Research Section Services

The Research Section is able to provide several research services in support of all MassDOT Divisions. Any MassDOT employee may submit a request for the following services.

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Annual MassDOT Research Problem Statement Solicitation

The FY 2021 Research Problem Statement Solicitation period is now officially open. Research keeps the Commonwealth on the cutting edge of professional transportation practice and facilitates, supports, and modernizes the work we do on a daily basis. This research is driven by the constantly evolving needs and ideas of MassDOT and MBTA staff. In light of the current challenges facing us all and the effects on the transportation sector, MassDOT and MBTA staff are particularly encouraged to submit research questions exploring the impacts of COVID-19 on transportation in Massachusetts and ways in which we can be more resilient in the future.

The Office of Transportation Planning Research Section opens problem statement submissions to all MassDOT and MBTA employees each year. Submissions selected for research will be developed into research projects conducted by universities, laboratories, and firms across the Commonwealth and are overseen by the Research Section staff. Should your project be selected, you will serve as the Project Champion. Working alongside the researchers and Research Section staff, you will ensure that the results of the research address the most pressing issues facing us as an agency and that the recommendations are readily implementable.

To submit a research project idea, please complete a research problem statement submission form. The submission form and accompanying guide sheet provide detailed directions to help you create a strong proposal.

The Research Section hosted a virtual information session on April 30th. A recording of that session is available for those who may have missed it. A series of four topic area virtual roundtables are planned prior to the project submission date of June 5th. Information on these sessions is provided below. To register for a roundtable, please email Drew Pflaumer of the Research Section.

 

All sessions will run from 10:00-11:00am

  • May 5 - COVID-19 Impacts and Resilience, Roadway Engineering, Safety, and Maintenance
  • May 7 - Engineering, Design, and Asset Management
  • May 12 - COVID-19 Impacts and Resilience, Active Transportation, Mobility, Health, Safety, and Policy
  • May 14 - COVID-19 Impacts and Resilience, Construction, Materials, and Maintenance

Please contact the Research Section if you have any questions or would like additional information. Existing resources on transportation and pandemics are available from the Transportation Research Board.

Additional Resources

2021 Problem Statement Form Instructions

2021 Problem Statement Solicitation Form

 

 

Research Projects

The Research Section conducts an annual Research Problem Statement Solicitation. All MassDOT personnel, with support of their Division leadership, are encouraged to submit their research needs during the Solicitation. Research projects can range in duration from under year to several years, depending on the scope of work. When the next Solicitation is opened, an announcement will be made and the Research Section website will be updated with forms and instructions.

Literature Searches

Unlike full research projects, literature searches may be initiated at any point during the year, but are much more limited in scope. The literature search will include both academic sources and documents gathered from other state DOTs. Assuming there is sufficient published information, the literature search report will include:

  • Approximately 15-20 sources
  • An annotated bibliography
  • A synthesis of the reviewed sources

You should allow around 3 weeks for the literature search report to be delivered. If only a bibliography of sources is needed (no annotation or synthesis), turnaround time could be faster. This should be noted on the form under “desired outcome”.

In order to request a literature search, please contact the Research Section at Planning.Research@dot.state.ma.us to receive a Literature Search Request Form

AASHTO Research Advisory Committee (RAC) Surveys

AASHTO RAC surveys are sent directly to other state DOTs and are designed to solicit information regarding best practices, policies, specifications, etc. You should allow around 3 weeks for the survey results. More information and the results of past surveys can be found on the RAC website.

In order to request an AASHTO RAC survey, please contact the Research Section at Planning.Research@dot.state.ma.us to receive an AASHTO RAC Survey Request Form.

Additional Research Resources

If you are interested in conducting your own transportation research, the following links may be helpful:

  • Transport Research International Documentation (TRID): TRID is a comprehensive bibliographic database containing more than 1 million records of transportation research.
  • Research in Progress (RiP): The RiP Database contains information on more than 13,000 current or recently completed federally-funded transportation research projects.
  • National Transportation Library (NTL): NTL serves as a repository of materials from public, academic, and private organizations.
  • U.S DOT Research HUB: U.S. DOT Research Hub is a searchable online database of USDOT-sponsored research, development, and technology project records.
  • Volpe Technical Resource Center: The Volpe Technical Resource Center is the knowledge repository specific to all Volpe-authored reports, journal articles, and conference papers and presentations.
  • Bureau of Transportation Statistics: BTS provides publications and national statistics on commercial aviation, multimodal freight activity, passenger transportation systems, and transportation economics.
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