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Exploratory Advanced Research Program

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Preparing for the Future of Highway Transportation

Special Libraries Association 2009 Conference

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June 16, 2009


  • FHWA Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Purpose and Process
  • EAR impact on scientific knowledge and research capacity)

EAR Key Process

  • Focus on high-risk, high payoff research
  • All projects begin with initial stage research (e.g. scanning, literature review, etc.)
    • Assure leverage of the most recent, relevant and advanced research from all fields
  • Not all initial stage research leads to (or is expected to lead to) follow-on or actionable results
  • Merit review is used to enhance the quality of research processes and results

Current Partnerships

  • Academic
    • University Transportation Centers, other universities
  • Government
    • Other Federal Agencies, State, Local
  • Non-Governmental, Non-Profit
  • Industry

Key Partnerships

  • Research stakeholders are involved throughout
    • From scoping of focus areas through communication of research results
  • Stakeholders include
    • Academic
    • Government: Other Federal Agencies, State, Local, International
    • Industry: Businesses, Associations

EAR FY 09 Focus Areas

  • Breakthrough concept for integrating highway safety and system operations
  • Nanoscale research
  • Massive scale systems
  • Human behavior in traffic
  • Financing highways for the next century
  • New technologies and advanced policies for energy and resource conservation

Building Knowledge

  • Raising strategic and situational awareness
    • Accelerating trends
    • Responding to new directions
  • Synthetic and cross-cutting topic areas
    • Learning communities
    • Multi-disciplinary approaches

Research Capacity

  • Peer learning
    • Access to new ideas and methods through partnerships, fellowships
  • Bootstrapping
    • Improving research processes; better modeling, measurements
  • Research process evaluation

So what is the future of transportation?

  • Traffic signals that know when vehicles are arriving
  • Bridges that heal themselves
  • Roadways that remove pollution from the air, water

For more information

See the EAR Program website located at www.fhwa.dot.gov/advancedresearch or Contact David Kuehn, EAR Program Manager, at (202) 493-3414 or david.kuehn@dot.gov

Thank You


Exploratory Advanced Research Program



NRC Postdoctoral Fellows Help EAR Program Solve Transportation Issues

The Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) conducts research across a wide range of topics and disciplines. To supplement the expertise of the permanent staff, it is important to bring in researchers with the appropriate backgrounds to investigate specific problems at short-term basis. Through the Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program, FHWA utilizes the Resident Associates (or Postdoctoral Fellows) program of the National Research Council (NRC) for this purpose. The NRC provides a process for selecting candidates on a competitive merit basis and subsequently for administration of the Resident Fellows during their tenures at FHWA. [More]

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101