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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-11-065    Date:  April 2012
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-11-065
Date: April 2012


Long-Term Plan for Concrete Pavement Research and Technology—The Concrete Pavement Road Map (Second Generation): Volume I, Background and Summary



FHWA: FHWA has internal committees that define, execute, and monitor its contract and in-house concrete pavement projects. FHWA manages some discretionary funding and has the freedom to establish and execute scopes of work in the national interest. It also manages and oversees earmarked funds, with each fund differing in its flexibility. The FHWA research program is organized and administered by the Office of Pavement Technology in cooperation with TFHRC and the Resource Center. Additional pavement work is done by the Office of Asset Management. FHWA has some flexibility in working with State transportation departments and industry in establishing scopes of work. Technical proposals generally are developed by FHWA staff. Once the contract is underway, technical working groups can be assembled to provide guidance to FHWA. Currently, FHWA is guided broadly by the ACPT program. FHWA also works with States to develop and implement studies under the Transportation Pooled Fund program. These studies can accept private sector money, as well.

AASHTO: Several AASHTO subcommittees and task forces are involved in concrete pavement technical issues, including the joint task force on pavements and the subcommittees on materials, construction, and maintenance. FHWA normally acts in either a secretarial or a liaison role for these groups. Industry may observe and comment on committee activities but has no formal role. From time to time, these committees develop long-range plans. For example, the Subcommittee on Construction prepares a research plan about every 10 years. The joint task force on pavements periodically holds strategic planning meetings.

NCHRP: NCHRP is administered by TRB and sponsored by individual State transportation departments. Support is voluntary and funds are drawn from the States’ Federal Aid Highway program apportionment of State planning and research (SPR) funds. Furthermore, the funds can be spent only for administering problem statements approved on ballot by at least two-thirds of the States, as represented by the AASHTO Standing Committee on Research. Concrete pavement research statements are introduced by State(s), FHWA, an AASHTO committee, or a TRB committee. Industry solicits support from an individual State transportation department, which in turn submits the statement. NCHRP does not manage programs. Assuming it administers a series of concrete pavement-related projects, however, NCHRP will be an important sustaining member.

ACPA: ACPA has a research committee that identifies and fosters support for specific research items related to the industry’s agenda and its own long-range plan. State transportation departments and FHWA are invited to observe and participate. Voting is restricted to members, although ACPA’s work generally is by consensus. The association has been involved in many elements of the CP Road Map development. An association representative would be a welcomed participant on the CP Road Map’s EAC.

NRMCA: NRMCA’s research program is managed under the Ready Mixed Concrete Research Foundation. Established in 1991, this foundation identifies research, issues requests for proposals, issues grants or contracts, and develops training packages. To date, little research has been done specifically for concrete pavements, but several tracks or subtracks in the CP Road Map may be of particular interest to NRMCA, especially in mix design, innovative equipment, and NDT/ICS. It is also hoped that NRMCA will participate in new laboratory testing and evaluation programs.

PCA: PCA has a long history of conducting research, both with its wholly owned laboratory and through grants to other concrete-related associations or entities. This organization also may be interested in several subtracks in the CP Road Map, especially in the mix design track.

National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association (NSSGA): NSSGA represents the crushed stone, sand, and gravel (aggregate) industries. Its membership accounts for 90 percent of the crushed stone and 70 percent of the sand and gravel produced annually in the United States. More than 3 billion tons of aggregate were produced in the United States in 2001 at a value of about $14.5 billion.(40) In 1992, NSSGA’s funding arm (Aggregates Foundation for Technology, Research, and Education (AFTRE)) established the International Center for Aggregates Research (ICAR) at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University. ICAR is active on a wide range of aggregate research applications, including PCC, hot mix asphalt, and base courses. A cooperative research agreement between AFTRE and FHWA is now underway. This joint program, funded 75 percent by Federal money, sponsors aggregate research in multiple end-use applications.

National Concrete Consortium: The National Concrete Consortium is an organization that provides a very effective research coordination and technology transfer role. This group identifies specific research of interest to their members, solicits pooled funds, and sometimes conducts the research. Many of the pooled funds also include funds from FHWA, industry, and others. This is an excellent vehicle for using both public and private funds as one source of funding.

National CP Tech Center: In April 2000, the Iowa Board of Regents authorized formation of what is now the National CP Tech Center. It is a private, public, and university sector partnership that includes support from the ACPA, FHWA, Iowa Concrete Paving Association, Iowa DOT, Iowa State University, and Iowa State’s Institute for Transportation. The center focuses research on critical needs of the concrete pavement industry and delivers the best findings, methods, and processes to people who will use them.

Working with its advisory board and standing committees, the center seeks sustainable support nationwide. The staff works with foundations and organizations to identify potential future partners and funding sources and to help develop an understanding of research, technology, and training priorities. Funding for specific projects comes from many sources, including Federal aid pooled funds from around the country. As an example, the center was the lead in the Material and Construction Optimization for Prevention of Premature Pavement Distress in PCC Pavements project, an FHWA pooled fund project with 16 States and the private sector contributing funds.

State Transportation Departments: Each State transportation department is allotted Federal funds by formula for research (SPR funds). These funds traditionally have been used to conduct research for local needs. Many State transportation departments have relationships with one or more State universities. Transportation departments may use these funds to participate in pooled fund studies.

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