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USDOT’s Role in Rural Transportation

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is a multidisciplinary organization that conducts work in all modes of transportation, such as aviation, highway, rail, and transit, with the overarching goal of delivering an efficient and reliable transportation system.

USDOT’s Mission

USDOT’s mission is to deliver the world’s leading transportation system, serving the American people and economy through the safe, efficient, sustainable, and equitable movement of people and goods. 

It strives to do so by employing the following strategic goals:


Make our transportation system safer for all people. Advance a future without transportation-related serious injuries and fatalities.

Economic Strength and Global Competitiveness

Grow an inclusive and sustainable economy. Invest in our transportation system to provide American workers and businesses reliable and efficient access to resources, markets, and good-paying jobs.


Reduce inequities across our transportation systems and the communities they affect. Support and engage people and communities to promote safe, affordable, accessible, and multimodal access to opportunities and services while reducing transportation-related disparities, adverse community impacts, and health effects.

Climate and Sustainability

Tackle the climate crisis by ensuring that transportation plays a central role in the solution. Substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transportation-related pollution and build more resilient and sustainable transportation systems to benefit and protect communities.


Design for the future. Invest in purpose-driven research and innovation to meet the challenges of the present and modernize a transportation system of the future that serves everyone today and in the decades to come.

Organizational Excellence

Strengthen our world-class organization. Advance the Department’s mission by establishing policies, processes, and an inclusive and innovative culture to effectively serve communities and responsibly steward the public’s resources.

More information is available in USDOT’s Strategic Plan for FY 2022-26.

Supporting Rural Communities through Competitive Grant Funding

In support of its overall mission and strategic goals, the Department administers a large portfolio of funding and financial assistance programs to maintain and improve the nation’s transportation network. The Department awards billions of dollars in discretionary grants each year to fund mobility and safety improvements and innovative transportation solutions across the United States.

USDOT is committed to improving infrastructure and addressing other challenges to improve safety outcomes in rural communities, increase quality of life for rural residents, and fuel American economic competitiveness.

Logo for USDOT's ROUTES program, showing roadways in a rural setting.With this goal in mind, USDOT’s Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) seeks to address disparities in rural transportation infrastructure by developing user-friendly tools and information, aggregating USDOT resources, and providing technical assistance.

Specifically, it aims to help the Department enhance discretionary grant funding opportunity processes, with a focus on supporting the transportation needs of rural applicants and communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also referred to as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, codified the ROUTES initiative into law in November 2021.

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