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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-17-073    Date:  April 2018
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-17-073
Date: April 2018


Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil-Integrated Bridge System Evaluation, Final Report

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has initiated an effort to evaluate the Research and Technology (R&T) development program and communicate the full range of benefits of their program.The R&T Evaluation Program helps FHWA assess how effectively it is meeting its goals and objectives and provides useful data to inform future project selections.

This report examines how FHWA’s investment in geosynthetic reinforced soil–integrated bridge system development and outreach led to increased awareness of the technology and increased deployment. It contains important lessons about improving communication between our working groups and with our external stakeholders. The report also offers keen insights into two types of technology: traditional and disruptive.

Individuals working in any large organization developing and deploying new technologies will find this report of interest. State transportation department managers and engineers will find the lessons and recommendations particularly valuable.

Hari Kalla, P.E.
Associate Administrator, Office of Research, Development, and Technology


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.


Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No.


3 Recipient's Catalog No.


4. Title and Subtitle

Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil–Integrated Bridge System Evaluation, Final Report

5. Report Date

April 2018

6. Performing Organization Code

OST-R V-321

7. Author(s)

David Epstein, Jonathan Badgley, and Chris Calley

8. Performing Organization Report No.


9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
55 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02142

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)


11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management (HRTM)
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report; December 2015–March 2017

14. Sponsoring Agency Code


15. Supplementary Notes

John Moulden (HRTM-10) is the Research and Technology Program Manager and the Contracting Officer’s Representative for Contract DTFH for this program summary.

16. Abstract

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management and the Office of Infrastructure Research and Development selected the Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil–Integrated Bridge System (GRS-IBS) program for evaluation. The evaluators were asked to focus on research topic selection, early research development, and deployers’ decisions to adopt GRS-IBS. The study found that FHWA activities, including Every Day Counts, increased awareness of GRS-IBS among potential deployers. GRS-IBS research and deployment were challenged within FHWA by five internal barriers: poor communication, insufficient collaboration, gaps in evidence, dissemination issues, and resistance to change. GRS-IBS research and deployment were challenged outside FHWA by four external barriers: knowledge, financial, design, and political. GRS-IBS expresses some of the characteristics of a disruptive technology.

17. Key Words

Bridge, Disruptive, Evaluation, Geosynthetic, Innovation, Technology

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification
(of this report)


20. Security Classification
(of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price


Form DOT F 1700.7 Reproduction of completed page authorized




Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101