Funding Sources for Transportation Research: Competitive Programs

Transportation research needs are broad, cutting across modes, geographic levels, and types of research. The organizations conducting transportation research and the research programs themselves are diverse. While there is considerable strength in this diversity, it can be difficult to navigate through these programs. Where can I find funding? Who is conducting research in my area of interest? Where do I find the cutting-edge research products?

To help the transportation community access research programs more efficiently, the TRB Research Innovation Implementation Management Committee (RIIM), the AASHTO Research Advisory Committee, TRB staff, and transportation professionals from across the country worked together to produce the Research Funding Guidebook. The first version of this web resource was posted in December 2008; a revision was completed in 2018. It will be updated regularly with:

  • Additional research programs,
  • Information and updates for the existing programs, and
  • Tips and advice.

This document provides information on research programs to help you find the resources you need. For each program you will find:

  • A general description,
  • The type of research funded,
  • Project funding levels,
  • Typical project duration,
  • Program schedule,
  • Project solicitation and submission process,
  • Selection process and criteria,
  • Tips for writing winning research statements, and
  • Web address and contact information.

The document contains several other chapters to help you navigate transportation resources and programs.

Which Program Fits Your Need?

Research characteristics such as mode or topic help identify which research programs would be the best fit for a research problem statement.

Writing a Good Problem Statement

The document provides advice on elements of a winning problem statement, such as tailoring the statement to the program and selection criteria and explaining the needed research.

Tools for Collaboration

The document provides resources for finding unfunded, ongoing, and completed research.