DRISI FY 2020/21 Research Program Annual Report 

The Division of Research, Innovation, and System Information's (DRISI) online Research Program Highlights website will allow easy access for viewing quarterly content updates. This dynamic website will provide a overview of DRISI’s yearly activities and will be used to inform Caltrans, the California State Transportation Agency, the legislature, the State’s local agencies, academia, and other partners and stakeholders

Like most organizations, DRISI is always looking for ways to improve communication, transparency, and accountability. Research continues to be a necessary part of our organizational efficiency and effectiveness. At its core, the research process is about collaborating, connecting, learning, and communicating.  This website highlights a wide variety of research projects supporting Caltrans’ mission and goals.

Division Chief Message

Dara Wheeler portrait

I am pleased to present the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Division of Research, Innovation and System Information’s (DRISI) Annual Research Program Highlights. This report covers the 12-month period ending June 30, 2021, during which DRISI’s research program provided transportation solutions that addressed our customers’ needs and challenges. I like to think about DRISI as the Caltrans solutions lab or innovative think tank whereby we support the enterprise needs and strategic priorities.   

Thank you to our dedicated DRISI staff, Caltrans programs and districts, and the Research and Deployment Advisory Committee (RDAC) who made this report possible.

Like most organizations, we are always looking for ways to improve communication, transparency, and accountability. Research continues to be a necessary part of our organizational efficiency and effectiveness. At its core, the research process is about collaborating, connecting, learning, and communicating. Over the next year, you can expect more engagement, better alignment of our investments and a new DRISI strategic direction that will align with the Caltrans Strategic Plan and the Planning and Modal Programs Strategic Plan. We welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions on how we can improve.

This document highlights a wide variety of research projects supporting Caltrans’ mission to provide a safe and reliable transportation network that serves all people and respects the environment. Additional information about specific projects highlighted within these pages can be obtained by contacting any of the research staff identified in this report. For more information on our research efforts, visit DRISI’s website. I encourage you to browse the Research Notes and Research Results to find updates on topics of interest to you. Research Notes provide an overview of research in progress, while Research Results summarize completed research. Research Notes and Research Results have been written to make it easy to understand research, even with no knowledge of the topic.

There are multiple avenues for research needs to be conducted at the state or national level. I hope that as you read this Research Program Highlights report, you’re motivated to become involved in Caltrans’ research activities. Please contact DRISI staff if you have questions on the research process.

Research Program Administration

DRISI manages a balanced, comprehensive portfolio of projects to address research and operational needs across Caltrans. The division seeks to take advantage of strategic collaboration opportunities by identifying public, academic, and private partnering solutions for conducting research. These partnerships leverage the dollars invested in present and future public infrastructure.

Research Program Funding

  • Caltrans Functional Research
  • National Research Program
  • State Research Support Partnerships (Research Centers)
  • University Transportation Centers
  • Technology Transfer and Implementation
  • Roadside Safety Research (Crash Testing)  

National Research Programs

  • Transportation Research Board
  • Cooperative Research Programs
  • Transportation Pooled Fund Program
  • Caltrans Memberships

Research Program Development

DRISI engages the Caltrans Executive Board and three levels of committees in identifying research needs selecting research projects, and deploying and implementing research products. The Executive Board provides strategic direction and identifies department-level research priorities.

State Research Support Partnerships

Research Center
  • Advanced Highway Maintenance and Construction Technology Research Center
  • Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center Lifelines Program
  • Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology
  • Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPSPlus)
  • University of California Pavement Research Center

University Transportation Centers

  • The Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
  • The National Center for Sustainable Transportation
  • The Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center