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10 CHAPTER TWO TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER OVERVIEW AND APPLICATION OVERVIEW AND BACKGROUND-- organizations such as Pennsylvania's Bureau of Bridge and HIGHWAY TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER Roadway Technology, charged with implementation of inno- vations, or external partnerships such as the Joint Transporta- Technology transfer is a topic that has drawn the attention of tion Research Program of the Indiana DOT (INDOT) and Pur- innovators in the highway transportation community for more due University. than 40 years. For all of this time, technology transfer has been closely identified with the implementation of research There was a need for technology transfer of highway inno- results. Documents describing what today is termed "tech- vations for municipal governments as well. In 1982, the nology transfer" were then primarily concerned with moving Rural Technical Assistance Program (RTAP) [now the Local research findings into practice (Watkins 1974, p. 1). "In 1967, Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and the Tribal Tech- an American Association of State Highway Officials Special nical Assistance Program (TTAP)] was created as a cooper- Committee on Utilization of Research (known as the Stevens ative effort between FHWA and state DOTs. FHWA admin- Committee) noted that there was an undesirable and unneces- istered the RTAP activities. RTAP Technology Transfer sary time lag between the completion of research and the uti- Centers provided technical assistance to communities with a lization of that research" (Hodgkins 1989, p. 3). The commit- population of 50,000 or less. In subsequent years, through tee's findings led to substantive changes in the public sector changes brought about by the Intermodal Surface Trans- highway arena. Among the changes was the reorganization of portation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), RTAP broadened FHWA in 1970, which resulted in the creation of an Imple- its mission to serve larger communities, DOTs, and Native mentation Division, whose mission was to accelerate the uti- lization of research findings. American tribal governments. FHWA continues to administer both LTAP and TTAP activities. Reflecting the interest of the states, the FHWA work grew to include programs focusing on experimental projects, testing FHWA continued to strengthen its commitment to tech- and evaluation, demonstrations, and implementation projects. nology transfer, when in 1989 its Implementation Division All of these activities had technology transfer as their founda- became the Office of Technology Applications. This office tion. In 1973, FHWA established a Technology Transfer Pro- housed the broad array of FHWA programs that encouraged gram that positioned FHWA personnel in regional and divi- adoption of innovations through technology transfer practices. sion offices to provide assistance to the states (Burke 1984, Significant efforts were also occurring through AASHTO to p. 21). At this time, the state DOTs were actively working at transfer to highway users the research results and products transferring technology to enable use of innovations. The produced by the Strategic Highway Research Program. The Michigan DOT regularly published a Testing and Research AASHTO Lead State program set a standard for transferring Newsletter, produced a Research Laboratory Annual Report, technology in state DOTs. States with expertise and experi- sponsored workshops to introduce new specifications, and ence with new technologies shared the knowledge and use of capitalized on opportunities to meet with contractors to intro- new technologies with other states not yet possessing the duce new or experimental features. Arkansas issued newslet- expertise or experience. Currently, FHWA is organized to ters, distributed its research documents, prepared presentations provide expertise in close proximity to the users through the on its innovations, and circulated brief summaries of technical Resource Center and the division offices. In addition, pro- literature. The Virginia Research Council (now the Virginia gram offices and the TurnerFairbank Highway Research Transportation Research Council) conducted an active tech- Center provide technical expertise for technology transfer to nology transfer program, participating in FHWA programs the state DOTs and others. and serving as an agency clearinghouse for technology trans- fer information, with the council director as the Technology An important player in the current context is the TRB Transfer Coordinator for the department. Libraries were Committee on Technology Transfer. The committee is con- important mechanisms for transferring technology and many cerned with information exchange and research on the pro- states supported a library associated with their research offices cesses and methods for technology transfer. It assists TRB (Burke 1984, pp. 2228). Highway and transportation depart- and other TRB committees by serving as an agent for tech- ments each addressed technology transfer and implementation nology transfer. The committee is an effective resource for of research results through varying processes from internal networking among peers.