It is important to periodically conduct a national assessment of what transportation planning research is underway or completed, and to identify which continuing and emerging issues should be addressed through research. Research needs conferences have been conducted in face-to-face conference settings, requiring extensive preparations and substantial travel costs for participants. Given current budet contraints at many state Departments of Transportation and other public agencies, the AASHTO Standing Committee on Plannng and its Subcommittee on Research decided to to conduct a research needs conference in a virtual setting using the Internet and webinar technology.
A Virtual Conference on Transportation Planning Research Needs was held in the Spring of 2010 through a series of seven open webinars attended by approximately 300 planning professionals from state DOTS, MPOs, consulting firms, academic institutions and federal agencies. The project entailed (1) reviewing planning-related research completed over the past 5 years; (2) conducting a national survey of practitioners to elicit research needs; (3) conducting a plenary session webinar; (04) providing bakground materials for virtual breakout sessions organized around broad topic areas; (5) conducting the six breakout session webinars; and (6) providing a final report thtat documents the contributions of participants and provides potential research topics. The results may be used by practitioners to develop proposed problem statements for submission to the National Cooperative Highway Research Program or other research programs.
The final report is available here.