The National Academies

NCHRP 20-24(131) [Active]

Mapping the Common Interests of AASHTO Committees
[ NCHRP 20-24 (Administration of Highway and Transportation Agencies) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $100,000
Staff Responsibility: Andrew C. Lemer
Research Agency: Spy Pond Partners, LLC
Principal Investigator: Frances Harrison and Hyun-A Park
Effective Date: 10/23/2020
Completion Date: 8/22/2021

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. AASHTO councils and committees—generally referred to here as committees, including subcommittees, task forces, and other formally recognized interest groups—address technical, administrative, and policy concerns arising from a broad array of professional disciplines and multimodal systems comprising the United States’ transportation networks and the state agencies responsible for these networks’ development and management. The committees engage member agency personnel as volunteer participants in applying the highest standards of transportation expertise to advancing the state of practice in virtually every element of planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining transportation services.
While each committee is charged to address defined topics, issues, or areas of interest, there are inevitably commonalities and overlapping of scope and expertise among committees and their members. Collaboration among groups and their individual members across committees provide opportunities for productively addressing common interests in such areas as workforce development, data management and security, performance measurement, and risk mitigation. 
Each committee prepares a strategic plan and action plan, develops research problem statements, and oversees development and adoptions of various guides, standards, and technical materials that together embody much of AASHTO’s contributions to applying highest standards of expertise to advancing the state of practice in transportation.
Understanding and managing the scopes and complex interrelationships of interests among AASHTO committees is challenging. Terminology may vary between committees so the ability to develop and document semantic relationships across committees will be critical for analysis. Research is needed to develop a useful characterization of the committees’ interests and initiatives and to demonstrate how this characterization may be used by AASHTO leadership and staff to encourage productive collaboration and inform decision making regarding organizational structure, resource allocation, knowledge management, and strategic direction.
The objectives of this project are (1) to develop a functional characterization of the interests of AASHTO’s committees, with particular attention to the interrelationships among committees that may warrant particular efforts to encourage collaboration; and (2) to use this characterization as a basis for suggesting practices for enhancing productivity of member engagement, collaboration, and sharing of information. NCHRP anticipates that the project will draw at least on all current committee Strategic Plans, Action Plans, and subcommittee activities to document the interests of committees and their commonalities and prepare an analytically based functional characterization of these interests and their interrelationships.

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