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In 2003, in response to a directive from the Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) undertook a study to review PHMSA’s Pipeline Safety R&D Program. The GAO found that pipeline R&D funding is generally aligned with its mission and pipeline safety goals. PHMSA has taken a number of steps to ensure this alignment. For example, PHMSA obtained the views of a variety of experts and stakeholders in deciding on its pipeline safety R&D priorities and has described in various plans how its R&D efforts can lead to new and improved technologies. These technological improvements are helping achieve the PHMSA pipeline safety performance goals, such as reducing the impacts of pipeline accidents.

To better determine the effectiveness of its pipeline safety R&D program, the GAO recommended that PHMSA develop a systematic process for evaluating the program's outcomes, using recognized best practices, and include the results of its R&D program evaluations in its annual reports to Congress. PHMSA generally agreed with the report's findings, followed the GAO's recommendations and developed and implemented an evaluation process for its R&D program.

**October 2005 - Update**

The GAO recommended closure of Report GAO-03-746 in October of 2005 noting that PHMSA met the requirements of the June 2003 GAO report and removed it from their “Status of Open Recommendations” list for transportation.