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6 Recommendations Innovations in surface transportation are needed to support the economic growth of the United States, strengthen its global competitiveness, and enhance its inhabitants’ quality of life. Successful innovation in the trans- portation sector largely depends on a potent research1 endeavor, one that is productive in building knowledge and devising ways to meet new trans- portation demands, as well as in operating current systems more efficiently and cost-effectively. This research endeavor needs to address the individual components of the systems, notably infrastructure, vehicles, fuels, and users, and the interactions among them. It also needs to provide key play- ers in the nation’s surface transportation enterprise (policy makers, public officials, equipment manufacturers, service providers, planners, engineers, and others) with a robust knowledge base for identifying improvement opportunities and for informing decisions. VALUE OF A NATIONAL RESEARCH FRAMEWORK Nations with which the United States competes place a high priority on improving the performance of their transportation systems in support of social, economic, and environmental goals. These nations also have effective research frameworks in place for this purpose: the scanning study of transportation research program administration in Europe and Asia found strategic and policy-driven frameworks for transportation research to be standard in the countries visited (Elston et al. 2009). The 1 As noted in Chapter 1, the term “research” is used throughout this report as shorthand for research, development, and deployment (RD&D). 113

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114 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future committee’s review of transportation research organizations in Europe and Asia allowed it to identify important features of these frameworks (see Box 4-1). As discussed in Chapter 2, a transportation research framework encom- passes a series of functions, from initial identification of research’s role in achieving desired goals through the implementation of new knowledge in various forms. The execution of these functions is influenced by the research context, which depends on organizational structures, funding mechanisms, and a variety of policies and procedures. For example, even if overall funding levels are adequate for initiating a research project, sci- entific and technological progress may be thwarted if the subsequent flow of funding is sporadic. An effective national research framework with the critical attributes identified in Chapter 2, however, can help ensure that the country’s transportation research enterprise supports overall societal goals. The framework can also guide investment throughout the research process. In contrast to its competitors, the United States lacks a cohesive national framework linking surface transportation research activities to societal goals.2 It relies instead on a fragmented and ad hoc array of diverse and largely uncoordinated research initiatives, often with no clear linkage to overall social, economic, and environmental goals. In other words, the United States lacks the centralized transportation policy making that char- acterizes many of its competitors (see Chapter 4), and national interests and individual well-being suffer in some respects from this omission. An effective U.S. national research framework for surface transportation, one that engaged multiple levels of government; bridged the public and private sectors; and drew on the nation’s research capacity in academia, industry, and elsewhere, would contribute to the country’s economic, societal, and environmental health. Lacking such a framework, current U.S. surface transportation research tends to be organized by mode, funding source, federal government 2 The committee envisions that a national transportation research framework for the United States would ultimately encompass all modes of transportation. To avoid going beyond its charge, how- ever, the committee addressed only surface transportation in this report. It also excluded pipelines, inland waterways, and coastal shipping from its discussions to render its task more tractable with available resources.

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Recommendations 115 department, and other arbitrary groupings, as the examples in Chapter 3 illustrate. This mixed private–public enterprise has served America well for decades, but it has resulted in some missed opportunities, such as the improvement of transportation services through systems-level approaches; the leveraging of different research competencies in support of broad and crosscutting initiatives; and the pooling of funds for research that is of com- mon interest to many organizations but that is too costly to be undertaken by any single organization. A more cohesive framework would place greater emphasis on “the big picture,” identifying research areas of high national priority, possible synergies among research activities, and research gaps. In the judgment of the committee, addressing surface transportation research in a more holistic way could help overcome current deficiencies, notably • A lack of policy making and systems-level analysis needed to support national goals, • Too much attention to incremental improvements and scant atten- tion to the search for new knowledge that might enable wider-ranging and more innovative solutions, and • Insufficient emphasis on coordination of research activities. Through its broad perspective on providing the transportation systems needed to meet national goals, a new framework could better address the diversity and breadth of transportation research. It could also help estab- lish greater networking across the research community, engaging not only those traditionally involved in transportation research but also new play- ers with new ideas. Hence the committee concludes that the United States needs a modern, cohesive, national research framework for surface trans- portation and should deploy, without delay, the mechanisms for build- ing, implementing, and sustaining such a framework. This framework would retain the effective features of current U.S. surface transportation research identified in Chapter 3, namely, the robust portfolio of applied research and the role played by research in educating future transporta- tion professionals. In the remainder of this chapter, the committee presents its recommen- dations for creating the proposed new national research framework for surface transportation. In particular, because the federal government, as

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116 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future a major sponsor of surface transportation research, will have a key role in supporting the new framework, the committee recommends ways of structuring a more productive federal research enterprise in the context of that framework. Given the ubiquitous nature of transportation, the com- mittee also offers recommendations for raising awareness of surface trans- portation research beyond the confines of the transportation research community per se to include decision makers at the national policy level. The committee’s recommendations are intended not only to help the research community move toward a new and more cohesive national framework for surface transportation research, but also to encourage organizations and individuals to think more broadly about opportuni- ties for solving transportation problems. Specific suggestions are made for achieving the desired goals, but recognizing that other opportunities may present themselves, the committee encourages the research com- munity to explore alternative approaches. BUILD AND IMPLEMENT A NEW NATIONAL RESEARCH FRAMEWORK In the committee’s judgment, there is no silver bullet that could rapidly transform the current fragmented and ad hoc national research frame- work for surface transportation into a more cohesive alternative. Rather, a series of steps over a period of years will be needed, both to fully engage a broad spectrum of interested groups and to implement strategies for making more effective use of the nation’s extensive research capabili- ties. Taking the initial steps without delay is essential, given the growing and changing demands on the nation’s transportation systems, the ever- increasing pressure on research budgets, the need to use research funds wisely, and the emphasis placed on transportation research by many U.S. competitors. The steps in the process that the committee envisions are described in the following subsections on leadership, national summit, lead orga- nization, and funding, in the context of the first two of the committee’s nine major recommendations. The sequence of activities is illustrated schematically in Figure 6-1. The connections between the process steps are accomplished through the leadership and organizational structure.

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Recommendations 117 FIGURE 6-1 Steps leading to a new national research framework. Recommendation 1: An initiative to establish a new framework for U.S. surface transportation research should be launched without delay. The Standing Committee on Research (SCOR) of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) should instigate this activity and engage other influential organiza- tions from the public, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors. The resulting leadership group should • Secure funding to support the initiative; • Promote the advantages of a more cohesive research framework to the public, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors; and • Appoint a convener for a national summit, which would use the framework concept to explore effective strategies for addressing major challenges in surface transportation research. Leadership The committee recognizes that an initiative aimed at building and imple- menting a new national framework for surface transportation research faces many obstacles, particularly in the current budget-constrained

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118 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future environment. For example, at present no single organization or research group could effectively serve the multimodal leadership, stewardship, and funding roles that the framework calls for in the future. The committee also is well aware that earlier efforts to establish a more cohesive approach to transportation research have had mixed results. The first Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) proved successful in approaching highway research “from the vantage point of a unified industry” rather than from the individual perspectives of “every state, city, county, and toll highway authority, and thousands of contractors and suppliers” (TRB 1984, v). The Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program has from its earliest days engaged representatives from government, academia, and industry (see Chapter 3). However, an attempt by the Federal Transporta- tion Advisory Group3 to establish a cohesive approach to transportation research across the federal government did not lead to greater integration of research activities (FTAG 2001). An important lesson learned from the SHRP and ITS experiences (see Chapter 3) is that the likelihood of success is greatly enhanced when respected leaders from within transportation organizations and the research community commit to and champion an initiative. This lesson is not unique to the United States. The 2008 scanning study of transpor- tation research program administration in Europe and Asia observed that, in a number of host countries, “senior-level individuals frequently emerge as visionaries or champions and play an instrumental role in national program focus and support” (Elston et al. 2009, 2). For the proposed new framework initiative for the United States, the committee recommends an approach similar to that used to launch the ITS program, while recognizing that building a surface transportation research framework in its entirety will be a more challenging endeavor than addressing ITS alone. The first steps toward establishing what was to become ITS America were taken by a core group of volunteer partici- 3 The Federal Transportation Advisory Group was established by the National Science and Technology Council under the auspices of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Research, Engineering, and Development Advisory Committee and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Aerospace Technology Advisory Committee. Its 24 members represented aerospace, water, land, and multimodal interests and were drawn from the public, private, and academic sectors (FTAG 2001).

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Recommendations 119 pants (i.e., champions), known as Mobility 2000. This group, which rep- resented the public, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors, included, among others, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation, the Gen- eral Motors Corporation, the University of Michigan, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technol- ogy. The group convened a national planning workshop on intelligent vehicle–highway systems (IVHS) in Dallas, Texas, in March 1990 (TTI 1990). The workshop included a broad range of stakeholders and pro- duced a vision, goals, and funding estimates for a national program that was clearly linked to national transportation goals. The Mobil- ity 2000 group was disbanded after the workshop, and the nonprofit corporation IVHS America (subsequently ITS America) was formed. In 1991, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) issued a special report addressing the overall objectives for a national IVHS initiative and methods for effectively managing such a program (TRB 1991). The committee envisions a similar group of respected and influen- tial leaders from within the current surface transportation commu- nity initiating the effort to build a new research framework for surface transportation. Like the Mobility 2000 group that championed the national IVHS initiative, this cadre of volunteer leaders (“the leader- ship group”) would represent the public, private, academic, and non- profit sectors. It would market the potential advantages of a cohesive research framework to these sectors and raise funds for a national sur- face transportation summit analogous to the 1990 IVHS workshop. And like the Mobility 2000 group, this leadership group would disband once its work was done. The leadership group itself will need an institutional leader. The committee recommends AASHTO’s SCOR for this role, for three main reasons: • SCOR has a strong interest in alternative frameworks and institu- tional models with the potential to enhance surface transportation in the United States, as reflected in its decision to commission and fund the current study; • SCOR’s role as AASHTO’s “driving force for high-quality transpor- tation research and innovation to improve the nation’s mobility of

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120 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future people and goods”4 aligns with the broad objectives of the new research framework; and • SCOR’s experience in working with federal, industrial, academic, and nonprofit partners, notably through the National Cooperative High- way Research Program (NCHRP), demonstrates that the organization is well positioned to engage a broad spectrum of interest groups in the new framework initiative. Moreover, because it represents depart- ments of transportation (DOTs) in all 50 states, SCOR’s influence extends nationwide. The committee considered the possibility of the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) leading the core group of framework cham- pions, but decided against recommending this option for two reasons: the U.S. DOT’s lack of a strong, departmentwide research culture (see Chapter 3) and the department’s role in setting national policy. In the committee’s judgment, the leader of the core group needs to have not only a strong commitment to research but also the ability to provide a neutral forum for discussion independent of administration policy. National Summit The committee recommends holding a national summit on transporta- tion research to launch efforts to build and implement a new national research framework. The summit’s starting point would be to review the major research challenges that need to be addressed if surface trans- portation is to continue supporting progress toward societal goals for economic development, sustainability, and quality of life. The summit’s overarching objective would be to foster the blend of diverse interests, the informal working relationships, and the commitment to common objec- tives that characterized the launch of the IVHS initiative (TTI 1990). Toward this end, the summit would engage a broad range of interested parties, including representatives from entities outside the traditional transportation research community, such as the information technology and communications industries. Preparatory work in advance of the summit would synthesize lessons learned from earlier efforts to identify major challenges facing surface 4 http://research.transportation.org/Pages/AboutSCORandRAC.aspx.

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Recommendations 121 transportation research. For example, the Vision 2050 report, although over 10 years old, provides useful suggestions for research areas that could dramatically transform transportation in the future (FTAG 2001). TRB’s Critical Issues in Transportation (2013a) could also be potentially helpful in identifying areas in which innovations are needed and research thus has a key role to play. Summit participants would explore strategies for addressing these challenges effectively under the new framework concept. In the case of disaster reduction, for example, the summit could survey opportunities to leverage and build on the disparate set of ongoing activities in sup- port of a cohesive value-added research initiative targeting national goals (see Box 6-1). In a similar way, the Framework Program of the Euro- pean Union (EU) leverages and builds on research activities of member nations to create pan-European value-added research. The committee anticipates that the national summit, perhaps with a modified scope, would be repeated as the framework evolves. The research challenges, for example, would need to be updated over time in response to environmental, technological, and social changes. The required frequency of follow-up summits is likely to become clearer as the framework develops. Resources would be needed to plan and conduct the summit and prepare a follow-up report (see Recommendation 2). The committee envisions that interested organizations—notably, those that might use the challenges to guide their research activities and investments—could well make contributions, at the urging of the leadership group, to sup- port the summit. Interested organizations could include federal and state government agencies, private companies, industry associations, univer- sities, and foundations. If a sufficiently large number of organizations were persuaded to contribute, the amount needed from each one would be relatively modest. The leadership group, spearheaded by SCOR, would appoint an organization to act as summit convener. This convener would assemble an organizing committee tasked with developing the summit agenda, recruiting speakers, and encouraging a broad range of organizations to participate. The organizing committee would be representative of orga- nizations potentially interested in contributing knowledge and resources to the new framework initiative.

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122 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future BOX 6-1 Disaster Reduction: Illustrating a Cohesive Value-Added Transportation Research Initiative The National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction, a federal interagency body tasked with formulating science- and technology-based guidance for policy makers, identified six grand challenges for disaster reduction (Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction 2005): 1. Provide hazard and disaster information where and when it is needed, 2. Understand the natural processes that produce hazards, 3. Develop hazard-mitigation strategies and technologies, 4. Recognize and reduce vulnerability of interdependent critical infrastructure, 5. Assess disaster resilience using standard methods, and 6. Promote risk-wise behavior. Although these challenges do not mention transportation explic- itly, addressing them will require research into issues of trans- portation infrastructure, operations, and planning. Such research can, for example, suggest ways of reducing the vulnerability of critical infrastructure and inform the development of improved evacuation plans. Funding for transportation research related to disaster reduction comes from a variety of sources, including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Homeland Security, individual states through their departments of transportation and emergency management agencies, and the University Transportation Centers program. By sharing ideas and lessons learned, working together to identify research areas of common interest, and looking for poten- tial synergies, these (and other) organizations could bring new per- spectives to their individual research activities and add value to the overall research endeavor targeting disaster reduction.

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Recommendations 123 To ensure impartiality and independence from particular inter- est groups, the summit should be convened under the auspices of an organization that is widely perceived as being unbiased and reasonably isolated from the immediate political environment. This convening organization would also need to have stature and credibility in the eyes of stakeholders. To help ensure the desired openness to new ideas and opportunities, the convening organization should have experience in bringing people together from different sectors and disciplines to fur- ther national research objectives. In other words, it should be able to reach out to the traditional surface transportation research commu- nity and beyond to engage summit participants with a broad range of expertise and experience. The committee briefly considered the pros and cons of several candi- date convener organizations, as discussed in the following paragraphs. It anticipates, however, that the leadership group would want to under- take a more thorough examination of these and other candidates before selecting a summit convener. As discussed in Chapter 3, the U.S. DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) is responsible for coordinating and facilitating the department’s research programs across all modes; its five- year research, development, and technology strategic plan takes a systems- level view of the nation’s multimodal transportation system. RITA is also engaged in a broad range of subject areas and activities through its programs, including transportation data and analysis through the Bureau of Transportation Statistics; research and innovation through the Univer- sity Transportation Centers (UTC) program and the Volpe Center; and education and training through the Transportation Safety Institute (http:// www.rita.dot.gov/). Thus RITA possesses the necessary crossmodal and multimodal perspectives appropriate for a summit convener, although its strong federal focus and limited experience in engaging stakeholders across different sectors raises questions about its ability to engage the desired degree of diversity of summit participants. The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), an international educational and scientific association of transportation professionals with nearly 17,000 members in more than 90 countries, is also a possible summit convener (http://www.ite.org/aboutite/index.asp). ITE addresses

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Recommendations 137 pendencies in the system, interactions between different components, and the impact of institutional policies (public or private) and individual decisions, which may be affected by regulatory restrictions and promo- tional subsidies. The committee also recommends that the program be overseen by a panel of distinguished subject experts, along the lines of NSF practices, and that the program be proactive in engaging university researchers. This latter feature would not only take advantage of uni- versities’ expertise and experience in basic research, but would also support the education of the next generation of transportation lead- ers. The committee acknowledges, however, the significant challenges in establishing and sustaining this kind of program, such as finding adequate funding. Also, in the committee’s view, there is no clear institutional home for a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, basic and advanced research program pertaining to surface transportation. The U.S. DOT’s failure to sustain basic research programs in the past and its lack of a strong, department- wide research culture raise concerns about the long-term viability of any new basic research program within the department. Nonetheless, three options identified by the committee as worthy of further examination would all place the proposed program within the U.S. DOT. One option would be to expand FHWA’s EAR program to all modes of surface transportation and to greatly increase its funding level. A second option would be to expand and restructure the UTC program to incen- tivize basic and advanced research. A third option would be to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency–Transportation (ARPA-T) within the U.S. DOT. Such an agency would be somewhat analogous to DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), which in turn was modeled on DOD’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). DARPA supports high-risk, long-term research, at universi- ties and elsewhere, which has the potential of producing revolutionary results. The goals of ARPA-E are to promote and fund R&D appropriate to advanced energy technologies. The committee envisions an ARPA-T initiative having a broader perspective than ARPA-E, which has a strong technology focus. Nonetheless, the overall ARPA-E framework may be

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138 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future worth considering as a way for the U.S. DOT to aggressively pursue advanced transportation research. In the committee’s view, efforts by the U.S. DOT to strengthen its research culture could help sustain the proposed new program of basic and advanced research. For example, the U.S. DOT could explore oppor- tunities to build the research capacity of its professional staff through ini- tiatives such as the Intergovernmental Personnel Act’s Mobility Program, which provides for the temporary assignment of federal government per- sonnel to other federal agencies, state and local governments, universities, federally funded R&D centers, and other eligible organizations. Assign- ments that facilitate interactions between staff at the U.S. DOT and those at research universities or NSF could be particularly helpful in building the U.S. DOT’s research capacity and culture. Further in-service education of current and future R&D leaders would be a valuable step. The committee acknowledges that federal funding of basic and advanced research, given present budgetary constraints, will be difficult. Nevertheless, it sees the future costs of not funding basic and advanced research as huge, and this view appears to be substantiated by actions taken elsewhere—notably in Europe, where both the EU and France have set aside funding explicitly for basic research. Thus the European Research Council was established within the EU’s Seventh Framework Program with the specific objective of allowing researchers to identify new opportunities and directions in basic research. The French National Research Agency (ANR) funds research projects on a competitive basis, with some of this funding devoted to basic research. In neither case, however, is the research tied in particular to surface transportation, although ANR’s sustainable energy area includes programs that address transportation and mobility. Recommendation 7: The U.S. DOT should continue its activities that promote knowledge transfer and disseminate research results. The U.S. DOT actively supports knowledge transfer and dissemina- tion of research results through a variety of mechanisms, which include • Requiring research proposals to address implementation; • Providing resources directly for technology transfer and training; • Supporting databases to enhance access to knowledge;

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Recommendations 139 • Supporting courses, conferences, workshops, and peer exchanges to facilitate the acquisition of new knowledge; • Making data available to researchers; and • Supporting workforce development by training students engaged in research, notably through the UTC program. For example, the UTC program requires centers to enter their projects into the Research in Progress (RiP) database,12 which serves as a clearing- house for UTC projects and also allows other researchers and practitio- ners to search for related information. In addition, centers are required to include their research products in the Transportation Research Inter- national Documentation (TRID) database, which provides access to more than one million records on transportation research worldwide.13 Many UTCs also require their researchers to develop implementation and dissemination plans. Other programs target specific audiences or aspects of transportation. Since 1982, the FHWA-supported Local Technical Assistance Program and Tribal Technical Assistance Program have assisted jurisdictions in improving their roads and bridges. A network of centers provides an information clearinghouse, introduces new technology and methods to local and tribal governments, and provides training and personalized technical assistance (Saunders and Shea 2008). In this context, the com- mittee notes that sharing best practices and innovations from abroad, as well as from research supported by the U.S. DOT, could prove helpful for state and local jurisdictions. FHWA’s Every Day Counts initiative14 focuses directly on implementation; it is designed to identify and deploy innovations aimed at reducing the time it takes to deliver highway proj- ects, enhancing safety, and protecting the environment. National Highway Institute courses, conferences, workshops, and peer exchanges are also important ways of disseminating research results. In many instances, the U.S. DOT partners with other organiza- tions to facilitate knowledge transfer and dissemination. For example, the Transportation Asset Management Guide (AASHTO 2011a) was 12 http://rip.trb.org. 13 http://trid.trb.org. 14 http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/everydaycounts/.

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140 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future developed under an NCHRP project, with additional funding from FHWA. Once the guide was completed, FHWA funded the develop- ment of a National Highway Institute course on asset management.15 FHWA has also actively supported the National Asset Management Conferences, which include peer exchanges focused on specific asset management topics. The U.S. DOT plays an important role in making data and models available to researchers. The Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) Program16 and the Highway Performance Monitoring System17 are rich sources of data that have proved valuable to researchers. The LTPP database, for example, includes data on over 2,500 pavement sections collected since 1988. To encourage university students, professors, and highway department engineers from around the world to use the LTPP database, a paper-writing contest, cosponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, is held each year. The Highway Performance Monitoring System database includes data on the condition, performance, and use of the nation’s highways. Other U.S. DOT databases of potential value to researchers include the National Bridge Inventory,18 the Freight Analysis Framework,19 and the National Transit Database.20 RAISE AWARENESS OF SURFACE TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH Transportation’s role as a driver of economic growth and a key determi- nant of quality of life is widely acknowledged both by the United States and its competitors. However, the role of research in improving trans- portation frequently goes unrecognized in the United States outside of the confines of the transportation research community itself. High- 15 http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/training/course_detail.aspx?num=FHWA-NHI-131106&cat=&ke y=Transportation+Asset+Managemen&num=&loc=&sta=%25&tit=&typ=&lev=&ava=&str= &end=&drl. 16 http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/research/tfhrc/programs/infrastructure/pavements/ltpp/. 17 http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/hpms.cfm. 18 http://nationalbridges.com/nbi. 19 http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/freight_analysis/faf/faf3/netwkdbflow/. 20 http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/ntd.htm.

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Recommendations 141 profile national policy initiatives, such as the ambitious fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks issued in August 2012,21 have high- lighted the importance of transportation research aimed at reducing vehicle fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In general, however, the value of transportation research, particularly research on infrastructure, is frequently overlooked until some element of the transportation system fails, and alternative technologies and methods are unavailable to solve the problem. For example, the 2011 and 2012 “Carmaggedon” weekend shutdowns of Freeway 405 in Los Angeles for major repairs highlighted the need for ways of replacing or repairing assets more quickly to avoid major disruptions. Such research on rapid construction under SHRP 2 aims to reduce both inconvenience to travel- ers and the costs of infrastructure repair and replacement. Recommendation 8: The U.S. DOT should establish a relationship with OSTP to elevate the visibility of transportation research and its importance on the national science and technology agenda. Although Americans often care deeply about many of the benefits that transportation research can provide, they may not see research as a means of achieving these benefits. In Asia and Europe, on the other hand, transportation research is often given greater prominence as a means of achieving societal goals. As noted during the 2008 scan tour, the prevalent belief in every country visited was that “if you aren’t doing transportation R&D, then you won’t be globally competitive” (Elston et al. 2009, 2). As discussed in Chapter 5, domestic sectors outside of transportation take a variety of approaches to communicating the value of their research to different audiences. In the medical field, NIH is well served by an advo- cacy community that includes groups that advocate for specific diseases or conditions; groups that advocate for certain populations; outspoken and influential industries; extramural research scientists; health care pro- viders who apply research results; and the American people themselves (Anderson 2011). Other federal agencies, however, “cannot always rely on a similar groundswell of public support to sustain their budget” 21 http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2012/Obama+Administration+Finalizes +Historic+54.5+mpg+Fuel+Efficiency+Standards.

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142 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future (Eliasson 2009, 26). The DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory seeks to influence policy through its scientific achievements; testifying before congressional committees provides an opportunity to tell policy makers what the laboratory has accomplished through research (Chris- tensen 2011). The committee that conducted the most recent decadal survey in astronomy and astrophysics sought to capture the public imagination through the release of photos and simple but compelling language to the media (NRC 2010), thereby helping to make a case for research in astronomy, most of which is usually neither seen nor under- stood by the public. The committee concludes that a concerted and sustained effort by the U.S. DOT and OSTP in particular is needed to raise public awareness of the value of surface transportation research in the United States. The U.S. DOT is the primary federal entity for shaping policies and programs to protect the safety, adequacy, and efficiency of the transportation system. Regard- ing science and technology in general (which includes but is not limited to transportation), OSTP leads federal policy making and provides advice to the President and other White House officials. Consistent with the respon- sibilities of the U.S. DOT and OSTP, therefore, the committee considers it incumbent on the two organizations to work together to increase the visibility of surface transportation research and its priority on the national agenda. A chief scientist within the Office of the Secretary of Transporta- tion (see Recommendation 4) could play a major role in this activity. Recommendation 9: The many and diverse organizations that make up the surface transportation research community should, both indi- vidually and in cooperation with each other, take a proactive approach to sharing the successes of transportation research with a wide range of audiences, including elected officials, other high-level decision makers, and the general public. To this end, the surface transportation research community should • Continue to build the skills and culture needed to communicate effectively with diverse audiences, following the example set by AASHTO; • Seek to quantify the impacts of research activities and the associ- ated returns on investment;

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Recommendations 143 • Highlight successes relating to transportation infrastructure, which is often taken for granted by users; and • Commission a retrospective evaluation of selected transportation research activities over a period of years, with a view to demon- strating their value in the pursuit of national policy goals. AASHTO’s Research Advisory Committee has been actively exploring opportunities among diverse audiences, including transportation execu- tives and other decision makers, to increase their appreciation for the role of research.22 The committee’s annual publication Research Makes the Difference highlights outcomes that exemplify the high returns on transportation research investments by state DOTs.23 AASHTO also has studied different communications processes for sharing information about research with various kinds of recipients (e.g., Zmud et al. 2009). Although AASHTO’s initiatives are of considerable value, they do not provide a comprehensive perspective on how surface transportation research in general, including multimodal and crossmodal efforts, has ben- efited the nation over periods of 10 years or more. For example, the com- mittee is not aware of any assessments of surface transportation research analogous to the report Energy Research at DOE: Was It Worth It?, which was prepared in response to a request from the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior (NRC 2001). This report took a compre- hensive look at the outcomes of DOE’s research in energy efficiency and fossil energy over two decades, and it found that significant economic-, environmental-, and national security–related benefits had resulted. In the committee’s judgment, a similar (and collaborative) effort by members of the surface transportation research community could help draw attention to the role its research has played over time in furthering the nation’s economic and societal goals. This effort would supplement ongoing communications initiatives by individual organizations, and it would take advantage of lessons learned about how to communicate effectively with different audiences. 22 See, for example, AASHTO (2011b). 23 http://research.transportation.org/Pages/ResearchMakestheDifference.aspx.

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144 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future The need to quantify research impacts and associated returns on investment merits special attention in the context of the communica- tions initiative articulated in Recommendation 9. As discussed in Chap- ter 4, transportation research organizations in other countries emphasize research evaluation as an essential part of their research frameworks, and they regard quantitative metrics as particularly valuable in assessing research outcomes. In the United States, efforts to measure the impacts of research activities and associated returns on investment have been limited in scope, as noted in Chapter 3. Given the value of quantita- tive metrics in informing decisions about future research investments, a greater focus on quantitative assessments of research activities offers the potential to make the new research framework a more useful and robust tool. CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS Much is at stake as the United States seeks to ensure that its surface trans- portation systems meet the challenges of the 21st century. Changing trade patterns, a growing and aging population, and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are among the factors placing new demands on surface transportation. Research has a critical role to play in explor- ing creative options and developing cost-effective solutions that support the nation’s economic growth, position it to be globally competitive, and enhance its inhabitants’ quality of life. One of the challenges facing policy makers is deciding how best to invest the limited research resources of the present so that transporta- tion continues to meet the nation’s needs in years to come. Toward that end, a new research framework would offer opportunities to leverage the research conducted by individual organizations and add value to the over- all national research endeavor. By encouraging transportation research organizations and the broader research community to work together in support of societal goals, the framework has the potential to make sur- face transportation research more productive, to address problems that have been neglected because of the current fragmented approach, and to explore crosscutting systems-level solutions to a variety of problems. Building and fully implementing a new and cohesive research frame- work to replace the current fragmented and ad hoc approach is likely

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Recommendations 145 to take years. In the meantime, much can be done to make U.S. surface transportation research more productive. As the U.S. DOT takes steps to build its research capacity and culture, a variety of public, private, academic, and nonprofit organizations should be cooperatively engaged in starting to create that new framework. REFERENCES Abbreviations AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials FTAG Federal Transportation Advisory Group FHWA Federal Highway Administration NRC National Research Council NSTC National Science and Technology Council RITA Research and Innovative Technology Administration TRB Transportation Research Board TTI Texas A&M Transportation Institute AASHTO. 2011a. Transportation Asset Management Guide: A Focus on Implementation, 1st ed. Washington, D.C. AASHTO. 2011b. Leading in Lean Times: The Value of Research to Transportation Exec- utives. Presented at AASHTO Annual Meeting, Detroit, Mich., Oct. 13–17. http:// research.transportation.org/Documents/RAC%20Docs/CEOs%20and%20the %20Value%20of%20Research.PDF. Anderson, J. 2011. NIH: Turning Discovery into Health. Presented to Committee on National Research Frameworks: Application to Transportation, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., July 19. Brach, A. M. 2005. Identifying Trends in Federal Transportation Research Funding: The Complex Task of Assembling Comprehensive Data. TR News, No. 241, November– December, pp. 3–9. Christensen, D. 2011. Transportation Energy in the U.S.: Directions. Presented to Com- mittee on National Research Frameworks: Application to Transportation, Transpor- tation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., Oct. 24. Eliasson, K. 2009. Priority Setting in U.S. Science Policy. VA 2009:22. VINNOVA Analysis, Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, Stockholm, Sweden. http:// www.vinnova.se/upload/EPiStorePDF/va-09-22.pdf. Elston, D., D. Huft, B. T. Harder, J. Curtis, M. R. Evans, C. W. Jenks, L. McGinnis, H. R. Paul, G. Roberts, E. Wingfield, and J. B. Wlaschin. 2009. Transportation Research

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146 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future Program Administration in Europe and Asia. Report FHWA-PL-09-015. Federal Highway Administration. http://www.international.fhwa.dot.gov/pubs/pl09015/pl09015.pdf. FHWA. 2011. Exploratory Advanced Research Program. Publication FHWA-HRT-12-019. U.S. Department of Transportation. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/advancedresearch/ pubs/12019/index.cfm. FTAG. 2001. Vision 2050: An Integrated National Transportation System. National Sci- ence and Technology Council, Washington, D.C. http://web.mit.edu/aeroastro/www/ people/rjhans/docs/vision2050.pdf. Hourihan, M. 2012. Brief: Potential Impacts of the FY 2013 House Budget on Federal R&D. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C. http:// archives.aaas.org/docs/2013-HouseBudgetRDBrief.pdf. NRC. 2001. Energy Research at DOE: Was It Worth It? Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000. National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. http://www.nap. edu/catalog/10165.html. NRC. 2010. New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics. National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12951#toc. NSTC. 2008. The Science of Science Policy: A Federal Research Roadmap. Report to the Subcommittee on Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. http://scienceofsciencepolicy.net/sites/all/themes/ sosp_theme3/userfiles/SoSP_Roadmap.pdf. RITA. 2012. Research, Development, and Technology Strategic Plan FY 2012. Draft. U.S. Department of Transportation. June 7. Saunders, D., and D. Shea. 2008. LTAP/TTAP: 25 Years of Service. Public Roads, Vol. 72, No. 3, November–December, pp. 8–17. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/ 08nov/02.cfm. Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction. 2005. Grand Challenges for Disaster Reduction. National Science and Technology Council, Washington, D.C. http://www.sdr.gov/ docs/SDRGrandChallengesforDisasterReduction.pdf. TRB. 1984. Special Report 202: America’s Highways: Accelerating the Search for Innovation. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. TRB. 1991. Special Report 232: Advanced Vehicle and Highway Technologies. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. TRB. 1993. Measuring Quality: A Review Process for the University Transportation Centers Program. National Research Council, Washington, D.C. TRB. 2001. Special Report 261: The Federal Role in Highway Research and Technology. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/ sr/sr261.pdf. TRB. 2008a. Special Report 295: The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006–2009: Strengths and Weaknesses. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/sr/sr295.pdf.

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Recommendations 147 TRB. 2008b. Special Report 292: Safety Research on Highway Infrastructure and Opera- tions: Improving Priorities, Coordination, and Quality. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/ sr/sr292.pdf. TRB. 2009. Special Report 299: A Transportation Research Program for Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change and Conserving Energy. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. TRB. 2012a. Letter Report to Joseph Szabo, Administrator of the Federal Railroad Admin- istration, from the Committee for Review of the FRA Federal, Development, and Demonstration Programs. May 31. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/reports/ frar&d_May_2012.pdf. TRB. 2012b. Letter Report to Victor Mendez, Administrator of FHWA, and John Horsley, Executive Director of AASHTO, from the TRB Long-Term Pavement Performance Committee. Aug. 3. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/sp/ltpp_letter_30.pdf. TRB. 2013a. Critical Issues in Transportation. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/ general/CriticalIssues13.pdf. TRB. 2013b. Letter Report to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood from the Commit- tee on the Review of the U.S. DOT Strategic Plan for Research, Development, and Tech- nology. April 30. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/reports/U.S. DOTRD&T_ May_2013.pdf. TTI. 1990. Proceedings of a National Workshop on IVHS Sponsored by Mobility 2000. Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Dallas, Tex., March 19–21. http://ntl.bts.gov/ lib/jpodocs/repts_te/9063.pdf. Zmud, J. P., J. L. Paasche, M. Zmud, T. J. Lomax, J. Schofer, and J. Meyer. 2009. NCHRP Report 610: Communication Matters: Communicating the Value of Transportation Research Guidebook. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_610.pdf.