Office of Highway Policy Information
Federal Highway Administration
Four Regional Workshops were held as follows:
A total of 92 people attended, six of them were ERC members. Twenty three states were represented (OR, WA, TX, ID, NV, AK, CO, MT, FL, GA, SC, VA, KS, MI, MN, NE, NY, WI, WY, VA, PA, MA and CT). Three MPOs were also represented ( Portland, Dallas/Fort Worth, and SPC). Nine FHWA Division offices also attended.
The following summarizes major comments received by Issue area.
The idea of multi-tables and/or submitting the data in a spatial format was very well received. States see it as a way to reduce their burden and like the idea of FHWA being able to more closely report data consistent with their state’s data.
Most states represented believe that a requirement or guidance from FHWA to move in the direction of spatial submittals will help them to obtain upper management support and move more quickly toward getting common LRS and GIS capabilities. It will be important to obtain AASHTO’s support early on regarding process improvement.
FHWA should work with a few States this year to ask them to provide their data in a multi table format as well as in a spatial format. This would allow FHWA an opportunity to evaluate the level of effort involved with States submitting their data in these formats.
Most states are somewhat reluctant to provide truck AADT. They tend to store percentage rather than actual AADTTs and it is easier to estimate percentages. Technical issues associated with equipment and placement of classification sites were cited as the main impediments. Where states have classifiers within their coverage program and for samples, truck AADT would be available.
This group was not aware of truck forecasts; perhaps state planners should be consulted regarding the availability of this information.
Regarding ITS data, the states generally agreed that it is difficult to obtain the data in the field. On the other hand, they recognize that ITS information is very important and should be tracked somewhere. It was suggested that State Operations staff should report this information directly to the Federal Operations office.
There appears to be a need to change the TMG to be consistent with the HPMS Field Manual. Several States reported that their traffic people do not give them classification counts for sample sections since the TMG says that classification counts are only required for 30% of their counts (this is a rule of thumb, not a requirement). The TMG also states that truck AADT should be developed on a 6 year basis.
Note — the speed limit issue is not currently addressed in the Issue paper. Also, the need for combo trucks is not clear in the issue paper.
States generally want to submit quality data and are concerned about having specific guidance on issues such as through/auxiliary lanes.
The Field Manual came up a number of times. Most feel that it is partially to blame for data inconsistencies and poor data quality. A number of States said that they would be interested in helping to rewrite the manual. What they would like is primarily more clarification on certain data items and more examples, including pictures, where applicable.
Many states indicated they felt that increasing the total number of data items would result in an overall decrease in the quality of all data.
There was no general agreement regarding bridges in versus bridges out.
Regarding growth factors, many states do not agree that they must enter a growth factor when they do not have other information available. They are comfortable showing no growth.
The states questioned whether it is worth spending time on local roads (growth factors, etc.) They want to see the “bang for the buck” of improving quality. They also want to know if certain data elements are more important than others (priority list).
States generally want some standards to improve quality but not if they go beyond state business needs.
The definition of metadata was also discussed — perhaps using a word such as “process description” would be more appropriate.
Some states were surprised by how important widening feasibility is.
There appears to be a disconnect as to whether widening is feasible from an engineering, modeling, or political standpoint.
It would make sense to look at a corridor level analysis to determine widening feasibility to take into account state policies and planning. Planning offices and MPOs in the states should also be involved with this data item. There may be other sources in long-range plans related to widening feasibility that would be more appropriate. More coordination with planning at state and national levels is necessary.
There are several issues related to Ownership: What to do about privately owned roads, how to record BLM mileage, and definitions in the Field Manual.
Most of the states have locations of ramps, although not necessarily point locations for the interchanges. Some have traffic data, but it is not consistent. All states would like guidance related to coding interchange types. All agreed that HPMS may be the appropriate reporting vehicle for interchange data, particularly as HPMS moves to spatial submittal.
The general feeling of the States regarding safety was relatively negative because not much of the data is readily available. (particularly on the local system)
Most states have motorcycle data, however, the quality is questionable due to classification and equipment limitations.
Curve and Grade data is collected in many states and used for more than just HPMS in only a few states.
Rumble strips and friction data is variable across states.
Safety and MIRE came up a number of times; people are concerned about this. While FHWA is planning on working closely with Safety and their contractor on this, it may be a good idea to find a way to bring in a number of States.
The states were fairly divided on the pavement issue. There was a range of in-depth knowledge of the topic from some states and little knowledge from other states that were represented. The issue of needing data on local roads was a concern.
Automated data collection does not appear to be occurring in all states — many need to defer to the pavement staff.
There does not appear to be consistent use of PSR — most report it and there was no real opinion on SN.
Left and Right wheel path does not appear to be a problem.
Data may be available from construction plans to start phased in reporting.
The reaction to the additional pavement items was focused primarily on the increased burden, especially on the off State system. The condition data items didn’t receive the harsh criticism that the structural items did. It was pointed out by one State that it is just as easy for them to take their pavement data and calculate the structural number. They couldn’t see the benefit of providing the individual data items so that HERS can calculate the SN. Note — Participants may not be familiar with the new Design Guide.
Everyone agreed that it would be good to have a clear standard so everyone would be aware of what is needed regarding cracking. The issue of a national sample for this item was generally discussed.
There is a definite need for a distinction between urban and rural, many states appear to be using the adjusted census boundary for planning and design purposes (design standards and at the local level for funding). When asked if other boundaries would work, the general response was probably not.
There was a general consensus that it takes to long to adjust the boundaries due to coordination issues and lack of guidance.
Most states agree that it would be a major effort to go to one functional classification across the boundary (and do away with urban vs. rural), however, that would make it easier in the long run.
The general consensus was to stick with the adjusted urban boundaries and provide more guidance.
We definitely need to ask work program, policy, planning oriented staff in DOTs to determine what the use of the boundaries really is and if a different boundary could be appropriate.
We should come up with a short list of questions for upper management in states (through SCOP?) — related to boundaries, capacities, widening feasibility, etc.
Most states are comfortable with existing sampling schema. Sample data is generally not being used.
The states clearly need more explanation regarding the importance of sampling on lower classified roads. Narrowing the groups at the lower end and widening them at the higher groups was discussed.
States would prefer providing the entire database rather than providing sample data where they have it available on the SHS.
States would like a better explanation of the connection between HPMS and apportionment.
A table needs to be created to show:
The burden for collection on lower functionally classified roads was an issue.
The Field Manual needs to be revised — states want to be involved.
There was a concern that HPMS is getting to a project level (not originally intended for that level of analysis).
There was a concern that the increased items will create a burden and subsequently lower quality data overall.
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