National Academies Press: OpenBook

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics: Priorities for the Future (1997)

Chapter: B SELECTED STATISTICAL AGENCIES AND PROGRAMS

« Previous: A THE INTERMODAL SURFACE TRANSPORTATION EFFICIENCY ACT OF 1991: REFERENCES TO THE BUREAU OF TRANSPORTATION STATISTICS
Suggested Citation:"B SELECTED STATISTICAL AGENCIES AND PROGRAMS." National Research Council. 1997. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics: Priorities for the Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5809.
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Page 116
Suggested Citation:"B SELECTED STATISTICAL AGENCIES AND PROGRAMS." National Research Council. 1997. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics: Priorities for the Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5809.
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Page 117
Suggested Citation:"B SELECTED STATISTICAL AGENCIES AND PROGRAMS." National Research Council. 1997. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics: Priorities for the Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5809.
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Page 118
Suggested Citation:"B SELECTED STATISTICAL AGENCIES AND PROGRAMS." National Research Council. 1997. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics: Priorities for the Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5809.
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Page 119

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APPENDIX B Selected Statistical Agencies and Programs MAJOR FEDERAL STATISTICAL AGENCIES Below are brief descriptions of the origins of major federal statistical agen- cies, in order from the oldest to the newest agency. Sources are Duncan and Shelton (1978) and Norwood (1995~. Table B-1 shows fiscal 1997 budgets for each agency. National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), U.S. Department of Agriculture Patent Office began collecting agricultural statistics in 1840; statistical re- search and analysis provided for in the Department of Agriculture in 1862; inde- pendent statistical agency created in the Department of Agriculture in 1961. Statistics of Income (SOI) Program, U.S. Department of the Treasury Statistical Bureau created by law in 1866; made part of the new Department of Commerce and Labor in 1903; made part of the Department of the Treasury in 1913; merged with Compliance Research in 1996. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), U.S. Department of Education Statistics on condition and progress of education established by law 1867; became part of the new Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1953; made part of the new Department of Education in 1979 with broadened role. 116

SELECTED STATISTICAL AGENCIES AND PROGRAMS TABLE B-1 Fiscal 1997 Budget Amounts (Estimated) for Major Federal Statistical Agencies Agency Fiscal 1997 Budget (millions of dollars) Bureau of the Census Current programs Periodic programs (censuses) Bureau of Economic Analysis Bureau of Justice Statistics Bureau of Labor Statistics Bureau of Transportation Statistics Energy Information Administration National Agricultural Statistics Service National Center for Education Statistics National Center for Health Statistics Statistics of Income, Internal Revenue Service 145.0 210.5 40.9 21.4 360.8 24.8 70.9 100.2 82.6 86.0 24.7 NOTE: Funding levels shown for NCES and BJS do not include salaries and expenses from other departmental sources. SOURCE: Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (1997:8). Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor 117 Created as Bureau of Labor in Department of the Interior by law in 1884; became an independent agency that acted as a department of labor without execu- tive rank; became a bureau in the new Department of Commerce and Labor in 1903; became part of the new Department of Labor in 1913. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce Decennial census required by Constitution beginning in 1790; became a per- manent bureau with an expanded mission in 1903 in the new Department of Com- merce and Labor; made part of the new Department of Commerce in 1913. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health data a concern of Public Health Service as early as 1912; made part of the new Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1953; made part of the new Department of Health and Human Services in 1979. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), U.S. Department of Commerce Created as the Office of Business Economics in the Department of Com- merce in 1953.

118 APPENDIX B Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. Department of Energy Created by law in 1977 in the new Department of Energy, which consoli- dated energy-related activities. Bureau of,Iustice Statistics (B,IS), U.S. Department of,Iustice The direct antecedent of BJS was the Law Enforcement Assistance Adminis- tration; BJS created by the Justice System Improvement Act of 1979. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), U.S. Department of Transportation Created by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. MODAL ADMINISTRATIONS AND STATISTICAL UNITS IN USDOT Below is information about the modal administrations in USDOT (in alpha- betical order) on total fiscal 1997 appropriated budget and the estimated 1997 budget and 1996 number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff for major statistical units within each modal administration. Most statistical units have assistance from contractor staff who supplement their own staff; for example, BTS has an estimated 52 contract employees, not including Census Bureau staff who work on the Commodity Flow Survey and the American Travel Survey; the Safety Data Services Division of the Federal Aviation Administration has an estimated 28 contract employees; and the National Center for Statistics and Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has an estimated 12 contract employees. Budget information (obligations) for the modal administrations is from Executive Office of the President (1997a); information on programs, bud- get, and staffing of major statistical units is from interviews with agency staff in fall 1996. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) Total FY 1997 Budget: 1996 FTE Staffing: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) $25 million 37 federal employees Total FY 1997 Budget: $8.6 billion Major Statistical Unit: Safety Data Services Division; includes National Aviation Safety Data Analysis Center, which publishes quarterly indicators; 12 federal employ- ees; FY 1997 budget of $4 million.

SELECTED STATISTICAL AGENCIES AND PROGRAMS Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Total FY 1997 Budget: $20.6 billion Major Statistical Unit: 119 Office of Highway Information Management; operates Highway Perfor- mance Monitoring System and General Highway Statistics Program; 35 federal employees; FY 1997 budget of $33 million. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Total FY 1997 Budget: $1.2 billion Major Statistical Programs: FY 1997 budget of $1.5 million; no separate statistical units. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Total FY 1997 Budget: $5.5 billion Major Statistical Unit: Part of Office of Program Guidance and Support operates the National Transit Data Base; 4 federal employees; FY 1997 budget of $2 million. Maritime Administration (MARAD) Total FY 1997 Budget: $284 million Major Statistical Unit: Office of Statistical and Economic Analysis; 20 federal employees; FY 1997 budget of $1.6 million. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Total FY 1997 Budget: $300 million Major Statistical Unit: National Center for Statistics and Analysis; operates the Fatal Accident Reporting System and National Accident Sampling System; 40 federal employees; FY 1997 budget of $27 million. Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) Total FY 1997 Budget: $271 million Major Statistical Programs: FY 1997 budget of $3 million; no separate statistical units. St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) Total FY 1997 Budget: U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Total FY 1997 Budget: $12 million; limited statistical activities. $3.9 billion; limited statistical activities.

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How can the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the nation's newest federal statistical agency, contribute to the work of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)? What is the appropriate role for such an agency as a part of a major department?

BTS was authorized in 1991 by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) in recognition of the need for more and better data for transportation officials at local, state, and federal levels. While the USDOT has many long-standing data collection programs for particular transportation modes (highways, rail, air, etc.), it has never had a statistical agency with a mandate to improve the quality and relevance of transportation data for important system-wide, cross-modal analyses of the nation's transportation system.

This book examines how BTS can provide statistical leadership for USDOT, define and maintain quality standards for transportation data, and improve data documentation. It considers BTS's role in developing national transportation indicators, coordinating data collection throughout USDOT, filling gaps, identifying user needs, and developing analysis programs for transportation data.

Anyone concerned with having high-quality, relevant transportation indicators and other data available for policy planning, evaluation, and research will be interested in this book, as will students of effective government.

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