oversight

Highway Research: DOT's Actions to Implement Best Practices for Setting Research Agendas and Evaluating Outcomes

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-04-10.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                             United States General Accounting Office

GAO                          Testimony
                             Before the Committee on Science,
                             Subcommittee on Environment,
                             Technology and Standards, House of
                             Representatives
For Release on Delivery
Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT
Thursday, April 10, 2003     HIGHWAY RESEARCH
                             DOT's Actions to Implement
                             Best Practices for Setting
                             Research Agendas and
                             Evaluating Outcomes
                             Statement of Katherine Siggerud, Acting Director
                             Physical Infrastructure Team




GAO-03-640T
This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright protection in the
United States. It may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without further
permission from GAO. However, because this work may contain copyrighted images or
other material, permission from the copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to
reproduce this material separately.
                                               April 10, 2003


                                               HIGHWAY RESEARCH

                                               DOT's Actions to Implement Best
Highlights of GAO-03-640T, a report to
House Committee on Science,                    Management Practices for Setting
Subcommittee on Environment,
Technology and Standards                       Research Agendas and Evaluating
                                               Outcomes

Improvement and innovation based               Leading organizations, federal agencies, and experts that conduct scientific
on highway research have long                  and engineering research use best practices designed to ensure that research
been important to the highway                  objectives are related to the areas of greatest interest to research users and
system. The Federal Highway                    that research is evaluated according to these objectives. Of the specific best
Administration (FHWA) is the                   practices recommended by experts—such as the Committee on Science,
primary federal agency involved in
highway research. Throughout the
                                               Engineering, and Public Policy and the National Science Foundation—GAO
past decade, FHWA received                     identified the following practices as particularly relevant for FHWA: (1)
hundreds of millions of dollars for            developing research agendas in consultation with external stakeholders to
its surface transportation research            identify high-value research and (2) using a systematic approach to evaluate
program, including nearly half of              research through such techniques as peer review.
the Department of Transportation’s
approximate $1 billion budget for              FHWA’s processes for developing its research agendas do not always
research in fiscal year 2002. Given            consistently include stakeholder involvement. External stakeholder
the expectations of highway                    involvement is important for FHWA because its research is to be used by
research and the level of resources            others that manage and construct transportation systems. FHWA
dedicated to it, it is important to            acknowledges that its approach for developing research agendas lacks a
know that FHWA is conducting
high quality research that is
                                               systematic process to ensure that external stakeholders are involved. In
relevant and useful. In May 2002,              response to GAO’s recommendation, FHWA has drafted plans that take the
GAO issued a report on these                   necessary steps toward developing a systematic process for involving
issues and made recommendations                external stakeholders. While the plans appear responsive to GAO’s
to FHWA, which the agency agreed               recommendation, as shown in the table below, GAO cannot evaluate their
with, aimed at improving its                   effectiveness until they are implemented.
processes for setting research
agendas and evaluating its research            FHWA does not have a systematic process that incorporates techniques such
efforts.                                       as peer review for evaluating research outcomes. Instead, the agency
                                               primarily uses a “success story” approach to communicate about those
GAO was asked to testify on (1)                research projects that have positive impacts. As a result, it is unclear the
best practices for developing
research agendas and evaluating
                                               extent to which all research projects have achieved their objectives. FHWA
research outcomes for federal                  acknowledges that it must do more to measure the performance of its
research programs; (2) how                     research program, however, it is still in the process of developing a
FHWA's processes for developing                framework for this purpose. While FHWA’s initial plans appear responsive
research agendas align with these              to GAO’s recommendation, GAO cannot evaluate their effectiveness until
best practices; and (3) how                    they are implemented.
FHWA's processes for evaluating                FHWA’s Response to GAO’s Recommendations
research outcomes align with these                                                             Does FHWA have plans     Has FHWA
best practices.                                                                                that are responsive to   implemented the
                                                GAO’s Recommendation                           the recommendation?      recommendation?
                                                Develop a systematic approach for obtaining
                                                input from external stakeholders in                        ●                   ○
                                                determining the research program’s agendas.
                                                Develop a systematic process for evaluating
                                                significant ongoing and completed research
                                                that includes peer review or other best                    ●                   ○
                                                practices in use at federal research agencies.
www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt? GAO-03-640T.        Develop specific plans for implementing these
To view the full report, including the scope    recommendations, including time frames and                 ◒                   ◒
and methodology, click on the link above.       estimates of their costs.
For more information, contact Katherine
Siggerud at (202) 512-2834 or                  Source: GAO.
siggerudk@gao.gov                              Note: ●=yes; ◒=partially; and ○=no.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

We appreciate the opportunity to testify today on the Federal Highway
Administration’s (FHWA) surface transportation research and technology
program. Change, improvement, and innovation based on highway
research have long been important to the highway system. While this
research is a shared responsibility among FHWA, state departments of
transportation, and private organizations, we focused on FHWA’s
important leadership role as the primary federal agency involved in
highway research. Throughout the past decade, FHWA has received
hundreds of millions of dollars for its surface transportation research and
technology program, including nearly half of the Department of
Transportation’s (DOT) approximate $1 billion budget for research,
development, and technology in fiscal year 2002. Given the important
expectations of highway research and the significant level of resources
dedicated to it, it is important for the Congress and the American people
to know that the agency is conducting research that is relevant and useful
to stakeholders and that is of high quality. In May 2002 we issued a report
on these issues and made recommendations to FHWA, which the agency
agreed with, aimed at improving its processes for setting research agendas
and evaluating its research efforts.1 As it considers reauthorizing FHWA’s
research and technology program, Congress will be making decisions
about the structure of the program. Accordingly, my testimony today will
discuss (1) best practices for developing research agendas and evaluating
research outcomes for federal research programs; (2) the extent to which
FHWA’s processes for developing research agendas align with the best
practices for similar federal research programs; and (3) the extent to
which FHWA’s processes for evaluating research outcomes align with
these best practices.

My statement is based in part on our May 2002 report, which focused
primarily on those activities funded by the surface transportation research
and technology deployment funding categories identified in the
Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. In developing that report,
we held discussions with FHWA officials and reviewed relevant program
documents, legislation, and publications on best practices in federal
research from the Transportation Research Board, the Committee on
Science, Engineering, and Public Policy and others. In preparing for this



1
 Highway Research: Systematic Selection and Evaluation Processes Needed for Research
Program (GAO-02-573, May 2002).



Page 1                                                GAO-03-640T Highway Research
                  hearing, we also updated FHWA’s activities in response to our findings and
                  recommendations.


              •   Leading organizations that conduct scientific and engineering research,
In summary:       other federal agencies with research programs, and experts in research
                  and technology have identified and use best practices designed to ensure
                  that research objectives are related to the areas of greatest interest and
                  concern to research users and that research is evaluated according to
                  these objectives. Specific best practices in these areas used in other
                  federal research programs or recommended by experts—such as the
                  Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy2, the Environmental
                  Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of
                  Management and Budget—include: (1) developing research agendas in
                  consultation with external stakeholders to identify high-value research
                  and (2) using a systematic approach to evaluate ongoing and completed
                  research through such techniques as peer review.

              •   As we reported last year, FHWA’s processes for developing research
                  agendas for its research and technology program do not always
                  consistently include stakeholder involvement. External stakeholder
                  involvement is important for FHWA because its research is expected to be
                  used by others, such as state departments of transportation, which manage
                  and construct transportation systems. FHWA acknowledges that its
                  approach for developing research agendas lacks a consistent, transparent,
                  and systematic process to ensure that external stakeholders are involved.
                  Instead, the agency expects each program office to determine how or
                  whether to involve external stakeholders in the agenda setting process. As
                  a result, this approach is used inconsistently. To improve its program and
                  in response to our recommendations, FHWA has drafted plans that seem
                  to take the necessary steps toward developing a systematic process for
                  involving external stakeholders in the agenda setting process. FHWA’s
                  plans have not been finalized, and we cannot comment on the potential
                  effectiveness of these plans.

              •   We reported last year that FHWA does not have a systematic process that
                  incorporates techniques such as peer review for evaluating research


                  2
                   Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, Evaluating Federal Research
                  Programs: Research and the Government Performance and Results Act (Washington, DC:
                  Feb. 1999). The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy is a joint committee
                  of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the
                  Institute of Medicine.



                  Page 2                                                   GAO-03-640T Highway Research
             outcomes. Instead, the agency primarily uses a “success story” approach
             to evaluate and communicate its research outcomes. While this approach
             illustrates some benefits of the agency’s research, it cannot be used as the
             primary method to evaluate the outcomes of the research against intended
             results because these stories represent only a fraction of the program’s
             completed research projects. As a result, it is unclear whether the
             organization is selecting research projects that have the highest potential
             value, or the extent to which these projects have achieved their objectives.
             We recommended that FHWA develop a systematic approach to evaluating
             its research program, and noted peer review as a best practice for doing
             so. In response, FHWA agreed that the agency must do a better job to
             measure the performance of its research and technology program.
             However, currently it is still in the process of developing, defining, and
             adopting a framework for measuring performance. Therefore, we cannot
             yet comment on FHWA’s efforts to evaluate research outcomes.


             FHWA is the DOT agency responsible for federal highway programs—
Background   including distributing billions of dollars in federal highway funds to the
             states—and developing federal policy regarding the nation’s highways. The
             agency provides technical assistance to improve the quality of the
             transportation network, conducts transportation research, and
             disseminates research results throughout the country. FHWA’s program
             offices conduct these activities through its Research and Technology
             Program, which includes “research” (conducting research activities),
             “development” (developing practical applications or prototypes of
             research findings), and “technology” (communicating research and
             development knowledge and products to users). FHWA maintains a
             highway research facility in McLean, Virginia. This facility, known as the
             Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, has over 24 indoor and
             outdoor laboratories and support facilities. Approximately 300 federal
             employees, on-site contract employees, and students are currently
             engaged in transportation research at the center.

             FHWA’s research and technology program is based on the research and
             technology needs of each of its program offices such as the Offices of
             Infrastructure, Safety, or Policy. Each of the program offices is responsible
             for identifying research needs, formulating strategies to address
             transportation problems, and setting goals for research and technology
             activities that support the agency’s strategic goals. (See Appendix I for
             examples of research that these offices undertake.) One program office
             that is located at FHWA’s research facility provides support for
             administering the overall program and conducts some of the research. The


             Page 3                                           GAO-03-640T Highway Research
agency’s leadership team, consisting of the associate administrators of the
program offices and other FHWA offices, provides periodic oversight of
the overall program. In 2002 FHWA appointed the Director of its Office of
Research, Development, and Technology as the focal point for achieving
the agency’s national performance objective of increasing the
effectiveness of all FHWA program offices, as well as its partners and
stakeholders, in determining research priorities and deploying
technologies and innovation.

In addition to the research activities within FHWA, the agency
collaborates with other DOT agencies to conduct research and technology
activities. For example, FHWA works with DOT’s Research and Special
Programs Administration to coordinate efforts to support key research
identified in the department’s strategic plan.3 Other nonfederal research
and technology organizations also conduct research funded by FHWA
related to highways and bridges. Among these are state research and
technology programs that address technical questions associated with the
planning, design, construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of
highways. In addition, the National Cooperative Highway Research
Program conducts research on acute problems related to highway
planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance that are
common to most states. Private organizations, including companies that
design and construct highways and supply highway-related products,
national associations of industry components, and engineering
associations active in construction and highway transportation, also
conduct or sponsor individual programs. Universities receive funding for
research on surface transportation from FHWA, the states, and the private
sector.




3                                                      st
 As required by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21 Century, DOT annually develops
the department wide “Research, Development, and Technology Plan.” This plan, drafted by
the Research and Special Programs Administration and funded in part by FHWA, provides
program-level detail on the directions that DOT’s research will take. This plan is used by
the individual operating administrations, such as FHWA and the Research and Special
Programs Administration, as a resource document to develop their subsequent program
proposals for inclusion in their administration budgets.



Page 4                                                      GAO-03-640T Highway Research
                          Leading organizations that conduct scientific and engineering research,
Research Community        other federal agencies with research programs, and experts in research
Promotes Use of Best      and technology have identified and use best practices for developing
                          research agendas and evaluating research outcomes. Although the
Practices for             uncertain nature of research outcomes over time makes it difficult to set
Developing Research       specific, measurable program goals and evaluate results, the best practices
                          we identified are designed to ensure that the research objectives are
Agendas and               related to the areas of greatest interest and concern to research users and
Evaluating Research       that research is evaluated according to these objectives. These practices
Outcomes                  include (1) developing research agendas through the involvement of
                          external stakeholders and (2) evaluation of research using techniques such
                          as expert review of the quality of research outcomes.


Developing Research       External stakeholder involvement is particularly important for FHWA
Agendas Through the       because its research is expected to improve the construction, safety, and
Involvement of External   operation of transportation systems that are primarily managed by others,
                          such as state departments of transportation. According to the
Stakeholders              Transportation Research Board’s Research and Technology Coordinating
                          Committee,4 research has to be closely connected to its stakeholders to
                          help ensure relevance and program support, and stakeholders are more
                          likely to promote the use of research results if they are involved in the
                          research process from the start.5 The committee also identified merit
                          review of research proposals by independent technical experts based on
                          technical criteria as being necessary to help ensure the most effective use
                          of federal research funds. In 1999, we reported that other federal science
                          agencies—such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National
                          Science Foundation—used such reviews to varying degrees to assess the
                          merits of competitive and noncompetitive research proposals.6 In April



                          4
                           The Research and Technology Coordinating Committee was convened in 1991 by the
                          Transportation Research Board of the National Academies to provide a continuing,
                          independent assessment of FHWA’s research and technology program. FHWA provides
                          funding for the committee.
                          5
                           Transportation Research Board, The Federal Role in Highway Research and Technology
                          (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2001), p. 76. For surface transportation
                          research, potential stakeholders include state and local highway agencies that own and
                          operate the nation’s highways; highway users; the companies that furnish the products,
                          services, and equipment needed to build, operate, and maintain the highway system; and
                          the people and communities that benefit from and are affected by the system.
                          6
                           Federal Research: Peer Review Practices at Federal Science Agencies Vary
                          (GAO/RCED-99-99, Mar. 1999), p. 2.



                          Page 5                                                  GAO-03-640T Highway Research
                         2002, the Office of Management and Budget issued investment criteria for
                         federal research and technology program budgets that urge these agencies
                         to put into place processes to assure the relevance, quality and
                         performance of their programs. For example, the guidance requires these
                         programs to have agendas that are assessed prospectively and
                         retrospectively through external review to ensure that funds are being
                         expended on quality research efforts.


Evaluation of Research   The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy reported in
Using Systematic         1999 that federal agencies that support research in science and
Approach to Review the   engineering have been challenged to find the most useful and effective
                         ways to evaluate the performance and results of the research programs
Quality of Research      they support. Nevertheless, the committee found that research programs,
Outcomes                 no matter what their character and goals, can be evaluated meaningfully
                         on a regular basis and in accordance with the Government Performance
                         and Results Act. Similarly, in April 2002 the Office of Management and
                         Budget issued investment criteria for federal research and technology
                         program budgets that require these programs to define appropriate
                         outcome measures and milestones that can be used to track progress
                         toward goals and assess whether funding should be enhanced or
                         redirected. In addition, program quality should be assessed periodically in
                         relation to these criteria through retrospective expert review. The
                         Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy also emphasized
                         that the evaluation methods must match the type of research and its
                         objectives, and it concluded that expert or peer review is a particularly
                         effective means to evaluate federally funded research.

                         Peer review is a process that includes an independent assessment of the
                         technical and scientific merit or quality of research by peers with essential
                         subject area expertise and perspective equal to that of the researchers.
                         Peer review does not require that the final impact of the research be
                         known. In 1999, we reported that federal agencies, such as the Department
                         of Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of
                         Energy, use peer review to help them (1) determine whether to continue
                         or renew research projects, (2) evaluate the results of research prior to
                         publication of those results, and (3) evaluate the performance of programs
                         and scientists.7 In its 1999 report, the Committee on Science, Engineering,
                         and Public Policy also stated that expert review is widely used to evaluate:


                         7
                         GAO/RCED-99-99.



                         Page 6                                           GAO-03-640T Highway Research
                    (1) the quality of current research as compared with other work being
                    conducted in the field, (2) the relevance of research to the agency’s goals
                    and mission, and (3) whether the research is at the “cutting edge.”


                    Although FHWA engages external stakeholders in elements of its research
External            and technology program, the agency currently does not follow the best
Stakeholders’       practice of engaging external stakeholders on a consistent and transparent
                    basis in setting its research agendas. The agency expects each program
Involvement in      office to determine how or whether to involve external stakeholders in the
Developing FHWA’s   agenda setting process. As we reported in May 2002, FHWA acknowledges
                    that its approach to preparing research agendas is inconsistent and that
Research Agendas    the associate administrators of FHWA’s program offices primarily use
Has Been Limited    input from the agency’s program offices, resource centers, and division
                    offices.8 Although agency officials told us that resource center and division
                    office staff provide the associate administrators with input based on their
                    interactions with external stakeholders, to the extent that external
                    stakeholder input into developing research agendas occurs, it is usually ad
                    hoc and provided through technical committees and professional
                    societies. For example, the agency’s agenda for environmental research
                    was developed with input from both internal sources (including DOT’s and
                    FHWA’s strategic plans and staff) and external sources (including the
                    Transportation Research Board’s reports on environmental research needs
                    and clean air, environmental justice leaders, planners, civil rights
                    advocates, and legal experts).

                    In our May 2002 report we recommended that FHWA develop a systematic
                    approach for obtaining input from external stakeholders in determining its
                    research and technology program’s agendas. FHWA concurred with our
                    recommendation and has taken steps to develop such an approach. FHWA
                    formed a planning group consisting of internal stakeholders as well as
                    representatives from the Research and Special Programs Administration
                    and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to determine how to
                    implement our recommendation. This planning group prepared a report
                    analyzing the approaches that four other federal agencies are taking to
                    involve external stakeholders in setting their research and technology
                    program agendas. Using the lessons learned from reviewing these other
                    agencies’ activities, FHWA has drafted a Corporate Master Plan for



                    8
                     FHWA has 4 resource centers throughout the country, and division offices in each state,
                    Puerto Rico and District of Columbia.



                    Page 7                                                    GAO-03-640T Highway Research
                      Research and Deployment of Technology & Innovation. Under the draft
                      plan, the agency would be required to establish specific steps for including
                      external stakeholders in the agenda setting process for all areas of
                      research throughout the agency’s research and technology program by
                      fiscal year 2004. In drafting this plan, FHWA officials obtained input from
                      internal stakeholders as well as external stakeholders, including state
                      departments of transportation, academia, consultants, and members of the
                      Transportation Research Board. It appears that FHWA has committed to
                      taking the necessary steps to adopt the best practice of developing a
                      systematic process for involving external stakeholders in the agenda
                      setting process. The draft plan invites external stakeholders to assist
                      FHWA with such activities as providing focus and direction to the research
                      and technology program and setting the program’s agendas and priorities.
                      However, because FHWA’s plan has not been finalized, we cannot
                      comment on its potential effectiveness in involving external stakeholders.


                      As we reported last year, FHWA does not have an agency wide systematic
FHWA Lacks a          process to evaluate whether its research projects are achieving intended
Systematic Approach   results that uses such techniques as peer review. Although the agency’s
                      program offices may use methods such as obtaining feedback from
to Evaluating         customers and evaluating outputs or outcomes versus milestones, they all
Research Outcomes     use success stories as the primary method to evaluate and communicate
                      research outcomes. According to agency officials, success stories are
                      examples of research results adopted or implemented by such
                      stakeholders as state departments of transportation. These officials told us
                      that success stories can document the financial returns on investment and
                      nonmonetary benefits of research and technology efforts. However, we
                      raised concerns that success stories are selective and do not cover the
                      breadth of FHWA’s research and technology program.

                      In 2001, the Transportation Research Board’s Research and Technology
                      Coordinating Committee concluded that peer or expert review is an
                      appropriate way to evaluate FHWA’s surface transportation research and
                      technology program. Therefore, the committee recommended a variety of
                      actions, including a systematic evaluation of outcomes by panels of
                      external stakeholders and technical experts to help ensure the maximum
                      return on investment in research. Agency officials told us that increased
                      stakeholder involvement and peer review will require significant
                      additional expenditures for the program. However, a Transportation
                      Research Board official told us that the cost of obtaining expert assistance
                      could be relatively low because the time needed to provide input would be



                      Page 8                                          GAO-03-640T Highway Research
minimal and could be provided by such inexpensive methods as electronic
mail.

In our May 2002 report, we recommended that FHWA develop a systematic
process for evaluating significant ongoing and completed research that
incorporates peer review or other best practices in use at federal agencies
that conduct research.9 While FHWA has concurred that the agency must
measure the performance of its research and technology program, it has
not developed, defined or adopted a framework for measuring
performance. FHWA’s report on efforts of other federal agencies that
conduct research, discussed above, analyzed the approaches that four
other federal agencies are taking to evaluate their research and technology
programs using these best practices. According to FHWA’s assistant
director for Research, Technology, and Innovation Deployment, the
agency is using the results of this report to develop its own systematic
approach for evaluating its research and technology program. However,
this official noted that FHWA has been challenged to find the most useful
and effective ways to evaluate the performance and results of the agency’s
research and technology program. According to FHWA’s draft Corporate
Master Plan for Research and Deployment of Technology & Innovation,
FHWA is committed to developing a systematic method of evaluating its
research and technology program that includes the use of a merit review
panel. This panel would conduct evaluations and reviews in collaboration
with representatives from FHWA staff, technical experts, peers, special
interest groups, senior management, and contracting officers. According
to the draft plan, these merit reviews would be conducted on a periodic
basis for program-level and agency-level evaluations, while merit reviews
at the project level would depend on the project’s size and complexity.
FHWA is still in the process of developing, defining, and adopting a
framework for measuring performance. Therefore, we cannot yet
comment on how well FHWA’s efforts to evaluate research outcomes will
follow established best practices.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be pleased
to answer any questions that you or Members of the Committee may have.




9
GAO-02-573.



Page 9                                          GAO-03-640T Highway Research
                  For further information on this testimony, please contact Katherine
Contacts and      Siggerud at (202) 512-2834 or siggerudk@gao.gov. Deena Richart made key
Acknowledgments   contributions to this testimony.




                  Page 10                                      GAO-03-640T Highway Research
Appendix I: Roles of Program Offices in
FHWA’s Research and Technology Program

                                        FHWA’s research and technology program is based on the research and
                                        technology needs of each of its program offices such as the Offices of
                                        Infrastructure, Safety, and Policy. Each of the program offices is
                                        responsible for identifying research needs, formulating strategies to
                                        address transportation problems, and setting goals for research and
                                        technology activities that support the agency’s strategic goals. (See table
                                        1.)

Table 1: Roles of Program Offices in Research and Technology

Program office name        Role in research and technology                Examples of research and technology projects
Federal Lands Highway      Development of applied research and            Road Surface Analyzer (ROSAN) measurement of
                           technology applicable to transportation        pavement smoothness.
                           systems serving federal lands.
Infrastructure             Development of research and technology in      Long-term pavement performance.
                           the areas of highway construction and
                           physical maintenance, pavements, and           Concrete research and technology.
                           structures.
                                                                          Innovative bridge technology.
Operations                 Development of research and technology         Research into advanced traffic simulation modeling.
                           program plans for the Intelligent
                           Transportation Systems program, as well as     Prediction tools and research into advanced, adaptive
                           operation of the transportation system and     traffic signal control strategies.
                           management of freight transportation.
                                                                          Analysis of critical intermodal freight corridors and
                                                                          facilities.

                                                                          Work zone best practices guide and program support.
Planning and Environment   Development of research and technology in      Workshops, synthesis materials, and case studies of
                           the areas of planning, environment, and        state consultation practices with rural officials.
                           property acquisition.
                                                                          Statewide planning and travel forecasting training.

                                                                          Research on the contribution of transportation to air
                                                                          pollution and on strategies to reduce transportation
                                                                          effects.

                                                                          Highway noise barrier design handbook.
Policy                     Development of analytical tools and data       National personal transportation survey.
                           systems for policy development and studies;
                           conducting analysis and studies to support     Highway cost allocation study.
                           the formulation of transportation policy and
                           legislative initiatives; and preparation of    Production of biennial report, “Status of the Nation’s
                           major reports to Congress on highway policy    Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Condition and
                           issues.                                        Performance.”
Safety                     Leading in development of research and         Interactive highway safety design model for two-lane
                           technology activities in the areas of          roads.
                           Intersections; Pedestrian and Bicyclist
                           Safety; Roadside Safety; Run-Off-Road          Pedestrian safety countermeasure selection system.
                           Safety; and Speed Management.


                                        Page 11                                                   GAO-03-640T Highway Research
 Program office name                       Role in research and technology              Examples of research and technology projects

                                                                                        Education and community programs for
                                                                                        pedestrian/bicyclist safety.

                                                                                        Analysis of intersection safety issues.

                                                                                        Red-light running prevention.

                                                                                        Speed limit setting and enforcement.

                                                                                        Variable speed limits.
 Research, Development,                    Support of all other business units in the   Research activities to support Infrastructure,
 and Technology                            development and delivery of new              Operations, and Safety units.
                                           technologies.
Source: GAO’s presentation of information provided by FHWA.




(542023)
                                                              Page 12                                          GAO-03-640T Highway Research