APEL is a technical service program, managed under the auspices of AASHTO's National Transportation Product Evaluation Program, created in accordance with the code of federal regulations 23 CFR 635.411 (a)(2) as a web-based tool for AASHTO member departments to utilize and exchange information on the evaluation of innovative patented and/or proprietary materials, products, and devices of common interest for use in highway and bridge construction.

Please review the APEL-NTPEP Decision Tree and Manufacturer Submittal Process Flow before submitting any product(s) for evaluation through APEL.

There are four distinct components to the program for which the web module serves as a central repository:

  1. AASHTO Product Evaluations*

    Manufacturers of innovative patented and/or proprietary engineered transportation products may submit products for accelerated laboratory testing through APEL (at this time there is no field component, only lab testing is available). Products that do not currently have an evaluation protocol may be submitted for full development, cost analysis, and execution of an evaluation. A comprehensive, unbiased report of the evaluation findings are then posted and maintained on the site, available for state DOT product evaluators to review. AASHTO does not endorse, certify, or approve products; it provides unbiased data/reports.

  2. DOT Product Evaluations*

    State DOTs may post the results of lab and/or field evaluations they have conducted for innovative patented and/or proprietary engineered transportation products.

  3. State Proprietary Products

    This encompasses state DOT certifications for patented and/or proprietary products (e.g. public interest findings, experimental, synchronization, best fit, other) posted to the APEL web database.

    Per the Code of Federal Regulations:

    A certification by the contracting agency, as provided in 23 CFR 635.411(a)(2), that a specified proprietary product is either:

    1. Necessary for synchronization with existing facilities; or

    2. unique product for which there is no equally suitable alternative.

      Visit the FHWA web site for a list of 23 CFR 635.411 questions and answers:

      • Provide additional guidance regarding the use of patented and proprietary products on Federal-aid projects under 23 CFR 635.411, and

      • Clarify the applicability of 23 CFR 635.411 to both National Highway System (NHS) projects and non-NHS projects.

  4. Links/State Resources

    Links to state DOT approved product lists and/or procedures for new, patented and/or proprietary products (if available). This enhancement to the website was adopted out of discussions at the EDC4 summits.

*The term “evaluation” refers to actual laboratory and/or field testing, not a visual comparison of manufacturer stated product characteristics against state specifications.

Please see the FAQs section to learn more about the program.