Research and Development 


Research and Development Office

The Research & Development Office oversees transportation-related research for NCDOT. Topics include materials, operations, planning, mobility, safety, structures, human environments, natural environments, and more.​​

In this role, the Office solicits ideas and proposals, oversees selection with a rigorous, multi-step process, and manages all State Planning and Research (SPR Part B) funded research projects. These projects are conducted primarily by in-state colleges and universities. The typical annual program development timeline is below. More details can be found in the documents to the right. Mechanisms are also in place to fund off-cycle projects with SPR Part B and other funds.


Program Timeline V2.png 

The Research and Development Office also offers project management, fiscal and analytical support for internal NCDOT business units conducting research. In addition, the Office also offers data analysis and research implementation support.

National Research Engagement and Library Services

The Office manages NCDOT's relationships with national research bodies including the Transportation Research Board (TRB), Cooperative Research Programs (CRPs, such as NCHRP), Pooled Fund Studies, AASHTO RAC, and University Transportation Centers. (See the National Resources tab for more information)

The​ Research Librarian maintains the State Transportation Library, including both a physical and digital collection. The Library acts as the TRB and AASHTO Publication Gatekeeper for the agency. (See the Library Tab for details).

Contacting the Research Office

Please make use of our Contact Us Form​ or visit our NCDOT directory page for direct contact information. Researchers that are interested in being included on idea and RFP distribution should make a request to be added to the Research Roster and attach or link a current CV.

​​NCDOT Research Projects

Browse and search our comprehensive list of research projects. This knowledge-base is built around NCDOT and partner efforts in transportation research and includes reports and on-going project infomation from 1999 to the present.

View Research Projects

Transportation Research Board (TRB)

TRB is a unit of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), a non-profit organization that provides independent, objective, and interdisciplinary solutions. TRB is not a independent, non-governmental organization and works to provide innovative, research-based solutions to improve transportation.

TRB manages transportation research conducted by the Cooperative Research Programs and produces publications and online resources. TRB also provides advice through policy studies that tackle complex issues of national significance.

Anyone involved with, or interested in, transportation research should create a MyTRB account to connect with TRB committees and access TRB resources. Note that all NCDOT employees receive free access to a huge library of past and present digital and print publications through TRB. NCDOT em;ployees also receive complimentary admission (but not travel costs) to the largest gathering of transportation professionals in the world, the TRB Annual Meeting. This meeting is held in January each year in Washington, DC. Consider volunteering for TRB committee Membership to increase your connection to national peers and resources.

TRB is is also a great resource for free Professional Development Hours for sponsor employees (NCDOT). Please visit the TRB Webinar page and sign up for newsletters and topics of interest to stay informed of upcoming events and PDH opportunities.

​National Cooperative Research Programs 
Cooperative Research Programs (CRPs) are managed by TRB with project selection and oversight from national committees or governing boards. Funding is provided by com​​mitments from State Transportation Agenices (STAs) on an annual basis from their annual State Planning and Research allocation.

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) is the largest program and is overseen by the AASHTO Special Committee on Research and Innovation with input from the AASHTO Research Advisory Committee. Final approval for the annual program comes from the CEOs of the STAs.

Other major cooperative programs exist for Airports and Transit.

CRPs depend on transportation agencies to submit problem statements and volunteers to review ideas and serve on project panels overseeing the research effort. These project panels are made up of members from government, academia and industry. Active participation by NCDOT employees ensures a strong voice in the process.

​Transportation Pooled Fund Program (TPF)
The TPF program is often used when significant or widespread interest is shown in solving transportation-related problems relating to research, planning, and technology transfer activities. Pooled Fund projects may be jointly funded by several federal, state, regional, and local transportation agencies, academic institutions, foundations, or private firms.
To qualify as a pooled fund study, more than one state transportation agency, along with any other partners, must find the subject important enough to commit funds or other resources to conduct the activity. If a subject has been studied previously, a new study should provide novel information that will complement or advance previous investigations of the subject matter.
Any federal, state, regional, or local transportation agency may initiate pooled fund studies. Private companies, foundations, and colleges/universities may partner with any or all of the sponsoring agencies to conduct pooled fund projects. The TPF program differs from the CRPs discussed above in several ways. They are managed by a single "Lead Agency", typically a state or the Federal Highway Administration, rather than TRB, and project selection is on an ad hoc, as needed basis rather than a defined annual schedule.
More information on Transportation Pooled Fund Program (TPF) projects can be found on the Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF) website. To request NCDOT participation in a new or ongoing study, please fill out the request form found to the top right and submit to Research and Development.


About the Library

​The NCDOT Transportation Library was originally created to house meeting agendas and minutes for the State Highway Commission, now the NC ​Board of Transportation. Over time, the library expanded to become a repository of many transportation related documents.

The Collection Includes:
  • Books on many transportation and engineering related topics
  • NCDOT Research Reports
  • Transportation Research Board (TRB) Publications including Transportation Research Records, Special Reports, Cooperative Research Program (CRP) Reports, Syntheses of Practice, Research Results Digests, Web-Only Documents, and Legal Research Digests​
  • AASHTO publications and specifications*
  • Transportation Related Periodicals and Pamphlets
  • Engineering and Construction Manuals
  • Historical newsletters and documents dating to the 1920s (Currently available only in print)
  • Board of Transportation Minutes to the 1950s (Currently only available in Print)
*For details on access to AASHTO Publications (digital and print), such as specifications and design manuals for details on access contact NCDOT Librarian, Lamara Williams-Jones​.

Accessing the Library

The growing collection is searchable through the State Library of North Carolina’s Library Online Catalog (NC Cardinal), and currently consists of approximately 1500 items and resources available to researchers and engineers.
​Contact the NCDOT Librarian, Lamara Williams-Jones, for assistance: 919-707-6665, or use the NCDOT Contact Us Form.
The library is located in Century Center, Building B.

Library Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:30. Since there is only one Librarian, customers should call before visiting the Library.
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North Carolina Transportation Centers of Excellence

In the Summer of 2019 Research and Development advertised for the creation of Transportation Centers of Excellence. These university-based consortium efforts are focused on Advanced Technology (think​​ Connected and Automated Vehicles or CAVs) and novel solutions to mobility and congestion issues. After review by the NC Transportation Innovation Committee (NC-TIC) Executive Committee, it was determined that the three (3) top-rated submissions would be funded.

These Centers officially launched in February 2020, with a full slate of forward-looking research projects, made up of a diverse group of the leading universities in the state.

Details and documentation for each center can be found on their website or on the NCDOT Project Page.

​​​​ Center Name​​​​ Topic Area Director Lead Institution
​​NC Transportat​ion Center of Excellence in Advanced Technology Safety and Policy (TSAP) Advanced Technology
Randa Radwan UNC Chapel Hill Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC)

​​Peer Institutions​:  Appalachian State, NC Central, NC A&T, UNC Charlotte

TSAP Homepage
NCDOT TSAP Project Page​ ​ 

NC ​Transportation Center of Excellence on Mobility and Congestion Mobility and Congestion Billy Williams North Carolina State University Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE)

​​Peer Institutions: Duke University, Fayetteville State University, NC A&T, UNC-CH

TCE - Mobility and Congestion Homepage

NCDOT Congestion and Mobility Center Project Page

NC Transportation Center of Excellence on Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technology (NC-CAV) Advanced Technology Ali Karimoddini North Carolina A&T State University

​​Peer Institutions:  NC State University / ITRE, UNC Charlotte

NC-CAV Homepage
NCDOT NC-CAV Project Page​ ​ 

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