An effort is currently underway to create an Engineering Research Consortium Initiative (ERCI) focused on engineering and management of the highway transportation infrastructure. The goal of the ERCI will be to provide administrative and logistical support for a coordinated, problem-focused research program on the highway transportation infrastructure system. The cornerstone of the initiative will be field test-sites. Example sites might include major long span bridges, sample populations of operating bridges, decommissioned bridges, a regional network of highways and bridges, various types of pavement and geotechnical structures, or a major transportation hub serving a metropolitan area. Sites would be instrumented to collect a broad range of engineering (structural, geotechnical, hydraulic), human (traffic) and natural (climatological, seismological) response data. The field sites would be networked to provide real-time access to test facilities across the country; a secure central repository would be established for collecting data from the sites. The data and information gathered from these sites would be used by engineers and scientists to study the complex interactions and cause-and-effect relations of the various engineered, human and natural components of the highway hyper-system. A major research thrust of the ERCI will be security of the highway infrastructure system, with particular emphasis on bridges. The National Science Foundation and the Federal Highway Administration are expected to provide funding for the program through a joint agency initiative. Two workshops were recently held with experts from around the world to discuss the plans for the ERCI. The paper provides more details on the ERCI and the status of the effort to date.