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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Supporting Exploratory Advanced Research

U.S. DOT Volpe Center provides program support to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program. This program funds longer-term and higher-risk breakthrough research with the potential for dramatic long-term improvements to plan, build, renew, and operate safe, congestion-free, and environmentally sound transportation systems.

The Challenge

FHWA requested that U.S. DOT Volpe Center support two aspects of the EAR Program:

  • Improve the quality, consistency, and efficiency of the EAR peer review process.
  • Help FHWA improve the process of dissemination of research results.

The Solution

U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s project work is wide-ranging. Current projects include the development of a pilot technology readiness scale for highway transportation projects and a study of breakthroughs in transportation technology.

In supporting the EAR Program, U.S. DOT Volpe Center draws on its experience in facilitating cross-disciplinary, transportation-oriented teams. In addition, U.S. DOT Volpe Center involves its broad range of transportation experts to advise on the selection, evaluation, and development of the program’s various research projects.

U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s capabilities include the following:

  • Subject matter expertise on diverse topics
  • Workshop organization and documentation
  • Cross-cutting analysis of research best practices and evaluation

The Impact

U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s efforts help FHWA efficiently convene panels of experts to review and assess project proposals, thereby ensuring that the best proposals are identified in the review process.

The support we provide to help disseminate research results increases the likelihood that FHWA EAR investments are implemented by transportation stakeholders.

A long stretch of flat highway in the Canadian Saskatchewan prairies.


Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)