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Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)

Fact Sheets on Highway Provisions


Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Authorization $196.4M $196.4M $196.4M $196.4M $196.4M

Program Purpose

The program funds surface transportation research, development, and technology deployment activities to promote innovation in transportation infrastructure, services, and operations.

Statutory References

SAFETEA-LU Section(s): 1102, 5101-5103, 5201-5203, 5206-5210, 7131


Funded by contract authority, to remain available until expended. Funds may not be transferred. [5101(b)]

Obligation limitation --

  • funds are subject to the overall Federal-aid highway obligation limitation;
  • funds are also subject to a separate obligation limitation of $410,888,888 per year for 2005-2009 for Title V (includes Surface Transportation Research, Training & Education, BTS, University Transportation Research, ITS Research, and ITS Deployment); [5102]
  • limitation set aside for research programs may be carried over for 3 years. [1102(e)]

Amounts directed/designated for specific recipients or for specific types of research total more than the amounts authorized for STRRD for each of FYs 2006-2009. For funding associated with each of these individual designations from the Surface Transportation Research authorization in 5101(a)(1), see authorization table.

Program Features

Combines the TEA-21 Surface Transportation Research and Technology Deployment into a unified program with a clarified Federal role; establishes principles and procedures for involvement in research and technology, including stakeholder input, competition and peer review, and performance review and evaluation. The eligibility of transportation system management and operations research and development activities is clarified, and freight security research initiatives are added as eligible components. An overall 5-year strategic plan is required for the Department, to integrate the R&D programs of all modes. [5201, 5203, 5208]

Research and technology deployment programs include:

  • Exploratory Advanced Research Program: enhances program to address longer-term, higher-risk research, including 1) highway infrastructure materials, 2) health effects, 3) safety, 4) environment, 5) system condition and performance monitoring, and 6) hour-to-hour operational decision-making. [5201(g)]
  • Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP): continues program for pavement research to meet future technology needs. [5201(i)]
  • Seismic Research: continues program to reduce the vulnerability of surface transportation systems to seismic activities. [5201(j)]
  • Biobased Transportation Research: establishes program to conduct biobased research of national importance at the National Biodiesel Board and at other research centers. [5201(m)]
  • Long Term Bridge Performance Program: parallel to LTPP, this new initiative targets bridge research to meet future technology needs. [5202(a)]
  • Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment Program: enhances program to promote deployment of innovative bridge technologies, including high performance concrete and steel bridges. [5202(b), (c), and (d)]
  • Innovative Pavement Research and Deployment Program: establishes program to promote innovative pavement technologies, including set-aside for NHS pavements. [5203(b)]
  • Safety Innovation Deployment Program: establishes a program to demonstrate the application of innovative technologies in highway safety. [5203(c)]
  • Demonstration projects and studies: Wood Composite Materials Demonstration Project, Asphalt Reclamation Study, Alkali Silica Reactivity [5203(e)]
  • Transportation Technology Innovations - Fundamental Properties of Asphalts and Modified Asphalts and Transportation, Economic, and Land Use System: continues program. [5204(g)]
  • Future Strategic Highway Research Program: establishes program to be carried out through the National Research Council in consultation with AASHTO. Program to be based on NRC Special Report 260 and NCHRP Project 20-58 and emphasizes the four areas of: renewal, safety, congestion, and capacity. [5210]

Operation of the highway system:

  • National Cooperative Freight Transportation Research Program: new program, to be conducted through the National Academy of Sciences; advisory committee will recommend a national research agenda, including estimates of the public benefits derived from freight transportation and the uses of technology to improve freight transportation. [5209]
  • Surface Transportation Congestion Relief Solutions Research Initiative: two research initiatives to assist States in addressing surface transportation congestion problems – 1) improved congestion management system measures, and 2) analytical techniques for action on congestion. [5502]

Facilitating partnerships:

  • Transportation Pooled Fund Program: Encourages DOT to pool resources with State DOTs and other transportation and research organizations for R&T activities of mutual interest. [5201(d)]
  • Secretary may directly initiate contracts, agreements to fund, and accept funds from TRB, State DOTs, cities, and counties to conduct joint R&T programs. [5201(f)]
  • International Highway Transportation Outreach Program: continues program 1) to inform the United States highway community of technological innovations in foreign countries, 2) to promote United States highway transportation expertise, goods, and services in foreign countries, and 3) to increase transfers of United States highway transportation technology to foreign countries. [5206]
  • Centers for Surface Transportation Excellence: provides for the establishment of 4 centers -- environmental excellence, surface transportation safety, rural safety, and project finance to provide services such as technical assistance, training, information sharing, and outreach. [5309]
  • Surface Transportation-Environmental Cooperative Research Program: see separate fact sheet [5207]
  • Center for Transportation Advancement and Regional Development: establishes the Center to assist, through training, education, and research, in the comprehensive development of small metropolitan and rural regional transportation systems responsive to the needs of businesses and local communities.


  • Infrastructure Investment Needs Report: due date set at July 31, 2006, and every two years thereafter must include information necessary for comparison with conditions and measures in previous reports. [5201(k)]
  • Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center: Center recognized as a leader in nationwide research to meet the transportation needs of the 21st century. [5201(l)]
  • Promotional Materials: provides authority to the FHWA to purchase promotional items of nominal value for use in educational outreach and recruitment. [5203(d)]
  • Transportation Safety Information Management System Project: provides for the further development of TSIMS software application to provide for the collection, integration, management, and dissemination of safety data. [5501]
  • Commercial Remote Sensing Products and Spatial Information Technologies: program to validate commercial remote sensing products and spatial information technologies for application to national transportation infrastructure development and construction. [5506]
  • Advanced Travel Forecasting Procedures Program: continues program for deployment of the Transportation Analysis Simulation System (TRANSIMS) as a planning tool and to develop additional applications and uses of the model. [5512]

Federal Share

Federal share of surface transportation research funds is 50% unless otherwise determined by the Secretary or expressly provided by SAFETEA-LU, as described below:

High Performing Steel Bridge Research and Technology Transfer -- 80%
Wood Composite Materials Demonstration Project -- 100%
Asphalt Reclamation Study -- 120(b) or as determined by Secretary
Alkali Silica Reactivity -- 120(b) or as determined by Secretary
National Cooperative Freight Transportation Research Program – 100%
Future Strategic Highway Research Program – 100%
Centers for Surface Transportation Excellence – 100%

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