The National Academies

NCHRP 20-44(51) [Pending]

Developing Training Materials to Implement Context Classifications
[ NCHRP 20-44 (NCHRP Implementation Support Program) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $200,000
Contract Time: 24 months
Staff Responsibility: Patrick Zelinski


The seventh edition of AASHTO’s A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (Green Book) introduces a broader set of land use classifications for state transportation officials. NCHRP Project 15-72, “Identification of AASHTO Context Classifications” developed practical information to help state, regional, and local practitioners identify the appropriate context classification(s) for an area or a transportation project. Critical questions were (1) what are the context(s), (2) how will the context(s) change spatially and temporally, and (3) what are the implications for the various travel modes. The final report was published as NCHRP Research Report 1022: Context Classification Application: A Guide.

Additionally, NCHRP Project 20-68A, Scan 21-02, "Leading Approaches to Implementing Context-Based Classification of Roadways in Planning and Design” describes the experiences of states implementing the context classifications. The scan’s focus was to identify best practices and lessons learned that may be valuable to others working on implementing context-based classification. 

Applying context classifications to benefit all users may seem complex to those who haven’t applied them previously. State departments of transportation (DOTs) need training materials and resources to support this.


The objective of this research is to develop training materials and resources for nationwide implementation of context classifications by state DOTs. These materials should be flexible enough to integrate context classifications with different processes at multiple state DOTs.

Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.


Task 1. Identify state DOTs that have not implemented context classifications but are interested in doing so. The implementation activities will include developing training materials, resources, and action plans and conducting workshops. As part of the process, identify external stakeholders who may need to be involved in the implementation activities. The NCHRP will make the final determination of at least three state DOTs to participate in this research project.

Deliverable: A brief memorandum on the identified states and the process used to identify them.

Task 2. For the selected state DOTs identified in Task 1, collect the information needed to implement context classifications. At each DOT, identify a champion for context classifications who can work across disciplines to achieve comprehensive implementation. The champions may come from different disciplines. Identify important efforts or paradigms the DOTs are working with to see how classification can fit and support those efforts. Information to be collected includes processes, expected outcomes from using context classifications, and the resources each DOT has available. Examples of information collection activities include surveys and focused stakeholder interviews.

Deliverable: A memorandum that includes process diagrams; strategies and requirements of state DOTs that want to implement context classifications into their workflow; expected outcomes from using context classifications; descriptions of how the DOTs manage change; and a proposal for integrating planning, design, and operations.

Task 3. Based on the outcomes of Tasks 1 and 2, prepare draft training materials and resources for workshops. The training materials and resources should:

(a)    Be firmly grounded in how state DOTs use data and operate;

(b)    Encourage comprehensive adoption across all disciplines;

(c)    Highlight the relationship between context classification and other processes, such as access management or safety management;

(d)    Show how context classification can strengthen and refine the design process; and

(e)    Establish common language between disciplines.

Deliverables: Draft training materials and resources. 

Task 4. After approval of draft training materials and resources by the NCHRP, conduct the workshops with identified states. The workshops are strongly encouraged to be in person. As part of the workshops, each state DOT will develop an action plan to implement the context classifications and obtain buy-in from functional areas of the DOT. Revise the draft training materials for a general nationwide audience according to the outcomes of the workshops. 

Deliverables: Interim Report No. 1, which documents Tasks 1 through 4 and provides an updated work plan for the remainder of the research. The updated plan must describe the process and rationale for the work proposed for the remaining tasks.

Task 5. Three to four months after holding the workshops, meet individually with each state DOT to review their action plan implementation. As part of the follow-up:

(a)    Help state DOTs address problems with implementation and

(b)    Capture successes, failures, roadblocks, and lessons learned from implementation. 

Deliverable: A memorandum summarizing implementation results. 

Task 6. Plan and conduct a virtual peer exchange with the selected states 1 year after the workshops to share their experiences and lessons learned.

Deliverable: One virtual peer exchange and a brief memorandum on the peer exchange, including lessons learned.

Task 7. Develop materials for a webinar with a national audience to publicize the training materials and resources and share lessons learned. 

Deliverables: Materials for a webinar.

Task 8. Prepare a report that documents the entire research effort and develop final training materials and resources.

Deliverables: The final project report and revised training materials and resources.


Proposals have been received in response to the RFP.  The project panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.


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