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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology: Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations



Proposals for Exploratory Advanced Research

FHWA issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the Exploratory Advanced Research Program, soliciting for high-risk, high-payoff research and innovations to solve critical highway challenges. During 2009 and 2010 FHWA engaged stakeholders from within and outside the traditional highway research community to identify topics of research that promise transformation and possible breakthroughs in highway technology, processes and policies. FHWA is moving forward with three of the topic areas that had a strong scientific and technical basis through the issuance of this BAA. The three topic areas include:


  • Modeling Cement Hydration Kinetics—Hydration of portland cement is the cornerstone of the process responsible for microstructure development in concrete and ultimately controls the dynamics of all material properties that make concrete such a useful product for society. Recent advances in both experimental and computational technology are providing unprecedented insights into the nature of cement hydration. While a comprehensive theory is not yet available, recent progress suggests that what were once thought to be the most elusive hurdles are now within reach. A number of simulation platforms are now available along with emerging modeling strategies that could provide multiscale linkages for the development of engineering models and computational research tools. Similarly, newer experimental strategies are yet to be fully exploited, although they are now positioned to offer real insights and breakthroughs. This research will begin to undertake the task of developing a comprehensive understanding and model for cement hydration that could conceivably enable new applications and discoveries.

  • Video Decoding and Feature Extraction Automation for Highway Research—The initial phase of this project would scan for recently completed and ongoing research supporting improvements in automated feature extraction generally and video decoding in particular, would assess the potential of different approaches to feature extraction and video decoding for transportation applications, then provide a detailed work plan for testing one or more promising approaches. The initial phase would provide knowledge of state-of-the-art and future-art approaches to feature extraction being used by researchers already active in highway research. The intention is that the first phase will highlight the potential of advanced video coding and feature extraction technologies, ideally including automated feature obscuration to prevent personally identifiable information from storage without adequate security, in order to support and accelerate critical highway research activities. The initial phase also should provide information for the transportation industry about research gaps and technology development needs. A subsequent phase of the research would test one or more feature extraction approaches to further understand the potential of this technology for transportation applications.

  •  New Technology Solutions for Wayfinding and Navigation Guidance for People with Vision Impairment and Other Disabilities—The objective of this research is to develop concepts and prototypes that use new technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and sensors that could improve event horizons related to wayfinding and navigation guidance. For purposes of this research, assume that broadband wireless technology, intelligent transportation systems, global positioning systems, dedicated short-range communications, etc., are widely available. The concepts should be futuristic and focus on one or more of the following key areas of event horizon: (1) sensing with laser, cameras, computer vision, robotics, artificial intelligence, or any other technology; (2) human interface that decides how much information to be presented, at what time, and in what form; and (3) algorithms that help plan the event and lay out the scope for the whole event. The concept should be flexible to extend this research to find accessible transportation solutions for people with other disabilities such as sensory, cognitive, and mobility, and those who are aging.

The Broad Agency Announcement (number DTFH61-1-R-00027) is open until 4:00 pm EST, September 15, 2011 and is posted at this Web address:


Research Highlights

picture of nanotechnology


Exploratory Advanced Research Program Brochure,(FHWA-HRT-13-071)- November 2013

Multimedia Downloads

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

Project Fact Sheets

Efficient and Safe Merging Solutions - Advanced Freeway Merge Assistance: Harnessing The Potential of Connected Vehicles,(FHWA-HRT-14-045)- February 2014


Multiscale Materials Modeling Workshop Summary Report April 23-24, 2013(FHWA-HRT-13-103)- December 2013

Scanning and Convening Activities Fact Sheets

Exploring Bridge Maintenance and Asset Management,(FHWA-HRT-11-052)- June 2011


Multiscale Materials Modeling Workshop Summary Report April 23-24, 2013(FHWA-HRT-13-103)- December 2013

Web Articles

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