Identifying Methods to Qualitatively Value Research for Transportation Agencies

Research in the transportation sector traditionally emphasizes quantifiable benefits of projects, but there is a growing recognition among industry professionals that research impacts extend beyond conventional numerical measures tied to safety, materials, and asset life. At the same time, it can be challenging to translate research outcomes into simple, understandable figures or statistics, so the complete value of research to stakeholders may be obscured. Having a set of agreed methods ready for communicating broader narratives would help in explaining a research project's contribution to the transportation agency, the wider research community, and the public. The objective of this project is to develop a guide on qualitative approaches to valuing research project impacts, outputs, and outcomes. Methods and best practices would cover technical areas such as planning, design, construction; focus areas such as safety, resilience, and emerging technologies; and all phases of research from basic through implementation. The guide can address an array of methods to convey the direct and the ancillary value of research. For example, it would be beneficial to have accepted approaches to (a) valuing research where the null hypothesis is not rejected, such as when a new process or material is not better than the current practice; and (b) valuing a project that simply suggests more research is needed. The guide would be a valuable research management tool to spur the thought process underpinning innovation.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $325000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-131

  • 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:

    Jared, David

  • Start Date: 20240520
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01919346
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-131
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 22 2024 11:52AM