The National Academies

NCHRP 20-123(10) [Final]

AASHTO Committee on Bridges and Structures Strategic Plan, Operating Guidelines, and Research Roadmap Development
[ NCHRP 20-123 (Support for AASHTO Committees and Councils) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $120,000
Research Agency: Clough, Harbor & Associates LLP
Principal Investigator: Mr. Mike Culmo
Effective Date: 6/7/2021
Completion Date: 10/6/2022
Comments: The final deliverables have been forwarded to AAHSTO COBS for their use.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Committee on Bridges and Structures (COBS) is responsible to develop and keep current all major engineering standards, specifications and principles pertaining to the methods and procedures of bridge and structural design, fabrication, erection, construction, inspection, and maintenance, including geometric standards and aesthetics as appropriate for bridges, tunnels and ancillary structures; make recommendations for testing and investigating existing and new materials of construction, and determine areas of needed study and research in the area of bridge engineering; and develop and maintain such standards and procedures as are appropriate for rating and evaluating existing in service structures (COBS Charter is available to download at https://bridges.transportation.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2020/05/Bridges-Structures-Charter-5-2018.pdf). The committee has been successful over the years in supporting the bridge community by maintaining and improving its strategic plan, and working closely with NCHRP to obtain research funding and implementing the research results.
The current strategic plan was developed under the NCHRP Project 20-07 Task 335, “Updating the Strategic Plan for the AASHTO Highway Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures” in 2014 and reorganized by AASHTO in 2018 (AASHTO COBS Strategic Plan is available to download at
Given the rate at which technology is advancing, how learning continues to change, and that bridge design and construction innovations constantly affect the industry, the COBS strategic plan needs to be re-evaluated and revised to meet the needs of today, and include a research roadmap that provides direction and prioritizes the committee’s research needs. Additionally for the committee members to successfully implement the strategic plan, operating guidelines shall be developed.
The objectives of this research were to (1) refine and refocus the AASHTO COBS strategic plan reorganized in 2018; (2) develop operating guidelines including a new member onboarding checklist; and (3) develop a research roadmap for short- and long-term goals that can be used by COBS to focus its efforts to foster, support, monitor, disseminate, and implement research.
The strategic plan will build upon the existing plan and should be publication-ready (i.e., AASHTO template) with a purpose statement and a charter. At the minimum, the research shall include the following:
  1. a review and strategic alignment of COBS structure and its 20 technical committees to refresh the COBS structure including the technical committees’ area of interest and activities;
  2. engagement activities for the COBS’ technical committee stakeholders, practitioner community, and other AASHTO committees and councils to solicit their feedback and input; and
  3. an implementation plan for the proposed strategic plan, operating guidelines, and research roadmap.
STATUS: The final deliverables have been forwarded to AASHTO COBS for their use.

To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=5042