NCHRP Implementation Support Program. Implementing the Results of NCHRP Project 20-68A, Domestic Scan 17-01: Successful Approaches for the Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems by Surface Transportation Agencies

Unoccupied Aircraft Systems (UAS) have the potential to revolutionize DOT operations. UAS-based bridge inspections can be safer and less costly by reducing the need to put a person in a dangerous position. Right-of-way (ROW) surveys can take place in hours instead of days. Traffic monitoring using UAS provides a unique perspective and is cost-effective compared to conventional aircraft. Aerial surveys of construction sites can confirm contractors are meeting timelines and adhering to environmental regulations. Search and rescue missions can happen more rapidly and at a lower cost by directing rescue teams to persons needing assistance. However, integrating UAS into operations poses human resources, policies, procedures, and information technology challenges as with any new technology. The report for NCHRP Project 20-68A, Domestic Scan 17-01: Successful Approaches for the Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems by Surface Transportation Agencies made specific recommendations for the successful implementation of UAS in organizational structure, policy and regulation, safety and risk management, training and crew qualifications, public relations, and application and operation. This project drew on the outcomes from NCHRP Project 20-68A, Domestic Scan 17-01 to provide tailored UAS training specifically in the areas of safety, risk management, flight operations near structures, night operations, and thermal sensing. This project successfully implemented a pilot training program for members of the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), Vermont Department of Public Safety (VT DPS), Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT). This training enabled these agencies to reduce UAS operational liability, maximize the UAS potential uses, enable DOT staff to perform UAS operations at a higher level more resourcefully, and shorten the response time for UAS-developed deliverables. It also created an online repository of training material, including recorded lectures and self-paced tutorials.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $175000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-44(17)

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Mohan, Sid

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Vermont, Burlington

    85 South Waterman Building
    Burlington, VT  United States  05405
  • Principal Investigators:

    O'Neil-Dunne, Jarlath

  • Start Date: 20200428
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220427
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01719327
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-44(17)
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 15 2019 7:34AM