US Domestic Scan Program

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 accelerating the rate of the exchange facilitate innovation. Experience also shows that personal contact with new ideas and their application is a particularly valuable means for information exchange. U.S. engineering professionals have visited their colleagues in other countries and returned with information that they have subsequently communicated to their domestic colleagues and seen applied to improving domestic practice. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and others have been active in technology transfers at the international level with their involvement in such activities as National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 20-36 on "Highway Research and Technology---International Information Sharing." These experiences have shown that the "scan" approach is a productive means for encouraging the spread of information and innovation. Many international program participants and observers have noted that new ideas are emerging in state and local transportation agencies around the United States, and that faster dissemination of many of these ideas could yield benefits similar to those associated with international information exchange. Domestic scans conducted by various FHWA offices as well as through the NCHRP illustrate the potential value of a domestic scan program. A scan entails four key steps. First, knowledgeable people identify novel practices in their field of interest. Second, these people assess the likelihood that these new ideas might beneficially be applied in other settings. Third, new practices that offer the most promise are selected and field visits are made to observe the practices, identify pertinent development and application issues, and assess appropriate technology transfer opportunities and methods. Finally, the results of the initial steps are documented for use by those who participated and for others to apply. Effective scans both supplement and make use of other mechanisms for information exchange such as publications in trade and professional journals, conferences, and peer-to-peer forums. A scan program 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. The informal discussions among the group of visitors participating in the scan contribute to the extraction of useful information from the individual members' observations. Executing an effective scan program requires sound understanding of the topic areas to be considered, insightful selection of topics and new ideas to be observed, careful selection of participants who can provide useful insights from their observations, and thoughtful documentation and dissemination of each scan's results. Managing the domestic scan program additionally requires that resources be conserved by not duplicating the information exchange activities of others. The objective of this project is to plan and manage the execution of domestic technology scans, each addressing a single technical topic. The purpose of each scan and of the program as a whole will be to facilitate information sharing and technology exchange among the states and other transportation agencies, and identify actionable items of common interest.  The current 3-year schedule of activities is intended to be the first stage of what NCHRP anticipates will be a continuing domestic scan program. NCHRP staff estimates that funds allocated to the program will typically be adequate to support planning and execution of three to five scans each year. The number of scans conducted each year will depend on the estimated costs of specific scans and the availability of funds from NCHRP and other sponsorship; the anticipated ranges of total cost of a one-week scan are $80,000 to $100,000 and $110,000 to $150,000 for a two-week scan.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $3223839
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-68A

  • 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

  • Performing Organizations:

    Arora and Associates, P.C.

    Lawrenceville, NJ  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Capers, Harry

  • Start Date: 20071227
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 15509

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01464749
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-68A
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:48PM