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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 64 · No. 4 > Internal FHWA Partnership Leverages Technology and Innovation

Jan/Feb 2001
Vol. 64 · No. 4

Internal FHWA Partnership Leverages Technology and Innovation

by Bob Bryant

Introduction:

Unique Roles Result in a Unique Partnership

by Dennis C. Judycki and Arthur E. Hamilton

One of the guiding principles of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), as defined in the FHWA National Strategic Plan, is to "be an international leader in researching, developing, and advancing technology to ensure the most efficient, effective, and environmentally sensitive intermodal transportation system." The plan further states, "Technology deployment will be a key factor to accomplish strategic objectives in all goal areas." That means that we must leverage technology and innovation to improve processes and services for a wide range of highway-related areas, including policy, planning, environment, design, safety, construction, maintenance, system management, and operation.

The agency can be successful only if its internal offices are working together in harmony. The FHWA offices with an active role in technology development and deployment include the core business units; the service business units; the resource centers; and our chief delivery and deployment component, the division offices. Success requires each office to contribute and to work in unison with its internal and external partners.

About two years ago, FHWA restructured its organization and realigned associated roles to continuously raise the state of the art through collaborative research and to raise the state of the practice through technology delivery and putting innovations into action.

Because of their agency roles and responsibilities, two organizations within FHWA are fostering a long-standing, internal FHWA partnership that provides a very special opportunity for research and technology delivery to our customers. The Research, Development, and Technology Service Business Unit (RD&T) and the Federal Lands Highway Core Business Unit (FLH) have a rich history and a continuing program of internal partnering to enhance the delivery of FHWA research.

RD&T has the responsibility to serve the agency and our external partners with research and development in infrastructure, safety, and operations and intelligent transportation systems. And because of FLH's role for the design and construction of highways on government property, FLH is a unique, internal customer for the operational testing, evaluation, and application of state-of-the-art research practices and products. This internal "twinning" relationship has served FHWA very well for decades, providing robust technical staff synergy, complementary knowledge-sharing and teaming, and an exceptional opportunity for an FHWA "laboratory" spanning the innovation process from research to application.

As we look to the future, we see an even stronger partnership. With its laboratories at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, RD&T strives to become increasingly indispensable and connected to its customers and partners. FLH has established a technology team that is focused on improving the opportunities for the application of advanced practices, procedures, and products. And the desired outcome of an RD&T-FLH workshop that will be conducted later in 2001 is a joint plan of action that identifies and prioritizes unique research and innovation delivery opportunities.

The bottom line, of course is putting effective innovation into practice. The RD&T-FLH internal partnership continues to be very special and almost unique, but it also provides an outstanding example for others to model.

We are pleased that this article highlights some of our collaborative projects and mentions some of our outstanding staff whose collaboration and expertise are making this internal partnership a success.

Cooperate & Graduate Next>


Dennis C. Judycki is the director of research, development, and technology for the Federal Highway Administration.

Arthur E. Hamilton is the program manager for the Federal Highway Administration's Federal Lands Highway Core Business Unit.

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