The Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF) Program has existed for more than 20 years and has enabled public and private entities to combine resources to conduct high-priority research on a wide variety of shared, highway-related problems. By pooling funds and expertise, participants develop innovative solutions at less cost while extending the reach and impact of their research.

Who Can Partner in a TPF Program?

Studies must be initiated and led by either the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) or a State department of transportation (DOT). To help find study partners, the lead agency posts its proposed topic on the TPF Program website. State DOTs, FHWA and other Federal agencies, regional and local agencies, academic institutions, associations, and private industry can join the study as partners by pledging funds or other resources to the effort. Past studies have advanced with as few as 2 participants, while others have attracted more than 40. Once a study is underway, the lead agency contracts for the research, administers the project, and convenes a technical advisory committee of representatives from each project partner. TPF Program studies have a maximum duration of 5 years. If the research needs to continue after the 5-year
period, a new solicitation and project on the same topic can be generated.

Combine Resources and Share the Benefits

Collaboration between TPF Program participants eliminates duplicative research efforts, allowing for more efficient use of funds. The pooled fund lead agency manages the contractrelated and funding issues for the project, allowing other members to focus on the study’s content. This leveraging of resources enables some agencies to participate in large-scale research efforts that would otherwise not be feasible. For State DOTs, TPF Program studies are typically funded with State Planning and Research (SP&R) funds. The SP&R funds are used to carry out transportation research activities throughout the State, and to address the State’s unique needs through conducting research, development, and technology (RD&T) transfer activities to improve their highways. SP&R is often a State DOT’s only source of funds to conduct RD&T activities to meet the immediate and unique needs of the State. Beyond its funding and administrative advantages, the variety of expertise and experience brought together for a pooled fund study can have much broader impact. The TPF Program focuses on transportation research, planning, and technology transfer activities of significant regional or national interest in a range of categories, including pavements, bridges, design, safety, administration, environment, security, and maintenance.

Take a look at the new TPF fact sheet to see stats and success stories.