Railroad Research and Development

To foster long-range enhancement of the Federal Railroad Administration's program of research in support of rail safety by developing cooperative research relationships between the Administration and university organizations.

credit: World News - Rockefeller Foundation

Examples of Funded Projects

New program, not applicable.

Agency - Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation's mission is to ensure fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation that meets vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.

Website Address


Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Short Line Safety Institute $ 60,000   2019-08-192020-06-30
Board Of Regents Of The University Of Nebraska $ 300,045   2015-08-012019-03-31
Orlando, City Of $ 28,344   2016-09-012018-12-31
National Academy Of Sciences $ 4,633,206   2010-09-242018-12-31
Claremont Graduate University $ 58,351   2016-08-012018-12-31
Short Line Safety Institute $ 1,900,000   2017-09-012018-12-31
University Of California, San Diego $ 1,251,029   2011-08-112018-03-31
Sulphur Institute, The $ 100,000   2015-08-172018-03-31
Short Line Safety Institute $ 1,900,000   2016-09-012017-12-31
National Academy Of Sciences $ 400,000   2015-05-142017-12-31

Program Accomplishments

New program, not applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Projects must show a relationship towards advancing railroad safety.

Applicants must demonstrate 5 years of railroad research activity.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Applicants must be major academic research institutions with backgrounds in the rail transportation arena.

A minimum of 5 years of railroad or railroad related research experience is required.

Beneficiary Eligibility

No restrictions.


As specified in program solicitations and Federal Register Notices.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

The FRA will announce specific pre- application coordination activities for each project area in the Federal Register.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

As specified periodically in the Federal Register, eligible applicants must submit a Program Application that consists of a University Profile and Proposed Research Projects. The applications are subject to the requirements of OMB Circular A-110. Applications may be obtained from the Office of Research and Development, Mail Stop 20, 1120 Vermont Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 493-6384. Fax: 202-493-1313. Email: Judy.Pharris@FRA.DOT.gov.

Award Procedures

As specified in Federal Register notices, applicants must first demonstrate satisfactory background and experience to the Office of Research and Development, Federal Railroad Administration. Second, proposed research projects are reviewed to determine those which most closely match the Administration's research objectives. Those applicants with one or more projects satisfying the second step criteria will be rank ordered based on qualifications and probability of success. From this rank ordering, the Administration established a group of selected universities as pre-qualified to perform solicited or approved research projects. Applicants within this group will be invited to enter into cooperative agreements.


As specified in Federal Register notices.


Public Law 103-44, Section 216.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Four to 16 weeks after application.


To Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration.


Grants contemplated in this program are predominantly project-oriented rather than on-going efforts and are therefore non-renewable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

There are no formula or matching requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Not applicable.

Post Assistance Requirements


A final report detailing the work conducted and the progress accomplished will be required.

Presentations at an annual workshop are expected.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations, nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in OMB Circular No. A-133.


In accordance with requirements of the specific project agreement.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $1,097,262; FY 08 est $1,000,000; and FY 09 est. not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$50,000 to $250,000. Average: $100,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Not applicable.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Not applicable.

Headquarters Office

Dr. Magdy El-Sibaie, Office of Research and Development, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., Washington DC 20590.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

In descending order of relative importance: (1) Overall scientific and/technical merit; (2) Degree to which it may improve upon or advance railroad safety; (3) Likelihood for its near term adoption and implementation of possible recommendations; (4) Degree to which the proposed project fits into the Administration's overall research objectives: (5) Reasonableness and realism of the proposed cost, and the availability of funds (to include due consideration for proposed cost-sharing by the applicant).

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