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Guidebook 48 Communicating the Value of Transportation Research 2 Study Northwestern University Case New Bridge Steel Value to Sell: Beneficial properties of a new steel. Context Content The type of steel used in bridge construction Northwestern University gained approval for its new is extremely important. Before investors and steel through a combination of scientific data (years transportation entities will fund the use of new of research testing) and a brand champion. A senior steel, research must prove the steel is reliable, metallurgical engineer in IDOT's Bureau of Materials durable, and feasible. Researchers at Northwestern and Physical Research contributed credibility to the University succeeded in developing Northwestern project because of his status as a well-respected University copper, a new A710 Grade B structural expert in the field. Through the use of scientific steel. Its properties make it cheaper to produce, less reasoning and credible proponents, Northwestern expensive to maintain over the life of the structure, University was able to introduce the new steel in and equally as durable as the steel currently used smaller projects. This application confirmed the in bridge construction. Despite these advantages, laboratory results and ultimately paved the way the challenge facing Northwestern was to sell the to using Northwestern University copper for a full value of the new steel. To prove the new technology bridge application. was useful, a steel bridge on State Route 83 (ILL-83) over a rail line near Lake Villa was constructed as the Channel and Style culmination of 10 years of research, collaboration, The communication channel best suited for the communication, testing, and, finally, gaining IDOT ILL-83 bridge case study was personal, face-to- approval to use the new steel. face interactions among professionals with shared activities and interests. Presentations of research Strategy and lab results at technical conferences was another The developers of Northwestern University avenue for communication that provided a forum copper demonstrated the benefits of their new for researchers and potential users to interact steel to builders and decision makers through a personally. Additional methods of communication variety of methods. They tested the steel under included media coverage generated by news laboratory conditions and gained acceptance of releases and more comprehensive stories from the the new steel in a retrofit project of the existing public relations unit at Northwestern University, and Poplar Street bridge. Based on consistent testing written papers and reports in scholarly, professional, and demonstrated advantages, the new steel and trade publications. While the implementation was approved by the Illinois Department of of research results was successful, this case study Transportation (IDOT) and ultimately used in the illustrates the challenges involved in changing ILL-83 bridge. practices within an established field. The active support of a brand champion, the standardization as A710 Grade B steel, and the persistence of the developers were key factors in overcoming the obstacles.