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Stormwater Research - Funding Sources

Once a research proposal has gone through the Research Proposal development and evaluation process (pdf 65 kb), there are a number of potential sources of funding. The WSDOT Research Office has suggestions for potential research funding and a list of potential research partners.  

State Program Research Projects

Some WSDOT Programs, Divisions, and Project Offices conduct their own research and experimental activities. The stormwater research program seeks partnerships with these groups on research of mutual interest.  

Experimental Features Program

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Experimental Features program allows state departments of transportation to innovatively use new materials, processes, methods, etc. with a relatively low investment. Experimental Features are incorporated into federal aid highway construction projects to test the suitability of the features as regular construction items.

Federal Discretionary Funds

Research activities may also be funded through federal discretionary funding. Projects are considered by WSDOT Executive Management by February of each year in order to obtain Congressional support for the requested funds. Other transportation partners, such as the state's universities, may also request federal discretionary funds for research. 

Cooperative Research Program

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) is a contract research program that develops near-term, practical solutions to problems facing highway agencies. States contribute State Planning and Research program (SPR) funds to the NCHRP. Research proposals are due each June. 

Synthesis Programs

Both NCHRP and the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) manage Synthesis Studies. These result in reports that are effective means of assembling and disseminating information on current practices. WSDOT may submit proposals for synthesis studies and nominate employees for oversight panels. NCHRP Synthesis proposals are due in January and TCRP Synthesis proposals are due in March of each year.

Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis

The National Academies of Science's Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) programs fund research into promising but unproven innovations in four transportation areas. One of the four, NCHRP's Highway IDEA program, seeks to introduce new technologies, methods, or processes by developing and testing nontraditional and innovative concepts, including application of those from other technology sectors that have not yet been tested in the highway sector. The program considers deserving innovations in any technology area for highway and intermodal surface transportation systems.

Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC)

TRAC is a cooperative transportation research partnership. Its members include the University of Washington, Washington State University, and WSDOT. Member organizations support TRAC to coordinate transportation research efforts and develop research opportunities nationally and locally. TRAC's most important function is to link the state, university researchers, and the private sector. Much of TRAC's research is funded by WSDOT. TRAC acts as a liaison, connecting those who need applied research at WSDOT with those best suited for conducting it at the universities. From its offices at the University of Washington in Seattle and Washington State University in Pullman, TRAC coordinates research resources, serves as a focus for student involvement in transportation research, and provides resources such as report editing and graphics. 

Transportation Northwest

TransNow is one of ten regional research centers of the National Transportation Centers Program. Six universities from four northwest states cooperate in this coordinated research and education effort. The consortium includes the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Idaho, Oregon State University, Portland State University, Washington State University, and the University of Washington (consortium lead). TransNow is interested in research and education programs with the theme of “Operations Management and Planning". Sub-areas include traffic operations, transit operations, and intermodal or other-modal operations.

AASHTO Standing Committee on Research and Research Advisory Committee

The AASHTO Standing Committee on Research (SCOR) provides oversight to the transportation research community and develops research priorities for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). The Research Advisory Committee (RAC) includes research managers from each state department of transportation and provides input on research needs and priorities. RAC also facilitates surveys that support research and provides a link between Research Directors. The WSDOT Research Director serves on the RAC.

The Highway Innovative Technology Evaluation Center (HITEC)

The Highway Innovative Technology Evaluation Center (HITEC) is a nationally recognized, first-stop service center and clearinghouse for implementing highway innovation. HITEC conducts impartial performance evaluations for market-ready products where standards or specifications do not exist. HITEC accepts both “high-tech” and “low-tech” products and/or technologies which are intended for use in any aspect of the highway community including design, construction, operation, or maintenance.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Federal Highway Administration Environmental Research Program focuses on balancing concerns for the natural environment while adding value to the community. Areas of research are environmental streamlining, noise, air quality and global climate change, wetlands, water quality and ecosystems, and Tribal government consultation. The FHWA Environmental Research Program Projects Database tracks and documents active and completed research from 1990 to present that has been funded by FHWA ERP.  

Other WSDOT research partners have included:

Research institutions (including universities and other government research labs); state and federal agencies; local governments; non-profit organizations; and private consultants and colleges. These partnerships currently occur on a project-by-project basis but may become programmatic partnerships as needed.