Department of Transportation – Definition

Cite this article as:"Department of Transportation – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated November 24, 2018, last accessed October 20, 2020,


Department of Transportation Definition

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is a cabinet department of the federal government of the United States dealing with the transportation. The department is headed by the Secretary of Transportation and works for ensuring safe and secure traveling and increasing the mobility of people. It also aims at contributing towards the economic growth of the country using the transportation system.

A Little More About the Department of Transportation

The department employs around 55,000 people across the U.S. The department was created on October 15, 1966, and became operational on April 1, 1967.

There are 10 administration operated under this department including National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Inspector General (OIG), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Maritime Administration (MARAD).

Each of these administrations has responsibilities in their respective sectors. The office of the Secretary monitors the overall operation. The Secretary of Transportation is the principal adviser to the President in all matters related to federal transportation. The office is responsible for policy formulation and promoting intermodal transportation. It negotiates and implements the international transportation agreements, ensures the fitness of US airlines, enforces transportation regulations, prevents alcohol and illegal drug abuse in transportation system by issuing regulations.

References for the Department of Transportation

Academic Research on the Department of Transportation

Sustainable transportation: a US perspective, Black, W. R. (1996). Journal of transport geography, 4(3), 151-159. This paper argued that the petroleum-based vehicle highway system as of today is not really sustainable owing to the limited nature of petrol reserves, general atmospheric problems, congestion, and urban sprawl and excessive fatalities. This paper provides a solution to this situation; this solution, however, has been applied to a similar problem in the United States. Hence, this study recommends that a unified and cooperative effort should be put together towards solving this problem. This paper also suggests that this effort should be overseen by the United States of America, Europe and perhaps Japan.

California Department of Transportation, Megally, S. H., Silva, P. F., & Seible, F. (2001). SSRP, 23. According to this paper, the California department was studied as a major case in the transportation sector. Hence, the activities of the California Department of transportation were exclusively studied in this research paper.

Factors underlying transportation CO2 emissions in the USA: a decomposition analysis, Lakshmanan, T. R., & Han, X. (1997). Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 2(1), 1-15. According to this paper, the contribution of transportation to the use of energy and carbon (IV) oxide in the United States of America has drastically increased in the last two decades. Hence, a decomposition scheme was suggested and established in this paper to identify the effect and magnitude of the various underlying factors. The decomposition scheme is however simple, and has lucidity of interpretation as well as its intuitive appeal; these are some of the advantages of this scheme. This paper estimates the actual increase of the United States transportation energy and the emission of carbon (iv) oxide and suggests that it was lesser compared to the sum of the effect of some factors which are as a result of the improvement in the transportation efficiency and the decrease in transportation intensity of GDP.

Transportation Infrastructure, Freight Services Sector, and Economic Growth, White Paper prepared for The US Department of Transportation, Federal …, Lakshmanan, T. R., & Anderson, W. P. (2002).  In this paper, the transportation infrastructure, economic growth, and the freight services sector were all explained and discussed. This paper also takes into consideration the white paper prepared for the United States Department of transportation and explains in details the content of this paper (white paper).

Evaluation of life-cycle cost analysis practices used by the Michigan Department of Transportation, Chan, A., Keoleian, G., & Gabler, E. (2008). Journal of Transportation Engineering, 134(6), 236-245. According to this research thesis, the life cycle cost analysis has become a general practice in the construction of roads most especially at the state level for the past decade in the United States. One of the main advantages of this analysis is that it allows pavement engineers to carry out a comprehensive long-term assessment on the cost which will necessitate proper and adequate funding. This paper analyzes the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT’s) accuracy in explaining and estimating the exact cost over the pavement service life and also explains the process involved in choosing the lowest-cost pavement alternative. This paper studied ten highway sections in Michigan of which they were grouped into four case studies. Their actual accumulated costs and maintenance schedule were also compared.

Shoreline erosion in coastal Louisiana: inventory and assessment: final report to Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, Adams, R. D. (1978). This paper explains the shoreline erosion in coastal Louisiana. The inventory and assessment of this study were explained in this paper. Also, this paper discussed the final report sent to the Department of Transportation and Development in Louisiana.

Performance evaluation for bus transit, Fielding, G. J., Babitsky, T. T., & Brenner, M. E. (1985). Transportation Research Part A: General, 19(1), 73-82. In this paper, arguments as regards the number of indicators required and the method that should be adopted in selecting the performance analysis of bus transit was explained. Also, this paper argues that the performance analysis has gained a large variety of attention especially now that the transit organizations are laying emphasis on their efficiency objectives. This paper records that four different parallel data set were used to detect the underlying structure of the data of the performance analysis. These data sets are however transformation of the original data which was gotten from rigorous testing which later became verified that the structure is representing the most important and detailed performance dimensions.

A detailed study of accident experience in construction and maintenance zones, Ha, T. J., & Nemeth, Z. A. (1995). Transportation Research Record, (1509). According to this research paper, the main aim is to identify the methods by which traffic control can help improve traffic safety in most work zones. Hence, this paper explains the methods that can be adopted in other to make effective and efficient use of the traffic control system inasmuch as transportation is concerned in most busy routes. However, this study was adjusted and stretched to include the review of individual accident reports at nine different construction sites and this process proved highly effective. After the conclusion of this paper, it has become clear to most construction worker and researchers that certain accident at a particular work zone can lead to several road hazards without a standard control measure and a strategic implementation of the plans.

Towards the development of intelligent transportation systems, Figueiredo, L., Jesus, I., Machado, J. T., Ferreira, J. R., & De Carvalho, J. M. (2001). In Intelligent Transportation Systems, 2001. Proceedings. 2001 IEEE (pp. 1206-1211). IEEE. According to this research paper, a review of the state of the art as regards intelligent on the various transportation systems in the community was explained. In this paper, the ITS involves a large number of research thesis and hence, this paper focuses mainly on those that believe to be the most important. However, the main aim of this paper is to study the accomplishments attained in the past years and also gives an overview of possible directions towards future study.

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