Established in 1998 by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), the National Transportation Library (NTL):
- Provides national and international access to transportation information
- Coordinates information creation and dissemination
- Offers reference services for the transportation community
NTL’s initial services consisted of serving as a digital library of full-text documents and a virtual reference service and providing support for the National Transportation Knowledge Network (NTKN).
Its authorized role was expanded in 2012’s Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) which mandated NTL:
- Acquire, preserve and manage transportation information and information products and services for use by US Department of Transportation (US 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)]
- Publicize, facilitate and promote access to information products and services
From 2013, NTL has been the centerpiece of US DOT’s response to the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy’s (OSTP’s) memorandum, Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research, serving as the public repository and point of access for DOT-funded research.
On October 1, 2020, the NTL took responsibility for management of the DOT Headquarters Library with costs reimbursed by the DOT operating administrations. Public documents in the physical collection are being digitized and incorporated into the NTL repository. The NTL maintains access for DOT employees to interlibrary loan services and proprietary reference services formerly provided by the headquarters library. DOT employees may access these services through the DOT intranet site.
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.