- Planning and Development
- Strategic Research Documents
- Unfunded and Partially Funded Research Needs
- Research Funding Guidebook
- Federal Research Programs
- International Research Programs
- State Departments of Transportation Programs
- Transportation Research Board
- University Transportation Centers
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: What Are the Characteristics of the Research You Would Like to Have Funded?
- Chapter 3: Which Research Program is the Best Fit for Your Research Statement?
- Chapter 4: More About Proposed, Ongoing, and Completed Research
- Chapter 5: General Advice and Summary
- Appendix A: How to Write an Effective Research Statement
- Appendix B: How to Submit Updates to this Guidebook
- Appendix C: Contributors
Highways of the Future – A Strategic Plan for Highway Infrastructure Research and Development
Highways are the backbone of the American transportation system, moving the vast majority of the Nation?s products and goods, and providing the vital link between all modes of transportation. As the foundation of the Nation?s economy, highways have made it possible for the American people to enjoy, benefit from, and essentially take for granted, the ability to safely and efficiently travel wherever and whenever they wish.
As the Nation moves into the heart of the 21st century, the highway system is largely a victim of its own success. The economic growth made possible by the highway system has fueled tremendous increases in the demands placed on it. At the same time, the Nation?s investment in highway infrastructure has not kept pace with these growing demands. These circumstances present highway agencies with many critical challenges, including:
?The need to extend the service life of existing highway infrastructure.
?The need to build, rehabilitate, and rebuild infrastructure in ways that:
?Minimizes the impact of construction activities on already congested highways.
?Optimizes the overall cost/benefit for the improved infrastructure.
?Facilitates future adaptation to accommodate changing demands.
?The need to effectively address the mobility challenges posed by natural or man-made extreme events and hazards?including earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, collisions, and acts of terrorism?by designing and constructing less vulnerable infrastructure to minimize loss, and employing rapid restoration techniques to restore functionality after a disaster occurs.
Effectively addressing these challenges will require a multifaceted, multidisciplinary, and collaborative approach. Success will require active involvement on the part of highway stakeholders from all levels of government; the highway design, materials, and construction communities; and academia. Success also will require work spanning the full technology continuum?from fundamental sciences and advanced research to create new knowledge, materials, and systems; through applied R&D; to effective technology transfer and deployment?as well as policy and program management initiatives.
This strategic plan addresses one facet of the required approach?the work that needs to be pursued by the FHWA Office of Infrastructure R&D. In addition to guiding FHWA?s infrastructure R&D, it will serve as a foundation for collaboration with other FHWA units and offices, and stakeholders throughout the highway community.
The approach articulated in this plan is founded on the ideal that FHWA?s emphasis should be on a collaborative, interdisciplinary, and crosscutting approach to highway infrastructure research. This approach recognizes the following principles.
?Pavements and bridges function as an integrated system, instead of independent elements within a highway
? Although the fundamental structure and components of pavements and bridges are quite distinct, some R&D needs are common to both.
? Only by using all facilities and assets available within FHWA?s Office of Infrastructure R&D, and working collaboratively with counterparts in other FHWA offices and stakeholders throughout the highway community, will we be able to leverage our resources with the other resources required to address the wide range of needs and issues in the near and long terms