The end result of a research project is a key performance indicator that allows for program-level evaluation of the Wisconsin Highway Research Program’s ability to provide practical research results to WisDOT. In 2008 WHRP reviewed the outcomes of research conducted since the inception of the program.
Initial evaluation revealed promising results and identified potential areas of improvement. Of the 60 projects completed, 30 percent impacted or validated current practice, an indicator that the program was achieving a moderate level of success under the policies and procedures in place at that time. However, 25 percent of the projects surveyed had no tangible evidence of follow up after completion of the research. This presented an opportunity for WHRP to take proactive steps in promoting review and action on completed research projects.
As a result of these findings, WHRP modified policies to encourage consideration of past efforts in each Technical Oversight Committee’s annual meeting to prioritize research ideas. The intent of this policy was for the TOCs to identify the activities required to implement completed research projects. This could include additional research, pilot projects, or other technology transfer activities. The effects of this policy are provided in the figure below.
Twenty additional projects were completed after the initial analysis, bringing the total number of projects to 80. Comparison between analysis periods indicates that implementation of the new policy resulted in identification of more projects with known outcomes and fewer projects deemed as pending action.
Wisconsin is a leader among states in using this type of analytical approach to monitor project outcomes and using the information to improve program policies and procedures to promote implementation. WHRP intends to update this information annually through discussion with the TOCs in their summer meetings.
WHRP has funded research activities specifically to promote implementation. Links to these projects are provided here.
Flexible pavements – Research implementation activities
Rigid pavements – Research implementation activities
Structures – Research implementation activities
Geotechnics – Research implementation activities