Research Success: Creating a Freight Research Community That Learns from Failure

Sunday, January 7, 2018

1:30 PM

Washington D.C. Conference Center

What if we openly discussed research failures – how would that improve practice-wide learning? Is it important to set an expectation that most research efforts fail to some extent? Do we have a bias that leads us to declare freight and other planning research efforts a complete success, when we do not have evidence to that effect? What do we do when the evidence shows that projects did not meet their stated goals?

You are invited to help develop guiding principles that will change our culture.

This workshop will develop foundational principles for committees to use to measure research success as:

  • Many self-described best practices don’t measure before-and-after project results.
  • Best practice research, by definition, is not spending funds allotted on-time and on-budget. They
    deliver measurable system improvements.
  • Few research projects incorporate pilot tests into their plan; and fewer still provide real-world
    evidence that businesses and other users will adopt the new practice.

Featuring thought leaders of the international research community:

  • The Principles of Evidence-Based Policymaking - Nick Hart, Director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Evidence-Based Policymaking Initiative (former Policy and Research Director for the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking)
  • Collaboration to Increase Port Efficiency: The Supply Chain Optimization Group, Dr. Genevieve Giuliano, Director, METRANS Transportation Center, University of Southern California
  • CIVITAS in the EU: Dr. Hans Quak, Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (TNO)
  • Oslo Urban Consolidation Center - Astrid Bjørgen, PhD Candidate, SINTEF Technology and Society, Norway Department of Transport Research
  • Paris Chronopost Project - Dr. Laetitia Dablanc, Director of Research, French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks (IFSTTAR, University of Paris-Est)
  • Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) Port Performance Task Force -Dr. Tom Wakeman, Deputy Director, Davidson Laboratory, Stevens Institute of Technology
  • USDOT Freight Advanced Traveler Information Systems (FRATIS) – Dr. Ed McCormack, University of Washington

Workshop organizers will write and submit a white paper for publication recommending the guiding principles developed in the session.

Sponsored by the Standing Committee on Intermodal Freight Terminal Design and Operations. Co-sponsored by the Standing Committees on Agricultural Transportation, Freight Transportation Data, Intermodal Freight Transport, International Trade and Transportation, and Urban Freight Transportation.

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