What is the LRRB?
Established in 1959 through state legislation, the Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) sponsors transportation research particular to the design, construction, maintenance/operations, environmental compatibility, administration and implementation needs of cities and counties.
According to Minnesota statutes, LRRB funding must support the following:
- Research that improves the design, construction, maintenance and environmental compatibility of state-aid highways, streets and appurtenances
- Construction of research elements and reconstruction or replacement of research elements that fail
- Programs for implementing and monitoring research results
The LRRB serves local road transportation practitioners through:
- Development of new initiatives
- Acquisition of and application of new knowledge
- Exploration and implementation of new technologies
How the LRRB Works
Transportation practitioners from local agencies submit ideas to the LRRB, which selects and approves proposals. MnDOT Research Services & Library provides administrative support and technical assistance. Researchers from MnDOT, universities and consulting firms conduct the research, and the LRRB monitors the progress.
Research sponsored by the LRRB helps to improve the quality of Minnesota’s transportation systems. The impact of this research multiplies as more and more engineers see potential applications through the technology transfer efforts of LRRB’s Research Implementation Committee.
Who Conducts Transportation Research in Minnesota?
Transportation research in Minnesota involves extensive and productive collaborations among federal and state agencies, local units of government, the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, other universities and private industry. These collaborations take place through a number of formal and informal partnerships. For example, the LRRB RIC, which includes county and city engineers, University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) staff and MnDOT research staff, may contract with a private engineering consultant to implement a research project. Researchers from MnDOT, universities and consulting firms conduct the research, and the LRRB monitors progress. MnDOT Research Services Section provides the necessary administrative support services to the LRRB and RIC.
In addition, representatives from CTS and MnDOT Research Services Section meet regularly as part of an ongoing collaboration to coordinate research and technology transfer programs. The goals of this partnership include:
- Efficient and timely contract administration
- Effective implementation of research results and evaluation of research impact
- Optimization of technology transfer resources through recognition, identification and fostering of partnership opportunities
- Development of cooperative efforts in research and education
- Leadership to identify emerging trends and promote creative and critical thinking
- MnDOT and CTS also link their efforts to those at the national level by participating in national transportation networks and organizations.
Here are some of the impacts of LRRB research initiatives:
- Supports Minnesota Road Research Project (MnROAD), an innovative testing facility for pavement research.
- Conducted more than 500 research projects, with the results of many projects such as recycled asphalt in mix, now used routinely.
- Funded research and assisted in implementation of new spring-load restriction guidelines, which are estimated to save $14 million annually in road repair costs.
- Funds the Operational Research Program for Local Transportation Groups (OPERA) that supports research at city and county public works sites.
- Supports technology transfer through coordination and funding of education, training and library services.