The Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) is a technical and scientific research institute responsible to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital (BMVI). BASt acts as a scientific adviser to the Federal Ministry on technical matters and transport policy and plays a leading role in the formulation of specifications and standards. BASt conducts its own research work on issues of special significance on its testing plants. Its tasks include consulting services and drawing up experts reports. BASt also assesses the quality of services and products, for which it carries out accreditation, testing, certification, acknowledgement an approval tasks and also seminars. Most of BASt areas of work involve co-operation with other research agencies, particularly institutes associated with universities and colleges. Its work is oriented towards defined aims. In 1951, BASt began to conduct research into road construction. In 1965, BASt was commissioned to increase its activities beyond road construction to include work on improving the operational efficiency and safety of roads. In 1970, BASt was appointed by the German Federal Parliament to be the central agency for road traffic accident research.
BASt is represented in the committees of over 100 international organisations. In Europe, the BASt is represented in diverse organisations, including: the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), the European Enhanced Vehicle-Safety Committee (EEVC), the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC), the Conference of European Directors of Roads (CEDR), the European Conference of Transport Research Institutes (ECTRI), the Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories (FEHRL), the Forum of European Road Safety Research Institutes (FERSI), European Union research committees/networks as well as the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP). At the scientific level, the BASt is active on a worldwide basis in the committees of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Road Association (PIARC) and the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). One of the focuses is on technical standardisation in the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and the Comité Européen de Normalisation (CEN).
BASt took part in 123 projects receiving funding from the EU Research Framework Programmes including European Research Projects since 1990. Additionally BASt carries out around 300 annual projects of its own and for the Federal Ministry of Transport with an annual budget of 30 million Euros. BASt has a staff of more than 400 who work in more than 40 different disciplines. Engineers, natural and human scientists, economists, technicians and administration staff contribute with professional solutions to solving the diverse tasks BASt faces.
BASt officially represents Germany in the consumer information programme Euro NCAP and is appointed as German Euro NCAP Test Lab. BASt also partially funds and supports the German In-Depth Accident Study (GIDAS) and therefore has unlimited access to one of the most comprehensive accident databases worldwide.