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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / January 1999

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Date: January 1999

U.S. DOT and Partners Team Up To Set Research and Technology Goals

Using an extensive series of public outreach activities, hearings, and discussions with its partners and customers, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is developing five key goals that will form the framework for a new national technology deployment initiatives and partnerships (TDIP) program. The program is aimed at accelerating the adoption of innovative technologies in surface transportation systems.

"The technology deployment initiatives and partnerships program offers an exciting opportunity for the surface transportation community: We can begin to close the gap between the state of the art and the state of the practice in technology applications," says the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Dennis Judycki.

The TDIP program has its roots in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) passed earlier this year, which calls for U.S. DOT to "develop and administer a national technology deployment initiatives and partnerships program." Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater assigned FHWA to spearhead this effort, chiefly because of FHWA's proven track record in developing and deploying innovative surface transportation technologies.

The program will reach beyond FHWA to encompass all modes of surface transportation. The TDIP program goals will underscore and complement existing goals to improve mobility and safety by the U.S. DOT and FHWA, as well as the Federal Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"The TDIP program will enable us to work with representatives of the transportation community to achieve clearly defined goals that will benefit the users of our transportation system," says Judycki.

Five tentative goals have been identified based on goal-planning and outreach activities with many of FHWA's partners and other stakeholders in the transportation community over the past 2 years. FHWA is encouraging State departments of transportation, local agencies, and others to participate in the TDIP program and to submit comments, recommendations, and suggestions on the TDIP goals and program.

"The goals will continue to be modified and refined in response to the input we receive," says Judycki. "This is a program about partnerships, and input from our partners is essential."

The TDIP program goals will be used in determining national priorities for highway research, development, and technology programs. FHWA and representatives of many of its partners met in December to begin determining those priorities.


Reduce the human costs of run-off-the-road crashes and trauma-related injuries.

Single-vehicle run-off-the-road crashes account for about 15,000 fatalities and 500,000 injuries on highways each year. Advanced roadway design and operations technologies can help prevent such crashes and lessen the consequences of those crashes that do occur.

Reduce user delays and improve safety associated with constructing and maintaining surface transportation facilities.

The ever-growing number of cars and trucks and the steadily increasing number of miles traveled are accelerating the wear and tear on our aging highway system. In TEA-21, Congress increased Federal funding for highway improvements by more than 40 percent, in recognition of the need to restore the Nation's highway infrastructure. But increased repair and improvement projects will mean more work zones along the highways, which will increase the potential for user delays and hazardous conditions. Those delays can be costly, adding up to billions of dollars of lost time and productivity for highway users each year. And the hazardous conditions could cause more crashes, which already take the lives of hundreds of highway workers annually. It is important to improve the process in order to minimize delays and increase safety for both workers and highway users. Motorist delays can be reduced and safety improved through the use of accelerated construction and maintenance techniques, innovative contracting procedures, and advanced materials.

Utilize advanced materials and innovative technologies to extend infrastructure durability and reduce life-cycle cost.

Almost one-tenth of the National Highway System (NHS) fails to meet pavement performance standards for acceptable ride quality, and more than one-fourth of the bridges on the NHS are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. New high-performance materials hold the promise of remedying these problems, through longer-lasting, more cost-effective pavements and bridges.

Reduce the impact of severe weather events on users of surface transportation systems.

When severe storms force highways to be closed, the economy suffers. Workers can't get to jobs, and goods can't get to market. By the year 2000, more than 60 percent of industry will rely on just-in-time deliveries of parts and materials. Innovative technologies for predicting and monitoring storms will allow transportation agencies to aggressively plan and implement storm maintenance and response strategies that will keep roads open and safe for travel.

Improve community-oriented transportation and sustainable development and support and enhance the environment through the use of innovative technologies.

Surface transportation improvements have typically focused on the automobile-often to the detriment of other modes of transportation, particularly walking and cycling. By improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities and implementing innovative strategies for speed management and traffic law enforcement, transportation agencies can improve safety, enhance the quality of life, and ensure the sustainability of our transportation system.

If you would like more information on these draft goals or would like to comment on them, please contact:

Bob Kelly


400 Seventh St., S.W., HTA-10

Washington, DC 20590

Phone: 202-366-1565

Fax: 202-366-7909

Email: robert.kelly@fhwa.dot.gov

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Updated: 06/27/2017
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