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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-05-040
Date: March 2005

Office of Research, Development, and Technology FY 2004 Performance Report

II. The Strategic Framework

The FHWA R&T Program

FHWA's mission is enhancing mobility through innovation, leadership, and public service. FHWA faces the continuous challenge of enhancing the movement of people and goods from one place to another, while ensuring the safety and security of the traveling public, promoting the efficiency of the transportation system, and protecting the environment.

Major FHWA programs include the Federal-Aid Highway Program, which provides Federal financial assistance to the States to construct and improve the National Highway System (NHS), urban and rural roads, and bridges. In addition, the Federal Lands Highway Program provides access to and within national forests, national parks, Indian reservations, and other public lands by preparing plans and contracts, supervising construction of facilities, and conducting bridge inspections and surveys. FHWA manages a comprehensive R&T program in support of the above.

FHWA places a very high value on new technologies, materials, and innovations to improve the Nation's roadways.

Due to FHWA efforts, applications of advanced technology to the Nation's highways are yielding impressive returns in safety, mobility, productivity, and environmental quality. FHWA strategically invests in R&T to improve the transportation system. The Agency's approach emphasizes partnership with a broad range of organizations, including other DOTs and Federal agencies; State, local, and county governments; and international organizations. The goal is to identify, develop, and accelerate the transformation of new ideas into better transportation systems, processes, and services.

FHWA's research approach emphasizes cooperation, information sharing, and formal research agenda development.

Vision and Mission

The FHWA research approach emphasizes cooperation, information sharing, and research agenda development with State and local governments, academia, and the private sector. Research conducted at TFHRC supports the Agency's vision, mission, and goals and is strategically aligned with the USDOT.

DOT Vision (FY 2003)
Safer, simpler, smarter transportation solutions.
FHWA Vision
Improving transportation for a strong America.
RD&T Vision
An RD&T organization that is essential, indispensable,
and connected to our partners in advancing R&T.
DOT Mission
Develop and administer policies and programs that contribute to providing fast, safe, efficient, and convenient transportation at the lowest cost consistent with the national objectives of general welfare, economic growth and stability, the security of the United States, and the efficient use and conservation of the resources of the United States.
FHWA Mission
Enhancing mobility through innovation,
leadership, and public service.
RD&T Mission
Leads in developing a nationally coordinated R&T Program; champions the advancement of highway technological innovation in support of FHWA strategic goals and performance objectives; advances knowledge through research, development, testing, and evaluation services; and provides support and assistance throughout FHWA in matters relating to RD&T.

FHWA Strategic Goals for FY 2004

Six strategic goals-Safety, Mobility and Productivity, Global Connectivity, Environment, National Homeland Security, and Organizational Excellence—are addressed in the FY 2004/2005 plan.

  • Safety-Continually improve highway safety.
  • Mobility and Productivity-Preserve, improve, and expand the Nation's highway transportation system while, at the same time, enhancing the operation of the existing highway system and intermodal connectors.
  • Global Connectivity-Promote and facilitate a more efficient domestic and global transportation system that enables economic growth.
  • Environment-Protect and enhance the natural environment and communities affected by highway transportation.
  • National Homeland Security-Improve highway security and support national defense mobility.
  • Organizational Excellence-Advance FHWA's ability to manage for results and innovation.

The Vital Few

The Vital Few are the key areas with performance gaps that must be addressed for FHWA to be successful in the short-term. Achieving performance improvements in the following areas was a priority during FY 2004:

  • Safety.
  • Congestion Mitigation.
  • Environmental Stewardship and Streamlining.

RD&T Corporate Missions and Functions

RD&T performs several key functions to champion the advancement of highway technological innovation. The following examples illustrate some of the unique functions carried out by RD&T in its effort to support the Agency's role as "innovators for a better future."

Highway Research and Development

  • Research and innovation.
  • Technical assistance.
  • Forensic evaluation.

Implementation of the Corporate Master Plan

  • Supporting FHWA R&T Leadership Team in the implementation of the Corporate Master Plan for Research and Deployment of Technology & Innovation.
  • Supporting the Associate Administrator for RD&T as FHWA champion for R&T.

Strategic Planning and Budget

  • R&T budget development.
  • Legislative monitoring and analysis of R&T issues.
  • Agency input into USDOT RD&T Plan.

R&T Performance Measurement

  • R&T Performance Measure Framework.
  • Implementing the President's Investment Criteria for R&D.
  • Lab Assessment Program.
  • Sharing Best Practices.

Outreach, Communication, and Consultation

  • Research liaison and partnership activities (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Research (SCOR), AASHTO Research Advisory Committee (RAC), Transportation Research Board (TRB) Research and Technology Coordinating Council (TRB RTCC), USDOT Research and Technology Coordinating Committee (DOT RTCC), etc.).
  • Research and technology marketing.
  • FHWA-wide media publications.
  • RD&T facility tours.

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