America’s highway system is critical to meeting the mobility and economic needs of local communities, regions, and the nation. Developments in research and technology – such as advanced materials, communications technology, new data collection technologies, and human factors science – offer anew opportunity to improve the safety and reliability of this important national resource. Breakthrough resolution of significant transportation problems, however, requires concentrated resources over a short time frame. Reflecting this need,the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) has an intense, large-scale focus, integrates multiple fields of re-search and technology, and is fundamentally different from the broad, mission-oriented, discipline-based research pro-grams that have been the mainstay of the highway research industry for half a century.
The need for SHRP 2 was identified in TRB Special Report 260:Strategic Highway Research: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life, published in 2001 and based on a study sponsored by Congress through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). SHRP 2, modeled after the first Strategic Highway Research Program, is a focused, time-constrained, management-driven program designed to complement existing highway research programs. SHRP 2 focuses on applied research in four areas: Safety, to prevent or reduce the severity of highway crashes by understanding driver behavior; Renewal, to address the aging infrastructure through rapid design and construction methods that cause minimal disruptions and produce lasting facilities; Reliability, to reduce congestion through incident reduction, management, response, and mitigation; and Capacity, to integrate mobility, economic, environmental, and community needs in the planning and designing of new transportation capacity.
SHRP 2 was authorized in August 2005 as part of the Safe, Ac-countable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). The program is managed by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) on behalf of the National Research Council (NRC). SHRP 2 is conducted under a memo-randum of understanding among the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the National Academy of Sciences, parent organization of TRB and NRC. The program provides for competitive, merit-based selection of re-search contractors; independent research project oversight; and dissemination of research results.