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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

Internal FHWA Partnership Leverages Technology and Innovation (continued)

"Cooperate and graduate!" That's the motto of students in many training programs. The motto reflects the understanding that the mutual interests of the students - the elimination of hassles and ultimate graduation - are best served when the students help one another to ensure that everyone succeeds.

Two offices within the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) - the Federal Lands Highway Core Business Unit (FLH) and the Research, Development, and Technology Service Business Unit (RD&T) - have embraced this concept and have developed a mutually beneficial relationship that can serve as a model of cooperation for all organizations.

Ad hoc collaboration between FLH and RD&T has been taking place for years. For example, periodically over the past 30 years, RD&T has conducted investigative studies on behalf of FLH or its predecessor in several areas, including concrete analysis (usually for freeze/thaw durability) and aggregate identification and analysis. The difference now is the corporate attitude. Both offices look for opportunities to work smarter by working together. They are eager to assist one another, and as they evaluate every complex task, they do not hesitate to call upon the special expertise or resources of the other when their own in-house resources are insufficient. Exceptional collaboration is the rule and not the exception.

Each office provides services or resources that would be quite difficult or expensive for the other office to procure from other sources. Also, collaboration helps each to further develop their expertise. Generally, RD&T has the researchers and laboratories to conduct studies and analyses on behalf of FLH, and FLH offers real-world facilities and environments that enable RD&T researchers to field test their hypotheses and to confirm their laboratory conclusions and findings.

FLH - through its three field divisions: Eastern, Central, and Western - provides transportation services, including design and construction, to federal land management agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Fish and Wildlife, and Bureau of Land Management. This gives FLH "a wide and diverse inventory," including bridges of various ages, types, and materials, said Marcus Miller, a structural engineer for the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division (EFL).

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