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

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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-17-056    Date:  August 2017
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-17-056
Date: August 2017


Infrastructure Research and Development

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The Office of Infrastructure Research and Development (R&D) conducts and administers infrastructure R&D programs and projects for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that address problems of national priority within the U.S. highway system. This work directly supports the goals and mission of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the FHWA Strategic Plan.(1,2)


FHWA’s Office of Infrastructure R&D conducts research to develop knowledge, guidelines, analytical and physical tools, and test methods and procedures addressing the following FHWA Infrastructure Research and Technology Objectives:

In addition, the office provides specialized technical assistance to address infrastructure issues of national importance requiring research capabilities and technical expertise uniquely available within the Office of Infrastructure R&D.


The Office of Infrastructure R&D focuses on important research and development where there is an appropriate Federal role by virtue of national need, scope, duration, or risk. Current priority research areas are as follows.

Designing Infrastructure for Safety, Durability, and Resiliency

Safe, durable, sustainable, and resilient highway infrastructure is essential to maintain the commercial and personal mobility that supports the U.S. economy and way of life. Advances in materials, tools, technologies, test methods, specifications, and guidance are needed to support cost-effective designs for bridges, tunnels, pavements, and other structures. Specific challenges that need to be addressed include the following:

Infrastructure Performance Management

Advancements in infrastructure performance management tools, technologies, and guidance are needed to maximize the benefits achieved through implementation of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act mandated performance management regulations. Specific challenges to be addressed include the following:

Infrastructure Construction, Preservation, and Rehabilitation

As highway agencies strive to maintain our nation’s highways in a state-of-good-repair, the need for improved construction, preservation, and rehabilitation practices that result in economical, long-lasting bridges, pavements, tunnels, and other structures has never been greater. Challenges and needs to be addressed include the following:


In pursuing the R&D program described herein, the FHWA Office of Infrastructure R&D works closely and collaboratively with other FHWA offices and with the broader community of highway stakeholders to ensure that the program:


The outcomes delivered through our research will benefit the American public by enabling improvements in the safety, performance, and cost effectiveness of the Nation’s highway infrastructure while minimizing the environmental impacts of highway construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation. The results will reduce highway congestion, improve highway safety, and enhance the overall driving experience.

FHWA is charged with ensuring minimum standards of safety for the public as it travels on the Nation’s roads and highways. While there are many other organizations and agencies that conduct highway research, the FHWA Office of Infrastructure R&D is uniquely positioned to address the continuum of highway infrastructure research from high-risk, exploratory, and advanced research through the highly applied, problem-specific research that is necessary to address current issues and immediate problems. This broad range of research capability provides a high likelihood of success that is critical for sustaining the Nation’s economy.


  1. Federal Highway Administration. (2017). FY 2018/19 Strategic Implementation Plan, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC. Obtained from: http://staffnet.fhwa.dot.gov/strategic/suggestions_2018_sip/index.htm

  2. U.S. Department of Transportation. (2016). FY 2014 Performance Report and FY 2016 Performance Plan, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC. Obtained from: https://www.transportation.gov/mission/budget/fy2016-annual-performance-plan



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