Top Management Challenges

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DOT’s Fiscal Year 2020 Top Management Challenges

Required by the Reports Consolidation Act of 2000 and OMB Circular A-136
Project ID: 
What We Looked At
As required by law, we report annually on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) most significant challenges to meeting its mission. We considered several criteria in identifying DOT’s top management challenges for fiscal year 2020, including their impact on safety, documented vulnerabilities, large dollar implications, and the ability of the Department to effect change.
What We Found
We identified the following top management challenge areas for fiscal year 2020:
  • Aircraft certification. Key challenges: resolving certification issues related to the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and enhancing oversight of aircraft certification processes.
  • Air carrier safety oversight. Key challenges: balancing collaboration and enforcement and overseeing air carriers’ new systems for managing safety risks.
  • Airspace modernization. Key challenges: sustaining and modernizing the ERAM system, realizing the anticipated benefits of ADS-B, implementing new flight procedures, and auctioning off electromagnetic spectrum frequencies to finance and deploy new radars.
  • Cybersecurity. Key challenges: addressing longstanding vulnerabilities in DOT systems, strengthening internal controls, and implementing mandated aviation cybersecurity initiatives.
  • Pipeline and hazardous materials safety. Key challenges: hiring and retaining staff to oversee the safety of pipelines facilities and referring allegations of violations to OIG.
  • Commercial vehicle safety. Key challenges: ensuring commercial drivers are qualified, prioritizing motor carriers for interventions, and estimating the impact of driver detention.
  • Railroad safety. Key challenges: reducing railroad grade crossing and trespassing fatalities and overseeing railroads’ implementation of positive train control systems.
  • Surface infrastructure investments. Key challenges: targeting oversight resources and managing risks, capitalizing on oversight support, and improving project delivery.
  • The future of transportation. Key challenges: preparing for emerging vehicle automation technologies, safely integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems and the commercial space industry, leveraging innovative financing, supporting R&D, and reshaping the workplace.