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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-15-058    Date:  February 2017
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-15-058
Date: February 2017


Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center R&D Communication Reference Guide


This chapter provides an overview of the process for distributing your communication products. The applicable laws, rules, and FHWA policies are as follows:


You may customize your own distribution plan by identifying the audience you want to reach and providing a Microsoft® Excel file with addresses in electronic format or submitting preprinted mailing labels.


HRTM maintains report, TechBrief, and other publication standard distribution mailing lists to reach targeted technical audiences. The mailing lists include entities that have requested printed copies of all our products. They are generally libraries, researchers, State transportation departments, and academic institutions such as the Transportation Research Board Library, Texas Transportation Institute, and the National Network of Transportation Research Information Services Repositories at Northwestern University. HRTM will add these mailing labels to your distribution requirements upon request.

FHWA Internal Distribution

Internal distributions of a publication are handled upon request of the submitting office. When choosing to distribute copies of a publication internally, please consider which offices would benefit from your RD&T product, identify the number of copies needed, and advise HRTM accordingly.

FHWA External Mailing Lists

There are about a dozen official FHWA mailing lists that can be added to your distribution plans to reach yet another audience of highway transportation associations. The FHWA publishing office maintains and updates these official lists. For more information, please contact HRTM.

Customized Mailing List

If you would like to submit your own mailing list for distribution, please provide a Microsoft® Excel file that includes the names and addresses of recipients. Please include the field names listed in table 8 for the headers in the Microsoft® Excel document.

Table 8. Format for customized mailing list.

Use This Field Name as the Microsoft® Excel Header Enter This Type of Data in the Field


Company name or name of person (if desired)


Company name


Street address


Addition street address






First 5 digits of ZIP Code™


Last 4 digits of ZIP Code™


Country code

Number of copies

Total copies to the person/company at the address


As information managers for TFHRC R&T documents, HRTM will ensure your products follow required record retention and public access regulations through the appropriate communication channels.

Records Archives

Under the disposition authority granted by Nl-406-08-6, RD&T is responsible for transferring its technical report files, which have been determined by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to be permanent records, to the Federal Records Center 3 years after the cutoff date.(71,74) Complying with this authority, HRTM is working with the FHWA Research Library and the FHWA Records Officer to transfer a copy of all FHWA RD&T technical reports produced by TFHRC to the National Archives according to the disposition schedule detailed in FHWA Order 1324.1B, dated July 29, 2013.(72)

Copies of Publications to GPO, Library of Congress, and NARA

GPO administers the dissemination of certain tangible publications, as specified by public law. Under Title 44 of the United States Code, GPO is required to provide copies of publications to certain Federal agencies and others, at the direction of Congress.(5) Two or more copies of every publication printed are provided to the Library of Congress.(74) NARA is entitled to receive three copies of every publication printed.(75) In addition, on behalf of the Department of State, GPO distributes copies of publications to foreign legations.(76) GPO also maintains mailing lists for by-law distribution of specific publications.(77)

Publications to National Technical Information Service (NTIS)

Regardless of how a researcher or author chooses to disseminate a communication product, the American Technology Preeminence Act of 1992 requires that all publications must be available for public distribution through NTIS.(73) When HRTM processes your communication product for editorial review and publication, the appropriate number of copies and the link are provided to NTIS.

NTIS’s basic authority to operate a permanent clearinghouse of scientific and technical information is codified as chapter 23 of Title 15 of the U.S. Code.(78) This chapter also established NTIS’s authority to charge fees for its products and services and to recover all costs through such fees “to the extent feasible.”

This authority was restated in the National Technical Information Act of 1988, codified at 15 U.S Code 3704b.(79) That act gave NTIS the authority to enter into joint ventures and declared the clearinghouse to be a permanent Federal function that could not be eliminated or privatized without Congressional approval.

Finally, the act was amended by the American Technology Preeminence Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-245), which requires agencies to make copies of their scientific and technical reports available to NTIS.(80) See: http://www.ntis.gov/about/#statutes.

Please note that the Copyright Act defines “published” as available to the public, and it is FHWA’s positon that items sent to NTIS are considered published because the information is made available to the public.(20) Therefore, no publication items are to be considered “unpublished” and provided solely to NTIS.



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