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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-083
FY 2003 Performance Report
FHWA's research approach emphasizes cooperation, information sharing, and formal development of research agendas, both within USDOT 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.
Many partnerships may transcend categories, and may often have three or more participants that can represent several categories. The several different partnership types offer many opportunities for participation and involvement in FHWA R&T projects. Partnerships generally can be separated into nine categories (a comprehensive listing of abbreviations can be found in appendix F).
The following is just a partial listing of different R&T partnerships:
ITS Joint Program Office
The ITS JPO coordinates ITS activities across USDOT, including research, technology, and development conducted at TFHRC.
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 development and commercialization of safety-enhancing driver-assistance systems. Partners include FHWA, FTA, NHTSA, RSPA Volpe Center, DOD, and NSF, 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
When significant or widespread interest is shown in solving transportation-related problems, research, planning, and technology innovation activities and studies may be funded jointly by several Federal, State, regional, and local transportation agencies, academic institutions, foundations, or private industry under the TPF Program. FHWA plays a key role in this process. While FHWA participates and contributes directly to some pooled fund studies, it also encourages States to pool their funds for regional or national problems to avoid research duplication, and to effectively use monies for managing research.
To qualify as a pooled fund study, more than one State transportation agency, Federal agency, other agency (such as a municipality or MPO, 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 TPF Program is the successor of the former national and regional pooled fund programs.
A new interactive TPF Web site permits online solicitations and funding commitments for new pooled fund studies, and allows lead agencies to post work plans, progress reports, final report/deliverables, implementation activities, and other relevant information. The culmination of an effort to re-engineer the pooled fund program, the Web site serves as the central communications tool for tracking the status of pooled fund studies. Workshops on the program and demonstrations of the Web site were held at each of the 2003 regional AASHTO RAC meetings. The Web site is located at http://www.pooledfund.org/. For more information about the program, contact Lisa Williams, TPF Coordinator, at 202–493–3376.
Small Business Innovation Research Program
The SBIR program is an R&D program mandated by Congress in 1982 and reauthorized in 1992. Its purpose is to develop technological innovations by using high-level expertise in the small-business community throughout the United States. The program aims to stimulate technological innovations; meet the Federal Government's needs for R&D by providing opportunities to small businesses; increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal R&D; and provide opportunities for minority and disadvantaged participation in technological innovations.
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 FHWA.
FHWA promotes the U.S. highway transportation community's objectives through participation in international organizations and their operating committees, including the Pan American Institute of Highways, the PIARC, the OECD/RTR program, the International Road Federation, and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum.
FHWA also fosters cooperation on international R&T activities with such U.S. partners as AASHTO and NCHRP. The International Technology Scanning Program accesses and evaluates foreign technologies and innovations that might 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.
The RD&T Office of Infrastructure represented FHWA at the PIARC Road Pavement Committee meeting in Paris, France, April 2003. An FHWA-led effort helped develop the PIARC Guideline for Pavement Type Selection. FHWA also shared its experience and successes in implementing pavement innovations into practice (such as Superpave and Ultra-Thin Whitetopping).
FHWA and the French Road Directorate (Direction des routes) signed a project agreement on highway research and T2 that falls under the INRETS/USDOT Memorandum of Understanding framework, signed February 14, 1972. Our agreements are indefinite unless one party chooses to terminate the partnership.
One effort under our continuing agreement with France involved the research and testing of a product called CLAIRE, an expert decisionmaking system for real-time traffic management. This led to agreements for working together to field test a combination of FHWA and French-developed software in Los Angeles, CA's and Houston, TX's urban environments.
Efforts also are underway to create an R&T partnership with the FEHRL. Frequently, the United States and 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.
The tenth United States-Japan Workshop on Advanced Technology and Highway Engineering was held in Salt Lake City, UT, and Seattle, WA, in November 2002. The workshop focused on transportation systems management and operations, with an emphasis on special events management and lessons learned from the Winter Olympics. The workshop was co-hosted by FTA and Utah State DOT. It was the final workshop held under the 1997 Implementing Arrangement on Highway Cooperation between FHWA and the former Japanese Ministry of Construction. That agreement expired in January 2003. Future cooperation will take place under the comprehensive United States-Japan Transportation Implementing Arrangement in Science and Technology signed in 1994 between USDOT and the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport.
An agreement was made with Japan to proceed with a United States-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. Yoshiteru Iwami from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport joined Operations R&D in May 2003 on a 1-year International Research Fellowship sponsored by the United States-Japan ITS Joint Research Program.
Concrete Pavement Technology Program (CPTP)
Launched in 1999, the CPTP is a 5-year, $25 million effort that was charged by TEA-21 with carrying out "research on improved methods of using concrete pavement in the construction, reconstruction, and repair of Federal-aid highways." FHWA and the IPRF, a concrete paving industry consortium, jointly administer the program. The program's partners also include State highway agencies and TRB. Specifically, the partnership will ensure that the highest priority concrete pavement technology needs are addressed; the expertise and resources of States, industry, and FHWA are used effectively and efficiently; and new concrete pavement technology will proceed rapidly from research to implementation.
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, State highway agencies, FHWA, IPRF, and AASHTO.
Federal Highway Administration/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration/National Crash Analysis Center
FHWA, NHTSA, and George Washington University broke ground for a new crash test facility located at the university's Virginia campus. Scheduled for opening in 2005, the new facility will include indoor highway and infrastructure safety testing labs and an automotive crash test barrier. The event was also marked by the commemoration of the 10-year partnership among FHWA, NHTSA, and George Washington University at the NCAC.
The NCAC's highway infrastructure safety research supports the research at TFHRC in McLean, VA, and has resulted in lifesaving innovations in highway technology. NCAC research has helped improve over a dozen roadside hardware devices, such as guardrails, signposts, and lighting towers.