The Innovation and Research (I&R) Program provides a forum for cross-agency collaboration, leveraging of expertise, and technology transfer among the technical disciplines of the Office of Federal Lands Highway (FLH) and Federal Land Management Agencies (FLMA), who share in the proliferation of researched findings and proven technologies to improve the transportation networks on Public Lands. The I&R Program is guided by the USDOT Research, Development, and Technology Strategic Plan and FHWA Annual Modal Research Plan, and the Innovation and Research Council (IRC), which is comprised of top executive leadership from all Partners, as well as their grass-roots field staff. Both sources (top-down, bottom-up) are directly involved with deploying and utilizing innovation and research for more resilient and safer infrastructure that address the needs of the diverse users of Public Lands. The I&R emphasis areas are reflective of the Administration Priorities, namely, Climate Change and Resiliency, Equity, Infrastructure and Safety. As such, innovation and research projects directly correlate and support these priorities.
The I&R Program is separated into organizational teams, each representing either innovation or research, internal within FLH or external with FLMA Partners. Internally, FLH supports both innovation and research activities with a focus on talent development. Externally, the innovation and research programs are part of cooperative venues which are shared amongst FLMA Partners through Heightened Utility and Deployment (HUD) actions through the iHUD and rHUD. One of the highlights for the rHUD is the bi-annual application and vetting process to prioritize research funding.