Moving Research Into Practice. Quantitative and Qualitative Methods for Capturing the Impacts and Value of NCHRP Research

In any given year, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) produces dozens of applied research products that are intended to be practice-ready and implementable by state departments of transportation (DOTs) and other transportation agencies. NCHRP research products are used to advance the state of practice across all aspects of transportation planning, project delivery, operation, and maintenance activities performed by state DOTs and others. They inform public policy related to the investment of public and private resources in public infrastructure. NCHRP research tangibly contributes to the continuing education of the transportation workforce, and it facilitates knowledge development and information transfer among national and international communities of practice. Demonstrating the effectiveness of NCHRP research products in changing practices, informing policy decisions, and in ultimately generating benefits to society (e.g., of lives saved, cost savings, time savings, and other tangible as well as intangible benefits) has not been undertaken in a comprehensive manner. Understanding when and how NCHRP research results contribute to the delivery of transportation goods and services at the state and national level is necessary to provide feedback to NCHRP and the state DOTs that supports continuous improvement of the program. Estimating the value of NCHRP research products is challenging. A research product can have multiple outcomes, which in turn can lead to multiple impacts. Significant time can pass between when the research product is developed, when it is put into practice, and when the impacts of that practice are realized; this affects the timing of any evaluation activities. The nature of research products is wide-ranging; some research products are geared towards improving existing practices, while others are useful for informing policy decisions. A variety of techniques may be used to measure the impacts themselves, influenced by what measures would be most useful, how easy performance data are to collect, monitor, and replicate. Finally, attributing impacts to a research product, when the research product is used as part of a portfolio of other research products, needs to be considered. Estimating the value of NCHRP research will likely require approaches that are sensitive to the context of the research and the perspective of the stakeholders trying to understand its benefits. The objectives of this research are to: (1) Enable NCHRP to provide program sponsors/state DOTs with useful and actionable information about the impacts and value of NCHRP research products. (2) Develop guidance (including definitions, assumptions, assessment tools, and methods) that will enable NCHRP to consistently measure the value and impacts of its research products over time. The guidance may also be applicable to state DOTs. (3) Demonstrate use of the guidance by applying it to a variety of NCHRP research products and research portfolios to estimate, measure, or assess the value accrued through application of the results. (4) Recommend changes to the NCHRP program and processes that will enable future assessment of value. Recommendations must consider the cost of implementation, including training on how to implement the guidance, and likelihood of success by NCHRP and state DOTs. The guidance will be implementable by NCHRP, and state DOTs where appropriate, to periodically determine the effectiveness of NCHRP research products in (1) changing practices and/or standards, (2) informing policy decisions, (3) educating the transportation workforce, and (4) ultimately generating benefits to society. It will also be used to encourage wider implementation of NCHRP research products and for the continuous improvement of the NCHRP research process. The guidance will complement previous NCHRP research on measuring and communicating the value of transportation research and draw on other relevant research and practices, including from other sectors and disciplines.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $800000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-44(09)

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Mohan, Sid

  • Start Date: 20190319
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01683229
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-44(09)
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Oct 15 2018 3:04PM