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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 64 · No. 4 > Editor's Notes

Jan/Feb 2001
Vol. 64 · No. 4

Editor's Notes

"We can make better use of existing technology. The past decade has brought about an extraordinary leap in technology and a leap in the management expertise that is skilled in applying those advances to real-world problems."

- Norman Y. Mineta, U.S. Secretary of Transportation

The new secretary of transportation's emphasis on applying existing and emerging technologies to solve real-world problems in transportation supports a long-held position of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). As a matter of fact, one of the "guiding principles" in the FHWA National Strategic Plan is to "leverage technology and innovation." The plan calls FHWA to become "an international leader in researching, developing, and advancing technology to ensure the most efficient, effective, and environmentally sensitive intermodal transportation system."

Furthermore, the plan states, "FHWA will enhance the role of telecommunications in transportation logistics to increase the global competitiveness of the United States. FHWA will promote the use of technological advancements and innovations by States and local governments in building highways that cost less, last longer, and are more environmentally friendly. To help its partners implement emerging technologies, FHWA will provide technical assistance, training, and outreach to customers and partners to implement the best technologies for safety, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of highways and for safe operation of commercial vehicles. Technology deployment will be a key factor to accomplish strategic objectives in all areas."

For the first 75 years of its existence, Public Roads was specifically a journal of highway research and development. Even since 1993, when the magazine changed its scope and format to represent all facets of FHWA, the magazine, with its roots deep into research and development, continues to emphasize the reporting of new technologies and innovations.

One of the principal purposes of Public Roads is to disseminate information about technology and innovation that will raise the level of awareness of our readers, and as we state in our "Instructions to Authors," "Recognizing that our readership … has very little time for discretionary reading, Public Roads seeks to provide interesting and useful articles with distinct professional relevance."

This issue of Public Roads really focuses on technology and innovation. Our feature article in the center of the magazine discusses the unique relationship between two offices in FHWA that are working together to leverage technology and innovation. We have three articles about the use of computer simulation in crash analysis to improve roadside safety and save lives. We have two articles about the use of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and other innovations to beat snow and ice and to enable snowplow operators to "see" snow-covered roads and obstacles. In the article about ATLAS, we tell you about a new center of excellence for the research and development of algorithms, software, and systems for traffic management and logistics management. The article about the Nationwide Differential Global Positioning System describes the dramatic improvement in the accuracy of positioning information obtained from satellites and how this improvement in accuracy will create myriad new applications for this technology.

We also have articles about FHWA's efforts to achieve a 50-percent increase in wetlands acreage resulting from federal-aid highway projects from 1998 to 2008 and about enhancing safety and mobility in work zones.

Public Roads is committed to providing information that is interesting, useful, and relevant to you. We are always eager to receive your feedback so that we can continuously evaluate how well we are serving your need to keep up to date on developments in federal highway policies, programs, and research and technology.

If you have any comments, suggestions, or recommendations about topics you would like to see covered in the magazine, please e-mail me at Martha.Soneira@fhwa.dot.gov. And thanks in advance for taking the time to help us serve you better.

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