Tribal Transportation: Better Data Could Improve Road Management and Inform Indian Student Attendance Strategies

Roads on tribal lands are of particular importance for connecting people to essential services, such as schools, because of the remote location of some tribes. These roads are often unpaved and may not be well maintained. The federal government funds two programs to improve and maintain roads on tribal lands. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) maintains the National Tribal Transportation Facility Inventory (NTTFI) and Deferred Maintenance Reporting (DMR) databases to support these programs. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to review condition and school-access issues related to roads on tribal lands. This report examines: (1) the extent to which the NTTFI and DMR systems provide useful data on these roads; (2) any challenges to improving and maintaining these roads; and (3) what is known about the connection between road condition and school attendance as well as other aspects of school transportation. GAO reviewed documents and relevant literature; analyzed road-inventory and student- attendance data; and interviewed federal, state, local, and tribal transportation and education officials. GAO visited three selected tribes, based on road mileage and presence of BIE schools, among other factors. GAO is making eight recommendations including that BIA, in coordination with stakeholders, reexamine the need for NTTFI data and improve the quality of DMR data, and that BIE provide guidance to collect transportation-related absence data. Interior agreed with five of the recommendations, did not take a position on two, and disagreed with one. GAO continues to believe its recommendations are valid, as discussed further in this report.


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Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 79p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01637761
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-17-423
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 5 2017 11:45AM