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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > March 2007 > FHWA's New Exploratory Advanced Research Program: Transforming Highway Transportation
March 2007Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-07-011

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FHWA's New Exploratory Advanced Research Program: Transforming Highway Transportation

Innovative infrastructure solutions and advances in highway safety are among the goals of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) new and cross-cutting Exploratory Advanced Research Program. Now soliciting proposals, the program will fund research and development projects that could lead to transforming advances in highway engineering and intermodal surface transportation in the United States. The new program was established by the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). It is managed by FHWA's Office of Corporate Research and Technology.

The program is designed to cover applied research in a wide spectrum of science and technology areas. This research should be undertaken with a specific problem or need in mind. Basic research or demonstrations or evaluations of existing technologies are not within the scope of the program.

"The research funded under this program will help FHWA improve highway safety, reduce congestion, reduce the environmental and health impacts of the Nation's highways, and reduce the long-term costs of highways and improve efficiency," says Steven Chase, Chief Scientist at FHWA's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Virginia. Given the exploratory and high-risk focus of the program, FHWA anticipates that the research results will need to undergo further development before producing methods or technologies that are immediately implementable.

The six focus areas for proposals are:

  • Highway safety.
  • Dramatic breakthroughs in planning and environment.
  • Innovative solutions to understanding and applying transportation policy.
  • Innovative operations solutions to reduce traffic congestion.
  • Innovative infrastructure solutions.
  • Cross-cutting exploratory advanced research.

Approximately $20 million is available for funding projects over the next 3 years, with an expected $10 million to be awarded in fiscal year 2007. Initial individual awards are expected to range from $100,000 for short-term efforts to as high as $3 million for longer-term projects. The Federal share of the cost of a project is limited to 50 percent.

Pre-proposals are due March 30, 2007. Applicants whose pre-proposals are determined to be of interest may then be invited by FHWA to submit a full proposal. Full proposals can also be submitted by applicants who did not submit a pre-proposal. For more information, including a Proposer Information Packet with details on the six focus areas and how to submit a proposal, visit This site includes a link to the full Federal Business Opportunities Announcement for the program. Information on the program is also available by sending an email to

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Updated: 02/20/2015

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