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Deadline for 2018 – TCRP Synthesis Program Study Topic Proposals

March 16

The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) is seeking potential study topics for the FY 2018 TCRP Synthesis Program. The Synthesis Program reports on various current practices, and is designed to produce a compendium of the best knowledge available on those practices found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. Syntheses are relatively short, targeted for about 60-80 pages plus reference materials.

Ideas submitted for study topics form the basis for selection of the annual Synthesis Program. Topics are selected by a project panel that meets once a year, typically in May.


  1. Generality of practice on the topic – to measure the expected use of synthesis document.
  2. Lack of uniformity and variation in quality of practice – to measure the degree to which a synthesis document might serve to improve current practice. There would seem to be little need for information synthesis on a topic where practice is of uniform high quality.
  3. Criticality and timeliness of the topic with respect to safety, economic impact and social impact – to measure the importance of the topic, either in its own light or in its relation to other topics, and to consider the sensitivity of the larger system that includes the topic to decisions made within the topic.
  4. Quality and quantity of useful available information – to measure the need to organize and compress that which has already been learned and written on the topic.
  5. Absence of ongoing research or other forthcoming potential release of significant information – to avoid a synthesis undertaking likely to be rendered obsolete by the release of new information shortly after its completion.

After the selection, the governing board of the TDC, which also serves as the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee, then gives final approval of the selected topics. It is expected that 5-6 new topics will be selected for the FY 2018 Synthesis Program.

For each topic, the project objectives are (1) to locate and assemble documented information; (2) to learn what practice has been used for solving or alleviating the problem; (3) to identify all ongoing research (4) to learn what problems remain largely unsolved and; (5) to organize, evaluate, and document the useful information that is acquired. Ideas for study topics may be submitted by anyone at anytime. However, the closing date for consideration of ideas for study topics in FY 2018 is March 16, 2018. To submit a new topic of study please go to the following site:


In addition to suggestions for new topics of study, please feel free to suggest updates of published syntheses. For a sample of a suggested format for recommended topics please see below.

Information on the TCRP Synthesis Program, including studies currently underway and all completed studies can also be accessed through the following site:


Thank you very much for your consideration. Your willingness to participate in the identification of relevant transit synthesis topics is a key element of a successful, industry-driven TCRP. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact me at 202/334-2361 or mgarciacolberg@nas.edu.


March 16
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