DOT's Approach to Open Government
The Department of Transportation’s Open Government Plan development process follows a strategic methodology designed to guarantee the creation of meaningful programs that will fulfill the Administration’s stated goals of increasing transparency, participation, and collaboration between the Federal government and citizens.
DOT’s Open Government methodology goes beyond simple compliance with the requirements issued in the OMB Open Government Directive from December 8, 2009. By adopting an approach that looks holistically at the current technology, policy, and cultural environments of the agency and actively soliciting and incorporating public feedback, DOT is creating a plan that will enable the agency to align Open Government initiatives with strategic objectives, mitigate the risks associated with transparency, and improve performance by embracing the use of emerging communications technologies to increase citizen involvement.
DOT Open Government Framework
The Open Government Initiative represents a significant shift in the way federal agencies conduct business and engage with the public. DOT has adopted a comprehensive lifecycle management approach to help plan and implement the business process transformations required to achieve the Open Government initiatives. The DOT Open Government Framework, shown below, includes the program lifecycle phases, crucial areas of assessment, and the key players involved in the planning and executing of Open Government efforts.
DOT’s Open Government Framework includes:
Comprehensive management process spanning entire programmatic lifecycle from the initial assessment and planning phases to performance measurement and processes improvement
Method for identifying, understanding, and addressing DOT’s technology, policy, and cultural issues in relation to specific Open Government initiatives
Key technology areas of focus: security, infrastructure, tools, Enterprise Architecture, and current Open Government pilots and programs
Key policy areas of focus: strategic planning, performance, legal, internal directives, acquisition, and privacy
Key culture areas of focus: employee readiness, communication channels, agency stakeholders, and existing public collaboration vehicles
DOT recognizes that the Open Government Initiative is about more than tools and technology. By carefully considering the factors within the technology, policy, and culture “trinity” that relate to each of the agency’s Open Government initiatives, the DOT is creating an Open Government plan that is comprehensive and flexible enough to ensure success and mitigate risks throughout the program lifecycle.
DOT’s Open Government Framework also guides the determination of who should be involved in realizing Open Government initiatives. The grey ring in Figure 2 indicates key employee groups that have expertise in specific technology, policy, and cultural areas of focus.
In order to tap into tacit knowledge within the agency and ensure mitigation of downstream challenges, the DOT created an interdisciplinary, department-wide leadership, planning, and execution team to help achieve its Open Government goals. DOT is utilizing the Chief Information Officer, Chief Financial Officer, General Counsel, Project Managers for key mission areas, and Public Affairs, Human Relations, and Policy Development staff as subject matter experts in the leadership and planning of Open Government efforts.
Below is an organizational chart showing the working groups, steering committees, and executive sponsors that DOT has established to develop and implement the Open Government Plan. The technology, policy and culture working groups have regular cross-functional interaction to ensure those critical areas do not become stove piped throughout the planning process. The working groups will likely meet on an on-going basis after the Open Government Plan is submitted in order to implement the action items within the plan. The sub-groups in Figure 3 have been convened to address specific requirements in the Open Government Directive, and will likely dissolve quickly after those planning items are completed. The subgroups are comprised of subject matter experts in each requirement area: declassification, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), congressional requests for information, and records management.
Name of Group
Number of Members
Champions/ Executive Sponsors
OCIO, Budget, Administration, Legal, Public Affairs, Policy, Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA)
Open Government Executive Steering Group (OGESG)
Budget, Policy, Legal, Human Resources, Procurement, Public Affairs, Security, OCIO, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Highways Administration (FHWA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Maritime Administration (MARAD), National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), RITA, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC)
OCIO, Budget, Security, Human Resources, Public Affairs, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FRA, FTA, MARAD, NHTSA, PHMSA, RITA, SLSDC
Technology Working Group (TWG)
OCIO, Public Affairs, Legal, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FRA, FRA, NHTSA, RITA
Policy Working Group (PWG)
Budget, Legal, OCIO, Public Affairs, Procurement, Policy, Disability Resource Center, FAA, FRA, RITA
Culture Working Group (CWG)
OCIO, Human Resources, Public Affairs, Dockets, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FTA, FRA, RITA
Table 1: Composition of DOT Open Government Groups –
Membership of select Working Groups and Steering Committees
Solicitation of Public Comment
To ensure maximum citizen collaboration in the formulation of the Open Government Plan, the DOT is providing opportunities for public comment via the GSA Citizen Engagement Tool and the DOT Open Government email address.
- GSA Citizen Collaboration Tool:
- General Service Administration (GSA) IdeaScale Citizen Engagement Tool
- Allows public to submit ideas for inclusion in plan, vote and comment on ideas, flag ideas as off-topic, share ideas with friends via email or social media channels, and view ideas that have been incorporated
- Launch date early February; all comments submitted through early March will be considered in development of the plan
- DOT Open Government Email Address:
- Citizens email feedback will be monitored daily by representatives from across DOT’s Office of the Secretary and Operating Administrations
The DOT Open Government methodology is focused, comprehensive, and flexible. Following this framework will allow the DOT to identify the key transformation planning steps, analyze and address the relevant technology, policy, and cultural elements, incorporate public feedback, and get the right people involved in Open Government efforts from the very beginning – helping to create a plan that will truly change the way the Department of Transportation interacts with citizens.