USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

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

Innovation at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center

Communities of Practice are led by U.S. DOT Volpe Center staff who are passionate about bringing together people from across disciplines and divisions to share experiences, knowledge, and practices on topics important to the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. (Adobe Stock image/REDPIXEL)
Communities of Practice are led by U.S. DOT Volpe Center staff who are passionate about bringing together people from across disciplines and divisions to share experiences, knowledge, and practices on topics important to the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. (Adobe Stock image/REDPIXEL)

Making our transportation system safer, stronger, more resilient and sustainable, and more equitable requires innovation. 

The U.S. DOT Volpe Center aims to align with the U.S. DOT’s strategic goals and innovation principles as we deliver on our mission to transform transportation for all. Our team members continually anticipate and respond to global transportation challenges and emerging issues. We embrace a systems perspective and understand the larger context in which our work fits. 

We bring a cross-organizational, interdisciplinary perspective to all our projects. By promoting forward thinking, we encourage calculated risk-taking and devising new methods to approach issues. And, we continuously engage in initiatives to grow our knowledge and pursue new opportunities. Some of the ways we're able to do this is through our innovation programs.

Discover more about the programs that enhance innovation at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center.

Research Laboratories at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center

Our new U.S. DOT Volpe Center facility features approximately 26,000 usable square feet of state-of-the-art, accessible lab space that allows our researchers to collaborate and innovate to test theoretical concepts in real-world simulations and put research to work to advance transportation innovation for the public good.   

Learn more.

Communities of Practice

An image of the Communities of Practice logoThrough its vibrant Communities of Practice, the U.S. DOT Volpe Center regularly brings together staff from across disciplines and teams to share knowledge, exchange experiences, and discuss best practices on a variety of skills and topics. 

 

 

 

Key Features

  • Led by staff who are passionate about bringing together people from across the U.S. DOT Volpe Center 
  • Serve as forums for collaboration, learning, and innovation
  • Hold meetings, presentations, and technical tours
  • Develop resources and organize trainings

Communities

Volpe Innovation Accelerator

An image of the Volpe Innovation Accelerator (VIA) logoAs part of our rich history of fostering staff curiosity and innovation in line with the U.S. DOT strategic priorities, the U.S. DOT Volpe Center launched a series of internal team transportation innovation challenges, known as the Innovation Challenge, in 2013—refining as VIA in 2020. 

VIA encourages staff to take smart risks by giving them the availability to explore ideas beyond sponsor work and collaborate with cross-organizational peers to refine, test, and try out their ideas. The ideation that results often leads to work that our sponsors incorporate into their own research and development efforts, giving U.S. DOT Volpe Center staff the opportunity to explore further.
 

Innovation Stories

Technology Transfer Outreach Program

The Technology Transfer Outreach Program is required per the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980. This Act was the first major U.S. technology transfer law that requires federal labs to actively participate in, and provide a budget for, technology transfer activities. The purpose is to help facilitate federal technology transfer by providing a means for nonfederal organizations to access federal lab technologies. 

The Act requires any federal laboratory with two hundred or more scientific, engineering, or related technical positions, to have one team member dedicated to coordinating and promoting technology transfer. At the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, this position is called the Technology Transfer Outreach Coordinator (T2 Outreach Coordinator), operating as competitive, rotational assignment.  

Federal Labs Consortium

An image of the Federal Labs Consortium logoThe Technology Transfer Outreach Coordinator is responsible for facilitating awareness of the innovative technologies being developed at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center.

One of the primary vehicles for accomplishing this is through the Federal Labs Consortium (FLC), an independent organization whose focus is on supporting technology transfer functions across federal agencies. Our Technology Transfer Outreach Coordinator is tasked with growing and maintaining relationships with FLC, as well as with peers in other federal agencies to learn from their experiences in the technology transfer arena.
 

Innovation Office Hours

Innovation Office Hours offer a rhythm for U.S. DOT Volpe Center staff to regularly get together and advance ideas and solve problems. Team members come with an innovation concept, idea, or topic that they want to discuss, or they can come to hear and comment on others’ ideas.

Opportunities for Staff  

  • Get input on an idea you want to advance
  • Get diverse insight on a thorny problem
  • Share professional expertise
  • Have fun while learning about others’ work

Innovation Roundtable

The Innovation Roundtable seeks to provide a vibrant community that builds our innovation culture and informs strategic decision-making. At an Innovation Roundtable event, you can expect to read/reflect on current topics in innovation, share perspectives via interactive discussion, and learn from guest speakers.

Opportunities for Staff  

  • Explore current thinking around innovation and how to implement these ideas at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center
  • Continue to build an internal network of innovation enthusiasts and champions
  • Creating opportunities to practice innovative thinking