Chapter 1 - General
1.0 OVERVIEW OF PROGRAM
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Research Program provides decision makers with the information and tools they require to ensure Ohio’s transportation system meets the evolving needs of our residents and the traveling public. The program works to anticipate and address transportation concerns before they become critical problems.
The research program is managed by ODOT’s Innovation, Research and Implementation Section (IRIS) and is within the Office of Innovation, Partnerships, & Energy (IPE).
Within ODOT, a variety of options exist for funding a research idea, each with its own eligibility criteria. ODOT’s intent is to use each program for the maximum benefit to the agency. Below is a summary of the funding options available for transportation research.
The ODOT Research Program includes:
- Strategic Research Plan Projects
- Transportation Pooled Fund Studies
- Student Studies
- ODOT Partnered Research Exploration Program (OPREP)
- NCHRP Projects
1.0.1 STRATEGIC RESEARCH PLAN PROJECTS
The primary customers for research are the offices within ODOT, which have the responsibility to plan, design, construct, operate and maintain the transportation networks in the State. Internal problem statements are accepted annually to address projects that have been identified by the offices and/or divisions through their strategic research plans. All staff are encouraged to submit problem statements. For more information on strategic research plan projects, refer to Chapter 4.
1.0.2 TRANSPORTATION POOLED FUND STUDIES
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) facilitates the Transportation Pooled Fund Program as a means for interested states, FHWA, and other organizations to partner when significant or widespread interest is shown in solving a transportation related problem. A pooled fund study may be used to jointly fund research, planning, and technology innovation activities. Federal and state transportation agencies may initiate pooled fund studies. Local and regional transportation agencies, private industry, foundations, colleges and universities may then partner with the sponsoring agencies in such projects. For more information on pooled fund studies, refer to Chapter 3.
1.0.3 STUDENT STUDIES
ODOT occasionally has the need to conduct small research studies that provide quick solutions to immediate problems. The limited scope of these studies usually does not warrant the time and expense required for typical research projects, but they do provide a mutual learning opportunity for a student and ODOT. When the scope would be suitable to an academic investigation, limited funds are made available to initiate a student study project. For more information on student studies, refer to Chapter 4.
1.0.4 ODOT PARTNERED RESEARCH EXPLORATION PROGRAM (OPREP)
ODOT created the ODOT Partnered Research Exploration Program (OPREP) to:
- Consider relevant transportation research needs that may not have been identified by ODOT or included in our strategic research plan;
- encourage genuine partnerships within the research community; and
- leverage research funds and resources.
The amount of funds available for OPREP projects will vary each fiscal year, based on budgetary constraints, and is subject to availability of lawful appropriations by the Ohio General Assembly and compliance with statutory provisions under the Ohio Revised Code. Depending on the estimated budgets of the OPREP proposals, funds may be awarded to multiple projects in a given fiscal year. For more information on OPREP, refer to Chapter 4.
1.0.5 NCHRP PROJECTS
The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) conducts applied, user oriented research that produces results intended to improve engineering, operational, and management practices. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) organizes panels of experts to provide guidance on technical aspects of the research and translate the problems into project statements with well-defined objectives. Research proposals are then solicited from private and public research organizations. The technical panels review the proposals, recommend contract awards, monitor research in progress, provide technical guidance, and determine the acceptability of the final reports. AASHTO committees and DOTs recommend research topics each year, and AASHTO's Standing Committee on Research (SCOR) determines both the projects to be funded and the levels of funding for those projects. AASHTO's Research Advisory Committee (RAC) votes on the ballots of the proposed projects and sends recommendations to SCOR. The IRIS Manager serves as ODOT's representative to the AASHTO RAC and to TRB. For more information on NCHRP projects, refer to Chapter 3.