We address hyperspectral imaging (HSI) technology and its attendant key issue of spectral libraries to enable the exploitation of hyperspectral images for transportation applications. Five key applications are reviewed here: detection/identification of submerged aquatic vegetation in navigable waterways, detection/tracking of oil spills, extracting/assessing road characteristics, mapping impervious surfaces, and the detection/identification of vehicles. Central to all these applications is the need for a comprehensive spectral library in which various reflective spectra are correlated with physical surfaces and environments encountered in transportation. Much of this critical work is being funded by the Department of Transportation through four university consortia, each specializing in one of the key transportation areas of: transportation flows; infrastructure; environmental assessment; and safety, hazards, and disaster assessment for transportation lifelines. © 2002 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.