The President’s Open Government initiative represents a significant shift in the way Federal agencies conduct business and engage the public. The DOT recognizes that the Open Government initiative is about more than adopting new tools and emerging technologies—it is about affecting real policy and internal culture change to ensure that our Department truly becomes even more transparent, participatory, and collaborative both internally and externally. Toward that end, our DOT Open Government Plan looks at the culture, policy and technology issues involved in enhancing the DOT’s openness.
The DOT is pursuing a number of Open Government initiatives in the next two years. We are pleased to announce the following activities that will continue to foster openness with our employees, stakeholders, and the general public:
Rulemaking: The DOT’s flagship initiative will explore how we can encourage more effective participation in the rulemaking process. See Section 4.1 for more information.
Data Release and Visualization: The DOT is developing a more mature data inventory and will continue to release high-value data in open formats. The DOT is developing a platform that will allow topical data to be visualized geographically and put into the context of priority DOT initiatives (i.e., distracted driving, highway infrastructure, etc.). See Section 3.3.1 for more information.
Public Comment: For the first time, the DOT will provide an Internet-based way for the public to comment on and discuss the DOT Strategic Plan. In the past, comments were submitted via email. In this instance the public will be able to see and discuss each other’s comments. See Section 1 for more information.
Ideation: Learning from the best practices of other Departments, the DOT will provide a platform for employees to submit and discuss innovative ideas for programs, processes, and technologies. See Section 2.1.1 for more information.
Culture Change: The DOT is committed to setting a firm foundation for future Open Government initiatives, through updating internal processes over the next two years, including policies, communications plans, training programs, performance management, and sustainable governance. See Chapter 3 for more information about DOT’s strategies to manage this change.
In addition, our plan describes the proposed DOT Open Government goals and objectives that will enable the Department to become more open in the coming years, which are:
Increase Agency Transparency and Accountability by:
- Presenting in a clear manner DOT information about programs and objectives; and
- Continuing to release DOT data in a timely manner by proactively making it available online in consistent, open formats, while assuring accuracy and protecting privacy, security, and confidentiality.
Apply Citizen Knowledge Through Participation to Government Service by:
- Maintaining commitment to collecting and responding to public input on DOT policies and programs in innovative ways.
Encourage Collaboration and Innovation by:
- Enhancing collaboration with other Federal agencies, the private sector, and other non-government organizations in providing mission-related services.
Institutionalize an Open DOT Culture by:
- Encouraging commitment to Open Government principles at all levels; and
- Encouraging a cross-modal, interdisciplinary, collaborative, and engaged workforce through enhanced communication, governance, and guidance regarding Open Government tools and programs.
The figure below illustrates the DOT’s approach to Open Government over the next five years.
2010-2012 – Phase One: This phase will occur within the next two years. The DOT will focus on foundational steps such as developing or fine-tuning policy, creating a data release process, integrating Open Government principles into existing governance bodies, and pursing initiatives that advance priority Open Government objectives, such as those highlighted above.
2012-2015 – Phase Two: The next iteration of the DOT Open Government Plan will be formally released on April 7, 2012. Phase two will occur after a mature foundation has been established. The DOT will focus on revisiting policies as appropriate, refining communication, outreach, and training efforts, refining initiatives, and developing new initiatives that further our Open Government objectives.
This plan is a living document. As we continue towards increased transparency, participation, collaboration, and innovation, we will be refining and enhancing our strategic efforts. We welcome public comments regarding the content of this plan on our Citizen Engagement Tool and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Government Plan Chapter Summaries
Chapter 1 explains the DOT’s approach towards formulating the Open Government Plan, which looks at the critical technology, culture, and policy issues that impact Open Government activities. This chapter also details how DOT leadership and employees from across the department worked together to help create the plan, and how DOT solicited and incorporated public feedback into the plan.
Chapter 2 explains how the DOT’s has integrated the Open Government principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration into the Department’s core mission priorities and objectives. It also describes the development of DOT’s Open Government-specific goals, the prioritization of Open Government objectives, and the department’s performance management plans.
Chapter 3 explains how the DOT will increase transparency and make agency information more available to the public, publish additional national transportation data sets, and enhance public feedback, participation, and collaboration. It also covers proposed internal policies and processes that would allow DOT operations to be more open and transparent.
Chapter 4 explains the DOT’s Open Government flagship initiative, the “Regulation Room.” The Regulation Room is a pilot project in partnership with the Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative (CeRI) to discover the best ways of using Web 2.0 and social networking technologies for more effective public participation in rulemaking. This chapter also describes proposals for new feedback mechanisms and collaboration platforms designed to increase communication between the DOT and citizens and related initiatives that are currently underway to enhance transparency.
Chapter 5 explains the DOT’s compliance activities and transparency initiatives such as Data.gov, e-Rulemaking, IT Dashboards, Recovery.gov, and USAspending.gov. This chapter also describes the DOT’s records management program, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) program, Congressional requests for information, and DOT’s declassification program.