MassDOT Process for Soliciting and Selecting Research Projects

MassDOT uses a multi-step process for soliciting and selecting research projects for funding. 

For MassDOT's 2022 Research Project solicitation and selection cycle (for FY2023 projects), MassDOT reached out to potential Project Champions (PCs) and Principal Investigators (PIs).

 MassDOT hosted three Research Roundtables sessions in April to bring state transportation practitioners and academic researchers together.  The Research Roundtables are part of the Research Problem Statement solicitation process that MassDOT holds each spring.  

Research Roundtable Flyer

Research Roundtables bring transportation practitioners and academic researchers together to discuss research, innovation, and state transportation priorities.  

The Research Roundtables for 2022 were held on the following dates:
April 6, 2022 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm:
Safety, Roadway Engineering, and Design

April 8, 2022 - 10:00am - 11:30am: 
Active Transportation, Mobility, Policy/Planning, and Transit

April 12, 2022 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm: 
Asset Management, Materials/Maintenance, and Construction

The FY2023 Research Problem Statement Solicitation period ended on May 31, 2022.

Research Problem Statements were submitted through an online form at MassDOT. 

Research Problem Statements could either be submitted by MassDOT/MBTA Project Champions (PCs) or by Researchers who have identified a PC and obtained their approval for the submission. If a RPS was submitted by a Researcher, that submission would be to be accompanied by an attached statement from the identified PC indicating their approval for the submission. 

The Project Champion will oversee the project at MassDOT if the project receives funding.

2023 Research Problem Statement Form Instructions pdf

We are including a pdf version of the form for informational purposes, but actual Research Problem Statement submissions were required to be submitted through the online MassDOT form. 

2023 Research Problem Statement Form pdf 

Here is a presentation by MassDOT's Manager of Research Dr. Lily Oliver that gives an overview of MassDOT's process for soliciting and selecting Research Projects.   

The submitted topics should be related to surface transportation or intermodal transportation.  Also, the Research Problem Statements should address the following:

  • What question(s) is the PC seeking to answer through the project?
  • What deliverables should be part of the project, including any datasets or analytical tools?
  • How will the results of this project be used?
  • How will MassDOT benefit from this project


During this stage, MassDOT reviews the submitted Research Problem Statements and selects which ones will be advanced for potential funding.   


During this stage, MassDOT seeks academic researchers to conduct studies on the topics that are proposed for research funding.  A request goes out inviting qualified researchers to apply as PIs for the proposed projects.  


During this stage, MassDOT selects the PIs for the proposed projects and works with each PI to develop a detailed Scope of Work (SOW).  Funding approval is then sought by the Federal Highway Administration.  The research projects begin once FHWA approval has been obtained and funding received.

Archive:  MassDOT FY2022 Research Project Statements

FY2022 Research Project Statements can be viewed by clicking on the project titles listed below. These projects are expected to range in duration from 9-15 months, to three years or more.   PI Interest Statements for these projects, along with two-page CVs for each PI and co-PI were due during the fall of 2021, and the PIs for each project selected thereafter. 

For FY2022, MassDOT sought PI Interest Statements for the following projects.  Please click on a project's name to see the project's Research Project Statement. 

PI Interest Statements were DUE BY OCTOBER 15, 2021 for these six projects.

1. Complete Streets, v2: Respecting the Roots Landscape

2. Data-Driven Approaches for Transit Capital Planning

3. Development of Improved Inspection Techniques using LiDAR for Deteriorated  Steel Beam Ends

4. Field Study to Determine Salt Usage Efficiency on Two Pavement Types

5. Methods to Identify Problematic Carriers and Prevent Infrastructure Damage

6. Smart Work Zone Control and Performance Evaluation Based on Trajectory Data

PI Interest Statements were DUE BY OCTOBER 22, 2021 for these two projects.

7. BIM (Building Information Modeling) for Transit Infrastructure

8. Feasibility Study of 3D Printing Applications for Bridge Elements in Massachusetts

PI Interest Statements were DUE BY DECEMBER 23, 2021 for this project.

9. Development of a Salt Spreader Controller Program that Correlates Material Dispensation Rate to Roadway Weather Parameters