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GROW AMERICA: Research and Technology

Summary of Research and Technology Provisions

The GROW AMERICA Act will leverage research and innovation as solutions to moving people and goods more safely and efficiently, while pursuing opportunities to minimize impacts on the environment.  A number of challenges exist on the horizon, and research will play a key role in developing solutions.

The GROW AMERICA Act recognizes that research and data play a significant part in improving safety, transportation planning and decision making, and preparing the nation's workforce as we move into the 21st Century.  Altogether, the GROW AMERICA Act commits more than $3.4 billion over six years to advance research and innovations, ensuring decision makers at all levels will have access to enriched data and analysis, advanced research, and cutting-edge technologies, and to the people and tools to make them work, now and into the future.

New Programs

National Cooperative Freight Transportation Research Program:  The GROW AMERICA Act establishes the National Cooperative Freight Research Program in support of Departmental freight goals, including a specific, targeted focus on hazardous materials transportation.  (Section 8101)

Prioritizing a Multimodal Research Program:  The GROW AMERICA Act creates a Priority Multimodal Research Program enabling cross-agency research and innovation along three priority areas:  infrastructure systems resilience and recovery; advanced research towards a Zero Emissions Transportation System; and a multimodal STEM Education and Workforce Development program.  (Section 8103)

Changes to Existing Programs

Advancing Intelligent Transportation Systems:  The GROW AMERICA Act will improve vehicle and passenger safety by advancing intelligent systems in vehicles and in smarter infrastructure across all modes, and by exploring new ways to utilize real-time information to aid the flow of goods along America's freight corridors.

Accelerating Deployment of Highway Technologies and Innovations:  The GROW AMERICA Act allows the allocation of up to $25 million per year from the Highway Account to implement the findings and results of the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2), which promises innovations in highway safety, renewal, reliability, and capacity.  (Section 2003)

Maximizing the Research, Technology and Workforce Results of the UTCs:  The GROW AMERICA Act enhances the effectiveness of the current University Transportation Centers (UTCs) program by enabling funds to flow into cross-disciplinary university transportation research by expanding the sources for grant matching funds to include funding from more Federal-Aid accounts and funding provided by other DOT operating administrations. (Section 8102)

Supporting National Goals in Freight Policy and Planning:  The GROW AMERICA Act will improve data and technology support to national freight goals by strengthening the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) ability to require responses to freight and intermodal data surveys, and by enabling nationally consistent statistics on maritime port performance.  In addition, the Act will add an Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) freight research, demonstration and applications focus to the ITS Research Program goals.  (Sections 8104, 8105)

Reflecting Organizational Change:  The GROW AMERICA Act continues to contribute to the transformation of research offices, as laid out by Congress, elevating the former Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) into the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, as mandated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014.  (Section 8110)

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