International Highway Technology Scanning Program
The Scan Process
FHWA, through its Office of International Programs (OIP), is responsible for administering the scanning program. This responsibility includes managing and directing a contractor that assists and supports FHWA in carrying out scans in all of their phases, which include:
- Pre-Scan Planning;
- Assessment of Innovations;
- Scan Report Development;
- Implementation Plan Development; and
- Implementation and Tracking of Scan Findings
- Identification of Scan Co-Chairs: Each scan team includes an FHWA and AASHTO co-chair. The FHWA co-chair is identified by FHWA and the AASHTO co-chair is identified by AASHTO. Shortly after their appointment, the scan co-chairs participate in an initial planning session. This step essentially begins the scan process.
- Selection of a Report Facilitator: Scan report facilitators are identified jointly by the FHWA and AASHTO co-chairs. The report facilitator is vital to the scan's subsequent success. He/she provides subject expertise and reporting support to the scan team during scan preparation, travel, report preparation, and; in some cases, implementation phases of a scan.
- Selection of Scan Team Members: FHWA team members are selected by FHWA. State DOT team members are selected by AASHTO. Possible participation by one academic or U.S. public sector representative on the team, whose travel will be funded by the joint program, is determined by the co-chairs in consultation with AASHTO and FHWA. U.S. private sector representatives and foreign transportation agency representatives may also participate on a scan at their own expense. Their participation is solicited through a letter of invitation to appropriate private sector professional organizations or associations. Unless approved by FHWA and AASHTO, the final scan team should not exceed twelve members.
The composition of a scanning team is vital to the scan study's subsequent impacts on technology adoption. Team members are not only selected based on their expertise in the area being investigated, but also on their ability to inform their peers and the domestic highway community of what they have learned abroad and to catalyze the implementation of new technology. The goal is to provide firsthand awareness of foreign transportation technologies and methods to leaders, of both public agencies and industry, who then stimulate the introduction of foreign innovations within their organizations.
- Selection of Countries to Visit: A "desk study" is conducted on all scans to assist the scan team in identifying the most appropriate and promising foreign countries to visit. A desk study involves literature reviews, web searches and interviews with subject matter experts to determine which countries and foreign institutions would be appropriate for the team to visit. Generally, the desk study is conducted by the team's report facilitator.
- Scan Team Organization Meeting: A team organization meeting is held at least five months before the scan team travels abroad. Prior to the meeting, team members provide input to the report facilitator on draft amplifying questions. The purpose of the organization meeting is to: review scan procedures; finalize amplifying questions; determine countries to be visited; identify who will serve on the implementation sub-team; discuss initial scan implementation concepts and plans and determine next steps as needed, including the identification of dates for the post-scan reassembly meeting.
- Pre-Scan Coordination: During the period between the organization meeting and travel abroad, the scan contractor undertakes detailed planning in preparation for the scan including: coordination with foreign agencies; arranging team air travel and lodging, organizing logistical support that will be required for the team abroad; and developing the scan itinerary.
- Pre-Scan Conference Call: Approximately two weeks prior to traveling abroad, the scan team holds a conference call. During the call, the scan contractor updates the team on the foreign programs and logistical arrangements and the co-chairs finalize team assignments.
Assessment of Innovations
A scan is typically 15 days in duration. Teams normally visit four or five countries during that timeframe. Teams are escorted throughout this phase by the scan contractor, who handles all logistical aspects of the team's travel. Scans include a mid-tour team meeting so that the team can discuss their progress and develop strategies for the remaining portion of the scan. Scans also include a final team meeting (all day), during which the team develops their initial conclusions and recommendations.
Scan Report Development
Executive Summary and Powerpoint Presentation: A short summary (approximately 5-7 pages) of findings, recommendations, and preliminary implementation plans is prepared by the report facilitator, with input from scan team members. The summary, due one month after the scan team returns, is used to inform the domestic highway community about scan findings prior to the publication and distribution of the scan report.
A general PowerPoint presentation is also prepared by the report facilitator, with input from scan team members, one month after the conclusion of the scan. Scan team members use the presentation, which is 15-20 minutes in length, over the coming months to inform the domestic highway community about scan findings.
Scan Report: The FHWA, through its contractor, coordinates and supervises the timely production of a comprehensive and quality report for each scan. The FHWA contractor is responsible for editing, designing, and formatting the scan report according to FHWA's instructions and specifications. FHWA is responsible for publishing and distributing the report.
Implementation Plan Development
Approximately two months after returning to the U.S., the scan team re-assembles for a one and one half day meeting in Washington, D.C. The meeting involves the team working collectively to finalize the executive summary, the Powerpoint presentation, the first draft of the team's formal report and the team's Scan Technology Implementation Plan (STIP). The meeting is coordinated and led by the scan contractor (implementation specialist) and includes the participation of all team members and the COTR. Representatives from FHWA, AASHTO and NCHRP may also participate in the meeting.
The final portion of the reassembly meeting includes a presentation by the scan team to representatives from FHWA, AASHTO and NCHRP on scan findings and planned implementation activities.
Implementation and Tracking of Scan Findings
The implementation of scan findings is the ultimate goal of the scanning program. This goal cannot be achieved without the active participation of scan team members and the commitment of FHWA, AASHTO and NCHRP.
The FHWA contractor provides implementation expertise and guidance to the scan team during the pre-scan planning period. After the scan, the contractor assists the scan team in organizing their final thoughts and drafting a formal implementation plan (Scan Technology Implementation Plan - STIP) with implementation recommendations, including a request for implementation seed money (as available) through the program. This request is provided to FHWA, AASHTO and NCHRP for review. FHWA, AASHTO and NCHRP jointly approve STIP funding requests, based on the criteria established by FHWA.
The scan contractor also tracks and documents the U.S. implementation of foreign practices and technologies, including resulting benefits, from the various scans. This includes the preparation of a report that is updated and submitted to FHWA according to the specifications and time frames established by FHWA.