The Federal Investment in Hghway Research, 2006-2009: Strengths and Weaknesses

Administration and Management , Planning and Forecasting , Policy , Research (about research)
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This document is TRB Special Report #295.

Since 1992, the Research and Technology Coordinating Committee (RTCC) has served as an independent advisor on national and federal
highway research. Its work over the past 15 years has been supported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). During the years in which it has advised FHWA and other highway research sponsors, the committee has issued a number of reports addressing highway research topics, funding, and research management. It has also issued two previous reports addressing highway research at the national and federal levels.

In Special Report 244: Highway Research: Current Programs and FutureDirections (1994), RTCC described and analyzed for the first time the wide range of highway research activities funded through government and industry and made recommendations regarding funding levels for research and development and priority areas for future investment. In 2001, RTCC issued Special Report 261: The Federal Role in Highway Research and Technology. In that report, the committee assessed the strengths and weaknesses of the federal program and made recommendations with respect to funding levels and priorities. In particular, the committee stressed the need for improved stakeholder involvement in the FHWA program and urged that research funding be allocated through merit review of competitively solicited proposals. In both of these reports, RTCC emphasized the importance of allocating a greater share of the federal investment in highway research to longerterm, higher-risk research and made recommendations regarding priority areas for future highway research investment.

In 2007 RTCC’s statement of task was renegotiated with FHWA and was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council.
It states:

This project will provide an ongoing review of the FHWA research program. It will also analyze the federal investment in highway research made in the 2005 reauthorization of surface transportation programs and make recommendations to enhance the value of that investment. The criteria to be used for the committee’s analysis will be those articulated by Congress in the eight basic principles for research and technology innovation in Section 5201 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).

This report continues RTCC’s tradition of periodically assessing the state of highway research and making recommendations to policy makers. In this report, and consistent with its statement of task, the committee evaluates the investments made in highway research through SAFETEA-LU.

The committee conducted its work over a 3-year period, during which it invited and received briefings from research program managers in
FHWA and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), as well as from a broad range of stakeholders in highway research. Appendix A lists the many people who made presentations on and discussed various highway research programs. This report reflects the committee’s analysis of the information gathered and its collective, consensus judgment.

Organization Category:
Non-Profit (AASHTO, TKNs, TRB, etc.)
Organization Name:
Transportation Research Board
United States of America
District of Columbia

Document Type: Report

Created at: 10/13/2021 06:10 PM By: Sue Sillick

Last Modified at: 10/13/2021 06:10 PM By: Sue Sillick