Robert E. Motley, 54, a specialist in the training of emergency medical technicians, or paramedics, in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, died Tuesday at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. He had polycythemia, a blood disorder.

The NHTSA, a part of the Department of Transportation, described Mr. Motley as having been "a noteworthy force in the development of EMT (emergency medical technician) tranining of all types, development of the nationally recognized job descriptions, and prime mover, consultant, and adviser in the development of national EMS (emergency medical service) organizations."

Mr. Motley spent many years in health administration. He began in 1948 as an administrator and researcher with the U.S. Public Health Service. He spent the next 11 years with USPHS, the National Insitutes of Health and the Department of Health, Education and Welface.

In 1959, he transfered to the Social Security Administration and in 1962 returned to the Public Health Service as chief of field services in the emergency health services division.

In 1969, he transferred to the Social Security Administration and in 1962 returned to the Public Health Service as cheif to field services in the emergency health services division.

In 1969, he joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As a highway safety management specialist, he also served as director and monitor of several Department of Transportation contracts for emergency medical technician training. He also served as technical consultant on three films about highway safety, "Ambulance Run," "Life and Death" and "Highway Rescue Single-Handed."

Mr. Motley was a member of the continuing education committee of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and on various committees of the Georgetown University Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

In 1976, he received the Superior Achievement Award from the NHTSA, and in 1977 the Joseph D. Farrington, MD, Award of Excellence from the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.

The citation for the latter award said Mr. Motley was being honored for "his dedicated achievements in pioneering the birth of the Meergency Medical Technician and Paramedic in the United States and for his continued support of EMTs everywhere."

Last year, the National Assoication of Emergency Medical Technicians named its annual award after Mr. Motley.

Mr. Motley was born in Erie, Pa.His family moved to Washington in the late 1930s, and he graduated from Wilson High School. He served in the Navy during World War II. He later attended George Washington University, Strayer College and the Department of Agriculture graduate school.

Survivors include his wife, the former Mary J. Walsh, of the home in Bethesda; four daughters, Kathleen Marie Jones, of Gaithersburg, Barbara Ann Gross, of Silver Spring, and Deborah Pauline and Carol Jean, both of the home; two sons, Robert E. Jr. annd Michael Joseph, also of the home; his mother, Beatrice Motley, of Rockville; one brother, Arthur W., a retired Navy captain, of Virginia Beach, Va.; one sister, Mary Lou Tumin, of Bethesda, and one grandchild.

The family suggests that expressions of sympthy be in the form of contributions to the Little Sisters of the Poor, P.O. box 9318, Baltimore Md., 21228. CAPTION: Picture, ROBERT E. MOTLEY