The following principles can be drawn from the experience with implementing SHRP 1, and they form the basis for the strategies outlined in the next section.

Establish a Principal Implementation Agent as Early as Possible to Provide Clear Leadership and Dedicated Staff Support

SHRP 2 implementation will involve many research products being adopted by an array of organizations. Effective nationwide implementation will require sufficient human and financial resources and a principal implementation agent, that is, an organization that will lead and support SHRP 2 implementation. This organization should have a national scope, extensive knowledge of the highway field, experience with implementing research results and new technologies, established relationships with transportation agencies, and the ability to provide funding and technical support to state DOTs and other potential users of SHRP 2 products. The implementation agent should be identified as soon as possible, before the research program has been completed, to ensure a smooth transition from research to implementation. To paraphrase Feller (1987), the implementation agent will have several functional roles: adapter, demonstrator, and disseminator of innovations; capacity builder for agencies implementing innovations; and information disseminator, educator, and facilitator. In addition, the principal implementation agent will be responsible for tracking the progress of implementation. The purpose of measuring the status and performance of implementation efforts is twofold: to determine whether these efforts are making progress toward the goal of widespread implementation and ultimately toward achieving the desired outcomes, and to determine and document which methods work best for specific product–user combinations. Better-informed decision making enables efficient resource allocation and supports the overall goal of accelerating innovation.

Involve Stakeholders Throughout the Process

Users and others affected by SHRP 2 products or in a position to influence their acceptance should be involved in planning and carrying out implementation activities. Strong partnerships with and among stakeholders build trust and encourage implementation champions.

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