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Office of Policy & Governmental Affairs

Image Credit: Internal DOT Library

Office of International Programs

Multinational Relations Programs

Global Benchmarking Program

A group of people standing in front of an open book, a computer monitor, and a globe.
Image Credit: Adobe Stock


Hana Maier
Program Manager

Email: Hana.Maier@dot.gov

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), through its Office of International Programs (HPIP), funds and administers the Global Benchmarking Program (GBP). The purpose of the GBP is to identify, evaluate, document, and implement proven foreign innovations that have the potential to significantly improve highway system performance, mobility, and safety in the US. This is accomplished through focused study missions that connect FHWA and US subject matter experts with transportation advances and worldwide counterparts. The focus of the program is on the implementation of key study findings and recommendations in the U.S. context. Ultimately, the goal of the GBP is to improve safety, avoid duplicative research, reduce overall costs, accelerate improvements to our transportation system, and ensure our Nation’s transportation system is world-class.

GBP studies directly support the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and FHWA strategic goals and address topics of high interest to the U.S. transportation community. Study proposals are submitted through FHWA’s core program offices and include a risk analysis to identify potential pitfalls and help ensure that studies selected for the program produce the highest level of benefit and value. Final selections are made by the FHWA Administrator, with approximately two GBP studies being conducted each year.

After a study topic has been selected, a team of experts in the subject area of the study is formed. Studies typically include 5-7 team members. These include: 2 FHWA representatives (with one serving as Team Lead), 2 State Department of Transportation representatives (selected by the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials and funded through the Transportation Research Board), and a Report Lead responsible for documenting study findings. As determined by FHWA, study teams may also include additional stakeholders (e.g., local government, association, and academia representatives) that have an important role with respect to the subject area of the study and the implementation of study findings. Their participation is funded by their respective organizations or, in some cases, by FHWA.

The study team travels abroad to observe innovations firsthand and to engage in face-to-face, in-depth exchange in countries with significant knowledge and experience in the subject area of the study. The locations visited are determined by preliminary research (desk review) designed to advise the team on the most appropriate, promising, and relevant countries to visit abroad. Study teams typically visit 2-3 countries in one week. During the study, information collection and discussions with foreign counterparts are guided by targeted questions submitted to hosting agencies before the team’s visit. Following study travel, the team evaluates its findings and develops a comprehensive study report that is made available to the U.S. highway transportation community.

The most critical element and primary goal of the GBP is the implementation of key findings and recommendations derived from the studies. This goal is fundamental to the program's success. Toward this end, each study includes the development of a study report to inform relevant partners and stakeholders of study findings, as well as an implementation plan that outlines strategies for communicating, promoting, and implementing key study findings and recommendations in the U.S.

Global Benchmarking Reports:

Work is underway on the following Global Benchmarking studies:

The purpose of this study is to learn how other countries have successfully integrated Green Public Procurement methodologies into their transportation sector procurement process to help curb Green House Gas (GHG)/carbon emissions and ensure more environmentally friendly infrastructure practices.

The goal of the study is to leverage existing international knowledge and experience and provide State transportation agencies with strategies they can adapt based on their needs and requirements to help lower GHG emissions from the services they procure to build and maintain transportation assets.

Bridge strikes are among the most common causes of bridge damage – ranked as the second most common cause for bridge failures in the US behind hydraulic reasons. Oversized trucks, or the inadvertently raised portions of cargo such as dump beds or crane booms, frequently strike bridges and tunnels, causing significant damage to infrastructure, traffic delays, and rerouting of traffic to remove the truck and repair damage. At worst, bridges can fail, resulting in deaths and injuries and costly economic and quality of life impacts for entire regions until the facility can be reopened to traffic.

The purpose of this study is to (1) identify and evaluate proven countermeasures, emerging practices and research plans, and technologies used in other countries to reduce the incidence and consequences of trucks striking bridges and tunnels; (2) provide an understanding of effective mechanisms used to deploy these strategies; (3) identify better data collection and connection frameworks to aid in decision-making; and (4) bring this information to US states to advance the state of the practice.

Environmental parameters such as temperature and precipitation are inputs in material selection and roadway design methodologies. With climate change altering future environmental conditions and the frequency, severity, and intensity of extreme natural events, transportation asset deterioration rates may accelerate unpredictably. This deterioration, in turn, can hinder mobility. Maintaining mobility is critical for quality of life and national security.

This study will examine international best practices for designing, constructing, and maintaining roadways that are resilient to the impacts of changes in climate and extreme natural events. The goal of the study is to enhance the resilience of road infrastructure in the US by ensuring transportation agencies have effective tools for building and maintaining roadways that can withstand harsher conditions and recover from extreme events – providing mobility, safety, sustainability, and wise stewardship of resources. In addition, the study is expected to help reduce research and infrastructure life-cycle costs for transportation agencies and avoid the duplication of effort that could occur amongst states conducting this research without guidance on lessons learned overseas.

Page last modified on July 8, 2024
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