On the Cutting Edge: SHRP2

High-tech looking gears, lines, and elements overlaid over an image of heavy traffic.

Political candidates. Celebrity gossip. Criminal cases. The kind of fascinating stuff that usually makes news headlines and Twitter feeds.

But have you ever heard of the federal transportation initiative that could prevent millions of roadway fatalities, help put the kibosh on traffic jams, make a huge dent in the greenhouse effect, and save billions in American taxpayer dollars?

In case you haven’t been introduced, you should definitely get the 411 on the Second Strategic Highway Research Project (SHRP2).

Mandated by Congress in 2005, SHRP2 is a partnership between the United States Federal Highway Administration, the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies (TRB), and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Its purpose? To confront the challenges facing our national transportation network head-on, and to ensure a healthy transportation network for the next generation.

Deteriorating roads and bridges, nationwide traffic congestion, environmental concerns, and roadway fatalities are just a few major areas being focused on by SHRP2 scientists and stakeholders. And though it’s not making daily headline news, SHRP2 is sure to have an impact on all of our daily lives.

Operating on a research budget of $224 million, SHRP2 has launched over 100 state-of-the-art transportation projects since 2007. These projects have resulted in scientific breakthroughs in the key areas of transportation safety, productivity, efficiency, and reliability. That is, transportation is going to become safer and faster across the nation.

New construction techniques that dramatically shorten road closing times. Tech that can reduce traffic jams without adding more lanes. Bridges that can be assembled in days instead of months or years. A better understanding of what causes car accidents—including better ways to prevent them. These are just a few of the tools now being introduced across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico thanks to SHRP2. And it’s just the beginning.

To learn more about SHRP2 and how it will affect you, check out this video released by AASHTO. Or visit the FHWA, AASHTO, or TRB websites.

Be sure to keep following Fast Forward for the latest transportation industry news and info!

Aaron Mack
Fast Forward: Volume 3 Number 1 - National Transportation Week