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NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL 1988 SUMMARY OF PROGRESS THROUGH ]9 8 8
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NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM Systematic, well-designed research provides the most effective approach to the solution of many problems facing highway administrators and engineers. Often, highway problems are of local interest and can best be studied by highway departments individually or in cooperation with their state universities and others. More predominantly, however, the need for more effi- cient, economical, and safer highway transportation and the importance of meshing with other modes and other societal concerns leads to national problems of increasing complexity. A coordinated program of high-quality cooperative research provides a highly effective approach to such problems. In recognition of these needs, the highway administrators of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials initiated in 1962 an objective national highway research program employing modern scientific techniques. AASHTO's program is supported on a continuing basis by funds from par- ticipating member states of the Association and receives the full cooperation and support of the Federal Highway Administra- tion, United States Department of Transportation. The Transportation Research Board of the National Research Council was requested by the Association to administer AASHTO's research program because of the Board's recognized objectivity and understanding of modern research practices. The Board is uniquely suited for this purpose as: it maintains an extensive committee structure from which authorities on any highway transportation subject may be drawn; it possesses av enues of communications and cooperation with federal, state, and local governmental agencies, universities, and industry; its relationship to its parent organization, the National Academy of Sciences, a private, nonprofit institution, is an insurance of objectivity; and it maintains a full-time research correlation staff of specialists in highway transportation matters to bring the findings of research directly to those who are in a position to use them. Research programs are developed annually by AASHTO on the basis of research needs identified by chief administrators of the highway and transportation departments, by committees of AASHTO, and by the Federal Highway Administrator. The programs are then referred for administration through the Transportation Research Board, and research projects address- ing the specific needs are defined by the Board on the basis of the AASHTO problem statements. The projects are advertised widely for proposals, and qualified agencies are selected on the basis of research plans offering the greatest probabilities of suc- cess. The research is carried out under contract, and adminis- tration and surveillance are responsibilities of a Board-appointed staff. The needs for highway research are many, and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program is an efficient mech- anism for providing timely solutions to problems of mutual concern to many responsible groups. The Program, however, is intended to complement rather than to substitute for or duplicate other highway research programs. . . 11 1