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FHWA and FEHRL Sign Memorandum of Cooperation

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Recently, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories (FEHRL) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to establish a business protocol aimed at optimizing collaboration. The document, signed by FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez and FEHRL President Joris Al, sets forth a strategy for working together that offers the possibility of extending the reach of resources and enhancing the quality of research products. In October 2009, FHWA became an Associate of FEHRL, a registered international association with a permanent Secretariat based in Brussels, Belgium. FEHRL, which is engaged in road engineering research and other topics, provides a coordinated structure for the interests of more than 30 European national research and technical centers, and other associated institutes from around the world.

The business protocol is expected to advance cooperative efforts to improve highway transportation research results in the United States by capitalizing on points of synergy and knowledge sharing between member and associate research laboratories; allowing development and implementation of innovations and highway techniques that are identified by the organizations to be brought to fruition more quickly because of the enhanced efforts placed on those activities; supporting technologies, such as the prefabricated bridge element systems mobile transporters, which were first identified in Europe, to be brought to the United States more quickly; allowing development of methods and materials first identified in the United States to have greater markets; establishing the framework for specific collaboration; and leveraging investments of common areas of interest identified in FHWA’s program plans and roadmaps with FEHRL’s Strategic European Road Research Programme.

Both organizations have already identified projects that are farther along by the other organization, and collaboration will provide greater results for reduced research funding. For example, work underway in Europe on pavement friction could be leveraged for nominal FHWA investment and achieve greater value for FHWA’s research investment. Each project identified for joint collaboration will have a separate agreement to specify the work effort, funding, and coordination activities. Visit the FEHRL website at www.fehrl.org to see the capabilities of the member and associate countries.

The legal authority to establish and carry out an international research coordination and collaboration effort is provided to FHWA in 23 U.S.C. § 506. For more information, contact Debra Elston, 202-493-3181, debra.elston@dot.gov.

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