The Highway Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures (HSCOBS) of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has long recognized the benefit of research in helping its members meet their responsibility to design and manage the nation’s highway infrastructure. Because of this recognition, HSCOBS strives to identify ways to fulfill the business needs of its members and, to that end, annually reviews research problem statements and recommends selected statements to the AASHTO Standing Committee on Research (SCOR) for consideration for funding under the National
Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). In addition, other research needs are addressed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), state, and industry-sponsored research and development programs.
Because of this review and recommendation process, the subcommittee has been successful over the years in obtaining funding for various NCHRP projects that have benefited the bridge community. However, it became apparent to the subcommittee that a more structured procedure for prioritizing research was needed. Therefore, a workshop was conducted in 2000 to develop a strategic plan for bridge engineering. The product of this workshop was six “thrust” discussions. Each thrust focuses on a specific business need of the AASHTO bridge engineers.
As the subcommittee is fully committed to maintaining and improving its strategic plan and to applying the contents to the identification and prioritization of research, a second workshop was conducted in 2005 to refine the 2000 Strategic Plan for Bridge Engineering. The products of this workshop are a focused set of critical problems called “grand challenges”. Since 2005 the subcommittee has required all proposed research to explicitly focus on addressing these grand challenges. Seven years have passed since the 2005 Strategic Plan for Bridge Engineering and as part of the subcommittee’s commitment to maintaining and improving its strategic plan; it is time to once again re-assess the plan.
The research objective is to refine and refocus the 2005 Strategic Plan for Bridge Engineering to meet the business needs of today’s bridge industry by providing a structured procedure for prioritizing proposed research. In addition, the proposed strategic plan will help the bridge community in identify, prioritize, and conduct research in concert with the new transportation bill Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).
STATUS: Agency final report was submitted to AASHTO. (NCHRP Staff: W. Dekelbab)