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As of June 10, 2023, there are 4883 open recommendations that still need to be addressed. 503 of these are priority recommendations, those that we believe warrant priority attention. Learn more about our priority designation on our Recommendations page.

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Privacy: Dedicated Leadership Can Improve Programs and Address Challenges

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Transportation should fully define and document a process for ensuring that the senior agency official for privacy or other designated privacy official is involved in assessing and addressing the hiring, training, and professional development needs of the agency with respect to privacy. (Recommendation 33)
Open

The Department of Transportation concurred with our recommendation. As of February 2023, the department had not provided further updates on actions taken to address this recommendation. Once the department states that it has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.

Climate Resilience: Options to Enhance the Resilience of Federally Funded Roads and Reduce Fiscal Exposure

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation should consider how the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) plans to implement options to enhance the climate resilience of federally funded roads, such as the options identified in this report, when prioritizing actions on climate change in policy-making, as called for in Executive Order 14008. (Recommendation 1)
Open

In written comments published in our draft report in September 2021, DOT concurred with this recommendation. In February 2022, DOT sent us a letter reiterating concurrence. The letter noted that DOT is preparing to implement a range of programs authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to make roads and other transportation assets more resilient to future climate changes and the impacts of extreme weather events. In addition, the letter stated that DOT plans to update regulations and guidance to better address resilience--and include resilience criteria wherever possible in

Automated Technologies: DOT Should Take Steps to Ensure Its Workforce Has Skills Needed to Oversee Safety

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Director of DOT's Department of Human Resources should assess skill gaps in key occupations that are involved in overseeing the safety of automated technologies. (Recommendation 2)
Open

DOT agreed with this recommendation. As of February 2023 , DOT officials noted that the agency had finished identifying which of its positions that oversee the safety of automated technologies require cybersecurity skills. DOT officials also noted that they plan to build a tool to assess competencies and skill gaps within these positions. However due to contractual changes involved with developing the tool, it was no longer on track to complete this effort by February 2023 as previously planned and has not identified a new completion date. While cybersecurity skills are important for

Cybersecurity: Agencies Need to Fully Establish Risk Management Programs and Address Challenges

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Transportation should fully develop a cybersecurity risk management strategy that includes the key elements identified in this report. (Recommendation 26)
Open

The Department of Transportation concurred with this recommendation. As of June 2022, the department stated that it is working toward implementation of this recommendation and plans to complete its efforts by November 2022. However, as of February 2023 we had not received documentation of these efforts. Once the department has provided evidence of these actions, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.

Critical Infrastructure Protection: Additional Actions Are Essential for Assessing Cybersecurity Framework Adoption

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Transportation, in cooperation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, should take steps to consult with respective sector partner(s), such as the SCC, DHS and NIST, as appropriate, to develop methods for determining the level and type of framework adoption by entities across their respective sector. (Recommendation 8)
Open – Partially Addressed

DOT agreed with this recommendation. As of January 2023, DOT, in coordination with DHS, developed a survey to determine the level and type of framework adoption among the transportation systems sector. According to officials from DOT's Office of Intelligence, Security, and Emergency Response, the survey was distributed to 10 transportation systems subsector coordinating council leads, along with dozens of federal sector stakeholders. However, officials have yet to fully analyze the results of the survey and were unable to provide us with an expected date of completion. To fully implement this

Automated Vehicles: Comprehensive Plan Could Help DOT Address Challenges

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Transportation should develop and implement a comprehensive plan to better manage departmental initiatives related to automated vehicles. This plan should include leading principles such as goals, priorities, steps to achieve results, milestones, and performance measures to track progress. (Recommendation 1)
Open

DOT has released various plans related to automated vehicles but has not finalized and implemented a plan that incorporates leading principles of comprehensive planning. For example, DOT's 2022-2026 strategic plan describes the department's vision related to emerging technologies, including automated vehicles. However, as of February 2023, DOT has not established key elements of a comprehensive plan, such as performance measures, to gauge progress. Without a comprehensive plan that includes elements such as performance measures, it continues to be unclear whether DOT is adequately addressing

Air Ambulance: Data Collection and Transparency Needed to Enhance DOT Oversight

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To increase transparency and obtain information to better inform decisions on whether to investigate potentially unfair or deceptive practices in the air ambulance industry, the Secretary of Transportation should assess available federal and industry data and determine what further information could assist in the evaluation of future complaints or concerns regarding unfair or deceptive practices.
Open

DOT did not concur with this recommendation, noting in September 2017 that its analysis of whether a complaint alleges conduct that could constitute an unfair or deceptive practice is fundamentally based on the unique facts of each additional case, rather than aggregate data. However, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (the FAA Act), signed into law on October 5, 2018, directed the establishment of an Air Ambulance and Patient Billing Advisory Committee (the Advisory Committee). The FAA Act required the Advisory Committee to make recommendations such as on what additional data from air

DOT Discretionary Grants: Problems with Hurricane Sandy Transit Grant Selection Process Highlight the Need for Additional Accountability

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
Given DOT's new discretionary grant programs and similar challenges we have found with previous DOT programs, the Secretary of Transportation should issue a directive that governs department-wide and modal administration discretionary grant programs. Such a directive should include requirements to: (1) develop a plan for evaluating project proposals in advance of issuing a notice of funding availability that defines the stages of the process, including how the process will be overseen to ensure a consistent review of applications; (2) document key decisions, including the reason for any rating changes and the officials responsible for those changes, and how high-level concerns raised during the process were addressed; and (3) align stated program purpose and policy priorities with the evaluation and selection process.
Open

DOT concurred with this recommendation. Previously, DOT officials stated that DOT established the Office of Grants and Financial Assistance which is responsible for providing department-wide guidance on discretionary grants, among other things. As of February 2023, DOT officials stated that they plan to hire a Director for the Office by September 2023, and this Director will lead the effort to develop department-wide guidance on discretionary grant programs. GAO will continue to monitor DOT's progress in implementing this recommendation.

IT Workforce: Key Practices Help Ensure Strong Integrated Program Teams; Selected Departments Need to Assess Skill Gaps

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To facilitate the analysis of gaps between current skills and future needs, the development of strategies for filling the gaps, and succession planning, the Secretary of Transportation should require the Chief Information Officer, Chief Human Capital Officer, and other senior managers as appropriate to address the shortfalls in IT workforce planning noted in this report, including the following actions: (1) establish a time frame for when the department is to finalize its draft workforce planning process and maintain that process; (2) develop staffing requirements for all positions; (3) assess competency and staffing needs regularly for all positions; (4) assess gaps in staffing for all components of the workforce; (5) develop strategies and plans to address gaps in competencies and staffing; (6) implement activities that address gaps, including an IT acquisition cadre, cross-functional training of acquisition and program personnel, a career path for program managers, and use of special hiring authorities, if justified and cost-effective;e (7) monitor the department's progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps; and (8) report to department leadership on progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps.
Open – Partially Addressed

The Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed with this recommendation. In January 2020, DOT officials told us DOT had established a workgroup to lead and conduct workforce-planning activities, and had defined the strategic goals and objectives for the department's IT workforce. As of January 2023, the agency has implemented three of the eight recommended IT workforce-planning activities-- developing competency and staffing requirements, assessing gaps in competencies and staffing, and developing strategies and plans to address gaps in competencies and staffing. DOT officials stated that the

Air Travel and Communicable Diseases: Comprehensive Federal Plan Needed for U.S. Aviation System's Preparedness

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To help improve the U.S. aviation sector's preparedness for future communicable disease threats from abroad, the Secretary of Transportation should work with relevant stakeholders, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, to develop a national aviation-preparedness plan for communicable disease outbreaks. Such a plan could establish a mechanism for coordination between the aviation and public health sectors and provides clear and transparent planning assumptions for a variety of types and levels of communicable disease threats.
Open

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has not developed a national aviation-preparedness plan to respond to communicable disease threats from abroad. In June 2020, we urged Congress to take legislative action to require the Secretary of Transportation to work with relevant agencies and stakeholders to develop a national aviation-preparedness plan to limit the spread of communicable disease threats, and minimize travel and trade impacts (see GAO-20-625). GAO's periodic updates on the CARES Act of 2020 provide information about actions taken by Congress to address this matter. Initially, DOT

Federal Motor Carrier Safety: Modifying the Compliance, Safety, Accountability Program Would Improve the Ability to Identify High Risk Carriers

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To improve the CSA program, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to revise the SMS methodology to better account for limitations in drawing comparisons of safety performance information across carriers; in doing so, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to conduct a formal analysis that specifically identifies: (1) limitations in the data used to calculate SMS scores including variability in the carrier population and the quality and quantity of data available for carrier safety performance assessments, and (2) limitations in the resulting SMS scores including their precision, confidence, and reliability for the purposes for which they are used.
Open

FMCSA did not agree with this recommendation, and has requested that we close the recommendation as not implemented. However, in response to a similar 2017 review by the National Academy of Sciences, FMCSA developed and tested a new methodology to compare safety performance across motor carriers. We believe the changes made could account for the data and other limitations we identified in our report. In February 2023, FMCSA published proposed changes to SMS for comment. To fully implement this recommendation, FMCSA should ensure that the methodology used to compare safety performance across

Have a Question about a Recommendation?

For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation. For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.