Introduction: Department Overview and Summary of Regulatory Priorities

The Department of Transportation (DOT) consists of 10 operating administrations and the Office of the Secretary, each of which has statutory responsibility for a wide range of regulations. DOT regulates safety in the aviation, motor carrier, railroad, motor vehicle, commercial space, and pipeline transportation areas. DOT also regulates aviation consumer and economic issues and provides financial assistance for programs involving highways, airports, public transportation, the maritime industry, railroads, and motor vehicle safety. The Department writes regulations to carry out a variety of statutes ranging from the Americans With Disabilities Act to the Uniform Time Act. Finally, DOT develops and implements a wide range of regulations that govern internal programs such as acquisitions and grants, access for the disabled, environmental protection, energy conservation, information technology, occupational safety and health, property asset management, seismic safety, and the use of aircraft and vehicles.

The Department's Regulatory Priorities

The Department's regulatory priorities respond to the challenges and opportunities we face. Our mission generally is as follows:

The national objectives of general welfare, economic growth and stability, and the security of the United States require the development of transportation policies and programs that contribute to providing fast, safe, efficient, and convenient transportation at the lowest cost consistent with those and other national objectives, including the efficient use and conservation of the resources of the United States.

To help us achieve our mission, we have five strategic goals:

  • Safety: Improve public health and safety by reducing transportation-related fatalities and injuries.

  • State of Good Repair: Ensure the U.S. proactively maintains its critical transportation infrastructure in a state of good repair.

  • Economic Competitiveness: Promote transportation policies and investments that bring lasting and equitable economic benefits to the Nation and its citizens.

  • Livable Communities: Foster livable communities through place-based policies and investments that increase transportation choices and access to transportation services.

  • Environmental Sustainability: Advance environmentally sustainable policies and investments that reduce carbon and other harmful emissions from transportation sources.

    In identifying our regulatory priorities for the next year, the Department considered its mission and goals and focused on a number of factors, including the following:

  • The relative risk being addressed

  • Requirements imposed by statute or other law

  • Actions on the National Transportation Safety Board "Most Wanted List"

  • The costs and benefits of the regulations

  • The advantages of nonregulatory alternatives

  • Opportunities for deregulatory action

  • The enforceability of any rule, including the effect on agency resources

    This regulatory plan identifies the Department's regulatory priorities-the 16 pending rulemakings chosen from among the dozens of significant rulemakings listed in the Department's broader regulatory agenda that the Department believes will merit special attention in the upcoming year. The rules included in the regulatory plan embody the Department's focus on our strategic goals.

    The regulatory plan reflects the Department's primary focus on safety-a focus that extends across several modes of transportation. For example:

  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will continue its efforts to implement safety management systems.

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) continues its work to strengthen the requirements for Electronic On-Board Recorders.

  • The FMCSA will continue its work to revise motor carrier safety fitness procedures.

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will continue its rulemaking to reduce death and injury resulting from incidents involving motorcoaches.

    We are taking actions to address other important issues. For example:

  • The NHTSA is engaged in a major rulemaking to address fuel economy standards for passenger cars and light trucks.

  • The Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) remains focused on aviation consumer rulemaking designed to further safeguard the interests of consumers flying the Nation's skies.

    Each of the rulemakings in the regulatory plan is described below in detail. In order to place them in context, we first review the Department's regulatory philosophy and our initiatives to educate and inform the public about transportation safety issues. We then describe the role of the Department's regulatory process and other important regulatory initiatives of OST and of each of the Department's components. Since each transportation "mode" within the Department has its own area of focus, we summarize the regulatory priorities of each mode and of OST, which supervises and coordinates modal initiatives and has its own regulatory responsibilities, such as consumer protection in the aviation industry.

    The Department's Regulatory Philosophy and Initiatives

    The Department has adopted a regulatory philosophy that applies to all its rulemaking activities. This philosophy is articulated as follows: DOT regulations must be clear, simple, timely, fair, reasonable, and necessary. They will be issued only after an appropriate opportunity for public comment, which must provide an equal chance for all affected interests to participate, and after appropriate consultation with other governmental entities. The Department will fully consider the comments received. It will assess the risks addressed by the rules and their costs and benefits, including the cumulative effects. The Department will consider appropriate alternatives, including nonregulatory approaches. It will also make every effort to ensure that regulation does not impose unreasonable mandates.

    The Department stresses the importance of conducting high-quality rulemakings in a timely manner and reducing the number of old rulemakings. To implement this, the Department has required the following actions: (1) Regular meetings of senior DOT officials to ensure effective policy leadership and timely decisions, (2) effective tracking and coordination of rulemakings, (3) regular reporting, (4) early briefings of interested officials, (5) regular training of staff, and (6) adequate allocations of resources. The Department has achieved significant success because of this effort. It allows the Department to use its resources more effectively and efficiently.

    The Department's regulatory policies and procedures provide a comprehensive internal management and review process for new and existing regulations and ensure that the Secretary and other appropriate appointed officials review and concur in all significant DOT rules. DOT continually seeks to improve its regulatory process. A few examples include: The Department's development of regulatory process and related training courses for its employees; its use of an electronic, Internet-accessible docket that can also be used to submit comments electronically; a "list serve" that allows the public to sign up for e-mail notification when the Department issues a rulemaking document; creation of an electronic rulemaking tracking and coordination system; the use of direct final rulemaking; the use of regulatory negotiation; a continually expanding Internet page that provides important regulatory information, including "effects" reports and status reports (; and the continued exploration and use of Internet blogs and other Web 2.0 technology to increase and enhance public participation in its rulemaking process.

    In addition, the Department continues to engage in a wide variety of activities to help cement the partnerships between its agencies and its customers that will produce good results for transportation programs and safety. The Department's agencies also have established a number of continuing partnership mechanisms in the form of rulemaking advisory committees.

    Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations

    In accordance with Executive Order (E.O.) 13563 ''Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review," the Department actively engaged in a special retrospective review of our existing rules to determine whether they need to be revised or revoked. This review was in addition to those reviews in accordance with section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, Executive Order 12866, and the Department's Regulatory Policies and Procedures. As part of this effort, we also reviewed our processes for determining what rules to review and ensuring the rules are effectively reviewed. As a result of the review, we identified many rules for expedited review and changes to our retrospective review process. Our retrospective review plan in response to E.O. 13563 can be found at; the results of the review of our rules can also be found there and in appendix D to our regulatory agenda.

    Each rulemaking initiated as a result of the retrospective review is included in the list below with a Regulation Identification Number (RIN) to assist in following the action through the rulemaking process. Additionally, at the end of each title, existing rulemaking actions will be been identified by adding "RRR" and those that are new will be indicated by "RRR*".





    Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) (RRR*)



    14 CFR Part 16; Rules of Practice for Federally-Assisted Airport Enforcement Proceedings (RRR*)



    Medical Certificate Endorsement Issue (RRR*)



    Combined Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs for Operators Conducting Commercial Air Tours (RRR*)



    CAT III Definitions (RRR*)



    National Standards for Traffic Control Devices; the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways; Engineering Judgments (RRR)



    National Standards for Traffic Control Devices; the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways; Compliance Dates Revision (RRR*)



    Pedestrian Safety Global Technical Regulation (GTR) (RRR*)



    Federal Motor Vehicle Standard No. 108; Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment - Color Boundaries (RRR*)



    Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108; Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment - Reconsideration (RRR*)



    FMVSS No. 126, Petition for Reconsideration of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) (RRR*)



    Part 571 FMVSS No. 205, Glazing Materials, GTR (RRR*)



    Amend FMVSS No. 210 to Incorporate the Use of a New Force Application Device (RRR*)



    Training Standards for Railroad Employees (RRR)



    Locomotive Safety Standards Amendments (RRR)



    Positive Train Control Systems Amendments (RRR*)



    Major Capital Investment Projects (RRR)



    Cargo Preference (RRR)



    MARAD NEPA Procedures (RRR*)



    Transportation Priority Allocation System, Part 341 (RRR*)



    Administrative Claims, Part 327 (RRR*)



    Operating Differential Subsidy and Construction Differential Subsidy Programs (RRR*)



    Foreign Transfer Regulations (RRR*)



    War Risk Ship Valuation (RRR*)



    Hazardous Materials: Minor Editorial Corrections and Clarifications (RRR*)



    Hazardous Materials: Miscellaneous Amendments (RRR*)



    Hazardous Materials: Miscellaneous Amendments; Petitions for Rulemaking (RRR*)



    Hazardous Materials: Miscellaneous Pressure Vessel Requirements (DOT Spec Cylinders) (RRR*)



    Hazardous Materials: Reverse Logistics (RRR*)



    Hazardous Materials: Incorporation of Certain Special Permits and Competent Authorities into the HMR (RRR*)


    *Some of the entries on this list may be completed actions, which do not appear in The Regulatory Plan/Agenda. However, more information can be found about these completed rulemakings in past publications of the Unified Agenda on in the Completed Actions section for DOT.

    The Department will also continue its efforts to use advances in technology to improve its rulemaking management process. For example, the Department created an effective tracking system for significant rulemakings to ensure that either rules are completed in a timely manner or delays are identified and fixed. Through this tracking system, a monthly status report is generated. To make its efforts more transparent, the Department has made this report Internet accessible at, as well as through a list-serve. By doing this, the Department is providing valuable information concerning our rulemaking activity and is providing information necessary for the public to evaluate the Department's progress in meeting its commitment to completing quality rulemakings in a timely manner.

    The Department continues to place great emphasis on the need to complete high-quality rulemakings by involving senior departmental officials in regular meetings to resolve issues expeditiously.

    Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST)

    The Office of the Secretary (OST) oversees the regulatory process for the Department. OST implements the Department's regulatory policies and procedures and is responsible for ensuring the involvement of top management in regulatory decisionmaking. Through the General Counsel's office, OST is also responsible for ensuring that the Department complies with the Administrative Procedure Act, Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), DOT's Regulatory Policies and Procedures, and other legal and policy requirements affecting rulemaking. Although OST's principal role concerns the review of the Department's significant rulemakings, this office has the lead role in the substance of projects concerning aviation economic rules and other rules that affect multiple elements of the Department.

    OST provides guidance and training regarding compliance with regulatory requirements and process for use by personnel throughout the Department. OST also plays an instrumental role in the Department's efforts to improve our economic analyses; risk assessments; regulatory flexibility analyses; other related analyses; and data quality, including peer reviews.

    OST also leads and coordinates the Department's response to the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) intergovernmental review of other agencies' significant rulemaking documents and to Administration and congressional proposals that concern the regulatory process. The General Counsel's office works closely with representatives of other agencies, OMB, the White House, and congressional staff to provide information on how various proposals would affect the ability of the Department to perform its safety, infrastructure, and other missions.

    During fiscal year 2012, OST will continue to focus its efforts on enhancing airline passenger protections by requiring carriers to adopt various consumer service practices under the following rulemaking initiatives:

  • Accessibility of Carrier Websites and Ticket Kiosks (2105-AD96)

  • Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections III (2105-AE11)

  • Carrier-Supplied Medical Oxygen, Accessible In-Flight Entertainment Systems, Service Animals, and Accessible Lavatories on Single-Aisle Aircraft (2105-AE12).

    OST will also continue its efforts to help coordinate the activities of several operating administrations that advance various departmental efforts that support the Administration's initiatives on promoting safety, stimulating the economy and creating jobs, sustaining and building America's transportation infrastructure, and improving livability for the people and communities who use transportation systems subject to the Department's policies.

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

    The Federal Aviation Administration is charged with safely and efficiently operating and maintaining the most complex aviation system in the world. It is guided by Destination 2025-a transformation of the Nation's aviation system in which air traffic will move safely, swiftly, efficiently, and seamlessly around the globe. Our vision is to develop new systems and to enhance a culture that increases the safety, reliability, efficiency, capacity, and environmental performance of our aviation system. To meet our vision will require enhanced skills, clear communication, strong leadership, effective management, innovative technology, new equipment, advanced system oversight, and global integration.

    FAA activities that may lead to rulemaking in fiscal year 2012 include continuing to:

  • Promote and expand safety information-sharing efforts, such as FAA-industry partnerships and data-driven safety programs that prioritize and address risks before they lead to accidents. Specifically, FAA will continue implementing Commercial Aviation Safety Team projects related to controlled flight into terrain, loss of control of an aircraft, uncontained engine failures, runway incursions, weather, pilot decisionmaking, and cabin safety. Some of these projects may result in rulemaking and guidance materials.

  • Work cooperatively to harmonize the U.S. aviation regulations with those of other countries, without compromising rigorous safety standards. The differences worldwide in certification standards, practice and procedures, and operating rules must be identified and minimized to reduce the regulatory burden on the international aviation system. The differences between the FAA regulations and the requirements of other nations impose a heavy burden on U.S. aircraft manufacturers and operators, some of which are small businesses. Standardization should help the U.S. aerospace industry remain internationally competitive. The FAA continues to publish regulations based on recommendations of Aviation Rulemaking Committees that are the result of cooperative rulemaking between the U.S. and other countries.

  • Develop and implement Safety Management Systems (SMS) where these systems will improve safety of aviation and aviation-related activities. An SMS proactively identifies potential hazards in the operating environment, analyzes the risks of those hazards, and encourages mitigation prior to an accident or incident. In its most general form, an SMS is a set of decisionmaking tools that can be used to plan, organize, direct, and control activities in a manner that enhances safety.

    FAA top regulatory priorities for 2011 through 2012 include:

  • Qualification, Service, and Use of Crewmembers and Aircraft Dispatchers (2120-AJ00)

  • Helicopter Air Ambulance and Commercial Helicopter Safety Initiatives and Miscellaneous Amendments (2120-AJ53)

  • Congestion Management for LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport (2120-AJ89)

  • Safety Management System for Certificate Holders Operating Under 14 CFR Part 121 (2120-AJ86)

    The Crewmember and Aircraft Dispatcher Training rulemaking would:

  • Reduce human error and improve performance;

  • Enhance traditional training programs through the use of flight simulation training devices for flight crewmembers; and

  • Include additional training in areas critical to safety.

    The Air Ambulance and Commercial Helicopter rulemaking would:

  • Codify current agency guidance

  • Address National Transportation Safety Board recommendations;

  • Provide certificate holders and pilots with tools and procedures that will aid in reducing accidents, including potential equipage requirements; and

  • Amend all part 135 commercial helicopter operations regulations to include pilot training and alternate airport weather minimums.

    The Congestion Management rulemaking for LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport would:

  • Replace the orders limiting scheduled operations at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), limiting scheduled operations at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), and limiting scheduled and unscheduled operations at LaGuardia Airport (LGA); and

  • Provide a longer-term and comprehensive approach to congestion management at JFK, EWR, and LGA

    The Safety Management System for Certificate Holders Operating Under 14 CFR Part 121 rulemaking would:

  • Require certain certificate holders to develop and implement an SMS;

  • Propose a general framework from which a certificate holder can build its SMS; and

  • Conform to International Civil Aviation Organization Annexes and adopt several National Transportation Safety Board recommendations.

    Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

    The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) carries out the Federal highway program in partnership with State and local agencies to meet the Nation's transportation needs. The FHWA's mission is to improve continually the quality and performance of our Nation's highway system and its intermodal connectors.

    Consistent with this mission, the FHWA will continue:

  • With ongoing regulatory initiatives in support of its surface transportation programs;

  • To implement legislation in the least burdensome and restrictive way possible; and

  • To pursue regulatory reform in areas where project development can be streamlined or accelerated, duplicative requirements can be consolidated, recordkeeping requirements can be reduced or simplified, and the decisionmaking authority of our State and local partners can be increased.

    FHWA's top regulatory priority for the fiscal year is to address the rulemaking actions outlined in the DOT Plan for Implementation of Executive Order 13563. In particular, FHWA will undertake two rulemakings that propose changes to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The first of these rulemakings (RIN 2125-AF41, Engineering Judgment) would clarify the use of engineering judgment and studies in the application of traffic control devices. A separate rulemaking (RIN 2125-AF43, Compliance Dates Revision) would revise the compliance dates for certain requirements in the MUTCD. Consistent with the principles outlined in Executive Order 13563, the FHWA anticipates these actions would provide clarity and needed flexibility, as well as reduce burdens on State and local governments. We believe our approach in both rulemakings is consistent with the requirements of Executive Order 13563, including its emphasis on consideration of benefits and costs (sections 1(a) and 1(b)), its requirement of an open exchange of information with stakeholders (section 2(a)), and, in particular, its call for retrospective analysis of existing rules, including streamlining and modification to make such rules less burdensome (section 6). These rulemakings are also consistent with a Presidential Memorandum regarding Administrative Flexibility, which calls for reducing burdens and promoting flexibility for State and local governments.

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

    The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial trucks and buses. A strong regulatory program is a cornerstone of FMCSA's compliance and enforcement efforts to advance this safety mission. FMCSA develops new and more effective safety regulations based on three core priorities: Raising the bar for entry, maintaining high standards, and removing high-risk behavior. In addition to Agency-directed regulations, FMCSA develops regulations mandated by Congress, such as the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). FMCSA regulations establish standards for motor carriers, drivers, vehicles, and State agencies receiving certain motor carrier safety grants and issuing commercial drivers' licenses.

    FMCSA's regulatory plan for FY 2012 includes completion of a number of rulemakings that are high priorities for the Agency because they would have a positive impact on safety. Among the rulemakings included in the plan are: (1) Carrier Safety Fitness Determination (RIN 2126-AB11) and (2) National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (RIN 2126-AA97).

    Together, these priority rules could help to substantially improve commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety on our Nation's highways by improving FMCSA's ability to provide safety oversight of motor carriers and drivers.

    In FY 2012, FMCSA will continue its work on the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA). The CSA initiative will improve the way FMCSA identifies and conducts carrier compliance and enforcement operations over the coming years. CSA's goal is to improve large truck and bus safety by assessing a wider range of safety performance data from a larger segment of the motor carrier industry through an array of progressive compliance interventions. FMCSA anticipates that the impacts of CSA and its associated rulemaking to put into place a new safety fitness standard will enable the Agency to prohibit "unfit" carriers from operating on the Nation's highways (the Carrier Safety Fitness Determination(RIN 2126-AB11)) and will contribute further to the Agency's overall goal of decreasing CMV-related fatalities and injuries.

    Also in FY 2012, FMCSA plans to issue a final rule on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (RIN 2126-AA97) to establish training and testing requirements for healthcare professionals who issue medical certificates to CMV drivers.

    In order to manage its rulemaking agenda, FMCSA continues to involve senior Agency leaders at the earliest stages of its rulemakings and continues to refine its regulatory development process. The Agency also holds senior executives accountable for meeting deadlines for completing rulemakings.

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    The statutory responsibilities of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) relating to motor vehicles include reducing the number of, and mitigating the effects of, motor vehicle crashes and related fatalities and injuries; providing safety performance information to aid prospective purchasers of vehicles, child restraints, and tires; and improving automotive fuel efficiency. NHTSA pursues policies that encourage the development of nonregulatory approaches when feasible in meeting its statutory mandates. It issues new standards and regulations or amendments to existing standards and regulations when appropriate. It ensures that regulatory alternatives reflect a careful assessment of the problem and a comprehensive analysis of the benefits, costs, and other impacts associated with the proposed regulatory action. Finally, it considers alternatives consistent with the Administration's regulatory principles.

    NHTSA continues to focus on the high-priority vehicle safety issue of motorcoaches and their occupants, and will publish several notices in fiscal year 2012 to that end. NHTSA will issue a final rule to require the installation of lap/shoulder belts in newly manufactured motorcoaches in accordance with NHTSA's 2007 Motorcoach Safety Plan and DOT's 2009 departmental Motorcoach Safety Action Plan. NHTSA is also considering proposing new Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) for motorcoach rollover structural integrity requirements, as well as requirements for electronic stability control systems for motorcoaches and truck tractors. Together, these three rulemaking actions will address 12 recommendations issued by the National Transportation Safety Board related to motorcoach safety.

    In fiscal year 2012, NHTSA will continue its efforts to reduce domestic dependency on foreign oil in accordance with the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 by publishing, in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a joint final rule setting corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for light trucks and passenger cars for model years 2017 and beyond. To further enhance the safety of passenger vehicles and pedestrians, NHTSA is considering proposing, in response to the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010, a FMVSS to provide a means of alerting blind and other pedestrians of motor vehicle operation.

    In addition to numerous programs that focus on the safe performance of motor vehicles, the Agency is engaged in a variety of programs to improve driver and occupant behavior. These programs emphasize the human aspects of motor vehicle safety and recognize the important role of the States in this common pursuit. NHTSA has identified two high-priority areas: Safety belt use and impaired driving. To address these issue areas, the Agency is focusing especially on three strategies-conducting highly visible, well-publicized enforcement; supporting prosecutors who handle impaired driving cases and expanding the use of DWI/Drug Courts, which hold offenders accountable for receiving and completing treatment for alcohol abuse and dependency; and adopting alcohol screening and brief intervention by medical and health care professionals. Other behavioral efforts encourage child safety-seat use; combat excessive speed and aggressive driving; improve motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian safety; and provide consumer information to the public.

    Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

    FRA's current regulatory program contains numerous mandates resulting from the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA08), as well as actions supporting the Department's High-Speed Rail Strategic Plan. RSIA08 alone has resulted in at least 20 rulemaking actions, which are competing for limited resources to meet statutory deadlines. FRA has prioritized these rulemakings according to the greatest effect on safety, as well as expressed congressional interest, and will work to complete as many rulemakings as possible prior to their statutory deadlines. Revised timelines for completion of unfinished regulations will be forwarded to Congress for consideration.

    Through the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC), FRA is working to complete many of the RSIA08 actions that include developing requirements for train conductor certification, roadway worker protection, track safety, alcohol and drug testing of maintenance-of-way personnel, and training for railroad employees. Other RSAC-supported actions that advance high-speed passenger rail include proposed revisions to the Track Safety Standards dealing with vehicle-track interaction. FRA is also initiating a rulemaking related to the development of railroad risk reduction and system safety programs, which will be a multi-year effort due to the underlying statutory requirements that must be undertaken prior to the issuance of any final rule. Finally, FRA will be engaging in two rulemaking proceedings to address various issues related to the implementation of positive train control systems. FRA expects these regulatory actions to provide substantial benefits to the industry while ensuring the safe and effective implementation of the technology.

    Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

    FTA helps communities support public transportation by making grants of Federal funding for transit vehicles, construction of transit facilities, and planning and operation of transit and other transit-related purposes. FTA regulatory activity implements the laws that apply to recipients' uses of Federal funding and the terms and conditions of FTA grant awards. FTA policy regarding regulations is to:

  • Provide maximum benefit to the mobility of the Nation's citizens and the connectivity of transportation infrastructure;

  • Provide maximum local discretion;

  • Ensure the most productive use of limited Federal resources;

  • Protect taxpayer investments in public transportation;

  • Incorporate principles of sound management into the grant management process.

    As the needs for public transportation have changed over the years, the Federal transit programs have grown in number and complexity. FTA's regulatory priorities for the coming year will reflect the mandates of the Agency's authorization statute, including, most notably, the Major Capital Investments (RIN 2132-AB02) "New Starts" program. The New Starts program is the main source of discretionary Federal funding for construction of rapid rail, light rail, commuter rail, and other forms of transit infrastructure. FTA also anticipates amending its regulations governing recipients' management of major capital projects and its Bus Testing rule.

    Maritime Administration (MARAD)

    The Maritime Administration (MARAD) administers Federal laws and programs to promote and strengthen the U.S. merchant marine to meet the economic and security needs of the Nation. To that end, MARAD's efforts are focused upon ensuring a strong American presence in the domestic and international trades and to expanding maritime opportunities for American businesses and workers.

    MARAD's regulatory objectives and priorities reflect the Agency's responsibility for ensuring the availability of a U.S. merchant marine that can provide water transportation services for American shippers and consumers and, in times of war or national emergency, for the U.S. armed forces. Major program areas include the following: Maritime Security, Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement, National Defense Reserve Fleet and the Ready Reserve Force, Maritime Guaranteed Loan Financing, United States Merchant Marine Academy, Mariner Education and Training Support, and Deepwater Port Licensing. Additionally, MARAD will continue its monitoring and enforcement of U.S. cargo preference laws and implementation of MARAD's newest program, the "America's Marine Highways Program." To date, the Department has identified marine corridors, and grants have been awarded under the America's Marine Highways Program.

    MARAD's primary regulatory activities in fiscal year 2012 will be to update existing cargo preference-related regulations, to continue the update of existing regulations as part of the Department's Retrospective Regulatory Review effort, and to propose new regulations where appropriate.

    Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

    The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has responsibility for rulemaking under two programs. Through the Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety, PHMSA administers regulatory programs under Federal hazardous materials transportation law and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Through the Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety, PHMSA administers regulatory programs under the Federal pipeline safety laws and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

    PHMSA will continue to work toward the reduction of deaths and injuries associated with the transportation of hazardous materials by all transportation modes, including pipeline. We will concentrate on the prevention of high-risk incidents identified through the findings of the National Transportation Safety Board and PHMSA's evaluation of transportation incident data. PHMSA will use all available Agency tools to assess data; evaluate alternative safety strategies, including regulatory strategies as necessary and appropriate; target enforcement efforts; and enhance outreach, public education, and training to promote safety outcomes.

    PHMSA will be considering whether changes are needed to the regulations covering hazardous liquid onshore pipelines. In particular, PHMSA is considering whether it should extend regulation to certain pipelines currently exempt from regulation; whether other areas along a pipeline should either be identified for extra protection or be included as additional high-consequence areas (HCAs) for integrity management (IM) protection; whether to establish and/or adopt standards and procedures for minimum lead detection requirements for all pipelines; whether to require the installation of emergency flow restricting devices (EFRDs) in certain areas; whether revised valve spacing requirements are needed on new construction or existing pipelines; whether repair timeframes should be specified for pipeline segments in areas outside the HCAs that are assessed as part of the IM; and whether to establish and/or adopt standards and procedures for improving the methods of preventing, detecting, assessing, and remediating stress corrosion cracking (SCC) in hazardous liquid pipeline systems.

    Additionally, PHMSA will consider whether or not to revise the requirements in the pipeline safety regulations addressing integrity management principles for gas transmission pipelines. Specifically, PHMSA will be reviewing the definition of an HCA (including the concept of a potential impact radius), the repair criteria for both HCA and non-HCA areas, requiring the use of automatic and remote-controlled shutoff valves, valve spacing, and whether applying the integrity management program requirements to additional areas would mitigate the need for class location requirements.

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA)

    The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) seeks to identify and facilitate solutions to the challenges and opportunities facing America's transportation system through:

  • Coordination, facilitation, and review of the Department's research and development programs and activities;

  • Providing multi-modal expertise in transportation and logistics research, analysis, strategic planning, systems engineering and training;

  • Advancement, and research and development, of innovative technologies, including intelligent transportation systems;

  • Comprehensive transportation statistics research, analysis, and reporting;

  • Managing education and training in transportation and national transportation-related fields; and

  • Managing the activities of the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center.

    Through its Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Office of Airline Information, RITA collects, compiles, analyzes, and makes accessible information on the Nation's air transportation system. RITA collects airline financial, traffic, and operating statistical data, including on-time flight performance data that highlight long tarmac times and chronically late flights. This information gives the Government consistent and comprehensive economic and market data on airline operations that are used in supporting policy initiatives and administering the Department's mandated aviation responsibilities, including negotiating international bilateral aviation agreements, awarding international route authorities, performing airline and industry status evaluations, supporting air service to small communities, setting Alaskan Bush Mail rates, and meeting international treaty obligations.

    Through its Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS/JPO), RITA conducts research and demonstrations and, as appropriate, may develop new regulations, in coordination with OST and other DOT operating administrations, to enable deployment of ITS research and technology results. This office collects and disseminates benefits and costs information resulting from ITS-related research along with direct measurement of the deployment of ITS nationwide. These efforts support market assessments for emerging market sectors that would be cost-prohibitive for industry to absorb alone. Such information is widely consumed by the community of stakeholders to determine their deployment needs.

    The ITS Architecture and Standards Programs develop and maintain a National ITS Architecture; develop open, non-proprietary interface standards to facilitate rapid and economical adoption of nationally interoperable ITS technologies; and cooperate to harmonize ITS standards internationally. These standards are incorporated into DOT operating administration regulatory activities when appropriate.

    Through its Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, RITA provides a comprehensive range of engineering expertise, and qualitative and quantitative assessment services, focused on applying, maintaining, and increasing the technical body of knowledge to support DOT operating administration regulatory activities.

    Through its Transportation Safety Institute, RITA designs, develops, conducts, and evaluates training and technical assistance programs in transportation safety and security to support DOT operating administration regulatory implementation and enforcement activities.

    RITA's regulatory priorities are to assist OST and all DOT operating administrations in updating existing regulations by applying research, technology, and analytical results; to provide reliable information to transportation system decisionmakers; and to provide safety regulation implementation and enforcement training.



    (This chart does not account for non-quantifiable benefits, which are often substantial.)

    Agency/RIN Number



    Quantifiable Costs

    Discounted 2007 $ (Millions)

    Quantifiable Benefits

    Discounted 2007 $ (Millions)




    Accessibility of Carrier Websites and Ticket Kiosks

    FR (TBD)




    Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections III

    SNPRM 08/12




    Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA)

    SNPRM 06/12



    Total for OST






    Part 121, subparts N and O

    FR (TBD)




    Helicopter Safety Initiatives and Misc Amendments

    FR 07/12




    SMS for part 121

    FR 07/12




    NY Congestion Management

    NPRM 05/12



    Total for FAA






    National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners

    FR 02/12




    Carrier Safety Fitness Determination

    NPRM 04/12



    Total for FMCSA






    Seat Belts on Motorcoaches

    FR 07/12

    26.8 - 27.9

    17.5 - 96.9


    CAFE 2017 and Beyond

    FR (TBD)




    Sound for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

    NPRM 07/12




    Motorcoach Rollover Structural Integrity

    NPRM 04/12




    Electronic Stability Control Systems for Heavy Vehicles

    NPRM 01/12



    Total for NHTSA

    26.8 - 27.9

    17.5 - 96.9




    Major Capital Investment Projects

    NPRM 01/12



    Total for FTA






    Cargo Preference




    Total for MARAD







    Costs and benefits of rulemakings may be forecast over varying periods. Although the forecast periods will be the same for any given rulemaking, comparisons between proceedings should be made cautiously.

    Costs and benefits are generally discounted at a 7 percent discount rate over the period analyzed.

    The Department of Transportation generally assumes that there are economic benefits to avoiding a fatality of $6.2 million. That economic value is included as part of the benefits estimates shown in the chart. As noted above, we have not included the non-quantifiable benefits.