U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
|This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information|
Publication Number: FHWA-RD-02-101
Date: January 2003
FY 2002 Performance Report
Appendix C: FHWA Research and Technology Partnerships
FHWA’s research approach emphasizes cooperation, information sharing, and formal research agenda development, both within DOT and across the entire government. We promote partnerships with State and local governments, academia, and the private sector to quickly and cost-effectively transform new technologies and concepts into better transportation systems, processes, and services.
The following is just a partial listing of different R&T partnerships. Many partnerships may transcend categories, and may often have three or more participants that can represent several categories. There also are several different partnership types offering many opportunities for participation and involvement in FHWA R&T projects. Partnerships generally can be separated into nine categories:
ITS Joint Program Office
Research is being conducted at TFHRC on the IVI—a government-industry program coordinated by the JPO. IVI’s goal is to use enabling technologies to accelerate safety and mobility-enhancing, driver-assistance development and commercialization. Partners include FHWA, Federal Transit Authority, NHTSA, RSPA Volpe Center, Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation, plus motor vehicle and trucking industries, fleet operators, State and local transportation and law enforcement agencies, emergency response organizations, universities, other research organizations, and professional societies.
The Transportation Pooled Fund Program
To qualify as a pooled fund study, more than one State transportation agency, Federal agency, other agency such as a municipality or metropolitan planning organization, college/university, or a private company must find the subject important enough to commit funds or other resources to conduct the research, planning, and technology innovation activities. A pooled fund study is intended to address a new area, or complement or advance previous subject matter investigations. All studies receive funding from the States involved. Another pooled fund category involves the NCHRP, and every year FHWA establishes a pooled fund study for the NCHRP contributions from the States.
Federal and State transportation agencies may initiate pooled fund studies and act as the “lead agency” for the study. Local and regional transportation agencies, private industry, foundations, and colleges and universities may partner with any or all of the sponsoring agencies to conduct pooled fund projects. The Transportation Pooled Fund Program is the successor of the former national and regional pooled fund programs.
The Infrastructure Consortium was organized under a pooled fund program to represent the interests of State and local highway transportation infrastructure providers in developing and deploying advanced highway safety technologies. The members of the Infrastructure Consortium are State departments of transportation. The Consortium is expected to sponsor and support innovative research in cooperative IVI services, serve as a stakeholder for all State and local governments, and promote cost-effective cooperative IVI service deployment. Just as IVI partnered with the vehicle manufacturing industry to jointly conduct precompetitive research, IVI will partner with the Infrastructure Consortium to ensure that the research for infrastructure cooperative systems to avoid intersection collisions will provide results that governments can accept. The Infrastructure Consortium provides a unique opportunity that enables partnerships between the vehicle manufacturing industry and the infrastructure providers so that cooperative vehicle-highway systems can be researched, evaluated, manufactured, deployed, operated, and maintained.
Transportation and Sustainable Communities
Partners include: DOE; DOT (BTS, FAA, FHWA, FRA, FTA); EPA; HHS (CDC); HUD; Interior (National Park Service); OMB; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, State and local transportation/environmental agencies and organizations; health agencies; Metropolitan Planning Organizations; mayoral offices; advocates; environmental technology manufacturers and vendors; system designers, engineering and construction firms; materials manufacturers; vehicle and fuel manufacturers; and universities.
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program
One example of an SBIR research partnership is the Visual Freight Database, which is a public/private partnership that provides improved modeling tools for national, State, and MPO freight planning and information that shows county-to-county freight movements by modes and commodity types. The database is available for use throughout the FHWA.
FHWA also fosters cooperation on international R&T activities with our U.S. partners, such as the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The International Technology Scanning Program accesses and evaluates foreign technologies and innovations, which could significantly benefit U.S. highway transportation systems. This program enables advanced technology to be adapted and implemented much more efficiently without spending scarce research funds to recreate advances that already have been developed by other countries. Twelve scans are conducted over a 2-year period. Additionally, FHWA has a number of bilateral agreements with other countries.
There are also efforts underway to create an R&T partnership with the FEHRL. Frequently, U.S. and the European Union (EU) research priorities are similar; therefore, a partnership with FEHRL helps save money by avoiding duplication of effort and allows optimal use of resources. FHWA will be working with FEHRL to conduct EU-supported research. This cooperation may allow for future common standards.
A new agreement was recently reached with Japan to proceed with a U.S.-Japan ITS joint research program for developing infrastructure cooperative systems to avoid intersection collisions. This involves a continuing, cooperative dialogue on specific research of common interest by routine communication through our Japanese research fellow and annual workshops. A continuing agreement with France involves our research and testing of a product called CLAIRE, advanced software for adaptive traffic control at intersections. This led to agreements for working together to field test a combination of FHWA- and French-control software in Los Angeles’ and Houston’s urban environments.
FHWA and the French Road Directorate/Direction des Routes signed a project agreement on highway research and technology transfer September 23, 1993, which falls under the French Ministry of Transport/U.S. DOT Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) framework signed February 14, 1972. Our agreements are indefinite unless one party chooses to terminate the partnership.
Our road agreement enables participation among “researchers and organizations from all sectors including, universities, national laboratories, and the private sector” based on mutual consent. To select and launch a project under the road agreement, approval of FHWA’s Office of International Programs and the French Road Directorate is required, and both sides must agree to an “implementation agreement.”
Implementation agreements specify the particulars of the project, including subject, procedures, terms of cooperation, enmities involved, funding, project managers, and principle investigators.
Possible research areas include: asphalt mixes and asphalt pavement performance modeling; CRCP modeling, polymer modified asphalt specifications; use of LCPC’s accelerated pavement tests results for validation of pavement design of flexible pavements and specifications for binders; Superpave qualification of LCPC’s gyratory shear compactor; surface pavement distress imaging; automatic surface pavement distress images processing; noncontact longitudinal profile measurement high-speed deflectometer; pavement degradations evolution laws; close proximity noise measurement; and use of LCPC’s videogranulometer for aggregate shape characterization.
Remote Sensing Technology
U.S. Army Cold Region Research and Engineering Laboratory
Another multiyear project is underway with the CRREL to develop a winter weather Maintenance Decision Support System in coordination with six national research laboratories. System operational testing will follow prototype development. The intent is to bring their expertise to this area of highway operations and to produce accessible products that can improve private vendor products.
High Performance Steel
Nationwide Differential Global Positioning System
IHSDM: Improving the Safety of Highway Design
A technical working group (TWG) helps guide IHSDM development. The TWG includes representatives from seven State departments of transportation (Arkansas, California, Illinois, Minnesota, North Carolina, Washington, and West Virginia) and FHWA Field Offices. The TWG provides periodic input on development, testing, and marketing issues to ensure that IHSDM is responsive to users’ needs. FHWA also receives input on IHSDM development through presentations and demonstrations to other State DOTs and engineering consulting firms.
Highway Innovation Technology Evaluation Center (HITEC)
A nonprofit research organization, CERF was selected because it emphasizes revitalizing the Nation’s deteriorating infrastructure by transferring research results into practice. CERF programs are dedicated to enhancing private industry’s incentives to invest in highway-oriented R&D; improving the opportunities for bringing new technologies to the marketplace in a timely and efficient manner; and providing prompt, efficient nationally recognized, impartial evaluation of new private sector technologies for use on our Nation’s highways.
Concrete Pavement Technology Program (CPTP)
In addition to the oversight provided by FHWA and the IPRF, the program receives guidance from the TRB Committee for Research on Improved Concrete Pavements. The committee reviews and provides advice on the program’s long-range work plan and project tasks, including objectives, appropriateness, and the likelihood of success. The committee has representatives from industry, academia, and State highway agencies, FHWA, IPRF, and AASHTO.
FHWA/ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) National Crash Analysis Center
In 1998, NHTSA joined FHWA as a full partner in administrating and guiding NCAC. This laboratory, located at George Washington University, Loudon, VA, is an internationally recognized cooperative center for automotive and highway safety research.
The facility's comprehensive ability to analyze roadside hardware designs, simulate crashes, and evaluate occupant injuries through analytical and computer modeling is unique. NCAC produces and serves as a repository for computer vehicles models, ongoing biomechanics models, and progressive roadside hardware models.
NCAC also includes a Vehicle Digitizing and Reverse Engineering Laboratory and a High-Performance Parallel Computing Laboratory. In addition, NCAC maintains a national library of crash-test film and documentation that FHWA and NHTSA have collected over the past two decades.
Curved Structure Test
Recycled Materials Resource Center
Universities and Grants Programs
Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP)