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STIC Accomplishments 2013

Message from Co-Chairs
Moving Forward
Innovations in Practice
Milestones in Brief
Promoting STIC
STIC Goes Green
FHWA Every Day Counts
Beyond Transportation
Quick STIC Facts
2014 Dates to Remember

Message from the STIC Co-Chairs Initiatives & Milestones

We are proud to present you with the 2013 State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) End-of-Year Accomplishments summary. This newsletter details our accomplishments, initiatives moving forward, available resources and milestones achieved in 2013.

We both want to thank all of you for your leadership and participation in the STIC. Each one of you is instrumental in the successful inception, development and progress of PA STIC. We’ve received national attention because of your efforts and hard work.

At the September STIC meeting, Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch and FHWA Division Administrator Renee Sigel unveiled a new tabletop model that showcases GRS-IBS bridge technology.

Over the past two years, we have forged an environment of innovation, imagination and ingenuity through our partnership and collaboration. We’ve proven that we care about our state and the citizens we serve by pursuing innovations and proven techniques that will deliver a modern and high-quality transportation system. In addition, you have looked for additional ways to collaborate to enhance our citizens’ lifestyles, promote safety and protect the environment.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but the efforts and enthusiasm presented thus far only demonstrate the commitment we have to continue our progress as we look for ways to improve our business, our products and our delivery.

We commend you on your hard work, dedication and commitment to innovation!

Barry Schoch
Secretary of Transportation

Renee Sigel
FHWA Division Administrator

Initiatives Moving Forward in Pennsylvania

In the past year and a half, Pennsylvania’s State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) has moved forward initiatives that are, and will be, making a difference to transportation employees, contractors, and the public. In all, and to date, approximately 50 initiatives are either in the deployment phase or in the works with their respective Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs). This newsletter reports on many of them. The following initiatives continue to move forward:

  • Photo of GeofoamExpanded Polystyrene Geofoam. Material used as an embankment fill to reduce loads on underlying soils or to build highways quickly without staged construction.
  • 3D Modeling. Use of 3D modeling software to develop, test, and alter project designs for faster, more accurate, and more efficient planning and construction of roadway projects.
  • DarWIN-ME Pavement Design. Acceleration of PennDOT’s implementation of AASHTO’s pavement design program for consistency in the calibration and validation of national pavement performance models.
  • Best Practices for High Percentage RAP Mixes. Implementation of accepted best practices for the design, evaluation, and quality control of high-reclaimed asphalt pavement mixtures in Pennsylvania.
  • Rumble Strip Installations on Thin Pavement Overlays. Development of a synthesis of best practices to help determine how to address process and procedures for the installation and reinstallation of centerline and edgeline rumble strips on thin pavement overlay projects.
  • Commercial Vehicle Mainline Virtual Weigh Stations. Installation of mainline, high-speed, weigh-in-motion scales on highways in Pennsylvania to enhance safety and assist the State Police in weight enforcement.
  • Photo of Intelligent CompactionIntelligent Compaction. System using vibration to collect, process, and analyze measurements so that greater amounts of pavement are compacted with fewer passes than traditional static rollers.
  • Way-Finding Signs for Water Trails. Use of way-finding signs on bridges over waterways.
  • Geosynthetic Reinforced Soils Integrated Bridge System (GRS-IBS). Use of compacted fill material and fabric sheets of geotextile for construction of small bridge support and maintenance.
  • Highway Safety Manual Integration. Application of contemporary road safety management methods embodied in the Highway Safety Manual.
  • Locally Administered Projects. Assistance to guide local public agencies (LPAs) through the complexities of a Federal-aid Highway Program project.
  • High-Friction Surfaces. Application of high-quality aggregate to existing or potential high-crash areas to help motorists maintain better control in dry or wet driving conditions.
  • PA Safety Symposium. Call for an educational symposium that brings together safety professionals to discuss the most effective ways to improve safety and advance safety policy needs.
  • PNDI Access. Full access to the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory system for PennDOT personnel and planning partners to facilitate transportation project planning.
  • Quality Environmental Documents Exploration of new “executive-style” formats for environmental documents to save time and money.
  • Pervious Concrete Pavements. Identification of applications for this “green technology” in Pennsylvania transportation (e.g., park-n-ride lots, low-volume roads).
  • Incident Management First-Responder Training. Focus on a response effort that protects motorists and responders while minimizing the impact on traffic flow.
  • Intersection and Interchange Geometrics. Alternative geometric intersection and interchange designs specifically designed to reduce or alter conflict points, allowing for safer travel for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Putting Innovation Into Practice

The seeds of innovation have been planted in Pennsylvania, and innovative technologies that save money, improve traffic safety, and reduce congestion and traffic headaches are making their way onto our roadways.

Here are three such initiatives promoted by the STIC.

GRS-IBS Bridge Construction

GRS-IBS Technology (Before & After) - Sandy Township in Clearfield County
employed GRS-IBS technology to rebuild and reopen a closed bridge in record time. By employing this innovative technology and using its own equipment and workforce, the township was able to construct the bridge in 35 days at a cost of $102,000.

Geosynthetic reinforced soil (GRS) is an old concept that has been modernized with today’s technology. It uses alternating layers of geotextile and compacted stone to create bridge superstructure units, which are combined with beams and a deck to create an integrated bridge system (IBS). GRS-IBS allows bridges to be built more quickly (doesn’t require intricate construction concepts), at a lower cost (from 25 to 60 percent less than conventional construction methods), and in an environmentally friendly manner.

This technology is a great solution to address structurally deficient bridges on low-volume roadways or over low-velocity streams. PennDOT encourages the use of GRS-IBS technology and has included it in Pub 447, New Products for Low-Volume Roads, among the innovative products that local governments may use on their roadways.

GRS-IBS bridges have been built in several communities across the state, including Huston and Sandy townships in Clearfield County and North Hopewell Township in York County

Safety Edge

Photo of the Safety Edge
Safety Edge is employed along Route 664 in Lock Haven, Clinton County. During pilot projects, PennDOT created adjustable attachments that allow the angle of the edge to vary. FHWA is now encouraging other states to require adjustable devices.

Safety Edge is the addition of a wedgeshaped attachment to paving equipment so that the edge of the roadway is paved to create a 30-degree angle rather than a hazardous vertical drop-off. Roadway departures account for 53 percent of fatal crashes, and this seemingly small change done while paving can reduce crashes to save lives and prevent serious injuries.

By angling the edge of the pavement, Safety Edge makes it easier for vehicles that drift off the road to return to the roadway smoothly. It also creates a more durable edge that is less prone to deterioration. It involves minimal time and cost to implement during paving projects. The commercially available shoe attaches to existing equipment in mere minutes.

Safety Edge has been incorporated into at least 48 roadway paving projects during the 2013 construction season.

Warm-Mix Asphalt

This new technology allows hot-mix asphalt producers to mix pavement materials 30 to 120 degrees F lower than traditional heating practices. With less energy needed to heat the asphalt, warm-mix asphalt ultimately leads to a 20 percent decrease in fuel consumption. In addition, the more durable asphalt lessens premature damages and aging, thereby providing a longer pavement lifespan.

The benefits of warm-mix asphalt include reduced paving costs, extended paving season in cooler weather, improved asphalt compaction, and improved working conditions due to less exposure to fuel emissions, fumes, and odors. The paved road is also ready for traffic quicker.

PennDOT has incorporated the use of this technology in Pub 408, Construction Specifications, and it’s quickly becoming the asphalt production of choice. More than 30 percent of all asphalt placed by PennDOT in 2012 and 2013 was warm mix. PennDOT has also turned its attention to educating local governments and municipal partners about the benefits of this technology and encouraging its use during the paving of local roads.

Milestones in Brief

The bridge near our home was reconstructed in record time, thanks to new technology. We appreciate that the detour didn't delay our commute to school and work for long. Thank you!

Intelligent Compaction – Pilot advertised in July. Strike-off letter on pre-bid design files completed.

Geosynthetic Reinforced Soils Integrated Bridge System (GRS-IBS) – Specifications contained in Pub 447. Three bridges constructed: two in District 2-0, one in District 8-0 (all local bridges). 2014 promises 12 additional bridges. Promotional materials created: video, banner, and tech sheet.

Locally Administered Projects – Local Project Delivery manual developed. Regional construction inspection open-end agreement executed and ready for use.

High-Friction Surfaces – 50 locations selected. PennDOT Lab is working to identify available new products and materials for use of high-friction surface treatments. User Guide and Standard Special Provision in progress.

Quality Environmental Documents – Training on purpose and need developed as well as other courses, which will be offered to planning partners in 2014.

DarWIN-ME Pavement Design – Implementation plan developed. Local data to be implemented into model in 2014.

Expanded Polystyrene Geofoam – Draft guidelines and user specifications developed.

Highway Safety Manual Integration – Safety Performance Factors developed for inclusion into SafetyAnalyst (SA) software.

Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety – Five police departments trained on the integration of location-based crime and traffic crash data to determine most effective methods for deploying law enforcement and other resources.

PA Safety Symposium – Session presented at 2013 Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference in December to promote most effective ways to improve safety.

Intersection and Interchange Geometrics – Roundabout appendix to PennDOT DM-1X completed. Candidate locations for roundabouts being identified.

Accelerated Bridge Construction – Precast bridge standards developed for issue. Three bridges with prefabricated bridge element systems to be constructed in 2014.

3D Modeling for Construction – Pilot Automated Machine Guidance (AMG) project led in District 9-0. Strike-off letter on 3D design issued.

Promoting STIC

Pennsylvania's State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) was featured in the July/August 2013 issue of Public Roads. The article explored how our STIC is working to advance transportation innovations and to save Pennsylvania money through increased efficiencies and enhanced current practices.

The Public Outreach Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has been hard at work promoting the PA STIC, including the accomplishments of the individual TAGs.

Over the past year and a half, STIC and TAG members have educated audiences at more than a dozen conferences and exhibits across the state about the purpose of STIC and the various initiatives being explored.

The Public Outreach TAG has also developed multiple resources for use at various events.

Let’s keep the momentum going! If you know of an opportunity to communicate STIC initiatives and successes, please let us know. Contact PennDOT Information Specialist Jamie Legenos at jalegenos@pa.gov or Carol Kilko, chair of the Public Outreach TAG, at ckilko@psats.org.

Information and publications promoting STIC are available online at modernDOT.pa.gov (select ”State Transportation Innovation Council“).

Showcasing GRS-IBS - This summer, PennDOT and FHWA
held a Local Bridge Showcase in Clearfield County for local officials to learn about GRS-IBS and tour a recently completed bridge project in Sandy Township.

STIC Goes Green

Did you realize the STIC has accepted at least three initiatives that can be considered “green”? Take a look.

Recycled Asphalt Shingles. This innovation offers a means to reduce waste in landfills. Although there are several hurdles yet to overcome, it’s not too far out of reach or too far in the future when we can consider asphalt shingles as one type of roadway material.

Pervious Concrete. This innovation does raise some concerns about its application on roads, but perhaps it can be used for auxiliary or pseudoroads and other types of transportation options, such as trails and parking lots.

Warm-Mix Asphalt. This material is produced at a lower temperature, thus using less energy and providing environmental benefits.

Did you know...

Tabletop displayThe STIC has the following resources available to promote successful transportation initiatives:

  • Five fact sheets focusing on initiatives (Safety Edge, GRS-IBS, Warm Mix Asphalt, Safety*, ITS*)
  • Promotional brochure, handouts, and PowerPoint files explaining STIC and promoting its initiatives
  • Tabletop display to use in promoting STIC (photo at left)
  • Tabletop GRS-IBS bridge model (photo at bottom right)
  • GRS-IBS bridge 8-foot-tall promotional banner (photo at top right)
  • FHWA Every Day Counts materials

* To be completed by the end of 2013

FHWA Every Day Counts Finds Support at PennDOT

The FHWA launched Every Day Counts 2 (EDC2) in our region of the country in October 2012. Since that time, PennDOT has decided to implement many of the EDC innovations that have been shared by FHWA, and the TAGs have received these “special” STIC initiatives to add to their tasks.

For the most part, PennDOT personnel are heavily involved with the EDC2 initiatives, but there is occasion when industry expertise is also sought. So if you haven’t heard or been involved with Every Day Counts yet, just wait.

The Pennsylvania Division of FHWA extends its gratitude to all who participated in a TAG meeting where an EDC2 initiative was discussed or participated in the EDC2 virtual forums and vetting process this past spring.

Pennsylvania ranks near the top among states that have deployed Every Day Counts initiatives.

More information about Every Day Counts can be found at www.fhwa.dot.gov/everydaycounts/.

Skating to Where the Puck is...

Photo of EDC Puck

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

This infamous Wayne Gretzky quote helped to lead him to hockey stardom. It’s also the mantra behind what has affectionately become known as the “Puck Award” from the Pennsylvania State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC). In the fall of 2012, the Pennsylvania Division Office of FHWA was awarded the puck by Greg Nadeau, deputy administrator of FHWA, for the division office’s proactive leadership in organizing a highly functioning State Transportation Innovation Council.

In turn, the FHWA, as a co-chair of the Pa. STIC, began to present the award to recognize deserving Technical Advisory Groups (TAG) at each quarterly STIC meeting over the last year. The Puck Award is given to a TAG or individual who has exemplified the energy and stewardship of driving innovation to a new level. The following TAGs were the recipients of the award in 2013:

  • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
  • Safety
  • Materials

Each of the awardees had a record number of nominations for innovative technology, ripe for deployment in Pennsylvania. These TAGs are well organized, meet regularly, and have robust discussion among peers to vet and determine which innovative practices or products should be deployed. They are the reason the STIC has more than 50 nominations to date. Thanks to everyone involved. Keep up the good work!

Beyond Transportation

The STIC is a forum that gives other state agencies, beyond PennDOT, the opportunity to participate in meetings and glean advantages that could benefit their own agencies.

Through the actions of the STIC, several partners have been introduced or given support to pursue initiatives that may not be entirely surface transportation centric.

Here are some examples:

Pervious Concrete. After listening to a presentation to the STIC in June, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is interested in piloting this innovation on trailheads.

Way-Finding Signs. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is interested in using this innovation for water craft (kayaks and canoes).

Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety. This initiative involves local police departments and PennDOT bringing together different data sources for the common good.

* * *

These are just three examples of ways that STIC initiatives are cutting across agency lines to encourage interagency collaboration and help to ensure that Pennsylvania’s tax dollars are spent wisely.

Quick STIC Facts

5 STIC meetings held in 2012-2013
25 STIC members
10 Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs)
60+ TAG meetings held in 2012-2013
125+ TAG members
30 agencies and organizations represented on STIC and TAGs
50 initiatives generated to date
35 initiatives presented to STIC
20 “white papers” developed
23 deployment plans developed
20+ initiatives started

STIC Initiatives 2012-2013
Technical Advisory Group (TAG) # of initiatives vetted
Construction 3
Design 3
Environmental 6
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) 13
Maintenance 9
Materials 4
Project Delivery 5
Safety 5
Technology 2
Note: For an update on the Public Outreach TAG.

2014 Dates to Remember

Led by Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch and FHWA Division Administrator Renee Sigel, Pennsylvania's State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) meets quarterly to review innovations brought forth by the various Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs).


March 18 - Pa. State Association of Township Supervisors, Enola, Pa.
June 16 - Location to be determined
September 25 - Location to be determined
December 15 - Location to be determined

STIC Members


Barry Schoch

Renee Sigel


John Becker

Rodney Bender

Stan Caldwell

Tom Clark

Mark Compton

Cindy Dunn

Shawn Good

Kelly Heffner

Brad Heigel

Barry Hoffman

Gary Hoffman

Bob Latham

Eric Madden

Mark Magalotti

Doug McLearen

Martin Pietrucha

Jim Runk

David Sanko

Richard Sause

David Spotts

Anne Stich

Darlene Stringos-Walker

Peter Vlahos

John Ward

Angela Watson

State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC)
(717) 772-4664


Page posted on November 26, 2013.
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