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Measuring Effectiveness in Transportation

Deb Niemeier

The notion of measuring translation effectiveness is well embedded in the field of health sciences. Less research has been performed on how well engineering research, both basic and applied, has been integrated into practice. This is particularly true for transportation engineering. Within this arena, there are multiple avenues of research including basic science (e.g., the translation of chemical innovations into pavement design), planning (e.g., managing the relationship between land use and transportation improvements), and design (e.g., congestion pricing or redesign of intersections). This talk focuses on questions associated with how to assess the effectiveness of the translation of engineering research knowledge to practice through the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). The NCHRP issues well over 50 reports a year, many of them performed by consultants, through which advances in engineering research are made available to practitioners. I will step through the methods that I am considering for analyzing these reports and the potential problems that arise in testing various hypotheses.