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Review of the Federal Railroad Administration’s Research and Development Program

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The Office of Research, Development, and Technology (RD&T) of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has excelled in engaging, maintaining communication with, and using inputs from a broad range of stakeholder groups.

That is among the findings in TRB Special Report 334: Review of the Federal Railroad Administration’s Research and Development Program. FRA's RD&T requested this National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine review of the products and services that RD&T provides to other divisions of FRA and the railroad industry in accordance with its mission.

Specifically, RD&T asked the National Academies’ Transportation Research Board (TRB) to convene a committee of experts to review the quality and relevance of RD&T’s current and planned research portfolio and to provide advice on strategies to better identify research needs, conduct high-quality research, and ensure that research products contribute to FRA’s primary goal of improving railroad safety. In addition to its finding on stakeholder communications, the committee identified the need for a more comprehensive approach to program and project evaluation to assess the ultimate safety impacts of RD&T's work.

The FRA oversees the safety of the nation’s commuter and intercity passenger railroads, which have carried about 680 million passengers per year, and freight railroad system, which has transported about 1.4 billion tons of freight per year on more than 135,000 miles of track.

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Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Review of the Federal Railroad Administration’s Research and Development Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25970.

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6 x 9
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17226/25970
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