To demonstrate the value of research and its implementation, the Governor’s Office requested an annual financial analysis of the INDOT Research Program to determine the return on the research investment (ROI). The current financial analysis is for research projects that completed in FY 2020. Analyses on previous year’s projects is necessary primarily due to the time it takes some project outcomes to be implemented, extending into the following year. Therefore, the FY 2020 analysis is completed in calendar 2021. The ROI analysis will supplement the annual IMPACT report by adding a more rigorous quantitative benefit cost analysis (BCA) to the Research Program. Previous financial analyses used the approach of calculating net present values of cash flows to determine a benefit cost ratio and this report uses the same approach. Additionally, an overall program rate of return (ROI) is reported and will be accumulated over time into a rolling 5-year average.

While the quantitative benefit cost analysis (BCA) was rigorous, results are limited to projects where benefits and costs could be quantified, where data is available to perform a quantitative analysis. Qualitative benefits are highlighted in the companion annual IMPACT report ( ).

In 2018, INDOT unveiled its new Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan guides the priority research needs of the Research Program and in turn the research results support accomplishing the INDOT Strategic Plan, Strategic Objectives. A new Strategic Objective has been added to the INDOT Strategic Plan addressing Innovation & Technology. Additionally, INDOT created a new Office of Innovation. While the Research Program supports all of INDOT’s Strategic Objectives, these new initiatives have further highlighted the importance of research and its role in achieving the Strategic Objectives outlined in the new INDOT Strategic Plan. There has been more emphasis of new research needs related to new technology changes and transformational technologies. This will help position INDOT for future growth, adoption of new technologies and partnering opportunities. These new research projects will provide large qualitative ROI, however are difficult to quantify due to their complexity and newness.

Report Number



INDOT research program, JTRP, return on investment, ROI

SPR Number


Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, IN

Date of this Version