The National Academies

NCHRP 20-56 [Final]

New Services for AASHTO's World Wide Web Site

  Project Data
Funds: $474,144
Research Agency: Logistics Management Institute
Principal Investigator: Denise Duncan
Effective Date: 3/25/2002
Completion Date: 10/30/2003

Background: The AASHTO Board of Directors has directed AASHTO to develop a world-class transportation web site for the use of AASHTO's committees, its member departments, and the transportation community at large. Recent developments include establishing transportation.org as the new, interactive AASHTO web site and installing a very successful model committee site for the AASHTO Highway Subcommittee on Materials. Two NCHRP projects have been conducted to assist in these developments. NCHRP Project 20-7/Task 131C investigated how AASHTO's web site can become a vital portal for the transportation community. NCHRP Project 20-56A surveyed potential web site users to identify services that they might find useful.

One way in which AASHTO can further its goal of a world-class transportation web site is to add services to those already available. Examples include providing access to on-line training and establishing a knowledge network for transportation professionals. Implementing and sustaining such services requires a significant investment of resources and AASHTO wants to be sure that any services added will be beneficial.

Objective: The objectives of this research were to develop a business plan for adding services to AASHTO's web site and to develop a pilot application for a selected service. This will support AASHTO's goal of developing a world-class transportation web site.

Status: The AASHTO web site incorporated the portal design developed in the project. The business plan was delivered to AASHTO for their further use.

Product Availability: None.

Tasks: Accomplishment of the project objectives required the following tasks. (1) Based on the results of NCHRP Projects 20-7/131C and 20-56A and other relevant information, thoroughly define and evaluate services that could be beneficially and effectively provided through the AASHTO web site. The evaluation should consider the value of the service to AASHTO member departments and the larger transportation community, consistency with AASHTO's mission and strategic plan, necessary resources and appropriate methods for developing and sustaining the service, and possible revenue or cost savings (both to AASHTO and the member departments) that could be expected from implementation of the service. A modular approach to web-application design should be used to improve sustainability. Partnering arrangements with organizations with consistent goals should be explored. (2) Recommend two or more candidate services for pilot application and provide cost estimates for the development of each. After one service is selected by the panel, develop and evaluate it. The application should be developed so that AASHTO can readily incorporate it into its web site, and the application should be expected to generate self-sustaining revenue. The evaluation should include the technological and usability aspects of the application and refine the preliminary evaluation made in Task 1. (3) Develop a business plan for AASHTO's use in budgeting to add selected services to its web site during the next 2 years. In addition to the information developed in Tasks 1 and 2, the plan should identify intangible benefits of each service. (4) By October 1, 2002, submit a concise final report that documents the entire research effort and includes the Task 3 business plan as a stand-alone document. The report should include a brief executive summary that can accompany the business plan to make a complete presentation for chief executive officers of state departments of transportation. Detailed, technical support information should be included in appendixes. Revise the report based on comments by the NCHRP panel and the AASHTO Board of Directors.

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