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Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

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Publication Number:      Date:  January/February 2004
Issue No: Vol. 67 No. 4
Date: January/February 2004


Guest Editorial

Building the Bridges of the Future

J. Richard Capka Yesterday's highway solutions will not necessarily work for today's highway challenges. Our Nation faces a far different and more complex transportation landscape with tighter budgets; environmental, safety, and mobility considerations; and security measures, which will call for a host of new and creative technologies, innovations, and prioritizations. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is in a unique position to look backward at decades of highway progress and advancements and to look forward across surface transportation needs to move the Nation as a whole toward new and exciting breakthroughs. As FHWA's Deputy Administrator,

I have the primary responsibility for overseeing the agency's Research and Technology program. I am proud of our role as Innovators for a Better Future. In this role, FHWA creates an environment that proactively identifies, researches, develops, and deploys new highway technologies and innovations (T&I), which will solve the problems of today and the issues of tomorrow. FHWA will accomplish this by setting policies, prioritizing research and development efforts, and developing and deploying new technologies and innovations by involving internal and external stakeholders, including State and local transportation agencies, academia, transportation organizations, and private industry. During FHWA's Restructuring Assessment and the development of the FHWA Corporate Master Plan for Research and Deployment of Technology & Innovation (CMP) over the past year, the FHWA R&T Leadership Team worked with our partners to ensure that we are all moving together in the right direction. Leading by example, the FHWA Leadership Team incorporated stakeholder input and feedback into the development of the preliminary CMP released in April 2003. The CMP includes 26 Agency Commitments framed around 7 Guiding Principles. In addition to involving stakeholders, FHWA leadership is committed to improving communication through multiyear R&T program planning, increasing merit reviews, and measuring performance. FHWA is now moving from planning to taking action on the Agency Commitments with our stakeholders and partners. See "Moving Technologies and Innovations ForwardÑA Master Plan" on page 2 in this issue of Public Roads for more information.

One of the Agency Commitments is a compiled listing of FHWA priority, market-ready technologies and innovations. As part of our stakeholder-driven outreach, FHWA's list also embraces all T&I priorities of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' Technology Implementation Group. The implementation of these priorities supports the FHWA strategic goals, which include increasing safety, reducing congestion, and incorporating environmental stewardship and streamlining into surface transportation. "Championing Innovations" on page 6 highlights the FHWA priority listing.

FHWA plans to stay on top of this innovative technology push to ensure that we deliver the highway innovations that will keep us on the cutting edge. Future phases of the FHWA corporate master plan will involve

(1) continuing to improve and incorporate stakeholder involvement and feedback, (2) assessing the human and other resources for achieving the FHWA Agency Commitments, (3) defining and creating performance measurements, and (4) improving communication channels between the R&T Leadership Team and internal and external stakeholders.

In future issues of Public Roads, we plan to feature articles that cover other Agency Commitments discussed in the CMP. A Web site will be created for stakeholders to participate in and view the implementation of Agency Commitments and the progress we make as a team at the Federal, State, and local levels to implement technologies and innovations that help solve our transportation problems across the Nation.

J. Richard Capka

Deputy Administrator

Federal Highway Administration




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