About The National Transportation Library

Contacting NTL
General Public:
E-mail: Librarian
Phone: 1-800-853-1351 or 202-366-3492
Fax: 202-493-2027
Hours: 9am-5pm EDT

DOT Employees:
E-mail: library@dot.gov
Phone - Technical Library: 202-366-0745
Phone - Law Library: 202-366-0749
Hours: 8am-4pm EDT

National Transportation Library
Headquarters, W12-300
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590

Policies and Guidelines

The National Transportation Library (NTL) is a repository of U.S. DOT transportation information, serves as a portal for transportation data, and provides library services to U.S. DOT employees. NTL’s mission is to maintain and facilitate access to statistical and other information needed for transportation decision-making at the Federal, State, and local levels and to coordinate with public and private transportation libraries and information providers to improve information sharing among the transportation community. 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
  • Become 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)]
  • Publicize, facilitate and promote access to information products and services

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration of US DOT, administers the National Transportation Library.

The National Transportation Library maintains a substantial presence in both digital and traditional library environments, including incorporation of the former US DOT Library’s functions and services, which continues to be open for use to the general public.

Brief History

In 2008 a new NTL was created through a merger with the US Department of Transportation Library. Since its inception in 1969 the US DOT Library had 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.

The new, merged National Transportation Library will continue to serve and meet the needs of DOT staff as well as organizations and citizens across the United States.

Reference Services

The NTL's reference staff assists US DOT staff and the general public in locating documents and reports, statistics and other data, and subject experts here at DOT. Staff is also available to address questions on NTL resources including our library’s catalog, and our numerous statistical and legal databases.  Reference staff is available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST to answer telephone calls (1-800-853-1351/202-366-0746). Reference requests can be submitted at any time via the web through Ask-A-Librarian.


The NTL networks with other transportation libraries, agencies, and organizations to increase access to information and expand opportunities for the professional development of transportation librarians. Some examples include:

NTL Integrated Search System

The NTL Integrated Search System is a tool that searches the NTL Digital Repository and records for other web accessible transportation resources, including research and policy sites of the State DOT and University Transportation Centers' research publications and document repositories. The resources in the Integrated Search System may be searched jointly or independently.


TLCat is a national union catalog of transportation libraries.  The National Transportation Library in cooperation with the Midwest Transportation Knowledge Network (MTKN) created the group catalog. The NTL and Transportation Pooled Fund Study enable increased participation from key state DOTs, university libraries, and Federal libraries in transportation. NTL makes TLCat available free to the public.   More information can be found on our About TLCat page.

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.


Subject concentrations include general transportation, surface, and water transportation. Special topics include: bridge construction and maintenance, driver studies, engineering, highways and highway safety, history of transportation, land utilization, marine engineering, mass transit, merchant marine, navigation, oceanography, pipelines, railroads, ships and shipbuilding, statistics, traffic engineering, traffic surveys and forecasts, urban transportation, and waterways

One of the NTL’s fastest-growing collections is exclusively digital, serving as a permanent archive for statistical, technical, research and policy documents required by researchers and decision makers and provided to NTL by federal, state, local, tribal and other government agencies.

The Library also maintains a sizable law collection. It includes general legal materials, with a specialty in government administration, as well as materials specifically related to transportation law.

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 10:16 AM EDT, August 25, 2016