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State Planning and Research (SP&R) Guide

State RD&T Management Process

State Research, Development, and Technology (RD&T) Management Process

Each State department of transportation (DOT) must develop, establish, and implement a management process that ensures effective use of available Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) planning and research funds for RD&T activities on a Statewide basis. States may tailor their management processes to meet State and local needs; however, their process must comply with certain minimum requirements.

Specifically, the management process must include:

(1) An interactive process to identify and prioritize RD&T activities for inclusion in an RD&T work program.

(2) Use of all FHWA planning and research funds set aside for RD&T activities, either internally or for participation in transportation pooled fund studies or other cooperative RD&T programs, to the maximum extent possible.

(3) Procedures for tracking program activities, schedules, accomplishments, and fiscal commitments.

(4) Support and use of the Transportation Research Information Service (TRIS) database for developing programs, reporting active RD&T activities, and inputting final report information.

(5) A process to enter new research into the Research in Progress (RiP) database.

(6) Use of TRIS and the RiP databases to search for duplicative or complementary research conducted previously.

(7) Procedures to determine the effectiveness of the State DOT's management process in implementing the RD&T program, determine the utilization of the State DOT's RD&T outputs, and facilitate peer exchanges of its RD&T program on a periodic basis.

(8) Procedures for documenting RD&T activities by preparing final reports. At a minimum, the documentation must include the data collected, analyses performed, conclusions, and recommendations. The State DOT must actively implement appropriate research findings and should document benefits.

(9) Participation in peer exchanges of its RD&T management process and of other State DOT programs on a periodic basis.

The State DOT must develop documentation that describes its management process, including the procedures for selecting and implementing RD&T activities, and submit this documentation to the FHWA Division office for certification. State DOTs also must submit significant changes in the management process to FHWA for certification.  The management process certification should be included in the State RD&T work program.

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) has published a "Guide for Developing a State Transportation Research Manual" that provides useful information for developing a management plan.

For additional guidance and information, visit FHWA's Stewardship Web site.

RD&T Management Process Certification

The State DOT must include a certification that it is in full compliance with the requirements of 23 CFR, 420.205(f) in each RD&T work program. If the State DOT is unable to certify full compliance, the FHWA Division Administrator may grant conditional approval of the State DOT's work program. A conditional approval must cite those areas of the State DOT's management process that are deficient and require that the deficiencies be corrected within 6 months of conditional approval. The certification must consist of a statement signed by the administrator (or an official designated by the administrator) of the State DOT, certifying as follows:  I (name of certifying official), (position title), of the State (Commonwealth) of ___________, do hereby certify that the State (Commonwealth) is in compliance with all requirements of 23 U.S. Code 505 and its implementing regulations with respect to the research, development, and technology transfer program, and contemplate no changes in statutes, regulations, or administrative procedures which would affect such compliance.

The FHWA Division Administrator shall review periodically the State DOT's management process to determine if the State is in compliance with the requirements of this subpart. If the Division Administrator determines that a State DOT is not complying with the requirements of this subpart or is not performing in accordance with its RD&T management process, the FHWA Division Administrator shall issue a written notice of proposed determination of noncompliance to the State DOT. The notice will explain the reasons for the proposed determination and inform the State DOT that it may reply in writing within 30 calendar days from the date of the notice. The State DOT's reply should address the deficiencies cited in the notice and provide documentation as necessary. If the State DOT and the FHWA Division Administrator cannot resolve the differences set forth in the determination of nonconformity, the State DOT may appeal to the FHWA Administrator, whose action shall constitute the Agency's final decision. An adverse decision shall result in immediate withdrawal of approval of FHWA planning and research funds for the State DOT's RD&T activities until the State DOT is in full compliance.


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