The Transportation Research Board in 2019 published two documents presenting wide-ranging perspectives on matters of importance to the future of the nation’s transportation system and its capabilities to support our continued prosperity. The first of these documents, Renewing the National Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future (CIHS),
the product of a Congressionally mandated study, presented a series of recommendations for government actions needed “to upgrade and restore the Interstate Highway System to fulfill its role as a crucial national asset, serving the needs of people, cities and towns, businesses, and the military while remaining the safest highway network in the country.” The second document, Critical Issues in Transportation 2019 (
CIT2019), was prepared by the TRB Executive Committee to frame high-level questions that can be addressed during the next 5 to 10 years through research, policy analysis, and debate to help society prepare for potentially unprecedented changes likely to affect out transportation system’s service to individuals and society. (CIT2019, p. 2)
Together the two documents comprise a thought-provoking but complex basis for the leadership of state transportation agencies to gain insight into the challenges their agencies will face in coming decades and to formulate strategies for meeting these challenges. These strategies will likely be influenced by the specific geographic, demographic, economic, social, and political character of each state and multi-state regions but will certainly have in common their intent to ensure that the transportation system for which the state transportation agency is responsible continues to support the prosperity and wellbeing of the states’ citizenry. CIHS and CIT2019 provide a context for identifying research needed to advance the state of practice in stewardship of our investment in our transportation systems, developing practical, effective tools and procedures state transportation agencies can use in planning and management decision making in coming decades.
The objective of NCHRP Project 20-126 is to conduct research to assist state transportation agencies and others to understand and address the issues raised by CIHS and CIT2019 as they relate to a state transportation agency. The project panel has defined three initial research projects in CY 2020; each is being separately developed. Based on results of these initial projects, additional funds may be requested to pursue further the NCHRP 20-126 objective.