Airport Design and Construction Narrative Research Roadmap

TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Web-Only Document 40 outlines the key research gaps and areas of topics of interest for airports in the design and construction field over the next five years.

The research ideas generated as part of this project are organized into seven high‐level themes that represent the main areas and challenges of interest to airports in design and construction.

While design and construction are designated as their own research areas within the ACRP program, the roadmap takes a consolidated approach and combines the two in both the report and the visual representation.

The roadmap includes 40 research ideas that are categorized into seven high‐level themes: Customer Service; Integrating Advanced and/or Disruptive Technologies; Project Management, Delivery and Finance Models; Safety and Security; Sustainability and Resiliency; General Design and Construction; and Workforce Development.

The research ideas are further categorized into twelve subtopics: 1) Passenger Experience; 2) Integrating Technology and Data; 3) Finance and Revenue Development; 4) Alternative Approaches to Project Delivery Mechanisms; 5) Sustainable Design and Construction; 6) Innovative Approaches to Security / TSA Operations; 7) Construction Best Practices / Guidance and Tools; 8) Modernizing and Retrofitting Airport Facilities; 9) Construction Materials; 10) Accommodating Changing Demographics; 11) Curbside, Roadways and Vehicles; and 12) Unmanned Aerial Systems.

The completed Research Roadmap in the Area of Design and Construction of Airport Facilities includes the following products:
• An interactive version of Appendix B: Visual Research Roadmap.
 Appendix C: Research Ideas Database, which is a searchable Excel file containing ideas generated during the project.
• A PowerPoint presentation: Summary of Airport Design and Construction Research Roadmap, which describes the roadmap and related products.

Research Roadmap on Safety Issues

With the airport industry’s introduction and early adoption of safety management systems (SMS), safety processes are taking on a more proactive way of doing the business while continuously improving safety. This shift in approach will drive safety research in the near and long-term future.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program’s ACRP Web-Only Document 50: Research Roadmap on Safety Issues reveals evidence of this shift, with input from the industry clearly indicating that more detailed guidance on, and the sharing of lessons learned regarding the elements and processes falling under the SMS umbrella, is needed.

Two supplemental files accompany this web-only document, including a Safety Research Topics Database and a Visual Research Roadmap.

Airport Environment Research Roadmap


As an industry-driven research program, ACRP relies on a flow of quality research ideas. Traditionally, ACRP primarily has used a bottom-up approach for these ideas, expressed as formal problem statements. ACRP’s Oversight Committee has adopted a strategic plan for the program that includes as a priority ensuring “that problem statements are of the highest quality and greatest relevance to the airport industry.” As a key step to achieving this strategic priority, ACRP is developing a series of research roadmaps, one for each of its 10 topic areas. The goal of these research roadmaps is to identify gaps in knowledge and practice, uncover key opportunities and challenges, and outline and prioritize specific research ideas needed to address these gaps. The roadmaps will also produce research ideas to be entered into ACRP’s IdeaHub, its online collaboration platform for turning ideas into problem statements to be considered for funding.

Airports face unique, numerous, and ever-evolving environmental challenges and opportunities. Common environmental topics have focused on noise, water quality, and air quality. More recently, issues related to sustainability and resiliency have emerged. A research roadmap is needed to help airport industry practitioners identify and prioritize research needs related to environmental issues.


The objective of this research is to develop an airport environmental research roadmap. The roadmap should recommend priorities and timing, set a strategy, and provide a rationale for the recommendations. In addition, the roadmap should:

  • Focus on airport environmental research needs to be undertaken within the next 5 years;
  • Consider existing relevant environmental roadmaps and research recommendations;
  • Consider the needs of airports of all sizes, geographies, levels and types of activity, and resource constraints;
  • Recognize airports are a component of communities and intermodal transportation systems;
  • Address potential positive environmental effects that airports can generate;
  • Reflect priorities of a broad group of stakeholders;
  • Prioritize research with consideration to ACRP’s strategic plan;
  • Create environmental research ideas to be entered into ACRP’s IdeaHub for further development into problem statements; and
  • Include a long-range (i.e., beyond 5 years) environmental research needs assessment that accounts for uncertainty, data limitations, emerging technologies, and evolving policies.


Research is complete.  Results are provided in ACRP Web-Only Document 45, a Dataset, and an Interactive Roadmap.

Research Roadmap for the AASHTO Council on Active Transportation

STATUS: Research is complete.
The Research Roadmap, with prioritized research needs, is available here:

The Research Review summarizes existing and ongoing research in 22 topic areas:
The Continuity and Implementation Plan provides the Council on Active Transportation (CAT) with tools and steps to implement the Roadmap:

A spreadsheet for tracking research is available for download here (xlsx format):


In November 2016, the AASHTO Board of Directors adopted a new committee structure for the organization that included creating the CAT as part of the Transportation Policy Forum. The Council addresses issues related to bicycle, pedestrian, and other active transportation modes, including non-motorized access to the multi-modal network.
The objective of this project was to develop a research roadmap that can be used by the Council to focus its efforts to foster, support, monitor, disseminate, and implement research on active transportation. The roadmap will builds upon existing research and is informed by outreach to the active transportation practitioner community. In addition to identifying research gaps and prioritizing research needs, the roadmap aligns with the Council’s strategic plan for future Council activities, including collaboration with other AASHTO committees and councils.

Transportation System Resilience: Research Roadmap and White Papers

The objectives of this project are to develop a research roadmap and three white papers for senior executives on transportation resilience. Together with the resilience CEO primer and engagement activities developed under NCHRP Project 20-59(55), this series of products and activities will lead into and inform the research in NCHRP Project 20-59(117) that will culminate in a national summit and peer exchange on transportation resilience to be held in late 2018. Accomplishment of the project objectives will require at least the following tasks.
Task 1. Prepare three executive level white papers on special topics related to transportation resilience in support of the national summit on resilience included in the scope of work in NCHRP Project 20-59(117). See topics 1, 2, and 3, below. The three white papers should be written to a similar depth as “Understanding Transportation Resilience: A 2016-2018 Roadmap.”
Task 2. Develop a 5-year research roadmap for use in focusing the efforts of the transportation community in implementing a broad based program addressing a resilient transportation system. The work will inform, complement, enhance, and augment work and conclusions arising from NCHRP Project 20-59(117).

The white papers will address the questions: To be resilient in these areas, what can I do now? What should I worry about? Systems interdependencies and lifelines will be emphasized across all three white papers. White papers are pre-summit only; focused on specific actions; designed to initiate discussion; and may address some of the same topics as the CEO primer. The CEO primer is intended to guide specific actions. Both the white papers and the CEO primer have as their primary audiences state DOT CEOs and senior executives. The CEO primer should, in addressing topics such as those enumerated below, complement the three white papers that are anticipated to provide responsive overviews to the questions following the first three topics below:

  1. Cyber systems resilience (including unintentional effects such as space weather): What can a state DOT do now or worry about when it comes to resilient cyber systems with respect to critical functions, assets, networks, systems and people?
  2. Economics (both ways), maintaining a viable tax base, using DOT purchasing power to help recover the local economy (economic function of resilience, national security): What can a state DOT do now or worry about when it comes to a resilient economy where a state DOT not only contributes to but benefits from a vibrant commerce environment? What are the functions, assets, networks, and systems that are enhanced through this resiliency?
  3. Sea level rise/extreme weather (climate change issues, uncertainty, non-urgent): What can a state DOT do now or worry about when it comes to creating resiliency against extreme weather and/or sea level rise, and how does that DOT harness and augment its functions, assets, networks, assets, systems, and people to sustain operations through changes in weather?
  4. Earthquakes (including New Madrid and Northwest Subduction Zone)
  5. Choke points/single points of failure
  6. Human factors/COOP, succession planning
  7. Automated/connected vehicles
  8. Workforce development
  9. Drought/heat

For the purposes of this project’s construct, “functions” refers to the assignments, tasks, and positions in a state DOT that are critical to the performance of continued transportation service through any hazard or disruption; “assets” refers to the infrastructure, equipment, resources, tools, vehicles, hardware, roadways, tunnels, and facilities owned and operated by a state DOT to ensure the continued safe transport of goods and people through any hazard or disruption; “networks” refers to the relationships maintained by a state DOT with local municipalities, contractors, the private sector, and other branches of local, state and federal government to ensure continuity of transportation operations through any hazard or disruption; “systems” refers to the variety of critical technology platforms and applications, including all software utilities and electronic forms of data, utilized by state DOT personnel to operate assets and infrastructure, support functional continuity, and enable network communication and reliability through any hazard or disruption; “people” refers to the inherently necessary human resources and personnel needed by a state DOT to ensure transportation service is provided through any hazard or disruption.

Supplementary materials to the report include a Road Map Ratings and Rankings Workbook (Appendix B) and a Resilience Research Roadmap and White Papers Presentation.

The contractor’s final version of “Understanding Transportation Resilience: A 2016-2018 Roadmap,” has been approved by the 20-59(14C) panel. A PowerPoint presentation was developed to present the roadmap and it has been published by AASHTO. It is expected that this roadmap will be of interest to those conducting research on transportation resilience issues. This roadmap also informs the work done in NCHRP Project 20-59(55) and NCHRP Project 20-117; the panel overseeing those projects (NCHRP 20-59) has full discretion to amend the roadmap as they see fit.
For the TRB Annual Meeting in January 2017, the contractor prepared two items:

Other useful resources for this project include:

Fundamental Capabilities of Effective All-Hazards Infrastructure Protection, Resilience, and Emergency Management for State Departments of Transportation (September 2015), AASHTO

Managing Catastrophic Transportation Emergencies: A Guide for Transportation Executives (September 2015), AASHTO

National Infrastructure Protection Plan (2006), DHS

Transportation Systems: Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources Sector-Specific Plan as input to the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (May 2007), DHS

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Impacts of Connected Vehicles and Automated Vehicles on State and Local Transportation Agencies


The objectives of NCHRP Project 20-102 are to (1) identify critical issues associated with connected vehicles and automated vehicles that state and local transportation agencies and AASHTO will face, (2) conduct research to address those issues, and (3) conduct related technology transfer and information exchange activities.

The list of projects funded under NCHRP 20-102 are at the bottom of this page and are included in the Summary of NCHRP 20-102 Activities

NCHRP Project 20-24(98) developed a draft research roadmap for addressing CV/AV issues. NCHRP Project 20-102(19) is updating this roadmap and has completed their review of the previous roadmap.



Connected vehicle technologies are being developed to enable safe, interoperable networked wireless communications among vehicles (V2V), the infrastructure (V2I), and travelers’ personal communication devices (V2X). These technologies are intended to reduce highway crashes; provide data for assessing the performance of the transportation system; provide continual access to accurate information on the operation of the system to travelers; and reduce unnecessary stops, delays, and emissions.
Automated vehicle technologies are also under development that will significantly change fundamental planning, design, and operational characteristics for the road network. Some industry leaders expect that Level 4 vehicle automation (under NHTSA and SAE definitions) will be available on the market by 2018. Fully autonomous, driverless vehicles (SAE Level 5 automation) could be on the market by 2025.
For Level 5 automation, “the vehicle is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip. Such a design anticipates that the driver will provide destination or navigation input, but is not expected to be available for control at any time during the trip.” (NHTSA, Preliminary Statement of Policy Concerning Automated Vehicles) Level 4 automation is essentially the same as Level 5, without any driver supervision (e.g., there is no expectation that the driver will be engaged), over a limited driving domain. These vehicles may be safer than current models.
Connected vehicles and automated vehicles are essentially different technologies, though some of the challenges they present to transportation agencies will be similar. These two technologies may converge or diverge from each other based largely on developments in the private sector (e.g., vehicle manufacturers, third-party vendors). While some actors envision a completely autonomous vehicle that does not require communication with other entities, others see serendipities between the two technologies. This project will address both technologies (including the combination) under the umbrella term of CV/AV. The individual tasks that compose the project will clearly identify which technologies are to be addressed.

A request for statements of qualifications was active from December 11, 2014 to January 29, 2015. Four task-order contracts have been executed. For the individual tasks selected by the NCHRP Project 20-102 panel (listed below), the selected task-order contractors will be asked to submit competitive proposals that will be evaluated by a separate panel for each task. These task panels will also oversee the contractor’s work.

During the course of the contract, task-order contractors will be expected to submit quarterly progress reports that include: (1) brief status reports on tasks currently underway (including a table of milestones and deliverables, significant findings, a description of any problems encountered, and recommended solutions to such problems); (2) summary of significant events in the CV and AV industries that may affect the research roadmap; and (3) recommendations for updates to the research roadmap.


The NCHRP will decide in Summer 2017 whether to readvertise for task-order contractors or to extend the ones that are in place.


20-102(20) Workforce Capability Strategies for State and Local Agencies

20-102(22) State and Local Impacts of Automated Freight Transportation Systems

Rural Transportation Issues: Research Roadmap

Rural areas in every state experience myriad challenges related directly or indirectly to transportation. These challenges vary among and within states and in the ways transportation can be part of a solution. Air service from rural airports; access to health care; availability of emergency medical services during the Golden Hour after a crash; mobility of the elderly and people with disabilities; the movement of agricultural products to markets; human trafficking; access to high-speed electronic communications; natural disasters; passenger rail services; agency workforce recruitment and retention; and the relationship of transportation to economic development are just a few listed on public agendas.
The Transportation Research Board Executive Committee’s Subcommittee on Planning and Policy Review (SPPR) noted at its April 2018 meeting:
Rural regional services are transportation services that fall in the middle ground between intercity bus service and rural public transportation. The concept was the topic of a NCHRP report [NCHRP Research Report 861: Best Practices in Rural Regional Mobility] that addressed the role of state transit program policies and regional planning agencies in the development of rural regional services. According to the report, these services improve mobility, employment, and education opportunities; provide access to healthcare and community services; and offer connectivity to the national transportation network.
Research is needed to assist state departments of transportation and other public agencies to help inform policy–driven investment decisions.
The objectives of this research are to (1) identify critical rural transportation issues that can be addressed by research through NCHRP and other research programs; (2) produce a research roadmap; and (3) submit, by November 1, 2018, at least five problem statements drawn from the research roadmap that are appropriate for consideration for NCHRP funding in the FY 2020 program.
Accomplishment of the project objectives will require at least the following tasks.
Phase I
Task 1. Conduct an environmental scan of rural transportation issues in the United States and relevant countries.
Task 2. Review relevant literature and conduct a gap analysis. Submit an annotated literature review of relevant research and a draft recommended research roadmap.
Task 3. Organize and facilitate a 1-day workshop of up to 35 participants to identify critical rural transportation issues and needs; to review and provide direction on the draft recommended research roadmap; and to identify problem statements suitable for submission to the NCHRP and other research programs. The NCHRP project panel will assist the contractor in identifying workshop participants; panel members will be included as participants.
Task 4. Submit a draft final report to NCHRP that incorporates the results of the workshop and presents a research roadmap to address the identified needs. Include at least five problem statements, drawn from the research roadmap, suitable for consideration for NCHRP funding.
Task 5. Present the draft final report at the October 29-30, 2018, meeting of the AASHTO Special Committee on Research and Innovation (R&I) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Prepare a presentation that, upon revision, is suitable for posting on the NCHRP project webpage.
Phase II
Task 6. Organize and facilitate a 1-day workshop as part of the January 13-17, 2019, TRB Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, to identify critical rural transportation issues and needs; to review and provide direction on the draft recommended research roadmap; and to identify problem statements suitable for submission to the NCHRP and other research programs.
Task 7. Produce a revised final report that incorporates additional feedback received through follow-on activities (including the workshop at the TRB Annual Meeting in January 2019) as proposed by the research team and approved by the project panel. Prepare an updated presentation that, upon revision, is suitable for posting on the NCHRP project webpage. The revised final deliverables are due in June 2020.
 STATUS: Publication pending as NCHRP Research Report 988. An implementation project is in development.

Multimodal Freight Transportation Research Roadmap

As outlined in the U.S. DOT’s 30-year plan, Beyond Traffic, the nation’s ability to compete in global markets and to meet the needs and expectations of consumers and industry depends on a robust multimodal freight transportation system and agile and efficient supply chains. Rural communities, cities, and metropolitan areas rely on supply chains, and the supporting freight transportation systems, to send and receive vast amount of supplies needed by local economies. For example, freight-intensive-sectors (e.g., manufacturing, wholesale, retail, food, accommodation) – for which the production and/or consumption of supplies are an essential part of their business – represent 45% of the establishments and 50% of the employment in the United States.  Inefficient supply chains will have a negative effect on all of them, hampering economic activity. Furthermore, the freight system is under serious strain, with roads, railways, and airports becoming increasingly congested and increasingly aging.
Market and technological trends are impacting freight activity patterns in numerous ways, both globally and locally.  International trade is increasing, global manufacturing centers are shifting, and trade routes are changing.  Firms are driving down logistics costs through just-in-time shipping.  Online shopping is increasing demand for home delivery of consumer products, especially in dense urban environments.  Retailers, faced with new mobile computing consumer buying behavior, are experimenting with a wide range of new transportation options for last mile delivery. Intermodal freight shipped in containers via ships, trains, and trucks is continuing to grow. Surging domestic energy production is straining infrastructure in oil production regions.  In the next 30 years, changes in freight demand, shipping, manufacturing, logistics, technology, and energy production are poised to transform the economics of transportation yet again. By 2045, freight volume will increase 45% from current levels.
The increasing congestion in metropolitan areas is a major threat to the U.S. economy. About 80% of the freight transported in the U.S. has its origin or destination at one of the top 100 metropolitan areas, reflecting that the bulk of manufacturing is produced in metropolitan areas, and in turn, increases congestion and emissions in these areas. Taking into account the surge in Internet orders in the last several years, it is almost certain that deliveries to households now generate more freight trips than deliveries to commercial establishments.
At the same time, a host of new technologies and operational practices are transforming freight transportation systems and supply chains. Smart City technologies, truck platooning, autonomous trucks, drones, 3D printing, delivery crowdsourcing, and others are already making their mark. As an example, 3D printing may lead to decentralization of manufacturing and to the development of on-demand manufacturing, resulting in unforeseen demands on road infrastructure because of the growth in small truck freight trip generation.
There is a need to better understand the current and anticipated future freight trends to provide transportation agencies with the information they need to develop strategic plans. More specifically, research is needed to gain insight into how market and technological trends could impact transportation systems, safety, and the environment. Conducting research, with the collaboration of other stakeholders, that identifies, designs, pilot tests, and leads to the adoption of effective public sector freight initiatives, will help transportation agencies achieve their goals.
The objective of this project is to develop a dynamic 5- to 10-year multimodal freight research roadmap. The roadmap should emphasize problem statements with a scope and budget appropriate for NCHRP, but can include problem statements that are more suitable for other public, private, or academic research institutions or programs.  The research roadmap should clearly define a portfolio of initiatives that will advance the knowledge and capabilities of transportation decision makers.  The research roadmap should include, but not be limited to: (1) end-to-end emphasis (i.e., consider the research needs of all modes and stages of freight activity, from gateways, to corridors, to local deliveries); (2) identifying and assessing the impacts of social, technological, economic, environmental, and political trends on freight transportation systems and policies; (3) enhancing public sector decision-making capabilities (i.e., the research roadmap should lead to the development of new tools or methods and ways to gather necessary data for public agencies to make decisions that improve freight system performance); (4) expanding and deepening public sector knowledge (i.e., the research roadmap should contain projects that enhance the public sector’s understanding of the behavior of the agents involved in freight, and the best ways to influence them to improve freight system performance); and (5) addressing institutional issues (i.e., analyzing current and potential barriers to preventing improved freight transportation systems that could increase economic efficiency and productivity, foster sustainability, enhance livability, quality of life, and environmental justice).
The research roadmap should include: (1) a prioritized portfolio of problem statements, most of which should address the research gaps in a format and at a level of detail suitable for submission to NCHRP; (2) a detailed description and justification of how this portfolio addresses the five objective criteria; (3) an assessment of key gaps and needs that could be addressed through research and how this portfolio addresses these gaps; and (4) a dynamic communications concept (including format, platform, frequency, distribution channels, budget, and editorial and technical content) that could be widely distributed to keep practitioners informed of emerging issues affecting freight transportation.
Status: Submitted to the AASHTO Special Committee on Freight.

Research Roadmap — Transformational Technologies (other than CV/AV)

Transformational, or “disruptive” technologies, are those that can be expected to completely displace the status quo, forever changing the way we live and work. Common examples include the internet, the personal computer, email, and the smart phone. The development of the internal combustion engine is an example of a disruptive technology in the transportation sector.
More current examples of transformational technologies in transportation include connected and automated vehicles, bicycle sharing in urban centers, car sharing (e.g. Car2Go and Zipcar), on-demand shared ride services (such as Uber and Lyft), hybrid and other alternative-fueled vehicles, drones, e-retailing, and 3D printing. All of these are facilitated and further complicated by the “Internet of Things” – where systems are connected through embedded sensors and transmitters. The acquisition of real-time data on the infrastructure, vehicles, drivers, and goods will provide unprecedented opportunities to monitor the performance of our transportation systems.
Each of these technologies is the subject of a good deal of research, but collectively they will change the nature and role of the future Department of Transportation. Transformational technologies will impact the way we plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain our transportation systems. DOTs must prepare for an uncertain future and build a workforce with considerably different skill sets. The NCHRP has developed a research roadmap for connected and automated vehicles (through NCHRP Project 20-24(98)) and is carrying out a program of research to address identified needs. However, there are other transformational technologies that need to be studied and better understood.
There is a need to understand how transportation agencies will be impacted by transformational technologies in order to provide them with the information they need to develop strategic goals and objectives by analyzing the current issues and state of knowledge, identifying gaps and needs, and outlining a program of research to address those gaps and needs.
The objective of this research is to develop a research roadmap on transformational technologies and their impacts on state and local departments of transportation. A research roadmap is a type of strategic plan that outlines the key issues in an area, identifies research gaps that constrain effective decision-making, and outlines specific research projects needed to address these gaps.


The initial phase of this work is to support TRB’s Partners in Research Symposium: Transformational Technologies in Transportation through NCHRP Project 20-113A (link below). Upon completion, the panel will determine how best to use the remaining resources.

20-113A Support for TRB Symposium on Transformational Technologies Affecting Transportation


20-113F Topical White Papers for the TRB Forum on Automated Vehicles and Shared Mobility

Strategic Issues Facing Transportation, Volume 7: Preservation, Maintenance, and Renewal of Highway Infrastructure

The transportation industry faces a wide range of plausible future drivers and scenarios that could affect standard practices over the next 30 to 50 years. Because the range of plausible futures over such a long-term period is very broad, making a focused prediction of the implications for highway infrastructure preservation, maintenance, and renewal (PMR) is quite challenging.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program’s NCHRP Report 750: Strategic Issues Facing Transportation, Volume 7: Preservation, Maintenance, and Renewal of Highway Infrastructure focuses on the issues affecting the PMR of highway infrastructure. The study places emphasis on preparing for plausible future scenarios and develops a pathway to guide transportation agencies in advancing the implementation of emerging PMR practices through a process involving awareness, advocacy, assessment, adoption, and action planning.

The appendices to Parts A and B of this report are available as part of NCHRP Web-Only Document 272: Existing and Emerging Highway Infrastructure Preservation, Maintenance, and Renewal Definitions, Practices, and Scenarios.

In addition, there are two guides included within the report that help with the understanding, identification, application, and implementation of emerging PMR practices. They are also available as standalone guides:

• Practitioner’s Guide to Emerging Highway Preservation, Maintenance, and Renewal Practices
• Leadership’s Guide to Emerging Highway Preservation, Maintenance, and Renewal Practices