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DOT releases Open Goverment Plan

Today DOT released its Open Government Plan on www.dot.gov/open. Here’s a peek at the Executive Summary. DOT welcomes your feedback!

“The President’s Open Government initiative represents a significant shift in the way Federal agencies conduct business and engage the public. The Department of Transportation (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 4.4.1 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 4.2.2 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 4.3.2 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.

We have organized our efforts into two phases:

  • 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.

The following pages describe the DOT’s approach towards formulating the Open Government Plan (Chapter 1), proposed Open Government goals (Chapter 2) and strategies (Chapter 3), and our initiatives, including the flagship initiative, (Chapter 4). The final chapter looks at compliance and information dissemination requirements (Chapter 5).

This plan is a living document. As we continue on the path 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 at [email protected]

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