Research & Development
FRA’s R&D mission is to ensure the safe, efficient and reliable movement of people and goods by rail through basic and applied research, and development of innovations and solutions. Safety is the DOT’s primary strategic goal and thus, the principal driver of FRA’s R&D program. FRA’s R&D program also contributes to other DOT strategic goals because safety-focused projects typically yield solutions towards the state of good repair, economic competitiveness, and environmental sustainability goals. The R&D program also has an important role to play in workforce development.
FRA’s R&D program is founded on an understanding of safety risks in the industry. Hazard identification and risk analysis allows us to identify opportunities to reduce the likelihood of accidents and incidents, and to limit the consequences of hazardous events should they occur. Key strategies include stakeholder engagement and partnerships with other researchers such as the Association of American Railroads, prioritization of projects and conducting research through cost-effective procurement.