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U.S. Department of Transportation Releases Five-Year Research, Development and Technology Strategic Plan

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently released its Research, Development and Technology (RD&T) Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years (FY) 2022-2026.  The new RD&T Plan continues the Department’s leadership role in supporting, fostering, and safeguarding transportation innovation so that it meets strategic priorities and objections articulated in the  U.S. DOT Strategic Plan. It is also a call for innovation, guided by the Innovation Principles that the Department rolled out in 2022.  

“We recognize that the work of research, development, and technology deployment takes collaborative effort across the public, private, academic and non-profit sectors,” said DOT Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology and Chief Science Officer Dr. Robert C. Hampshire. “In this time of rapid change and experimentation, research must drive the learning necessary for the public sector to keep pace with technological advancement and to adapt to evolving socio-economic needs. By providing a vision for a future transportation system made possible by research, we seek to foster collaborative innovation to create a better transportation future for all.”  

The RD&T Strategic Plan supports DOT’s mission to deliver the world’s leading transportation system, serving the American people and economy through the safe, efficient, sustainable, and equitable movement of people and goods. The Plan provides a long-term vision for how research and technology deployment can help transform our nation’s transportation system, while guiding transportation research, development, and technology deployment activities over the next five years.  

This RD&T Strategic Plan will also guide the more than $5 billion in research activities funded through the Biden-Harris Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which created new programs to drive innovation, create jobs, and support the deployment of transformative technologies, including: 

  • Providing $500 million in funding to the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Program, to kickstart a new generation of smart city innovation.  
  • Investing in University Transportation Centers (UTCs) that work on climate, equity, and innovation—including at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions.  
  • Establishing an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Infrastructure (ARPA-I) to scale up research and development efforts to keep pace with and to drive innovation.  
  • Authorizing $50 million per year in funding to establish a new Open Research Initiative to accelerate the achievement of the Department’s priorities and goals by funding unsolicited research proposals that yield disruptive technologies with high-impact potential. 

Please see the FY22-26 RD&T Strategic Plan to learn more.