Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation's Future

Surface transportation in the United States has seen numerous major improvements and policy innovations informed by research: safer and more fuel-efficient automobiles, more durable and economical pavement designs, real-time tracking of cargo shipments, and a resurgence of freight rail following deregulation of the railroad industry, to cite but a few examples. Currently, the U.S. surface transportation research enterprise is characterized by a diversity of participants, activities, and funding sources and is highly decentralized, with most research programs initiated from the bottom up. As a result, much of the current research aims at specific problems identified by sponsors and is relatively short term, focused on individual modes (highway or rail, for example), and applied in nature. Leaders within the transportation community have questioned whether the current U.S. approach to surface transportation research will lead to the kinds of innovations in transportation services and policies needed to support national goals for economic development, safety, mobility, competitiveness, and sustainability in the 21st century. The research is supported by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) produced Transportation Research Board's (TRB')s Special Report 313: Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation's Future. The report explores opportunities for improving the productivity of U.S. expenditures on surface transportation research by building on lessons learned from transportation research in other countries and from research in non-transportation sectors in the United States. According to the committee that produced the report, the timely development of a new national research framework that engages the public, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors and draws on the nation's research capacity in academia, industry, and elsewhere is needed. The objective of this new NCHRP project will be to initiate development of that framework by convening key stakeholders to identify the principal dimensions and initial elements of the framework and actions to be taken to make the framework effective. The research will be managed as an activity of the TRB's Studies and Special Programs Division.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $750000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-106

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

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

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    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: 20141116
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37534

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543523
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-106
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 17 2014 1:01AM