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

R&T Portfolio: Operations Research and Technology

Every day, the National Highway System moves millions of people and billions of dollars’ worth of goods from where they are to where they need to be. For many drivers, operational inefficiencies like bottlenecks or construction zones make travel more difficult and more dangerous. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) aims to address these operational problems and advance the most efficient highway network in the world.

To improve highway operations, FHWA develops technologies and processes that can be used to improve system performance without expensive infrastructure expansions. The Office of Operations Research and Development studies ways to enhance the efficiency and reliability of the Nation’s transportation system, especially through development and implementation of emerging technologies. As promising approaches are identified, FHWA works to accelerate their deployment to enhance safety on highways and improve mobility of freight and people.

Operations Research Activities

Research in highway operations focuses on management strategies and new technologies that can enhance the driving experience on the Nation’s highways in different ways, described more on the pages below dedicated to each topic. Connected and autonomous vehicles present tremendous long-range opportunities to improve roadway safety and efficiency. Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) monitor highways more closely and tailor control mechanisms to current conditions. Research in congestion management focuses on ways to mitigate recurring congestion and better manage incidents and special events.

"Header image - Connected and Automated Vehicles stopped at an intersection."     "Header image - Traffic systems management and operations, image of traffic at crosswalk"

"Header image - Freight, images of semi truck driving toward seaside port"     "Header image - Truck size and weight, image of semi truck parked at warehouse"

"Header image - Disruptions, image of hurricane from space"

Images copyrights: USDOT; USDOT; Soleg © 2015; Phartisan ©; Mechanik © 2014

Contact Us

Brian Cronin
Director, Office of Operations Research and Development
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101
United States

Office of Operations
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC  20590
United States

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