U.S. Department of Transportation Partners With Cornell University in Pilot Project Regulation Room for eRulemaking

“On January 21st, 2009, President Obama issued a Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government in which he described how: ‘public engagement enhances the Government’s effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Knowledge is widely dispersed in society, and public officials benefit from having access to that dispersed knowledge.’

To support the President’s open government initiative, DOT has partnered with the Cornell eRulemaking Initiative (CeRI) in a pilot project, Regulation Room, to discover the best ways of using Web 2.0 and social networking technologies to: (1) alert the public, including those who sometimes may not be aware of rulemaking proposals, such as individuals, public interest groups, small businesses, and local government entities that rulemaking is occurring in areas of interest to them; (2) increase public understanding of each proposed rule and the rulemaking process; and (3) help the public formulate more effective individual and collaborative input to DOT. Over the course of several rulemaking initiatives, CeRI will use different Web technologies and approaches to enhance public understanding and participation, work with DOT to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of these techniques, and report their findings and conclusions on the most effective use of social networking technologies in this area….”

Quote from U.S. Department of Transportation Website.

Elaborating on this initiative, Barbara Brandon reports in an e-mail that:

“Last fall Cornell’s e-Rulemaking Initiative ran a test of how to increase rulemaking participation on a closed rule. They have just started a new test on an active proposal on how to prevent distracted driving by truck drivers who are texting while operating a vehicle. See http://regs.dot.gov/e-rulemaking.htm and http://regulationroom.org/#login.

This joint effort by DOT in conjunction with Cornell is also part of that agency’s efforts to comply with the Obama Administration’s Transparency Initiative. I think it is important for librarians to give this a look and see what they think of this particular effort. Expanding rulemaking participation beyond the closed circle of Washington beltway interest groups is a key benefit that the Internet can offer to good governance”

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