You are here

Chapter 4 Reduced Congestion

Chapter 4 Reduced Congestion

Reduced Congestion Strategic Goal

Reduce congestion and other impediments to using the Nation's transportation system.

Outcomes

  1. Reduction in urban congestion.
  2. Increased transportation capacity resulting from public-private transportation partnerships.
  3. Increased use of integrated intelligent transportation system (ITS) networks and new incident management approaches.
  4. Reduced impediments to the efficient movement of freight over the transportation network, especially at key freight gateways.
  5. Meet new and growing demands for air transportation services through 2011 and beyond.
  6. Increased access for all Americans.
  7. Longer lasting, high-performance transportation infrastructure.

Growing congestion in U.S. transportation systems poses a substantial threat to the economy and to the quality of life of millions of Americans. In 2003 alone, congestion in the top 85 U.S. urban areas caused 3.7 billion hours of travel delay and 2.3 billion gallons of wasted fuel, for a total cost of $63 billion. Congestion also can contribute to air pollutant emissions. The Department's RD&T programs will seek to improve our quality of life and enhance economic development by reducing congestion, preserving the existing transportation system, and improving the durability and extending the life of transportation infrastructure.

Six RD&T strategies represent the primary research topics that will contribute to reducing congestion and other transportation impediments:

  1. Conduct and support research to reduce urban and suburban traffic congestion, freight gateway congestion, and aviation system congestion. Supports outcomes 1 through 6.
  2. Conduct and support research to extend the life of the existing transportation system and improve the durability of infrastructure. Supports outcome 7.
  3. Conduct and support research to advance the use of next generation technologies and to make effective use of combinations of modes in moving people and goods. Supports outcomes 1 through 5.
  4. Conduct and support research to improve the planning, operation, and management of surface transportation and aviation services and assets. Supports outcomes 1 through 5.
  5. Conduct and support research to improve transportation services for underserved areas and populations. Supports outcome 6.
  6. Advance the Nation's transportation research capability through capacity building, fellowships, grants, and cooperative research with universities, the private sector, and State and local governments. Supports all outcomes.

The following sections summarize the research areas, emerging research priorities, and primary RD&T activities for advancing these strategies. Appendix C shows anticipated funding levels for FY 2006 through 2010.

Reduce Passenger and Freight Congestion in Air and Surface Modes

Among the Department's highest priorities, this RD&T strategy is a critical element of the six-point plan identified in the DOT May 2006 National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on America's Transportation Network. The plan lays out a broad RD&T agenda, including design and deployment of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS) and other research leading to increased aviation capacity; operational and technological improvements, such as ITS, that increase information dissemination and improve incident response; and expansion of Bus Rapid Transit services. RD&T will focus on two primary aspects of congestion in support of the Departmental goal and this RD&T strategy: reducing recurring congestion and reducing non-recurring congestion.

Reducing Recurring Congestion

This research seeks to reduce recurring causes of congestion and bottlenecks through more efficient use of airspace, improved aviation and highway operations, and enhanced transit services. The following programs will address these and related areas. Program milestones are in Table 4-1.

FAA

Reduced Congestion

  • Reduce Passenger and Freight Congestion in Air and Surface Modes
  • Extend System Life and Improve Durability
  • Advance Use of Next Generation Technologies and Combinations of Modes
  • Improve Planning, Operations, and Management
  • Improve Services for Underserved Areas and Populations
  • Advance the Nation's Transportation Research Capability

Advanced Technology Development and Prototyping. Reduces aviation system congestion through the following research activities:

  • Airspace Management Laboratory—Identifies issues and performs analyses in support of airspace assessment and redesign activities, including the development of data management and simulation tools for the evaluation of airspace design alternatives. This project will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 4.
  • Airspace Redesign—Increases system capacity and reduces congestion by removing as many airspace constraints as possible.
  • National Airspace System (NAS) Requirements—Ensures the ongoing success of FAA projects intended to decrease avoidable weather delays and reduces accidents caused by adverse weather through implementation of new weather products.
  • Operations Concept Validation—Documents and validates an overall concept, or “target system,” for the future management and control of national airspace system operations.
  • System Capacity Planning and Improvement—Provides measurement tools, procedural recommendations, technologies, and problem-solving methodologies to enhance capacity and alleviate aviation system congestion, delays, and operational inefficiencies. This project will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 4.

National Plan for Transformation of Air Transportation–Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO). Leads the development and implementation of the NGATS to increase the safety, capacity, efficiency, and security of U.S. air transportation. The program will integrate capabilities across Federal agencies to meet defense, commerce, and homeland security requirements. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 3.

Emerging Research Priority: Congestion Reduction Policy Research and Technologies

Strengthened policy research and analysis in the area of congestion reduction, congestion pricing, and innovative infrastructure financing is needed to better inform policymakers with respect to such topics as the degree to which congestion levels have declined in areas with time-varying highway tolls; the operational implications of simultaneously offering tolled and unpriced highways in the same corridor; the conditions under which tolls or other forms of user charges generate adequate revenues to finance the necessary infrastructure investment; behavioral responses of travelers to having multiple choices; and the degree to which the interests of the traveling public are protected when innovative infrastructure financing agreements are in place.

Research to evaluate the effectiveness and market acceptance of traveler and traffic information technologies, products, and services is also critical. Moreover, it is important that DOT, through its ITS program, work with public agencies, industry, and transit properties to develop data collection methods and evaluate protocols to assess the effectiveness of existing in-vehicle traffic and guidance systems, commercial traffic information systems, and transit information websites.

Key Supporting RD&T Programs:

  • Electronic Freight Management
  • Integrated Corridor Management Systems
  • Surface Transportation Congestion Relief Solutions
  • Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research
  • Vehicle-Infrastructure Integration
  • Increase Transit Ridership
  • Improve Transit Operational Efficiency
  • Economic and Strategic Analysis
  • Safety, Energy, and Environment
  • Evacuation Management and Operations
  • Clarus
  • Road Weather Research and Development
  • Strategic Highway Research Program II
FHWA

Electronic Freight Management (ITS JPO). Focuses on improving the operational efficiency, productivity, and security of the freight transportation system. The program will implement a common electronic information transfer protocol and a message portal to provide access to shipment information for all supply chain partners in real time. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 3 and 4.

Integrated Corridor Management Systems (ITS JPO). Assists agencies in implementing Integrated Corridor Operations through supporting analytical tools, approaches, and technical standards. The program will demonstrate the value of Integrated Corridor Management for operating and optimizing an entire system as opposed to individual networks. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 3.

Surface Transportation Congestion Relief Solutions (Operations R&D). Develops information to assist State transportation departments and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in measuring and addressing surface transportation congestion problems. The program will consist of research that will develop and apply transportation system congestion measurement and reporting methods and develop analytical tools and methods that lead to better congestion management and decisionmaking.

Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (Planning and Environment). Focuses on improving understanding of the complex relationship between surface transportation and the environment. To reduce congestion, the program will support research to improve the planning, operation, and management of surface transportation services and assets. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 3, 4, 5, and 6; Safety RD&T Strategy 1; the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity; and Environmental RD&T Strategies 1 and 2.

Vehicle-Infrastructure Integration (ITS JPO). Researches the use of vehicles to anonymously transmit information on traffic and road conditions from every major road in the transportation network. With respect to this RD&T strategy, this initiative will give transportation agencies the information they need to implement active strategies to relieve congestion and allow motorists to share information and make informed decisions regarding travel routes, times, and modes. This program will also support Safety RD&T Strategy 1.

FTA

Identify Best Practices and Technologies to Increase Transit Ridership (Increase Transit Ridership). Identifies best practices and technologies to increase transit ridership, barriers to adopting these practices and technologies, and solutions for overcoming them. The program will demonstrate and evaluate methods, techniques, and technologies to increase ridership and identify best practices for improving transit services across the country. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 4.

Identify Methods and Technologies to Improve Transit Operational Efficiency (Improve Capital and Operating Efficiencies). Researches and demonstrates methods to improve bus and heavy-rail efficiency. This program will examine operational delivery strategies, such as Bus Rapid Transit, which involve fleet operations and ITS. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 4.

OST

Economic and Strategic Analysis. Analyzes the economic implications of public and private transportation policy issues. This program will build on earlier work to improve the economic analysis of congestion pricing. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 4.

Safety, Energy, and Environment. Uses simulation, modeling, and other analytical techniques to calculate safety outcomes from congestion mitigation and conducts research to better understand the effects of road pricing and other congestion reduction schemes on driving cycles, fuel consumption, and emissions. The program will identify and recommend measures that offer the greatest benefits for reducing congestion while improving safety outcomes, and develop a set of emission factors and fuel consumption rates for various categories of vehicles that can be used to calculate the effects of congestion mitigation measures. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 5, Safety RD&T Strategy 1, and Environmental Stewardship RD&T Strategy 1.

Reducing Non-Recurring Congestion

RD&T in this area looks at non-recurring congestion caused by weather, traffic incidents, and work zones. Over the next five years it will encompass the programs listed below. Milestones are in Table 4-2.

FAA

Advanced Technology Development and Prototyping. Addresses non-recurring congestion caused by wake turbulence and other weather events. In particular, the program will develop technology and procedures to increase the use of parallel runways in adverse weather conditions.

Wake Turbulence. Increases the capacity of terminal airspace during inclement weather by developing modifications to air traffic control wake turbulence mitigation procedures. This program will reduce delays during less than visual flight rules conditions, implement new wake turbulence separation standards and procedures that will improve airport arrival and departure rates, and determine wake turbulence separations required with the design of more efficient airspace routes and the introduction of new aircraft designs.

FHWA

Reduced Congestion

  • Reduce Passenger and Freight Congestion in Air and Surface Modes
  • Extend System Life and Improve Durability
  • Advance Use of Next Generation Technologies and Combinations of Modes
  • Improve Planning, Operations, and Management
  • Improve Services for Underserved Areas and Populations
  • Advance the Nation's Transportation Research Capability

Evacuation Management and Operations (ITS JPO). Improves operational technology and practices to enable the safe and effective movement of people and goods during emergency evacuation situations (both with and without notice). The program will address the application of ITS technologies to improve notice and no-notice evacuation planning and execution, with an orientation that includes both decisionmakers and evacuees. This program will also support Safety RD&T Strategy 2 and Security RD&T Strategy 1.

National Surface Transportation Weather Observing and Forecasting System (Clarus) (ITS JPO). Supports a partnership to develop and demonstrate an integrated surface transportation weather observing, forecasting, and data management system. The program will make use of the over 2,100 environmental sensor stations that are already deployed along America's highways to help reduce the impact of adverse weather for road users and operators.

Road Weather Research and Development (ITS JPO). Seeks to reduce road congestion and safety impacts caused by adverse weather through the development and application of technology. The program will integrate existing observational networks and data management systems for road weather applications; improve weather modeling capabilities and forecast tools; enhance mechanisms for communicating road weather information to users; and integrate road weather technologies into an information infrastructure.

Strategic Highway Research Program II (Corporate Activities). Conducts concentrated, results-oriented applied research focusing on solving the top problems in the area of highway safety, reliability, capacity, and renewal. Research in this area will focus on identifying and developing strategies to mitigate congestion caused by major sources of unreliable travel, such as traffic incidents, work zones, and adverse weather. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 2 and 4 and Safety RD&T Strategy 1.

Surface Transportation Congestion Relief Solutions (Operations R&D). Develops information to assist State DOTs and MPOs with measuring and addressing congestion problems. Initiatives to address non-recurring congestion will focus on reducing the time required to restore traffic flow to “normal” conditions following minor traffic incidents and minimizing the impact of work zones on motorist mobility.

Extend the Life of the Existing Transportation System and Improve Infrastructure Durability

An important element of the Department's congestion reduction goal is to increase system capacity by transforming the way that infrastructure is designed, constructed, and maintained. Through RD&T, the Department seeks to develop and deploy innovative methods and technologies that will significantly improve infrastructure durability, extend its life, and reduce its long-term costs in all modes. This RD&T strategy will be advanced through research in two areas: preserving the existing infrastructure, and improving infrastructure durability and characterizing materials.

Preserving Existing Infrastructure

Reduced Congestion

  • Reduce Passenger and Freight Congestion in Air and Surface Modes
  • Extend System Life and Improve Durability
  • Advance Use of Next Generation Technologies and Combinations of Modes
  • Improve Planning, Operations, and Management
  • Improve Services for Underserved Areas and Populations
  • Advance the Nation's Transportation Research Capability

This research area seeks to develop and deploy improved technologies and methods for infrastructure rehabilitation, maintenance, and repair. The primary RD&T programs that will support this area are described below. Milestones are shown in Table 4-3.

FAA

Airport Technology Research–Capacity. Develops standards and guidance materials for airport design, construction, and maintenance to ensure the cost-effectiveness of runways, taxiways, and aprons. The program will develop pavement design standards to provide manufacturers with the assurance of the compatibility of their aircraft on airports throughout the world; provide airport operators with precise cost estimates for permitting new aircraft operations on their facilities; and ensure that the Federal funds invested in rebuilding or strengthening runways are used prudently. This program will also support the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity.

FHWA

Alkali-Silica Reactivity (Pavement R&D and Structures R&D). Conducts research and implements technologies to address the problem of cracking and eventual failure of concrete in bridges, pavements, and other structures due to silica and alkali reaction in portland cement. Research, development, and implementation will contribute to the durability and preservation of concrete pavements and structures.

Asphalt and Asphalt Reclamation (Pavement R&D). Focuses on tests and procedures for in-place recycling and reclamation to build and rehabilitate pavements more economically while providing long-lasting performance. Efforts will be conducted at the South Dakota School of Mines.

Long-Term Bridge Performance (Structures R&D). Provides performance data on inservice bridges monitored for at least 20 years. Highway agencies will use this data to make informed decisions on all aspects of bridge design and performance and to construct bridges to meet future needs.

Steel Bridge Testing (Structures R&D). Assesses and improves technology used for the nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and identification of fatigue cracking in steel bridges. Research results will contribute to steel bridge preservation and durability.

FRA

Track and Structures. Conducts research on rail inspection techniques, material and component reliability, track and structure design and performance, and track stability data processing and feedback in cooperation with the railroad industry and suppliers. The program will address automated systems for rail defect detection, high-speed video joint bar inspection, and track geometry inspection; and conduct testing and evaluation on the safety performance of new products (such as composites and nanotechnologies) to support the development of appropriate engineering guides before their widespread use. This program will also support Safety RD&T Strategy 1.

FTA

Identify Solutions to Improve Transit Infrastructure Maintenance (Improve Capital and Operating Efficiencies). Conducts research on improved inspections and integrated maintenance systems for public transportation and the use of geographic information systems to track infrastructure assets.

Improving Infrastructure Durability and Characterizing Materials

Reduced Congestion

  • Reduce Passenger and Freight Congestion in Air and Surface Modes
  • Extend System Life and Improve Durability
  • Advance Use of Next Generation Technologies and Combinations of Modes
  • Improve Planning, Operations, and Management
  • Improve Services for Underserved Areas and Populations
  • Advance the Nation's Transportation Research Capability

DOT research in this area explores potential advances in the materials and methods used in the construction of airport and highway pavements, highway bridges, and railroad track and structures. The primary RD&T programs that will support this area are described below. Program milestones are in Table 4-4.

FAA

Airport Technology Research–Capacity. Develops standards and guidance materials for airport design, construction, and maintenance. (See “Preserving Existing Infrastructure” above.) This program will also support the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity.

FHWA

Asphalt Research Consortium (Pavement R&D). Focuses on research in flexible pavements and on extending the life cycle of asphalt. This research consortium will be led by the Western Research Institute in Laramie, Wyoming.

Exploratory Advanced Research (Corporate Activities). Addresses longer term, higher risk research with potentially dramatic breakthroughs for understanding the characterization of materials used in highway infrastructure. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 3 and 4, Safety RD&T Strategy 1, and Environmental RD&T Strategy 1.

Fundamental Properties of Asphalt (Pavement R&D). Promotes innovative technologies that will improve pavement durability, extend service life, and help reduce costs. High-Performing Steel Bridge (Structures R&D). Demonstrates the application of highperformance steel in the construction and rehabilitation of bridges. This research will contribute to improving the durability of steel bridges.

Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment (Structures R&D). Promotes, demonstrates, evaluates, and documents the application of innovative designs, materials, and construction methods in the construction, repair, and rehabilitation of bridges and other highway structures. Program activities will include research and deployment of high-performance concrete bridge technology.

Innovative Pavement Research and Deployment (Pavement R&D). Researches, develops, demonstrates, promotes, supports, and documents the application of innovative pavement technologies, specifications and test methods, and practices. Activities will include the development and deployment of new, cost-effective, and innovative designs, materials, and practices to extend pavement life and performance; promotion and use of improved engineering design criteria and specifications; and use of accelerated construction techniques to increase safety and reduce construction time.

Long-Term Pavement Performance. Answers questions on “how” and “why” pavements perform as they do. The program will continue to gather and process data describing the structure, service conditions, and performance of more than 2,400 pavement test sections in North America for use by highway engineers in making decisions leading to more cost-effective and better performing pavements. Seismic Research (Structures R&D). Studies the vulnerability of the Federal-aid system and other surface transportation systems to seismic activity. The program will develop and implement cost-effective methods to reduce vulnerabilities and conduct seismic research, including upgrades to earthquake simulation facilities as necessary to carry out the program.

Strategic Highway Research Program II (Corporate Activities). Conducts concentrated, results-oriented applied research focused on solving the top problems in the area of highway safety, reliability, capacity, and renewal. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 1 and 4 and Safety RD&T Strategy 1.

Ultra-High-Performance Concrete Demonstrations (Structures R&D). Demonstrates the use of a steel-fiber-reinforced reactive powder concrete with over twice the compressive strength of high-performance concrete. This work will yield data leading to important new structural innovations in highway transportation.

Wood Composite Materials (Structures R&D). Explores innovative applications of wood composite materials in transportation structures. The program will exploit the demonstrated potential of wood composite products as an alternative method of providing low-cost, extremely durable, and environmentally sensitive material for building and repairing bridges and roadway appurtenances.

FRA

Track and Structures. Conducts research on rail inspection techniques, material and component reliability, track and structure design and performance, and track stability data processing and feedback in cooperation with the railroad industry and suppliers. The program will address automated systems for rail defect detection, high-speed video joint bar inspection, and track geometry inspection. This program will also support Safety RD&T Strategy 1.

OST

Preparing Infrastructure for the Impacts of Climate Change. Through the crossmodal DOT Center for Climate Change, conducts regional research on the impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure. This effort will consider such conditions as a rise in sea levels, more extreme temperatures, and increases in severe weather events and, based on this assessment, develop recommendations for transportation planners and engineers. (This activity will be funded through other RD&T programs.)

Advance Use of Next Generation Technologies and Combinations of Modes

This RD&T strategy focuses on the development and introduction of advanced technologies and concepts that will significantly improve the capacity, efficiency, and performance of the transportation network. Over the next five years, the Department will implement this strategy through research in two areas: multimodal and intermodal transportation, and next generation technologies and systems.

Multimodal and Intermodal Transportation

An important activity for the Department is to conduct research leading to an integrated and interconnected transportation system that meets the needs of a growing economy and is efficient, accessible, and cost-effective for both passengers and freight. The primary RD&T programs that will support this area are described below. Table 4-5 shows program milestones.

Emerging Research Priority: System Resilience and Global Logistics

Research is needed to identify freight bottlenecks and changing transportation patterns and to develop and implement technologies to enhance the efficiency of cargo flows. RD&T priorities include such areas as universal electronic manifests; advanced location and geospatial systems for end-to-end tracking and identification of containerized and bulk cargo and hazardous materials; the feasibility of key corridors for Short Sea Shipping and short-haul rail/inland ports/cargo consolidation centers; and decision-support systems and tools to help State and local governments realign intermodal capacity, implement congestion pricing, and leverage private sector infrastructure investment.

Key Supporting RD&T Programs:

  • Advanced Travel Forecasting Procedures Program
  • Electronic Freight Management
  • Integrated Corridor Management Systems
  • Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research
  • Freight and Logistics
  • National Cooperative Freight Transportation Research
FHWA

Reduced Congestion

  • Reduce Passenger and Freight Congestion in Air and Surface Modes
  • Extend System Life and Improve Durability
  • Advance Use of Next Generation Technologies and Combinations of Modes
  • Improve Planning, Operations, and Management
  • Improve Services for Underserved Areas and Populations
  • Advance the Nation's Transportation Research Capability

Advanced Travel Forecasting Procedures Program (Planning and Environment). Continues deployment of the Transportation Analysis Simulation System (TRANSIMS) as a planning tool. The program will develop additional applications and uses of the TRANSIMS model. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 4.

Electronic Freight Management (ITS JPO). Focuses on improving the operational efficiency, productivity, and security of the freight transportation system. The program will implement a common electronic information transfer protocol and a message portal to provide access to shipment information for all supply chain partners in real time. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 1 and 4.

Integrated Corridor Management Systems (ITS JPO). Assists agencies in implementing Integrated Corridor Operations through support for analytical tools, approaches, and technical standards. The program will demonstrate the value of Integrated Corridor Management for operating and optimizing an entire system as opposed to individual networks. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 1.

Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (Planning and Environment). Focuses on improving understanding of the complex relationship between surface transportation and the environment. Research in this area will advance the state of the practice in multimodal and intermodal transportation planning. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 1, 4, 5, and 6; Safety RD&T Strategy 1; the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity; and Environmental RD&T Strategies 1 and 2.

OST

Freight and Logistics. Supports the National Freight Action Policy and Departmental priorities related to port and freight capacity issues. In particular, this effort will engage the freight community, both public and private, in developing and implementing solutions for our freight capacity challenges and reducing the environmental impacts of freight, and will support the President's Ocean Action Plan.

RITA

National Cooperative Freight Transportation Research Program. Awards contracts and grants for research on critical freight transportation issues through an FHWAfunded program administered by the National Research Council. Among other topics, the program will address techniques for estimating the public benefits of freight transportation projects, approaches for calculating the contribution of truck and rail traffic to congestion, use of technology to increase the capacity of truck-only highway lanes, and freight transportation research needs in all modes.

Next Generation Technologies and Systems

The goal of research in this area is to apply advances in information, communication, and other technologies to develop and introduce broad advances in aviation and surface transportation systems. The primary RD&T programs that will support this area are described below. Program milestones are shown in Table 4-6.

FAA

Center for Advanced Aviation Systems Development (CAASD). Develops knowledge to produce a safer, more efficient global air transportation system. Studies performed at the CAASD will comprise an essential component of FAA research, system engineering, and operations research, including efforts to identify and test technologies for worldwide application to air traffic management, navigation, communication, separation assurance, surveillance, system safety, and security. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 4.

Emerging Research Priority: Next Generation Air Transportation System

The goal of NGATS research is to provide the knowledge base to achieve aviation throughput and capacity gains; reduce user and service costs; increase service provider productivity; and ensure a safe, secure, and environmentally compatible aviation system.

Major research areas include best practices for next generation safety management; wake vortex information to support separation reduction; reducing the uncertainties of noise and environmental impacts; and developing a common weather forecast system and probabilistic weather forecast methods.

Key Supporting RD&T Programs:

  • Center for Advanced Aviation Systems Development
  • National Plan for Transformation of Air Transportation
  • Navigation and Spectrum Policy

Train Control. Develops train control standards and equipment for locomotives. In cooperation with railroads and suppliers, the program will develop the interoperability standard and requirements specifications for next generation advanced train control systems using wireless communication, Global Positioning System (GPS), and advanced microprocessor technologies. This program will also support Safety RD&T Strategy 1.

OST

Reduced Congestion

  • Reduce Passenger and Freight Congestion in Air and Surface Modes
  • Extend System Life and Improve Durability
  • Advance Use of Next Generation Technologies and Combinations of Modes
  • Improve Planning, Operations, and Management
  • Improve Services for Underserved Areas and Populations
  • Advance the Nation's Transportation Research Capability

Navigation and Spectrum Policy. Supports the formulation of positioning, navigation, and spectrum policy and the civilian management and use of the GPS. This effort will fund DOT's share of support for operation of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Coordination Office, develop long-term implementation plans for integrated PNT technologies, and examine potential transportation applications for space-based technologies. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 4, Safety RD&T Strategy 1, and the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity.

RITA

Commercial Remote Sensing Products and Spatial Technologies. Develops a policy for new applications of commercial remote sensing and spatial information technologies for national infrastructure development and construction. The program will carry out major national initiatives to implement the policy, including validating new methods, tools, and systems for cost-effectively monitoring the quality of infrastructure construction and assessing infrastructure condition; developing and verifying new applications of integrated remote sensing and spatial information technologies for mitigating freight congestion and increasing the capacity of freight flows through intermodal systems; and developing new service applications for corridor planning and decisionmaking to reduce the time and costs required for completing environmental and transportation impact assessments.

Improve Planning, Operation, and Management of Transportation Services and Assets

One necessary factor in reducing transportation congestion is to plan, manage, operate, and finance surface transportation and aviation services in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. In particular, work in three research areas will advance this RD&T strategy over the next five years: improving efficiency of operations and investments; improving transportation planning and decisionmaking; and promoting innovations in transportation finance.

Improving Efficiency of Operations and Investments

Research in this area seeks to improve the efficiency of aviation and surface operations, the quality of transit services, and the effectiveness of public investments in radionavigation systems. The primary RD&T programs that will support this area are described below. Table 4-7 shows program milestones.

FAA

Advanced Technology Development and Prototyping. Improves the efficiency of aviation operations through the following activities:

  • Airspace Management Laboratory—Provides decision-support capabilities to national, regional, and local airspace system management specialists and develops and implements information management systems to improve the end-to-end integrity of post-operational data. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 1.
  • System Capacity Planning and Improvement—Provides measurement tools, procedural recommendations, technologies, and problem-solving methodologies to enhance capacity and alleviate aviation system congestion, delays, and operational inefficiencies. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 1.

Center for Advanced Aviation Systems Development. Develops knowledge to produce a safer, more efficient global air transportation system. Studies will comprise an essential component of FAA research, system engineering, and operations research, including efforts to identify and test technologies for worldwide application to air traffic management, navigation, communication, separation assurance, surveillance, system safety, and security. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 3.

Weather Program. Strives to reduce the number of accidents associated with weather and to minimize the impacts of adverse weather events on NAS operational capacity. Research will increase safety and capacity by developing new technologies for providing accurate, accessible, and efficient weather observations, warnings, and forecasts. This program will also support Safety RD&T Strategy 1.

FHWA

Advanced Travel Forecasting Procedures Program (Planning and Environment). Continues deployment of TRANSIMS as a planning tool. This program will develop additional applications and uses of TRANSIMS and will demonstrate methods to analyze the effect of operational improvements on travel demand. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 3.

Electronic Freight Management (ITS JPO). Focuses on improving the operational efficiency, productivity, and security of the freight transportation system. The program will implement a common electronic information transfer protocol and a message portal to provide access to shipment information for all supply chain partners in real time. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 1 and 3.

Exploratory Advanced Research (Corporate Activities). Addresses longer term, higher risk research with potentially dramatic breakthroughs in innovative financing of fully automated intermodal transportation systems. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 2 and 3, Safety RD&T Strategy 1, and Environmental RD&T Strategy 1.

Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (Planning and Environment). Focuses on improving understanding of the complex relationship between surface transportation and the environment. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 1, 3, 5, and 6; Safety RD&T Strategy 1; the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity; and Environmental RD&T Strategies 1 and 2.

FTA

Identify Best Practices and Technologies to Increase Transit Ridership (Increase Transit Ridership). Identifies best practices and technologies to increase transit ridership, barriers to adopting these practices and technologies, and solutions for overcoming them. The program will demonstrate and evaluate methods, techniques, and technologies to increase ridership and identify best practices for improving transit services across the country. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 1.

Identify Methods and Technologies to Improve Transit Operational Efficiency (Improve Capital and Operating Efficiencies). Researches and demonstrates methods to improve bus and heavy-rail efficiency. The program will examine operational delivery strategies, such as Bus Rapid Transit, which involve fleet operations and ITS. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 1.

OST

Aviation and International Policy. Conducts policy research to support DOT's role in promoting the U.S. aviation industry. Among other activities, the program will update a study examining airport access issues, particularly access to gates and terminal buildings, and their effects on the operating and competitive structures of the airline industry. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 5 and the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity.

Economic and Strategic Analysis. Analyzes the economic implications of public and private ownership and operation of transportation systems. In this research area, the program will assess the aggregate costs and benefits of transportation infrastructure investments and develop productivity estimates for each transportation mode. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 1.

Navigation and Spectrum Policy. Supports the formulation of positioning, navigation, and spectrum policy and the civilian management and use of the GPS. The program will support the planning and development of the Federal Radionavigation Plan and updates to the Federal Radionavigation System to account for new GPS signals, advances in augmentation systems, and enhancements to ground-based radionavigation aids. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 3, Safety RD&T Strategy 1, and the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity.

Improving Planning and Decisionmaking

Reduced Congestion

  • Reduce Passenger and Freight Congestion in Air and Surface Modes
  • Extend System Life and Improve Durability
  • Advance Use of Next Generation Technologies and Combinations of Modes
  • Improve Planning, Operations, and Management
  • Improve Services for Underserved Areas and Populations
  • Advance the Nation's Transportation Research Capability

RD&T activities in this area address the improvement of transportation models and other decisionmaking tools; their more effective use in the planning process; and broadening stakeholder participation in transportation planning and decisionmaking. The following sections describe the primary RD&T programs that will support this area. Program milestones are shown in Table 4-8.

FHWA

Advanced Travel Forecasting Procedures Program (Planning and Environment). Continues deployment of TRANSIMS as a planning tool and develops additional applications and uses. This program will develop methods to include time of day in the modeling process, thereby improving the model's capability to respond to the effects of congestion on travel demand. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 3.

Center for Environmental Excellence (Planning and Environment). Assists States in planning and delivering environmentally sound surface transportation projects. The center will provide technical assistance, information on best practices, and training in the use of tools and decisionmaking processes. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 6 and Environmental RD&T Strategies 1 and 2.

Strategic Highway Research Program II (Corporate Activities). Conducts concentrated, results-oriented applied research focused on solving the top problems in the area of highway safety, reliability, capacity, and renewal. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 1 and 2 and Safety RD&T Strategy 1.

Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (Planning and Environment). Focuses on improving understanding of the complex relationship between surface transportation and the environment. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 1, 3, 5, and 6; Safety RD&T Strategy 1; the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity; and Environmental RD&T Strategies 1 and 2.

Transportation, Economics, and Land Use System (TELUS) (Planning and Environment). Helps MPOs and State DOTs develop their transportation improvement programs and carry out other transportation planning responsibilities. A fully integrated information management and decision-support system, TELUS will help States and MPOs assure public participation in the transportation planning process.

FTA

Identify Practices and Technologies to Control Capital and Operating Costs (Improve Capital and Operating Efficiencies). Identifies practices, methods, and technologies to improve risk management, analyze capital cost variables, improve design and control methods, and identify appropriate standards. This program will also examine alternative delivery providers, costs of technology adoption, and improved planning models. This program will also support the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity.

Promoting Innovations in Transportation Finance

This research addresses innovative mechanisms for financing transportation services and improvements, including public-private partnerships and user fees. The primary RD&T programs that will support this area are described below. Table 4-9 shows program milestones.

FTA

Identify Practices and Technologies to Control Capital and Operating Costs (Improve Capital and Operating Efficiencies). Identifies practices, methods, and technologies to improve risk management, analyze capital cost variables, improve design and control methods, and identify appropriate standards. This program will also support the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity.

OST

Center for Excellence in Project Finance. Supports State DOTs in the development of transportation project finance plans and oversight tools. The center will develop and offer training in state-of-the-art financing methods through an FHWA-funded grant managed by OST.

Economic and Strategic Analysis. Analyzes the economic implications of public and private transportation policy issues. This program will advance the Department's understanding of the barriers to public-private partnerships and other innovative financing techniques. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 1.

Improve Transportation Services for Underserved Areas and Populations

Reduced Congestion

  • Reduce Passenger and Freight Congestion in Air and Surface Modes
  • Extend System Life and Improve Durability
  • Advance Use of Next Generation Technologies and Combinations of Modes
  • Improve Planning, Operations, and Management
  • Improve Services for Underserved Areas and Populations
  • Advance the Nation's Transportation Research Capability

Improving mobility for traditionally underserved areas and populations is a core Departmental priority. This RD&T strategy will involve research in two major areas: improving access for the elderly, people with disabilities, and other transportationdisadvantaged populations; and improving transportation in rural areas and small communities.

Improving Access for Transportation-Disadvantaged Populations

RD&T programs in this research area seek to improve mobility and accessibility through technology applications and service coordination. The primary RD&T programs that will support this area are described below. Milestones for these programs are in Table 4-10.

FHWA

Mobility Services for All Americans (ITS JPO). Builds upon several past and current DOT-led activities to increase mobility and accessibility for the transportation disadvantaged and the general public. The program will achieve more efficient use of Federal transportation funding resources through technology integration and service coordination.

FTA

Identify Solutions to Provide Public Transportation for Targeted Populations (Increase Transit Ridership). Undertakes research to determine how to expand transit services to elderly and mobility-impaired populations, with an emphasis on using existing systems. The program will also research methods to improve coordination of human services and examine technologies to improve accessibility.

OST

Aviation and International Policy. Conducts policy research to support DOT's role in promoting the aviation industry. In this area, the program will research space requirements, maneuvering needs, reach ranges, and other key factors for occupied power wheelchairs and scooters used in airports, terminals, and other facilities. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 4 and the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity.

Safety, Energy, and Environment. Conducts policy research to support the formulation and recommendation of Departmental policies, plans, and guidelines related to public health and safety. The program will update a plan providing strategies for improved senior safety and mobility and fund the fulfillment of DOT's responsibilities under Executive Order No. 13330 on Human Service Transportation (“United We Ride”), including policy development and demonstration and testing of new technologies. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 1, Safety RD&T Strategy 1, and Environmental RD&T Strategy 1.

Improving Transportation in Rural Areas and Small Communities

This research addresses the many transportation issues facing rural areas and small communities, including the need for improvements in rural transportation planning, infrastructure, and transit services. The following RD&T programs will address these issues. Table 4-11 shows program milestones.

FHWA

Center for Transportation Advancement and Regional Development (Planning and Environment). Assists in the development of small metropolitan and rural regional transportation systems that are responsive to the needs of businesses and local communities. The program will accomplish its goals through comprehensive training, education, and research activities. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 6.

Rural Interstate Corridor Communications (ITS JPO). Aims to improve communications services in rural communities. The program will assess the feasibility of installing fiber-optic cabling and wireless communication infrastructure along rural multistate Interstate System route corridors.

Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (Planning and Environment). Focuses on improving understanding of the complex relationship between surface transportation and the environment. In this area the program will support research initiatives to improve transportation in rural and small communities. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 1, 3, 4, and 6; Safety RD&T Strategy 1; the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity; and Environmental RD&T Strategies 1 and 2.

FTA

Identify Cost-Effective Solutions to Provide Rural Transportation Services (Increase Transit Ridership). Researches appropriate classifications of transit services in rural areas and logical approaches to provide these services. The program will identify parameters for appropriate transit vehicles for rural use.

OST

Aviation and International Policy. Conducts policy research to support DOT's role in promoting the aviation industry. In this research area, the program will study the economic impact of air service in small communities. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 4 and the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity.

RITA

Cold Region and Rural Transportation Research. Supports the development of a research facility for basic and applied research on surface transportation issues facing rural and cold regions.

Advance The Nation's Transportation Research Capability

Reduced Congestion

  • Reduce Passenger and Freight Congestion in Air and Surface Modes
  • Extend System Life and Improve Durability
  • Advance Use of Next Generation Technologies and Combinations of Modes
  • Improve Planning, Operations, and Management
  • Improve Services for Underserved Areas and Populations
  • Advance the Nation's Transportation Research Capability

This broad Departmental strategy, which also cuts across all DOT goals, seeks to strengthen the foundation for the 21st century transportation system through a world-class transportation workforce and a national research capability. The strategy will emphasize research activities in four key areas: university research and education; cooperative and stakeholder research; technical assistance and training; and DOT research facilities and expertise.

University Research and Education

RD&T in this area supports university-based transportation research and education activities, including the Department's expanded University Transportation Centers (UTC) Program. The supporting RD&T programs will include those listed below. Milestones are in Table 4-12. (See Chapter 9 for additional information about the Department's university programs.)

FAA

Aeromedical Research. Offers FAA National Research Council postdoctoral and senior research awards. Research interns at the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute will continue to work closely with scientists, engineers, and physicians on research projects relevant to aerospace safety. This program will also support Safety RD&T Strategies 1, 2, and 3.

Joint University Program. Provides grants from FAA and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ohio State University, and Princeton University. Research will provide increased knowledge and solutions in disciplines such as air traffic control theory, human factors, satellite navigation and communications, capacity issues in air traffic control, synthetic vision, and meteorological hazards. (This program will be funded through other FAA research activities.)

Transportation Centers of Excellence Program. Improves aviation through unique consortia of Federal, university, and industry researchers. Funded through contracts, grants, and cost sharing, these consortia will work to improve aviation through shared resources, leveraged funding, and pooled talent. (This program will be funded through other FAA research activities.)

FHWA

Eisenhower Fellowship Program. Seeks to attract the best and brightest minds to transportation research and the transportation workforce. Encompassing all modes, the program will award fellowships based on applicants' academic achievements, recommendations, and likelihood of pursuing a career in transportation.

Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Education Program. Focuses on improving the preparation of elementary and secondary school students, particularly women and minorities, in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The program will award grants to State and local educational agencies for internships, curriculum development, and other activities related to transportation. Transportation Education Development Pilot Program. Seeks to train individuals at all educational levels for careers in transportation. This pilot program will focus on curriculum development for in-service professional development programs.

Transportation Education Development Pilot Program. Seeks to train individuals at alleducational levels for careers in transportation. This pilot program will focus oncurriculum development for in-service professional development programs.

FRA

University Research Program. Competitively awards university research grants for work on challenging priority areas identified in the FRA Strategic Plan. The program will continue to fund university research using discretionary funds or in accordance with congressional mandates. (This research will be funded through other FRA programs.)

RITA

University Transportation Centers Program. Invests in university-based centers of excellence to advance transportation innovation, research, education, and technology transfer. RITA will continue to manage this FHWA- and FTA-funded program, for which the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) authorized an expansion from 33 to 60 UTCs, 20 of which will be competitively selected.

Cooperative and Stakeholder Research

Reduced Congestion

  • Reduce Passenger and Freight Congestion in Air and Surface Modes
  • Extend System Life and Improve Durability
  • Advance Use of Next Generation Technologies and Combinations of Modes
  • Improve Planning, Operations, and Management
  • Improve Services for Underserved Areas and Populations
  • Advance the Nation's Transportation Research Capability

The Department provides support for a number of cooperative research activities, particularly those with State and local transportation agencies, airport operating authorities, and the transit industry. During the next five years, specific RD&T programs will include those listed below. Milestones are in Table 4-13. (See Chapter 9 for additional information about the Department's cooperative research and partnerships.)

FAA

Airport Cooperative Research Program. Carries out applied research on problems that are shared by airport operating agencies and that are not being adequately addressed by existing research programs. Mandated by the Vision 100—Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act, the program will be administered by the Transportation Research Board (TRB), with research projects selected by an independent governing board of airport managers and others appointed by the Secretary. This program will also support Environmental RD&T Strategy 2.

FHWA

State Planning and Research. Helps States to address their unique transportation concerns before they become critical problems. The program will give high priority to applied research, technology transfer, and research for setting standards and specifications. (This research will be carried out by the States and funded through their apportionments from highway grant programs.)

FTA

Transit Cooperative Research Program. Funds research on issues significant to the transit industry. Administered by the TRB, the program will continue to emphasize local problem solving in transit planning, service concepts, vehicles and equipment, facilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, and administrative practices.

Technical Assistance and Training

RD&T activities in this area address the professional capacity building of the transportation workforce through technical assistance, training, technology transfer, and peer exchange. The primary RD&T programs that will support this area are described below. Table 4-14 shows program milestones.

FHWA

Center for Environmental Excellence (Planning and Environment). Assists States in planning and delivering environmentally sound surface transportation projects. The center will provide technical assistance, information on best practices, and training in the use of tools and decisionmaking processes. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 4 and Environmental Stewardship RD&T Strategies 1 and 2.

Center for Transportation Advancement and Regional Development (Planning and Environment). Focuses on training, education, and research geared toward developing small metropolitan and rural regional transportation systems. The center will promote the use of innovative strategies to expand the capabilities, capacity, and effectiveness of regional transportation networks, including activities related to freight projects, transit system upgrades, roadways, bridges, and intermodal facilities. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategy 5.

Freight Planning Capacity Building. Supports research, training, and education in freight planning at the State and local levels. Among other activities, the program will identify and disseminate best practices in freight planning; provide opportunities for freight transportation staff to engage in peer exchange; refine data and analysis tools used to assess freight transportation needs; and facilitate relationships between governmental and private entities.

Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Education Program. Provides for transportation career awareness and preparation outreach activities for elementary school and secondary school students. The program will help students better understand the contribution transportation makes to the U.S. economy and standard of living and help provide for the next generation of transportation workers.

Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP). Improves skills and knowledge of local transportation providers through training, technical assistance, and technology transfer. The program will continue to support 57 LTAP centers serving each State, Puerto Rico, and American Indian tribal government.

National Highway Institute (NHI). Provides leadership and resources for the development and delivery of training and education programs to improve the quality of our highway system and its intermodal connections. Established in 1970, the NHI will continue to provide training, resource materials, and educational opportunities to the surface transportation community to develop both core competencies and new skills.

Professional Capacity Building (ITS JPO). Ensures that sufficient numbers of trained public transit, highway agency, and motor vehicle regulatory professionals are available to build, operate, and maintain an integrated, interoperable, and intermodal ITS infrastructure. The program will cultivate the next generation of transportation professionals and increase awareness of ITS benefits and deployment options among public-sector decisionmakers and industry.

Surface Transportation Congestion Relief Solutions Assistance and Training. Offers technical assistance and training to State and local transportation agencies. The program will work with agencies to improve their approaches to surface transportation congestion measurement, analysis, and project programming.

Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (Planning and Environment). Focuses on improving understanding of the complex relationship between surface transportation and the environment. The program will strengthen and advance State, local, and tribal capabilities regarding the complex relationship between surface transportation and the environment. This program will also support Reduced Congestion RD&T Strategies 1, 3, 4, and 5; Safety RD&T Strategy 1; the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity; and Environmental RD&T Strategies 1 and 2.

Transportation Education Development Pilot Program. Establishes funding and provides for a series of pilot programs to develop training and education curriculums for surface transportation workers. The program will focus on developing new skills to ensure a skilled, technically competent transportation workforce.

FTA

Improve the Capacity of the Transit Industry and Workforce (Improve Capital and Operating Efficiencies). Promotes best practices in transit workforce development. Among other efforts, the program will continue to inform domestic transit agencies about technological opportunities available internationally. This program will also support the RD&T Strategy for Global Connectivity.

National Transit Institute. Develops and teaches new methods and techniques to improve transit workforce performance. The institute will continue to conduct courses at sites nationwide on a variety of subjects, ranging from advanced technology and multimodal planning to management development and training effectiveness.

RITA

Technology Transfer Grant. Supports the creation of an Advanced Transportation Technology Center at Argonne National Laboratory. The center will conduct research and demonstration projects leading to the exchange of research results with the private sector and universities.

DOT Research Facilities and Expertise

Within this RD&T strategy, this area includes RD&T activities supporting the maintenance, operation, and upgrading of the Department's research, demonstration, and testing facilities. The primary RD&T programs that will support this area are as follows:

FAA

Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. Provides aerospace medical expertise across the full spectrum of aviation-related scientific, medical, and bioengineering disciplines. The Institute will both modernize existing capabilities and expand into the revolutionary areas developed by basic medical research. (This program will be funded under Aeromedical Research.)

William J. Hughes Technical Center. Supports FAA research facilities at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in support of program goals. These centralized facilities will comprise aircraft, NAS systems, simulators, a communication systems laboratory, and a human factors laboratory.

FRA

Railroad Facilities and Test Equipment. Provides for the procurement, maintenance, and improvement of facilities and equipment used to test new railroad systems. The program will improve research capabilities at FRA's Transportation and Technology Center, at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, and at railroad research contractors, and will also fund operation and maintenance of FRA's T-16 and T-18 track research instrumentation platforms, and their enhancements, to incorporate and demonstrate new inspection technologies as an ongoing process to expedite deployment and beneficial return on research investments.

NHTSA

Vehicle Research and Test Center. Supports NHTSA's safety research programs through vehicle and equipment test procedure development, testing, safety performance criteria, and breakthrough research in crash prevention, crash protection, and integrated safety. Testing and research done at the center, which houses NHTSA's anthropomorphic dummy laboratory, will address such priorities as vehicle compatibility, rollover protection, driver distraction, and human injury research.