Since the early 1990s, scientists and engineers at nonprofit research and development organization Battelle have worked with the USDOT’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to improve the safety of motorists on the country’s roads. Battelle has now announced two recent contract wins that will allow it to continue to help the FHWA operate the USA’s highways, manage traffic and highway operations, and reduce crashes.
The world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization, with over 22,000 employees at more than 60 locations globally, Battelle has won two indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contracts that will serve as the foundation for the extended and expanded collaboration. One, with the FHWA’s Office of Operations, is a continuation of a contract that Battelle has held for the past 15 years and now has been renewed. This new, five-year, US$132m award allows Battelle to bid on projects including research on connected vehicles, work zones, congestion management, freight, commercial vehicles, weather, and other topics that affect traffic management and operations.
The second ID/IQ is a brand new contract mechanism with the FHWA’s Office of Safety Research and Development. The new five-year, US$50m contract allows Battelle to bid on projects related to human factors, roadway geometry, and data analysis with a primary focus on research that supports highway design. For both contracts, Battelle is the prime contractor, leading large teams of university researchers, small and large businesses, and independent consultants. Both contracts will require expertise in analytical and empirical activities such as surveys, technology scans, literature reviews, task and operations analyses, focus groups, modeling, on-road studies, laboratory studies, and analyses of existing data sets.
The science of managing efficient operations and designing safe highways has advanced to the point that many of today’s incidents and crashes involve very complex interactions between road users, vehicles, and the built highway environment. Battelle recognizes that developing effective solutions requires a multi-disciplinary, multi-organizational approach.
“The focus will be on crash reduction: why do crashes happen, and what can we do about them?,” said John Campbell, Battelle’s program manager for both ID/IQ contracts.
“We’ll be examining traditional safety issues, such as sign design and location, roadway characteristics, and driver distraction, as well as new safety issues introduced by connected vehicles and automated vehicles.
“We’ll be focused on research and countermeasure development for long-term safety issues crashes that take people’s lives. One common feature across both ID/IQs will be a continual collaboration between research teams, FHWA staff, and state departments of transportation.”