FAA Airport Technology R&D Technical Support

Airport Pavement Test Vehicle (APTV)


The FAA and airports nationwide are faced with the challenge of accommodating increased airport traffic safely. In response to these needs, the FAA’s Airport Technology R&D Branch conducts the necessary research & development needed to:

  • Enhance performance of runways and taxiways
  • Increase safety of airfield operations
  • Provide higher visibility marking and lighting technologies
  • Mitigate nearby wildlife hazards
  • Implement new and efficient firefighting technologies


ARA is a key member of the technical support team that is helping the FAA’s Airport Technology R&D Branch to enhance airport performance and safety and to ensure the adequacy of engineering specifications and standards in all areas of airport systems. ARA is helping conduct research, test & evaluation, and analysis that will advance a broad range of airport pavement and safety technologies. Much of this work is performed at the William J. Hughes Technical Center (WJHTC) near Atlantic City, NJ.

ARA is playing a key role in several critical R&D activities, including:

  • Evaluating engineered materials arresting systems (EMAS) used to mitigate aircraft overruns in runway safety areas (RSAs)
  • Evaluating unmanned aerial system (UAS) and autonomous vehicle applications for airports
  • Determining remaining airfield pavement service life using nondestructive testing data
  • Planning, executing, and analyzing pavement performance tests performed at the FAA’s National Airport Pavement Test Facility (NAPTF)
  • Evaluating new airfield visual aid technologies via photometric testing and analysis
  • Developing, advancing, and deploying the FAA’s airfield pavement design (FAARFIELD) and pavement management (PAVEAIR) software and technologies
  • Developing a new extended life airfield pavement design procedure
  • Planning, executing, and analyzing pavement materials testing at National Airport Pavement and Materials Research Center (NAPMRC) to evaluate the performance of greener and more sustainable paving technologies and materials


Through its support of the FAA Airport Technology R&D Branch, ARA is advancing airport pavement and safety technologies.  These advancements are critical with the implementation of new procedures from the NextGen research and the role of airports to accommodate the increased traffic safely. The increased traffic will necessitate efficient inspection and maintenance of our Nation’s runways and taxiways, reliable methods to assess the braking performance of aircraft, higher visibility lighting and marking materials, new lighting technologies, and new and efficient techniques for aircraft rescue and fire fighting.

Aviation R&D

Aviation R&D and Technology Deployment

ARA is well versed in helping the FAA, airports, and other aviation agencies conduct critical R&D and deploy innovative technologies. more

Pavement Engineering

Pavement Engineering

Mechanistic pavement design, evaluation and testing, pavement management systems, performance modeling, life cycle cost analysis, accelerated... more