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Section 3: Types of Research

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Transportation Research

RTI bases its research on the areas listed below. Depending on the project, the areas of research fall into the following Functional Area category. 23 USC 505 allows for the eligibility requirements and law for the benefit of Federal Highway Administration. The state requirement however, is managed by the following Texas Education Code below and the outcomes benefit TxDOT. Each are necessary and reasonable for the Program.

Chapter 150: Transportation Research of the Education Code allows for TxDOT to contract with universities of higher education. Chapter 150 provides for the types of research relating to transportation, including economics, planning, design, construction, maintenance, or operation of transportation facilities.

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Functional Areas include the following:

Applied and Basic Research — The program has traditionally been drawn from problems that need solutions and concentrates on achieving results that can be applied rapidly to improve procedures and materials. Basic research, to understand underlying processes and phenomena, is also important and is supported in the research program. As referenced in 23 CFR §420.203, Research and Development means all research activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are performed by non-Federal entities. The term research also includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function.

Research – is a systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. “Development” is the systematic use of knowledge and understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes.

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Research Involving Development Information Technologies

Many research projects include the development of simple automated tools to be delivered to TxDOT; much like an advanced end-user might develop. While automated tools and applications are a natural outcome of some research projects, the purpose of the research program is not to fund projects whose sole or predominant objective is the acquisition, development, maintenance, or enhancement of new or existing hardware or software.

Projects with IT require prior approval. No project with IT development will be executed unless approved by TxDOT’s Information Management Division.

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Performing Research for TxDOT

Any Texas state-supported senior college or university may perform research — It is TxDOT’s policy that research projects be open to competition among all Texas state-supported senior colleges, universities, and research agencies, referred to collectively in this manual as Universities, that have an interest and expertise in a specific project.

The Research and Technology Implementation Division - maintains a list of Texas state-supported universities who have named research liaisons, and sends requests for proposals (RFPs) and other program announcements to those liaisons. Joint projects, in which two or more universities pool expertise on a single project, are encouraged.

Other Texas state and local agencies — Texas state and local agencies may conduct projects for which they have expertise, if the expertise is not otherwise available at a Texas state-supported university.

Federal agencies — Federal agencies such as USGS may conduct research projects for TxDOT.

Private firms and other private entities — Private sources are rarely requested to conduct research projects for TxDOT. The Texas Legislature provided for the development of the cooperative programs between TxDOT and Texas state-supported Universities. The intent was to develop a program that would benefit the State of Texas as a whole through the strengthening of both TxDOT and the participating Universities. Therefore, it has been TxDOT policy to honor the intent of the Legislature and restrict the majority of the program to our state-supported University partners.

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