Accelerating the Rate of Innovation Among State DOTs

Continuing innovation in the practices of U.S. transportation agencies has brought substantial benefits to the nation. Examples of beneficial innovation range from new materials used in pavements and structures, to new ways of collecting and analyzing information about transportation system users and the environment in which the system operates, to new ways of funding the investments needed to improve public safety and efficiency of travel. Beneficial innovation occurs in any field when new ideas are disseminated and widely adopted by practitioners. Experience in many fields illustrates that expanding the extent of information exchange among practitioners and increasing the rate of the exchange facilitate innovation. A variety of means have been used to identify quickly new ideas that may usefully be applied in many contexts and to make those ideas available to the people and institutions that can use them. Direct personal contact among professionals in a field, for example, is perhaps the oldest of these means and widely agreed to be particularly valuable. NCHRP Projects 20-36 Highway Research and Technology--International Information Sharing and 20-68A U. S. Domestic Scan Program are two currently active examples of efforts by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), The Transportation Research Board (TRB), and others to facilitate technology transfer and innovation through personal contact. A "scan" approach typically entails field visits to observe promising new practices, identify pertinent development and application issues, and assess appropriate technology transfer opportunities and methods. The scan visit focuses on face-to-face discussion of current experience, providing opportunities for a uniquely rich exchange of information that is difficult or impossible to replicate through written materials, telephone conversations, and e-mail correspondence. While scan visits are a productive means for spreading information and innovation, the primary exchange occurs with the people who make the visit. The NCHRP's scan projects include efforts to encourage scan-team members to expand the circle of information exchange through preparation and dissemination of a report of each scan, publications in trade and professional journals, conferences, and peer-to-peer forums, but the effectiveness is these efforts inevitably is limited. The NCHRP and others continue to seek both ways to enhance the effectiveness of scans and alternatives to scans as a very effective means for accelerating innovation among transportation agencies. The objectives of this project will be to explore (1) new ways (for example, emailed publications; webinar, blog, wiki, syndication, or other web-based instruments; sponsored innovation gatekeepers) to more productively disseminate scan results (e.g., webinars) and (2) alternatives to travel-based scans. Individual research and development activities will be undertaken as sub-projects. In addition, activities associated with specific scan topics may be designed to advance the objectives of this project.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $200000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-68B

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    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

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Lemer, Andrew

  • Start Date: 20090219
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 21026

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01464273
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-68B
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:39PM