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Chapter 7: Research, Training, and Cooperation


The Ontario Ministry of Transportation works closely with the Ontario Road Builders Association (ORBA), Cement Association of Canada (CAC), and Ready Mix Concrete Association of Ontario (RMCAO), and participates in various Transportation Association of Canada (TAC), FHWA, TRB, ASTM, and AASHTO committees. Research partnerships also exist between the ministry and various universities, including Carleton, Queens, McMaster, the University of Toronto, and the University of Waterloo. These partnerships provide input in developing specifications and carrying out trials for using the MIT-SCAN, precast concrete pavement repairs, noise studies, etc.

The Québec Ministry of Transport interacts on a regular basis with members of the Road Builders Association, the Canadian Cement Association, and Bitume Québec (the asphalt industry's organization in Québec). Industry representatives participate with MTQ personnel on technical committees that discuss contracts, standards, and specifications. For example, MTQ's 2001 policy on pavement type selection was based on 2 years of discussion between government authorities and representatives of the asphalt and concrete industries. MTQ sponsors some research activities by the concrete and asphalt industries in Québec.

MTQ is conducting research on the use of glass fiber-reinforced polymer bars in CRCP, based on a similar study done in Illinois. At the end of a 2006 CRCP project, a set of test sections was constructed with 12 combinations of steel content, slab thickness, and single-versus-double layering of the steel. MTQ is also researching the potential use of glass fiber-reinforced polymer dowel bars in jointed plain concrete pavements.

Other areas of research for MTQ include skid resistance and noise mitigation with different concrete pavement surface preparations (exposed aggregate, longitudinal tining, shotpeening, and microgrinding), and development of a device called the ADR (audiomètre routier dynamique) for measuring tire-pavement noise. Thirty field sites are being monitored with the ADR device to assess the progression of tire-pavement noise over time.


The German Cement Works Association (Verein Deutscher Zementwerke, VDZ), located in Düsseldorf, is the technical and scientific association of the German cement industry. The organizational structure of VDZ is similar to that of the Portland Cement Association (PCA) in the United States. Nearly all of Germany's cement producers are members of VDZ, which has 29 international members as well.

VDZ's Research Institute conducts research in environment and plant technology, cement chemistry, concrete technology, environmental measuring, and quality assurance. VDZ's laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for cement and concrete testing. VDZ maintains a library and an electronic database of literature in cement and concrete research. This electronic database is accessible on the Internet as well as at the Research Institute. About 38 percent of VDZ's budget goes to research (some of which is done at universities), and another 37 percent goes to consulting services, including kiln emissions testing, cement sampling, frost testing, and measurement of air content in hardened concrete.

The German government's research arm within the Federal Ministry of Transport is the Federal Highway Research Institute (Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen, BASt), located in Bergisch-Gladbach. BASt's research activities encompass highway construction, highway capacity, safety, accidents, and winter maintenance. BASt also provides technical guidance to the state highway authorities, which administer the federal interstate highways and autobahns on behalf of the German government. BASt has a staff of 400 and an annual budget of about US$40 million (€32 million).

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) plays a leading role in developing German pavement design standards and researching many aspects of concrete pavement behavior and performance.

The scan team was impressed with both the quality of concrete pavement research in Germany and the cooperation among the industry, government, and academia. The three entities also work together to set standards (such as the design catalog). VDZ, BASt, and TUM conveyed an image of cooperation and a shared desire to provide the driving public with good, safe, long-lasting pavements.

VDZ does a considerable amount of training for kiln and plant operations. Paving contractors, however, do not have access to as much training. The Federal government in Germany does not work closely with contractors in training and implementation.


The Austrian Cement Industry Association (VÖZ) represents Austria's 13 cement producers. VÖZ's technical branch is its Research Institute (Forschungsinstitut), which has a staff of 18. It is an accredited inspection body and testing laboratory for cement and concrete. The Research Institute does work in testing, inspection, consulting, product development, and technology transfer. Past and current studies on concrete pavement topics include the following:

The Austrian Association for Research on Road, Rail, and Transport (Österreichische Forschungsgesellschaft Strasse–Schiene–Verkehr, FSV) serves as a forum for the nine Austrian regional governments, the Ministry of Transport, ASFiNAG, consultants, academics, and construction industry representatives to set uniform technical standards for constructing roads and railways. A managing committee and advisory boards provide oversight of FSV's activities. A full-time secretary-general manages the FSV headquarters in Vienna. Some 70 working groups and committees develop technical guidelines, instruction sheets, and working papers on a broad range of road and rail topics. The flowchart in figure 47 illustrates how ideas for new standards or revision of existing standards proceed through FSV's standards development process.

Figure 47: Process for developing road standards in Austria.
Flowchart of process used to develop road standards in Austria. Starting at the top of the chart, a box labeled "idea" links by arrow to a box labeled "headquarter," which links to a box labeled "advisory board." An arrow from "advisory board" links to a circle on the left labeled "managing committee," which links to boxes labeled "no" and "yes." The "yes" box links to a box labeled "working group—elaboration and technical preparation." The "working group" box links to "expert opinion," which links to "headquarter/advisory board," which links to a box at the bottom of the chart labeled "publication."

FSV publishes a series of guidelines for planning, construction, and maintenance. One publication in this series is the concrete pavement standard RVS 8S.06.32, developed and kept up to date by FSV's Concrete Pavements Working Group.


The Belgian government created the National Center for Scientific and Technical Research for the Cement Industry (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique et Technique pour L'industrie Cimentière, CRIC) in 1960 to oversee research on cement and concrete materials. Representatives of the Belgian cement industry, academia, business, the unions, and the government ministries overseeing research all participate in CRIC's managing boards. The following are some of the CRIC research topics related to concrete pavements:

Some of CRIC's research is sponsored by the Belgian Cement Industry Federation (Fédération de l'Industrie Cimentière Belge, FEBELCEM ), which is composed of Belgium's three cement producers. FEBELCEM also conducts its own cement and concrete research through its department for promotion, research, and development.

Belgium has about a dozen large concrete pavement contractors, all but one or two of whom also do asphalt paving. Contractors train their own personnel; the government and industry do not provide any construction training.

The Netherlands

In 1972, the Dutch Ministry of Transport and the Dutch Road Builders Association established the RAW Foundation to develop standard specifications for road building. As the group's activities grew beyond specifications development to research, it became necessary to restructure the organization in 1987 as the Foundation Center for Research and Contract Standardization in Civil and Traffic Engineering, better known as CROW.

CROW is the Netherlands' national information and technology platform for infrastructure, traffic, transport, and public space. It is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to develop, disseminate, and manage practically applicable knowledge on policy development, planning, design, construction, management, and maintenance. The national, regional, and local governments, water boards, private consultants, construction companies, materials suppliers, transport organizations, public transit companies, and research and education institutes are all CROW partners. CROW is financed by member subsidies, research sponsorship, and profits from the sale of RAW system standard specifications.

CROW's activities are clustered in seven areas: infrastructure, contract standardization, alternative contract forms, building process management, public space, mobility/transport, and traffic engineering. In each area, steering committees oversee working groups that develop guidelines and recommendations on specific topics and disseminate information to the concrete paving community in the Netherlands. In addition to its technical publications, CROW publishes the monthly Wegen (Roads) magazine, organizes the annual Roads Conference, and conducts workshops and training courses for thousands of participants every year. CROW also maintains a library of technical publications, journals, reports, and conference papers, and this library is open to the public. Some of CROW's publications are available on the CROW Web site.

The Netherlands' seven cement companies plan to form a cement association in 2007 and dedicate a budget of US$3 million (€2.2 million) to promoting concrete and government affairs. The cost to each cement association member will be based on its market share in cement tonnage. The cement association will be small, with only seven full-time employees, and will outsource much of its promotion work. The cement association itself will probably not operate a laboratory, since the member cement companies have their own laboratories.

The Netherlands has about a half dozen concrete pavement contractors, most of whom do asphalt paving as well. The contractors share their concrete paving equipment but have their own asphalt plants. Practical construction training is done on the job, but several training courses on concrete paving technology are provided for contractor and government personnel by consultants and education institutes.

United Kingdom

The leading transportation research organization in the United Kingdom is the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL). Established in 1936 as a government laboratory, TRL was made independent and self-supporting in 1990. It has four major divisions, the largest of which is the infrastructure and environment division, which employs about 140 people. Other divisions do a great deal of research on a wide variety of topics related to vehicle safety, public transportation, resource management, and sustainable development. TRL also has one of the oldest and largest pavement testing facilities in Europe.

TRL participates in the Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories (FEHRL), along with highway research laboratories in 11 other European countries. FEHRL has initiated a collaboration called the European Long-Life Pavement Group (ELLPAG). The aim of ELLPAG is to provide a forum for initiating and stimulating new ideas in the field of long-life pavement design, assessment, and maintenance in an economic and sustainable manner. ELLPAG also aims to encourage the exchange of information on long-life pavements, coordinate research efforts in this area, and promote the wider use of long-life pavements. The first specific objective of ELLPAG was to review the state of the art of design and maintenance of fully flexible long-life pavements in Europe.(47) Work is underway to develop a similar review of the state of the art of design and maintenance of concrete pavements. ELLPAG's long-term objective is to produce user-friendly best practices guidelines on long-life pavement design and maintenance for all common types of pavement construction in Europe.

The concrete paving industry in the United Kingdom is represented by Britpave, the British In-situ Concrete Paving Association, formed in 1991. Its members include contractors, consulting engineers, materials suppliers, and academics. Britpave's task groups focus on roads, airfields, rail, soil stabilization, sustainable construction, and specialist applications.

Concrete pavements have a poor image in the United Kingdom with the public and engineers. As a consequence, few researchers and consultants work in the area of concrete pavements, and contractors involved in concrete paving projects are hard-pressed to find and retain skilled personnel. An independent pavement consultant that briefed the scan team on the status of concrete pavement research in the United Kingdom identified the following areas of research needed to improve the image, economic viability, and technical excellence of concrete pavements in that country:

European Union

The scan team was briefed on Nanocem, a European Union-wide initiative in nanotechnology research in cementitious materials. The briefing was given by Professor Karen Scrivener of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale (Federal Institute of Technology) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Nanocem is a consortium of more than 30 academic and cement industry partners (see figure 48), with a mission to manage an integrated research and education organization to generate basic knowledge of phenomena on the nanoscopic and microscopic scales that influence the macroscopic performance of cementitious materials.

Figure 48: Academic and industrial partners in the Nanocem consortium.
Illustration incorporating logos of the academic and industrial partners in the Nanocem consortium. Industrial partners include Lafarge Centre de Recherche, Holcim Group Support Ltd., Italcementi Group, Heidelberg Cement, Aalborg Portland, Verein Deutscher Zementwerke, Elkem ASA Materials, SIKA Technology, OXAND, ATILH, Salonit Anhovo, Cemex Trademarks Worldwide Ltd., WR Grace, and BASF. Academic partners include Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Ecole Supérieure de Physique et Chimie de la Ville de Paris, Ecole Polytechnique, Université de Bourgogne, University of Aberdeen, Consejo Superior Investigaciones Científicas, Leeds University, Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung, Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute,  Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs-und Forschungsanstalt, University of Surrey, Technical University of Denmark, Lund Institute of Technology,  University of Aarhus, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Danish Technological Institute, Czech Technical University in Prague, Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, University of Kassel, Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, University of Florence, Laboratoire des Ponts et Chaussées, and Technische Universität München.

Nanotechnology is research and development at the atomic, molecular, or macromolecular level of 1 to 100 nanometers (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter, about 100,000 times less than the thickness of a human hair). Nanotechnology is being pursued in many countries in a wide variety of fields. To date, nanotechnology applications have been predominantly in the field of medicine.

The Nanocem consortium has four core research projects in cementitious materials underway:

Nanotechnology research in cementitious materials is expected to produce better understanding and more quantitative measures of such things as cement mortar durability, alkali-silica reaction, the effects of temperature on cement hydration and compressive strength, the phases present in anhydrous cement, the structure of C-S-H, and the microstructure of cement.

In the United States, the potential benefits of nanotechnology research and development are being explored through the National Nanotechnology Initiative (www.nano.gov). The U.S. Department of Transportation is one of 21 Federal agencies participating in this initiative.

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