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Laboratories Overview

The expertise of our scientists, engineers, and support staff encompasses more than 100 transportation-related disciplines and expertise areas. The laboratories housed at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) provide a vital resource for advancing the body of knowledge to help address national transportation goals. The Federal Highway Administration's Exploratory Advanced Research Program is also managed from the TFHRC research facility as well as the Innovation Laboratory.

Infrastructure Laboratories

Operations Laboratories

Safety Laboratories


Infrastructure R&D Laboratories
NamePurpose
Aggregate and Petrographic LaboratoryThe Aggregate and Petrographic Laboratory (APL) provides facilities for the evaluation, preparation, and testing of aggregate sources, products, and samples for use in concrete, asphalt mixtures, and granular base course applications.
Binder LaboratoryThe Binder Laboratory studies the flow and deformation of paving materials. The laboratory's primary mission is to characterize the behavior of paving materials properly such as asphalt binder and fine aggregate mastic.
Bituminous Mixtures LaboratoryThe Bituminous Mixtures Laboratory specializes in the research of asphalt pavement mixtures. This laboratory supports efforts to develop, evaluate, and improve materials, mixture design technology, and performance-based tests for asphalt paving mixtures.
Chemistry LaboratoryResearchers at the Chemistry Laboratory advance the understanding of chemical changes causing road failure or damage (such as aging or deicing salts) and potential performance enhancements; help develop state-of-the-art characterization tools; and test and foster new materials development. The laboratory validates Federal Highway Administration-sponsored offsite research and assists industry and State and Government agencies with forensic analyses and unbiased support.
Coatings and Corrosion LaboratoryThe mission of the Coatings and Corrosion Laboratory (CCL) is to develop and analyze the effectiveness of innovative coatings test procedures while evaluating the durability of new coating systems, especially environmentally compliant materials for the corrosion protection of steel bridges.
Concrete LaboratoryResearchers in the Concrete Laboratory evaluate new test methods, conduct concrete materials research, develop mixture design and analysis procedures for concrete pavements, and provide concrete forensics.
Geotechnical LaboratoryThe Geotechnical Laboratory is used to study the interactions between soil and structural elements made of steel, concrete, or timber that are used for bridge foundations and retaining wall systems.
J. Sterling Jones Hydraulics Research LaboratoryThe J. Sterling Jones Hydraulics Research Laboratory provides a means of testing the hydraulic performance of highway drainage structures and stream crossings, including the hydraulics of bridges, culverts, and storm sewers. The purpose of the laboratory is to solve hydraulic and stream stability problems attendant to highways and to support highway engineers with design guidance and tools.
Nondestructive Evaluation LaboratoryThe FHWA Advanced Sensing Technology (FAST) Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Laboratory is a world-class national laboratory and is the keystone of FHWA's research and testing efforts related to the application of nondestructive testing technologies for condition assessment of highway infrastructure.
Pavement Testing FacilityThe Pavement Testing Facility (PTF) uses rapid pavement testing of full-scale structures to develop and verify new specifications, designs, and test procedures for rigid and flexible pavements. The facility is used by pavement and highway research engineers to evaluate the durability of both new and existing pavement materials and to help develop smoother and more cost-effective highway systems.
Structures LaboratoryThe purpose of the Structures Laboratory is to support Federal Highway Administration's strategic focus on improving mobility through analytical and experimental studies to determine the behavior of bridge systems under typical and extreme loading conditions. These experimental studies may also include tests of bridge systems developed to enhance bridge durability and constructability over time. Data from these studies help upgrade national bridge design specifications and improve the safety, reliability, and cost effectiveness of bridge construction in the United States.

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Operations R&D Laboratories
NamePurpose
Innovation LaboratoryThe Innovation Laboratory was designed and developed to harness the creativity of employees to find solutions to the Nation’s problems. It started as a concept during a brainstorming session and concluded as a physical space for meeting, brainstorming, conceptualizing, designing, and implementing proactive solutions.
Saxton Transportation Operations LaboratoryThe Saxton Transportation Operations Laboratory is a national asset at the Federal Highway Administration's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. The Saxton Transportation Operations Laboratory serves not only as a laboratory but as a gateway where Federal, contractor, and student researchers can experience a synergy of ideas and experiences.

Intelligent Intersection Traffic Control Laboratory

The Intelligent Intersection Traffic Control Laboratory (IITCL) is an outdoor facility that supports the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) various research programs and research activities conducted by other U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) agencies.

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Safety R&D Laboratories
NamePurpose
Federal Outdoor Impact LaboratoryThe Federal Outdoor Impact Laboratory (FOIL) is a research facility used to support FHWA’s Safety Research and Development programs and other Federal security initiatives.
Geometric Design LaboratoryThe mission of the Geometric Design Laboratory (GDL) is to provide technical support to the Office of Safety Research and Development to develop, maintain and enhance the Interactive Highway Safety Design Model (IHSDM)--a suite of software tools for the safety evaluation of highway geometric design alternatives; and to support the coordination of IHSDM with related tools, including the Highway Safety Manual (HSM) and SafetyAnalyst.
Human Factors LaboratoryThe mission of the Human Factors Laboratory is to further the understanding of highway user needs so that those needs can be incorporated in roadway design, construction, repair, and improvement. 
Virtual Reality LaboratoryThe Human Factors Virtual Reality Laboratory (VRL) is being established to use VR tools to conduct research in the area of vehicle-to-pedestrian communication (V2P). This application of VR offers the opportunity to incorporate a broader range of pedestrian and driver behaviors into specified scenarios without placing these subjects at risk.

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Updated: Tuesday, August 7, 2018