US Domestic Scan Program

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) US Domestic Scan Program is intended to accelerate the rate of innovation among state departments of transportation (DOTs) and the industry generally by encouraging the spread of new ideas and effective transfers of technology among and within agencies. Initiated in CY 2007, NCHRP Project 20-68A enables DOT staff members to learn from colleagues about innovative practices that could be beneficially adopted by other interested agencies. Scan participants not only apply the insights gained within their own agencies but also present what they have learned to others and thereby further disseminate new ideas. A contractor was engaged for an initial 3-year term to manage the program logistics. The contract was extended for a second 3-year term. During this 6-year period, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) supplemented annual allocations of NCHRP funds for a few selected scans. Topics of scans conducted or in process under the current contractor's supervision are listed on the NCHRP project web page. ( Reports of completed scans are available through links from that web page. The activities described in this request are intended to continue the domestic scan program for another 3 to 6 years, subject to availability of funds. The number of scans conducted each year will depend on the costs of specific scans as well as on funds available. Contractor billings to NCHRP for scans completed to date have ranged between approximately $150,000 and $225,000 (including program management overhead); the median cost for the first 9 completed scans was $173,000. However, the current request entails activities not included in earlier scans. NCHRP funding has been approved for FY2013 at $600,000. NCHRP plans to request additional funds each year for the program's continuation. If annual NCHRP funding of the program remains constant and without consideration of funds that may be provided by FHWA or others, the total contract amount envisioned in this request would be $3,600,000. As currently designed, the NCHRP program includes three types of scans. A Type 1 scan involves visits by a team of 8 to 10 people to host sites, often geographically dispersed, where innovative practices have been applied. Each such scan might require 1 or 2 trips of approximately 1-week duration; the visits are planned to avoid requiring scan-team members to be away from their own offices for an extended time. A Type 2 scan brings representatives from several innovator agencies to one or more central locations to meet with the scan team and host agency staff; compared to a Type 1 scan, scan-team travel time is reduced. A Type 3 scan supplements a desk scan with a symposium or workshop that brings together a larger number of practitioner-innovators and the scan team in a single location where participants discuss their experiences relevant to the scan topic. When NCHRP Project Panel 20-68A selects a topic, they often specify the scan type that may be most appropriate for achieving the program's objectives. Experience indicates that a scan entails three initial key steps. First, knowledgeable people identify innovations in their field that could be useful in widespread application. Second, practitioners assess the experience of those who developed or were early adopters of these innovations to evaluate the potential benefits, costs, risks, and obstacles likely to be encountered by other practitioners who might adapt the innovations in their own agency and similar settings. Third, the results of the initial steps are documented and used to show and tell others about the most promising new practices. A fourth step that occurs later is a progressive diffusion of information from scan participants through networks of other practitioners. Presentations at conferences, webinars, and word-of-mouth; circulation of written reports; and articles published in magazines and journals are some of the mechanisms that can spread the knowledge gained by scan participants and accelerate the rate of innovation within and among DOTs. Dissemination activities could in the future include support for scan participants to advise colleagues on adoption of new ideas in new applications. Managing the NCHRP domestic scan program requires insightful selection and sound understanding of the topic areas to be addressed, careful selection and support of the scan participants, thoughtful documentation and communication of each scan team's findings, and encouragement of scan participants to disseminate what they have learned to others. Managing the program additionally requires that resources be conserved by not duplicating the information exchange activities of others. Scan participants are identified by American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in cooperation with NCHRP's scan contractor. Each scan team, supported by the scan contractor, produces a report of the scan and other materials to support dissemination of the scan results. Individual scan-team members are expected to engage in activities to encourage dissemination and adoption of good ideas, also with contractor support, well after the scan report is completed. A subject-matter expert is engaged by the contractor to prepare a "desk scan" that surveys where innovative practices are being applied and provides a basis for planning the scan-team's activities. Scan-team chairs and NCHRP advise in selection and appointment of the subject-matter expert. The contractor is responsible for organizing and executing all meetings, travel, and documentation activities associated with each scan and for reporting periodically on the scan program's status and plans. The objective of this project is to plan and manage the execution of domestic scans, each addressing a single technical topic and the domestic scan program overall. The purpose of each scan and of the program as a whole is to facilitate information sharing and technology exchange among the states and other transportation agencies, identify actionable items of common interest and encourage adoption of beneficial new technology and practices, and thereby accelerate the rate of innovation within and among DOTs.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • The project is being conducted as a continuation of the U.S. Domestic Scan Program initiated under preceeding project numbers. Refer to the NCHRP Project 20-68A web page. (


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $1875000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-68A(02)

  • 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

  • Performing Organizations:

    Arora and Associates, P.C.

    Lawrenceville, NJ  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Capers, Harry

  • Start Date: 20121228
  • Expected Completion Date: 20181226
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 38225

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01547396
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-68A(02)
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Dec 9 2014 1:00AM