The National Academies

NCHRP 20-36 [Active]

Highway Research and Technology -- International Information Sharing

  Project Data
Funds: Continuing
Staff Responsibility: Sid Mohan
Research Agency: TRB/NCHRP
Principal Investigator: NCHRP Staff
Effective Date: 1/26/1993

$150,000 FY94; $250,000 FY95; $75,000 FY96; $100,000 FY98; $100,000 FY99; $625,000 FY00; $800,000 FY01; $648,000 FY02; $761,000 FY03; $831,000 FY04; $750,000 FY05; $750,000 FY06; $750,000 FY07; $850,000 FY08; $950,000 FY09; $650,000 FY10; $500,000 FY11; $800,000 FY12; $200,000 FY13; $0 FY14; $0 FY15

Background: Highway authorities world-wide share many common concerns in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of highway systems. Most developed nations also support programs of research and development (R&D) on highway issues. The potential for information sharing and technology transfer is great. Coordination of research in the United States has focused primarily on technology transfer and information dissemination among the large and diverse community of state and local highway agencies within this country. There is a need to utilize a systematic exchange mechanism to learn from counterparts abroad, where many new developments have been tested and successfully used for highways.

Objective: The NCHRP 20-36 Project provides a coordinated approach to international information sharing and technology exchange. The project activities have a much broader scope than the typical NCHRP project in encompassing exchanges on all facets of highway technology, policy and management with our international partners. The project’s overall objective is to improve highway safety, development, maintenance and operations through dissemination of innovative technology and successful practices from around the globe. Such process enhances the roles of AASHTO, TRB and FHWA in providing coordinated leadership for the exchange of international highway research and development, and provides state departments of transportation with information on practices and technologies that could help accrue technical and economic benefits.

Tasks: The project objective is achieved through AASHTO delegates’ participation on international technology scans which bring back innovations that can serve U.S. transportation needs. The project also supports state participation on technical committees of the World Road Association (PIARC), and on committees of the Joint OECD/ECMT Transportation Research Program, and enables state DOT officials to be represented at major international conferences such as the ITS World Road Congress. The project also sponsors visits of foreign transportation experts and professionals to learn about practices and technologies of potential benefit to state highway agencies. The benefits derived from these efforts result in cost-savings, improved safety and facilitation of transportation development and operations in the United States.

Status: The project supports a number of activities, including state DOT delegates’ participation on international highway and technology research scans and as technical committee members of the World Road Association. In addition, project funds enable AASHTO delegates to present technical papers at conferences and symposia held outside of the United States, and other activities recommended by the project panel.

Five international scans were completed in 2004 on the following topics: Prefabricated Bridges, Construction Management, Performance Measures, Roadway Human Factors and Behavioral Safety, and Quiet Pavements. In addition, the program funded a delegation of AASHTO representatives’ participation in the ITS World Congress held in Nagoya, Japan.


In 2005, five international scans were completed on the following topics: Safety Applications of ITS, Traffic Incident Response, Transportation Asset Management, Managing Traffic Congestion and Demand, and Underground Highway Systems/Protection Against Terrorism.  In addition, a scan to China was conducted in 2005.  The main objective of this scan was to gain a policy level appreciation of what China is doing to modernize and develop its transportation system, with the primary focus on highways; policy approach: scale and pace of modernizing China’s transportation system (highways); use of ITS technology; relationship between national, provincial, city and local governments in regards to planning, financing and constructing transportation systems (highways).


In 2006, four international scans were completed on the following topics: Planning for Congestion Management, Long-Life Concrete pavements, European Procedures and Technologies for Enforcing Commercial Motor Vehicle Size and Weight laws and Regulations, and Audit Stewardship and Oversight of Large and Innovative Projects. 


In 2007, four international scans were completed on the following topics: Freight Mobility and Intermodal Connectivity Innovative Practices; Bridge Evaluation Quality Assurance, Linking Transportation and Land Use, and Warm Asphalt Technologies.  In addition, a special-purpose scan on transportation and land use planning is being organized.


In 2008, four international scans were completed on the following topics: Transportation Research Program Administration, Survey of International Best Practices to Accommodate Older Road Users, Public-Private Partnerships, Integrating & Streamlining Right of Way and Utility Processes with Planning, Environment, and Design Planning for international scans.  Also, a special-purpose delegation to India was organized. However, due to the attacks in Mumbai, this delegation had to be postponed and held in November of 2009.
In 2009, four international scans were conducted on the following topics: Reducing Congestion, Enhancing the Environment and Funding Transportation Using Road Pricing, Survey of Innovative Pedestrian and Bicyclist Infrastructure Improvements and Policies to Increase Safety and Mobility, Assuring Acceptable Safety and Performance of Highway Bridges through Advanced Load Rating, and Linking Performance and Accountability to National and State/Provincial/Metropolitan Budget and Revenue Increases.

In 2010, four international scans were conducted on Flexible Geometric Design Practices to Improve the Performance of Freeway Facilities, Understanding the Policy and Program Structure of National and International Freight Corridor Programs, Successful Infrastructure Countermeasures to Mitigate Motorcycle Fatalities, and Outdoor Advertising Control: Best Practices Policy and Implementation.

For FY 2011, four scans were planned on

  • Precast Concrete Pavement Systems
  • Managing Pavements, Monitoring Performance
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • Risk Management: Best Practices for Program Development and Delivery
  • Status (October 2012): Currently, the international scan program is on hold, pending further directions from FHWA.

    Detailed reports on the results of each scan mission are now published by the International Programs Office of the Federal Highway Administration. Many of these are available in full text format on the FHWA International Programs web site at https://international.fhwa.dot.gov/.

    Product Availability: Current scan reports are published by FHWA and are available on their website at
    Six reports on scanning missions conducted in 1995, 1997, and 1998 have been published in the NCHRP Reports or Research Results Digest (RRD) series and are available upon publication through the Transportation Research Board bookstore (https://www.nationalacademies.org/trb/bookstore).

    Report 381: Report on the 1995 Scanning Review of European Bridge Structures

    RRD 204: Winter Maintenance Technology and Practices--Learning from Abroad

    The following Digests are also available in PDF format (a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader is available at
    https://www.adobe.com). Double-click on the titles below to access the RRDs.

    RRD 232:
    1997 Scanning Review of Asian Bridge Structures (4,638 Kb)

    RRD 236:
    Transportation Agency Organization and Management Scan Tour (9,198 Kb)

    RRD 238:
    1998 Scanning Review of European Winter Service Technology (10,890 Kb)

    RRD 241:
    1998 Scanning Review of European Practice for Bridge Scour and Stream Instability Countermeasures (1,540 Kb)

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