AASHTO Journal, 21 September 2012
By a vote of 45 to 3, the AASHTO Board of Directors last week approved a ballot measure authorizing the use of 4 percent of each state’s State Planning and Research (SP&R) funding for FY 2013 and FY 2014 to support the continued implementation of products from the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2).
In a letter dated September 21, 2012, AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley wrote to Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez to notify FHWA that the measure had passed by more than the 75 percent margin called for by Congress in MAP-21 to provide on-going funding for SHRP2.
“We feel that this official ballot of the AASHTO Board of Directors satisfies the requirements laid out in MAP-21 for determining the percentage of SP&R funds to be used for SHRP2 implementation,” the letter states.
SHRP2 research has been underway for approximately five years. It has focused on four areas: safety, renewal, reliability, and capacity. More than 100 major research projects have been completed to date. The program has been directed by an Oversight Committee, which includes eight state DOT representatives and is chaired by AASHTO President Kirk Steudle. Together with FHWA and Transportation Research Board, the program is ready to move into its implementation phase.
It is anticipated that two-thirds of the implementation funding will pay for product demonstrations. Deployment of the products is being conducted jointly by AASHTO and FHWA, with technical assistance from TRB. Implementation will include significant participation from state transportation departments in demonstrating and piloting new techniques and processes, with funding and technical assistance provided to be an incentive for the early trials. The remaining implementation funding is targeted for educational outreach, communications, IT support, agency support such as tracking and evaluating the demonstrations, and administration of the program.
State DOTs and numerous AASHTO committees provided their expertise in the prioritization of products in the current three-year implementation program, which was jointly endorsed by AASHTO and FHWA this past June. In the months leading up to the recent ballot, AASHTO, FHWA, and TRB provided outreach and information on the SHRP2 program to several AASHTO committees and state DOTs to educate them on the benefits of the program.
The next steps in the process include the continued development of detailed implementation plans for individual products or groups of products. These plans are being developed with strategic and technical input from experts at the state DOTs and other stakeholders.
Additional information on SHRP2 is available at bit.ly/092112SHRP2.