Long-standing partnership with TRB helps bring resources and relationships to Iowa

AdobeStock_176482417 (1)No one agency has all the answers. The Iowa Department of Transportation has a long history of collaborating with other states and national organizations to explore options to make Iowa’s transportation system the best in the country.

TrblogoOne of those long-time partnerships is with the 100-year old National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Transportation Research Board. We share a common goal with TRB, to advance transportation-related research. By memberships in committees and collaborative projects, TRB brings every state’s department of transportation and thousands of professionals together from all areas of transportation expertise and has collected a vast amount of knowledge and data for states to use.

As an active leader in TRB activities, Iowa DOT draws upon this knowledge base to improve transportation systems in Iowa while also helping to steer the direction of national transportation research for decades to come.

Like other state DOT’s, Iowa DOT helps contribute to TRB’s funding. In exchange, we are officially represented in TRB’s decision-making processes and earn free or reduced-cost access to all of TRB’s programs and products.

TRB’s investments produce an array of benefits for Iowa

IMG_8407Collaboration. To encourage states to discover and implement solutions with broad appeal, TRB manages a variety of cooperative research programs. The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), the oldest and largest of these, focuses on finding coordinated solutions that benefit multiple states or address regional highway-related challenges.. Other cooperative research programs are devoted to supporting efforts in transit, aviation, and other areas.

Education. TRB sponsors more than 50 meetings and specialty conferences each year; the largest of these is TRB’s Annual Meeting, which brings together nearly 14,000 transportation professionals and offers more than 800 educational sessions and workshops. Representatives from Iowa DOT not only attend this meeting but are also frequent speakers and contributors— demonstrating Iowa’s importance in the national conversation, increasing access to state-of-the-art research, and building personal relationships that can benefit future collaborations.

IMG_8381Influence. With more than 200 standing and special committees, TRB has a group dedicated to addressing just about every transportation-related topic. Iowa DOT staff serve on 75 TRB committees and project panels and chair seven of these, providing expertise and input that help to identify opportunities for promising research and to deliberate transformational policy and decision-making at an issue-focused level.

Support. TRB representatives regularly visit Iowa to observe and discuss challenges with Iowa DOT staff in person.

Resources. Some of TRB’s tangible products include:

  • TRB produces hundreds of publications each year, from books and reports to a bimonthly magazine. It also compiles the Transportation Research Record, a collection of peer-reviewed papers that provide critical insights into the latest domestic and international transportation research.
  • TRB produces approximately 100 webinars per year on a variety of topics.
  • TRB manages multiple databases to aid in transportation research. The largest, TRID (Transport Research International Documentation), offers more than a million records from around the world.

Involvement in transportation research at the national level helps Iowa stay abreast of cutting-edge developments. This knowledge allows Iowa DOT to avoid duplicating other agencies’ efforts instead of using Iowa’s valuable research dollars to build on existing research and find the best solutions to the challenges Iowa faces.

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