The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 53-19 [Active (Synthesis)]

State DOT Product Evaluation Processes
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 11/2/2021 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Trey Joseph Wadsworth
Research Agency: Black Dog Consultants, LLC
Principal Investigator: Dr. Christofer Harper Ph.D.
Fiscal Year: 2022

Final Scope


A common practice among state departments of transportation (DOTs) is to evaluate product potential and long-term performance through product evaluation programs (PEPs). However, there is no standard approach to product evaluation, and agencies have (1) developed their methods and procedures, (2) may or may not have staff or funding dedicated to the product evaluation process, or (3) rely on other agencies approved/qualified products lists. Additionally, variations and commonalities among PEPs exist regarding the time allocated (or expected) to initial product application and technical product reviews, post-product performance evaluations, and formal pathways to evaluate future iterations of similar products. A growing number of DOTs have begun streamlining these processes, and initial successes have included reduced evaluation time.


The objective of this synthesis is to document current DOT practices, funding, policies, management techniques, tools, and workflows of PEPs.

Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):

  • Policies and practices regarding product evaluation;
  • Structure of DOT-approved/qualified products lists (A/QPLs);
  • Application requirements and rules (e.g., requirements on who may submit or evaluate, and may third parties submit or evaluate);
  • Tools and workflows used in the product evaluation process (e.g., technical worksheets, typical submittal information, field or laboratory evaluations);
  • Categorizations of products submitted for evaluation (e.g., initial decision trees to determine if a product fits in existing A/QPL, is new/innovative, or is a material);
  • Process management requirements;
  • Typical evaluation timelines;
  • Relevant procurement policies;
  • Follow-up processes (e.g., periodic re-evaluation or performance issues);
  • Use of other states' A/QPLs or sub-units of government use of DOT A/QPL; and
  • DOT usage of the National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP).

Information will be collected through literature review, a survey of DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.

Information Sources (Partial):

  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2004. State Product Evaluation Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/23363.
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 1982. New-Product Evaluation Procedures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_syn_90.pdf
  • State product evaluation websites, for example (not an exhaustive list):
    • Pennsylvania New Product Evaluation and Tracking System (NPETS)
    • North Carolina Product Evaluation Program (PEP)
    • Caltrans Product Evaluation Program (PEP)

TRB Staff
Trey Joseph Wadsworth
Phone: 202-334-2307
Email: twadsworth@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: June 9, 2022
Teleconference with Consultant: August 2, 2022
Second Panel: March 7, 2023

Topic Panel 
Karen Byram, Florida Department of Transportation
Tausif Islam, New Jersey Department of Transportation
Shane Little, Arizona Department of Transportation
Brenda Moore, Retired
Tanya Nash, Asphalt Testing Solutions and Engineering
Audrie Spears, Caltrans
Timothy Stallard, Michigan Department of Transportation
Jeffrey Withee, Federal Highway Administration
Nelson Gibson, Transportation Research Board 

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