ADOT Research Center

The ADOT project manager is responsible for guiding the study from conception through completion and for ensuring that scope, schedule, and budget are met. The PM manages the consultant and the review and revision of deliverables. Deliverables are considered complete only after the approval of the ADOT project manager.

The TAC consists of ADOT subject matter experts, including the sponsor and champion, who critically review the technical content of research deliverables. When appropriate to the study topic, the TAC may also include staff from other public sector agencies. Active participation by TAC members is necessary to ensure that a research study fulfills its objectives.

A problem statement describes an idea for future research, and is presented to the ADOT Research Advisory Committee for consideration of funding. It briefly states the existing problems to be addressed and the objectives that would be met by the requested research. It does not prescribe a methodology, include a scope of work, or call for the use of specific products or providers. In general, a problem statement raises questions that would be answered by the suggested research, but does not presume to know the answers.

A scope of work is a set of objectives-based tasks included in the solicitation for consultants to conduct a research study. Scopes of work, in most cases, do not prescribe a specific methodology. Prospective consultants are asked to develop a methodology to meet the objectives stated in the scope of work.

A proposal is submitted by a potential consultant in response to a solicitation for a specific research study. The contractor proposes a work plan, budget, and schedule with the intent of meeting the stated scope of work. Consultants for research studies are selected based on submitted proposals.

The RAC consists of staff from the Research Center, various ADOT Divisions, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Membership is intended to represent a wide variety of fields and interests within the department. Working in an advisory capacity, members review problem statements for new research and consider recommendations for funding.

The ADOT project manager, in cooperation with the sponsor and champion, leads the process of identifying TAC members, developing a scope of work, releasing a solicitation, and selecting a consultant to conduct the study.

The FHWA State Planning and Research (SPR) program funds most research projects following the requirements of 23 CFR 420. Those projects are designated as “SPR” plus a project number assigned by the Research Center, e.g, SPR-595.

Active studies, as well as those that are programmed (funded but not yet assigned to a consultant), are listed online in the Research in Progress database. To learn more about these studies:

  • At the Research in Progress Database, under the heading "Records by Location," select "Find projects sponsored or performed by state DOTs."
  • In the keyword search field, enter ADOT.
    • The resulting list will indicate whether a study is active, programmed (funded but not under contract with a consultant), or completed. 
  • Select a title to display its abstract and other project details.

Studies primarily focus on research that can be applied directly to improve ADOT processes and products. Research studies address the full range of topics of interest to the department. The Research Center will also consider topics relevant to MPOs, COGs, and local jurisdictions that also advance ADOT objectives.

The process begins with the identification of a need, problem, or question related to ADOT’s processes or products. Any transportation stakeholder may suggest an idea for a research study at any time by contacting the Research Center.

Qualified contractors from the private sector and public universities typically conduct the research studies managed by the Research Center staff. A contractor is hired through ADOT’s contracting and procurement process. Under certain circumstances, other State of Arizona agencies may be contracted to perform the studies.

The goal of every research study is to produce implementable results. Every study must have both a sponsor and a champion to ensure support for the project and its implementation. Research Center project managers can assist in the identification of a sponsor and champion for a research idea based on its subject matter and objectives. 

A sponsor must be in a position to have the authority to make decisions on a study’s recommendations, and the ability and commitment to implement them. 

A champion must be a public sector employee who supports the project’s objectives and enables the research activity through active participation in the study. While the project champion is typically an ADOT employee, it is not a requirement.