Federal Highway Administration
|Formed||April 1, 1967|
|Jurisdiction||United States Government|
|Parent agency||US Department of Transportation|
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a division of the United States Department of Transportation that specializes in highway transportation. The agency's major activities are grouped into two "programs," the Federal-aid Highway Program and the Federal Lands Highway Program. Its role had previously been performed by the Office of Road Inquiry, Office of Public Roads and the Bureau of Public Roads.
The organization has several predecessor organizations and a complicated history.
The Office of Road Inquiry (ORI) was founded in 1893. In 1905 that organization's name was changed to the Office of Public Roads (OPR) which became a division of the United States Department of Agriculture. The name was changed again to the Bureau of Public Roads in 1915 and to the Public Roads Administration (PRA) in 1939. It was then shifted to the Federal Works Agency which was abolished in 1949 when its name reverted to Bureau of Public Roads under the Department of Commerce.
The FHWA was created on October 15, 1966.
In 1967 the functions of the Bureau of Public Roads were transferred to the new organisation.
The FHWA’s role in the Federal-aid Highway Program is to oversee federal funds used for constructing and maintaining the National Highway System (primarily Interstate Highways, U.S. Routes and most State Routes). This funding mostly comes from the federal gasoline tax and mostly goes to state departments of transportation. FHWA oversees projects using these funds to ensure that federal requirements for project eligibility, contract administration and construction standards are adhered to.
Under the Federal Lands Highway Program (sometimes called "direct fed"), the FHWA provides highway design and construction services for various federal land-management agencies, such as the Forest Service and the National Park Service.
In addition to these programs, the FHWA performs and sponsors research in the areas of roadway safety, congestion, highway materials and construction methods, and provides funding to local technical assistance program centers to disseminate research results to local highway agencies.
The FHWA also publishes the “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices” (MUTCD), which is used by most highway agencies in the United States. The MUTCD specifies such things as the size, color and height of traffic signs, traffic signals and road surface markings.
The Federal Highway Administration is overseen by an Administrator appointed by the President of the United States by and with the consent of the United States Senate. The Administrator works under the direction of the Secretary of Transportation and Deputy Secretary of Transportation. The internal organization of the FHWA is as follows:
- Deputy Administrator
- Office of Research, Development, and Technology
- Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty
- Office of Policy and Government Affairs
- Office of the Chief Financial Officer
- Office of Administration
- Office of Operations
- Office of Safety
- Office of Federal Lands Highway
- Office of Chief Counsel
- Office of Civil Rights
- Office of Public Affairs
- Deputy Administrator
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- Intelligent Transportation Systems
- Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute
- National Transportation Communications for Intelligent Transportation System Protocol (NTCIP)
- U.S. Department of Transportation
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