Chapter 1: Introduction
Transportation research needs are numerous and diverse, reaching across different modes and geographic levels and calling for many types of research. Local, state, federal, university, and private organizations sponsor and conduct such research. Dozens of federally funded University Transportation Centers (UTCs) and other university transportation research institutes located across the country tackle different transportation themes. Non-transportation branches of government perform research that is of mutual interest to transportation professionals. A host of international programs produce research that can and should be funded in the United States. However, with all of this diversity and its attendant benefits comes much confusion:
- Where can research statements be submitted to obtain funding?
- Where can proposals be submitted to obtain funding?
- Who is performing research in particular areas of interest?
- What are the best places to search for research products of interest?
No resources currently provide comprehensive or exhaustive answers to these questions. The primary purpose of this guide is to identify where to submit research statements and proposals to obtain funding. Other questions are addressed, to a limited extent, in Chapter 4.
Figure 1. Illustrates the range of research programs focused on transportation.
The term research is used very broadly in this document (a more formal definition and classification of transportation research is provided in Appendix A). In the transportation profession, various terms express a research need—terms such as research problem, research idea, problem statement, research topic, and research proposal. Within this web-page document, the term research statement will be used. Similarly, research program will be used to refer to any organization or agency that conducts research or to any cooperative effort to conduct research, and research product will be used to refer to any of the broad range of outputs, from new information to new devices, which can result from research.
This web page is intended for transportation professionals who have research needs and are looking for funding or for programs that may be interested in their ideas. View more information on research needs identified by TRB committees, AASHTO Committees on the environment, and various organizations on the Research Program and Project Management web site. A Transportation Needs Google Custom Search has been created to search all of these needs and more. In addition to identifying programs to which transportation professionals may submit research statements, it provides information on the preparation of winning research statements tailored to research programs. The web page functions as a guide to competitive transportation research programs. A substantial list of these research programs is presented in Chapter 3; it is limited to those programs that accept research statements from a broad community. While some research programs require that statements be submitted by a subset of the transportation community, such as a state department of transportation, they are typically fairly open and may not preclude cooperative efforts.
It should be noted that this is a living document. Not only will it require regular updates as a function of the evolving state of transportation, but it is, in its current state, incomplete, with some sections still being developed. This is the first time a web page with this purpose has been assembled, and it is hoped that it not only provides users with real benefit, but that it may be continuously improved through user feedback. Appendix D contains information on submitting additional programs for inclusion on this web page and provides a link to a submittal form. Suggestions, additions, questions, or corrections may be submitted to Kim Fisher.