The Transportation Research Board (TRB) provides leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange. TRB is one of six divisions within the National Research Council, the primary operating agency of the National Academies of Science.
TRB actively engages more than 7,000 engineers, scientists and others in the transportation industry, and is supported by state departments of transportation, as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The Federal Transit Administration maintains an active role with the Transportation Research Board, by providing funding, staff time, and other methods of support. The two primary areas of FTA involvement are the TRB Annual Meeting and the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP).
Every January, more than 10,000 transportation professionals from around the world—including representatives of federal, state, and local government agencies; universities; and industry—gather in Washington, D.C., to participate in the world’s largest forum designed specifically for the formal and informal exchange of information among transportation researchers and practitioners. The Federal Transit Administration is an active participant in this annual event as a transit industry leader.
Approximately 3,000 presentations, including more than 1,500 peer-reviewed technical papers, are given throughout the week of this gathering. In addition, more than 200 TRB standing committees and numerous subcommittees hold open meetings to discuss current research and identify research needs.
The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) was initiated in 1992 by three cooperating organizations:
- The Federal Transit Administration, the program sponsor, which has provided approximately $8 million annually
- The Transit Development Corporation, a nonprofit educational and research organization established by the American Public Transportation Association, which provides program governance through the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee
- The National Academies, acting through TRB, which serves as program manager
Under TCRP, the transit industry develops innovative near-term solutions to operating problems and adapts appropriate new technologies and approaches to help meet the demands placed on the nation’s public transit systems. The program’s research covers topics relating to all aspects of public transportation, including planning, service configuration, equipment, facilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and administrative practices. In recent years, TCRP projects have produced the second edition of the Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual and a series of volumes on transit security-related research that cover a variety of topics.
- TCRPOnline.org contains all TCRP reports published by the Transit Cooperative Research Program. Reports still in print are available for download; printed copies may be ordered free of charge.