Transportation Research Board Seeks Content on Transport and COVID

March 26, 2020 2473
empty airliner

The impacts of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on the transportation system are being widely felt in all modes and economic sectors, including aviation, transit, goods movement, highways, rail, and maritime. Public agencies at the federal, state, and local levels with stewardship and regulatory responsibilities over all transportation systems are scrambling to understand the current and potential effects on operations, workforce, supply chains, and the traveling public. Private sector transportation operators and service providers are looking to the government and science-based institutions for guidance as well. All are seeking relevant research results, best practices, lessons learned, information on the current state of play, and projections for what may be coming as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic intensify and induce systemic impacts. 

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and given TRB’s leadership position and reach into the largest transportation researcher and practitioner pool in the world, we are responding to this urgent need for the rapid dissemination of existing research, research in progress, and the current state of understanding with respect to transportation and pandemics. 

TRB has already posted a curated resource titled Transportation in The Face Of Communicable Disease, which highlights completed products and in progress work from TRB’s Cooperative Research Programs and Consensus and Advisory Studies. The Technical Activities Division of TRB, in partnership with SAGE Publications, have also leveraged the existing published work of the Transportation Research Record, creating a thematic journal collection titled Transportation and Pandemics.  

In addition to existing TRB publications and library resources, individuals from our communities of research and practice, many of whom are involved with TRB standing committees, are working in these areas on a continual basis. In order to leverage the expertise, understanding, experience and research in progress of our communities, TRB’s Technical Activities Division and SAGE have created the TRB Practical Pipeline, a preprint forum. This platform is ready to receive and disseminate the following information types focused on the disciplines and issues associated with, and transferable to pandemic response, recovery and mitigation within transportation:

  • unpublished research / case studies
  • research in progress
  • best practice guidance / tools of the trade
  • abstracts with links to data sets
  • summaries with links to information/resources/news items from authoritative sources

TRB invites its research and practitioner communities to share information via this platform. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Transportation and health interfaces in all modes
    1. Impacts on system users / vulnerable users / disadvantaged users
    1. Workforce impacts / staffing issues /quarantine thresholds
    1. Systemic disruption / cascading impacts
    1. Public health strategies to minimize transmission specific to transportation systems
    1. Promoting social distancing and heightened hygiene (i.e.: hand sanitizing) in transportation systems
    1. Disinfecting measures for facilities and vehicles
    1. Crisis communications best practices
    1. Safe collaboration methods with other agencies and companies
    1. Testing essential systems and practices
    1. Alternate operations best practices (teleworking, shift adjustments, operating with reduced staff)
  2. Domestic and international supply chain effects, stressors and issues related to international border restrictions (land-based and seaports)
    1. Manufacturing dynamics and effects on transportation capacity
    1. Supply chain effects for manufacturing segments dependent on just in time delivery (automotive)
  3. Impediments to freight goods movement
    1. Regulatory (e.g. size and weight permits, seaport/intermodal terminal/rail restrictions, trucking hours of service, interstate rest area availability)
  4. Transferable all-hazards emergency management, system resilience, and continuity of operations planning (COOP) best practices and lessons learned
  5. Leadership and Administration during crisis
    1. Mitigation and adaptation for continuity of operations
    1. Defining essential personnel and functions
    1. Physical and psychological workforce safety
    1. Ensuring safe working conditions
    1. Payroll and benefits continuity
    1. Finance and debt management
    1. Capabilities, training and utilization of IT for remote work, communication, and incident response.
  6. Specific potential transportation impacts based on COVID-19 responses
    1. The effects of shelter in place on local food and household staple access/surge delivery capacity
    1. Traffic operations and parking impacts of hospital surges, drive-through testing facilities, staged meal and grocery distribution, etc…
  7. Tracking data, reporting methods, and evaluations to enhance system resilience

Submission instructions

Go to:

Click “Submit” and you will be asked to create an account. Once your account is created, you’ll be able to submit a paper. Select the TRB Practical Pipeline from the dropdown and then upload your manuscript files.  Once submitted, papers will undergo moderation but will not be peer reviewed. Note that once your paper is live, it cannot be taken down or removed.  Please refer to the submission guidelines and FAQs for more detail.

Scott Brotemarkle is a senior program officer with the Transportation Research Board.

View all posts by Scott Brotemarkle

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