Management of Research

TII is committed to setting up and maintaining a research and development budget, which will be used to fund an on-going Research Programme.

Overarching Policy Themes

Using the TII Corporate Strategy a number of broad Policy Themes were identified that assist in the development of the TII Research Strategy. The intent of these themes is to focus on the requirements for better efficiency, sustainability and safety across all spheres of activity of TII and relate to materials, standards and procedures within the context of network construction, maintenance and operation. The policy themes are:

1. Materials
Development of innovative materials in both new construction and maintenance; Development of a circular economy by optimising the use of natural resources and recycled materials and minimising waste; Improvement of the durability of transport infrastructure.
2. Standards and specifications
Development and maintenance of up-to-date standards and technical documents for road and light rail infrastructure in line with international best practice and compliant with national and European legislation; Production of new standards and specifications based on new developments in technology; Encourage innovation in design and maintenance activities; Modernisation of TII’s operations by incorporating digitalisation into its asset management systems.
3. Environment/Sustainable construction
Consideration of environmental issues across all of TII’s road and light rail operations: Effects of climate change; Reduction of waste; Conservation of natural resources; Alternative energy sources; Reduction of energy consumption; Consideration of energy consumption in the way roads are planned, built and operated; Implications of connected and autonomous vehicles in the planning and design of road networks; Alternative fuels; Improved durability of roads and bridges.
4. Safety
Contribution of infrastructure to casualties and fatalities; Improved safety of road and rail users and road workers; Safety and accessibility of vulnerable users; Improved skid resistance; Interaction between road, vehicle and driver; Understanding driver behaviour; Improved structural safety; Development of passive safety; Incident management.
5. Value for money
Improved global competitiveness; Procurement methods; Risk identification and allocation; Development of better monitoring and inspections methods and procedures as part of a sustainable asset management system; Making better use of existing infrastructure; Targeted maintenance regimes; Improved traffic modelling and planning.
6. Transportation and land use
Traffic growth predictions; Land take-up at grade separated junctions; Influencing driver behaviour; Development of traffic models; Intelligent transport systems; Integrated transport systems; Inter-modal studies.
7. Heritage
Consideration of impact of roads on society; methods for archaeological investigations; other social issues.
These policy themes provide a framework for carrying out all TII’s research activities. They provide the basis for the development of the Annual Research Programme, the conclusions of which assist TII staff in providing and operating TII’s transport networks in a more efficient and effective way.


The communication system that TII has developed internally to facilitate the exchange of information relating to research activities is based on the network of research mentors described above. The purpose is to collate research needs and ideas, evaluate proposals, prioritise the projects, provide effective technical management, and disseminate results of the Research Programme.
The network of Mentors ensures both a top-down and bottom-up approach. The top-down approach allows potential projects to develop from the Corporate Strategic Goals. Using the bottom-up approach, the technical specialists of TII identify research projects to solve particular problems or assist in carrying out processes in a more effective way. In both cases, the high-level goals underpin and justify the research activities. 
Communication is necessary to inform all stakeholders (including members of the public, universities, institutes, consultants, contractors and other interested bodies) of the TII Research Strategy and the evidence and reasoning that underpin it. Use is made of the TII website to publicise the Research Programme and to make the research results available. More specifically the promotion of the research outputs is achieved though journal publications, presentations at seminars and conferences.
Communication of the research activities is co-ordinated by the Research and Standards Section with assistance from the Research Mentors in the different technical areas. Use is made of the TII intranet to facilitate the flow of information throughout TII. Updates are prepared every six months and presented to the TII Board for comments and approval. Subsequently these updates are disseminated to TII staff through the TII Newsboard and other internal web-based information systems.


The Research Programme is under the direct responsibility of the Research and Standards Section. This includes: 
  • On-going development of the TII Research Strategy
  • Identify and prioritise topics for inclusion in annual research programme (with TII Specialists and stakeholders)
  • Manage the performance and delivery of research projects with technical advice from TII Specialists
  • Develop relationship with key stakeholders
  • Develop relationship with research providers (universities, consultants, etc.)
  • Communicate research activities to the TII Board and to TII staff and key stakeholders
  • Maintain contact with EU and national research initiatives
  • Collaborate with international organisations such as CEDR.

Research Mentors

A clear linkage is required between TII research projects and those responsible for particular areas of specialisation within TII. This ensures that the TII research is integrated into TII core activities and that the research outputs are effectively disseminated into standards, specifications and practices. An internal network of specialist Research Mentors has been set up across TII with responsibility for:
  • Maintaining familiarity with worldwide trends in research in their area of specialisation
  • Maintaining awareness of recent research publications in published journals, at conferences, etc.
  • Identifying research priorities within their area of responsibility
  • Collaborating with the Research and Standards Section with respect to research projects, including review and commentary on draft reports and assessment of service provider performance
  • Ensuring the dissemination and effective implementation of research outputs through TII’s publications.
The areas of specialisation are: 
  • TII Policy 
  • Bridge management and maintenance 
  • Structures and Eurocodes 
  • Environment 
  • TII Standards 
  • Pavement Technology 
  • Asset Management 
  • Traffic Transport Modelling 
  • Planning and Land Use 
  • Route lighting 
  • Archaeology 
  • Contract documents 
  • Project Management and Works requirements 
  • Road Safety
  • ITS 
  • Road Signs and Lines
  • Network Operations
  • Geotechnics 
  • Tolling Operations
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Rail Safety 
  • Light Rail: Standards 
  • Light Rail: Track 
  • Light Rail: Rolling stock
  • Power and Systems
This list covers the key areas of current interest to TII. It will be supplemented to meet demands and additional Mentors may be added if appropriate.

Performance Indicators

It is difficult to gauge the quality and success of research as it is often many years before the research results are fully implemented through standards and the benefits realised. High quality research can only be ensured if a high calibre research team is employed. Therefore, the selection process emphasises the track record of the research team and the relevance of the research outputs to TII’s goals. Value for money is ensured though competition and transparency in the evaluation and selection process.
Management of each individual project is the responsibility of the Project Mentor with assistance from the Research and Standards Section. Progress of the Research Programme is monitored by the TII Audit Committee: performance is based on the following indicators:
  • Number of projects commissioned
  • Number of projects delivered
  • Number of reports and papers published
  • Quality of research and research outputs
  • Communication of Research outputs 
  • Implementation of research outputs
Since the research programme was formalised in 2007 the portfolio of research projects has mirrored the objectives and challenges both internal and external to the organisation. The projects put in place have covered a number of technical areas. The current research projects are listed in Appendix A. More details of the individual projects in terms of background, benefits to TII and outputs are available in the profiles available on-line in the research pages of the TII website:


TII commissions Research projects based on the principles of openness, transparency, fairness and competitiveness whenever possible. Research topics are identified by TII staff in response to the business needs of TII and procures research projects using an open competitive call for proposals in line with TII’s corporate procurement processes. Where appropriate, a different procurement process may be adopted in which case Director approval is sought.

Research Management

TII manages the Research commissioned using the following principles: 
  • Well-organised targeted annual Research Programme with a clear statement of expected outputs and benefits;
  • Identification and selection process to ensure that the research projects align with TII’s Corporate Strategy;
  • Individual projects prioritised based on current needs and available funds;
  • Research projects procured on a competitive basis in conjunction with the TII Procurement Sections to ensure transparency and value for money;
  • Research to focus on solutions to short-term goals driven by current business needs but will not neglect fundamental research aimed at longer-term benefits;
  • Individual research projects incorporate a dissemination plan to ensure that the conclusions and outputs are relevant to TII and implemented in an effective and timely fashion.
The formulation of the annual Research Programme adopts a Value Management process. This is a style of management dedicated to motivating people, developing skills and promoting synergies and innovation with the aim of maximising overall performance.
The first stage of the process is to identify general research themes and topics by TII staff with input and advice from external stakeholders where appropriate. The themes and topics are then evaluated against the policy themes and strategic objectives of TII as outlined in this document. Following this evaluation, topics are selected for possible inclusion in the research programme. To ensure that the selection is carried out equitably and represent both the needs of TII and value for money, an Expert Group will oversee the process. This Expert Group consists of 4/5 senior TII staff members with experience in research projects and an in-depth knowledge of the operations of TII. A project specification is prepared for the selected topics, giving the background to the problem being investigated, outlining the objectives of the project, and presenting what TII expects to gain from the project. This helps to focus the project on the high-level goals of TII as outlined in the Corporate Strategy and assists in determining how the research will be commissioned.
Topics are prioritised and ranked on the basis of current needs and the funds available. The higher-ranked projects are selected and approval sought for including them in the annual Research Programme. A preliminary Research Programme is devised prior to each financial year in order to define budgets and timescales for new and ongoing projects.