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August 24, 2018 Vincent Valdes Associate Administrator for Research, Demonstration, and Innovation Federal Transit Administration U.S. Department of Transportation 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590 Dear Mr. Valdes, The Transportation Research Boardâs (TRBâs) Transit Research Analysis Committee (TRAC) met on May 31 and June 1, 2018, to learn more about the Office of Research, Demonstration, and Innovationâs (commonly abbreviated as TRI) research plans and activities, specifically the Strategic Transit Automation Research (STAR) Plan. In your May 11, 2018, letter (attached) you asked TRAC to provide feedback about the STAR Plan, ideas for the use of a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) framework to review the Plan, and suggestions to best implement the Plan. This letter summarizes the committeeâs understanding of the TRI work and makes recommendations for the STAR Plan. As you know, TRAC consists of 12 members appointed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for their wide-ranging expertise in public transportation (see attachment for membership). The interdisciplinary committeeâdrawn from industry, academia, and the private and public sectorsâis charged with recommending actions that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) can take to ensure that its research program is relevant, timely, and effective in meeting the diverse and changing needs of the public transportation community. TRACâs standing charge is provided in Box 1. I thank you and your staff for seeking TRACâs advice on the STAR Plan. Your overview of the work and the detailed briefings by Danyell Diggs, Eli Machek, Steve Mortensen, and Gwo-Wei Torng provided committee members with the necessary information for the requested feedback and advice. The meeting agenda and a list of participants are attached.