|Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations|
|Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > October 1999 > Lead States: Preparing for the Future|
|October 1999||Publication Number: FHWA-RD-99-108|
Lead States: Preparing for the Future
With the goal of "preparing for the future," members of seven American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Lead States teams gathered in St. Louis, Missouri, on August 30-31 for the fourth annual Lead States workshop. The teams will wrap up their work in 2000 and then turn their responsibilities over to various AASHTO subcommittees. At the workshop, team members reviewed their accomplishments to date and discussed both their remaining goals and their transition plans for shifting responsibilities to the subcommittees. Liaisons from each of the subcommittees also attended the workshop to assist in the transition planning. All of the teams are working on completing their transition plans by January 2000.
Since the Lead States program began in 1996, the teams have provided expert guidance to other States on seven technology areas studied under the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP):
J.T. Yarnell, chief engineer of the Missouri Department of Transportation (DOT), noted at the workshop's opening session that "research is critical but useless without aggressive implementation." The Lead States teams have spearheaded aggressive implementation of the SHRP products, with activities including holding training courses; developing and distributing videotapes, newsletters, and brochures; and producing Web-based information. For example, the pavement preservation team, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and industry, has developed a course on pavement preventive maintenance that will be sponsored by the National Highway Institute. The HPC team publishes a bimonthly newsletter, Bridge Views, that provides an overview of HPC use across the country. And the ASR team wrote a guide specification for ASR-resistant concrete that is being considered for approval by the AASHTO Subcommittee on Construction.
Other team accomplishments are perhaps not as tangible, but just as significant. All of the teams have raised awareness of their different technology areas among States, industry, and the academic community. When the ASR team, for example, first surveyed States as to their awareness of ASR, only 13 recognized that this was a problem that needed to be dealt with. Now, about 40 States say that they are aware of ASR. The Superpave team has seen the number of Superpave projects quadruple over the past 4 years. And the anti-icing/RWIS team has gotten requests for information from as far away as New Zealand and Kosovo.
The teams have also proven the effectiveness of the Lead States concept. While these particular teams are entering their final year of work, "the Lead States concept is here to stay because everyone sees the value of it," says Byron Lord of FHWA. "The teams have made a difference."
For information on contacting the Lead States teams, see sidebar. Information on all of the teams can also be found on the Lead States Web site (leadstates.tamu.edu).
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration