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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
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-06-072
Date: March 2006

Multiyear Plan for Bridge and Tunnel Security Research, Development, and Deployment

Section 2


Needs Assessment

An initial outreach effort was conducted in August 2002. Research needs were generated by soliciting potential research projects from participants. This was accomplished through e-mails summarizing the purpose of the outreach effort and the information requested. The e-mails were directed in two groups, one to internal FHWA bridge engineers and a second to individuals and organizations outside of FHWA. More than 60 research needs for bridge and structures security were identified. Program managers were asked to solicit input from constituents. Organizations such as the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) circulated the request to their members.

Individuals in the following organizations and institutions were contacted as part of this outreach effort to determine research needs and gaps in knowledge in the security area:

  • Society of Fire Protection Engineers
  • Market Development Alliance
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Building Futures Council
  • American Portland Cement Alliance
  • ITS America
  • Transportation Research Board
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer R&D Center, ERDC
  • Pentagon Renovation Office
  • Federal Facilities Council
  • DOT, Research and Special Projects Administration
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Sandia National Laboratories
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Caltrans
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research
  • University of Texas
  • University of Washington
  • University of California at San Diego
  • Iowa State University
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Delaware
  • Drexel University
  • CH2M Hill
  • Intel Corporation
  • Modjeski and Masters, Inc.
  • Hardesty and Hanover, LLP
  • T.Y. Lin International
  • Wiss Janney Elstner Associates, Inc.
  • HDR Engineering, Inc.
  • FHWA, Office of Bridge Technology
  • FHWA, Division Offices and Resource Centers

Blue Ribbon Panel

A Blue Ribbon Panel of bridge and tunnel experts representing professional practice, academia, and State and Federal agencies was convened to examine issues related to bridge and tunnel security, and to develop strategies and practices for deterring, disrupting, and mitigating potential attacks. Jointly sponsored by AASHTO and FHWA, and administered by TRB, the panel included:

James E. Roberts

Consulting Bridge Engineer

Imbsen and Associates, Inc.

Dwight Beranek

Deputy Director of Military Programs

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Joseph M. Englot

Chief Structural Engineer

Port Authority of NY and NJ

John W. Fisher, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Lehigh University

Henry Hungerbeeler

Former Director

Missouri DOT

Jeremy Isenberg, Ph.D.

President and CEO

Weidlinger Associates, Inc.

John M. Kulicki, Ph.D.

President, CEO, and Chief Engineer

Modjeski and Masters, Inc.

Frieder Seible, Ph.D.

Dean, Jacobs School of Engineering

University of California, San Diego

Kenneth E. Stinson

Chairman and CEO

Peter Kiewit Sons', Inc.

Man Chung Tang, Ph.D.

Chairman of the Board and Technical Director

T.Y. Lin International

Kary Witt

Bridge Manager and Deputy General Manager

Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District

In its report, Recommendations for Bridge and Tunnel Security, the Blue Ribbon Panel provides seven overarching recommendations in three areas-institutional, technical, and fiscal-required to accomplish the goal of reducing the vulnerability of bridges and tunnels to terrorist attacks. Recognizing that current design codes do not contain substantive information on how to employ hardening designs, quantify blast-related demands, and determine the capacity of components exposed to high-pressure transients, the report provides R&D recommendations for creating empirically validated computational tools, design methods, and hardening technologies.

R&D Security Workshop

FHWA held a workshop at TFHRC on March 3, 2004, to develop a strategic framework for R&D to improve security, focusing on highways and with an emphasis on longer range and more fundamental research needs. The product of this workshop was an unprioritized list of gaps and needs to help shape FHWA's strategic plan for R&D.

The workshop focused on three areas. The objective of each area was to identify gaps in current knowledge and technology that may prevent us from securing the Nation's highway system. The first area focused on reducing the vulnerability of the Nation's highway system to attack, the second focused on reducing the risk of the highway system being used as a means to attack, and the third focused on improving the utility of the highway system to respond to and recover from an attack.

A total of 34 participants, representing a very broad cross section of disciplines, agencies, offices, and stakeholders, were invited to the workshop. Attendees included:

David Albright

New Mexico DOT

P.N. Balaguru

National Science Foundation

Rick Capka

Federal Highway Administration

Steven Chase

Federal Highway Administration

Ray Daddazio

Weidlinger Associates, Inc.

Fred Ducca

Federal Highway Administration

Sheila Rimal Duwadi

Federal Highway Administration

Steven L. Ernst

Federal Highway Administration

Brian Gardner

Federal Highway Administration

John Gerner

Federal Highway Administration

Monica Gourdine

Federal Highway Administration

Martin W. Hargrave

Federal Highway Administration

Amy Houser

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, R&T

John Hoyt

Department of Homeland Security

Jeremy Isenberg

Weidlinger Associates, Inc.

Steve Jordan

Woodward Communications

Denny Judycki

Federal Highway Administration

Eva Lerner Lam

Palisades Consulting Group

Henry Lieu

Federal Highway Administration

Diane Liff

Federal Highway Administration

Michael P. Onder

Federal Highway Administration

Stephan Parker

Transportation Research Board

Vincent Pearce

Federal Highway Administration

Mary Lou Ralls

Texas DOT

James Ray

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Tamara Reid


John Rein

Department of Homeland Security

David Smith

Federal Highway Administration

Jim St. Pierre

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Paul Teng

Federal Highway Administration

Maliek van Laar

Woodward Communications

Anthony Welch

Federal Highway Administration

Jeff Western

Wisconsin DOT


These outreach efforts identified a variety of needs, research studies, and focus areas for securing our highways. As noted earlier, the needs assessment had an "all hazards" focus dealing with bridges and structures, while the work of the Blue Ribbon Panel concentrated on security issues and only those associated with bridges and tunnels, and the workshop concentrated on securing all highway transportation systems. Only those issues dealing with bridges and structures and with a security focus have been evaluated in developing the long-term program presented in this report. A summary of information resulting from the needs assessment, the Blue Ribbon Panel, and the workshop are given in appendixes A, B, and C, respectively.

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