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

Geotechnical Engineering

The FHWA Geotechnical Engineering Research Program is a key part of the overall Geotechnical and Hydraulics Research and Technology (R&T) Program which provides a coordinated and cohesive approach to research, development, and technology activities to improve the geotechnical and hydraulic performance (safety, efficiency, durability, resiliency, and cost-effectiveness) of the highway and transportation system. 

The composition and focus of the Geotechnical and Hydraulics R&T Program reflects how our Nation’s transportation system spans and includes widespread and diverse geological, riverine, and coastal environments and features. The Geotechnical and Hydraulics R&T Program aligns with needs and requirements associated with public safety, statutory, and regulatory requirements, and other elements of transportation. FHWA’s Geotechnical and Hydraulics R&T Program seeks to drive innovation in geotechnical and hydraulic engineering practice to ensure and enhance the safety and resiliency of highway infrastructure.

The Program achieves these objectives by addressing what FHWA describes as “functional” or “focus” areas. For FY 2023 these focus areas include Innovative Geotechnical Design and Construction Methods; Advanced Site Characterization; Geotechnics of Scour; Geotechnical Asset and Performance Management; Geotechnical Aspects of Pavements; Hydrology (including floodplains); Highway Drainage; Bridges; Culverts; Scour; and Coastal Engineering.  Additionally, the Program focus areas incorporate the flexibility to respond to new or changing priorities and needs within both short-term and long-term timeframes. This multifaceted program yields an effective, crosscutting approach to addressing the hydraulic and geotechnical.

Program activities and outcomes include research, development, outreach, deployment, guidance efforts, and technical products. To accomplish these outcomes, the Program gains valuable insights and information through partnerships and collaborations with other government entities, industry organizations, associations, academic institutions, and other stakeholders in the transportation community. 

Additional information, including the capabilities of the Geotechnical Laboratory, can be found here and through navigating the left menu bar options on that page.