Research Center


Frequently Asked Questions

What types of projects are managed by the Research Center?

Projects focus on research that can be applied directly to improve ADOT processes and products. Research projects address the full range of topics of interest to the department. 

What is the best way to suggest an idea for a research project?

The process begins with the clear identification of a need, problem, or question related to ADOT’s processes or products. Any transportation stakeholder may suggest an idea for a research study at any time by contacting Research Center manager Dianne Kresich at or 602.712.3134. The manager will assign a project manager to work with stakeholders, develop a research problem statement, and help to identify an appropriate sponsor and champion.

What is the role of the project sponsor and the project champion?

The goal of every research project is to produce implementable results for ADOT’s use. Every project must have both a sponsor and a champion to ensure support for the project and its eventual implementation. Research Center project managers can assist in the identification of a sponsor and champion for a research idea based on its subject matter and objectives.

A sponsor must be an ADOT employee with the authority to make decisions on a project’s recommendations, and the ability and commitment to implement them.

A champion must be a public sector employee who supports the project’s objectives and enables the research activity by actively participating in the project. While the project champion is typically an ADOT employee, it is not a requirement.

What is the role of the ADOT project manager?

The ADOT project manager (PM) is responsible for guiding the project from conception through completion. The PM manages the consultant and the review of deliverables by the technical advisory committee. Deliverables are considered complete only after the approval of the ADOT project manager.

What is a technical advisory committee (TAC) and why is it important?

The TAC comprises ADOT subject matter experts, including the sponsor and champion, who critically review the technical content of research deliverables. Active participation by TAC members helps to ensure that a research study fulfills its objectives.

How is a problem statement different from a scope of work and a proposal?

A problem statement suggests an idea for future research, and is presented to the ADOT Research Advisory Committee for consideration of funding. It briefly describes the existing problems to be addressed and the objectives that would be met by the suggested research. It does not prescribe a methodology, include a scope of work, or call for the use of specific products or providers. In general, a problem statement raises questions that would be answered by the suggested research, but does not presume to know the answers.

A scope of work is a set of objectives-based tasks included in the solicitation for consultants to conduct a research project. Scopes for work, in most cases, do not prescribe a specific methodology. Prospective consultants are asked to develop a methodology to meet the objectives stated in the scope of work.

A proposal is submitted by a potential consultant in response to a solicitation for a specific research project. The contractor proposes a work plan, budget, and schedule with the intent of meeting the stated scope of work.

What is the role of Research Advisory Committee (RAC)?

The RAC comprises staff from the Research Center, various ADOT Divisions, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Working in an advisory capacity, members review problem statements for new research and provide input. Membership is intended to represent a wide variety of fields and interests within the department. 

What happens after the Research Advisory Committee (RAC) approves a problem statement for a new research study?

The ADOT project manager, in cooperation with the sponsor and champion, leads the process of identifying TAC members, developing a scope of work, releasing a solicitation, and selecting a consultant to conduct the study. 

How is research funded at ADOT?

The FHWA State Planning and Research (SPR) program funds most research projects following the requirements of Federal Code Title 23 (23 CFR 420). Those projects are designated as “SPR” plus a project number assigned by the Research Center, e.g, SPR-595.

How do I learn about upcoming research studies?

To learn about ADOT research studies that are currently programmed (approved for funding, but not yet under contract), search the Transportation Research Board’s Research in Progress (RiP) website:

  1. Go to
  2. Below the search window, click on “add additional filters” and access a new window.
  3. Under Status, check the box for Programmed.
  4. Under Source, select STATEDOT.
  5. Under Location (by state), select Arizona.
  6. Click the Apply button at the top.

You may also search for Active studies if you are interested in those already in progress. Please note that while the Research Center does its best to update the ADOT information on RiP, you may occasionally find an active project still shown under programmed status.

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