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The National Academies

NCHRP 20-58(2) [Completed]

Detailed Planning for Research on Making a Significant Improvement in Highway Safety ("Safety")

  Project Data
Funds: $289,932
Research Agency: Battelle
Principal Investigator: Kenneth L. Campbell
Effective Date: 2/25/2002
Completion Date: 9/30/2005

Background: The study for a Future Strategic Highway Research Program (F-SHRP), conducted by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and published in TRB Special Report 260, Strategic Highway Research: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life (available at http://trb.org/trb/publications/sr/sr260.pdf or the TRB Bookstore), identifies strategic highway problems and promising avenues of research and technology to address these problems. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has allocated NCHRP funds, to be matched by FHWA funds, for development of a detailed research plan in each of the four research program areas identified by Special Report 260 and for additional planning work required to carry out F-SHRP. Four studies will be conducted to develop the research plans:

NCHRP 20-58(1) Detailed Planning for Research on Accelerating the Renewal of America's Highways ("Renewal"),

NCHRP 20-58(2) Detailed Planning for Research on Making a Significant Improvement in Highway Safety ("Safety"),

NCHRP 20-58(3) Detailed Planning for Research on Providing a Highway System with Reliable Travel Times ("Reliability"), and

NCHRP 20-58(4) Detailed Planning for Research on Providing Highway. Capacity in Support of the Nation's Economic, Environmental, and Social Goals ("Capacity").

Objective: The objective of this project is to develop a specific research plan for the F-SHRP safety program area outlined in Chapter 5 of TRB Special Report 260.

That chapter provides the following information relevant to this project: the overall goal of the program area, a general description of the problem, promising areas of research and technology, a general scheme of research tasks, related research and technology programs, relationship to other F-SHRP program areas, and administrative and implementation considerations. Other portions of Special Report 260 are helpful for understanding the direction and objectives of F-SHRP and, therefore, should be considered in development of the detailed research plans. Chapter 1 provides some background on the challenges facing the highway community and describes the philosophy behind the study approach: focusing on customer service, taking a systems perspective, including nontraditional research areas, and acknowledging the interdependence of highway research and technology programs. Chapter 8 describes some characteristics of a successful applied research program, identifies implementation considerations to be addressed during the research phase, indicates the amount and distribution of funding envisioned for F-SHRP, and gives a general description of the interim planning work.

The research plan shall delineate the specific research projects and other activities required to achieve the overall goal of the research program area. Individual projects are defined as those parts of each research program area that can be performed efficiently under separate contracts. The research plan shall contain a detailed description of each research project, including the tasks, levels of effort, required resources and special expertise, schedules, budgets, and anticipated deliverables. The plan shall also include activities necessary to address nontechnical issues or potential barriers to implementation and shall show the interrelationships of the projects, the timing and sequencing of each, and the assumptions and dependent conditions for each project. A work-flow diagram shall be used to further describe the sequencing and relationships of the projects. TRB staff will work with the contract agency to identify relationships among the four F-SHRP program areas regarding research projects, schedules, and resources.

The research plan should include and reflect an in-depth review of relevant efforts in the United States and abroad and should incorporate promising technologies, including technological solutions that may be productively transferred from other industries. It may be necessary to modify some of the suggested approaches and technologies indicated in Special Report 260.

The contract agency will be responsible for obtaining input from a wide spectrum of the highway community--including public, private, domestic, and foreign organizations--as well as from nonhighway sources as appropriate. However, the intent of this research is not to duplicate work already done and presented in Special Report 260. The purpose of input from outside the research team should be to focus the research plan in addressing critical research needs as opposed to broadening the plan to provide a blanket approach covering many areas.

The final report will contain the following items:
  • A description of specific desired outcomes and impacts of the planned F-SHRP research.
  • A discussion of the problem area and the required research, building on and not restating the content of TRB Special Report 260.
  • An overview of relevant work being done in the United States and abroad, including relevant expertise outside of traditional highway disciplines and promising technologies from other industries.
  • A research plan for accomplishing the program objective that clearly shows specific research projects and their role in accomplishing the overall program objective.
  • A comprehensive statement of scope and objectives for each project identified.
  • For each project, a description of the proposed research.
  • A project-by-project, and, where appropriate, a task-by-task, estimate of resources required in terms of the following:
    • Researcher-hours by discipline
    • Support-staff hours
    • Special equipment and instrumentation
    • Special facilities or data-management requirements
    • Other special requirements
  • A project-by-project budget and annual cash-flow estimate.
  • A discussion of the needs and opportunities for integration and coordination among the various tasks, projects, and research program areas.
  • A schedule and work-flow diagram for the research plan.
  • Identification of any particular issues, problems, or opportunities related to the research and recommendations for actions to be taken.
  • Identification of decision points in the research plan where evaluations should be made and alternatives and reallocations considered.
  • An initial implementation plan that describes activities to promote application of the products of F-SHRP research, including the following: (a) expected products to be delivered through F-SHRP as a result of the research plan, (b) the audience or market for each product, (c) a realistic assessment of impediments to successful implementation, (d) the institutions and individuals who might take leadership in applying the research product, (e) the activities necessary for successful implementation, and (f) the criteria for judging the progress and consequences of implementation.
  • Estimates of expected measurable benefits of F-SHRP research when implemented.

Status: Comments on the preliminary draft final report have been submitted to the contractor. The contractor is developing additional documentation in support of the proposed research plan.

Product Availability: None.

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