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statements recommending research needs for consid- Transportation: Defining the Need, Converging on eration by the Technical Oversight Panel are solicited Solutions, that the need for cooperative research in annually, but may be submitted to TRB at any time. this field is significant and growing and offered See HMCRP website at ideas on establishing an ongoing program of coop- erative research. Based in part on the findings of that report, the Congress authorized PHMSA to INTRODUCTION contract with the National Academy of Sciences to The safety, security, and environmental concerns carry out the research discussed in TRB Special associated with transportation of hazardous materials Report 283. are growing in number and complexity. Hazardous materials are substances that are flammable, explo- THE HMCRP sive, or toxic, or that, if released, produce effects that would threaten human safety, health, the environ- On September 1, 2006, PHMSA awarded a ment, or property. Hazardous materials are moved contract to the National Academies to initiate the throughout the country by all modes of freight trans- HMCRP. The HMCRP is managed using procedures portation, including pipelines, ships, trucks, trains, modeled after those used by TRB in managing the and airplanes. Hazardous shipments vary in size and National Cooperative Highway Research Program type, from small parcels containing a few ounces of and other cooperative research programs. TRB solic- infectious or radioactive substances, to barges and its potential research problem statements from all par- railroad tank cars carrying tons of flammable, toxic, ties. The HMCRP Technical Oversight Panel selects and corrosive materials. and prioritizes these research needs based on the The freight transportation and chemical indus- funding available. Each selected project is assigned to tries, government regulatory and enforcement agen- a panel, appointed by TRB, which provides technical cies at the federal and state levels, and local emer- guidance and counsel throughout the life of the proj- gency planners and responders routinely share ect. Heavy emphasis is placed on including members information, resources, and expertise. Nonetheless, a representing the intended users of the research prod- longstanding gap in the system for ensuring haz- ucts. The panels prepare requests for proposals and ardous materials safety and security occurs in the con- select contractors, guide the projects, and review duct of research. Industry organizations and govern- reports. Day-to-day program management is provided ment agencies have their own research programs to by HMCRP staff and includes the following tasks: support their mission needs. Collaborative research to address shared problems takes place occasionally, but Assisting the Technical Oversight Panel in most occurs on an ad hoc basis. identifying and prioritizing research needs; Acknowledging this gap, the U.S. DOT Office Appointing and coordinating expert technical of Hazardous Materials Safety, the Federal Motor panels to guide research projects; Carrier Safety Administration, the Federal Railroad Developing and distributing Requests for Pro- Administration, and the U.S. Coast Guard pooled their posals (RFPs); resources for a study. Under the auspices of TRB, Processing and evaluating proposals to select the National Research Council appointed a committee the best qualified research agencies; to examine the feasibility of creating a cooperative Executing contracts with the selected research program for hazardous materials transporta- researchers; tion, similar in concept to the National Cooperative Guiding the research; Highway Research Program (NCHRP) and the Reviewing research reports; Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). The Publishing and disseminating research reports; committee concluded, in TRB Special Report 283: and Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Promoting the application of research results. 2