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Public Roads - Autumn 2018

Autumn 2018
Issue No:
Vol. 82 No. 3
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Guest Editorial

Resource Center Celebrates 20 Years


This is a special year for the Federal Highway Administration’s Resource Center. 2018 marks 20 years of solving transportation challenges through technical assistance and support. First established in October 1998, the Resource Center was initially four independent centers. Later, in 2003, the four centers were integrated into one organization as we know it today.

The transportation landscape has changed dramatically in 20 years. Two decades ago, self-driving cars were only in science fiction. Now, we have cars that drive themselves on our public roads. Wireless communication and GPS mapping make navigation easier than ever, and transportation network companies are changing the relationships we have with our vehicles. New materials enable pavements to last longer, bridges are built faster and more cost effectively, and roundabouts are a common roadway safety feature.

The Resource Center itself was a revolutionary concept for FHWA when it was founded. The structure of the center represented a move away from a model of regional technical assistance to a national model built on customer service and strong partnerships. From the start, FHWA designed the Resource Center to deliver innovative solutions to complex problems and world-class technical expertise. To this day, the Resource Center upholds this mission to embrace new ways of thinking and to support program delivery with technical assistance and technology deployment across the Nation. Essential to the success of FHWA, the Resource Center partners with agency program offices and divisions to support multiple disciplines.

The Resource Center coordinates with the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center to deploy innovations and technologies. In partnership with headquarters offices, the Resource Center deploys new products and services that align with FHWA strategic goals and policy priorities. Through FHWA division offices and the Federal Lands Highway Divisions, we work directly with State, local, and Tribal agencies to tackle specific projects and challenges. Resource Center specialists collaborate closely with National Highway Institute staff to develop and present new coursework.

Every year, the Resource Center trains hundreds of transportation practitioners, in person and online. With creative solutions and dedication, our incredible workforce has earned transportation agencies’ confidence and numerous internal and external awards. Staff are on call and ready to deploy where they are needed anywhere in the country. Through personalized assistance, customized training, and ongoing support, the Resource Center helps practitioners address immediate technical needs and build expertise to solve future challenges. In addition, partnering and participating with national and international associations positions the Resource Center to share innovations that improve safety and efficiency in the United States, and to bring home new ideas from other nations.

This anniversary also offers FHWA an opportunity to look ahead at the next 20 years and beyond. The Resource Center is evolving—organizationally moving toward a holistic approach to address the changing needs of transportation partners. More than just a combination of technical teams, the Resource Center operates as a technical unit that can collectively provide full answers to the most important challenges. For example, when a transportation agency calls upon the Structures team to assess a potentially unsafe bridge, the Operations team and the Pavement and Materials team can also work in collaboration to help resolve the issue. Twenty years from now, transportation professionals may view the Resource Center not as a collection of teams, but as a single nimble entity equipped to handle every angle of any challenge from the outset.

FHWA’s Resource Center delivers the highest level of customer service and is always ready to provide assistance. Read more about the 20th anniversary on page 16 in this issue of Public Roads to find out how we can help transportation professionals at all levels of government serve the traveling public better and smarter. We are the FHWA Resource Center, at your service.

Are you interested in what the Resource Center can do for your agency? Visit or contact


Bernetta L. Collins
National Resource Center Director
Federal Highway Administration