Identification of Needs for the United States Highway Infrastructure

Posted by Content Coordinator on Thursday, August 1st, 2013


Identification of Nondestructive Evaluation Needs for the United States Highway InfrastructureObjective

This program roadmap presents a list of prioritized nondestructive evaluation (NDE) needs for the United States highway infrastructure as identified by a group of nationally recognized NDE and structural health monitoring (SHM) experts.


On September 27th and 28th, 2012, the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) Office of Infrastructure Research and Development (R&D) held a 2-day workshop in Alexandria, VA, with the purpose of developing a list of prioritized needs regarding nondestructive evaluation for the United States highway infrastructure. This list will be used to determine new research and development activities required to develop a new strategic vision and roadmap for the program. The FHWA Nondestructive Evaluation Technical Working Group (TWG) workshop included nationally recognized experts in the fields of NDE and SHM from Federal and State departments of transportation (DOTs), academia, and industry. This document presents the list of prioritized needs identified by the workshop.

Screen shot 2013-07-31 at 3.39.22 PMBackground

The NDE Program established in 1996 at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center conducts FHWA NDE R&D. Historically, the goals of the program have been to improve the state of the practice for inspection and evaluation of the transportation infrastructure, which includes bridges, tunnels, pavements, and ancillary features such as sign posts and high-mast lighting. The original intent for the program was to act as a resource for State transportation agencies, industry, consultants, and academia concerned with the development, testing, and deployment of innovative NDE technologies.

The current NDE Program has provided State highway agencies with independent evaluation and validation of NDE technologies, developed new sensor technologies, and supplied technical assistance to States exploring the use of these advanced technologies. The program also has applied these technologies in selected situations to assist the States in examining the nature and causes of anomalies or failures of in-service bridges and other ancillary structures. The Nondestructive Evaluation Laboratory, which manages the NDE Program, however, did and does not provide specific testing services nor is it a venue to gain formal approvals of equipment and/or methodologies for work with State DOTs.

The FHWA conducted the NDE Program in partnership with State transportation agencies, industry, consultants, and academia. While addressing the critical needs of the greater transportation community, the program also focused on developing solutions to meet the performance goals of the FHWA Infrastructure Inspection and Management Team; the overall goals of the FHWA Office of Research, Development, and Technology; the strategic goals of FHWA, and the overall mission of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT).

TWG Workshop Input

The goal of the TWG workshop was to create a list of prioritized NDE needs for the Nation’s infrastructure for use in developing an updated strategic vision and roadmap for the FHWA NDE Program.

The TWG identified these needs via presentation of existing and new NDE and structural health monitoring (SHM) methods, techniques, and technologies, along with in depth discussions by nationally recognized experts. The new FHWA NDE Program vision and roadmap should be one that allows the program to continue to improve upon its original goals while simultaneously developing a new vision to lead the NDE community for infrastructure health, maintenance, and repair. The vision and roadmap should include objectives that assist the Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) Program in its long- and short-term goals, and should provide methods to assist States, industry, and academia with their NDE needs. Finally, the vision and roadmap should include the ways and means to reach out to other industries for future development of NDE of structural components, materials, and systems while ultimately satisfying the missions of FHWA and USDOT.

Identification of Nondestructive Evaluation Needs for the United States Highway Infrastructure

Read full fact sheet (PDF) here: Identification of Nondestructive Evaluation Needs

About the Federal Highway Administration
“The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that supports State and local governments in the design, construction, and maintenance of the Nation’s highway system (Federal Aid Highway Program) and various federally and tribal owned lands (Federal Lands Highway Program). Through financial and technical assistance to State and local governments, the Federal Highway Administration is responsible for ensuring that America’s roads and highways continue to be among the safest and most technologically sound in the world.” – See more at:

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