EAR Program Research Results: Updated through 2016
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EAR Program Research Results: Updated through 2016

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  • Abstract:
    The Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program addresses the need for longer term, higher risk research with the potential for long-term improvements to transportation systems—improvements in planning, building, renewing, and operating safe, congestion-free, and environmentally sound transportation facilities. The EAR Program seeks to leverage advances in science and engineering that could lead to breakthroughs for critical, current, and emerging issues in highway transportation—where there is a community of experts from different disciplines who likely have the talent and interest in researching solutions and who likely would not do so without EAR Program funding. Broad scientific participation and extensive coverage of advanced ideas and new technologies are secured by engaging stakeholders throughout the EAR Program’s processes—not only in identifying and scoping topics, but also in ensuring the technical quality of sponsored research through expert panels and in communicating research results. This catalog of results documents the output of that effort, a critical link in the chain of research, development, and deployment of new technology and practices necessary for the United States to have the best transportation system in the world for decades to come. The EAR Program focuses investments in areas where changes in science and engineering can dramatically lead towards making the highway system safer, more durable, and more efficient: Connected Highway and Vehicle System Concepts; Breakthrough Concepts in Materials Science; Human Behavior and Travel Choices; Technology for Assessing Performance; New Technology and Advanced Policies for Energy and Resource Conservation. The results of EAR Program-funded projects may include new fundamental insights about how they can be applied in highway transportation. These projects may lead to new research methods, models, or data that can accelerate applied research or to new system concepts or prototypes, including laboratory testing and, possibly, limited field testing. The EAR Program does not fund projects through commercialization or deployment. Rather, results must be taken up by the research community, with the support of other funding sources. FHWA is committed to transitioning the results of EAR Program-funded projects and takes an active role in demonstrating results to audiences critical to continuing the research and development cycle. Through eight solicitations, the EAR Program has awarded 79 projects (27 of which are ongoing as of September 2016) involving both government and academic researchers. These projects represent the investment of $76 million in FHWA funds and leverage $28 million in matching funds. The following pages contain summary descriptions of the results of selected, recently completed research investigations.
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