Research & Development: Identifying Pipeline Safety Research Gaps

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Submit Research Gap Suggestions by following this link.


The Department of Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) sponsors Research & Development (R&D) projects focused on providing technological and knowledge solutions that will increase the safety and reliability of the Nation's pipelines. Historically, research gaps are identified and road mapped at public events, held periodically as funding and program actions allow. Although hundreds of attendees usually participate at each event, many stakeholders cannot attend since they either don't have the means or availability.

PHMSA is using this Special Notice to solicit research ideas on a year-round basis to reach the widest set of stakeholders and identify a larger more diverse portfolio of research. The input from this Special Notice will also generate a pool of research ideas for potential future research solicitations.

PHMSA will use submitted research gaps to formulate a research strategy for its Pipeline Safety Research Program.


The Pipeline Safety Research Program organizes program planning, execution, and tracking around the following subject areas.

Threat Prevention

This area addresses excavation activity damage prevention to all pipeline types and improving sub-surface locating/mapping. Research also addresses preventing or monitoring for other threats whether they are coming from corrosion, outside force damage, etc.

Leak Detection

Research in this area addresses leak detection or monitoring on hazardous liquid and natural gas pipelines, including sub-surface, surface, and airborne-based sensors and deployment platforms. Research also addresses approaches to lessen release volumes from leak/rupture incidents.

Anomaly Detection/Characterization

This area aims to improve the capability to identify and locate critical pipeline defects, and to characterize the severity or interacting nature of such defects. Research in this area includes solutions from within or outside the pipe.


This area focuses on enhancing repair materials, techniques, processes, or tools designed to quickly bring pipeline systems back online.


Research in this area advances design approaches and materials to construct safe, long-lasting pipelines using the most appropriate materials.


Research in this area is advances tools, procedures, and inspections of metallic and non-metallic welding.

LNG/Underground Gas Storage

Research in this area supports a wide range of LNG safety system testing, quantitative risk assessments, and/or various hazard mitigation models. For gas storage, research focuses on risk assessments, well casing strength evaluations, subsurface safety valve testing, and both subsurface and facility-level equipment analysis and monitoring.


This category includes all research gap areas that do not align with any of the above areas.


While PHMSA is seeking research gaps relevant to its statutory jurisdiction under Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 190-199, there are several additional identified priorities for PHMSA that could lead to future competitive research solicitations.

The following high interest areas can target subjects within one or more of the main programmatic areas described:

  • Methane abatement
  • Removing barriers for the safe transportation of emerging fuels such as hydrogen


How do I submit a research gap?

Research gaps can be submitted by following this link or via the banner at the top of this page. That action will take you to a new page where the data fields will be revealed required to participate.

What will become of submitted gaps?

PHMSA will collect all submitted gaps. The form data fields will categorize the gap for usage in PHMSA's Pipeline Safety research program. The form data fields will support further categorization for presentation to leadership, and approved gaps will be used to build future research solicitations.

Who can be contacted to answer additional questions?

Any questions should be emailed to the R&D Team at R& using the email subject "Research Gap Suggestion Question".