The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on Jan 11. released its strategic plan establishing the agency’s vision for research and technology deployment to help transform the nation’s transportation system over the next five years.

The Research, Development, and Technology (RD&T) Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years (FY) 2022-2026 is DOT’s guiding plan for transportation research, development, and technology deployment activities, according to the agency.

“The plan supports DOT’s mission 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,” the agency stated in a press release.

According to DOT, the RD&T Strategic Plan will also guide the more than $5 billion in research activities funded through the Biden-Harris Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which has created new programs to drive innovation, create jobs, and support the deployment of transformative technologies, including:

  • Providing $500 million in funding to the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation Program, to kickstart a new generation of smart city innovation;
  • Investing in University Transportation Centers that work on climate, equity, and innovation – including at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions;
  • Establishing an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Infrastructure to scale up research and development efforts to keep pace with and drive innovation; and
  • Authorizing $50 million per year in funding to establish a new Open Research Initiative to accelerate the achievement of the department’s priorities and goals by funding unsolicited research proposals that yield disruptive technologies with high-impact potential.

The plan is a continuation of the Department’s effort in supporting, fostering, and safeguarding transportation innovation so that it meets strategic priorities and objections articulated in the U.S. DOT Strategic Plan, according to the agency.

“In this time of rapid change and experimentation, research must drive the learning necessary for the public sector to keep pace with technological advancement and to adapt to evolving socio-economic needs. By providing a vision for a future transportation system made possible by research, we seek to foster collaborative innovation to create a better transportation future for all,” DOT Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology and Chief Science Officer Dr. Robert C. Hampshire said.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.