Research Project Process

Research projects are selected annually for funding through the research program. Below is a brief description of the process.


Research projects begin as research problem statements that are submitted to the Research Program for consideration. To submit an idea please download the research problem statement template and submit it to the Research Program at Problem statements are accepted year round.  


Selection activity begins in the 3rd quarter of every fiscal year (April-June) with a review of submitted problem statements. In some cases DDOT will refer a project to another venue where it is more appropriate, (e.g. NCHRP or the Transportation Pooled Fund Program). Any projects that did not receive funding the year before may also be reconsidered.


Early in the 4th quarter (July-Aug), the Research Advisory Committee (made up of the Associate Directors) meets to select the research projects for the next fiscal year.

There are several criteria a problem statement  should meet to gain DDOT funding as a project:
  • The issue to be addressed should be answerable by conducting specific research. The project idea needs a sufficiently narrow scope that a research project can provide a useful outcome in a reasonable period of time.
  • There must be an agency need or urgency, i.e. the issue must relate directly to improving transportation in Washington, DC. DDOT should have the ability to implement the project outcomes.
  • The research project should not duplicate work already conducted elsewhere.
  • The cost and timeframe should be realistic and within DDOT’s abilities.


Projects begin once funding is available (October-November). Most are conducted by either our university partners or a consultant. Once the project is complete, a final report is submitted that includes an implementation plan or recommendations for next steps. Researchers are strongly encouraged to produce papers for publication and presentation in academic and/or professional forums.

Other Considerations

Special Projects. The Research Program will consider projects with significant or widespread interest for solving transportation-related problems that need or require immediate completion and funding between annual project selections for use of special funds set aside for quick response research. Research funded through this program follows the same research project process for projects selected under the annual work program. 

Joint Research. DDOT also contributes a portion of available funds to NCHRP to fund research projects with multi-state interest at the national level and for implementation of the recommended procedures, practices, and applications. DDOT can also pool its funds with other state departments of transportation (DOTs) to conduct research of mutual interest through the Transportation Pooled Fund Program.