Have a brilliant idea? Our research section wants to hear about it.

IdeasNew ideas in transportation can come from any number of sources. Iowa DOTers are an inquisitive bunch who don’t hesitate to look at new ways of doing business and update methods when necessary. The research section, part of the Strategic Performance Division, is always gathering ideas from all areas of the DOT on topics that can be considered for our research program which could potentially help you find new and better ways to do your job and improve transportation in Iowa.  

Do you have an idea or problem you are trying to solve that you think should be researched or are you curious about the current status of ideas in the research pipeline? The Iowa DOT has launched a new Research Ideas website. This site is a complement to the existing research site and offers information on new and in-progress research in an easy-to-navigate format. The new site allows keyword searches and the ability to filter ideas. 

The new research site:

Is driven by you. We love great ideas, but getting a concept to go from “good” to “great” takes lots of input and development. That’s why we encourage feedback and hope you’ll weigh in on proposed ideas—because when more opinions come together, the better the final result will be. Go to our Ideas page to start submitting feedback as part of the research process.

Allows for a transparent process. Ideas move through one state at a time.
Learn more about how it works: from submission to discussion/evaluation to development, you can track the progress of any idea in the system and identify related projects in development.

Encourages interaction. All Iowa DOT employees are already registered in the system and can log in with network accounts. Your personal profile allows you to select areas of interest. You’ll also be able to mention any other user in the system with a simple @ in front of their name. Non-DOT employees can offer suggestions as "external guests."


Our research staff have collaborated with groups like the Iowa Highway Research Board, Transportation Research Board, Federal Highway Administration, and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials for decades. These collaborations have kept Iowa on the leading edge of innovations in materials, processes, and technologies that have brought improvement and longevity to transportation systems in Iowa and across the world. The research staff continue to bring improvements to the process to keep Iowa a leader in transportation.

Put cameras in our loaders so we can see what’s behind the Machine

There are many long, straight stretches of right of way/land, immediately Adjacent to US Highway 30, running between the DeWitt interchange and the east terminus Of the new bypass, around the Mount Vernon- Lisbon Corridor, which could be used to add an additional, new, 2 lanes for the completion of the new, 4 lane, divided US 30, between Hwy 1 at Mt Vernon and Hwy 61 at DeWitt.

There seems to be more and more traffic, especially truck traffic, using I-80 through Des Moines. This is only going to get worse. I'm sure there is a lot of money being spent right now on the east mixmaster, a lot of money being spent on rider corner, and a lot of money will eventually need to be spent to widen 35/80 and rebuild the west mixmaster. Widening 35/80 would only result in more traffic using 35/80 rather than side streets, and it would do nothing to open up new ground for economic development and create new Iowa jobs.

How about a bypass? Take a look at how interstates were built around larger cities and you will see multiple rings around them as they grew outward. Those cities realized at some point that bypasses were needed, and that time is now for Des Moines.

Where could it go? A perfect route for a bypass would be starting around Dexter (where I-80 starts to bend to go northeast toward Des Moines). If it were to continue roughly straight from this point, it would tie in almost perfectly to existing Highway 5/65 (make this an interstate at the same time). This would take off a lot of the traffic - especially truck traffic - that is traveling through Des Moines. I know that businesses on 35/80 might be concerned about a bypass, but I-35/80 would still be very busy with all the Des Moines traffic, so businesses on 35/80 would still have customers. I know building a bypass wouldn't be cheap. But considering these are undeveloped areas and a good portion is already built with Highway 5/65, it would have to be a cheaper option than widening 35/80 (only to have it fill back up), rebuilding mixmasters, and building fly-over ramps everywhere. And possibly best of all, it would benefit the state by helping grow Iowa's economy at the same time! This would help kickstart growth along Highway 5/65 and in 3 different counties - Madison, Warren, and Polk.

The DOT needs to start researching and planning for this before more subdivisions are built on the southwest side of Des Moines and block where this road can go.

The Missouri DOT has built dozens of "J-Turns" along their expressways , including replacing an expressway signalized intersection with a J-Turn. They continue to build new J-Turns along their rural expressways. they would not be doing so if they had not confirmed that J-Turns are a very cost effective alternative. . The Iowa DOT needs to rebuilding high crash rural expressway intersections with these very cost effective J-Turns , rather than very expensive interchanges. My opinion for what little it may be worth

I think that installing the cable barriers is an important part of the safety aspect of the freeway system but it needs to be placed in the center of the median equal to both sides. when that is done it would facilitate putting the mile markers and delineators in the center, back to back and cut back on the number of sign posts required. Lessening the number of posts in the ditch would make road maintenance better, ie: mowing, snow removal. in the winter there are many minor incidents where a car enters the median where the cable barrier makes it worse. Having it in the center of the median would also give first responders a little more room to do their job.
This would also make for a cleaner appearance along the roadway. I live near Fort Dodge and in a 5 mile stretch along hwy 20, there is more than a 100 signs and posts. I have been in other states and they do not have a sign for everything.

Make Highway 5 from Knoxville to Centerville a 4 lane highway also from Indianola to 163 south make Highway 92 four lanes. Consider it and also look at highway 34 thank you Raymond Bettis 07/07/2020

There are a lot of people trapped in small towns with no vehicle to get to a job. There's no busing system or anything except for the handicapped. Can we do something about this?

Is there anything else we can use for transportation instead of vehicles? Something that's kind of like a train but it's in pods so it's smaller. Something that can handle a larger volume of people throughout the day and has room for children. The buses don't even have seatbelts and not much room for groceries or children.

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