Breakout #22

Breakout Session #22

Can Our Research Processes Keep Up In An Age of Automated Vehicles and Other Transformational Technologies

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Room: Union Square 19 & 20


  • Mark Norman, Transportation Research Board
  • Myra Blanco, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
  • Tammy Trimble, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
  • Jason Bittner, ARA


The goal of this session will be to identify steps that agencies, TRB and others can take to help enhance the abilities of transportation agencies to conduct and deliver quality research within timeframes consistent with the pace of rapidly evolving transformational technologies, especially automated vehicle technology. Participants will address the following questions:

  • What are the roadblocks faced by public agencies in conducting research and delivering research results?
  • Are there options for more rapid response research being employed in the private sector, academia, and other sectors that public agencies might implement to overcome these roadblocks?
  • What measures can be taken to help ensure the quality of the research results when employing accelerated research processes?

Session Description
A rapidly advancing transportation technology tsunami presents huge challenges and tremendous opportunities for the public sector. If transportation agencies are to facilitate innovation while at the same time protecting public interest, many questions need to be answered. A dynamic, robust, and timely research program can help provide these answers.

Yet, under our traditional research processes, it typically takes years from the inception of a research problem statement to the issuance of the final research report. There are many good reasons for this. However, we need to ask ourselves if this traditional model can continue to meet our needs in this age of rapid change. If not, what can be done about it?

This session will build upon prior discussions and efforts underway to address changes to these processes. The session will engage attendees in a discussion of what the next steps need to be to advance transformational technologies in our current processes and identify new activities to accelerate research implementation.

Speakers: Myra Blanco (VTTI) and Mark Norman (TRB), “Transformational Technologies: Can Our Research Processes Keep Up?”
Facilitator: Jason Bittner (ARA)
Note takers: Mark Norman (TRB) and Tammy Trimble (VTTI)


Overview Presentation (where we are and findings to date)

Facilitated Discussion

  • Develop Actions – this will be through a brainstorming and list from each area:
    • Obtain Leadership Support; Redefine “Project”; Parallel tasking; demonstrations; Scenario Planning, Others?


Facilitated Discussion continues

  • Identify Priorities and Champions
    • Using a nominal group technique identify tangible items to compile into a 2016-2017 work plan
  • Generate list of next steps
    • Identify opportunities to highlight in a TRB E-Circular to be made available to the transportation research community


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