The Transit Cooperative Research Program is a cooperative undertaking between the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Transportation Research Board (TRB), and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and serves as one of the principle means by which the public transportation industry can develop innovative solutions and adapt technologies and approaches to help meet the demands placed on the nation’s public transit systems. The Transit Cooperative Research Program was established in 1991 through the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) in recognition of the need for a federal program of applied research to provide innovative, near-term solutions in response to the needs of public transportation providers, as identified and prioritized by public transportation practitioners themselves. It is codified under (49 U.S.C. 5312(i)).
The tri-lateral relationship of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and APTA is clarified in the Memorandum of Agreement on Operating Procedures for a Transit Cooperative Research Program. FTA serves as the sponsoring organization, APTA provides program governance though the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Commission, and TRB serves as program manager.
Since 1992 TCRP has completed over 700 studies and special technical activities, providing timely answers to questions involving innovative finance, optimum application of new technologies, current legal questions, economic development best-practices, improved ways of serving persons with special needs, and providing a guiding light in other research fields including planning, service configuration, equipment, facilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy and administrative practices.
The TOPS Commission includes 26 members representing all facets of the transit industry. Nominations from interested persons are received annually, and with the next cycle to begin in March 2022, The selection process is outlined in the TOPS Commission bylaws (include the link). Successful candidates will be well-established leaders in public transportation and related fields. Members serve for three years and provide input and guidance on research needs and priorities, oversight and evaluation of TCRP projects and programs, and select projects to be undertaken annually by TCRP.
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