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19 nation, information architecture, standards and cataloging, demia, and other national libraries. The business plan out- collection management, information systems management, lines the advantages of a separate advisory board rather than and user services. altering responsibilities of the ACTS. The primary role of the advisory board would be to ensure Regional TKNs. The outreach conducted for the business that the national coordination function uses broad stakeholder plan found that the need for regional TKNs was not broadly input as it allocates available resources and makes decisions understood or accepted. There were questions about why a on specific product and service offerings. The business plan regional approach was required given today's technology for describes an advisory board with up to 13 members, including information sharing and whether this approach might create representatives from a broad cross section of stakeholders, unnecessary layers of coordination and bureaucracy. The which could include AASHTO, TRB, a state DOT library, a arguments for retaining the regional TKNs are compelling, university transportation library, a UTC, a transportation engi- however. Regional TKNs ensure substantive stakeholder neering or consulting firm, an LTAP/TTAP Center, the Special involvement in TKN service provision. They provide a greater Libraries AssociationTransportation Division, and a repre- level of strength and stability to the network by offering oppor- sentative of the NAL (to provide an external perspective and tunities for leadership development and innovation within the lessons learned from similar undertakings). The plan suggests transportation information provider community. This makes that the board meet quarterly, and that it produce an annual or the network more resilient, which reduces its vulnerability to biennial assessment of TKN performance. departures of key individuals. Regional networks also allow Chapter 6 of this report (Implementation Plan) outlines two for leverage of existing interagency relationships and regional approaches that might be considered for formation of this gatherings and more focused outreach activities than are pos- advisory board: It could be established by the U.S.DOT follow- sible at the national level. ing provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), The business plan acknowledges that three regional TKNs or it could be established by a non-governmental organization are up and running, providing an initial foundation for the such as the National Academy of Sciences (following require- network. Current TKNs operate under an informal model in ments under section 15 of FACA.) which there is no membership fee, leadership is rotated among the membership, and each member is asked to commit to some level of information sharing but active participation is Costs and Funding voluntary. The business plan suggests that the regional TKNs The total estimated average annual funding needs (over a may evolve toward more formal models involving formation 5-year period) to implement TKNs is $13.5 million. The busi- of nonprofit associations and development of specific service ness plan provides estimates of how these costs break down by offerings to members. It allows for a range of organizational the ten TKN products and services, but notes that the actual models to be followed, depending on the needs, goals, and allocation of a given budget across functions could vary con- resources of the members. Membership in a TKN could entitle siderably. The estimated breakdown is: an organization to apply for grants from the national coordina- tion function to develop information products and provide · $7.9 million for providing content that will be accessible via services. These grants could be made for outreach and deliv- the central portal from both national sources and collabora- ery of specific products and services that have a national ben- tive efforts of federal, state, and local knowledge network efit. They could be awarded in response to specific proposals participants. for development of products or services (e.g., to digitize a · $3.1 million for the technical and administrative infra- collection and make it available to the entire transportation structure, including standards coordination and thesaurus community) rather than on a formula basis. The national maintenance. coordination function would need to develop criteria in its · $1.5 million for outreach and education. solicitation package that reinforce collaborative efforts across · $1 million for research and literature review services. TKN members who use these funds. While the national coordination function should work with TKN Advisory Board. With respect to the advisory board, the advisory board to determine the best allocation of available TRB SR 284 recommended a governance body for TKNs be resources, rules of thumb based on the analysis conducted for created by modifying the Advisory Council on Transporta- development of the TKN business plan are: tion Statistics (ACTS) to broaden its membership, focus, and reporting functions. A RITA representative suggested that · Half of the funds ($67 million) would be for grants to instead of modifying the legislatively mandated charter for the regional TKN members for development of content, pro- ACTS, an independent stakeholders' council could be estab- viding research and literature review services, coordination lished with representation from AASHTO membership, aca- and outreach to information providers, and end user out-
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20 reach and education. The national coordination function · The remaining funds would be for the National Coordi- would consult with the advisory board and establish poli- nation Body. Funds would be split (in roughly equal parts) cies for eligible activities and program priorities each year. for staffing (combination of contracted and in-house Based on these priorities, the board would develop a solic- resources), purchase of access to commercial information itation package. TKN members respond to this package and sources and services, and direct costs (including hardware, grants would be awarded competitively based on the mer- software licenses, storage fees, shipping, travel, and special- its of the submittals. ized services).