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Oregon Research Advisory Committee Priorities

These priorities are used to help identify research during our FY 2016 research project selection process.

  • Research, development and technology transfer projects should result in a product that will be used to address a well-defined problem in transportation. In other words we are looking for projects that lead directly to an improvement in agency’s ability to provide a safe, efficient transportation system that supports economic opportunity and livable communities for Oregonians.
  • Project selection should achieve balance with regard to addressing short, medium and longer term ODOT needs
    • Short term is defined generally as research topics that can be addressed within 12 months, and may be addressed with a quick response or technology transfer project. Quick response may entail the use of funding set-asides to allow project initiation outside the annual project selection cycle.
    • Medium term needs are defined as problems in need of an implementable solution within 4 years, constrained by what we know about likely funding availability.
    • Long term needs are defined as significant problems in need of a solution beyond four years. These projects may entertain solutions which could not be implemented given today’s funding constraints.
  • In particular, research ideas should promise to deliver a benefit to transportation in at least one of the following areas:
    • Enhance transportation and/or employee safety.
    • Enhance mobility and/or access for citizens of Oregon
    • Improve ODOT’s ability to protect, sustain, or enhance the natural and cultural environment.
    • Improve the reliability of Oregon’s transportation system.
    • Incorporate methods and materials that extend the service life and/or reduce the life cycle cost of infrastructure investments.
    • Lead to other efficiencies, cost savings and cost avoidance

Furthermore, the committee will be looking favorably at project ideas that support or advance the objectives described in ODOT’s “Intermodal Oregon” initiative.


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ETG Members:
Timothy Rogers, Solomon Yim,
Jeff Swanstrom, Bruce Johnson,
Scott Nelson, Matthew Mabey
Structures ETG Problem Statement Review Considerations
The Structures Expert Task Group is responsible for reviewing research problem statements pertaining to structural issues of bridges, tunnels, and viaducts. Particular high priority research areas are the following:
  • Determining the load capacity of in-place structural elements and using high performance materials to increase the integrity of those elements.
  • Developing non-destructive evaluation technologies for monitoring the real-time behavior and long-term health of structures such as post-tensioning strands in metal ducts.
  • Improving and characterizing cathodic protection technologies and explaining the factors that lead to premature deterioration.
  • Reducing the impact of earthquakes and tsunamis on bridges.
  • Developing structural component fabrication and connection methods that reduce the construction time and life-cycle costs of bridges.
  • Planning for serviceability of decks, deck joints, and bearings during design and quantifying the benefits of using high performance materials and preservation actions such as cleaning or sealing to increase service life.
  • Reducing the life-cycle costs of bridge decks such as through the use of improved concrete mixes.
 The Structures ETG considers the following criteria when evaluating problem statements:
  • Is the project research?
  • Does the project address a high priority research area identified by the Structures ETG?
  • Has prior research already addressed the issue adequately, or is there research in progress that is investigating the issue?
  • Does the project continue or supplement a project previously sponsored by the Structures ETG?
  • Are there significant barriers to implementing outcomes?
  • Can the project outcomes be applied to many structures?
  • Does the project enhance safety?
  • Does the project improve ODOT’s ability to protect the environment?
  • Do the outcomes improve the reliability and resiliency of Oregon’s transportation system?
  • Does the project extend the service life and/or reduce the life cycle cost of structures?
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Maintenance and Operations

 ETG Members:

Ted Miller, Mike Kimlinger, Galen McGill, John Gambatese, Nathaniel Price, Timothy Swift, Michael Stinson, & Jon Lazarus
The current Oregon Department of Transportation Research Section’s Maintenance and Operations Expert Task Group (MO ETG) research priorities are defined as:
• Optimal operations and utilization of transportation infrastructure.
• Effective roadway and work zone safety, particularly in routine operations.
• Effective and efficient methods to reduce operational delays and bottlenecks.
• Efficient and effective maintenance practices
The scope of the MO ETG has particular focus on ongoing operations. The MO ETG considers and evaluates research concepts that deal with regional and district day-to-day operations, work zone operations, maintenance equipment or materials, safety aspects for maintenance crews, Intelligent Transportation Systems data with focus on operational delays, winter maintenance issues and performance, and emergency response activities.
There are a number of questions that the MO ETG should consider when evaluating statements. They are:
1) Does the research idea address a problem, or need, that the ETG considers pertinent to ODOT’s mission and goals?
a. How likely is the project to align with the priorities and objectives of the Research Advisory Committee?
2) How urgent is the research needed?
a. Will the research be completed quickly enough to affect the targeted issue or problem?
3) What is the value of the potential benefits (economic, ecosystem, cultural, safety, staff time, etc.) compared to the expected cost of the associated research?
4) How much of the department’s resources are affected by the issue? Is this a special case/circumstance or does the problem have a wide-ranging affect?

5) Is it likely that the research will produce a realistic and implementable result for ODOT?
a. Or are there significant barriers to implementing outcomes that are external (e.g. political concerns, public acceptance, requires ORS changes, etc.)?
6) Is there a project champion likely to use the results, either for change or to enforce current practice?
7) How likely are the results to change ODOT’s business practice, or for new business practices, how likely is it that the results will facilitate the way ODOT does something?

8) Does the research idea fit best in the scope of the MO ETG, or is it more appropriate for another ETG to assess the merits of the idea?
9) How does the idea compare with the other ideas under consideration?


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Active and Sustainable Transportation

 ETG Members:

Sheila Lyons, Geoff Crook, Chris Cummings, Bob Melbo, Dinah Van Der Hyde, David Porter, Miguel Figliozzi, Jasmine Harris & Lyn Cornell

The Active and Sustainable Transportation ETG group is responsible for reviewing research problem statements pertaining to issues for the Alternative transportation modes, including:  Bicycle & Pedestrian, Transit, Freight and Rail; as well as alternative energies and sustainable solutions.  Particular areas of interest are as follows:

1. Impact of land use and intermodal connectivity choices on safety and accessibility at the interface of transportation modes, especially impacts on bicycles and pedestrians.
2. Regional passenger rail interconnectivity: Optimizing existing freight railroad infrastructure with new strategic extensions and connections for regional intercity passenger services while retaining freight haulage.
3. Methods for assessing multimodal transportation needs, capacity development, intermodal transfer facilities, resource/supply flow, development of intermodal solutions, and the application of ITS .
4. Development of new technologies and integrated multimodal data warehouses for research and planning use, including new solutions to address gaps in bike/ped data.
5. Developing sustainable transportation methods, including incorporating green technologies, for achieving the Governor’s carbon reduction goals; including assessing the impacts of climate change and climate change adaptation strategies on intermodal transportation.  
6. Develop multimodal methods for expanding the service life and/or reducing the life cycle cost of infrastructure investments, including improvement of intermodal freight facilities.  Also, includes development of more intermodal solutions for congestion management to reduce costs and travel time. 
7. Studies of changes in regional supply chain trends for reducing supply/shipping distances, including opportunities and constraints such as: land use constraints for siting shipping facilities, and conditions that facilitate a variety of modal choices.

The AST ETG will consider the following criteria when evaluating problem statements:
• Does the project improve the safety and reliability of the transportation system?
• Does the project provide environmental benefits or reduce negative environmental impacts?
• Does the project improve the life cycle and/or enhance the resiliency of the transportation system for climate change adaption?
• Are there significant barriers to implementing the research outcomes?
• Will the project provide multimodal/intermodal benefits?  Will the project benefit active travelers and improve accessibility?
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Traffic Safety and Human Factors

ETG Members:

Doug Bish, David Kim, Anne Holder, Robert O'Shea, 

Angela Kargel, Nick Fortey, Dave McKane, & Mark Joerger

Transportation Safety and Human Factors (TraSHFac) ETG  -  Research Priorities
• Safer Roadway Design - Research on speed zone transitions, efficient traffic calming, effective roadway geometry, and meaningful clear zone requirements.
• Safer Roadside Features - Investigations into driver visual issues, visual barrier improvement, and proper application of physical barrier systems, and safer roadside features.
• Safer Traffic Control Devices – Investigations into traffic control devices, proper application of traffic controls, human factors relating to use of traffic controls and improved compliance of traffic controls.
• Safety Data and Analysis – Investigations into safety data quality and accuracy, data analysis tools, and current and emerging data and analysis practices.
• Driver Information and Continuing Education - Effective use of media and enforcement to educate drivers in aspects of driving safety, and providing drivers with information relevant to their safety choices..
• Reducing the number of unsafe drivers on Oregon roads - Research to support the identification and mitigation of unsafe drivers, including those who drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, those who have medical impairments, those who drive in an unsafe manner, and those who do not have the necessary skills or experience to drive safely

Transportation Safety and Human Factors (TraSHFac) ETG – Problem Statement Evaluation Criteria
The Transportation Safety and Human Factors ETG deals with research on safety issues related to roadway design and driver behavior. Bicycle, motorcycle, and pedestrian safety are also within our scope, as is the safety of roadway work zones related to the behavior of drivers passing through those zones.
We have specific interest in research to identify problem drivers, to improve safety of roadside features, to find cost effective mitigation measures for problem road segments, and to provide continuing education on safer driving practices to drivers.
Our criteria for evaluating problem statements have been selected to align with the priorities of the Oregon Research Advisory Committee:
1. Problem statements should address a well-defined issue related to transportation safety.
2. Research that may lead to cost savings, cost avoidance, or other efficiencies are recognized as having added benefit.
3. Research projects should be designed to provide a significant result that ODOT may readily implement to improve the safety of the Oregon transportation system.
4. The length of a proposed research project is a consideration only in that the results must be of potential use to the agency at the time of delivery.
5. Research with greater cost and/or greater risk of an unsuccessful outcome should also provide the possibility of greater reward if successful.
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Construction, Pavements & Materials

ETG Members:
David Trejo, Dean Chess, Anthony Bosen,
Larry Ilg, Joe Squire, Shane Ottosen,
Justin Moderie, Greg Stellmach, Cole Mullis
  • & Norris Shippen  
  • Identify design, materials, construction, and maintenance practices that optimize performance.
  • Develop construction processes that allow construction phase completion to minimize service disruptions.
  • Identify materials and construction practices that optimize application while minimizing environmental and safety risks.
  • Evaluate effective project delivery and quality assurance methods
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Planning and Economic Analysis

 ETG Members:

Erik Havig, Jack Svadlenak, John Baker, Lana Tribbey, Dan Porter, Alex Bettinardi, Jon Makler, Amanda Pietz, Satvinder Sandhu & Tony Knudson



Research can include, but is not limited to:

• Research that identifies best practices, tools, and methods that increase understanding of outcomes and capacity to balance goals and objectives resulting in improved project prioritization and strategic investments.
• Research that creates cost effective, high-value approaches for planning, developing and maintaining intermodal transportation. Increases understanding of mode choice, mode shift, factors that influence supply and demand of modes, and multimodal measures of effectiveness.
• Research that informs long-range planning and policy development including asset and risk management, performance measures, modeling and analysis, case studies, and new planning methods.
• Research that identifies efficiency gains to the user, to the transportation system, and to the agency related through better technology, innovative business practices, data analytics, partnerships, or cost effectiveness.

The Planning and Economic Analysis ETG will address the following considerations when reviewing a problem statement:

How does the project impact the Transportation System?
Will it decrease crashes?
Will it improve capacity and use of existing infrastructure?
Will it improve the efficient movement of people and goods?
Will it facilitate better access to more locations?
Will it improve consistency of on-time performance?
Service life
Will it extend the useful life of the asset?
Life cycle cost
Will it lead to extended life of the facility before repair or replacement is needed?
Natural and cultural environment
Will it enhance or preserve Oregon’s natural and/or cultural environment?
Economic opportunity
Will it improve economic opportunities for Oregonians?
Livable communities
Will it improve the livability of communities?
Will the project be implemented by someone in ODOT?
Positive ROI for Agency
Will the project have a greater benefit than cost for ODOT?


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Geotechnical, Hydraulics & Environmental

ETG Members:

Paul Wirfs, Michelle Eraut,William Fletcher,
Jim Norman, Jon Guido, Alvin Shoblom, & Matthew Mabey

The Geotechnical, Hydraulics and Environmental ETG has identified ten strategic priorities distributed across the three major subject areas covered by the ETG. They are as follows:

  • Cost effective management and monitoring of storm water
  • Performance of high walls
  • Right-of-way vegetation establishment and management
  • Impacts and solutions to roadway induced habitat separation
  • Bank protection and scour
  • Rehabilitation, retrofitting, and replacement of pipes and culverts
  • Lifecycle cost analysis of pipes and culverts
  • Effects of slopes and embankments on the transportation system
  • Practical means and methods for subgrade stabilization
  • Impacts of re-using construction debris and other recycled materials in highway construction and maintenance, including feasibility, long-term financial costs and benefits, and environmental impacts.
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