About The National Transportation Library

Contacting NTL

General Inquiries:
E-mail: Answers@dot.gov
Phone: 202-366-DATA (3282)
        1-800-853-1351 (toll-free)
Hours: 9am-5pm EDT

National Transportation Library
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590

Digital Library Services:
E-mail: NTLDigitalSubmissions@dot.gov

Data Services:
E-mail: NTLDataCurator@dot.gov

Policies and Guidelines


The National Transportation Library (NTL) was established to provide national and international access to transportation information, coordinate information creation and dissemination, and provide reference services for DOT employees and stakeholders. Established in 1998 by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), NTL’s authorized role was expanded in 2012’s Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).

Specifically, MAP-21 mandates that NTL:

  • Acquire, preserve and manage transportation information and information products and services for use by DOT, other Federal agencies, and the public;
  • Provide reference and research services;
  • Serve as a central repository for DOT research results and technical publications;
  • Serve as a central clearinghouse for transportation data and information of the Federal Government;
  • Serve as coordinator and policy lead for transportation information access;
  • Coordinate among and cooperate with multiple external parties to develop a “comprehensive transportation information and knowledge network” to support the I-XI list [information required of BTS at 49 USC 6302((b)(3)(B)(vi)]; and
  • Publicize, facilitate and promote access to information products and services.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology of US DOT, administers the National Transportation Library.

Brief History

NTL was established and run as an all-digital library program. Initial services were a digital library of full-text documents, a virtual reference service, and sponsoring the formation of the regional transportation knowledge networks.

From October 1, 2008 Ė September 30, 2015, the NTL digital library program was merged with the traditional US Department of Transportation Library. Since its inception in 1967 the US DOT Library has served as the Department’s focal point for technical and legal information and research. Offering the traditional library resources of an expansive book and journal collection, reference services, electronic database access and interlibrary loan, the US DOT Library met the research needs of DOT staff for decades while also serving as one of the nation’s most important repositories of transportation information available to the general public.

Beginning October 1, 2015, the NTL again operates separately from the US DOT Library. The efficiencies and streamlined access through one online website is maintained for users. The libraries also continue to partner in making digitized USDOT reports and products available the public through the NTLís Repository and Open Science Access Portal (ROSA P).

Reference and Research Services

The NTL's reference staff, or the USDOT Answers Team, provides (1) research and reference services to USDOT and Congressional requestors and (2) basic reference and referral services to the public and other customers. NTL reference staff also maintain Departmental FAQs and serve as the Departmentís email contact point on https://www.transportation.gov/contact-us. The USDOT Answers Team service provides assistance across all modes of transportation, including BTSís numerous statistical products. Reference staff is available from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST to answer telephone calls (1-800-853-1351/202-366-DATA or 3282). Reference requests can be submitted at any time via the web through Ask-A-Librarian.


To meet the requirements outlined in its legislative mandate, NTL collects across transportation, specifically focused on information from US DOT, state DOTs, and other transportation organizations. Content types found in ROSA P include text, links to websites, datasets, images, video, other multimedia, and maps. These resources have value to federal, state, and local transportation decision makers, transportation analysts, and researchers. As of December 2016, the repository has approximately 55,000 records and serves as the full-text archive for the transportation research ecosystem.

All resources in ROSA P are in the public domain and/or explicit permission has been provided by the rights holder to NTL to make their materials available for free over the web.

See NTLís Collection Development and Maintenance Policy (http://ntl.bts.gov/policies/index.html) for more information

Data Services

To support public access and open data initiatives at the Department, NTL hired a Data Curator to strengthen and formalize a Data Services program in 2016. Data Services enable good data management as a component of data science. They include standards, practices, and tools that allow data analysts, researchers, and curators to incorporate data management into their existing workflows.

See NTLís Data Services page (http://ntl.bts.gov/dataservices) for more information.


NTL works across transportation, federal, and national information and library science communities accomplish its mission. Within the transportation community, NTL leads, supports, and guides the nation's transportation knowledge networks in their efforts to organize, share, and preserve transportation information and knowledge for their clients in the transportation research community. NTL also networks to expand opportunities for the professional development of transportation library and information science professionals. Some examples include:

Transportation Knowledge Networks

NTL provides leadership and coordination in the development of regional and topical transportation knowledge networks, State DOT Library peer information exchanges, training on using information resources, and cross agency collaborative efforts such as the Rural Transportation Working Group. The NTL takes a leadership role working on information access issues like standardization, service availability, and cooperation. NTL has sponsored a number of national and international conferences working with the Transportation Research Board, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Road Association (PIARC), the World Bank, and other organizations.

Transportation Librarians Roundtable

The Transportation Librarians Roundtable (TLR), a monthly web conference series, is an initiative of the NTL, co-sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Transportation Research Board, and the Special Libraries Association's Transportation Division. The TLR's purpose is to provide transportation librarians with opportunities to learn more about issues of mutual concern and interest and also to have a new means of regular communication among members of that community.

Policies and Guidelines

Review the policies and guidelines that govern what NTL does, from how the collection is built to how that collection is made available to you.

Updated 02:00 PM EST, December 29, 2016