As the independent statistical agency within the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) is a politically objective supplier of trusted and statistically sound baseline, contextual, and trend information used to shape transportation policy, investments, and research across the U.S. and abroad.
BTS is the preeminent source of statistics on commercial aviation, multimodal freight, and transportation economics.
The Bureau’s National Transportation Library is the permanent, publicly accessible home for research publications from throughout the transportation community, the gateway to all DOT data, and the help line for the Congress, researchers, and the public for information about transportation.
The BTS Director is by law the senior advisor to the Secretary on data and statistics.
BTS is a leading source of timely, accurate, and reliable information on the U.S. transportation systems used for moving people and goods, and on their impacts on the economy, society and the environment.
BTS continuously improves its products and services and meets information needs by investing in its work force and leveraging 21st century methods and technologies.
BTS integrates data from a wide variety of sources, including its own data collections into three major products required by Chapter 63 of Title 49, United States Code, and makes those products available with other research reports through the National Transportation Library. BTS also links the many data programs throughout DOT with each other and with programs of the other National Statistical Agencies.
BTS data collections include traffic, passenger flow, employment, financial condition, and on-time performance of commercial aviation; the Commodity Flow Survey; transborder movement of freight by mode of transportation; a census of ferry operations, precursor safety data for transit operations, and data on near misses and equipment failures in offshore operations.
BTS compiles information from its surveys and from other federal agencies into products mandated by the Congress, including:
- The Intermodal Transportation Database, covering the volume, characteristics, and geography of passenger and freight movement and a series of economic accounts which identify the value of transportation and the role of transportation in the economy;
- The National Transportation Atlas Database, putting transportation on the map with geospatial data on the transportation network, its use, and its relationships to communities and the natural environment; and
- Publications such as the annual report on the capacity and throughput of the nation’s largest ports and the Transportation Statistics Annual Report on the performance, contribution, and consequences of the transportation system.
BTS helps coordinate DOT’s statistical programs and link them with other programs throughout the federal government through institutions such as the Advisory Committee on Transportation Statistics and the Interagency Committee on Statistical Policy. BTS also provides technical assistance on departmental publications such as the Performance and Accountability Report required by the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) (P.L. 103-62).
BTS is also the home of the National Transportation Library. The National Transportation Library serves as a repository for all DOT research as well as a portal to statistical information. The National Transportation Library provides information to the public through an 800 number, and also maintains the National Transportation Data Archive. The National Transportation Library works closely with the Office of the Chief Information Officer to assure public access to all DOT data through www.transportation.gov/data.
Ms. Patricia S. Hu is the Director of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Ms. Hu has extensive statistical experience, deep knowledge of transportation, and a strong background in research. Ms. Hu joined DOT in 2011 after working for 29 years at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory where she served as the director of the Center for Transportation Analysis from 2001-2009. She has developed and led programs that focus on transportation survey methods and data quality, transportation analysis and model development, and visualization-based transportation decision making tools. Much of her work has been published in many of the leading transportation and applied statistics journals and has been presented at numerous conferences. Ms. Hu has also been an active member and leader on numerous Transportation Research Board (TRB) committees, expert panels, and advisory boards that cover transportation analysis, transportation safety, and transportation information systems and data. Director Hu was recently invited to chair TRB’s TRR Review Advisory Board. She has also been active at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s International Transport Forum by chairing the annual Transportation Statistics meeting and a multi-year research project on "Big Data and Open Data.” She received her M.S. in statistics from the University of Guelph, Canada.
Dr. Rolf R. Schmitt, the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, is a nationally recognized expert in transportation policy and in the development of statistics to inform transportation decisions. His federal career started in 1977, and includes positions with BTS, the Department of Transportation's National Transportation Policy Team, the Federal Highway Administration, and the National Transportation Policy Study Commission. He helped establish BTS between 1992 and 2000, and returned as Deputy Director in 2012. Dr. Schmitt has a Ph.D. in geography from the Johns Hopkins University.