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Construction and Maintenance Fact Sheets

Optimizing Highway Performance: Meeting the Customers' Needs

December 1998

New FHWA Program Targets Improved Customer Mobility And Safety During Construction And Maintenance Operations

With the advent of the Interstate system, America's roads and highways have grown to become the main arteries for the Nation's commerce, leisure, and daily life. This unprecedented success has led to sharply higher use and, along with it, rising dissatisfaction over road conditions. Escalating traffic has pushed the system's ability to meet concurrent demands for handling greater volumes of traffic on well-maintained roads and to do so with reduced congestion, improved safety, and minimal delay.

To preserve and enhance the Nation's highway network and meet the challenges of continued growth, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is developing a new program initiative called "Optimizing Highway Performance: Meeting the Customers' Needs." Designed to facilitate the application of the most advanced technologies and administrative methods to highway construction and maintenance operations, the program supports FWHA's strategic objectives of improving public mobility, increasing access, raising productivity, enhancing safety, protecting the natural environment, and strengthening national defense through mobility.

Putting Advances In Construction Management, Materials, And Equipment To Work On The Nation's Highway Network

The new program incorporates a series of intersecting strategies that address concerns about construction-related user delays and the need to ensure safety for both travelers and highway workers. These strategies focus on optimizing project development, design, and scheduling; streamlining contracting procedures; improving traffic control methods; and sharing information on innovative materials, technologies, and practices. Implementation of these program strategies involves multiple offices of FHWA working in partnership with State agencies, local associations, contractors, suppliers, labor unions, and other user organizations.

Seven Strategies To Keep Our Highways Up To Speed

FHWA's initiatives to improve construction and maintenance operations integrate seven components, each designed to improve highway system operation.

Project organization and management. Developing work plans, meetings, and forums to promote advanced technologies and practices that meet the needs of the field. Oversight for these activities is provided by a joint industry/agency steering committee.

Programming and project scheduling. Identifying improved programming practices, including optimized project scheduling and enhanced construction time estimation.

Project development and design. Integrating project design and scheduling with advanced traffic management techniques to improve productivity and reduce highway-related safety concerns.

Contracting methods and procedures. Promoting innovative, streamlined approaches to highway contracting.

Traffic control methods. Demonstrating state-of-the-art work zone traffic management systems and safety devices to enhance the safety of highway personnel and the traveling public.

Innovative materials, technologies, and practices. Sharing information about innovative materials and application methods identified through case studies.

Outreach. Disseminating state-of-the-art technical information through hands-on field tests and evaluations, workshops, training courses, and presentations to stakeholders and partners.

Seven interlocking strategies form FHWA's program for optimizing highway performance. These strategies promote advanced construction and maintenance concepts that maximize safety and minimize delay to highway users.

graphic of seven interlocking strategies: Management, scheduling, design, contracting, traffic, technology, and outreach

To learn more, contact:

Jim Sorenson
Federal Highway Administration
400 Seventh Street SW Room 3211
Washington, DC 20590
Telephone: (202) 366-1333
Fax: (202) 366-9981
E-mail: james.sorenson@fhwa.dot.gov

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Updated: 10/27/2015
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000