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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Exploratory Advanced Research Program

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About the Exploratory Advanced Research Program


 

General Information

Legislation established an Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program that addresses the need to conduct research on longer term and higher risk breakthrough research with the potential for transformational improvements to plan, build, renew, and operate safe, congestion free, and environmentally sound transportation systems.

 


Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program Processes

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) engages stakeholders in the EAR Program--from evaluating potential research topics through communicating research results.

FHWA identifies and scopes topics through extensive initial-stage investigation. The EAR Program has supported scanning trips and meetings involving national and international experts to assure use of the most recent advances in science and engineering.

FHWA uses expert panels to ensure the technical quality of sponsored research. The panels are composed of Federal, State, academic, and international scientific and engineering experts, who are vetted to avoid conflicts of interest. The panels frequently include members from multiple disciplines to assure that cross applications and novel approaches to research are fully assessed.

FHWA understands that EAR Program-funded projects are part of a larger research and development cycle designed to move from basic research through applied research, field testing, pilot deployment, and adoption. FHWA is committed to transitioning the results of EAR Program-funded research projects and takes an active role in demonstrating results to audiences critical to continuing the research and development cycle.

 


History

  • 1991 - The Office of Advanced Research is established. The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 (ISTEA Sec. 6001) establishes a long-term research project category specifying that 15 percent of research funds expended under the R&T [research and technology] program must be expended on long-term projects that are not likely to be completed within 10 years. The new program is to serve as FHWA's eyes and ears for new technology development from within government and industry sources.
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  • 1993 – With a budget of $3.7 million, twelve (12) research grants were awarded for the first time under this program.
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  • 1994 – With a budget of $5.6 million, eight additional grants were awarded.
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  • 1995 – Under Agency-wide restructuring, the Office of Advanced Research was incorporated as part of the Office of Safety and Traffic Operations Research and Development and worked with a budget of $2.8 million.
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  • 1998 to 2004 – New highway legislation did not include designed funding provisions for an advanced research program; however, FHWA continued to channel discretionary funding to support ongoing work. This amounted to less than $1 million per year.
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  • 2005 to 2012 – The passage of Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act–A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) resurrected funding for FHWA's EAR Program, dedicating $14 million per year for exploratory advanced research.
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  • 2013 to present – Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) continues commitment for FHWAs EAR Program. 
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Presentations

 

Exploratory Advanced Research Program

Research Highlights


Brochures

EAR Program Research Results - Updated Through 2013,(FHWA-HRT-14-033)- December 2013

Multimedia Downloads

Investigating Advanced Traffic Signal Control, (N/A)- April 2011

Project Fact Sheets

Innovative Culvert Inspection - Developing An Effective Small-Pipe Culvert Inspection System,(FHWA-HRT-14-095)- October 2014

Reference Scans

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Applications for Highway Transportation,(FHWA-HRT-14-037)- November 2013

Reports

Use of Vehicle Noise for Roadways, Bridge, and Infrastructure Health Monitoring Workshop Summary Report August 20-21, 2013(FHWA-HRT-14-059)- August 2014

Scanning and Convening Activities Fact Sheets

Understanding Material Durability - Workshop Examines Aging of Composite Materials,(FHWA-HRT-14-068)- June 2014

Summaries

Technological Innovations in Transportation for People with Disabilities: Workshop Executive Summary(FHWA-HRT-11-042)- September 2011

Web Articles

For Georgia State Students, EAR Program Opens a Window on Transportation Research ()- March 2014

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