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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 64 · No. 6 > Along the Roads

May/June 2001
Vol. 64 · No. 6

Along the Roads

Along the Road is the place to look for information about current and upcoming activities, developments, trends, and items of general interest to the highway community. This information comes from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.

Policy and Legislation

Final Rule Permits Safe Modification of Vehicles for People With Disabilities

To increase mobility for individuals with physical disabilities, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced a final National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rule to streamline the regulatory process for modifiers who adapt passenger vehicles for use by people with disabilities.

The new rule identifies specific features that may be safely altered, if necessary, when vehicles are modified for people with disabilities. Some adaptations, such as the installation of mechanical hand controls or a left-foot accelerator, are relatively simple. Others, such as the installation of a joystick that controls steering, acceleration, and braking, or the lowering of the vehicle floor, are more complicated.

NHTSA estimates that there are more than 383,000 vehicles on the road today that are modified for use by people with disabilities. That number is expected to increase as the population ages and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) increases travel and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The final rule is in NHTSA's Docket No. 01-8667 and was posted in the Feb. 21, 2001, Federal Register. The rule became effective on April 21.

The new rule also is posted at www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

Management and Administration

DOT Renews ITS America's Federal Advisory Charter

DOT renewed the Federal Advisory Charter of the Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) of America, almost exactly 10 years from the signing of the original founding charter. For the next two years, ITS America will continue to act as a Utilized Federal Advisory Committee to the federal transportation agency.

The action renews the unique role of ITS America as a source of perspective, research, and expertise deemed critical to advance the formation of federal policy. In order to keep this function dynamic, the federal government reviews such advisory charters every two years to ensure that the input from its chartered committees remains fresh, complete, and of the greatest benefit to America's surface transportation system.

ITS America's more than 600 members come from a wide spectrum of the private sector, including the telecommunications and automotive industries; the public sector, including state and regional transportation organizations; and the highest levels of academia.

Federal advisory committees such as ITS America generally enjoy a much closer relationship with federal agencies, allowing them to have a great impact on federal policymaking. In particular, ITS America will provide advice to DOT in the reauthorization proposal the federal government will produce to replace the current six-year Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) transportation funding measure, due to expire in 2003.

The federal transportation agency first chartered ITS America, then known as the Intelligent Vehicle-Highway Society, in March 1991 and has continued the charter every two years since. ITS America promotes the use of technology in transportation to save lives, time, and money, and to improve the quality of life.

Technical News

Mn/DOT Releases Ramp Meter Study Results

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) released the final results of an independent study on ramp metering in the Twin Cities metro area. Cambridge Systematics of Cambridge, Mass., evaluated the traffic flow and safety impacts associated with turning off all 430 ramp meters for six weeks last fall, as mandated by the 2000 legislature.

Results presented to Mn/DOT by Cambridge Systematics reveal that without ramp meters, there was a 9-percent reduction in freeway volume, a 22-percent increase in freeway travel times, and a 7-percent reduction in freeway speeds. The reliability of estimated freeway travel time was found to decline by 91 percent, and there was a 26-percent increase in crashes.

Market research data collection results showed a number of changes in attitude among area travelers, which occurred once meters were shut off: Most survey respondents believed that traffic conditions worsened. Support for continued shutdown remained at 20 percent. The benefit-cost ratio showed that when the costs of the entire congestion management system (including changeable message signs, traveler information, etc.) are factored in, the benefit/cost ratio for ramp metering is 5:1. When ramp meter benefits are compared to only those costs directly associated with ramp metering, the benefit/cost ratio is 15:1.

Public Information and Information Exchange

States Will Receive Grants for Education on Child Passenger Safety

Forty-eight states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Indian tribes will share $7.5 million to implement child passenger protection programs designed to prevent motor vehicle crash deaths and injuries to children.

This is the second year that grants have been awarded to states for promoting child passenger safety education and training activities. NHTSA reports that approximately 20 to 25 percent of children ages 1 through 15 years ride unrestrained, placing them at more than twice the risk of death and injury as those riding restrained.

The grants are authorized by Section 2003(b) of TEA-21, which former President Bill Clinton signed into law on June 9, 1998. The award amounts range from $18,938 to $725,657 per recipient.

Funds provided to the states will be used to educate the public on all aspects of child passenger safety, and to train and retrain child passenger safety professionals concerning all aspects of child restraint use.

You can view a table of the states receiving grants and their grant amounts at www.dot.gov/affairs/nhtsa501.htm.

U. S. DOT to Study the Causes of Large Truck Crashes

As part of the continuing effort to help reduce the number of fatalities in crashes involving large trucks, U.S. DOT announced a two-year study of the causes of crashes involving large trucks.

The study is the first national effort to collect crash data for the purpose of determining causal factors of large truck crashes. The study's primary goal is to identify the specific causes of fatal and injury crashes involving large trucks, so the government and all interested parties will be better able to help prevent them from occurring in the first place.

The study is a joint effort between the U.S. DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and NHTSA. The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (MCSIA) provided funds for the study.

In January 2001, teams of crash researchers from NHTSA's National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) and state truck inspectors will investigate fatal and injury crashes involving large trucks in 24 locations in 17 states. Crash details will be collected at crash scenes on involved drivers, vehicles, the roadway, and the environment.

More than 1,000 crashes will be investigated during two years of data collection. Information collected by the researchers and inspectors will be forwarded to NHTSA motor vehicle crash experts who will determine what made the crash inevitable, the reasons for the crash, and factors that contributed to the crash. As part of the project, the Volpe Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Mass., will build a crash database that will be reviewed and analyzed by FMCSA and NHTSA, and then made available to the public.

A 14-member committee, assembled by the Transportation Research Board of the National Research Council, will advise the large truck crash causation study management team. Committee members are drawn from academic institutions and transportation consulting firms with expertise in motor vehicle crashes. The advisory committee will ensure that the study receives input from a wide array of motor carrier and highway safety experts, as outlined in MCSIA.

Additional information regarding the study and other motor carrier issues may be found at FMCSA's Web site at www.fmcsa.dot.gov.

BTS Releases New Pocket Guide to Transportation

In March, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) released a new edition of the Pocket Guide to Transportation, a compact report that gives users easy access to important information about the nation's transportation system.

The report shows an increase of 225 percent over the last 29 years in miles traveled by trucks. The report also showed that while the miles traveled by trucks grew significantly, the miles traveled by passenger cars increased by only 71 percent from 1970 to 1999.

The Pocket Guide to Transportation, which provides the public and private sectors with easy access to transportation system information that will be used to make improved transportation decisions for the future, is divided into five sections and a glossary that cover the extent and use of the transportation system and its impact on safety, the economy, energy use, and the environment. Much of the information is based on data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics' (BTS) publications - National Transportation Statistics 2000 and Transportation Statistics Annual Report 2000. BTS will release these publications within the next few months.

To order free copies of the Pocket Guide to Transportation, visit www.bts.gov, call (202) 366-DATA (press 1), fax (202) 366-3640, or write to Product Orders, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room 3430, 400 Seventh Street. S.W., Washington, DC 20590.

Two High-Speed Maglev Projects Selected for Advancement

Two projects in Maryland and Pennsylvania will advance into the next phase of the competition to build and demonstrate the first magnetically levitated (maglev) high-speed train system in revenue service in the United States.

The competition was initiated in May 1999 with the selection of seven projects to receive planning funds and participate in the competition. After intensive planning and design efforts by the sponsors of the seven participating projects and evaluation of each project by multi disciplined DOT staff, former U.S. DOT Secretary Slater selected these two projects. In the next phase, each project team will refine its estimates of ridership revenue and cost and its financial plan, strengthen the financial commitments of its sponsors, and begin work on a site-specific environmental assessment. Fourteen million dollars will be available for these purposes. On the basis of the new information resulting from these efforts, DOT will then be in a position to select a single project, which will be eligible for a grant of $950 million in federal funding authorized for construction under Section 1218 of TEA-21, the legislation that provides federal-aid funds to states, and will be subject to appropriation by Congress. The selected projects are:

· Baltimore, Md., to Washington, D.C.: A 64-kilometer (40-mile) project linking Camden Yards in Baltimore (a sports complex) and Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport to Union Station in Washington, D.C. This project has been under study since 1994. The project sponsors also see this as potentially providing rapid transportation between sports venues, which is one of the criteria for winning a bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics Games.

· Pittsburgh, Pa.: A 76-km (47-mi) project linking The Greater Pittsburgh International Airport to Pittsburgh and its eastern suburbs. The project has been under study since 1990 and is backed by a coalition of state and local agencies, labor unions, and members of the Pittsburgh community. Maglev Inc., the organization that will develop the project, sees it as not only a transportation system for commuters and air travelers, but also as a platform for bringing precision steel fabrication technology used in the construction of the guideway to the Pittsburgh region.

The remaining projects in California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Nevada were urged to continue developing their plans and seeking alternative sources of financing. To assist them, each of these projects is slated to receive almost $1 million in federal funds, as specified by Congress in the FY 2001 appropriation.

FHWA Releases New Edition of Highway Statistics

FHWA has released the 1999 edition of Highway Statistics, an annual publication that contains a wide range of information on America's roads and highway users.

FHWA and its forerunner, the Bureau of Public Roads, have published the report every year since 1945. It contains statistical data on motor fuel, motor vehicles, driver licensing, highway-user taxation, state and local highway financing, highway mileage, federal aid for highways, select tables and charts from the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, and international data. The data also are used as the principal data in calculating each state's share of funds under TEA-21.

The report is available on the agency's Web site at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/ohpi/. The data tables can be viewed in PDF or downloaded as Excel spreadsheets. The report is also available by writing to the Office of Highway Policy Information, FHWA, Room 3306, 400 7th St. S.W., Washington, DC 20590.

Mineta Announces $38.2 Million in Grants to Increase Seat Belt Use

Secretary Mineta announced that 43 states will share approximately $38.2 million in NHTSA grants for states that develop innovative projects to increase seat belt use.

According to NHTSA, seat belts are the most effective safety device in vehicles and would save thousands more lives annually if everyone buckled up. In 2000, seat belt use in the United States was about 71 percent.

The goal of this grant program is to find creative new approaches to increase seat belt use across the nation, with a major focus on highly visible enforcement of seat belt laws, coupled with public information and education.

The grants are authorized by TEA-21. The Act provides for $500 million over five years for states to increase seat belt use and another $700 million over six years for states to enact and enforce tough laws to prevent alcohol-impaired driving.

The innovative project grants were awarded competitively. All 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico were eligible to apply. The grant amounts for fiscal year 2001 range from $204,000 to nearly $2.9 million.

New Rollover Ratings and Crash Test Results Available on NHTSA's Web Site

NHTSA'S latest rollover resistance ratings and crash test results for 2001 model year vehicles are now available on the agency's Web site at www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

Vehicles are rated for rollover resistance, frontal impact, and side impact. The New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) reports rollover resistance ratings and crash test results with a rating from one to five stars, with five stars showing the best crash protection for vehicles. Frontal tests should be compared only within the same weight class.

A fact sheet, containing explanatory information and tables showing NCAP rollover resistance ratings and crash test results for model year 2001 vehicles, is available by calling the NHTSA Office of Public and Consumer Affairs at (202) 366-9550 or by writing to NHTSA Public Affairs, Room 5232, 400 Seventh St., S.W., Washington, DC 20590. Rollover resistance ratings and crash test information are available at www.nhtsa.dot.gov/hot/rollover/2001rollover.html or at www.nhtsa.dot.gov by clicking on "Crash Tests" under "Popular Information" in the index on the left side of the screen.

Atlanta Study Links Traffic With Asthma

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association underscores a reduction in asthma attacks during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games held in Atlanta, but these results have little, if anything, to do with the activity of the athletes themselves. Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) point to the region's reduced traffic levels as the causal factor.

Health care claims for asthma events in patients up to 16 years of age were reduced by as much as 45 percent when compared with a baseline both four weeks before and after the Olympic Games. Officials with the American Lung Association cite the study's "indisputable" evidence that vehicular traffic in urban areas is a clear contributor to asthma and other respiratory health problems.

Atlanta transportation planners implemented a number of mobility plans and programs that sought to reduce or eliminate motor vehicle traffic on major arteries downtown. The resulting traffic figures indicated a decrease of just fewer than 23 percent for the morning peak over the 17-day Olympic Games. Furthermore, the one?hour peak ozone concentration dropped about 28 percent from the daily averages. The CDC researchers also pointed out that the data, when corrected for temperature, wind speed, and other weather factors, still revealed a 13-percent drop in ground-level ozone in downtown Atlanta.

Route 45 Record of Decision Signed

The Texas Division administrator signed the Record of Decision on Feb. 22, 2001, for State Highway (SH) 45. The proposed facility, approximately 24 km (15 mi) in length, will consist of the new construction of a six-lane freeway, with frontage roads and high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes.

The SH 45 project is one of four major transportation projects in the Austin area, collectively named the Central Texas Turnpike Project (CTTP), included in the application for federal credit assistance under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) by the Texas Turnpike Authority. CTTP is of paramount importance because it has significant regional, national, and international implications, including critical congestion relief ans support of commerce along Interstate 35, which is a vital North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) trade corridor.

KDOT Announces Major Safe Driving Initiative

Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) Secretary E. Dean Carlson unveiled a major new statewide safe driving education and awareness program called "Kansas Driving: Safe. Not Sorry."

The goal of the program is a simple one - reduce deaths and injuries from vehicle crashes on Kansas roadways. During 1999, 540 people lost their lives in crashes in Kansas, leading Carlson to describe the new campaign as "a desperately needed effort."

This program is intended to serve as an umbrella for all existing highway safety communications efforts, as well as to present a comprehensive new program based on extensive research of Kansas crash data and Kansas drivers' beliefs and attitudes. State transportation officials hope to reach drivers throughout the state.

The campaign will employ a wide variety of media, including television, radio, newspapers, and billboards. A special folder, containing the official state highway map and pockets for insurance and registration documents, has been printed with highlights of the message and key emergency contact information. It will be distributed widely by KDOT personnel, including distribution at the Kansas State Fair.

A key element of the campaign will be information kits distributed to KDOT field offices. There are eight different information packages, called "modules," each dealing with a different driving situation. These modules will contain a variety of communications tools for getting the safe driving message out to Kansas communities. Module contents range from pamphlets and posters to videotapes and PowerPoint computer presentations.

To ensure maximum impact, this campaign is based on solid scientific research, including an extensive statewide telephone survey and interviews with focus groups, consisting of both urban and rural residents. The research revealed that Kansas drivers generally know how to drive safely. They also take pride in both their courtesy and their common sense behind the wheel, and they believe that this sets them apart from other American drivers.

The surveys and the analysis of the crash data, however, indicated that Kansas drivers don't always do the things they already know they should be doing. So the main thrust of the campaign will be to remind Kansas drivers to follow the rules of the road and to remember the value of using courtesy and common sense behind the wheel.

The campaign will include:

  • Back-to-basics elements that reinforce the fundamental rules of the road, such as how to deal with mechanical breakdowns, and adjusting speed and driving techniques to changing weather and road-surface conditions.
  • Specific driving situations commonly found in Kansas, including merging on high-speed freeways and making room for large, slow-moving farm vehicles on rural two-lane roads.
  • Attention to growing problems, such as aggressive driving, drowsiness, and driver inattention. "Kansas Driving: Safe. Not Sorry." materials will caution drivers about distractions ranging from cellular phones and hand-held computers to bad habits that have distracted drivers for decades, such as eating, reading, or applying make-up while driving.

The program is funded with federal dollars. The Kansas Legislature's decision in 1993 to approve a drunk-driving standard of .08 blood-alcohol content brought additional federal transportation funds to Kansas for use in safety education efforts.

NHTSA Publishes List of Recalls

In March, NHTSA released a list of January 2001 motor vehicle and equipment safety recalls. The release, NHTSA 14-01, identifies the make and model of the vehicles and equipment involved and a brief description of each safety problem. It can be obtained by calling NHTSA's Office of Public and Consumer Affairs at (202) 366-9550, or by visiting NHTSA's Web site at www.nhtsa.dot.gov/nhtsa/announce/press/index.dbm.

Updated Manuals Validate SHRP Research

After five years of monitoring and evaluating 22 test sites on asphalt and concrete roads throughout the United States and Canada, FHWA has concluded that the pavement repair materials and procedures recommended by the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) work.

Seven years ago, SHRP researchers published a two-volume set of manuals aimed at assisting highway agencies and contractors in determining the most effective and cost-efficient means for repairing asphalt and portland cement concrete pavements. The recommendations were based on an extensive review of the literature, a nationwide survey of highway agencies, and 18 months of monitoring various types of pavement repairs made at the 22 test sites.

The monitoring ended when the SHRP research phase ended in late 1992. Realizing that significant knowledge could be gained through continued monitoring of the test sites, FHWA stepped in and assumed responsibility for the project in 1993, under the auspices of the Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program.

During the five years of monitoring under FHWA, teams of pavement specialists from ERES Consultants (who had also been involved in the SHRP project) conducted periodic field inspections.

FHWA updated the original SHRP reports as a series of four manuals of practice. Each manual includes a discussion of the most appropriate time to apply a particular treatment, what types of materials and construction methods should be used, and how to evaluate the performance and cost-effectiveness of a repair procedure. Also included are step-by-step procedures for ensuring a high-quality repair and a list of sources for materials and equipment.

The four manuals of practice are available at www.tfhrc.gov/pavement/ltpp/reports.htm. They can also be purchased from the National Technical Information Service at (703) 605-6000. The original SHRP two-volume manuals are still available from the Transportation Research Board's bookstore at (202) 334-3213 or www.nas.edu/trb/bookstore.

VDOT Quickly Patches Recent Sinkholes

Thanks to prompt action by Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews, three sinkholes that suddenly appeared along a 14.5-km (9 mi) stretch of Interstate 81 in Augusta County were patched quickly, and traffic went back to normal. The largest of the recent sinkholes was 6 meters long, 3.4 meters wide, and 6.7 meters deep (20 feet by 11 feet by 22 feet) - enough to bury eight cars.

During the past 30 years, almost 350 sinkholes have threatened roads in the district whose geographical center is Harrisonburg. That's an average of 12 per year. But the year 2000 was anything but average; 32 sinkholes were reported in spring alone.

Following long dry spells the previous summer, 17.8 centimeters (6.8 inches) of rainfall in April contributed to the large number of sinkholes last spring, and helped cause 16 landslides along Staunton District roads.

When sinkholes occur, VDOT has to dig them out to assess the full extent of the problem. For example, a sinkhole that occurred near Virginia's Natural Bridge first appeared to be 3.7 m long, 2.4 m wide, and 1.8 m deep (12 ft by 8 ft wide by 6 ft deep), but was actually 6.7 m by 4.0 m by 5.8 m (22 ft by 13 ft and 19 ft deep) - big enough to swallow a fleet of small cars.

Sinkhole repair typically requires closing a lane of traffic while the work is being done, because VDOT's excavating machine is more than 3.7 m wide (12 ft wide) and requires a strong, flat surface for stability.

Areas prone to sinkholes typically form in karst terrain, which is made up of limestone or dolomite bedrock, and usually contains barren rocky ground, caves, sinking streams, underground streams, springs, and, in some places, an absence of surface streams and lakes. Naturally occurring sinkholes are shaped like a cone and are common where slightly acidic groundwater has dissolved limestone and dolomite bedrock. Karst terrain is formed where surface water enters the ground and moves downward through enlarged fractures to conduits such as caves.

Most sinkholes occur suddenly where soil collapses into a pre-existing void over bedrock, as often happens during floods or prolonged wet seasons, or during prolonged dry seasons. Sinkholes can also result from man's activities, such as excessive pumping of groundwater from karst aquifers, which could lower the water table and cause a sudden loss of the buoyant factor that stabilizes the roofs of caverns.

International Symposium Will Be Held This Summer

A Transportation Technology Transfer Symposium will be held July 29 through Aug. 2, 2001, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The objectives of this symposium are to bring together major transportation technology transfer entities worldwide to exchange advances and current technology transfer practices and techniques and, in doing so, to improve their efficiency. The symposium presents a unique opportunity for participants to interact with colleagues from around the world to learn and share. All practitioners involved in technology transfer should plan to attend.

This symposium is being held in conjunction with meetings of other organizations including the Local Technical Assistance Program. Sponsoring organizations will hold simultaneous meetings that are open to all participants.

Topics for the joint sessions include: the technology of technology transfer, worldwide library and information resources, international transportation training and workforce development, international partnerships, and expanding and strengthening partnerships.

The symposium is sponsored by transportation entities throughout the world, including: FHWA's Office of International Programs and the National Highway Institute (NHI), LTAP, the Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP), the World Road Association (PIARC), the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Pan American Institute of Highways (PIH).

For more information about the International Symposium, visit www.international.fhwa.dot.gov or e-mail 2001symposium@fhwa.dot.gov.

Public Opinion Surveys Show More Travelers Satisfied With Major Highways

The report Moving Ahead: The American Public Speaks on Roadways and Transportation in Communities shows that 65 percent of highway travelers are satisfied with the major highways they travel most often. This represents an increase of 15 percent since completion of a similar study in 1995 by the National Partnership for Highway Quality (NPHQ), formerly the National Quality Initiative.

Increases in traveler satisfaction were found in areas such as pavement condition, safety, bridge condition, visual appeal, and travel amenities. The survey also identified safety as an area of importance to the public.

Although most people are satisfied with the overall condition of the highway system, the findings from the 2000 survey point to several areas that require attention. About 20 percent of the respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the highway system. This is a 6-percent point increase since the 1995 survey.

Travelers want more improvements to traffic flow, continued improvements in pavement conditions, and more effective ways to deal with or to decrease traffic congestion in work zones. Citizens also want highway projects that are more sensitive to local communities and transportation enhancements, such as transit services and bicycle and pedestrian facilities, in their communities.

In addition, maintenance response time emerged as an area of concern that should be monitored for opportunities for improvement. Travelers also want transportation agencies to maintain the excellent existing quality of items such as visual appeal and travel amenities.

Visitors to national parks and national forests were very satisfied with access to and within these areas and expressed a desire for improved driving safety, primarily through providing more roadway signs and pavement markings.

The findings regarding highway conditions correspond to data from FHWA's most recent report on the physical condition of the highway system. Recent FHWA highway condition and performance data indicate that the percentage of miles on the National Highway System with acceptable ride quality increased from 90 percent in 1995 to 93 percent in 1999. The number of deficient bridges declined from 26 percent of the total in 1995 to 23 percent in 1999.

The report is a compilation of several nationwide surveys conducted by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and FHWA. During the surveys, respondents were asked questions on topics ranging from condition of highways to traffic congestion and on how well they thought highways serve communities. In addition, visitors to six national parks and six national forests were surveyed about their thoughts on the roads in those areas.

The survey is posted on the Internet at www.bts.gov/omnibus.

Personnel

Tignor Retires After 42 Years

On Feb. 1, Samuel (Sam) Tignor, Ph.D., P.E., retired after more than 42 years of service at the Federal Highway Administration. He was chief of the Traffic and Driver Information Systems Division, Office of Safety Research and Development, at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va.

During the late 1980s, Tignor led the development of the Highway Safety Information System (HSIS), which is now an eight-state crash, traffic volume, and highway inventory database used in identifying new areas for research and delineating proposals for safety studies.

In addition to his work on HSIS, Tignor led research on freeway management and incident detection, railroad-highway grade-crossing safety, visibility of changeable message signs, condition-responsive work-zone traffic control, and truck overturn warning systems.

In the late 1990s, Tignor's research responsibilities broadened to include nighttime highway safety, smart technology, and human factors research.

Throughout his career, Tignor was active in professional societies. He served 12 years on the TRB Travelers Services Committee, six of these as committee chair, and three years on the TRB Operation, Safety, and Maintenance of Transportation Facilities Group. In May 1998, he led an Innovative Traffic Controls group to France, Germany, Great Britain, and Sweden to determine which new technologies and traffic controls would be adaptable for implementation in the United States. The 10-person group included representatives from TRB, state DOTs, and local governments.

Lunner to Head DOT Public Affairs

Secretary Mineta appointed Chet Lunner, former chief of staff to Rep. Amo Houghton of New York to be assistant to the secretary and director of public affairs for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Lunner, a former reporter and newspaper editor, had been Rep. Houghton's press secretary since 1994 and his principal aide and staff director since 1999. His new post involves media relations and public affairs oversight for DOT and its agencies.

Fong Selected As Director of Field Services - East

Gene Fong has been selected for the Senior Executive Service (SES) position of director of Field Services - East. Fong currently serves as division administrator in Olympia, Wash. In the past, he held other key positions in the field, including assistant administrator of the New York Division and district engineer in the Arizona Division. He also served in several positions at headquarters in the areas of pavement management, research, construction and maintenance, and planning. Fong began his career with FHWA as a highway engineer trainee in 1971.

Marshall Selected Director of Corporate Management

Ronald Marshall has been appointed to the SES position of director of the office of Corporate Management. Marshall currently serves as division administrator in Springfield, Ill., and served as assistant division administrator in Wisconsin. He also held several positions in the planning field, including transportation planner in the North Dakota Division and community planner in the former Office of Planning at headquarters. Marshall graduated from the former highway engineer training program in 1972.

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