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3 Current State of U.S. Surface Transportation Research To identify lessons learned from other frameworks and to evaluate their suitability for strengthening surface transportation research in the United States (as discussed in Chapters 4 and 5), the committee first established a baseline by examining the present U.S. surface transportation research enterprise. This chapter summarizes the committee’s review of that enter- prise according to principal funding sources: the federal government, state and local governments, industry, or foundations. It offers selected examples of ongoing and completed surface transportation research pro- grams to illustrate their range of research activities. Finally, the strengths and weaknesses of the current research framework are discussed as a pre- cursor to identifying areas for improvement (Chapter 6). U.S. SURFACE TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH ENTERPRISE Research on surface transportation in the United States today is diverse and decentralized, reflecting the nature of the overall transportation sys- tem itself. The highway industry, for example, includes “federal, state, and local government agencies responsible for constructing, operating, and maintaining U.S. highways, as well as scores of private companies of various sizes and specialties that carry out much highway design and most highway construction work; [they also] supply materials, equip- ment, and services used by the public agencies” (TRB 2001a, 16). Sur- face transportation research is not limited to the infrastructural issues that were critical in the early days of building the nation’s rail, highway, and transit systems. Transportation research now involves many disci- plines, of which engineering is but one. For example, research aimed at achieving a better understanding of how people and businesses use the 36

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Current State of U.S. Surface Transportation Research 37 transportation system requires experts knowledgeable in areas such as economics, behavioral sciences, information technology, political sci- ence, and public administration. Surface transportation research in the United States involves actors and organizations not only from governments but from academia, the private sector, and associations, foundations, and other nonprofit orga- nizations. Each of these diverse stakeholders has its own priorities and faces its own set of challenges. As a result, U.S. surface transportation research often appears to be fragmented and relatively disorganized, particularly compared with defense research (Skinner 1997) or with transportation research in smaller countries with no federal–state divide (Elston et al. 2009). The following four subsections provide an overview of activities and programs supported by major funders in the federal government, state and local governments, industry, and foundations. But the entity fund- ing research is not necessarily, of course, the entity that conducts the research. Thus, when considering the desirable attributes of a national research framework, it is important to note that organizations engaged in the nation’s surface transportation research may have differing per- spectives, depending on whether they fund research, provide research, or both. Universities, for example, are not major research funders, although they are among the most important research providers. By contrast, both the federal government and private industry fund research and also con- duct some of this research in-house. Box 3-1 lists four major categories of research providers and offers examples of the studies they perform. Federal Government The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) is the principal entity within the federal government tasked with supporting the nation’s trans- portation system. The department undertakes research in support of its mission, which requires it to ensure a transportation system “[meeting] vital national interests and [enhancing] the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future” (http://www.dot.gov/mission/about-us). Other federal departments, including the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Defense (DOD), also fund and conduct surface transportation–related research in support of their missions.

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38 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future BOX 3-1 Examples of U.S. Providers of Research Relevant to Surface Transportation Federal Government • The national laboratories conduct significant amounts of federally funded transportation-related research. For exam- ple, the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory conducts research on alternative fuels and power- trains, including fuel cells and batteries (Christensen 2011); the Department of Defense has dual-use (military–civilian) research under way in its National Automotive Center (http:// tardec.army.mil/business/national-automotive-center.aspx). • The U.S. DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) conducts research across a number of transportation-related areas through its Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (http://www.volpe.dot.gov/ coi/index.html). • The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Stan- dards and Technology conducts research on materials and manufacturing at its Center for Automotive Lightweighting (http://www.nist.gov/mml/msed/materials_performance/ sheet_metal_forming.cfm). Academia Universities and affiliated entities are heavily engaged in trans- portation research through contracts with transportation service providers, private industry, and federal and state govern- ments (e.g., through RITA’s University Transportation Centers program).

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Current State of U.S. Surface Transportation Research 39 Industry • U.S. automotive manufacturers and suppliers perform in- house research. • Nontraditional firms are engaged in transportation-related research (e.g., Google’s much-publicized efforts involving a driverless vehicle). Independent Contractors Various independent research and development contractors (often organized as nonprofits) are also part of the transportation research landscape, undertaking a range of research activities for government and industry clients; examples include Battelle (www. battelle.org) and Southwest Research Institute (www.swri.org/). U.S. DOT Much of the U.S. DOT’s support for surface transportation research derives from the department’s modal administrations (http://www.dot. gov/administrations), namely, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Federal Railroad Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Adminis- tration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and, notably, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) (see Table 3-1). Of particu- lar interest in the context of a national framework for surface transporta- tion research, however, are the programs of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), which are not constrained to be modally focused. RITA was established in 2004, and one of its responsibil- ities is to coordinate, facilitate, and review U.S. DOT research programs. [Resources for this activity are relatively modest, however, because much of RITA’s budget is committed to the University Transportation Centers (UTC) and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) programs.]

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40 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future TABLE 3-1 U.S. DOT Support Enacted for Surface Transportation Research, FY 2010 Budget as Program Agency or Budget Percentage Major Programs Budget Office ($ millions) of Totala > (– $5 million) ($ millions) FHWA 291 30.7 Surface transportation 195 research Training and education 25 SHRP 2 48 FTA 60 6.3 National program 44 TCRP 10 FRA 42 4.4 Rail R&D 38 RITA 227 23.9 UTC 82 BTS 27 ITS 108 OST 18 1.9 NHTSA 110 11.6 Research and analysis 61 PHMSA 10 1.1 FMCSA 7 0.7 State DOTs 183 19.3 NCHRP 40 and SP&Rb Total 948 100.0 678 Note: FHWA = Federal Highway Administration; SHRP 2 = Strategic Highway Research Program 2; FTA = Federal Transit Administration; TCRP = Transit Cooperative Research Program; FRA = Fed- eral Railroad Administration; R&D = research and development; RITA = Research and Innovative Technology Administration; UTC = University Transportation Centers; BTS = Bureau of Transporta- tion Statistics; ITS = Intelligent Transportation Systems; OST = Office of the Secretary of Transporta- tion; NHTSA = National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; PHMSA = Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration; FMCSA = Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; NCHRP = National Cooperative Highway Research Program; SP&R = State Planning and Research program. a Percentages may not sum to 100.0 because of rounding errors. b The SP&R program, a major component of the U.S. DOT’s research budget, is included because federal funds constitute a substantial part of this program’s funding. Source: Adapted from an analysis of the U.S. DOT’s FY 2010 research budget by TRB staff.

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Current State of U.S. Surface Transportation Research 41 RITA’s strategic plan for the five-year period from 2012 to 2017 supports the U.S. DOT’s strategic goals with corresponding research focus areas. The plan “takes a department-wide, systems-level view of the multimodal transportation system and presents strategies . . . that go beyond a modal- oriented and modal-funded perspective” (RITA 2012, 6). Important but limited stakeholder contributions, together with input from all the modal administrations, contributed to the plan, which strongly emphasizes per- formance measures, data-driven decision making, and outcomes. The 2012 passage of P.L. 112-141, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), eliminated earmarks, emphasized competition and peer review, and placed other constraints on the U.S. DOT’s research programs. In the committee’s judgment, these changes could enhance RITA’s ability both to influence the directions, priorities, and funding of the U.S. DOT’s research and to direct research toward departmental goals in ways not previously possible. Other Federal Departments Federal agencies other than the U.S. DOT provide substantial funding for research in surface transportation. DOE, for example, supports research on transportation fuels and propulsion systems. A 2009 report notes that DOE investments in transportation “dwarf those of U.S. DOT” (TRB 2009, 23); the report’s authors estimated that DOE’s research investment related to transportation exceeded $500 million for FY 2009. In sup- port of the defense establishment’s mission, DOD also funds a variety of transportation research activities. For example, the U.S. Transporta- tion Command is responsible for improving all aspects of transporta- tion, from manufacture to delivery to the soldier in the field; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency sponsors revolutionary “high-risk– high-payoff” research aimed at bridging the gap between fundamen- tal discoveries and their military applications; and the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory supports research on pavements, structures, materials, and construction for arctic regions. Additional federal agencies support research related to transporta- tion, albeit at more modest levels than do DOE and DOD. They include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which funds research on environmental topics related to transportation, including the health effects of motor vehicle emissions and the development of emissions

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42 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future control technologies; and the National Science Foundation (NSF), which supports basic research in a wide range of areas relevant to transporta- tion, such as economics, information technology, and civil infrastructure systems (TRB 2008a; Nelson 2011). However, although departments other than the U.S. DOT contribute to the federal investment in surface transportation research, they do not identify transportation research explicitly in their programs and bud- gets. Rather, such research is subsumed by goals more directly linked to each agency’s mission. As a result, it is difficult to calculate how much the federal government invests in transportation research overall, how much is devoted specifically to surface transportation research, and the break- down of this research investment across federal departments. Estimates of this breakdown cited by Brach (2005) vary considerably because of data limitations and inconsistencies. The committee’s recommendations do not depend on a detailed analysis of recent budget data. Available data suggest, however, that the U.S. DOT’s contribution is far from being the dominant component of the nation’s federal investment in surface transportation research. State and Local Governments Many state DOTs support research related to their state’s transportation system. The California DOT (Caltrans), for example, has a comprehensive research program that explores innovations in methods, materials, and technologies, although this program has been shrinking in recent years, due in part to the state’s budget problems. The program aims to pro- vide effective management of public facilities and services, protect public investment in transportation infrastructure, and enhance and expand mobility options (http://www.dot.ca.gov/newtech). Less populous states have more modest research programs, but with similar objectives. State DOT research programs are funded primarily through the fed- eral State Planning and Research (SP&R) program, which sets aside 2 percent from selected categories of federal highway aid; each state is required to use a minimum of 25 percent of its SP&R funding for research purposes. Total state DOT research funding actually exceeds this statutory minimum. In 2006, states spent an estimated $326 million on highway research—$160 million more than the SP&R minimum of

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Current State of U.S. Surface Transportation Research 43 $166 million (TRB 2008a). Some observers have suggested that this extra amount has likely declined in recent years as a result of the recession and associated constraints on state budgets, but the committee could not obtain data to confirm or refute this supposition. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that local and regional agencies are becoming more involved in research, as in the case of the Chicago Tran- sit Authority’s collaborative multiyear research effort with the Univer- sity of Illinois–Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Progressive Railroading 2001). However, data limitations prevented the committee from assessing the extent and scope of such efforts. Industry Companies throughout the transportation sector support research initia- tives both individually and through partnership arrangements. Charac- terizing these private-sector research programs is challenging, however, because of the scope of the transportation domain, the often proprietary nature of the work, and the very limited disclosures of the financial and human capital being invested in the programs. Although individual auto- motive companies report substantial investments in research—on the order of $5 billion per company annually [e.g., see Ford Motor Company (2012)]—the inclusion of engineering and development in this figure can mask and likely dominates the investment in basic and applied research. An important phenomenon over the last three decades has been the advent of partnerships among private-sector entities, universities, and government agencies as a result of the 1984 Cooperative Research Act (http://www.uscar.org/guest/about/). These precompetitive research ini- tiatives, which sometimes include multiple competing companies, may be organized by either a public-sector or private-sector entity. Funding from the private sector is often in the form of in-kind contributions, but it may also include research contracts or direct contributions to aca- demic institutions. An example of such a collaboration, the 21st Cen- tury Truck Partnership (21CTP), is discussed below. In the case of the railroad industry, collaborative research efforts involving government, railroads, suppliers, and academia also contribute to solving problems facing a mature industry where “the easy-to-solve problems already have been addressed” (Tunna and Butler 2013, 3).

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44 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future Foundations Various U.S. and international foundations, including the Rockefeller Foundation and the Volvo Research and Education Foundation, fund surface transportation research at universities in the United States. The Volvo Research and Education Foundation, for example, funds ten Cen- ters of Excellence around the world, including centers at the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, the University of Southern California, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (http://www.vref.se/), to conduct research on future urban transport. These centers receive mod- est funding for a start-up period (less than $1 million per year for five years), which gives participating universities the opportunity to propose more ambitious research and education initiatives on topics that existing federal, state, or industry programs do not already address. SELECTED RESEARCH PROGRAMS In this section, brief descriptions of selected surface transportation– related research programs illustrate the range of research being con- ducted under various funding arrangements and with the involvement of diverse participants. The ongoing and completed major activities examined by the committee are presented below under the headings “Focused Research Programs of Limited Duration” and “Research Programs Funded on a Continuing Basis.” Individual programs are listed in Box 3-2. Research activities are not created equal. They vary in their character- istics, such as level of risk and time frame. Box 3-3 defines the terms for research types that are used throughout the transportation community and beyond. Focused Research Programs of Limited Duration Strategic Highway Research Program The Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) was conceived in 1984 as a means of increasing the funding and focus of highway research (TRB 1984). Subsequently, over 200 stakeholders were involved in a two-year planning study funded by FHWA and the National Cooperative Highway

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Current State of U.S. Surface Transportation Research 45 BOX 3-2 Examples of U.S. Research Programs Related to Surface Transportation Focused Research Programs of Limited Duration • Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) • National Automated Highway System Research Program (NAHSRP) • 21st Century Truck Partnership (21CTP) Research Programs Funded on a Continuing Basis • State Planning and Research (SP&R) Program • Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Program • Association of American Railroads (AAR) Research Program • University Transportation Centers (UTC) Program • Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program Research Program (NCHRP) and overseen by an expert committee. The resulting report (TRB 1986), together with an agreement by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to divert 0.25 percent from state federal-aid highway funds, led to con- gressional authorization of the SHRP applied research initiative in 1987. Some $150 million (or about $308 million in 2012 dollars) was provided over a five-year period for a highly strategic research program aimed at significantly improving the performance, durability, safety, and effi- ciency of the nation’s highways. Over 100 research products were developed, and an aggressive imple- mentation program, funded through federal and state contributions, encouraged the deployment of these products. Educational and tech- nical assistance activities were critical parts of the deployment process. A 2001 report provides examples from state DOTs of actual benefits derived from the implementation of SHRP products, noting that the

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46 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future BOX 3-3 Research Categories • Basic research. “The objective of basic research is to gain more comprehensive knowledge or understanding of the subject under study without specific applications in mind. Although basic research may not have specific applications as its goal, it can be directed [to] fields of present or potential interest. This is often the case with basic research performed by industry or mission-driven federal agencies” (NSB 2008, 4-9). • Applied research. “The objective of applied research is to gain knowledge or understanding to meet a specific recognized need. In industry, applied research includes investigations to discover new scientific knowledge that has specific commer- cial objectives with respect to products, processes, or services” (NSB 2008, 4-9). • Development. “Development is the systematic use of the knowledge or understanding, gained from research, [that is] directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including the design and development of prototypes and processes” (NSB 2008, 4-9). • Advanced transportation research. According to P.L. 109-59, the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), advanced transportation research lies at the interface between basic research and applied research, drawing on longer-term, higher- risk basic research that may offer potential breakthroughs for transportation systems. For example, advanced transportation research uses basic research results from nanotechnology for coatings to prevent metal fatigue in rails or bridges, or from molecular chemistry to create self-healing asphalt pavement. It also creates tools for analyzing and predicting the perfor- mance of transportation systems not yet envisioned, such as

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Current State of U.S. Surface Transportation Research 59 program “a potentially important first step toward a more balanced FHWA research portfolio encompassing both short-term applied and longer-term advanced/exploratory research” (TRB 2008b, 45). STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF CURRENT RESEARCH FRAMEWORK The committee drew on the preceding examples of research activities and on the personal experience of its members to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the current U.S. research framework for surface trans- portation, as discussed in the following sections. Strengths Two major strengths of the current framework are the robust portfolio of applied research and the role played by research in educating future transportation professionals. Robust Portfolio of Applied Research Over the years, a diverse array of applied research activities has led to important improvements in the nation’s surface transportation system. Incremental improvements, particularly when compounded over time, have resulted in safer and more fuel-efficient automobiles, safer road designs, more effective and customer-friendly public transportation ser- vices, and improved freight rail operations; see, for example, TRB (1996). Applied research has been, and continues to be, supported both by the public and private sectors, and it engages a variety of research providers. Some applied research activities are continuing in nature, while others are designed to be of limited duration. Many of the initiatives adopt models emphasizing the importance of stakeholder engagement throughout the research process, from initial identification of needs to attainment of new knowledge to the ultimate deployment of new or improved technologies. The longevity of continuing initiatives, such as the SP&R program, the cooperative research programs, and the ITS program, reflects their value to stakeholders and funding organizations. However, efforts to measure program benefits in terms of return on investment or other metrics tend

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60 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future to be narrowly focused, as documented in the “Research Pays Off” feature published periodically in TRB’s TR News. Examples of more compre- hensive program assessments, such as the recent examination of SHRP’s Superpave® initiative (McDaniel et al. 2011), are relatively rare. The highway sector’s research program has some effective attributes and forms a sound basis for structuring a modally focused transporta- tion research initiative, although the program is limited in scope (no basic research) and lacks the cohesion resulting from an overall research agenda. Nonetheless, the various research efforts address infrastructure, vehicles, fuels, users, and the interactions among them, and these efforts receive important levels of research investment not only by federal and state gov- ernments, but also by the automotive and construction industries. Activi- ties include focused advanced research, notably through FHWA’s EAR program, as well as applied research and development. Research partner- ships, such as 21CTP, engage different groups with diverse skills and expe- rience. Efforts such as FHWA’s Every Day Counts initiative (http://www. fhwa.dot.gov/everydaycounts/) and the Local Technical Assistance Pro- gram (http://www.ltap.org/) facilitate knowledge transfer and encourage the implementation of research results. At the federal level, a chief scientist within FHWA advises the agency on its research activities, and external advice is provided by the Research and Technology Coordinating Com- mittee of the National Academies (http://www8.nationalacademies.org/ cp/projectview.aspx?key=48799). Educating Future Transportation Professionals The U.S. DOT has recognized the importance of educating future trans- portation professionals, and through its UTC program the department has expanded resources devoted to transportation education over the past 25 years. As a result, the number of universities offering training in surface transportation has increased substantially, as has the number of graduates from these programs. In the committee’s view, there is con- siderable value in continuing to recognize the links between university research and education in surface transportation, even as the U.S. DOT seeks to improve the cost-effectiveness of the UTC program. As noted in a report on recruiting, training, and retaining qualified workers for transportation and transit agencies, “new workforce skills [are needed] to

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Current State of U.S. Surface Transportation Research 61 keep pace with new methods and advanced technologies” as the “chang- ing mission and broader responsibilities of [today’s state DOTs] require a workforce capable of addressing many issues other than engineering” (TRB 2003, 3). The opportunity to participate in research is an excellent way for students to acquire such skills. Weaknesses The committee identified four major areas for improvement in the U.S. transportation research framework: • Recognizing the importance of basic and advanced research, • Building value through research partnerships and enhanced coordi- nation, • Linking to national goals, and • Quantifying the impacts of research activities and the associated return on investment. Recognizing the Importance of Basic and Advanced Research The robust portfolio of applied research outlined above contrasts sharply with the paucity of basic and advanced research activities devoted to surface transportation. Applied research projects have led to important improvements over the years but, in the committee’s judgment, such efforts will not by themselves produce the transformations in transporta- tion needed to meet emerging long-term global challenges, such as climate change and sustainability. What is generally considered more appropriate for the nation’s port- folio of surface transportation research is a balance of activities with different time frames and different levels of risk. Skinner, for exam- ple, suggests including both “research aimed at incremental gains in current technologies and higher-risk research aimed at breakthrough technologies,” although he notes that “no one knows what the ideal mix should be” (Skinner 1997, 5). Other authors have made specific sugges- tions, however, based on expert judgment. For example, the Research and Technology Coordinating Committee recommended that “at least one-quarter of FHWA’s research expenditure should be invested in [fundamental long-term] research” (TRB 2001a, 6).

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62 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future The federal role in supporting basic and advanced research is gener- ally acknowledged, given its high-risk and long-term nature. In addition, significant improvements in the understanding of how the components of transportation systems work or the adoption of new technologies have often relied on basic research, albeit in other fields. Examples include traffic flow theory, which draws on basic research in game theory and fluid flow theory (e.g., Bell 2000, Greenberg 1959); behavioral or con- sumer choice modeling, which draws on basic research in economics (e.g., Simon 1955); electronic tolling, which draws on developments in military technology (Rieback et al. 2006) and research in economics (Vickrey 1963); and ITS, which draws on research into sensors and con- trol (e.g., Varaiya 1993). Committee members point out, however, that stability and continu- ity of funding are needed to take full advantage of the potential benefits offered by basic and advanced research in surface transportation. The U.S. DOT has failed to provide sustained support for such research, how- ever, at least until recently. The department’s first attempt at an advanced research activity was the Transportation Advanced Research Program, launched in 1973 by the Office of the Secretary. But it was discontinued after several years, following a change in U.S. DOT leadership. Since 2005, FHWA’s EAR program has provided dedicated funding for advanced research, but its scope is limited to highways, rather than surface trans- portation more broadly, and funding is limited (about $14 million a year). The UTC program, meanwhile, focuses on applied research, as noted ear- lier, despite universities’ expertise in basic and advanced research. Research investments by federal agencies outside of the U.S. DOT— notably DOE, DOD, EPA, and NSF—may offer opportunities to leverage ongoing basic and advanced research relevant to surface transportation. However, the committee found little evidence that the U.S. DOT has tried to apply these federally funded activities in support of its own mission, much less sought to influence the research agendas of these other agencies. Building Value Through Research Partnerships and Enhanced Coordination Research partnerships stimulate creative thinking by allowing research- ers with different perspectives and areas of expertise to work together.

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Current State of U.S. Surface Transportation Research 63 Such partnerships also enable organizations with similar objectives to leverage scarce resources (e.g., by gaining access to specialized research and testing facilities). Various examples illustrate the benefits of research partnerships that target surface transportation. Both NCHRP and the Transportation Pooled Fund Program permit state DOTs (and others) to combine their resources in pursuit of solutions to highway-related problems of com- mon interest. 21CTP, which engages partners from federal agencies and private industry, has accelerated the pace of technological development for heavy-duty vehicles (NRC 2012). Within the private sector, the U.S. Council for Automotive Research, a partnership formed in 1992 by Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Chrysler Group LLC, has sup- ported precompetitive research on topics of broad interest to the U.S. auto industry, such as advanced batteries and vehicle recycling.2 Despite its partnerships with state DOTs on highway-related research, the U.S. DOT currently plays only a marginal role in partnerships within the federal research community. For example, the U.S. DOT did not engage in The Science of Science Policy: A Federal Research Roadmap, an initiative conducted under the auspices of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. A collaborative effort among multiple federal agencies,3 this initiative explored the potential for a more rigor- ous and quantitative science and technology policy (Koizumi 2011). In recent years, there have been no sustained and comprehensive efforts to coordinate national surface transportation research, although some coordination of government-funded research activities does occur. For example, the U.S. DOT’s Human Factors Coordinating Committee 2 Private-sector involvement in precompetitive research partnerships such as 21CTP and the U.S. Council for Automotive Research has grown over the past 25 years in response to changes in antitrust laws. 3 The Roadmap initiative drew participants from DOE, NSF, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Commerce, DOD, EPA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (http://scienceofsciencepolicy.net/sites/all/themes/sosp_theme3/userfiles/SoSP_Road map.pdf).

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64 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future (http://hfcc.dot.gov/about/index.html) brings together representatives from the various U.S. DOT administrations and from other federal departments to address crosscutting human factors issues in transporta- tion. RITA is responsible for research coordination across the U.S. DOT, but funding for this effort is modest. Although research partnerships in general offer the advantage of bringing more resources to bear on a problem, there can be trade-offs. In the case of the UTC program, for example, the nonfederal match is frequently provided by state DOTs or industry to help develop solu- tions to narrowly focused problems that require immediate solutions. As a result of this type of partnership, the UTC program tends to favor applied research, thereby failing to draw on universities’ unique strengths in basic and advanced research. Linking to National Goals As discussed above in “Selected Research Programs,” the United States lacks a cohesive national research framework for surface transporta- tion that is clearly linked to overall societal goals. Rather, the current framework is ad hoc in nature and comprises a diverse assortment of research efforts, often modally focused, many of which are responsive to the specific needs of different groups but do not address the transporta- tion system as a whole. The bottom-up processes used to establish research agendas for pro- grams that address particular stakeholder needs (e.g., the TCRP and the AAR Research Program) do not mesh naturally with a top-down agenda- setting process that targets societal goals. Hence the links between bottom- up research agendas and broad national goals are often tenuous at best. Several major research programs of limited duration, such as SHRP, have a far more strategic perspective; they often define their research agendas in the context of a clear vision of national needs. Nonetheless, many of these programs have a strong modal focus and, as a result, address a narrowly defined set of solutions focused on a single mode. For example, the U.S. Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles program in the 1990s tar- geted national goals for energy conservation through improved automobile fuel efficiency, but it did not explore alternative, multimodal, systems-level approaches to reducing energy usage for personal transportation.

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Current State of U.S. Surface Transportation Research 65 Some transportation-related research is widely recognized as key to achieving certain societal goals, such as research on the lightweight materials and powertrains needed to meet new corporate average fuel economy standards, which target reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and oil imports. By contrast, research relating to transportation infrastruc- ture and its use, including programs focused on acquiring a better under- standing of travel-related behavior, receives far less attention. Attention to this type of research is notably lacking from high-level policy makers, such as those at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, despite potentially significant systemwide benefits. This situation is par- tially the result of the U.S. DOT’s limited engagement with the broad federal research community. Quantifying the Impacts of Research Activities and the Associated Return on Investment As discussed in Chapter 2, realizing tangible value from research invest- ments is a critical attribute of a national transportation research frame- work. In practice, however, efforts by the U.S. surface transportation community to quantify the impact and return on investment of research have been limited in scope, as illustrated by research programs described in this chapter. Although stakeholders appear to view a number of these programs as effective, robust and quantitative assessments of effective- ness are frequently lacking. AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Research is supporting efforts to establish a performance-measurement tool box (Krugler et al. 2006), but in the committee’s view, more such efforts are needed. Measuring return on investment is unquestionably a challeng- ing task. In the absence of such quantitative information, however, policy makers, research sponsors, and others cannot take full advantage of the lessons learned from experience about what types of research programs are of greatest value to the nation. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT Surface transportation research is undertaken and funded by many groups, each with somewhat different perspectives. The initiation, con- tinuity, and longevity of research programs are influenced by funding

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66 Framing Surface Transportation Research for the Nation’s Future constraints and societal and technological changes. Against this back- drop, the committee’s examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the current ad hoc framework for surface transportation research in the United States has led it to identify four areas of insufficiency in which major improvements are needed: • Insufficient and erratic support for basic and advanced research aimed at conceiving innovative solutions to transportation problems; • Insufficient emphasis on research coordination and partnerships, particularly across the federal research community; • Insufficient attention to multimodal systems-level and policy research in support of national and societal goals; and • Insufficient effort to quantify research impact and return on investment. The next chapter explores transportation research in other nations, with an emphasis on areas in which the current U.S. framework is lacking. REFERENCES Abbreviations FHWA Federal Highway Administration NRC National Research Council NSB National Science Board RITA Research and Innovative Technology Administration TRB Transportation Research Board TTI Texas A&M Transportation Institute Barkan, C. P. L., M. R. Saat, F. Gonzalez III, and T. T. Treichel. 2013. Cooperative Research in Tank Car Safety Design. TR News, No. 286, May–June, pp. 12–19. Bell, M. G. H. 2000. A Game Theory Approach to Measuring the Performance Reliabil- ity of Transport Networks. Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Vol. 34, No. 6, pp. 533–545. 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.

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Current State of U.S. Surface Transportation Research 67 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 Pro- gram Administration in Europe and Asia. Report FHWA-PL-09-015. Federal Highway Administration. http://www.international.fhwa.dot.gov/pubs/pl09015/pl09015.pdf. Ford Motor Company. 2012. 10-K Annual Report 2012. http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml. Greenberg, H. 1959. An Analysis of Traffic Flow. Operations Research, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 79–85. Koizumi, K. 2011. A Perspective from the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Pre- sented to Committee on National Research Frameworks: Application to Transporta- tion, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., July 19. Krugler, P., M. N. Walden, B. Hoover, Y. D. Lin, and S. Tucker. 2006. Performance Mea- surement Tool Box and Reporting System for Research Programs and Projects. Final report, NCHRP Project 20-6. NCHRP Web-Only Document 127. http://onlinepubs. trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_W127.pdf. McDaniel, R. S., R. B. Leahy, G. A. Huber, J. S. Moulthrop, and T. Ferragut. 2011. The Super- pave Mix Design System: Anatomy of a Research Program. Final report, NCHRP Proj- ect 9-42. NCHRP Web-Only Document 186. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/ nchrp/nchrp_W186.pdf. Nelson, P. P. 2011. A Perspective Motivated by National Science Foundation Research Opportunities. Presented to Committee on National Research Frameworks: Applica- tion to Transportation, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., Oct. 24. NRC. 2008. Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership. National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12258.html. NRC. 2012. Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership, Second Report. National Acad- emies Press, Washington, D.C. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/13288.html. NSB. 2008. Science and Engineering Indicators 2008. National Science Board, Washington, D.C. http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind08/c4/c4s.htm. Progressive Railroading. 2001. CTA Taps MIT, UIC for Research Projects, Oct. 9. http:// www.progressiverailroading.com/passenger_rail/news/CTA-taps-MIT-UIC-for- research-projects--10591. Rieback, M., B. Crispo, and A. S. Tanenbaum. 2006. The Evolution of RFID Technology. IEEE Pervasive Computing, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 62–69. RITA. 2009. University Transportation Centers Program: Points of Pride 2009. U.S. Department of Transportation. http://www.rita.dot.gov/utc/publications/points_ of_pride/2009. RITA. 2011. University Transportation Centers Performance Indicators Years 1–4. Prelimi- nary draft. U.S. Department of Transportation.

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Current State of U.S. Surface Transportation Research 69 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. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/ sr/sr299.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. Tunna, J., and D. Butler. 2013. Introduction: Railroads and Research Sharing Track. TR News, No. 286, May–June, p. 3. Varaiya, P. 1993. Smart Cars on Smart Roads: Problems of Control. IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 195–207. Vickrey, W. 1963. Pricing in Urban and Suburban Transport. American Economic Review, Vol. 53, No. 2, pp. 452–465.