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Policy Statement 471 - Aviation Infrastructure Research

Approved by the Transportation Policy Committee on February 13, 2018
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 6, 2018
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2018


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the continued and increased funding of the Airport Cooperative Research Program for research necessary to improve civil aviation infrastructure systems. ASCE urges that Congress permit Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds to be used for research and development. ASCE supports spending an amount equal to at least one percent of the Airport Improvement Program, plus at least $10 million per year for the Airport Cooperative Research Program, for aviation infrastructure research. 


United States airports account for $1.2 trillion in economic activity, which includes a workforce of 1.3 million people and 8% of GDP. In the next five years, US airports have nearly $100 billion in infrastructure projects. Future project investment will allow airports to handle passenger and cargo activity growth, rehabilitate existing facilities, and support aircraft innovation. This investment will be at risk without sound scientific knowledge on new technologies and other civil infrastructure systems at U.S. airports.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must prioritize the Airport Safety Technology Research Program to support the Advisory Circular system in maintaining standards applicable to airport design, construction, maintenance, and operational safety. Additionally, the FAA must support other research opportunities and programs that can improve airport infrastructure design, construction, and management technology. 


Millions of dollars in development costs can be saved by research that considers new technology and research findings available from other transportation and infrastructure sectors and applies it to airport and supporting infrastructure design, construction specifications, testing procedures, and construction techniques. U. S. airports are independently owned and operated by a diverse collection of government entities including city, municipal, state, regional or special authorities, and rely on the FAA for continuing research and development. 

ASCE Policy Statement 471  
First Approved in 1999