction to partner with other federal, state, local, and industry organizations to facilitate access to and use of transportation information. These activities enable NTL to both maximize the impact of the Federal research investment in transportation and foster private-public collaboration. This poster highlights a few tools created by NTL to help intramural and extramural data creators employ better data management practices and come into compliance with the Public Access Plan.

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