Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

What is your definition of a research project?

The database contains research, development, and technology projects as defined below*:

    Research — A systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. Research is classified
    as either basic or applied according to the objectives of the sponsoring agency.
    Basic research — Basic research is defined as systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects
    of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications towards processes or products in mind.
    Applied research— Applied research is defined as systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means
    by which a recognized and specific need may be met.
    Development — Development is defined as systematic application of knowledge or understanding, directed toward the production of useful
    materials, devices, and systems or methods, including design, development, and improvement of prototypes and new processes to meet
    specific requirements.
    Technology: Demonstration projects and other related activities associated with research and development activities.**

Isn’t this database duplicating the Transportation Research Board’s Research-in-Progress (RiP) database?

No. The RiP database is a central repository for active transportation research underway in the United States and internationally, while the USDOT
Research Hub is focused only on USDOT-sponsored research. While RiP does contain some USDOT-sponsored projects, up until now many
USDOT research programs have not been represented. The USDOT Research Hub initiative has therefore focused on obtaining information on the
USDOT-sponsored research programs that have not been represented in RiP. TRB and USDOT have agreed to exchange project records on a regular
basis to ensure that both databases contain a comprehensive account of USDOT's research portfolio. While the basic design and functionality of the
USDOT Research Hub is similar to that of RiP, there are several important differences between the two databases that are summarized in the table

TRB’s Research in Progress Database

USDOT Research Hub

Federal, State, and other forms of sponsored research included

USDOT-sponsored research only

Focused primarily on active (ongoing) research projects. Project records up to approximately 10 years old are retained in the database.

Active projects and projects completed after 9/30/2008 only

Final reports and other research products provided in a separate (TRID) database which is not linked to project records

Final reports and other research products linked to project records

No information on research impacts

Information on research impacts included


Why isn’t my research program/project included in the database?

The USDOT’s research investment is very large – typically in excess of $1 billion per year. The database represents Office of the Assistant Secretary for
Research and Technology (OST-R)’s best effort at capturing a comprehensive account of the Department’s research portfolio at the project level. We intend
to continually improve the coverage of the database over time. If you know of a program or project that is USDOT-sponsored and should therefore be included
in the database, please let us know.


What is the difference between a Sponsor and a Manager?

The project “sponsor” is the USDOT agency that is the original source of funding for the project, while the project “manager” is the organization that
manages the program through which the project is funded (other federal and non-federal organizations may also co-sponsor a project). In most
cases, the project is sponsored and managed by the same USDOT agency. However, in some cases the organization managing the research
is different from the sponsoring agency. Examples include the various Cooperative Research programs, which are sponsored by USDOT
agencies but managed by the Transportation Research Board.


Why is information often missing from the project records?

Field coverage is highly variable across the database. The database collects information from a wide-range of sources. Some sources match
closely to the kinds of information required to populate the USDOT Research Hub fields, while other sources do not. We have populated as many
fields as possible using the existing data sources at our disposal.


Why aren’t Performer contact details provided in the database?

A significant amount of the data provided in the USDOT Research Hub comes from internal USDOT databases. It was not considered appropriate
to provide Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as emails and phone numbers, of people working within other, non-Federal organizations,
if this information is not already in the public domain. In this case, only the Performer organization name, business address, and point of contact
name have been provided. Performer emails and phone numbers are included in the database if this information already appears on a
public facing website.


Where can I find out more about USDOT and each of its Operating Administrations?

Weblinks to further information are provided below:


USDOT Agencies:

* Not represented in the database


Are there any other sources of information on USDOT-sponsored research and other transportation research in the U.S?

Transportation Research Board:


Is the search engine capable of full Boolean search functionality?

Yes. The search engine is capable of a variety of search syntax options including Boolean searching, phrase searching, truncation, wildcards,
and word stemming. For more information click here.