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Indiana Department of Transportation

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Indiana Department of Transportation

INDOT > About INDOT > Central Office > Research & Development Research & Development

The mission of the INDOT Research program is to conduct, oversee and partner in cost-effective transportation research and development that benefits our customers. Research & Development is responsible for the delivery of service in the following four areas:

1. Research, Development & Technology Transfer (RD&T)
2. Specialized Testing
3. Forensic Investigations
4. Technical Training

To help fulfill this responsibility, the research program reaches, in coordination with the Joint Transportation Research Program (JTRP), into Indiana's universities and associations, and Indiana industry and national affiliations for expertise and technical assistance in solving INDOT's transportation challenges.

Research, Development & Technology Transfer (RD&T)

Research and Development conducts research and oversees the INDOT/JTRP initiative. Research projects are primarily aligned with strategic goals of safety, cost savings, mobility/reduced congestion, quality, and time savings. The research program utilizes direct contact with INDOT relationship and focus group to identify priority research needs. Research and Development promotes and assists implementation of viable research findings and reports on INDOT's return on investment through research program. Research and Development also tracks performance measure metrics to evaluate program effectiveness and conducts periodic Peer Reviews of the program to identify strengths and opportunities to enhance the program’s effectiveness. Marketing and communicating research results.  

Other activities:

  • Conduct and oversees guides research projects in various subject areas, develops annual Work Program
  • Provides analysis for data driven solutions, and evaluates warranties for the department pavement preservation program and Skid Accident Reduction programs
  • Conducts research under the Federal Highway Administration National Experimental Features program on innovative products for use in Indiana.
  • Collaborates with the accelerated Pavement Testing Facility, North Central Super Pave Center, and Applied Concrete Research Initiatives 
  • Coordinates and networks, with national transportation research program (e.g. TRB, NCHRP, AASHTO, FHWA, USDON, UTCs, etc.)
  • Provides materials review for the INDOT New Products Evaluation Program
  • Administers the Federal Highway Administration Pooled Fund Study Program for the Department
  • Operates the pavement and soil research laboratories
  • Oversees technology deployment program and facilitates technology transfer within and beyond the department

Specialized Testing

Specialized Testing provides services in a variety of areas related to pavements and structures for data driven decision making and to minimize risks.  These tests assist the department in warranty contract compliance, , pavement designs, safety of Indiana roadways, site conditions, etc.  Testing programs include:

  • Pavement deflection testing  to measure existing pavement condition and remaining life;provide analysis  for pavement under sealing for structural support; overlay design; pavement investigations;
    prioritizing projects for rehabilitation and reconstruction at the project and program levels, etc.
  • Pavement surface friction testing as part of the Skid Accident Reduction Program to identify potential slippery locations and identify materials/mixes that provide roadway safety
  • Ride quality (smoothness) testing to ensure pavement smoothness, a primary variable in determining customer satisfaction and pavement life
  • Ground Penetrating Radar testing to examine subsurface conditions of pavement and bridges (e.g. corrosion surveys, voids, damaged pipe structures, etc.)
  • Bridge non-destructive testing to support bridge preservation and rehabilitation programs.

Specialized Testing equipment utilizes state-of-the-art computer-controlled test systems, which collect data through non-destructive testing that supports contracts, resurfacing priorities, safety programs and various state and federal programs.  Specialized testing results provide for data driven decisions, minimizes risk and assists in providing safe roads for the travelling public.

Forensic Investigation

Forensic investigations relate to investigations of pavement and bridges. The major emphases are issues related to structure and materials performance of pavements and  bridges including premature deterioration; substandard materials; construction issues;  investigation of pavement conditions for overweight loading;  new technologies, materials and processes; development and evaluation of policies and specifications; etc.

Technical Training & Support

Technical training and support is provided in the areas of applied statistics, asset management and pavement engineering. Additionally, this section organizes training with various organizations including American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA), National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), Transportation Research Board (TRB), and the National Highway Institute (NHI). 

On January 1, 2009, INDOT formally adopted the new pavement design known as the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG). Research & Development provided input parameters and is training INDOT staff on the design and use of the software.  Additionally, Research & Development provides trouble shooting and supports for the pavement design software. Due to this initiative, an estimated $10 million per year is being saved through better pavement designs.


The INDOT Research Program, in conjunction with its partners, is active on the national, state, and local levels identifying and addressing Indiana’s transportation needs, as well as working together to attract external, competitive research funding, available at the national level, for use in addressing Indiana needs.  Indiana universities provide an extension of INDOT capabilities by allowing some of the ‘best minds’ in the State to address Indiana’s transportation needs.  Through partnering with Indiana industry and other State DOTs, resources can be leveraged and expertise can be combined to address problems of mutual interest.  By including Indiana industry in the research process, problems related to implementing viable research results can be identified and addressed, thereby allowing for a smoother transition and implementation of research results into field practice.

Contact Information

Barry K. Partridge, Ph.D, P.E.
Director-Research & Development
1205 Montgomery Street
P.O.Box 2279
West Lafayette, IN 47906
P: 765-463-1251 x 251