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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology: Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations


FHWA Research



Research Portfolio

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is involved directly and indirectly in many research and technology (R&T) initiatives across the Nation. However, the focus of these Web pages is on the portion of the Research and Technology (R&T) Program that Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) administers. To ensure a corporate approach to R&T, the R&T Leadership Team, as described in the Corporate Master Plan (CMP) for Research and Deployment of Technology & Innovation (FHWA-RD-03-077), oversees the R&T Program. The R&T Leadership Team consists of selected FHWA division administrators, the directors of technical services, Field Services, Innovative Program Delivery, and the associate administrators for Research, Development, and Technology; Safety; Infrastructure; Operations; Planning, Environment, and Realty; Policy; and Federal Lands.


The managers and staff responsible for the R&T functional areas develop and set their own R&T agendas, which reflect FHWA's mission, support strategic goals, and engage internal and external stakeholders. The R&T Leadership Team agrees on functional area agendas. From there, an R&T network develops and deploys a portfolio of R&T innovations.


Research Areas

Exploratory Advanced Research

FHWA is funding exploratory advanced research across the range of issues that are critical to the transportation industry. Research is listed under four broad functional areas. Functional areas describe traditionally-related areas of scientific and engineering inquiry Researchers who work within the functional areas frequently will have similar academic backgrounds in engineering, social sciences or physical sciences, including:


Planning, Environment, and Realty Research

The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty's research activities support program and policy objectives that help create the best transportation system in the world.

The Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty administers the following research programs and projects within Title V of SAFETEA-LU:

Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) - Section 5207.
Center for Environmental Excellence - Section 5309(c)(1)
Rural Transportation Research Initiative - Section 5513(f)
Center for Transportation Advancement and Regional Development - Section 5504
Advanced Travel Forecasting (TRANSIMS) - Section 5512
Transportation Economic and Land Use System (TELUS) - Section 5204(g)(2)

However, the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) is now the primary source of funding for planning, environment, and realty research. The general objective of the STEP is to improve understanding of the complex relationship between surface transportation, planning, and the environment.


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Quick Links

» Strategic Approach
In 2003, FHWA leadership accepted the challenge to "raise the bar" on R&T and adopted a strategic management framework developed with input from stakeholders. See Corporate Master Plan (CMP) for Research and Deployment of Technology & Innovation (FHWA-RD-03-077)


Research and Development Links

» R&D Laboratories
» R&D Projects


Other Links

» Transportation Research Information Services
» TRB Research in Progress Search