Transportation Research

Research is a catalyst for innovation. IDOT has been a leader in transportation research for more than a century, bringing the traveling public out of the mud and onto hard-surface roads in the 1910s, pioneering the scientific study of road design at the Bates Experimental Road Project near Springfield in the early 1920s, and serving as a host state to the interstate highway era with what was then called the American Association of State Highway Officials and their road test loop near Ottawa in the late 1950s. Today, research impacts all aspects of work at IDOT, providing innovative, evidence-based improvements, ideas and solutions that help provide a cost-effective, efficient and safe transportation system that is consistent in quality and reliability for all of Illinois.


To that end, IDOT is involved in all areas of transportation research, including research for construction, environment, operations and maintenance, pavements and materials, planning, public and multi-modal transportation, safety, and bridge structures. Research needs are managed using state and federal funds and in-house oversight expertise in collaboration with our transportation stakeholders and academic partners.  One such long-standing partnership, dating to July 1941, involves IDOT and the state's flagship university, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. This cooperative relationship proved to be of such value to Illinois that, in 2005, an expanded research program was developed through the creation of the Illinois Center for Transportation. This innovative partnership helps IDOT initiate more timely and effective transportation research, and enables IDOT managers and engineers to interact with world-class researchers on solutions to complex, often longstanding transportation problems. The goal of such research, ultimately, is to implement transformative solutions for the state of Illinois.

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Research Reports & Publications

By conducting extensive research, implementing what we learn, and sharing the outcomes with our stakeholders, IDOT prudently utilizes available state and federal research dollars to find solutions to transportation challenges that yield a high return on taxpayer investments. The research program benefits IDOT along with countless other local, state and national agencies facing similar challenges, but with fewer resources to devote to research. The improvements provided by such research ultimately benefit all travelers by ensuring a safer, smoother, more expedient journey, using taxpayer dollars as efficiently as possible. Please take a moment to view our research reports and publications online! Documents include:

Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT)

Under a cooperative agreement with IDOT and the University of Illinois, the ICT has conducted IDOT’s contract research since 2005.

Illinois Transportation Research Center (ITRC) Reports

A Public-Private-University cooperative transportation research effort underwritten by the IDOT Office of Planning and Programming, ITRC conducted research in all modes of transportation between 1991 and 2004. Along with IDOT, the following universities were sponsors of the ITRC:

Bradley University, DePaul University, Eastern Illinois University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Springfield, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Western Illinois University

Physical Research Reports (PRR)

PRR represent the results of research conducted by IDOT subject-matter experts on a wide variety of transportation issues since 1964.

Pavement Technology Advisories (PTA)

PTAs are short informational documents covering a wide variety of topics pertinent to highway engineering at IDOT and are a valuable resource to anyone interested in highway engineering - planning, designing, building, and/or maintaining roads. PTAs are categorized into three main topic groups: Design, Construction, and Materials; Maintenance, Repair, and Rehabilitation; and Testing and Data Collection.

Research Works

Research Works briefs are targeted to the public, who may not be familiar with the technical jargon found in the academic reports produced by the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT). They highlight what the problem was, how research was used to solve the problem, the project’s outcome, and how it is being implemented at IDOT.

Contact Us

Amy M. Schutzbach, P.E.
Engineer of Physical Research
Bureau of Materials and Physical Research
Phone: (217) 782-2631
Division of Highways

Submit an Idea

While many of our most pressing research needs are identified by IDOT staff, we value the input of all of our customers and stakeholders. If you have a research idea that you think IDOT may be interested in, please visit the Illinois Center for Transportation’s website for information about submitting research proposals.