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Exploratory Advanced Research Program

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Research on the Future

Below are resources for learning more about trends that may impact the transportation industry and, thus, the industry's research needs over the next generation categorized under three areas

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Back-casting – looking at key historical developments—can be an important element of forecasting. Several reports summarize past breakthroughs in highway research [More]

Government Programs and Reports

  • In 2006, the FHWA Office of Real Estate Services conducted scenario planning through 2030 to assess future needs for highway reality. [More]

  • National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 20-83, Long Range Strategic Issues facing the Highway Industry – The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recognizes that research can help ensure that transportation practitioners are equipped to deal with future challenges facing the industry over the next 30 to 40 years. [More].

    The projects funded under NCHRP 20-83 include different approaches for considering the future over a 30 to 40 year horizon.  A December 2010 Workshop provided the first glimpse of the different approaches. [More]

  • The United Kingdom (UK) Forsight Programme and Horizon Scanning Centre, use science based methods to provide visions of the future to identify potential risks and opportunities in relation to science and technology. The Foresight Programme and Horizon Scanning Centre are based in the Government Office for Science based within the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. [More]

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) funded an International Futures Programme, "Global Infrastructure Needs: Prospects and Implications for Public and Private Actors," that brought together experts from the public and private sector to take stock of the long-term opportunities and challenges facing infrastructures worldwide. [More]

  • The Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories (FEHRL) and European Commission (EC) initiated the New Road Construction Concepts (NR2C) project to generate future-oriented initiatives for road research. The report, "New Road Construction Concepts: Vision 2040" discussed general trends such as shortages of clean environment, energy, land along with increased demand for mobility (individually and in total) more recreational travel and auto travel, more flexible work patterns, telecommuting and remote work, and the integration of communication in daily activities, then developed three scenarios based on differing policy structures. [More]

Nongovernmental Programs and Reports

  • The Pew Internet and American Life Project released a report, "The Future of the Internet III" on potential changes from the Internet in 2020. [More]

  • The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is an independent, nonprofit research group located in Palo Alto, CA that seeks to identify emerging trends [More]

  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Smart Cities Group in the MIT Media Lab are envisioning future forms of mobility and communication. [More]

  • The London School of Economics and the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft of Der Deutschen Bank sponsored the Urban Age Project, a six-year sequence of international conferences held in cities across Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe between 2005 and 2010. The Urban Age Project seeks to identify the trends and relationships between concrete investment, design and building, and the economic, environmental, social, political and cultural processes that shape city life. [More]

  • The New Media Consortium supports the Horizon Project, which looks at impacts of emerging technology on education. [More]

  • In the September 2007 issues of the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Raymond E. Levitt wrote an article titled "CEM Research for the Next 50 Year: Maximizing Economic, Environmental, and Societal Value of the Built Environment" [More]

  • In the September 2006 issues of World Transportation Policy and Practice, Hartmut H. Topp from the Institute for Mobility and Transport at Kaiserslautern University of Technology wrote on the "Trends, innovative course settings, and levers for mobility and transportation Seen from the Year 2030." His article covered potential changes in energy, mobility, urban development, life styles, and demographics. [More]

  • In 2002, Robert L. Olson, Research Director for Institute for Alternative Futures wrote a paper, “Trends Shaping Transportation’s Future.” [More]

Exploratory Advanced Research Program


Exploratory Advanced Research Program 2018 Broad Agency Announcement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a Presolicitation Notice for its Exploratory Advanced Research Program’s 2018 Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) with an anticipated posting date of February 16, 2018. Through the issuance of this BAA, FHWA anticipates sponsoring research addressing four topics: (1) Mobil Ad Hoc Networks (MANETs); (2) Video Analytics; (3) Artificial Realistic Data; and (4) Supplementary or Alternative Materials for Highway Pavements and Structures. All responsible sources capable of satisfying the U.S. Government's needs may submit proposals for evaluation. The presolicitation announcement is posted on the FedBizOpps Web Site at:


Potential offerors and vendors are encouraged to register on www.fbo.gov to receive any further information regarding this announcement. The BAA will close on April 19, 2018.


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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