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Public Roads - March/April 2012

March/April 2012
Issue No:
Vol. 75 No. 5
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Guest Editorial

SHRP 2: Moving Transportation Forward


Just as Microsoft, FedEx, and the Ford Motor Company continually strive to develop innovative products that respond to today's changing consumer environments, the transportation community also is hard at work designing solutions that meet the needs of today's travelers while making a sound investment for the future. The focus of much of this innovation is the second Strategic Highway Research Program, also known as SHRP 2.

Authorized by the U.S. Congress in 2005, SHRP 2 is a 6-year collaboration of the Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and Transportation Research Board. These organizations are working together to develop a coordinated plan to roll out a systematic implementation of a variety of valuable research products. Activities include identifying the most promising products, conducting pilots and demonstration projects, and developing plans to ensure that these solutions get into the hands of practitioners in the transportation industry.

SHRP 2 research is delivering groundbreaking products targeting specific challenges faced by transportation professionals today. The program builds on the success of the first SHRP, which led to development of a number of notable products in the paving and road maintenance areas, such as Superpave. But SHRP 2 has a broader vision: To encompass research and development of products that State departments of transportation (DOTs), consultants, and contractors can use throughout all areas of transportation.

sThe program's innovative research is focused in four key areas: renewing roads and bridges more rapidly; delivering projects faster through targeted collaboration; operating a more reliable, less congested system; and reducing crashes and improving safety. For example, one product will help DOTs determine the best way to treat and preserve pavements on high-traffic-volume roadways such as the Nation's aging interstates. Another will enable DOTs to replace bridges in a matter of days or weeks instead of months. A third offers strategies and new technologies to increase collaboration between State DOTs and utility companies that will speed up project delivery.

These products and technologies, along with another 120-plus now in the pipeline, offer credible, reliable solutions that will save time, money, and lives while reducing congestion and headaches for the traveling public.

How can you get involved and help move ideas into action?

  • If you are employed by a State DOT, take the lead in demonstrating a project.
  • As an industry leader, help outline a business case for how these solutions will make a difference in the way your State delivers transportation projects
  • Become informed by engaging in peer-to-peer exchange programs, webinars, or other educational opportunities.

For the latest information, subscribe to the SHRP 2 newsletter at

SHRP 2 is the cutting edge for transportation research. But research alone won't make a better transportation system. Only by putting these solutions directly to work will the fruits of research truly make a difference.

Kirk Steudle
Director, Michigan Department of Transportation
Chair, SHRP 2 Oversight Committee
President, AASHTO