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Infrastructure Research and Technology Stakeholder Workshop Summary Report: Workshop Proceedings

Breakout Groups Conclusions and Recommendations

The breakout groups presented their conclusions and recommendations to workshop participants on November 1.

Asset Management

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:

  • Integrating disparate databases.
  • Improving predictability models.
  • Estimating highway user costs and costs to society.
  • Providing material for trainers, students, and practitioners.
  • Recognizing the multidisciplinary nature of asset management and striving for better coordination, perhaps through creation of an asset management institute.
  • Identifying options for institutionalization of the process.
  • Working to interface asset management with functions such as operations and human resources.
  • Demonstrating effective decisions made using the process.
  • Showing how the asset management results are used.
  • Developing a marketing strategy to convey the asset management message.

The stakeholders recommended that resources be allocated as follows:

  • Technology-24 percent.
  • Information-26 percent.
  • Deployment-27 percent.
  • People-23 percent.

Money should be split between research and development (R&D) and deployment.

Structures

Suggestions for structures R&T included:

  • Setting short- and long-term objectives for achieving the bridge of the future and clarifying the timeline for achieving objectives.
  • Expanding the R&T vision to include rehabilitation methods.
  • Emphasizing the importance of minimizing the impact on the traveling public.

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

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.

Stakeholder Involvement

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.

Breakout Group Presentations

The November 1 Breakout Groups' Microsoft PowerPoint presentations are shown in Appendix B.

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Updated: 10/18/2013