TRB Special Report 316: Evaluation of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Research and Development Program assesses the effectiveness of the FRA's process for identifying research priorities and the usefulness of FRA’s Research and Development (R&D) products for improving railroad safety. The study was conducted at the request of the FRA.
The committee evaluated the performance of four Office of R&D divisions: Track and Structures, Rolling Stock, Train Control and Communications, and Human Factors. The committee also evaluated the R&D support functions of planning, evaluation, and management. Evaluation criteria included the extent to which FRA R&D activities are based on an understanding of industry and FRA needs and priorities; benefit from communication with relevant parties within and beyond FRA; and yield products that are high quality, applicable, and have demonstrable benefits.
The committee concluded that the overall productivity of the R&D program appears good and that the program appears well focused on safety. It offered recommendations for ways to strengthen the program in the areas of communications with industry and the Office of Railroad Safety, priority-setting, strategic planning, and project evaluation.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Evaluation of the Federal Railroad Administration Research and Development Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/21735.
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