Research reports

Learn about applied transportation research conducted by WSDOT. Find information on current research projects, access research reports, watch our webinars and contact our research managers.

Why we conduct research

Research impacts all aspects of work at WSDOT, from road materials to the natural environment. We conduct research and development projects to understand why problems occur and how to prevent or correct them through improved information, technology or processes. We use systematic inquiry to improve our ability to deliver transportation projects and operate a safe and efficient transportation system.

2023-2025 WSDOT research program is launching

Do you need funding to explore a great idea that would improve WSDOT operations, programs, or services, or that could help with decision-making? Is there a knowledge gap in your work that research might fill? If so, a research project might be a great next step! WSDOT Research & Library Services (RLS) is developing a diverse State Planning & Research (SPR) program for the 23-25 biennium funding $1.8 million in transportation research.

One submittal allowed for Applied & Innovative Research from each section, branch, program, office, or region.  This new research can start on or after July 1, 2023, pending legislative approval of the agency budget. We are currently soliciting research problem statements and invite your proposals. Contact the Research Office for more information.

Research projects in progress, 2021-23 Biennium

Traditional

  • WSDOT Training Development: Creating an Inclusive and Dynamic Framework for Assessing, Training, and Tracking
  • Transportation Systems Management Operations (TSMO) Multimodal Research & Development Plan
  • Enhancing the Stability of Simulated Streambeds in Stream Simulation Culverts using Natural Organic Matter to promote Fish Passage
  • Determination of Laboratory Aging Conditions for Hot Mix Asphalt Cracking Test (IDEAL-CT)
  • Safety of Long Girders During Handling and Transportation: Lateral Stability and Cracking
  • Priority Highway Corridors and Public Investment Needs for Zero Emission Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
  • Develop a Specification for Quality Acceptance of Chip Seal Using Laser Scanner
  • Equity Analysis of Tolling
  • Identification and Retrofit Prioritization of Seismic, Shear-Critical WSDOT Bridge Columns

Innovation

  • Equity in Planning
  • Development of an Innovative Solution for Truck Parking Facility Monitoring, Availability Prediction, and Management Using Edge Computing and Artificial Intelligence
  • Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Construction of Washington Transportation Infrastructure
  • Characterization of First Flush Phenomenon and Total Storm Event Pollutant Distribution
  • Computer Vision for Automated Traffic Sign Detection & Data Inventory
  • Evaluation of Closed Crossing Tactile Indicators

Quick response

  • Environmental Assessment of Culvert Fish Passage using Environmental DNA
  • Methane Energy Generator for Electricity Conversion from Biowaste at Highway Safety Rest Areas
  • Innovating Freight Movement Through Inland Multiuse Ports: Optimizing Efficiencies and Leveraging Public and Private Benefits
  • WSDOT Maintenance Performance Measure Algorithm
  • Population Estimates of a Reintroduced Population of Endangered Western Pond Turtles at a Washington State Department of Transportation Mitigation Wetland Within Beacon Rock State Park, Skamania County, Washington
  • Electric Aviation Infrastructure Assessment
  • The Olympic Cougar Project
  • Washington State Rest Area User Survey & Site Evaluation Study
  • Transit Oriented Development Screening Tool
  • Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Multimodal Learning Lab
  • Guidance & Methods for Transitioning Written Reports to Digital Interactive Publications
  • Best Practices for the Update of the Washington State Ferries Origin & Destination Study/Survey
  • WSDOT Support of the SR 520 Expansion Joint Noise Mitigation Study
  • Determination of Laboratory Aging Protocols for Hot Mix Asphalt Cracking Test (IDEAL-ACT)

Research reports

Read published research reports that describe the results of our research projects. You can search and browse reports in the Washington State Library catalog. Catalog records include abstracts and full text reports.

Searching reports in the library catalog

  • To find a specific report, use a keyword search (i.e. "WA-RD 256.1") or access the associated drop-down menu to search by author or title.
  • To search by subject, use the advanced search with "WA-RD*" entered in the first Search Words box. Enter a subject term (i.e. ferries) in the second Search Words box with Subject selected from the Search Type drop-down menu.
  • To browse reports, view a list of WA-RD reports by number and use the Previous button to navigate to older reports.

Webinars

Our bi-monthly webinars showcase WSDOT's research projects. Since 2017, our series has covered a wide range of transportation research topics from engineering to the environment, construction to maintenance, and policy to pica conservation. Recordings of past webinars are available for viewing.

Contact research managers

  • Doug Brodin, Research Manager/Operations - For research related to: Emergency Management, Finance, Freight Mobility, ITS/Congestion, Maintenance Operations, NCHRP Review, Passenger Rail, Public Private Partnerships, Security, Snow & Ice Removal, Tolling, Traffic Operations, Transportation Pooled Fund, University Transportation Centers, Washington State Transportation Center.
  • Jon Peterson, Research Manager/Multimodal - For research related to: Air Quality, Aviation, Bicycle/Pedestrian, Biology, Climate Change, Environment, Noise, Public Transportation, Student Studies, Sustainability, Washington State Ferries, Wildlife Passage.
  • Mustafa Mohamedali, Research Manager/Engineering - For research related to: Construction, Materials, Pavement, Geotechnical, Water Resources, Design Safety, Geometrics, Bridge Engineering. Coordinates Transportation Pooled Fund studies.
  • Kathy Szolomayer, Technology Transfer/Implementation Manager - For information on webinars and coordinated federal research programs.

We are hiring!

We have a range of positions open across the state - view all current job openings.

Improved access to 98.2 miles of upstream fish habitat

through 15 fish passage projects in 2021.

28% increase in the value of exports and imports 

from $90.2 billion in 2020 to $115.5 billion in 2021.