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Long Range Planning Division
Research & Policy Office

Research & Policy Office
James K. Polk Building, Suite 900
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0344
Phone: 615.253.6301
Fax: 615.532.8451

Research Program Coordination, Communication, and Deployment

The purpose of the TDOT research program is to develop, conduct and implement research initiatives for the department.  All research should in some way complement TDOT’s strategic direction, in order to further the department’s stated goals and values.

TDOT’s Research Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which is comprised of TDOT directors, has the primary responsibility of assessing the submitted problem statements and making funding recommendations.  TDOT Executive Leadership reviews the recommendations of the TAC and approves funding for the selected projects.

The Transportation Research Office assumes responsibility for the overall administration, marketing and financial aspects of the research program.  Project sponsors and their assembled monitoring teams (comprised of subject matter experts) are responsible for monitoring the technical progress and appropriateness of the research as well as the resulting implementation.  The Transportation Research Office shall be responsible to review proposed topics for duplication by other DOT's and post TDOT's research final reports on FHWA's TRIS (Transportation Research Information System) website.

The Transportation Research Office shall ensure that program monitoring and reporting is accomplished as defined in 23 CFR 420.117 with reporting as defined in paragraph (b) to be submitted on a quarterly basis. 

Research Project Selection

TDOT’s research projects are selected in the following areas:

  • Planning and Environment
  • Traffic and Safety
  • Pavement and Maintenance
  • Structures and Construction

All of the projects selected support Governor Haslam’s priorities for the State of Tenneessee.  Our current projects were selected because they will increase the organizational efficiency of TDOT, increase public safety, and/or promote economic development in the State of Tennessee.

Research Providers

TDOT’s research projects are completed by universities in Tennessee.  TDOT currently has contracts with the following universities:

  • East Tennessee State University
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Tennessee State University
  • Tennessee Technological University
  • University of Memphis
  • University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
  • University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • Vanderbilt University

FHWA Peer Exchange Program

TDOT will participate in the FHWA Peer Exchange program by conducting a periodic peer exchange, defined as every five years.   The objective of the peer exchange program is to improve the quality and effectiveness of the Department’s research management processes by sending an outside team of invited top level managers to share best practices and management innovations with each other.  TDOT will follow steps provided in the "FHWA Guidelines for Conducting Peer Exchanges of State DOT Research Programs,” to include but not limited to:  1) selecting and inviting the visiting team, 2) distributing the research manual, 3) planning a 3-4 day visit, and 4) preparing the closeout report.

TDOT hosted a Peer Exchange during FY2013.  The Peer Exchange occurred in Memphis, TN on June 10-13, 2013.  Three state DOTs (Iowa, Florida, and Pennsylvania) participated in the Peer Exchange, and the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute at the University of Memphis assisted with the logistics and facilitation of the meeting.  Since the meeting was held in conjunction with the Council of University Transportation Centers’ Annual Meeting, the theme of the meeting was “Increasing the Effectiveness of DOTs’ Relationships with their UTCs.”  Other topics included effective communication and marketing of research programs and implementation of research results.

For more information, please contact