U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
202-366-4000


Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Exploratory Advanced Research Program

FHWA Home / Programs / Exploratory Advanced Research Program

 

Advancing Future Transportation with Breakthrough Innovations - Summary Report

Berkeley Conference: Advancing Future Transportation with Breakthrough Innovations - Summary Report

PDF Version (16 KB)


1.0 Overview


In 2005, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) conducted three think tank forums as part of its commitment to develop a robust advanced research agenda. The final 1.5-day forum was held at the Faculty Club at the University of California, Berkeley in October 2005. The Volpe Center and futurist Glen Hiemstra of Futurist.com provided planning support for the event. The intent of the forums was to convene stakeholders and seek ideas to assist FHWA in establishing a strategic agenda for advanced research.


Approximately 35 participants gathered for this interactive event with expert speakers on breakthrough technologies, such as new materials, future energy possibilities, traffic flow monitoring for safety, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) research on Small Aircraft Transportation Systems (SATS). Through a series of structured presentations and discussions, participants explored issues impacting the future of transportation and identified advanced research needs. Then, using a modified version of the nominal group technique (a methodology for maximizing and equalizing individual input within a group process) for group decisionmaking, the participants developed a list of suggested research topics and ranked the priority items.


The key results from the forum were a set of recommendations for advanced research topics. These recommendations are presented here followed by a summary of the presentations. These presentations framed the participants' discussions and helped identify advanced research topics. This summary concludes with a discussion of participants' impressions and comments on the synergy around the purpose of the forum and possible next steps to help FHWA develop an advanced research agenda and program.


1.1 Forum Purpose

The purpose of the forum was to:

  1. Scan across disciplines, inside and outside the transportation area, to search for promising research and technology that could fundamentally improve transportation.
  2. Develop a set of recommended areas, topics, or questions for consideration as part of a strategic agenda for advanced research.

1.2 Recommending Advanced Research Agenda Topics


During the forum, participants convened in three working groups. After forming these groups, the individuals in each group listed their ideas for advanced research. In doing this, participants were asked to consider ideas that would (1) be "game changers" by encouraging breakthrough innovation, (2) have high leverage in terms of being high payoff for high risk, (3) fit between basic research and applied research, and (4) be strategic in terms of seeking outcomes rather than simply being interesting research. In addition, the teams were reminded of the two-part definition of advanced research provided by FHWA's Associate Administrator of Infrastructure King Gee:


"Research that involves and draws upon basic research results to provide a better understanding of phenomena and develop innovative solutions. Sometimes referred to as exploratory research in order to convey its more fundamental character, its broader objectives, and the greater uncertainty in expected outcomes compared to problem-solving research."

After developing their personal lists, the participants shared their ideas around the table, and a master list was created for the group, which helped to eliminate overlapping ideas. The ideas were then discussed at the table, with an emphasis on clarifying the ideas and on why particular ideas ought to be selected over others. When called upon, the table groups reported their lists to the entire forum. These breakout group results are listed in the appendix.


During the forum, the participants discussed the lists of ideas and noted themes and common ideas. The following is a list of some of the noted themes:

  • The interaction between drivers, vehicles, and the roadway.
  • The key role of freight.
  • Safety is evident but not emphasized in most recommended ideas.
  • Nanomaterials are a focus, particularly due to their potential for infrastructure.
  • There is a need for integrated transportation infrastructure, rather than the traditional infrastructure system in which one highway meets all transportation needs.
  • Information technology and systems research need to go beyond classic intelligent transportation systems to include communications technology, virtuality [electronic access], and impacts of the "digital native" generation.
  • Knowledge management systems.
  • Integrating organizations need to get on the same page with research in pursuit of collaborative research management strategies.
  • Model verification, field testing, and benchmarking systems are needed. For example, FHWA should partner with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), which wants to do verification tests.
  • How can sustainable research be built over years despite shifts in Congressional policy and leadership?
  • Attention should focus on the aging of the population and related issues.
  • Alternative fuels research issues for FHWA include costs, effects, perceptions, and impact on revenue.
  • There is a need to think beyond cars and trucks.

 

After noting these common themes and ideas, each working group went back to their group list, clarified their opinions, and then used the nominal group technique to indicate their preference for the top research ideas. Each group then reported the top three or four priorities to all participants.


After discussing the resulting list of 12 items, participants expressed their preference in another round of voting using a weighted voting process. The results below fell into three basic tiers, with the total number of votes for each item indicated in parentheses.


2.0 Recommended Advanced Research Agenda Topics


Tier 1

  • Take an innovative look at cross-country container movement of freight, including potentially separate lanes, pipelines, segregated systems, and automated systems. (37)
  • Develop and provide a totally automated vehicle-driver-highway system. (26)
  • Develop innovative traffic flow monitoring and control systems. (25)

 

Tier 2

  • Develop new materials and build processes for increased longevity, reduced costs, and increased sustainability. (18)
  • Determine how our society will need to travel in the future and what business travel needs will be in 2050. (17)
  • Study land use and transportation. (16)
  • Examine human cognition and perception regarding how people use and understand multilayer systems. (14)
  • Develop a safer rural highway system. (13)
  • Create seamless movements between travel modes through improved integration of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) into design. Identify hot spots. (12)
  • Determine how transportation systems will support sustainability. (12)

 

Tier 3

  • Improve highway-vehicle interactions. (9)
  • Develop new energy sources that are sustainable and clean. (5)

3.0 Forum Framework: Summary of Presentations and Discussion


Each presentation is included on the final CD-ROM as Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides in Adobe® Acrobat® Portable Document Format (PDF)

Day 1, September 20, 2005

3.1 Welcome: King Gee and J. Richard Capka

FHWA Associate Administrator King Gee personally welcomed the attendees and provided background on the advanced research initiative. FHWA's mission includes enhancing mobility through innovation, leadership, and public service. The role of FHWA's research and technology activities cover the innovation process, development, and deployment of new products and services, education, and training. This workshop is the third of three to be held in 2005. The Transportation Research Board's (TRB) Research and Technology Coordinating Committee (RTCC), which serves FHWA in an advisory capacity, was to be briefed on the outcomes of these workshops on November 1, 2005. Comments from this briefing will be included in the final report.


As part of Gee's welcome, in a video presentation FHWA's Acting Administrator J. Richard Capka emphasized the value of the forum to FHWA and stressed the need to (1) raise awareness of what is occurring in advanced research, (2) reward partnerships with funding, and (3) encourage innovation and move ideas into practice.


Gee also provided an overview of FHWA's definition of advanced research and the Agency's strategic vision as outlined in the Corporate Master Plan for Research and Deployment of Technology & Innovation (FHWA-RD-03-077). He emphasized FHWA's strong interest in enabling innovations for a better transportation future. In addition, he defined advanced research as exploratory research designed to develop a better understanding of phenomena and to develop innovative solutions. Gee hopes that these forums will identify advanced research theme clusters, with an emphasis on higher risk and long-term issues and lead to implementation of research results. He also provided a brief overview of the recently passed Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) and the funding available for advanced research.


3.2 Table Exercise: What is Your Image of the Future?

During the forum, Hiemstra asked participants, "What words or pictures come to mind when thinking about the future?" This warmup exercise works with the idea that images of the future play a powerful role in shaping present actions. Change the image of the future, and one begins to change behavior in the present day. Individuals at tables shared their images, and examples were cited for everyone to hear.


Images of the future articulated by participants included:

  • Global - environmentally friendly.
  • Energy constrained - population density.
  • Variety & equity - automated.
  • Optimized - faster paced.
  • Intermodal - smarter pricing.
  • Interconnected - nano.
  • Sustainable - sensors.
  • Communications, more virtual - safer.
  • Heavily taxed - less patient.
  • Debt - gridlock.
  • Individualized.

3.3 Presentations: The World and Transportation in 2050

In his presentation, Hiemstra outlined key lessons from the future:

  1. The future creates the present.
  2. Breakthroughs must be compelling.
  3. People in 2050 will be different.
  4. The energy tipping point is approaching.
  5. Great technology revolutions are coming.
  6. The way it is is not the way it will be economically or environmentally.
  7. Vehicles, roads, and systems will evolve or change fundamentally.
  8. Systems should be integrated.
  9. Every impossible thing may be possible someday.

 

Hiemstra then reviewed broad trends shaping the world of transportation. Highlights included:

  • Some parts of the world will shrink in population while the United States will grow by as many as 100 million people by 2050, depending on immigration policies. At the same time, U.S. growth may slow much sooner if fertility rates continue their downward trend.
  • Most population growth concentrated in megacities.
  • Transportation and related businesses have become global.
  • Economic growth looks uncertain and full of discontinuities, although the developing world anticipates robust growth (with resulting demands for transportation).
  • The energy outlook is for plentiful supplies of carbon but not of cheap oil. The decreasing oil supply will lead to use of expensive dirty carbon. Thus, the next 50 years will see an energy transition sooner rather than later.

 

Hiemstra then asked questions about:

  • U.S. population growth projections, which seem exaggerated in light of global dynamics.
  • The impact of the aging population, which is underestimated.
  • Millenials, or digital natives, as the largest population cohort since the baby boomers.
  • The impact of the coming of age of the first digital native generation and taking information technology beyond what we "digital immigrants" imagine.
  • Maintaining economic growth and robustness with a declining population.
  • Whether we are at an energy tipping point (i.e., the end of cheap oil). What happens if the end of oil comes sooner than expected? Will the use of alternative fuels increase or decrease health problems?
  • The impact of new technologies, vastly improved telecommunications, energy wave technologies, and nanotechnologies.
  • A greater technology revolution is yet to come.

3.4 Physical Performance, Infrastructure & Materials: Roundtable 1

Dr. Franz-Josef Ulm, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology gave the presentation, Reengineering Concrete Infrastructure: From the Nanoworld of Materials Science to the Bridge of the Future, where he spoke about the following:

  • Day-to-day use of nanotechnology will come from advances in concrete production and use.
  • The payoff in millions of dollars has not yet arrived but is coming soon.
  • Our current approach to building infrastructure is not sustainable.
  • What do concrete and oranges have in common? Nanoscale.
  • Nanoengineering for high-density "glue" as well as low-density glue in concrete.

 

Ulm also indicated that next-generation bridges:

  • Need longer lifespans with higher durability and less maintenance.
  • Demonstrate adaptability to new traffic.
  • Have improved reliability, safety, and immunity to extreme events.
  • Must be environmentally friendly.
  • Must provide for easier and faster construction.

 

The following is a list of lessons being learned from the "Bridge of the Future" project in Kentucky:

  • The project is an example of a partnership established between FHWA, academia, and the private sector to achieve the necessary funding.
  • A strong link between FHWA, academia, and private industry is the key to success. In addition, private industry partners need financial incentives to get and stay involved in the project.
  • Nanotechnology is being used to produce stronger yet narrower girders for use in bridge construction.

 

C-Crete Technology is key:

  • Needs to be application friendly.
  • A true change of culture results from a shift to the nanoscale.

 

Ulm also concluded the following:

  • There is a need to develop human resources to foster the transportation profession itself.
  • We must face and deal with the legal issues relating to nanotechnology, especially the issues associated with complex partnering arrangements.
  • Partners must be strong.
  • Rather than saying one is "under the microscope," we should get used to saying one is "under the nanoscope."

 

Table Discussion: At the conclusion of each speaker's presentation, groups of participants at tables discussed their impressions. After this, participants discussed their general comments with the whole group. The following list is a sample of some of the questions and comments that resulted from these discussion:

  • Is there a nanoprogram for recycling roadway materials and similar items? This type of program is conceptually possible but its potential depends on the amount of energy required for such an undertaking.
  • Cement production is responsible for 5 to 7 percent of annual carbon dioxide emissions into the environment. The use of nanoscale materials in the production of cement could reduce this level significantly. In an ideal world, we would have no cement.
  • How has the Bridge of the Future project been able to produce a working prototype? It did this by laying out unattainable goals, and then letting the partners run with it.
  • Have researchers looked into the unintended health and environmental impacts of nanotechnology? The fact is that "nano" is no more hazardous than today's material compositions. It is the materials used that makes the difference.

 

The ability to peer into the molecular structure of matter and manipulate the matter at the nanolevel is radically new and has been in existence for less than two decades. Because it so new, the field is still considered exotic and distant in its applications. In his discussion of nanoconcrete, Ulm illustrated that research into nanotechnology is on the threshold of delivering major advances in big things, such as bridge infrastructure. Delivering this innovation may not be a matter of technology, Ulm pointed out, but rather a matter of organization, culture, and public acceptance. Imagining a bridge deck only three inches thick is one thing, but being willing to build and drive on one is another issue. An additional complexity is the culture of the construction industry, which, for example, can live with relatively large fault tolerances when a bridge deck is 15.24 to 20.32 centimeters (6 to 8 inches) thick, but would have to move to much smaller tolerances when the deck is only 7.62 centimeters (3 inches) thick. Moving from nanostructure to infrastructure, a phrase that originated at the Minneapolis think tank forum, appears to be a very fruitful area for advanced research.



3.5 Energy Future, Sustainability, Safety: Roundtable 2

Professor Joan Ogden, Environmental Science and Policy, University of California at Davis (UC-Davis), and Co-Director of Hydrogen Pathway Program, UC-Davis Institute of Transportation Studies gave the presentation, Hydrogen Infrastructure: Prospects and Research Needs. The presentation included the following discussion:

  • Hydrogen as fuel can be produced from a variety of ready fuel supplies including solar, biomass, wind, and natural gas sequestration from coal.
  • Hydrogen infrastructure can be built new or can use existing infrastructure.
  • We must have a combination of both infrastructures for efficient and effective use of hydrogen.
  • Hydrogen offers the potential for long-term emission reductions and provides for a diverse fuel supply.
  • Numerous hydrogen production facilities already exist in the United States, enough to currently supply 2 percent of energy consumption.
  • Technical challenges include cost, storage on vehicles, hydrogen production systems, and safety perception.

 

Transition to hydrogen leads to the following questions:

  • How long will it take?
  • From where will the hydrogen come?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How will it happen?

 

Pilot programs worldwide already are showing promise. The California Hydrogen Highway Network is an example of a public-private partnership showing great promise throughout the State. Two hundred demonstration projects are encompassed in this initiative.


Table Discussion: Following the presentation, participants in groups discussed their impressions, and then presented their general comments to the whole group. The following list is a sample of some of the questions and comments resulting from the discussion:

  • As a country that is relatively new in its development, what will China do in terms of adopting hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels? Different policies exist in different areas within China. For example, Shanghai is limiting cars and road building, while Beijing is encouraging massive road building, thereby exponentially increasing the use of vehicles. With no cohesive national agenda, we do not envision a push toward a hydrogen-based transportation system.
  • Cultural change will be necessary for the public to adapt to a hydrogen-based system.
  • Can incentives to cultural change be found?

 

It is recognized that a tipping point looms for energy use in vehicles, but that tipping point may be either a few years or a couple of decades away. Less clear is whether FHWA's advanced research should focus in this area, or whether to leave that to other agencies and programs. Ogden did not answer that question directly, but presented a reasoned case for how and why a hydrogen infrastructure is a real possibility. The FHWA advanced research program must decide its role in studying or encouraging the next energy era.


3.6 Human Performance and Safety: Roundtable 3

Dr. Pravin Varaiya, Nortel Networks Distinguished Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley gave the presentation, Congestion and Safety: Research Opportunities and Prospects. The presentation included the following discussion:

  • Conditions in California today represent delay or increases in extra time spent traveling.
  • We must have genuine political leadership and societal changes. Instead, however, we have inertia that is adding to extra travel times.
  • Tomorrow the focus will be on vehicle-infrastructure integration.
  • The challenge of tomorrow will be in the area of cost-benefit gaps.
  • In the future, we will have increased automation in the form of guided highways. The challenge of cost and a dedicated infrastructure, however, will remain.
  • Better data collection is needed through improved sensor technologies and capabilities.
  • We must increase the use of ramp metering, which has proven to be an effective traffic control measure.
  • We need intersection decision support tools because they provide a key to increased safety.
  • There is a need for standards, locally and nationally and within the auto industry.

 

Table Discussion: Following each presentation, participants sitting in groups at tables discussed their impressions, and then presented their general comments to the whole group. The following list is a sample of some of the questions and comments resulting from the discussion:

  • High occupancy vehicle (HOV) strategies have proven to be useless without ramp metering. Studies have shown that HOV facilities have reduced per lane capacity and led to an overall reduction in roadway capacity.
  • What is meant when someone says freeways are being poorly managed? It means that the existing transportation network is not being used to its full capacity. Relatively minor improvements can pay big dividends.
  • The public does not know or understand the concept of ramp metering. Attention given to educating the public could go a long way.

 

Varaiya challenged the participants to recognize that the highway infrastructure is underutilized because it is not well managed. He made the case that aggressive and intelligent ramp metering programs alone can improve highway speeds and substantially reduce travel times. Participants questioned the notion that aggressive ramp metering will not impact local streets, but Varaiya countered that such impacts are minimal and can be managed with smart signal timing. Varaiya also argued that HOV lanes do not serve their purpose in promoting commuting carpools, and thus they should be used in a well-managed highway system. Varaiya also illustrated that smart vehicle-infrastructure interfaces, in particular intersection warning systems, will be able to reduce incidents at intersections. On this, there was agreement.


3.7 Technical Performance and Mobility: Roundtable 4

Guy Kemmerly, Director of NASA's SATS program gave the presentation, Prospects for Travel in the Third Dimension: Implications for Research, Technology Advances, Community Design, Infrastructure, and Mobility. The presentation included the following discussion:

  • SATS provides operating capabilities that could enable people and goods to travel faster, anywhere, anytime, with particular focus on trips of 241 to 965 kilometers (150 to 600 miles).
  • SATS uses small aircraft that carry between four and ten passengers.
  • SATS uses underutilized rural and suburban airports, many of which have no radar or towers.
  • The SATS project developed technologies and demonstrated the feasibility of four operating capabilities.
  • The technical, operational, and environmental impact of SATS operating capabilities on the NAS [National Airport System] and on the airport infrastructure have been evaluated.
  • SATS enabling technologies include:
    • "Highway in the Sky" (HITS) information systems.
    • Enhanced vision system.
    • Head-up displays.
    • Advanced displays.
    • Decision-aiding automation.
    • Combined vision system, which enables users to shift from computer-projected displays to seeing the ground through overcast skies via sensors, with smooth transitions).
  • Case studies and simulations have been developed and/or conducted.
  • Certification of developed systems is ongoing.
  • SATS provide for ease of use.

 

Remaining issues for SATS include:

  • Communications: Datalink, secure World Wide Web services/data, shortwave radio.
  • Cost.
  • Training.
  • Initial purchase rental: Certification, liability, manufacturing.
  • Operations: Fuel, insurance, maintenance.
  • Community acceptance.
  • Noise.
  • Emissions.
  • Culture.
  • Reliability.
  • Vehicle.
  • Educating the public.

 

Table Discussion: Following the presentation, participants in groups discussed their impressions, and then presented their general comments to the whole group. The following list is a sample of some of the questions and comments resulting from the discussion:

  • What are some of the factors hindering implementation? Air traffic control unions, for example, are strongly opposed to the concept.
  • What are the implications for highways?
  • Will SATS be cost effective?

 

Kemmerly explained that the SATS program was not aimed at putting an aircraft in every driveway, but rather grew out of an analysis of a travel gap that exists between approximately 241 kilometers (150 miles) and 804 to 965 kilometers (500 to 600 miles), where driving takes too long, but commercial flights are too expensive and inconvenient. If small aircraft could be made economical, safe, and reliable, the program believes that the private sector and individuals would provide air flight alternatives in this "sweet spot." The SATS program was intended to develop and demonstrate the various technical capabilities necessary to make such flights feasible. Kemmerly reported success as the program winds down. The impacts on surface transportation are minimal.


SATS analyses suggest that 1 to 2 percent of car trips would be replaced by flights, but impacts could be more substantial locally. That is, certain resort communities and neighborhoods near small airports could see sufficient increased traffic that ground facilities, including roads, will need improvements. Beyond that, the information technology, communications, and instrumentation developed for SATS has obvious and potential applications to improving driver-vehicle-infrastructure communications. Finally, the agency-academic-private sector partnerships that enabled SATS are a research organization model worth studying. This sentiment also was emphasized by Ulm.


4.0 Closing Discussion


Debra Elston began the closing session by summarizing her impressions:

  • Partnership and the willingness to partner are important.
  • A briefing of the results of the three think tanks will be made to the TRB/RTCC and FHWA Research and Technology Leadership Team on November 1-2, 2005.
  • The TRB Conduct of Research committee is hosting a panel session on advanced research at TRB on Tuesday January 24, 2006, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Washington Hilton Hotel.
  • The advanced research forum findings will be distributed at TRB in January 2006.

 

Participants noted that this think tank put a significant emphasis on innovations in freight movement as an advanced research area. It is assumed that freight traffic will increase substantially over the next two decades. Making breakthrough improvements in freight movement will lead not just to economic efficiency but also to enhanced personal mobility and safety. Participants clarified that they were calling for "leap frog" ideas for freight movement, not merely incremental improvements. Such ideas could include automated containers or using offpeak time on light and commuter rail systems to move robotic freight containers, along with similar discontinuous possibilities. As at the previous two forums, participants wondered whether they had done enough regarding safety, as the prioritized research topics tended to improve safety but not specifically name safety as a research area. After some discussion the group felt that safety was adequately addressed, yet at the same time recognized a need for advanced research to tackle 40,000 deaths as a priority.


Individuals encouraged FHWA to consider some of the ideas that were not selected as part of FHWA's advanced research agenda, but nevertheless, are intriguing. One of these is advanced research on the capacity of the transportation system to absorb and respond to natural or human-caused extreme events. Other areas that stood out for consideration were policy research, the tremendous impact of an aging population, and a focus on human behavior instead of technology.


Participants noted that achieving results in the real world involves complex human, social, and political systems, and wondered how well these systemic issues may be addressed. Finally, the participants discussed the ability to take theoretical advanced research into the field for validation. Participants from California encouraged FHWA to consider their State as a possible test bed for such validation research. It was noted that Caltrans, for example, is very interested in collaborating on such research.


5.0 Some General Observations

The recommendations of this forum fell into the following categories, which were similar to those of the previous forums:

  • Research on automation of the human-vehicle-infrastructure interface for the purposes of improved mobility and improved safety. This is seen as going beyond the classic ITS research of the past 15 years, to encompass human factors, telecommunications, virtual presence, the impact of the digital native generation dominating the traveling and working public, and more.
  • Research on new materials for improved sustainability and durability of infrastructure along with decreased cost. Nanotechnology is considered a key technology research area for this, but not the only area. Further, there is a desire that FHWA advanced research in nanotechnology not duplicate the extensive research being done elsewhere, but rather focus the fruits of that research on transportation issues.
  • Systems thinking is assumed to be a fundamental need for advanced research, including the integration of land use issues, environmental sustainability, political and social policy research, and public health interactions.

 

The recommendations of this forum also differed from those of the other two in highlighting the need for research on the following:

  • Innovative and breakthrough approaches to moving freight. Participants argued that freight has tended to be underresearched but could potentially have very high impacts.
  • Research on very long-term travel needs, particularly as related to changing demographics.
  • There was strong encouragement again for FHWA to seek multiparty and interagency research opportunities to leverage limited dollars.
  • The coming decades seem to strongly suggest that the norm will not be business as usual, and new thinking will be required. New mechanisms to enable radically new transportation solutions will be needed.

 

Summary report prepared by Glen Hiemstra, Futurist.com, Judy Yahoodik, DOT/RITA Volpe Center Project Team, and Ariam Asmerom, FHWA Office of Corporate Research and Technology

Debra Elston, Director
FHWA Office of Corporate Research and Technology


Appendix

Brainstorming Advanced Research Agenda Ideas - Team Results

Below are the initial results of the three working groups, who produced lists of suggested advanced research topics or issues using a modified nominal group technique. These results formed the material for the final recommendations and are listed with the score that each item received within the working group when using the nominal group scoring method. Note: A "0" follows the items that did not receive votes in the final tally.


YELLOW TABLE: Initial Advanced Research Agenda Topics and votes

  1. How will our society need to travel, and what will be business travel needs in 2050? (11)
  2. Innovative traffic flow monitoring and control systems. (11)
  3. Develop and provide robust automated vehicle-highway systems. (9)
  4. How will transportation systems support sustainability? (7)
  5. Design sustainable, advanced materials using nanotechnology. (6)
  6. Develop ways to move information acquisition and use into the productive mode. (5)
  7. Identify truck-only opportunities and implications for design and operation. (5)
  8. Develop a program to identify and solve institutional barriers to innovation. (5)
  9. Develop segregated roadway design concepts. (4)
  10. Develop technologies and strategies to reduce the need for travel. (4)
  11. Advanced computation initiative (simulation, molecular modeling, regional transportation district (RTD) of highways). (4)
  12. Specially designed commuting vehicles on dedicated lanes. (4)
  13. Controlling traffic around ports and terminals. (3)
  14. Aggressive development of vehicle communications systems. (3)
  15. Case studies of institutional challenges to automating traffic. (2)
  16. Task force for studying the automated highway system. (2)
  17. Materials that do not deteriorate. (1)
  18. Innovative concepts for intersection traffic control. (1)
  19. Freight pipelines. (1)
  20. Modify infrastructure to accommodate more aggressive ramp metering. (1)
  21. Technical and economic requirements of automated vehicles. (1)
  22. Challenges for advanced research. (0)
  23. Link roadway with vehicles. (0)
  24. New sensors and information technology to assess damage in aging infrastructure. (0)
  25. Simulation and modeling technology to assess physical and behavioral performance. (0)
  26. Vehicle-driver diagnostics based on vehicle-driver performance. (0)
  27. Innovative transportation competition for 2050. (0)
  28. Behavior of infrastructure in response to extreme events. (0)
  29. Establish and maintain an advanced research program with partners. (0)
  30. Incorporate high amounts of waste products in more durable structures. (0)
  31. Develop pedestrian assistance technologies to expand small area mobility. (0)
  32. Self-healing materials for transportation. (0)
  33. Moving people and goods in highly congested areas. (0)
  34. Light-rail on highways. (0)
  35. Electrical lines on highways. (0)
  36. Human factors for safety. (0)
  37. Dual-mode transit. (0)

 

ORANGE TABLE: Initial Advanced Research Agenda Topics and votes

  1. Super innovative cross-country container movement. (19)
  2. Improved vehicle-highway interaction, better instrumentation of infrastructure. (13)
  3. Land use and transportation. (13)
  4. Safer rural systems. (11)
  5. Behavior norms in safety. (9)
  6. Ways to distribute resources equitably. (9)
  7. Decreased time for improvements such as pavement on a roll. (6)
  8. Truck-vehicle separation. (4)
  9. Spatial travel demand, both individual and aggregate. (4)
  10. Nanotechnology to improve infrastructure sensing. (4)
  11. Increasing nonmotorized travel. (3)
  12. Statistical approaches to identify high-risk topics. (2)
  13. Geographic information systems to link highway data to other data, such as alcohol outlets. (2)
  14. Positive and negative public health effects. (2)
  15. Pricing methods and public-private partnerships. (2)
  16. Improve service life, such as developing 100-year pavements. (1)
  17. Image recognition for pedestrians and bikes. (1)
  18. Academic and industry collaboration on networked traffic controllers and distributed control algorithms. (0)
  19. Impact of digital natives on transportation. (0)
  20. Construction and maintenance automation. (0)
  21. Hydrogen test bed for truck fleets. (0)
  22. Link transportation network characteristics and land use to energy use and pollution. (0)
  23. Container tracking. (0)
  24. Transportation security. (0)

 

RED TABLE: Advanced Research Agenda Topics and Votes

  1. Seamless movement between modes and better integration of ITS into design and the identification of hot spots. (14)
  2. New materials and building processes for increased longevity, decreased cost, and improved sustainability. (13)
  3. Human cognition and perception regarding how people use and understand multilayer systems. (10)
  4. New energy sources that are sustainable and clean. (9)
  5. Personal mobility devices for an aging population. (7)
  6. Alternative financing mechanisms after the gas tax. (6)
  7. Knowledge management systems. (6)
  8. Freight, including how to position and move goods, and what are the modal options and industry incentives. (6)
  9. Designing places for mobility without travel. (5)
  10. How to maximize traffic flow using existing resources. (4)
  11. Improving economic performance of travel systems, including household cost of living impacts. (4)
  12. Transportation behavior change, making choices, integrating change. (4)
  13. Research and development on electromagnetic-resistant vehicle to reduce crashes, injuries, fatalities, crash costs, and insurance premiums. (4)
  14. ITS, including enhance roadway-vehicle interaction. (3)
  15. Policy research on political obstacles to improving highway safety. (2)
  16. Alternate fuel magnetic levitation technologies. (2)
  17. Design and development of short-trip personal vehicles. (2)
  18. Improve land use, transportation systems modeling and planning. (2)
  19. Understand broadband superhighway for travel. (1)
  20. Virtual meeting technologies. (1)
  21. High-risk, high-payoff innovative contracting techniques. (0)
  22. Adapt existing technology to transportation applications. (0)
  23. More holistic financing models, including who reaps the benefits, and the costs, impact, and efficiency. (0)
  24. Travel ports as intersections of several transportation modes. (0)
  25. Smart cars for older drivers. (0
  26. Can nanotechnology be used to create new materials for roadway infrastructure? (0)
  27. How do we expedite intermodal flows of traffic? (0)
  28. Evaluate and improve human capabilities to improve safety. (0)
  29. Demand-side strategy for goods movement. (0)
  30. Improve project cost and time estimates. (0)

 

 

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

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

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

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101