The breakout groups presented their conclusions and recommendations to workshop participants on November 1.
In the asset management area, stakeholders recommended that the FHWA Office of Asset Management change its vision statement to stress its role as supporting the implementation of asset management through providing the necessary tools, data, and training. Participants also indicated that the office should recognize customer service as the primary driver of asset management, as opposed to just return-on-investment. The group confirmed that FHWA should not own the movement toward asset management, but should be a partner. Stakeholders validated the strategies and activities presented in the proposed Infrastructure R&T Program, but suggested numerous additions. An overarching theme in these suggestions was increasing FHWA's target audience, particularly to involve FHWA field staff. Key recommendations include:
The stakeholders recommended that resources be allocated as follows:
Money should be split between research and development (R&D) and deployment.
Suggestions for structures R&T included:
Stakeholders recommended that FHWA continue and emphasize its role in training and assist States by providing models for managing R&D programs and sharing best practices. It was also suggested that FHWA take a leadership role in collecting and disseminating research in progress and research results from all sources, and it was noted that further stakeholder involvement in refining the FHWA Innovative Bridge Research and Construction (IBRC) Program is desired. While the group agreed that the FHWA proposal generally had merit, there were concerns about the format proposed, such as the long-term bridge-performance program.
Pavements stakeholders emphasized that specific outcomes for the R&T program should be defined. Emphasis areas should include pavement system design, performance-prediction models, traffic prediction, pavement management, and maintenance and rehabilitation. Training should target highway agency and contractor employees, as well as universities. In addition, LTPP program data gaps should be filled, and FHWA should analyze proactively the available results. When it comes to stakeholder involvement, a formal process should include both program and project level input. Also, all pavement plans and ideas should be environmentally friendly.
The stakeholder group recommended three levels of stakeholder involvement: strategic, programmatic, and project. These levels would encompass such roles as: providing merit review of research and technologies at the project level; establishing criteria for creating R&T program areas at the programmatic level; and serving as a steering committee at the strategic level. Participants supported the recommendation that FHWA continue to both conduct and coordinate research. Other recommendations included specifically addressing security issues, emphasizing outreach and education and training, and recognizing the importance of integrating practice with research. Also, institutional issues (such as setting up matching and pooled funds and establishing public/private partnerships) need to be addressed. Some stakeholders noted the need to define the context of highway infrastructure and to accommodate nontraditional areas of research.
The November 1 Breakout Groups' Microsoft PowerPoint presentations are shown in Appendix B.