Research is a catalyst for innovation. IDOT has been a leader in transportation research for more than a century, bringing the traveling public out of the mud and onto hard-surface roads in the 1910s, pioneering the scientific study of road design at the Bates Experimental Road Project between Springfield and New Berlin in the early 1920s, and serving as a host state to the interstate highway era with what was then called the American Association of State Highway Officials and their road test loop near Ottawa in the late 1950s. Today, research impacts all aspects of work at IDOT, providing innovative, evidence-based improvements, ideas and solutions that help provide a cost-effective, efficient and safe transportation system that is consistent in quality and reliability for all of Illinois.
To that end, IDOT is involved in all areas of transportation research, including research for construction, environment, operations and maintenance, pavements and materials, planning, public and multi-modal transportation, safety, and bridge structures. Research needs are managed using state and federal funds and in-house oversight expertise in collaboration with our transportation stakeholders and academic partners. One such long-standing partnership, dating to July 1941, involves IDOT and the state's flagship university, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. This cooperative relationship proved to be of such value to Illinois that, in 2005, an expanded research program was developed through the creation of the Illinois Center for Transportation. This innovative partnership helps IDOT initiate more timely and effective transportation research, and enables IDOT managers and engineers to interact with world-class researchers on solutions to complex, often longstanding transportation problems. The goal of such research, ultimately, is to implement transformative solutions for the state of Illinois.
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