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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 65· No. 6 > Along the Road

May/June 2002
Vol. 65· No. 6

Along the Road

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

Policy and Legislation North Carolina to Improve Rural Transportation Planning

In 2001, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation requesting the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to establish Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs). As of February 2002, the NCDOT established 10 RPOs, which are multicounty organizations sharing common interests. Each RPO works to promote comprehensive, multimodal transportation planning and more local involvement in the transporta tion decision-making process. The State expects to establish as many as 19 RPOs in the future.

Mississippi Drops Legal Blood-Alcohol Level to 0.08 Percent

Mississippi law enforcement officers can expect to make more drunken driving arrests and to respond to fewer alcohol-related crashes as a result of a new State law lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent.

Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove signed the 0.08 blood alcohol content legislation into law on March 18, 2002, making Mississippi the 31st State to lower the driving-under-the-influence offense from 0.10 blood alcohol content to 0.08. The law goes into effect July 1, 2002, nearly two years after former President Clinton signed a bill setting the national standard for driving under the influence at 0.08 and linking State compliance with Federal highway funding.

Management and Administration

Now Available: A Benefit-Cost Analysis for Using ITS Technology for Traffic Management in Temporary Construction Zones

The Michigan Department of Transportation developed a benefit-cost analysis to determine the value of implementing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology for managing traffic flow in temporary construction zones along the I-496 reconstruction in Lansing, MI.

The analysis indicates that payback from the proposed ITS system outweighs the costs by a factor of two to one; an approximate $2.5 million for the ITS system and engineering costs will net nearly $5 million in benefits. These benefits come from anticipated reductions in accidents, travel time, environmental impacts, and energy consumption. Additional benefits, including customer satisfaction and worker productivity, may exist but could not be quantified using available data.

The analysis is available online at www.itsdocs.fhwa.dot.gov/JPODOCS/REPTS_TE/13591.html.

Transportation Officials Call for National Commitment to Wireless E9-1-1 System

At a national E9-1-1 summit on April 8, 2002, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, Transportation Chief of Staff John Flaherty, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, MD, called on public safety officials, the telecommunications industry, and communities across the country to accelerate implementation of wireless-enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) services.

The need to locate people quickly and precisely when they make 9-1-1 calls on cellular phones prompted the summit in Arlington, VA. In an emergency—whether it's due to injury or to another urgent situation—a timely response can affect the final outcome.

Once completed, the E9-1-1 system will enable public safety call centers to pinpoint the locations of callers making emergency contact from cellular telephones. Call centers already can locate 98 percent of caller locations from contact made via residential landline phones. Presently, 25 percent of all 9-1-1 calls are placed from wireless phones, with 40 percent of the calls not covered by enhanced 9-1-1.

Participants in the summit included elected officials and representatives from the wireless industry, State and local governments, public safety call centers, emergency medical services, police and fire departments, and the transportation industry.

Implementing a wireless E9-1-1 system that identifies caller locations is complex because of new technology requirements and process changes necessary for handling and responding to emergency calls. DOT's Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program is coordinating the E9-1-1 implementation. The ITS program saves lives, time, and money by combining advanced communications and transportation technologies with surface transportation management and operations systems.

For more information, visit DOT's ITS Web site at www.its.dot.gov.

Puerto Rico's Tren Urbano Project Receives Federal Funding

On March 22, 2002, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta granted $105.7 million in Federal Transit Administration funds to the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority for the Tren Urbano project.

Puerto Rico will use the grant, authorized under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, to carry out project management, design, and construction of the guideway and stations for the Tren Urbano project, a 10.7-mile (17.2-kilometer) heavy rail transit system. The project includes 16 stations between Bayamon and Santurce, a community in the municipality of San Juan.

The Federal Transit Administration executed a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) for the construction of Tren Urbano with the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority on March 13, 1996. An FFGA is the Federal Government's commitment to support a transit project over the course of several fiscal years, contingent upon the availability of funds. As funds are appropriated, the full funding projects receive priority consideration.

New Radionavigation Plan Focuses on GPS As Primary Means of Navigation

On March 26, 2002, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta and U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced the release of the 2001 Federal Radionavigation Plan, which continues to strengthen the U.S. commitment to and modernization of the Global Positioning System (GPS) as a primary navigation tool for supporting the Nation's transportation infrastructure.

The 2001 plan is a joint product of the Departments of Transportation and Defense mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 1998. According to the NDAA, requirements to revise and update the plan must be performed at least every two years. The 2001 plan includes scheduling revisions for phasing down most land-based radionavigation systems to allow more time for transitioning to the GPS. In following the policy stated in the 1999 plan, DOT will continue to operate Loran-C in the short term while the administration continues to evaluate the long-term need for the system. Upon completing studies on Loran-C in 2002, DOT will make a decision on the system.

Beginning with the 2001 edition of the plan, Federal radionavigation information will be published in two separate documents instead of one: the “2001 Federal Radionavigation Plan” and a companion document, “Federal Radionavigation Systems.” The 2001 plan includes an introduction, policies, operating plans, system selection considerations, and research and development sections. The plan will facilitate more efficient and responsive updates of policy and planning information. Sections relating to government roles and responsibilities, user requirements, and systems descriptions were moved to the companion document and will be updated when needed.

For a free copy of the 2001 plan and companion document on CD-ROM, call 617-494-2908, or write to Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02142. The 2001 plan also is available online at www.navcen.uscg.gov/pubs/frp2001.

Photo of concrete slabs in the snow, slabs not covered with snow

The concrete slabs in the foreground are part of a research test to demonstrate the snow-melting effect of a de-icing system planned for installation on a bridge near Lincoln, NE.

Technical News

Nebraska Bridge Conductive Concrete De-icing System First in Nation

A new bridge de-icing system in Nebraska will be the first of its kind on a U.S. roadway. Scheduled for installation during summer 2002, the system is part of a bridge and roadway construction project underway on Roca Spur S-55F, off U.S.-77 about 10 miles south of Lincoln, NE.

The de-icing system will be installed on a concrete slab bridge located within 60 feet of a railroad crossing, where rapid deceleration is required. Based on research conducted at the University of Nebraska, the system operates by warming the pavement whenever icy weather is expected.

University of Nebraska researchers Sherif Yehia and Dr. Christopher Tuan developed the conductive concrete mix in 1998, specifically for installation on bridge decks. The Nebraska Department of Roads worked with Tuan to make this field application possible. Tuan will publish a report evaluating the system after a couple of seasons of operation. If the system proves to be effective, it will be installed near intersections and on curves where pavement and bridge icing conditions contribute to crashes, potentially reducing injury and saving lives.

The only known application of a similar technology in the United States is a sidewalk in Shelby, OH.

The concrete slabs in the foreground are part of a research test to demonstrate the snowmelting effect of a de-icing system planned for installation on a bridge near Lincoln, NE.

Public Information and Information Exchange

Retroreflectivity Video Earns a 2001 Communicator Award

An FHWA video titled Night Lights: How Retroreflectivity Makes Roadways Safe, produced in coordination with the American Traffic Safety Services Association, won second place in the 2001 Communicator Awards.

The award recognizes projects that exceed industry standards in production or communication skills. This international competition received more than 3,400 entries. The video markets FHWA's Run-off-Road: Retroreflectivity program to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on our Nation's roadways. The film takes a nontechnical look at how retroreflectivity, or nighttime visibility of signs and pavement markings, helps save lives by making roadways safer and easier to travel. Targeted to a general audience, the video defines the science of retroreflectivity used in roadway signs, pavement markings, and other retroreflective materials on roadways.

The Night Lights video was previously named a Finalist Winner in the 2001 Aegis Awards. To request a copy of the video, contact Peter Hatzi at FHWA at 202-366-8036 or James Baron at the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) at 540-368-1701.

States to Conduct Field Operational Tests on Variable Speed Limits

FHWA awarded cooperative agreements to Maryland, Michigan, and Virginia to implement and analyze the effectiveness of variable speed limits in work zones.

Variable speed limit systems rely on input of vehicle speeds and other information to post an appropriate speed limit, enabling motorists to maintain the most efficient and safe speeds, without endangering themselves, other drivers, or workers. Each of the selected States will implement the systems in a work zone, monitor operations, and evaluate the effectiveness. The results from these pilot projects will be distributed to all States, so best practices for safe and efficient travel through works zones may be applied.

Reducing Sulfur Results in Ultra-Clean Fuels

A new process under development at Pennsylvania State University could bolster industry efforts to meet future U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements for extensive reductions in fuel sulfur.

Existing regulations for diesel fuel allow 500 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur, compared with about 350 ppm sulfur for gasoline. By 2006, however, EPA's suite of engine and fuel regulations will limit sulfur content to 30 ppm in gasoline and 15 ppm in diesel fuel.

The new Penn State process uses low temperatures and pressure to remove organic sulfur, a turnabout from traditional approaches that use high temperatures and hydrogen gas. Researchers hope that refineries can implement the process to produce low-sulfur fuels and generate the ultra-clean formulations required by fuel cells.

West Virginian Fatalities Significantly Decline In 2001

The final highway safety statistics for 2001 show a significant drop in fatalities in West Virginia from previous years. The 356 fatalities that occurred in the State in 2001 represent a 14 percent decrease from 415 in 2000. Previous years also ran close to 400 fatalities in the State.

Although the decrease cannot be attributed to any single action, various government agencies did implement a number of measures. First, the FHWA Division Office continues to coordinate a safety management system involving highway safety agencies meeting and collaborating on joint activities to reduce fatalities.

Second, in recent years, West Virginia passed new laws regarding driver licensing and impaired driving violations. The State implemented a strategic plan for improving its crash data system and continues to enhance and review the system. Finally, emphasis on enforcement of speeding, impaired driving, and safety belt usage laws has increased. West Virginia recently began a “Click It or Ticket” seat belt campaign statewide, which is likely to further improve safety and reduce fatal crashes.

Yosemite National Park Road Earns Engineering Award

The Consulting Engineers Council of California recently selected the reconstructed El Portal Road in Yosemite National Park to receive an Honor Award for Engineering Excellence.

The project to reconstruct the park's main entrance road was completed using the design-build delivery method, the approach of contracting with a single entity for performing both design and construction on a project. The method accelerated completion, minimized socio-economic impacts, and employed industry innovations. The project was Federal Lands Highway's first design-build project and was managed by the Central Federal Lands Highway Division in partnership with the National Park Service.

New Multicultural Outreach Web site Unveiled

Dr. Jeffrey Runge, administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), unveiled the Agency's new multicultural outreach Web site. The site makes customized traffic safety materials and information available to a myriad of potential users within the minority community.

A key focus of the multicultural outreach site is to provide valuable information about how minority communities are disproportionately affected by traffic safety problems. The site displays materials to help prevent crashes, save lives, educate, prevent injuries, and reduce traffic-related health care and other economic costs.

Latino/Hispanic (in Spanish and English), Black/ African-American, Asian-American/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native are among the populations to be served by this new Web site. Each group has its own separate section.

Designed by a diverse group of NHTSA staff, the Web site explains, for example, that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Hispanics and American Indians between the ages of 1 and 44, African-Americans between the ages of 1 and 14, and Asian-Americans between the ages of 1 and 24.

Visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov/multicultural to access or download research reports, statistics, brochures, posters, and camera-ready artwork.

RIDOT Web site Features Images from 25 Highway Cameras

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is now providing online snapshots from 25 real-time roadway cameras along I-95, I-195, and Route 10 to help motorists check the traffic online before they begin a trip.

Map of Rhode Island indicating location of real-time-traffic-monitoring cameras

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation placed dozens of real-time traffic-monitoring cameras along the major highways servicing Providence.

Camera views may be selected by clicking on small camera symbols on a map of the State's metropolitan areas. Sneak a peak at www.tmc.state.ri.us/TrafficCams/LiveCams.asp.

secretary for former Delaware Gov. Pete DuPont's 1988 presidential campaign. As a reporter, Outlaw covered foreign affairs and general assignment issues for The Washington Times. He also was a reporter and an editor for the Associated Press in North and South Carolina, and at several South Carolina newspapers.

Outlaw was elected a vice president of the Washington chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. He received the Diamond Award in June 2001 for his professional service to the chapter. In addition, he is an adjunct instructor at The George Washington University's Center for Professional Development and is a journalism instructor at the Institute for Experiential Learning.

Albert F. DiMillio Selected to Receive Prestigious Engineering Award

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) selected Albert F. DiMillio, program manager for geotechnical research at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), as the recipient of the 2002 Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award.

ASCE established the Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award in 1973 as a memorial recognizing the outstanding professional accomplishments of Martin S. Kapp. ASCE offers the award to an individual who demonstrates the best example of innovative or outstanding design or construction of foundations, earthworks, retaining structures, or underground construction.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation placed dozens of real-time traffic-monitoring cameras along the major highways servicing Providence.

Photo of Albert F. DiMillio

Albert F. DiMillio received the 2002 Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Personnel William N. Outlaw Appointed FHWA Director of Public Affairs

Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters announced the appointment of William N. (Bill) Outlaw as the Agency's director for public affairs on April 16, 2002.

Outlaw joins the Agency after 9 years as director of communications for The Road Information Program (TRIP), a nonprofit transportation research group. At TRIP, Outlaw coordinated the communications and outreach efforts with public and private sector groups at the national and local levels, and helped the organization gain media coverage of highway and transportation issues throughout the country.

Outlaw also worked as press secretary to Senator Strom Thurmond (SC), as a press officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and as press

Albert F. DiMillio received the 2002 Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

DiMillio's award citation reads, “For his many contributions to innovative foundation engineering and site improvement through his work at FHWA, and for his efforts leading to numerous practical innovations that have permitted difficult foundation problems to be overcome.”

For more than 30 years, DiMillio has dedicated his skills and energy to supporting FHWA's research projects, and he is the recipient of several of FHWA's Outstanding Performance Awards, most recently in 1999. He also received the Construction Innovation Forum's NOVA Award in 1999 and ASCE's James Laurie Prize in 1991.

DiMillio will accept the award during the annual business meeting at the ASCE National Convention in Washington, DC, on November 6, 2002.

Jerry DiMaggio Named FHWA Engineer of the Year

Jerry A. DiMaggio has been named the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Engineer of the Year for 2002.

He also received the agency's Engineering Excellence Award. As FHWA's engineer of the year, DiMaggio will be recognized by the National Society of Professional Engineers along with other distinguished engineers that work for the Federal Government. FHWA presents the Engineering Excellence Award annually to an engineer who has made extraordinary contributions to the agency and the transportation sector.

DiMaggio, who joined FHWA in 1976, is a senior geotechnical engineer in the Agency's Office of Infrastructure. He is recognized internationally for his technical expertise in geotechnical engineering. In addition, he has written or cowritten several FHWA guidelines, which have been translated and adopted by several European and Asian countries as their standards of practice.

DiMaggio has provided technical advice and support on the Boston Central Artery/Tunnel and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement projects in addition to design and construction situations nationwide. He also has presented more than 250 short courses and graduate courses in geotechnical engineering, including instruction at the University of Delaware, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Akron.

DiMaggio received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Clarkson University in New York. He is a member of several technical committees and task forces, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the Transportation Research Board.

Sandberg Named NHTSA Deputy Administrator

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta welcomed Annette Sandberg as deputy administrator of DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

An attorney by training, Sandberg spent more than 17 years in a variety of law enforcement, supervisory, and administrative posts with the Washington State Patrol, including nearly 6 years as its chief. When appointed to that position in 1995, she was the first woman in the country to head a State police agency. Since June 2001, she has practiced law in Olympia, WA.

Sandberg received her law degree from the University of Puget Sound School of Law and her MBA from City University in Bellevue, WA. She also was chosen to attend executive institutes at Harvard University and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Glassman Is New Chief Counsel for NHTSA

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced the appointment of Jacqueline Glassman as chief counsel for DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Prior to her selection as chief counsel, Glassman spent more than 7 years in the Office of General Counsel for the DaimlerChrysler Corporation, where she rose to the level of senior counsel in 1997. Before joining the company, she worked in private law practice at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, where she specialized in regulatory, constitutional, and commercial litigation. Glassman received her J.D. degree from Stanford Law School and her B.A. in history from Brandeis University.

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