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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / February/March 2000

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-RD-00-056
Date: February/March 2000

SHRP: Making a Difference in the New Millennium

The Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) may have ended 6 years ago, but "one of the greatest success stories in the history of applied research continues to make a difference," declared John Horsley of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) at the 12th annual SHRP/LTPP Coordinators Meeting in January. The gathering, held in conjunction with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) annual meeting in Washington, DC, drew representatives from State highway agencies, AASHTO, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and others to hear updates on SHRP implementation efforts and the progress of the long-term pavement performance (LTPP) program.

Focused SHRP implementation will come to an end this year, as the AASHTO Task Force on SHRP Implementation and the Lead States teams conclude their work. Responsibility for promoting the implementation of SHRP technologies will then shift to various AASHTO subcommittees and a new AASHTO Steering Group for Technology Deployment (see "Farewell Tour" for Task Force on SHRP Implementation).

Even as focused SHRP implementation activities wind down, the LTPP program is still going strong. As Charlie Churilla of FHWA reported, in 1999 the program launched the final stage of its data resolution effort, which has concentrated on identifying and resolving gaps in the data from LTPP test sections. This final stage involves making adjustments to the way data is monitored and collected, in order to improve collection and allocate resources more effectively.

Other LTPP accomplishments include the completion of nine data analysis projects; six others are ongoing and three new ones were recently initiated. The findings of the analysis projects have led to improved procedures for estimating the temperature of asphalt concrete pavements in selecting Superpave binders, among other benefits. LTPP data will also play a significant role in the development of the 2002 Guide for the Design of New and Rehabilitated Pavement Structures. The data will be used to validate and calibrate design procedures, materials properties, and test methods.

Nationwide implementation of the Superpave system also continues to show success, reported Joe Mickes, recently retired from the Missouri Department of Transportation (DOT) and a member of the TRB Superpave Committee. Drawing on the expertise of its members, who hail from government, industry, and academia, the committee meets two or three times a year to review the progress of Superpave implementation and advise FHWA and AASHTO. "It has been very rewarding to see the growth in Superpave projects," said Mickes. "I believe that by 2001 the goal of near total implementation will be met."

The committee's 1999 activities included organizing a focus group to address the issue of moisture damage in Superpave mixes, creating expert task groups on asphalt binders and asphalt mixtures and aggregates, and producing a long-range plan (2001-2005) for Superpave development and deployment. The committee's goals for 2000 include strengthening its ties to the Superpave Centers, asphalt user-producer groups, and industry associations, in order to better encourage and coordinate implementation efforts.

For more information on the LTPP program, contact Charlie Churilla at FHWA, 202-493-3142 (fax: 202-493-3161; email: charles.churilla@fhwa.dot.gov) or visit the LTPP Web site. For more information on the TRB Superpave Committee, contact Neil Hawks at TRB, 202-334-1430 (fax: 202-334-3471; email: nhawks@nas.edu).


The Committee on a Future Strategic Highway Research Program (F-SHRP) was launched in 1999 to study what a new SHRP initiative should look like. Authorized by Congress in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, the study will last 2 years. The committee's outreach work, which is aimed at soliciting the thoughts of the transportation community on potential topics for F-SHRP study, will continue until October 2000. A report is then scheduled to be issued in 2001. According to Ann Brach of TRB, about 100 responses have been received to date, with research in the areas of infrastructure, operations, and safety receiving the most support. For those who have not yet offered input, comments will be collected on the F-SHRP Web site (www4.nas.edu/trb/newshrp.nsf) until the end of March. For more information on the F-SHRP committee, contact Ann Brach at TRB, 202-334-2242 (fax: 202-334-2527; email: abrach@nas.edu).

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Updated: 06/27/2017
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