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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.

Table of Contents

Annual MassDOT Research Problem Statement Solicitation

The FY 2022 Research Problem Statement Solicitation period is now officially open. The Commonwealth is a national leader in transportation research and practice. This research is driven by your needs and ideas to continually improve and transform the work we do at MassDOT and the MBTA. To participate you do not need to know the answers, just clearly define the problem that MassDOT needs to solve.

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.

A series of four topic area virtual roundtables and a virtual Lunch and Learn for MassDOT and MBTA employees are planned prior to the project submission date of May 24th. Information on these sessions is provided below. To register for a roundtable, please email Drew Pflaumer of the Research Section. A prerecorded informational video overview of the research process is available here.

April 5 – 10:00-11:30am - Roadway Engineering, Safety, and Maintenance

April 7 – 10:00-11:30am - Engineering, Design, and Asset Management

April 13 – 2:00-3:30pm - Active Transportation, Mobility, Health, Safety, and Policy

April 15 – 2:00-3:30pm - Construction, Materials, and Maintenance

April 20 – 12:00-1:00pm – Lunch and Learn for MassDOT and MBTA employees only

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

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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