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A robust Federal Aviation Administration R&D program, aimed at an efficient, safe, and economically vigorous air system in the next century, is a must, if the United States wishes to retain its current dominance in this high technology field. Such a program also provides an essential underpinning for ensuring fast, convenient, safe, and efficient intercity travel and freight shipments. This study will examine the R&D programs at FAA and will evaluate the adequacy of long-term research efforts that look to future needs of the airspace system, the ways new technologies are developed and brought on line, and the cost-effectiveness of the ways these activities are carried out.

Project Director: Kevin Dopart

Estimated publication date: Fall 1993

Requested by:

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee on Science, Space and Technology

Hon. George Brown, Chairman

Hon. Robert S. Walker, Ranking Minority Member

Hon. Tim Valentine, Member

Hon. Tom Lewis, Member


Committee on Public Works and Transportation
Subcommittee on Aviation

Hon. James L. Oberstar, Chairman,
Hon. John D. Dingell, TAB Member


Passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, in July 1990, marked a significant change in the treatment of the approximately 7.3 million Americans with disabilities. At the time of passage, one important issue could not be satisfactorily resolved. Congress directed OTA, through the Act, to undertake a study of the access needs of individuals with disabilities to over-the-road bus service, and to determine the best methods for providing access, particularly for individuals who use wheelchairs. This study will play an integral role in the final regulations to be issued by the Department of Transportation.

Project Director: Elizabeth Robinson

Estimated publication date: Spring 1993

Requested by:

Mandated under Public Law 101-336


Vocational education is a crucial link in the school to work transition, and many students in American high schools participate in vocational education, taking one course or perhaps a whole curriculum. Congress is interested in learning whether assessment instruments can be developed and implemented to identify a student's mastery of "technical knowledge in broad technical fields."

Most tests now used in connection with vocational education placement or certification are designed to measure mastery of specific coursework, rather than to measure wider, and possibly more transferable, skills. For example, an examination might focus on mastery of a course on repair of automotive engines, without attempting to measure general mechanical skills. This background paper will help OTA inform Congress about tests now in use, tests in development, and what steps would be involved in moving the country toward well

developed and certified tests that could meet the accountability needs that Congress has identified and students seek.

Possible Impact on Legislation: Continuing revisions of the Perkins Act and numerous bills on school-to-work transition.

Project Director: Nancy Carson

Estimated publication date: Summer 1993

Requested by:

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee on Education and Labor

Hon. William D. Ford, Chairman


This study will assess the potential of telecommunication and computing technologies to enhance the productivity of Federal service delivery and improve the efficiency of government operations. It will focus on the application of telecommuting, telework, teleconferencing, and teletraining to the Federal civilian sector. The study will also examine the implications for Federal policies on telecommunications, information resources, government organization, computer networks and standards, energy/environmental management, and employee training.

Project Director: Fred Wood

Estimated publication date: Summer 1993

Requested by:


Committee on Government Affairs

Hon. John Glenn, Chairman

THE 1992 WORLD ADMINISTRATIVE RADIO CONFERENCE: OUTCOMES AND IMPLICATIONS This assessment will examine the decisions agreed to at WARC-92; analyze the impacts these decisions could have on the development of domestic radio communication policies, technologies, and services; evaluate the outcomes of the conference vis-a-vis the domestic WARC preparation process; and examine possible improvements in the WARC preparation process in light of changes in the structure and timing of future world radio conferences.

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This project will assess the delivery of services by U.S. corporations in European markets. It will include an analysis of the competitive position of U.S. telecommunication companies in Europe as well as an analysis of how communication affects the competitiveness of U.S. firms in the delivery of information-related services,

e.g., banking and financial services, and data processing and computer support services. The relationship between domestic and international policy will be considered in the context of trade, finance and telecommunications.

Project Director: Vary Coates

Estimated publication date: Spring 1993

Requested by:


Committee on Finance

Hon. Lloyd Bentsen, Chairman

Hon. John C. Danforth, Ranking
Minority Member

U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Foreign Affairs

Hon. Dante B. Fascell, Chairman
Hon. William S. Broomfield, Ranking
Minority Member


This assessment will examine the technology making computerization of medical information possible; identify issues arising from computerization of such information; examine the state of the law and legislation dealing with concerns about privacy in medical information and their application in a networked environment; examine model systems to protect privacy in other similar areas; and determine whether new technologies may be used to protect privacy in computerized health care information.

Possible Impact on Legislation: A variety of legislation to address health care costs has been introduced in the 102nd Congress. These bills involve computerization of health care records and use of electronic or "smart cards to implement cost-saving measures. Among these are S. 1227 "Health America: Affordable Health Care for All Americans Act; H.R. 1300, The Universal Health Care Act of 1991," and H.R. 3205, "The Health Insurance Coverage and Cost Containment Act of 1991." "The Medical and Health Insurance Information Reform Act of 1992,* (S.2878, H.R. 5464) proposed by the Bush Administration, attempts to address the question of privacy in a networked computer system for medical information.

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THE ELECTRONIC ENTERPRISE: OPPORTUNITIES FOR AMERICAN BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY The assessment will examine how the convergence of communications, information, and video technologies might affect business in the United States. By highlighting the consequences of the U.S. approach to technology deployment for competitiveness and economic performance, it will 1) describe the present state of communication, information, and video technologies; 2) assess the net potential value of these technologies for business and industry; 3) identify possible barriers to that potential; 4) compare what other countries do to

assure the effective use of these technologies; and 5) identify what is needed if these technologies are to meet the Nation's economic and social goals.

Project Director: Linda Garcia

Estimated publication date: Winter 1993-94

Requested by:


Committee on Commerce, Science

and Transportation

Hon. Ernest F. Hollings, Chairman

U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Science, Space and

Hon. George E. Brown, Jr., Chairman

16.D. Other Services to the Congress

16.D.1 Testimony

OTA receives frequent requests to testify at Congressional hearings; in fact, testimony is one of the main mechanisms for OTA to deliver information to Congress in a way that matches its specific needs and timing. The increased interest and need for OTA's work has been reflected in committee requests for testimony and briefings from OTA.

During fiscal year 1992, the Director, Assistant Directors, Program Managers, and Project Directors testified a total of 31 times. Testimony was given both before House and Senate committees and

subcommittees, on such topics as high speed rail and maglev, patents and biotechnology, the market perspective for electric vehicles, environmental cleanup of DOE weapons complex and the role of telecommunication technologies in education.

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