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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Exploratory Advanced Research Program

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Planned Research

Based on broad scanning activities conducted each year inside and outside traditional areas of highway research inquiry, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) identifies exploratory advanced research topics that (1) involve discoveries in science of new technology that have the potential to lead to revolutionary change; (2) address significant current or anticipated issues in highway transportation; (3) can engage researchers and facilities with the capacity to solve complex problems that cut across or push the frontiers of traditional disciplines; and (4) would not move forward without FHWA funding.

Research Associateship Program

The National Research Council’s (NRC) Research Associateship Program (RAP) provides highly skilled and exceedingly promising postdoctoral and senior scientists and engineers with opportunities to research problems that are compatible with the interests of sponsoring laboratories.

Figure 1: A photo of a large concrete beam splice connection made out of ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) undergoing testing in an inside indoor laboratory.
Figure 1. Photo. Full-scale flexural test of a beam splice connection made
of Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) was performed by one of
the NRC associates.


Figure 2: A screen capture of a computer simulation of an intersection showing a birds-eye view of a two lanes of traffic flowing in both directions. Both lanes have left and right turn lanes and a central median divides the two.  Vehicles, including cars and trucks, are shown traveling in both directions as well as entering and leaving the intersections.
Figure 2. Screen Capture. An intersection based on the research of one
of the NRC associates for a study on “Operational and Safety Analyses
of Alternative Intersection/Interchange Designs.”

Over the years, associates have researched topics as diverse as nanoadditives for concrete and asphalt, alternative intersection and interchange design, and modeling to predict collisions based on driver behavior and environmental conditions.

For a complete listing of FHWA’s current RAP opportunities, go to http://nrc58.nas.edu/RAPLab10/Opportunity/Opportunities.aspx?LabCode=27.  

For more information about the EAR Program, visit https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/research/fhwaresearch/agenda/researchAreas.cfm?urlanchor=ExploratoryAdvancedResearch#


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]

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Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101