U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

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

Research and Technology Innovation Delivery


Ultimately, a key measure of success of any highway technology depends on its acceptance by stakeholders on a national scale.

There are a number of barriers to innovation delivery that may explain the relatively slow adoption of highway technologies that appear cost effective. Lack of information about new technologies is one barrier that may be overcome with information and outreach programs. Long–standing familiarity with existing technologies gained through education or experience also may hamper the adoption of newer technologies such as traffic models. Education and training programs provided through the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) National Highway Institute often help to transcend these types of barriers.

It also may be difficult for stakeholders to envision the long–range benefits of a new technology relative to initial investment costs, especially if the payback (break–even) period is long. Even if stakeholders are aware of eventual cost savings from a more efficient or effective highway technology, they may have confidence in traditional ways of doing business, for example, assessing pavement performance. Demonstration projects that provide hard quantitative data can help to tip the scale such that stakeholders are willing to apply innovative technologies to long–standing safety and asset measurement and protection problems.

Despite these efforts, innovation delivery often is slowed by residual uncertainties about performance, reliability, installation and maintenance, costs, availability of the next generation of the technology, and the need for the necessary technical and physical infrastructure to support the technology in question.

Outreach programs and collaborative efforts can address these persistent barriers with stakeholders—ranging from the Transportation Research Board to researchers within State departments of transportation—as well as other incentives to enhance the cost effectiveness of new technologies. Taken together, these initiatives often encourage earlier and broader adoption of highway technologies by increasing stakeholder familiarity with new technologies. Finally, highway standards and other mandates can support earlier and more extensive deployment of newer, more advanced highway technologies.

FHWA's Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management is committed to supporting the development and implementation of successful innovation delivery practices and processes throughout FHWA and the highway community. The following links provide initial information on key steps and phases of the highway technology deployment.

FHWA's Resource Center is a central location for obtaining highway technology deployment assistance. The multiple services offered by the Resource Center are listed at www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/.

Federal Highway Administration’s Priority Technologies

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