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Tools to Improve Participation in Rulemaking

Public Participation

We provide a number of tools to help the public more effectively participate in the Department's rulemaking process.  Those tools are listed below.  In addition, we continue seeking innovative and flexible approaches to accomplishing our mission in ways that lessen impacts on small entities.  We also enforce policies that welcome small entity criticism and dialogue about our rules and our enforcement of them. 

Understanding the Process

Those who lack experience the rulemaking process may wish to review our description of the "Rulemaking Process," particularly the sections on the following: 

The DOT's Public Rulemaking Dockets

In all rulemaking documents and often in any public activities related to them (e.g., press releases and public hearings), we clearly advise the public about the Federal Government's Internet-accessible, electronic Federal Docket Management System (FDMS), which consolidates all of the DOT rulemaking, adjudicatory, data quality, peer review, and guidance dockets, and allows electronic access to users within and outside the Federal Government.  The FDMS allows users to file comments and retrieve rulemaking information from the system electronically.  This makes it easier for small entities physically located outside of Washington, DC, to participate in the rulemaking process.  The DOT's Public Guidance Dockets provide helpful information about FDMS for those interested in DOT rulemaking.

The DOT's Regulatory Agenda

The semiannual Regulatory Agenda provides access to a report describing all of DOT's ongoing and recently completed rulemakings.  It includes information about the effects of each rulemaking on small entities.

Report on DOT Significant Rulemakings

We update the Significant Rulemakings Report each month to provide information about each of our significant rulemakings, including its current status.  This includes information on whether a regulatory flexibility analysis will be required under the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Email Notification

The FDMS has an electronic notification system, which offers users the option of being notified by email every time a Government document is posted in a particular docket.  You may sign up for this notification by going to the particular docket in which you are interested.  You may also obtain email notification each month when we update our Report on DOT Significant Rulemakings by going to FDMS and entering docket number DOT-OST-2007-0114 in the search box; once in that docket, you may sign up for a notification that will be emailed when we put the report in that docket. (Note: under step 2, select "other.")

ANPRMs, Requests for Comment, Lengthy Comment Periods, and Reply Comments.

When appropriate, we use advance notices of proposed rulemaking (ANPRMs) and requests for comment, as well as lengthy comment periods to allow earlier and fuller involvement in the rulemaking process.  The public can also request an extension of a comment period, if necessary.  In addition, where appropriate, we may provide an opportunity for a reply comment period. 

Public Meetings

We may use public hearings, meetings, or conferences around the country to ensure that small entities have an opportunity to talk to agency officials.  These opportunities may include evening hearings, informal public meetings, teleconferencing, electronic meetings, and chatrooms on the Internet.

Advisory Committees

We may use advisory committees, including  regulatory negotiations, to permit more direct public participation in regulatory and other policy decisions.