Ed. Note: This post is part of a Sunshine Week series that highlights open government efforts from across the administration.
At the Department of Transportation, open government is not just a slogan we throw around. Instead, it’s something we practice every day. That’s because the public – the people we serve – has a right to know what we are doing and how we are doing it.
That is why I am so pleased to be able to report that at DOT, our team has accomplished so much in a very short time. Our professionals are encouraged to promote transparency, increase citizen engagement, and collaborate with others across the government and outside the government to benefit all Americans.
I invite you to visit www.dot.gov/open. Read my blog, Fast Lane, visit my Facebook page and check out my twitter feed. Let us know what else you need from DOT so you can get the transportation information you need.
Here are just a few of the important steps we have taken over the last two years:
Regulation Room: Until very recently, federal regulations were a mystery to most ordinary citizens. But those regulations affect our lives on a daily basis. Our Regulation Room makes it easy for ordinary citizens to review rules and suggest changes before they become law. This pilot project, which is in partnership with the Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative, incorporates the best of the web and social networking technologies to increase public understanding of proposed rules and encourage more effective public input and collaboration. This is one way that Open Government can help encourage participation, improve the quality of life for citizens, and build a stronger democracy.
Data.gov: As the President has said, information is a national asset, and it belongs to the American people. Because DOT serves many different constituents and stakeholders (consumers and travelers, state and local DOTs, planners and researchers, application developers and business owners), our information covers a lot of ground. DOT currently has 13 key data sets published on data.gov. And, at http://www.dot.gov/open/data, you can provide feedback on the data sets you would like to see available.
Public Participation: DOT has taken several actions to increase public participation in its policy and planning processes. That includes releasing the DOT Strategic Plan for public comment and discussion on user-friendly web platforms. It also includes webcasting a number of DOT meetings around the country and taking questions over the internet.
We will continue working hard to promote open government that helps citizens get the information they need in order to make better decisions. We look forward to hearing from you.
Ray LaHood is the Secretary of Transportation