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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
This magazine is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
|Publication Number: Date: November/December 2001|
Issue No: Vol. 65 No. 3
Date: November/December 2001
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 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.
Policy and Legislation
Panel Rejects Challenge to EPA-Approved Air Quality Plan
On Sept. 11, a federal appeals panel rejected a claim that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved an air quality improvement plan for Baltimore without sufficient data about motor vehicle emissions.
The "1,000 Friends of Maryland" claimed in their suit before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., that EPA officials should have required the state to complete additional computer modeling about vehicle emissions in 1999 at the same time that the EPA sought revisions to the original plan.
The judges ruled that the original computer modeling met the mandated federal requirements.
The case focused on how the EPA measures pollutant-emission levels-a critical transportation issue, since an area's federal road funding could be lost if the EPA determines that federal air quality standards cannot be met.
The precedent-setting ruling gives the EPA greater flexibility in approving the state emissions plans required by the federal Clean Air Act.
Management and Administration
FHWA Awards $1 Million to Minority Universities for Transportation Research
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced that it has awarded $1 million in cost-sharing cooperative agreements to Minority Institutions of Higher Education (MIHEs) to conduct transportation research and technology activities.
FHWA's competitive assistance program allows MIHEs to compete solely with one another for cooperative, cost-sharing agreements. The program's goal is to foster MIHE research and technology activities that will contribute substantially to FHWA's mission and to help prepare faculty and students at these institutions to successfully participate in the competitive research arena.
The agreements matched the expertise and capabilities of 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) with FHWA's specific research needs.
FHWA, New York Transportation Representatives Discuss FAIR Lanes
New York metropolitan area transportation representatives gathered to investigate the potential for aninnovative pricing strategy developed by FHWA to manage demand on the region's roadways.
The strategy, called "FAIR lanes," or "Fast and Intertwined Regular" lanes, seeks to alleviate public concerns about conversion of currently free lanes to value-priced lanes. FAIR lanes involve separating congested freeway lanes into two sections - fast lanes and regular lanes - using plastic pylons and striping. The fast lanes would provide improved transit using new paratransit and limousine-type services, and would be electronically tolled, with tolls set in real time to limit traffic to the free-flowing maximum. Motorists are advised of the toll rate changes through electronic message boards located in advance of the entry points to the fast lanes.
In the regular lanes, constricted flow would continue; however, drivers with electronic toll tags would be compensated with credits that could be used as toll payments on days when they choose to use the fast lanes, or as payment for transit and paratransit services that would be subsidized using toll revenues. The credits would compensate motorists for giving up their right to free use of the lanes converted to fast lanes.
New York is discussing this pricing concept because FAIR lanes would carry many more commuters on the existing highway infrastructure during rush hours. Commuters would have increased choices and the region would have a new source of revenue to subsidize improved transit and paratransit services and ridesharing programs. In addition, traffic delays, pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, and energy consumption could all be significantly reduced.
Phoenix, Ariz., and Lakewood, Colo., Successfully Integrate With NTCIP
In early November, the cities of Phoenix, Ariz., and Lakewood, Colo., jointly announced the successful integration of their respective intelligent transportation systems (ITS). Specifically, both cities were able to integrate their traffic signal management systems with their traffic signal controllers using standards officially known as the National Transportation Communications ITS Protocol (NTCIP).
NTCIP is being promoted and developed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) to allow interchangeability and interoperability between various traffic management devices.
Phoenix and Lakewood are the first cities in the world to develop fully operational, multi-vendor, field-deployed systems that implement NTCIP. These efforts started in mid-1996 and were completed in July 2001 when the field deployment began in Phoenix.
DataPave 3.0 Now Available
DataPave 3.0, a software program that provides access to most of the data from FHWA's Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program, is now available.
The LTPP program, which began in 1987, has collected data from more than 2,500 test sections located at 932 sites on in-service highways throughout the United States and Canada. These data can be analyzed to aid pavement design, construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation. The latest version of DataPave provides desktop access to most of the LTPP data collected, making this data readily available to the entire highway community. Since analysis efforts can be tailored to local or regional sites, state or regional highway agencies can develop cost-effective pavement strategies to address their own unique requirements.
For more information about DataPave and LTPP, or to obtain your own copy of DataPave, visit the LTPP homepage at www.fhwa.dot.gov/research/tfhrc/programs/infrastructure/pavements/ltpp/.
Public Information and Information Exchange
Gridlock, Recovery Effort Prompt Carpooling
Fallout from the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center has made ridesharing necessary in New York City. Cars carrying one person have been denied most river crossings to Manhattan during weekday rush hours. As a result, carpooling has risen as area commuters choose different approaches for making their journey to work.
The decree on single-occupancy vehicles came from Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in an attempt to ease the massive traffic jams that developed since the city has reopened and tried to return to work.
Because of continuing recovery efforts, many rail transit and bus lines serving lower Manhattan were not available, prompting a growth in drive-alone commuting. As gridlock conditions worsened, city transportation officials urged Mayor Giuliani to limit passenger vehicles carrying only one driver.
In addition, regional commuter lines serving New York City from Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey reported an increase in ridership since the order.
ARTBA Announces Partnership With ConstructionJobs.com
The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), which represents the U.S. transportation construction industry, recently announced a partnership with ConstructionJobs.com, the premier job board for the construction and design industries.
The alliance makes ConstructionJobs.com the exclusively endorsed Internet job board for ARTBA, whose 5,000 members will receive a 20 percent discount off ConstructionJobs.com's published rates. Subscribers will be allowed to post jobs and to search ConstructionJobs.com's database of qualified mid- to upper-level management professionals.
Oregon DOT Wins "Best of ITS" Award
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) was recently recognized by Intelligent Transportation Systems of America (ITS America) for its Advanced Traveler Information System, called TripCheck. ODOT won the 2001 ITS America "Best of ITS" award in the category of Outstanding Deployment Shown to Improve Quality of Life.
TripCheck was launched in May 2000 as part of a statewide commitment to providing the most comprehensive, current, and safest traveler information possible. ODOT maintains more than 90 closed-circuit television cameras, with a significant number in rural areas and locations such as mountain passes that are often hazardous in winter. Weather information is also available from their many locations around the state.
The site also includes links to bus, airport, train, bicycle, and trucking information, as well as information on Oregon's scenic byways, safety rest areas, and designated winter recreation areas. Planned upgrades to TripCheck include a real-time system condition map for the Portland metropolitan area and a statewide transit trip planning system.
I-85 HOV Lanes, Bus System Opens in Gwinett County, Ga.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 5 officially opened the I-85 high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and the Gwinett County, Ga., express bus system. The 21-km (13-mile) I-85 HOV lanes are the first HOV lanes located outside of the I-285 perimeter in Atlanta. In addition, the bus system is the first mass transit system for Gwinett County, a major metropolitan Atlanta county of 500,000 people who have historically rejected mass transit.
The express bus system is designed to take passengers non-stop into Downtown Atlanta from three park-and-ride lots located 32 to 64 km (20 to 40 miles) away. First-day ridership aboard the natural gas-fueled coaches was greater than expected and transit officials used reserve buses to meet demand.
Kansas DOT Holds Road Rallies to Survey Customers
The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) hosted a series of Road Rallies to find out whether Kansas roads are meeting the needs and expectations of those who use them. Three sessions in one day were held in each of KDOT's six districts, with about 30 people participating in each session. Ten people were assigned to ride in each of three large vans.
The Road Rallies were conducted as part of KDOT's external survey process. Each rally took about two hours and participants completed a questionnaire asking them to rate the roads. They were asked to rate such characteristics as lane width, smoothness, striping, signage, shoulders, and surface condition. The results of the rallies will help KDOT assess how their customers view their work on the highway system. KDOT has received inquiries from other states about the process and their success with the rallies.
FHWA, Arizona and Nevada Officials Meet to Accelerate Hoover Dam Bypass Project
In light of continuing traffic restrictions along U.S. Route 93 at Hoover Dam, executives from both Arizona and Nevada and FHWA's Central Federal Lands and Arizona Divisions met in Phoenix in late October to discuss options for accelerating the project.
These officials agreed to move the project forward based on an accelerated schedule that provides for completing the project one year earlier than originally planned. However, accelerating the project is contingent upon the availability of funding, which would include an estimated $30 million in acceleration costs.
Bridge Made of Fiber-Reinforced Polymers Opens in Virginia
Dickey Creek Bridge in Smyth County, Va. was officially opened in October. The bridge is the first to use 36-inch- (914-millimeter-) deep girders made using fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) for structural members in the superstructure.
The construction of this bridge was financed partly by FHWA's Innovative Bridge Research and Construction Program, which was established to promote new and innovative construction methods.
Peters Sworn In as New FHWA Administrator
On Oct. 2, Mary Peters was sworn in as the new administrator for FHWA. The U.S. Senate confirmed Peters on Sept. 26 after she was named to the position by U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.
Peters, the former director of the Arizona Department of Transportation, is now the nation's top highway official and the 15th administrator of the FHWA.
Peters served on the board of directors for ITS America; the Arizona Quality Alliance; Women Executives in State Government; and Project Challenge, a U.S. National Guard program that helps troubled teens become productive citizens. She also chaired the Highway Expansion Loan Program Advisory Board and was a member of the Greater Arizona Development Authority and the Governor's Diversity Advisory Council.
Engleman Sworn In as Administrator of RSPA
Ellen G. Engleman was sworn in on Sept. 25 as the new administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA). Engleman was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Sept. 21.
As RSPA administrator, Engleman will serve as chief executive of an agency responsible for conducting transportation research, advancing intermodal transportation technology, and protecting the public from the dangers inherent in transporting hazardous materials. She will also provide civil sector preparedness for the nation's transportation emergencies, and training and technical assistance in transportation safety.
Engleman's career includes almost 20 years of experience in public and governmental affairs, public policy, and administration.
Clapp Sworn In as Head of Motor Carrier Safety Agency
On Oct. 4, Joseph M. Clapp was sworn in as the first administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the newest agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Clapp was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Sept. 26.
Clapp served as chairman of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences, was a member of the FHWA Research Coordinating Committee, and served as chairman of both the Regular Common Carrier Conference and the American Trucking Associations Foundation.
Frederick "Bud" Wright Named FHWA Executive Director
On Nov. 21, Frederick G. (Bud) Wright, Jr. was named FHWA executive director by Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters. Wright will succeed Anthony R. Kane, who retired from the agency earlier this year.
Before being named FHWA executive director, Wright served as the agency's program manager for safety. Previously, Wright was director of the FHWA Office of Budget and Finance, where he worked extensively on the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).
Wright began his career with FHWA in 1975, serving as an economist in the Office of Planning. From 1989 to 1990, he was a member of the National Transportation Policy Team, which developed former Transportation Secretary Samuel Skinner's National Transportation Policy. In 1992, he was appointed division administrator in Nevada, the agency's first non-engineer to hold such a position.
MoDOT Director to Head National Transportation Security Team
Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Director Henry Hungerbeeler has been selected to head a task force that will assess the vulnerability of the nation's transportation system to terrorism and other emergencies. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' Task Force on Transportation Security will review security and emergency preparedness related to bridges, tunnels, and other facilities critical to the transportation system and to national defense.
Hungerbeeler joined MoDOT after completing a 30-year Air Force career, retiring as a colonel. In his final assignment, he served in Texas as chief of staff for a military task force combating international drug cartels. He has also served as base commander for Charleston Air Force Base and Andrews Air Force Base, which included security duties for the president of the United States and other heads of state. In addition, he trained and led the security force that protects Air Force One and commanded top-secret counter-terrorist operations.
- Missouri DOT
Neil Schuster to Lead ITS America
Neil Schuster was recently named president and CEO of ITS America by the ITS America Board of Directors. Schuster succeeds acting president David Hensing, who is retiring.
Schuster, whose appointment took effect Oct. 15, was most recently the executive director of the International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) in Washington, D.C., a post he held for the past 16 years. IBTTA was a founding member of ITS America.
Prior to leading IBTTA, he served in senior management positions with the American Automobile Manufacturers Association and the American Waterways Operators.
- ITS America
FHWA Co-Hosted Winter Road Expo
The 6th Annual Eastern Winter Road Maintenance Symposium & Equipment Expo was held this year in Worcester, Mass., on Sept. 5-6, 2001.
The event, now in its sixth year, has been co-hosted annually by FHWA along with a state east of the Mississippi River. The symposium provides an opportunity to learn about the best practices, materials, and equipment available to those charged with managing the winter operations of eastern highways. Winter road managers are also able to compare notes and experiences to help improve operations, share information, and reduce costs.
The symposium was inspired by the Blizzard of 1996, which paralyzed many cities and states in the eastern part of the country.
Nationally, municipalities and state highway agencies spend at least $2 billion a year to combat the effects of snow and ice on travel during the winter months. Once these storms pass, some $4 billion is spent by those same jurisdictions to repair damage done to roadway infrastructure.