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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 5 Insights from Other Cooperative Research Programs The experiences of cooperative research programs elsewhere in the transportation sector and in other industries offer insight into ways to bring about and structure such a program for hazardous materials transportation. Within the transportation sector, two long-standing programs are the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), established in 1962, and the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), established in 1991. Pipeline companies have cooperated in the sponsoring of research since the 1950s. On a smaller scale, railroads and suppliers of tank cars have sponsored a cooperative research program for more than 30 years. Other examples of cooperative research can be found in the automotive, construction, and electric power industries. Several of these cooperative research programs are reviewed in this chapter. The focus is on how the programs are financed, governed, and managed. The first two programs reviewed are NCHRP and TCRP. They are examined in detail because they are often held up as models for organizing a cooperative research program for hazardous materials transportation. In addition, the financing, governance, management, and research products of five other cooperative research programs are reviewed: the Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Construction Industry Institute (CII), the Health Effects Institute (HEI), and the Railroad Tank Car Safety Research and Test Project of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and Railway Supply Institute (RSI). The insights gained from these reviews are summarized and referred to in the next chapter
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 in considering options for structuring a cooperative research program for hazardous materials transportation.1 NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM Program Inception To a large extent, the construction, operation, and maintenance of highways have been government responsibilities since the colonial era. For most of the country’s history, state and local governments have had primary responsibility for planning, financing, and operating highways. Most states also supported their own highway research and development activities, often in affiliation with state universities. After World War II, the federal government began to play a more prominent role in highway planning and financing. With the advent of the Interstate highway program, the federal government started conducting more research aimed at building a more uniform and interconnected national system of highways. States remained the owners and operators of the system, and they closely guarded the prerogative to determine where and how highways would be built. Through the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), states had long worked together and with other relevant organizations (such as the National Association of County Officials and the American Society of Civil Engineers) in setting uniform guidelines for many aspects of highway design, construction, and operations. AASHTO’s responsibilities for setting highway standards grew more varied and complex as the Interstate highway system took shape during the 1950s and early 1960s. The building of this system and the setting of standards for uniformity led to many new technical questions and problems shared by highway departments across the country. An AASHTO survey 1 Much of the information on other cooperative research programs presented in this chapter was drawn from Special Report 272: Airport Research Needs: Cooperative Solutions (TRB 2003). In addition, the websites of the various programs were consulted for some of the factual and organizational information presented.
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 of state highway agencies during the late 1950s revealed more than 100 problems shared by many states concerning topics ranging from highway finance and safety to design and traffic operations (HRB 1960). Because of federal-aid requirements at the time, states devoted at least 1.5 percent of their aid to research and planning. Consequently, a great deal of highway-related research was undertaken, but with much duplication of effort, a wide range of quality, and limited dissemination of results. Recognizing these shortcomings, AASHTO often helped states pool resources to coordinate some of this research, but each instance required the negotiation of new cooperative agreements and structures for overseeing the research. The survey of research needs convinced AASHTO and its member states of the value of creating a continuing means of pooling resources for research on a national basis. NCHRP was therefore established in 1962 as a result of an agreement among AASHTO, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board (TRB). The agreement called for participating states to allow the federal government to withhold distribution of 5 percent of each state’s 1.5 percent share of federal-aid funds that must be used for research and planning. The funds would be transferred to TRB, which AASHTO described as having “recognized objectivity and understanding of research practices,” to manage the program (AASHO 1964, 116–119). Individual states could elect to participate or not, and the agreement would have to be re-signed every year on a state-by-state basis. Each contributing state was given the opportunity to submit problem statements to AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Research (SCOR), which was composed entirely of state highway agency representatives. On the basis of these statements and those from other AASHTO technical committees and FHWA, SCOR would select the problems to be the subject of NCHRP research projects that year. Each project needed to be approved by two-thirds of the states participating in the program. TRB was charged with administering the program by convening expert panels for each project. The panels drew from specialists in universities, industry, and predominantly the state highway agencies themselves. Project panels were tasked with defining the project scope, soliciting and selecting qualified researchers to perform the work, and reviewing the research in progress and the end results. Research results were to be
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 published in a series of reports made available to the public. The first formal NCHRP report, Evaluation of Methods of Replacement of Deteriorated Concrete in Structures, was published in 1964. Program Today NCHRP’s purpose and its methods of financing, governance, and management are fundamentally the same today as they were following its creation. The program is still intended to provide products and procedures that are readily applicable to current or emerging problems. A cursory review of publication titles indicates as much: many products are described as “guidelines,” “manuals,” “handbooks,” and “evaluation methods.” The typical project is completed within 2 to 3 years and is funded at $300,000 to $400,000, although some are smaller than $100,000 and a few have funding in excess of $600,000. Aspects of the program that have changed since its inception are the variety of research results and the means by which they are disseminated. Since its first report nearly 40 years ago, NCHRP has published more than 500 reports in 25 problem areas ranging from pavement design to transportation planning. In addition, the program has published more than 300 “synthesis” reports that are based on surveys of highway practice; more than 300 research results “digests,” including a special series on legal issues; and more than 50 “Web” and CD documents that contain specialized information and software applications. The digests and Web documents are intended to promote early awareness of project results to encourage implementation. Table 5-1 provides summary information on NCHRP project areas and products. The information is derived from annual progress reports to the state sponsors and the general public. The progress reports describe ongoing NCHRP work as well as the results of completed projects. They describe the end products of each project and give examples of their use in the field. Funding for NCHRP continues to be based on voluntary participation by states. The contribution is now 5.5 percent of the 2 percent share of total federal aid that must be devoted to research or planning activity. Since 1962, only a handful of states have elected to withhold contributions to NCHRP in any given year, and all have rejoined the program within 1 to
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 TABLE 5-1 Summary of Research Areas and Products of NCHRP, 1962–2001 Research Field Problem Areas Covered Number of Projectsa Examples of Final Products Administration Economics, law, finance 35 Effect of Highway Landscape Development on Nearby Property; Valuation of Travel Time and Predictability of Congested Conditions for Highway User Cost Estimation; Theory and Practice in Inverse Condemnation; Budgeting for State Highway Departments (research results digest) Planning Forecasting, impact analysis 74 Improving Transportation Data for Mobile Source Emissions Estimates; Guidelines for the Development of Wetlands Replacement Areas; Multimodal Transportation Planning Data; Travel Estimation Procedures for Quick Response to Urban Policy Issues; Criteria for Evaluating Alternative Transportation Plans Design Pavements, bridges, general, roadside, vehicle barrier systems 136 Smoothness Specifications for Pavements (Web document); Guidelines for Recycling Pavements; Recommended Specifications for Large- Span Culverts; Bridge Rating Through Nondestructive Load Testing (research results digest); Guardrail Design; Intersection Sight Distance Materials and construction General, bituminous, specifications, procedures, practices 134 Evaluation of Water Sensitivity Tests (also available on CD); Design of Emulsified Asphalt Paving Mixtures; Guidelines for Longitudinal Pavement Profile Measurement; Use of Polymers in Highway Concrete; Long-Term Rehabilitation of Salt-Contaminated Bridge Decks Soils and geology Soils testing and implementation, soils properties, soil mechanics and foundations 31 Instrumentation for Measurement of Moisture; Reinforcement of Earth Slopes and Embankments; Expert System for Stream Stability and Scour Evaluation; Evaluation of Metal Tensioned Systems in Geotechnical Applications; Load Factor Design Criteria for Highway Structure Foundations Maintenance Snow and ice control, equipment, maintenance of ways and structures 31 Evaluation and Development of Methods for Reducing Corrosion of Reinforcing Steel; Economic Evaluation of the Effects of Ice and Frost on Bridge Decks; Evaluating Deferred Maintenance Strategies; Maintenance Contracting; Maintenance Levels-of-Service Guidelines Traffic Traffic operations and control, illumination and visibility, traffic planning, safety 115 Guidelines for Medial and Marginal Access Control of Major Roadways; Optimizing Flow on Existing Street Networks; Determination of Stopping Sight Distance; Highway Fog; Effects of Highway Standards on Safety; Traffic Barrier and Control Treatments for Restricted Work Zones; Methods for Evaluating Highway Safety Improvements a Projects completed or ongoing from 1962 to 2001.
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 2 years. FHWA has also remained an active participant. Although it does not have a vote in the programming of funds, it appoints liaison representatives to SCOR and other AASHTO committees, and FHWA experts serve on all NCHRP project panels and can submit problems for consideration. NCHRP’s annual budget, as described earlier, has grown with the increase in federal aid over time. The program’s annual funding has risen from about $15 million in the early 1990s to more than $30 million in FY 2004. About 79 percent of the annual program budget is allocated to research contracts, 16 percent to program staffing and related costs, and the remaining 5 percent to panelist travel and report publication and dissemination expenses. This budget enabled NCHRP to program more than 40 major research projects (each funded at $200,000 or more) in FY 2004. The projects were drawn from more than 120 problem statements submitted to the program. Technical panels develop requests for proposals for each project and perform the evaluations of proposals for consideration in selecting the contractor to perform the research. The selection process is competitive. Panels choose the researcher on the basis of the proposed research plan, a description of the anticipated product, and ideas for disseminating the results. NCHRP provides panelists with guidelines for evaluating the proposals. TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM Program Inception Unlike highways, public transit systems do not connect to form a national system, since their scope is mostly local and regional. Consequently, the federal government long viewed transit systems as local and state interests. For much of the 20th century, these systems were operated by private entities subject to state and local regulation. During the 1960s, however, the federal government began providing state and local governments with aid for transit planning and for purchasing transit properties from the failing private companies. Coincidentally, the newly created Urban Mass Transit Administration [later renamed the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)] began sponsoring transit-related research, primarily to develop the technical knowledge needed to guide its growing financial contribution to transit infrastructure and equipment.
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 FTA’s research filled a vacuum, but it was not enough. By the 1980s, transit systems across the country were experiencing a growing need for even more practical research to address the problems created by aging bus fleets, rail cars, and infrastructure. Transit systems that had been upgraded with the help of federal funds during the 1960s and 1970s were becoming more costly to operate and maintain. Transit agencies were eager to find ways to improve, even if only incrementally, their existing operations and equipment. A 1987 TRB study committee consisting of transit operators and other research and industry experts noted the absence of problem-solving research in the transit industry. The committee concluded that new mechanisms were needed for such work to be undertaken in a continuing and concerted fashion (TRB 1987). It recommended that an operator-guided research program with many of the same characteristics as NCHRP be created and that transit operators take the lead in setting the program’s research agenda through majority representation on the program’s governing board. The committee proposed the creation of a cooperative research program that would be financed from a mandatory ½ percent set-aside of federal transit funding; would emphasize applied, problem-solving research; and would fill the gaps in FTA’s technology-oriented R&D program. With the collective support of the transit industry reached through the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Congress authorized funding for a national Transit Cooperative Research Program in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA; Public Law 102-240). The act called for the program to be governed by an independent board and managed by TRB. In following through on the provisions of the act, FTA charged APTA with appointing TCRP’s independent governing board under the auspices of the association’s nonprofit Transit Development Corporation. Named the Transit Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee, the 24-member board consisted of 16 members appointed from public transit agencies and 8 appointed from transit suppliers, consultants, and universities. The committee was given responsibility to solicit research needs, formulate the annual research portfolio, and monitor project and program progress. TRB was tasked with managing the program in a manner simi-
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 lar to its management of NCHRP—by convening independent technical panels to select and oversee the work of outside contract researchers. In authorizing TCRP, Congress originally specified funding for the program equivalent to 0.3 percent of total federal transit funding during the 6-year authorization period. Had this funding scheme been implemented, it would have provided the program with nearly $90 million in total, ranging from $8.9 million the first year (FY 1992) to $21 million in the last year of ISTEA authority (FY 1997). Congress appropriated $8.9 million for the program’s first year. However, in subsequent years, it disregarded the original percentage formula and continued to appropriate about $8 million per year to the program. Appropriations over the 6 years were equivalent to about 55 percent of the original amount authorized. TOPS organized the program into nine research fields ranging from transit operations to human resources and administration. It then held a series of workshops to identify and screen candidate research problems. TOPS allowed submissions of problem statements from all interested parties, including FTA, universities, and transit suppliers and consultants. This was a departure from the practice of NCHRP, which solicits problem statements only from state highway agencies, AASHTO committees, and FHWA. During its first 6-year authorizing period, TOPS received more than 800 project problem statements, and it was able to fund about 12 percent. Like NCHRP projects, TCRP projects were designed to produce full reports, abbreviated digests of research results, and survey-based syntheses of practice. The first TCRP report, Artificial Intelligence for Transit Railcar Diagnostics, was published in 1994, and 138 reports of various kinds were produced during the program’s first 6-year authorization. Program Today In 1998, Congress reauthorized TCRP for fiscal years 1998 to 2003.2 In doing so, it formally abandoned the idea of a percentage-based funding formula and, instead, set annual funding at “not less than $8,250,000.” Hence, in real terms the program continued to experience a decline in 2 Section 5338(d) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, Public Law 105-178.
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 funding, which has fallen by more than 30 percent after adjustment for inflation since 1992. Though it is federally funded, TCRP has remained an industry-driven and -guided enterprise. Without the active support and involvement of the transit industry, the program would not exist. Since 1992, TCRP has received approximately 1,600 problem statements, and about 32 percent of these statements have originated from public transit agencies. The second- and third-largest sources of project ideas are transit consultants (16 percent) and universities (13 percent). FTA has contributed about 10 percent of the project ideas. Problem statements are also routinely submitted by TRB standing committees, APTA committees, and state transportation agencies. For the most part, TCRP’s open process for soliciting problem statements has proved successful in generating a diverse selection of project ideas. Since its beginning, TCRP has funded more than 300 research projects. Table 5-2 summarizes the research output, which includes more than 100 published reports, more than 75 digests, and more than 50 syntheses of practice. Like NCHRP, TCRP emphasizes applied research, and its report titles often contain the words “handbook,” “user manual,” and “guidelines.” It has also diversified its products and its means of dissemination to include Web documents, software, and CDs. LESSONS FROM NCHRP AND TCRP NCHRP and TCRP are structured to find solutions to problems that are shared by operators of highway and transit systems, respectively. In the case of NCHRP, state highway agencies cooperate in identifying their common research needs and then voluntarily pool some of their federal-aid funds to address them. In the case of TCRP, the federal government provides direct funding for the program, but transit agencies are largely responsible for programming the research. The two programs are thus guided by practitioners, who identify needed research, make sure the research agenda is focused on meeting these needs, and assist with the conduct of the research and the dissemination of the research products. One result is that highway and transit operators are imbued with a sense of ownership of the research programs.
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 TABLE 5-2 Summary of Research Areas and Products of TCRP, 1992 –2001 Research Field Problem Areas Covered Number of Published Project Reports, Digests, and Synthesesa Example Products Operations Scheduling, vehicle operations, control systems, fare collection, safety and security 50 Transit Scheduling—Basic and Advanced Manuals; Safe Operating Procedures for Alternative Fuel Buses; Integration of Light Rail Transit into City Streets; Emergency Preparedness for Transit Terrorism (synthesis of practice) Service configuration System planning, specialized services, service performance, marketing 36 A Handbook of Proven Marketing Strategies for Public Transit; Transit Advertising Revenues—New Sources and Structures (synthesis of practice); Workbook for Estimating Demand for Rural Passenger Transportation; ADA Paratransit Eligibility Certification Practices (synthesis of practice); Improving Public Transportation Access to Large Airports Vehicle engineering Buses, vans, rail cars, people-mover vehicles, vehicle components 24 Understanding and Applying Advanced On-Board Bus Electronics; Low-Floor Transit Buses (synthesis of practice); Hybrid-Electric Transit Buses—Status, Issues, and Benefits; Wheel and Rail Vibration Absorber Testing and Demonstration Engineering of fixed facilities Buildings, rail operating facilities, passenger stations, bus stops 11 Track Design Handbook for Light Rail Transit; Visual Impact of Overhead Contact Systems for Electric Transit Buses; Performance of Direct-Fixation Track Structure Design Guidelines and Software (available on CD) Maintenance Vehicle servicing, vehicle inspections, repairs, rebuilding, maintenance of facilities, maintenance management 7 Application of Artificial Intelligence to Rail Car Maintenance; Closing the Knowledge Gap for Transit Maintenance Employees; Demonstration of Artificial Intelligence for Transit Railcar Diagnostics
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 Research Field Problem Areas Covered Number of Published Project Reports, Digests, and Synthesesa Example Products Human resources Recruitment, training, job classification, salary administration, labor relations 20 Identification of the Critical Workforce Development Issues in the Transit Industry (research results digest); A Challenged Employment System: Hiring, Training, Performance Evaluation, and Retention of Bus Operators (synthesis of practice); Part-Time Transit Operators: The Trends and Impacts; Drug and Alcohol Testing—A Survey of Labor-Management Relations (research results digest) Administration Finances, procurement, risk management, law, management information 16 Alternative-Fuel Transit Bus Hazard Assessment Model (software on CD); The Role of Performance-Based Measures in Allocating Funding for Transit Operations (synthesis of practice); Measuring Customer Satisfaction and Service Quality—A Handbook for the Transit Industry Policy and planning Policy analysis, planning, economics, environmental analysis 39 Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual (Web document and on CD); Integrating School Bus and Public Transportation Services in Non-Urban Communities; Management Toolkit for Rural and Small Urban Transportation Systems; Improving Public Transportation to Large Airports aThrough 2001.
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 EXAMPLES OF OTHER COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMS NCHRP and TCRP are well-known cooperative research programs, but they are not the only ones. The five other programs that are reviewed below offer alternative models for financing, governing, and managing cooperative research. Pipeline Research Council International PRCI was established in 1952 by 15 natural gas transmission pipeline companies needing to solve the commonly encountered problem of brittle fractures in pipelines. Satisfied with the results of the initial research, the sponsoring companies continued the program and expanded the scope of research to cover other problem areas associated with the design, operations, and maintenance of pipelines. As the scope of the program expanded, other pipeline companies, including those carrying crude oil and petroleum products, joined PRCI as sponsors. Finance PRCI derives its revenues mainly from individual member subscriptions, which are calculated on the basis of transmission line mileage. Membership is open to all companies that own or operate pipeline systems anywhere in the world. The base membership fee is approximately $100,000 per year, plus $7 to $8 per line mile. Members join for 3-year subscriptions, which give them access to all PRCI research products. Revenue generated from the subscriptions provides PRCI with about $12 million in core research funds. In addition, the program has been able to attract another $8 million in supplemental funding of individual research projects from member and nonmember organizations, including government agencies. Such cofunding allows nonmembers who may have a narrow area of interest to participate in the program on a periodic and selective basis. It gives them a stake in the program and frees more of PRCI’s core research funds for other projects of interest to dues-paying subscribers. Governance Each subscribing company, regardless of the amount it pays in dues, is represented on PRCI’s board of directors. The board, which currently
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 has 35 members, is responsible for setting PRCI’s policies, establishing funding levels, and programming the research budget. The board meets twice each year and is supported by a nine-member executive committee that develops policy and program recommendations for action by the board. The executive committee also functions as a steering committee and exercises certain decision-making functions delegated by the board of directors. Management The planning, execution, and management of specific research projects is handled by six technical committees. The committees consist of technical representatives assigned by the subscribing companies. The committees cover the following areas: (a) materials; (b) design, construction, and operations; (c) corrosion and inspection; (d) compressor and pump station; (e) measurement; and (f ) underground storage. In assessing research needs and determining funding for individual projects, the board of directors relies on recommendations from these technical committees, which meet three times annually. The research is conducted by contractors selected by the technical committees and PRCI staff. The technical committees assign members to oversee the progress of specific research projects. These volunteers have an important role in project management because PRCI maintains a small support staff to assist with program administration, planning, and project management. Research Products Before the results of research are disseminated, they must be reviewed by the appropriate technical committee and approved by the board of directors. The emphasis is on ensuring that the research products are credible and can be applied immediately in the field by subscribing organizations. The following are examples of PRCI research products: Pipeline In-Service Repair Manual, Design Guidelines for High-Strength Pipe Fittings, Criteria for Dent Acceptability in Off-Shore Pipelines, New Technique to Assess Level of Cathodic Protection in Underground Pipe Systems,
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 Methods to Measure Wear in Pipeline Engines and Compressors, Pipeline In-Service Relocation Engineering Manual, and Compressor Station Maintenance Cost Analysis. As these examples illustrate, the results of PRCI research often take the form of practical products, such as manuals, guidelines, design criteria, and recommended practices. Electric Power Research Institute EPRI was founded in 1973 as a nonprofit energy research consortium by electric utilities and their suppliers. The intent was to create a research program that would further understanding of issues pertinent to many entities in the electric power industry and to develop technologies, marketing methods, and training tools that could be shared widely. Finance Participation in EPRI is open to all organizations involved in the energy industry, including all power utilities, power producers, energy service companies, engineering service companies, energy suppliers, transmission and distribution companies, and government organizations that sponsor or perform research. Program funding is provided through a mix of full and partial membership subscriptions, contributions on a project-by-project basis, and revenues from the sale of research and technology products. Larger utilities and energy suppliers tend to be full members. They subscribe to all products because their interests often cut across EPRI’s research areas. Organizations with more selective interests, such as a design engineering firm, are more likely to contribute to specific research program areas and thus join as partial members. Anyone with a specific research interest may choose to provide supplemental funding for individual EPRI research projects in that area. Governance EPRI is guided by two boards. The board of directors is composed of representatives from 30 subscribing organizations. This board oversees management of EPRI’s affairs and activities. It approves the financial
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 plan and proposes the annual research program. A second board consists of 24 individuals from public utility commissions, environmental groups, universities, and public agencies. Its role, which is more advisory in nature, is to review the proposed research program and counsel the board of directors on ways to better address environmental, societal, and public policy issues through research. Since many electric utilities are publicly regulated, this advisory board’s role is to ensure that the funds contributed to EPRI are used wisely. Management The EPRI staff, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, consists of scores of scientists and engineers who manage hundreds of ongoing projects. The projects are performed by contractors, including equipment suppliers, public and private laboratories, universities, and independent research organizations. The staff is also responsible for overseeing projects cofunded by EPRI in collaboration with other research organizations. Research Products EPRI research projects cover a wide spectrum of needs, from the development of specific products to scientific research on the health and environmental effects of electricity production. As an example of the former, EPRI projects have developed computer software to design and operate energy delivery systems. As an example of the latter, projects have examined the science and policy implications of such issues as electromagnetic field effects and global climate change. Construction Industry Institute CII conducts cooperative research for more than 90 member organizations from the construction field, including contractors, architectural firms, and materials and service suppliers. Some public agencies with construction responsibilities, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, also participate. It was established in 1983 in response to a study by the Business Roundtable, which recommended more collaborative research to improve the performance of the construction industry. It sponsors mostly university studies of ways to improve the planning and execution of major construction projects.
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 Finance Projects are funded primarily from dues paid by CII members. Most research is funded as part of joint ventures and partnerships with other organizations to maximize the number of projects financed through member dues. Governance A board of advisors sets the institute’s research agenda and oversees all program activities. Each subscribing member is entitled to voting membership on the board, which meets twice per year. An executive committee develops recommendations for action by the board and is delegated certain routine decision-making responsibilities. Inasmuch as the board is responsible for setting the research agenda, the parties paying for the research have a direct role in ensuring that the program focuses on their needs and concerns. If the research does not provide useful results, the sponsors can withdraw funding. Management The board of advisors selects the members of the committees, teams, and councils of CII. These bodies oversee specific research projects and review the end results before approving dissemination to subscribing members. While the projects themselves are conducted by university researchers, CII maintains a small professional staff to administer the program, disseminate the reports, and arrange special functions such as conferences. CII operates from the University of Texas at Austin. Research Products Results from CII research are intended to be highly practical and readily translatable into improvements in construction practices. Examples of research products include reports on innovative crew-scheduling techniques, contractor compensation strategies, processes for environmental remediation management, tools for materials management, and design for maintainability. The products are often titled as guidebooks, workbooks, tool kits, and best practices. This reflects the emphasis of the program on providing end products that are of direct relevance to CII subscribers.
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 Health Effects Institute HEI is a nonprofit research program sponsored jointly by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and more than two dozen automobile manufacturers and parts suppliers. It was chartered in 1980 to conduct impartial scientific research on the health effects of motor vehicle emissions. The joint participation of industry and government in the program and the processes described below to ensure research objectivity and credibility were viewed as essential in providing the information needed to support regulatory decisions and their acceptance. Finance HEI receives about half its funds from EPA and the other half from the cosponsoring automotive companies. Sometimes additional funds are obtained from public and private sources to help finance specific projects. Governance HEI is guided by a governing board of six to eight members made up exclusively of prominent individuals from outside the automotive sector who are believed to be independent and beyond reproach. This board serves largely in a stewardship capacity for the program. Its members are not direct users of the research, which is a difference from the governing boards of the other cooperative programs described above. This third-party form of governance has the advantage of shielding HEI from concerns that its research is biased or advocacy oriented. Objectivity is an especially important quality for research aimed at influencing policy, especially in contentious matters such as environmental and health policies that can have significant economic implications. Management Most of HEI’s research is conducted by researchers at universities and research centers, both in the United States and abroad. The research program is developed and overseen by two independent scientific committees. The Health Research Committee works with the institute’s scientific staff to develop and manage HEI’s research program. The Health Review Committee, which has no role in selecting or overseeing studies, works with the institute’s scientific staff to evaluate and interpret the results of HEI studies and related research.
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 Research Products HEI has sponsored more than 170 studies and published more than 100 reports since its founding. Much of the research has been aimed at expanding the base of knowledge in subject areas related to automotive emissions and human health. Examples of HEI reports include Effects of Methanol Vapor on Human Neurobehavioral Measures, Nitrogen Dioxide and Respiratory Illness in Children, Methods Development for Epidemiologic Investigations of the Health Effects of Prolonged Ozone Exposure, and Development of Samplers for Measuring Human Exposure to Ozone. Collectively, this research is intended to expand the knowledge base to inform public policies. Individual research projects are rarely designed to address pending regulatory matters. RSI-AAR Railroad Tank Car Safety Research and Test Project Since 1970, two major railroad trade associations, RSI and AAR, have cosponsored the Railroad Tank Car Safety Research and Test Project. The purpose of this research program, established after a series of fatal tank car accidents during the 1960s, is to gain a better understanding of the causes of tank car releases of hazardous materials during accidents and to develop engineering countermeasures. Finance RSI and AAR provide the funds for the program, including financial resources and in-kind contributions of test facilities and staff support. The annual program budget varies but is generally under $750,000. Each year, RSI and AAR develop research objectives and a budget. RSI contributes 77 percent and AAR contributes 23 percent. Often these funds are augmented by contributions for specific research projects from third parties such as the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Transport Canada, and other industry associations. Governance Approval of the budget and general oversight of research activities are responsibilities of the Project Review Committee, which consists of the presidents of the six supporting RSI members and three AAR representatives. The chairmanship of the Project Review Committee rotates
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 among the RSI representatives, while an AAR representative serves as vice chairman. Management Direct oversight of the program is handled by the RSI Engineering and Technical Subcommittee and AAR technical staff. All program activities are managed on a day-to-day basis by a project director. When the project began in 1970, it had a full-time research staff. Today all research is performed by contractors and the project director. Results and Products During its more than 30 years of existence, the project has played an important role in determining the predominant causes of tank car failures and in identifying measures to reduce and mitigate failures. Its focus from the start was on developing an extensive accident database for use in identifying the causes of releases from tank cars and on assessing protections such as head shields, shelf couplers, and thermal insulation. The database now contains information on more than 39,000 tank cars damaged in more than 25,000 incidents and continues to be important for informing decisions on tank car operating practices, designs, and safety regulations. In recent years, the project has augmented the accident data with other databases, including detailed records of tank car inspection results. The project’s ability to quantify safety problems and the effects of various safety proposals has led to informed decisions on a variety of issues, such as the steels used in tank cars and the protections afforded environmentally hazardous chemicals moved by tank car. Results of the project are widely viewed by industry and government regulators as comprehensive and credible. Consequently, the project is often called on to conduct other research with cofunding from FRA and other government agencies. Examples of such research are full-scale crash tests, examinations of alternative tank car inspection methods, and the collection of data on tank car in-service loads and impacts. Such collaboration not only enables the leveraging of research funds but also produces greater acceptance of the results by industry and government.
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 SUMMARY The seven cooperative research programs reviewed in this chapter suggest a number of ways to organize and structure a cooperative research program for hazardous materials transportation. Variations among the programs in financing, governance, and management reflect differences in program size and mission, the nature and structure of the industries involved, and the roles of the public and private sectors. Some characteristics are shared across all of the programs, as noted below. Finance Most of the programs are financed in a pooled manner by multiple sources. In some cases, such as NCHRP, many public entities (states) contribute funds to the program. In other cases (e.g., CII, PRCI, EPRI, and the RSI-AAR Railroad Tank Car Safety Research and Test Project), most of the program funds are pooled by private entities. One program, HEI, is paid for mainly through a combination of private- and public-sector funds. TCRP is the only program that is funded through a single source, an annual appropriation by Congress. Having reliable means of financing is important to all of the programs for year-to-year continuity of the program and in maintaining a competent professional staff to administer the program. However, all of the programs accept additional funds from supplemental sources on a project-by-project basis. Such supplemental funding offers a way to leverage and enlarge the total amount of resources available for R&D. Reliance on voluntary financing—both core and supplementary—can ensure that the program will be efficient and responsive to the needs of the main users of the research. Governance In most cases, the financing of the cooperative research programs has a direct bearing on how the programs are governed. For the most part, the sponsoring entities are charged with guiding and overseeing the program. These functions include defining the research agenda and evaluating the effectiveness of the research in meeting sponsor needs. All of the programs are directed by a governing board of one kind or another. In all but two
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 cases, TCRP and HEI, members of the governing board are drawn predominantly or entirely from the organizations pooling the funds. In this way, the sponsors have direct control over the program, an arrangement that tends to result in research that is highly practical and applied in nature. In the case of TCRP, funding is provided by Congress, but the governing board consists primarily of transit agencies, who are the users of the research. This results in a program that emphasizes applied research. Transit agencies are the driving force behind continued funding of TCRP by Congress. In the absence of this transit agency support, the federal research funds might well be used for other federal transit programs. HEI is unique among the cooperative programs in that its governing board consists of individuals with no links to the industry or government sponsors of the program. The board acts in a stewardship role, which is deemed necessary for a research program focused primarily on advancing the science underpinning public policy. Management All of the cooperative programs are structured to produce research that is fair and objective. Credibility is essential for research that will be used to inform policy and regulatory decisions and to support standard-setting and industry practices. To ensure that the research is performed with a high degree of technical competence, the cooperative research programs contract the majority of their work on a competitive basis to qualified research organizations. Reliance on contract work, as opposed to investing in in-house research staff and facilities, allows for the appropriate expertise to be drawn on and has the advantage of allowing more flexibility in the kind of research performed as priorities change from year to year. Most of the programs have technical committees that oversee the contract work on a project-by-project basis from beginning to end, including technical peer review. Because of the involvement of the users of the research on these project committees, projects are more likely to yield results that are practical. Indeed, the members of the technical and oversight committees serve as links between the researchers and the users of the research, which facilitates the dissemination of research products. The organizations charged with managing the programs vary from large stand-alone institutions established specifically for the program
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Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on Solutions - Special Report 283 (e.g., EPRI, PRCI) to administration by universities (CII) and established research institutions (TCRP, NCHRP). With the exception of the smaller RSI-AAR program, the cooperative programs are administered by neutral parties whose main mission is research. A management organization that is viewed as unbiased and focused on sound research has the advantage of being perceived as neutral by the parties that are likely to use the research results. REFERENCES Abbreviations AASHO American Association of State Highway Officials HRB Highway Research Board TRB Transportation Research Board AASHO. 1964. AASHO: The First 50 Years. Washington, D.C. HRB. 1960. Special Report 55: Highway Research in the United States: Needs, Expenditures, and Applications: 1959. National Research Council, Washington, D.C. TRB. 1987. Special Report 213: Research for Public Transit: New Directions. National Research Council, Washington, D.C. TRB. 2003. Special Report 272: Airport Research Needs: Cooperative Solutions. National Research Council, Washington, D.C.
Representative terms from entire chapter: