|Formation||December 12, 1914|
|Purpose||Coordination among state Departments of Transportation|
|Headquarters||444 N Capitol St. NW
Washington, DC 20001
|Affiliations||50 state Departments of Transportation and in District of Columbia and Puerto Rico|
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is a standards setting body which publishes specifications, test protocols and guidelines which are used in highway design and construction throughout the United States. Despite its name, the association represents not only highways but air, rail, water, and public transportation as well.
The voting membership of AASHTO consists of the Department of Transportation of each state in the United States, as well as those of Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The United States Department of Transportation, some U.S. cities, counties and toll-road operators, most Canadian provinces as well as the Hong Kong Highways Department, the Turkish Ministry of Public Works and Settlement and the Nigerian Association of Public Highway and Transportation Officials have non-voting associate memberships.
Though it sets transportation standards and policy for the United States as a whole, AASHTO is not an agency of the federal government; rather it is an organization of the states themselves. Policies of AASHTO are not federal laws or policies, but rather are ways to coordinate state laws and policies in the field of transportation.
The American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) was founded on December 12, 1914. Its name was changed to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials on November 13, 1973. The name change reflects a broadened scope to cover all modes of transportation, although most of its activities are still specific to highways.
While AASHTO is not a government body, it does possess quasi-governmental powers in the sense that the organizations that supply its members customarily obey most AASHTO decisions.
Some noteworthy AASHTO publications are:
In addition to its publications, AASHTO performs or cooperates in research projects. One such project is the AASHTO Road Test, which is a primary source of data used when considering transport policies and the structural design of roads. Much of AASHTO's current research is performed by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) which is administered by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Research Council.
The AASHTO Materials Reference Laboratory (AMRL) accredits laboratories. AMRL accreditation is often required to submit test results to State DOTs. For example, a contract for the construction of a highway bridge may require a minimum compressive strength for the concrete used. The contract will specify AASHTO Test Designation T22 "Compressive Strength of Cylindrical Concrete Specimens" as the means of determining compressive strength. The laboratory performing T22 will be required to be accredited by AMRL in that test.