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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-05-040
Date: March 2005
Office of Research, Development, and Technology FY 2004 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.
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. 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 Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF) 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 transportation pooled fund 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 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. 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. In FY 2004, the TPF program included 100 FHWA-led projects and 140 State-led projects valued at over $155 million.
The TPF Web site (http://www.pooledfund.org) 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.
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 Permanent International Association of Road Congresses (PIARC), the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) Joint Transport Research Center (JTRC), the International Road Federation (IRF), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 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.
In October 2003, Dennis Judycki, FHWA Associate Administrator for Research, Development & Technology, represented the U.S. at the OECD/ECMT JTRC meeting in Paris. The JTRC reaffirmed its existing Working Groups and Roundtables for 2004 and 2005, as an extension of the preliminary Program of Work for 2005–2006 approved by the Ministers at their last meeting. In addition, a meeting was held with the OECD Ambassador's office in preparation for the ECMT Committee of Deputies meeting scheduled for October 14–15, 2004.
OECD Road Transport Research (RTR) projects completed in FY 2004 included several projects for which the U.S. had the lead, including a report on new technologies for road safety, a symposium on human factors of technology for elderly users, and a symposium on road pricing cosponsored by the OECD, FHWA, TRB and Florida DOT in November 2003. RD&T researchers are also actively involved in an OECD RTR research project on the Economic Evaluation of Long-Life Pavements. The OECD RTR program undertakes policy-ori-ented research and evaluation of best practices, through joint ventures and international cooperation, and international data exchange. An FHWA representative serves as an official member of the OECD RTR Steering Committee that meets in April and October of each year.
The Joint Transport Research Centre (JTRC)
The JTRC is supported by the OECD and the ECMT. Established in January 2004, the JTRC has the following mandate:
The Centre shall promote economic development and contribute to structural improvements of OECD and ECMT economies, through cooperative transport research programmes addressing all modes of inland transport and their intermodal linkages in a wider economic, social, environmental, and institutional context.
The Centre is intended to provide a wider international forum devoted to research and related discussions on surface transportation with an intermodal perspective. The JTRC research program for 2004 included four major work projects in which the U.S. is participating:
In particular, TFHRC researchers are playing an active role in the Economic Evaluation of Long-Lived Pavements. Phase 1 of this pavement project focused on long-life wearing courses and their economic viability. Two nonconventional materials are being investigated in participating laboratories located around the world. These materials are epoxy-asphalt and the use of a continuously paved high performance cementitious material.
Throughout the effort, RD&T researchers shared the latest technologies, reports, and ideas on wearing course performance with stakeholders and international partners. Phase 2 of the study will focus on comprehensive joint testing of candidate course materials. Participation has been confirmed with 21 different countries.
Seismic Workshop in Turkey
In September 2004, FHWA and Turkey's General Directorate of Highways (KGM) hosted a second workshop on state-of-the-art techniques for mitigating the damaging effects of earthquakes. The workshop, funded by the National Science Foundation, was a continuation of an established relationship between FHWA and Turkey started by the first workshop, "Lessons Learned from the Recent Earthquakes," jointly held in Turkey shortly after two devastating earthquakes took place there in 1999.
United States-Japan ITS Joint Research
The United States-Japan ITS Joint Research Program was initiated in November 2000 at a meeting held in conjunction with the ITS World Congress in Turin, Italy. Organizations participating in the ITS Joint Research Program included the USDOT, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT), and the Japanese Automated Highway System (AHS) Research Association. The following are some highlights from the program:
In FY 2004, the Joint Research Program focused on intersection collision avoidance systems. Intersection collisions represent almost 30 percent of U.S. crashes, or 1.7 million per year. Reducing these crashes is one of FHWA's highest priorities.
Cooperation with the Japanese Universal Traffic Management Society (UTMS)
UTMS is comprised of university professors, Sumitomo Corporation, Koito Industries, and the National Police Agency (NPA). The UTMS has been addressing issues related to alleviating the surface street congestion problem. NPA is the operating agency for traffic signal systems in Japan. The following are some highlights from the program:
International technology scans are an important means for identifying, assessing, and importing foreign highway technologies and practices that can be cost-effectively adapted to U.S. Federal, State, and local highway programs.
Similar to the "benchmarking" process that is widely used by firms in the private sector, scans are conducted as a means of comparing products and best practices with the intent of identifying better, safer, and more environmentally sound technologies. Scans help to limit duplication and promote information sharing, thus allowing technologies to be put into practice more quickly and efficiently. Scanning reviews add depth and cohesion to research and practice in the United States. The process and findings generally complement and enhance the existing knowledge base in the U.S. highway community, often putting innovations on the fast track to deployment.
In 2004, scans were completed in the following areas:
Scan teams represent FHWA, State highway departments, local governments, and where appropriate, transportation trade and research groups, the private sector, and academia. Personal domestic and international networking, team dynamics, and the creation of U.S. champions for promising foreign innovations are keystones of the methods used. The program's goal is to successfully implement the world's best practices in the U.S.
In October of 2003, RD&T staff participated in the FHWA and AASHTO sponsored scanning study of traffic safety information systems in Germany, Australia, and the Netherlands. The results of the study were used to help improve data collection and management processes, and to support the development of integrated approaches in the U.S. In June 2004, personnel from RD&T, FHWA Headquarters, AASHTO, and academia, conducted a human factors safety research scan of transportation centers of excellence in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, and France. The primary objective of the tour was to learn how the various research groups plan, develop, and conduct human factors research and put the findings into practice. The following list from the countries visited consists of areas that could be developed further and implemented in U.S. roadway transportation programs:
The United States "in kind" Contribution to the European Union's Fully Optimized Road Maintenance Project
Several years ago the European Union reviewed the FHWA research program to identify projects that complemented their own plans. As a result of this review, two areas for cooperation were identified: One was the development of road profilers, and the second involved a research project titled "Repair Versus Rehabilitation of Concrete Pavements." In support of the Fully Optimized Road Maintenance (FORMAT) project, a study was conducted on the application of a bonded concrete overlay to a continuously reinforced concrete pavement in Texas. The principal investigator also analyzed accelerated load tests, of asphalt concrete pavement maintenance techniques, in several European nations.
The guidelines produced by the review led to the development of a software tool for the analysis of rehabilitation strategies called Strategic Analysis of Pavement Evaluations for Rehabilitation (SAPER). SAPER utilizes condition surveys, laboratory and field tests, traffic forecasts, and climate to arrive at the optimum pavement treatment option.
Concrete Pavement Technology Program (CPTP)
Launched in 1999, the CPTP is a 5-year, $25 million effort 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 Innovative Pavement Research Foundation (IPRF), a concrete paving industry consortium, jointly administered 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, and State highway agencies, FHWA, IPRF, and AASHTO.