As the director of a major university transportation research center, I am honored and pleased to have been included in this program in which we are exploring the contributions that research can make to the refocusing of transportation knowledge and planning practice. It is actually quite rare that line agencies or federal funding programs try to assess what research can provide and what it cannot do. But it is important to think strategically about research just as it is to think about planning and policy matters that hopefully are informed and improved by good research.
It is probably useful to conceive of the world of research as being analogous to a market like any other market for goods and services. We have suppliers who offer goods and services for sale, research studies can be thought of as a product like any other commodity of service; and those of us in universities, think tanks, and consulting firms want to sell our research services just like other purveyors of good things.