Introduction: Department Overview and Summary of Regulatory Priorities

The Department of Transportation (DOT) consists of nine 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, public transportation, 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. In addition, 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 DOT 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 goals in the Department's Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014-2018:

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

  • State of Good Repair: Ensure the U.S. "proactively maintains 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."

  • Quality of Life: Foster quality of life in communities by "integrating transportation policies, plans, with coordinated housing and economic development policies to increase transportation choices and access to transportation services for all."

  • Environmental Sustainability: Advance "environmental 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 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 19 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 Logging Devices and revise motor carrier safety fitness determination procedures.

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will continue its rulemaking efforts to reduce death and injury resulting from motor vehicle crashes.

    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 retrospective reviews and its 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; creation of an electronic rulemaking tracking and coordination system; the use of direct final rulemaking; the use of regulatory negotiation; a continually expanding and improved 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.

    The Department's 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, E.O. 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 that 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. Pursuant to section 6 of E.O. 13563, the following Regulatory Identifier Numbers (RINs) have been identified as associated with retrospective review and analysis in the Department's final retrospective review of regulations plan. Some of these entries on this list may be completed actions, which do not appear in The Regulatory Plan. If a retrospective review action has been completed it will no longer appear on the list below. However, more information can be found about these completed rulemakings on the Unified Agenda publications at in the Completed Actions section for that agency. These rulemakings can also be found on The final agency retrospective review plan can be found at



    Rulemaking Title

    Significantly Reduces Costs on Small Businesses



    Transportation Services for Individuals with Disabilities: Over-the-Road Buses (RRR)




    Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) (RRR)



    Fuel Tank and System Lightning Protection (RRR)



    Aviation Training Devices; Pilot Certification, Training, and Pilot Schools; Other Provisions (RRR)



    Acceptance Criteria for Portable Oxygen Concentrators Used Onboard Aircraft (RRR)



    Flammability Requirements for Transport Category Airplanes (RRR)



    Reciprocal Waivers of Claims for Non-Party Customer Beneficiaries, Signature of Waivers of Claims by Commercial Space Transportation Customers. And Waiver of Claims and Assumption of Responsibility for Permitted Activities with No Customer (RRR)



    Acquisition of Right-of-Way (RRR) (MAP-21)




    Buy America (RRR)




    Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance; Driver-Vehicle Inspection Report (RRR)



    Electronic Signatures and Documents (E-Signatures) (RRR)



    Elimination of Redundant Maintenance Rule (RRR)



    Pedestrian Safety Global Technical Regulation (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)




    Upgrade of LATCH Usability Requirements (MAP-21) (RRR)



    Rapid Tire Deflation Test in FMVSS No. 110 (RRR)



    Upgrade of Rear Impact Guard Requirements for Trailers and Semitrailers (RRR)



    Qualification and Certification of Locomotive Engineers; Miscellaneous Revisions (RRR)



    Hours of Service Recordkeeping; Electronic Recordkeeping Amendments (RRR)



    Safety Glazing Standards; Miscellaneous Revisions (RRR)



    Pipeline Safety: Gas Transmission (RRR)




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




    Hazardous Materials: Reverse Logistics (RRR)




    Hazardous Materials: Requirements for the Safe Transportation of Bulk Explosives (RRR)



    Pipeline Safety: Operator Qualification, Cost Recovery, Accident and Incident Notification, and Other Changes (RRR)



    Hazardous Materials: Adoption of Special Permits (MAP-21) (RRR)




    Hazardous Materials: Miscellaneous Amendments (RRR)



    Hazardous Materials: Miscellaneous Petitions for Rulemaking (RRR)



    Hazardous Materials: Revision of the Requirements for Carriage by Aircraft (RRR)



    Hazardous Materials: Harmonization with International Standards (RRR)



    Hazardous Materials: Revisions to Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Grants Requirements (RRR)

    International Regulatory Cooperation

    Executive Order 13609 (Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation) stresses that "[i]n an increasingly global economy, international regulatory cooperation, consistent with domestic law and prerogatives and U.S. trade policy, can be an important means of promoting the goals of" Executive Order 13563 to "protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation." DOT has long recognized the value of international regulatory cooperation and has engaged in a variety of activities with both foreign governments and international bodies. These activities have ranged from cooperation in the development of particular standards to discussions of necessary steps for rulemakings in general, such as risk assessments and cost-benefit analyses of possible standards. Since the issuance of Executive Order 13609, we have increased our efforts in this area. For example, many of DOT's Operating Administrations are active in groundbreaking government-wide Regulatory Cooperation Councils (RCC) with Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. These RCC working groups are setting a precedent in developing and testing approaches to international coordination of rulemaking to reduce barriers to international trade. We also have been exploring innovative approaches to ease the development process.

    Examples of the many cooperative efforts we are engaged in include the following:

    The FAA maintains ongoing efforts with foreign civil aviation authorities, including in particular the European Aviation Safety Agency and Transport Canada, to harmonize standards and practices where doing so will improve the safety of aviation and aviation-related activities. The FAA also plays an active role in the standard-setting work of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), particularly on the Air Navigation Commission and the Legal Committee. In doing so, the FAA works with other Nations to shape the standards and recommended practices adopted by ICAO. The FAA's rulemaking actions related to safety management systems are examples of the FAA's harmonization efforts.

    NHTSA is actively engaged in international regulatory cooperative efforts on both a multilateral and a bilateral basis, exchanging information on best practices and otherwise seeking to leverage its resources for addressing vehicle issues in the U.S. As noted in Executive Order 13609: "(i)n meeting shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues, international regulatory cooperation can identify approaches that are at least as protective as those that are or would be adopted in the absence of such cooperation" and "can also reduce, eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements."

    As the representative, for vehicle safety matters, of the United States, one of 33 contracting parties to the 1998 Agreement on the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, NHTSA is an active participant in the World Forum for Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) at the UN. Under that umbrella, NHTSA is currently working on the development of harmonized regulations for the safety of electric vehicles; hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles; advanced head restraints; pole side impact test procedures; pedestrian protection; the safety risks associated with quieter vehicles, such as electric and hybrid electric vehicles; and advancements in tires.

    In recognition of the large cross-border market in motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment, NHTSA is working bilaterally with Transport Canada under the Motor Vehicles Working Group of the U.S. - Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) to facilitate implementation of the initial RCC Joint Action Plan. Under this Plan, NHTSA and Transport Canada are working on the development of international standards on quieter vehicles, electric vehicle safety, and hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles.

    Building on the initial Joint Action Plan, the U.S. and Canada issued a Joint Forward Plan on August 29, 2014. The Forward Plan provided that regulators would develop Regulatory Partnership Statements (RPSs) outlining the framework for how cooperative activities will be managed between agencies. Since that time, regulators have been developing and completing detailed work plans to address the commitments in the Forward Plan. To facilitate future cooperation, the RCC will continue to work on cross-cutting issues in areas such as: "sharing information with foreign governments, joint funding of new initiatives and our respective rulemaking processes."

    To broaden and deepen its cooperative efforts with the European Union, NHTSA is participating in ongoing negotiations regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which is "aimed at providing greater compatibility and transparency in trade and investment regulation, while maintaining high levels of health, safety, and environmental protection." NHTSA is seeking to build on existing levels of safety and lay the groundwork for future cooperation in addressing emerging safety issues and technologies.

    PHMSA's hazardous material group works with ICAO, the UN Subcommittee of Experts on Dangerous Goods, and the International Maritime Organization. Through participation in these international bodies, PHMSA is able to advocate on behalf of U.S. safety and commercial interests to guide the development of international standards with which U.S. businesses have to comply when shipping in international commerce. PHMSA additionally participates in the RCC with Canada and has a Memorandum of Cooperation in place to ensure that cross-border shipments are not hampered by conflicting regulations. The pipeline group at PHMSA incorporates many standards by reference into the Pipeline Safety Regulations, and the development of these standards benefit from the participation of experts from around the world.

    In the areas of airline consumer protection and civil rights regulation, OST is particularly conscientious in seeking international regulatory cooperation. For example, the Department participates in the standard-setting activities of ICAO and meets and works with other governments and international airline associations on the implementation of U.S. and foreign aviation rules.

    For a number of years the Department has also provided information on which of its rulemaking actions have international effects. This information, updated monthly, is available at the Department's regulatory information website,, under the heading "Reports on Rulemakings and Enforcement." (The reports can be found under headings for "EU," "NAFTA" (Canada and Mexico) and "Foreign.") A list of our significant rulemakings that are expected to have international effects follows; the identifying RIN provided below can be used to find summary and other information about the rulemakings in the Department's Regulatory Agenda published along with this Plan:



    Rulemaking Title


    Accessibility of Airports




    Airport Safety Management System


    Small Unmanned Aircraft


    Prohibition Against Certain Flights Within the Territory and Airspace of Afghanistan


    Drug & Alcohol Testing for Repair Stations


    Revision of Airworthiness Standards for Normal, Utility, Acrobatic, and Commuter Category Airplanes


    Mexico-Domiciled Motor Carriers


    Safety Monitoring System and Compliance Initiative for Mexico-Domiciled Motor Carriers Operating in the United States


    Limitations on the Issuance of Commercial Driver Licenses with a Hazardous Materials Endorsement


    MAP-21 Enhancements and Other Updates to the Unified Registration System


    Tire Fuel Efficiency Part 2


    Quieter Vehicles Sound Alert


    Cargo Preference


    Hazardous Materials: Harmonization with International Standards (RRR)

    As we identify rulemakings arising out of our ongoing regulatory cooperation activities that we reasonably anticipate will lead to significant regulations, we will add them to our website report and subsequent Agendas and Plans.

    The Department's Regulatory Process

    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 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), Executive Order 13563, 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 such projects as those concerning aviation economic rules, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and rules that affect multiple elements of the Department.

    OST provides guidance and training regarding compliance with regulatory requirements and process for 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; retrospective reviews of rules; 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 2017, OST will focus its efforts on voice communications on passengers´ mobile wireless devices on scheduled flights within, to and from the United States (2105-AE30).

    OST will also continue its efforts on the following rulemaking initiatives:

  • Airline Passenger Protections III (2105-AE11)

  • In-Flight Medical Oxygen and other ACAA issues (2105-AE12)

  • In-Flight Entertainment (2105-AE32)

  • Reporting of Statistics for Mishandled Baggage and Wheelchairs (2105-AE41)

    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 quality of life for the people and communities who use transportation systems subject to the Department's policies. It will also continue to oversee the Department's rulemaking actions to implement the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act" (MAP-21).

    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. Destination 2025, an FAA initiative that captures the agency's vision of transforming the Nation's aviation system by 2025, has proven to be an effective tool for pushing the agency to think about longer-term aspirations; FAA has established a vision that defines the agency's priorities for the next five years. The changing technological and industry environment compels us to transform the agency. And the challenging fiscal environment we face only increases the need to prioritize our goals.

    We have identified four major strategic initiatives where we will focus our efforts: 1) Risk-based Decision Making - Build on safety management principles to proactively address emerging safety risk by using consistent, data-informed approaches to make smarter, system-level, risk-based decisions; 2) NAS Initiative -- Lay the foundation for the National Airspace System of the future by achieving prioritized NextGen benefits, enabling the safe and efficient integration of new user entrants including Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Commercial Space flights, and deliver more efficient, streamlined air traffic management services; 3) Global Leadership -- Improve safety, air traffic efficiency, and environmental sustainability across the globe through an integrated, data-driven approach that shapes global standards, enhances collaboration and harmonization, and better targets FAA resources and efforts; and (4) Workforce of the Future - Prepare FAA's human capital for the future, by identifying, recruiting, and training a workforce with the leadership, technical, and functional skills to ensure the U.S. has the world's safest and most productive aviation sector.

    FAA activities that may lead to rulemaking in Fiscal Year 2017 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 decision making, and cabin safety. Some of these projects may result in rulemaking and guidance materials.

  • Respond to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (the Act), which directed the FAA to initiate a rulemaking proceeding to issue guidelines and regulations relating to ADS-B In technology and recommendations from an Aviation Rulemaking Committee on ADS-B-In capabilities in consideration of the FAA's evolving thinking on how to provide an integrated suite of communication, navigation, and surveillance (CNS) capabilities to achieve full NextGen performance.

  • Respond to the Act, which also recommended we complete the rulemaking for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and consider how to fully integrate UAS operations in the NAS, which will require future rulemaking.

  • Respond to the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 (H.R. 5900), which requires the FAA to 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 decision-making tools that can be used to plan, organize, direct, and control activities in a manner that enhances safety.

  • Respond to the Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013 (H.R. 1848), which requires the FAA adopt the recommendations from part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) for improving safety and reducing certification costs for general aviation. The ARC recommendations include a broad range of policy and regulatory changes that it believes could significantly improve the safety of general aviation aircraft while simultaneously reducing certification and modification costs for these aircraft. Among the ARC's recommendations is a suggestion that compliance with part 23 requirements be performance-based, focusing on the complexity and performance of an aircraft instead of the current regulations based on weight and type of propulsion. In announcing the ARC's recommendations, the Secretary of Transportation said "Streamlining the design and certification process could provide a cost-efficient way to build simple airplanes that still incorporate the latest in safety initiatives. These changes have the potential to save money and maintain our safety standing - a win-win situation for manufacturers, pilots and the general aviation community as a whole." Further, these changes are consistent with directions to agencies in Executive Order 13610 "Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens," we continue to find ways to make our regulatory program more effective or less burdensome; provide quantifiable monetary savings or quantifiable reductions in paperwork burdens, and modify and streamline regulations in light of changed circumstances.

  • Work cooperatively to harmonize the U.S. aviation regulations with those of other countries, without compromising rigorous safety standards, or our requirements to develop cost benefit analysis. 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 internal analysis, public comment, and recommendations of Aviation Rulemaking Committees that are the result of cooperative rulemaking between the U.S. and other countries.

    FAA top regulatory priorities for Fiscal Year 2017 include:

  • Revision of Airworthiness Standards for Normal, Utility, Acrobatic, and Commuter Category Airplanes (2120-AK65)

  • Airport Safety Management System (2120-AJ38)

  • Flight Crewmember Mentoring, Leadership and Professional Development (2120-AJ87)

    The Revision of Airworthiness Standards for Normal, Utility, Acrobatic, and Commuter Category Airplanes rulemaking would:

  • Reorganize part 23 into performance-based requirements by removing the detailed design requirements from part 23;

  • Promote the adoption of the newly created performance-based airworthiness design standard as an internationally accepted standard by the majority of other civil aviation authorities;

  • Re-align the part 23 requirements to promote the development of entry-level airplanes similar to those certified under Certification Specification for Very Light Aircraft (CS-VLA);

  • Enhance the FAA's ability to address new technology;

  • Increase the general aviation (GA) level of safety provided by new and modified airplanes;

  • Amend the stall, stall warning, and spin requirements to reduce fatal accidents and increase crashworthiness by allowing new methods for occupant protection; and

  • Address icing conditions that are currently not included in part 23 regulations.

    The Airport Safety Management System rulemaking would:

  • Require certain airport certificate holders to develop, implement, maintain, and adhere to a safety management system (SMS) for its aviation related activities.

    The Flight Crewmember Mentoring, Leadership and Professional Development rulemaking would:

  • Ensure air carriers establish or modify training programs to address mentoring, leadership and professional development of flight crewmembers in part 121 operations.

    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 most cost-effective 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.

    MAP-21 authorizes the Federal surface transportation programs for highways, highway safety, and transit for the two-year period from 2012-2014. The FHWA has analyzed MAP-21 to identify Congressionally directed rulemakings. These rulemakings will be the FHWA's top regulatory priorities for the coming year.

    Additionally, the FHWA is in the process of reviewing all FHWA regulations to ensure that they are consistent with MAP-21 and will update those regulations that are not consistent with the recently enacted legislation.

    The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act authorizes the Federal surface transportation programs for highways, highway safety, and transit for the five-year period from 2016-2020. The FHWA has analyzed the FAST Act to identify Congressionally directed rulemakings. These rulemakings will be the FHWA's top regulatory priorities for the coming year.

    Additionally, the FHWA is in the process of reviewing all FHWA regulations to ensure that they are consistent with the FAST Act and will update those regulations that are not consistent with the recently enacted legislation.

    During Fiscal Year 2017, FHWA will continue its focus on improving the quality and performance of our Nation's highway systems by creating national performance management measures and standards to be used by the States to meet the national transportation goals identified in section 1203 of MAP-21 under the following rulemaking initiatives:

  • National Goals and Performance Management Measures (Bridges and Pavement) (RIN: 2125-AF53)

  • National Goals and Performance Management Measures (Congestion Reduction, CMAQ, Freight, and Performance of Interstate/Non-Interstate NHS) (RIN: 2125-AF54).

    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 safety bar for entry, maintaining high standards, and removing high-risk behavior. In addition to Agency-directed regulations, FMCSA develops regulations mandated by Congress, through legislation such as MAP-21. FMCSA regulations establish standards for motor carriers, commercial drivers, commercial motor vehicles, and State agencies receiving certain motor carrier safety grants and issuing commercial drivers' licenses.

    FMCSA's regulatory plan for FY 2017 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), (2) Entry Level Driver Training (RIN 2126-AB66), and (3) Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (RIN 2126-AB18).

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

    In FY 2017, FMCSA plans to issue a final rule on Carrier Safety Fitness Determination (RIN 2126-AB11) to establish a new safety fitness determination standard that will enable the Agency to prohibit "unfit" carriers from operating on the Nation's highways and contribute to the Agency's overall goal of decreasing CMV-related fatalities and injuries.

    In FY 2017, FMCSA plans to issue a final rule on Entry Level Driver Training (RIN 2126-AB66). This rule would establish training requirements for individuals before they can obtain their CDL or certain endorsements. It will define curricula for training providers and establish requirements and procedures for the schools.

    Also in FY 2017, FMCSA plans to issue a final rule on the Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (RIN 2126-AB18). The rule would establish a clearinghouse requiring employers and service agents to report information about current and prospective employees' drug and alcohol test results. It would require employers and certain service agents to search the Clearinghouse for current and prospective employees' positive drug and alcohol test results as a condition of permitting those employees to perform safety-sensitive functions. This would provide FMCSA and employers the necessary tools to identify drivers who are prohibited from operating a CMV based on DOT drug and alcohol program violations and ensure that such drivers receive the required evaluation and treatment before resuming safety-sensitive functions.

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    The statutory responsibilities of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) relating to motor vehicles include reducing the number, 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 plans to issue a final rule on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications in Fiscal Year 2017. V2V communications are currently perceived to become a foundational aspect of vehicle automation. NHTSA will publish a final rule on heavy vehicle speed limiters in response to petitions for rulemaking and recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board. In Fiscal Year 2017 NHTSA will also finalize rulemaking for Tire Fuel Efficiency in response to requirements of the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007. In response to requirements in MAP-21, NHTSA plans to continue work toward a final rule that would require automobile manufacturers to install a seat belt reminder system for the front passenger and rear designated seating positions in passenger vehicles. The seat belt reminder system is intended to increase belt usage and thereby improve the crash protection of vehicle occupants who would otherwise have been unbelted.

    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, driver distraction, 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 reflects a number of pending proceedings to satisfy mandates resulting from the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA08), the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA), and the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015 (FAST Act), as well as actions under its general safety rulemaking authority and actions supporting a high-performing passenger rail network and to address the safe and effective movement of energy products, particularly crude oil. RSIA08 alone has required 21 rulemaking actions, 19 of which have been completed. The FAST Act requires an additional 13 rulemaking actions, 4 of which are complete and 6 others are in the developmental or proposal stage. FRA continues to prioritize its rulemakings according to the greatest effect on safety while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation, as well as expressed congressional interest, while working to complete as many mandated rulemakings as quickly as possible.

    FRA is working to complete its on-going development of requirements related to the creation and implementation of railroad risk reduction programs (RIN 2130-AC11). FRA is finalizing initial rulemaking documents based on the recommendations of a Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) working group containing the fatigue management provisions related to risk reduction and system safety programs. FRA is also in the process of producing a final regulatory action related to the transportation of crude oil and ethanol by rail, focusing on the appropriate crew size requirements when transporting such commodities. FRA's crew size activity will also address other freight and passenger operations to ensure FRA will have appropriate oversight if a railroad chooses to alter its standard method of operation. FRA continues its work to produce a rulemaking containing RSAC-supported actions that advance high-performing passenger rail to propose standards for alternative compliance with FRA's Passenger Equipment Safety Standards for the operation of Tier III passenger equipment (RIN 2130-AC51). Through RSAC, FRA is developing recommendations for proposed rules regarding track inspections aimed at improving rail integrity to allow continuous rail integrity testing and to address rail head wear. Finally, FRA is developing proposed rules related to the use of inward and outward facing locomotive-mounted cameras and other recording devices in response to a FAST Act mandate for such devices on passenger locomotives.

    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:

  • Ensure the safety of public transportation systems.

  • Provide maximum benefit to the Nation's mobility through 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 often requiring implementation through the rulemaking process. FTA is currently implementing many of its public transportation programs authorized under MAP-21 through the regulatory process. To that end, FTA's regulatory priorities include implementing the newly authorized Public Transportation Safety Program (49 U.S.C. 5329), such as the Public Transportation Safety Plan and updating the State Safety Oversight rule, as well as, implementing requirements for Transit Asset Management Systems (49 U.S.C. 5326). The joint FTA/FHWA planning rule which will be merged with FTA/FHWA's Additional Authorities for Planning and Environmental Linkages rule and FTA's Bus Testing rule round out its regulatory priorities.

    Maritime Administration (MARAD)

    The Maritime Administration (MARAD) administers Federal laws and programs to improve and strengthen the maritime transportation system to meet the economic, environmental, 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 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, Cargo Preference, Maritime Guaranteed Loan Financing, United States Merchant Marine Academy, Mariner Education and Training Support, Deepwater Port Licensing, and Port and Intermodal Development. Additionally, MARAD administers the Small Shipyard Grants Program through which equipment and technical skills training are provided to America's maritime workforce, with the aim of helping businesses to compete in the global marketplace while creating well-paying jobs at home.

    MARAD's primary regulatory activities in Fiscal Year 2017 will be 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 the Office of Hazardous Materials Safety (OHMS), 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 the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS), 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. The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 included a number of rulemaking studies and mandates and additional enforcement authorities that continue to impact PHMSA's regulatory activities in Fiscal Year 2016.[1]

    PHMSA will continue to work toward improving safety related to transportation of hazardous materials by all transportation modes, including pipeline, while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation. We will concentrate on the prevention of high-risk incidents identified through the findings of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) 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.


    On December 4, 2015, President Barack Obama signed legislation entitled, "Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015," or the "FAST Act." See Pub. L. 114-94. The FAST Act includes the "Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2015" (Sections 7001 through 7311) which instructs the Secretary of Transportation ("Secretary") to make specific regulatory amendments to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171-180). PHMSA has been very effective in implementing the FAST Act provisions. For example, PHMSA recently issued a final rule to expand requirements for the use of the DOT Specification 117 tank car to all flammable liquids, regardless of train make-up. This change will promote consistency for all flammable liquid tank cars and simplify compliance for shippers and carriers. As a result of these actions, all retrofitted and newly constructed DOT Specification 117 tank cars will be equipped with top fittings protection, jackets, thermal protection systems, full height head shields, and better outlet valves. The expanded use of the enhanced tank car will reduce the likelihood of a flammable liquid release in the event of a derailment.

    PHMSA will continue to focus on the streamlining of its regulatory system and reducing regulatory burdens. PHMSA will evaluate existing rules to examine whether they remain justified; should be modified to account for changing circumstances and technologies; or should be streamlined or even repealed. PHMSA will continue to evaluate, analyze, and be responsive to petitions for rulemaking. PHMSA will review regulations, letters of interpretation, petitions for rulemaking, special permits, enforcement actions, approvals, and international standards to identify inconsistencies, outdated provisions, and barriers to regulatory compliance.

    PHMSA aims to reduce the risks related to the transportation of hazardous materials by rail. Preventing tank car incidents and minimizing the consequences when an incident does occur are not only DOT priorities, but are also shared by our Federal and international partners, the NTSB, industry, and the general public. Expansion in United States energy production has led to significant challenges in the transportation system. Expansion in oil production has led to increasing volumes of energy products transported to refineries. With a growing domestic supply, rail transportation, in particular, has emerged as an alternative to transportation by pipeline or vessel. The growing reliance on trains to transport large volumes of flammable liquids raises risks that have been highlighted by the recent instances of trains carrying crude oil that have derailed. PHMSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on July 29, 2016 (81 FR 50067), seeking comment on potential revisions to its regulations that would expand the applicability of comprehensive oil spill response plans (OSRPs) for crude oil trains and require railroads to share information about high-hazard flammable train operations with state and tribal emergency response commissions to improve community preparedness. PHMSA will continue to take regulatory actions to enhance the safe transportation of energy products.

    PHMSA is also looking to reduce the risk of transporting lithium batteries by air. The safe transport of lithium batteries by air has been an ongoing concern due to the unique challenges they pose to safety in a transportation environment. Unlike other hazardous materials, lithium batteries contain both a chemical and an electrical hazard. This combination of hazards, when involved in a fire encompassing significant quantities of lithium batteries, may exceed the fire suppression capability of the aircraft and lead to a catastrophic lithium battery event. PHMSA is developing regulatory actions that will: (1) prohibit the transport of lithium ion cells and batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft; (2) require all lithium ion cells and batteries to be shipped at not more than a 30 percent state of charge on cargo-only aircraft; and (3) limits the use of alternative provisions for small lithium cell or battery shipments under 49 CFR - 173.185(c). These amendments will predominately affect air carriers (both passenger and cargo-only) and shippers offering lithium ion cells and batteries for transport as cargo by aircraft. The amendments will not restrict passengers or crew members from bringing personal items or electronic devices containing lithium batteries aboard aircraft in carry-on or checked baggage.


    President Obama signed the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016 (or the "PIPES Act of 2016") on June 22, 2016. The 2016 Act reauthorizes the pipeline safety program and requires a number of reports and mandates. Under the 2016 Act, PHMSA is required to take regulatory actions to establish minimum safety standards for underground natural gas storage facilities, and to update the minimum safety standards for liquefied natural gas pipeline facilities for permanent, small scale liquefied natural gas pipeline facilities. The Act also contains regulatory mandates regarding emergency order authority, unusually sensitive areas, and hazardous materials identification numbers. PHMSA is in the process of taking the necessary steps to address these mandates.

    On October 13, 2015 [80 FR 61609], PHMSA issued an NPRM proposing changes to the regulations covering hazardous liquid onshore pipelines. Specifically, the agency proposed regulatory changes relative to High Consequence Areas (HCAs) for integrity management (IM) protections, repair timeframes, and reporting for all hazardous liquid gathering lines. The agency also addressed public safety and environmental aspects of any new requirements, as well as the cost implications and regulatory burden.

    Also, on April 8, 2016 [81 FR 20722], PHMSA proposed to revise the requirements in the Pipeline Safety Regulations to address integrity management principles for Gas Transmission pipelines. In particular, PHMSA proposed requirements to address repair criteria for both HCA and non-HCA areas, assessment methods, validating and integrating pipeline data, risk assessments, knowledge gained through the IM program, corrosion control, management of change, gathering lines, and safety features on launchers and receivers.



    (This chart does not account for benefits and costs that could not be monetized, which may be substantial.)


    RIN Number



    Quantifiable Costs

    Discounted 2013 $ (Millions)

    Quantifiable Benefits

    Discounted 2013 $ (Millions)



    Airport Safety Management System

    SNPRM (Analyzing Comments 12/16)




    Pilot Professional Development

    Published: Comment Period End 01/05/17




    Revision of Airworthiness Standards for Normal, Utility, Acrobatic, and Commuter Category Airplanes

    FR 12/16





    Performance Management 2

    FR 11/16


    Note: These are preliminary agency estimates only. They have not been reviewed by others outside of DOT. The estimates could change after interagency review.




    Performance Management 3

    NPRM (Analyzing Comments 08/16)

    FR TBD

    $15.3 - 21.1

    Note: These are preliminary agency estimates only. They have not been reviewed by others outside of DOT. The estimates could change after interagency review.





    Carrier Safety Fitness Determination

    NPRM (Analyzing Comments)

    FR TBD




    Entry Level Driver Training

    FR 11/16





    Light Vehicle V2V Communications

    FR 10/17




    Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters

    FR 10/17




    Tire Fuel Efficiency Part 2






    Risk Reduction Program

    FR 12/16




    Locomotive Recording Devices

    NPRM 11/16





    Pipeline Safety: Safety of On-Shore Liquid Hazardous Pipelines

    FR 12/16




    Pipeline Safety: Gas Transmission (RRR)

    NPRM (Analyzing Comments)

    FR TBD




    Hazardous Materials: Oil Spill Response Plans and Information Sharing for High-Hazard Flammable Trains

    FR 07/17

    $2.9m per year

    Breakeven Analysis

    Cost-effective if this requirement reduces risk by 3.7%


    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 $9.4 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.