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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 69 · No. 5 > Along the Road

Mar/Apr 2006
Vol. 69 · No. 5

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-2006-003

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 (USDOT) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.

Technical News

FHWA Hosts One-Stop Shop For Pavement Information

A wealth of pavement information is now available with one click at www.fhwa.dot.gov/pavement/. The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) new topic-based Web site is the one-stop destination for information on topics from pavement design and construction to maintenance and rehabilitation.

Site users can select a specific topic, such as design, or choose from focus areas, such as optimized pavement performance, advanced quality systems, pavement surface characteristics, or environmental stewardship. Also featured are lists of publications, software, upcoming conferences and events, and workshops and training, including courses available from the National Highway Institute. Technical guidance, technology transfer resources, and information on pavement research also are available.

In addition, site visitors can find links to pavement-related communities of practice, such as one based on the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide. A list of links offers related sites in the categories of asphalt, concrete, recycling, and the Long-Term Pavement Performance program. The site's comprehensive list of contacts includes FHWA staff from across the country as well as key personnel and contacts from State highway agencies and various industry associations.

For information on specific pavement subjects, please contact the individuals listed by topic on the Web site. For more information on FHWA's topic-based Web sites, contact Bob Hayes at 202-366-4970 or robert.hayes@fhwa.dot.gov. A topic-based site for hydraulics engineering is available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/engineering/hydraulics/, and additional sites for other program areas are under development.

Anti-Icing Overlay Helps Prepare Highways For Winter Precipitation

Researchers at the Keweenaw Research Center, a research institute at Michigan Technological University, are developing technology to reduce the treacherous effects of ice formation on highways and bridges.

Russ Alger, director of the Institute for Snow Research at the center, has invented an anti-icing epoxy pavement overlay to prevent vehicles from sliding on ice. The overlay is a sheet of epoxy covered with an aggregate to create a sponge-like surface that soaks in a certain amount of ice-melting chemicals that crews deposit on roadways. By holding the chemicals in place on the roadway--protecting them from premature removal by snowplows or other disturbances--the product is said to help prevent ice buildup.

Use of the overlay on several notoriously treacherous roadways in Wisconsin proved successful in preventing crashes, according to test results from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Alger and others involved with producing the overlay are refining the marketing of the product with a pricing goal that is comparable to other overlays but with the additional anti-icing capability. Alger says the epoxy overlay also can protect pavements from corrosion.

For more information, visit the Keweenaw Research Center at www.mtukrc.org.

American Concrete Pavement Association

Next Generation Simulation Program

A team of traffic simulation and modeling experts managed by Cambridge Systematics, Inc., and supported by senior advisors from major research institutions and consultants are serving as key contributors to FHWA's Next Generation Simulation (NGSIM) program. NGSIM is a multiyear project for improving the quality, trustworthiness, and usability of simulation tools for better decisionmaking. Other goals are fostering an environment of public-private cooperation and influencing and stimulating the commercial modeling market.

Traffic simulation models offer significant potential for evaluating existing operating conditions on freeways and other transportation facilities. They also can help decisionmakers analyze alternative operational and management strategies. The objective of NGSIM is to develop behavioral algorithms in support of microscopic traffic simulation, with supporting documentation and validation datasets that describe the movement and interaction of multimodal travelers and vehicles on the roadway system and their interactions with traffic control devices, delineation, congestion, and other features of the environment that continually change. All NGSIM products will be available to simulation model developers and the transportation community at large. Current study products are posted on the NGSIM Web site.

In addition to the research consortium of FHWA, private consulting firms, and universities, three stakeholder groups (traffic modelers, software developers, and model users) oversee the work and review the results.

For more information, visit the NGSIM Web site at www.ngsim.fhwa.dot.gov.

UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies

Public Information and Information Exchange

FHWA Wins "Historic Preservation" Award

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) recently presented its highest award to FHWA for its efforts to protect historic transportation facilities around the country.

Since 1992, FHWA's transportation enhancement program has supported more than 2,500 historic preservation and rehabilitation projects, such as restoration of lighthouses, train depots, and ferry terminals, many of them converted to economic uses for local communities. FHWA is the largest single source of Federal funding available to States for historic preservation.

"We are committed to preserving our historic treasures and supporting the heritage of our communities," says FHWA Acting Administrator J. Richard Capka.

Surface transportation legislation signed in August 2005 by President George W. Bush provides additional resources for transportation enhancement and historic preservation projects.

"This is truly a program where Federal undertakings directly benefit local, regional, and State historic preservation efforts while improving the national infrastructure," says John L. Nau III, ACHP chairman, referring to FHWA's transportation enhancement program.

For more information, contact Doug Hecox at 202-366-0660 or doug.hecox@fhwa.dot.gov.

Work Zone Training for Law Enforcement Officers

FHWA's Office of Safety coordinated the development of a stakeholder-produced, model training course for law enforcement officers who are assigned work zone duties.

Following the investigation of a fatal work zone crash that resulted in the death of a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper on July 26, 2000, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended developing a model training program for law enforcement personnel to address traffic control strategies used at highway work zones. With the goal of improving communications among law enforcement officials, contractors, and the engineering community engaged in work zone duties, the partners include FHWA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs' Association, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

The FHWA Office of Safety assumed the leadership role for producing the materials for the course, which will be distributed broadly throughout law enforcement agencies and organizations across the country.

For more information, contact Guan Xu at 202-366-5892, guan.xu@fhwa.dot.gov or John Balser at 202-366-9212, john.balser@fhwa.dot.gov.

FHWA Launches "ITS Lessons Learned Knowledge Resource" Web Site

USDOT's Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office recently developed a Web site containing lessons learned on planning, designing, deploying, operating, maintaining, and evaluating ITS technologies. Available at www.itslessons.its.dot.gov/its/benecost.nsf/LessonHome, the "ITS Lessons Learned Knowledge Resource" Web site enables members of the ITS community to access the latest knowledge and contribute their own lessons learned.

Each lesson description includes a title in the form of a recommendation, a narrative to provide the context and explain the lesson learned, and identifying information such as the date, location, source, and a contact for more information.

Lesson categories include management and operations, policy and planning, design and deployment, leadership and partnerships, funding, technical integration, procurement, legal issues, and human resources. Within the lesson categories, site visitors also can select application areas, goals, and geographic locations. Previous lessons have discussed the challenges in planning and deploying smart card technology in rural environments, how to develop a formal ITS data-sharing policy for agencies, and the use of task order contracts to develop, deploy, and maintain traffic signal control systems.

For more information, visit www.itslessons.its.dot.gov/its/benecost.nsf/LessonHome.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Announces New Byways

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta recently announced the addition of 45 roads in 27 States to America's system of scenic byways. The designation helps local communities promote tourism and makes the roads eligible for grants that fund educational signs, restrooms, recreational amenities, and other improvements. The National Scenic Byways Program, administered by FHWA, recognizes and enhances roads based on their archaeological, cultural, historical, natural, recreational, or scenic qualities.

FHWA Acting Administrator J. Richard Capka speaks at the National Scenic Byways designation event on September 22, 2005.
FHWA Acting Administrator J. Richard Capka speaks at the National Scenic Byways designation event on September 22, 2005.

Several members of Congress and officials from FHWA spoke at the designation event at Union Station in Washington, DC. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy George Schoener, FHWA Acting Administrator J. Richard Capka, and Associate Administrator for Planning, Environment, and Realty Cynthia J. Burbank were present for the ceremony on September 22, 2005.

For more information, visit www.byways.org.

These students are working in the ATREL Traffic Operations Laboratory.
These students are working in the ATREL Traffic Operations Laboratory.

IDOT and University of Illinois Create New Transportation Center

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently announced the creation a state-of-the-art research program at the University of Illinois that will conduct studies aimed at producing safer, less congested highways; more environmentally friendly transportation solutions; and longer lasting roads. The State is providing $6.6 million over the first 3 years to build the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT).

The ICT will be headquartered at the Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory (ATREL), part of the University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Under the cooperative agreement, the center will be administered by the university and will provide state-of-the-art facilities for research and training transportation professionals in both the private and public sectors, as well as providing research opportunities for students.

The ICT will focus on outreach, education, and research to solve transportation problems, reduce congestion, and improve safety and efficiency. The research activities will play a major role in maintaining and operating a premier transportation system to help economic development.

A unique feature is that although administered by the University of Illinois, a portion of the ICT funding will be outsourced to develop cooperative relationships with other Illinois universities and to expose more students to transportation research.

The total funding for the first 3 years is $8.8 million, with IDOT providing a majority of its $6.6 million share through Federal highway dollars specifically earmarked for research purposes. The University of Illinois is providing the local match of $2.2 million to get the program underway.

For more information, visit www.dot.il.gov.

University of Illinois

Connecticut Receives "2005 Innovative Traveler" Award

FHWA recently presented Connecticut with an award for the innovative design of its traveler information Web site. FHWA Acting Administrator J. Richard Capka presented the award to Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) Commissioner Stephen E. Korta II at the AASHTO annual meeting.

ConnDOT staff members monitor highway conditions in one of two operations centers.
ConnDOT staff members monitor highway conditions in one of two operations centers.

In March 2005, ConnDOT launched its "e-alert" system, a statewide electronic incident notification system covering rail and highway traffic for the State of Connecticut. The service is available at no cost, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to subscribers who have access to e-mail. The system received more than 6,500 registrations in its first 6 months.

Notices of significant highway incidents expected to last at least an hour are e-mailed to subscribers. Incident updates and notification when an incident has been cleared also are provided. The highway e-alerts are generated from ConnDOT's highway operations centers in Newington and Bridgeport, which monitor approximately 240 highway cameras at key locations around the State. The rail e-alerts, which indicate route and delay information, are generated from ConnDOT's New Haven Rail Operations Center.

For more information or to sign up to receive e-alerts, visit www.ct.gov/dot.

ConnDOT

GDOT's IT Department Receives National Recognition

The Georgia Department of Transportation's (GDOT) Information Technology (IT) department has proven itself one of the best in the Nation, receiving an honorable mention award from the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA). URISA selected GDOT's Transportation Explorer application (TREX) for an award for "Exemplary Systems in Government," a category that recognizes improvement in the quality and delivery of government services.

"This award symbolizes the accomplishments we have made in the field of information technology as a department," says Teague Buchanan, geographic information systems manager.

TREX is a Web portal system that serves as an internal information clearinghouse and also enables the public to search GDOT maps, reports, and plans about all transportation projects in Georgia. Users can run real-time queries by city, State, or project number, and the reports can be saved and printed.

For more information, contact Jerrice Boyd at 404-657-6955 or visit www.dot.state.ga.us.

GDOT

Successfully launching the deck on the U.S. 20 Iowa River Bridge near Steamboat Rock was key to building this structure in an environmentally sensitive area. Iowa
Successfully launching the deck on the U.S. 20 Iowa River Bridge near Steamboat Rock was key to building this structure in an environmentally sensitive area. Iowa

State Highway and Bridge Teams Earn Awards for Quality

Teams from a dozen States, representing a range of road and bridge projects in every region of the country, recently earned top quality awards from the National Partnership for Highway Quality (NPHQ).

The highest honor, the 2005 National Achievement Award, went to the Iowa Department of Transportation. According to Bob Templeton, executive director of NPHQ, the Iowa team was recognized for the innovative and environmentally sensitive design and construction of the first incrementally "launched" steel bridge of its kind and magnitude in the United States, the U.S. 20 Iowa River Bridge in north-central Iowa.

Lauding the "innovative thinking, quality design and performance, and cost-effective practices" of the States singled out for honors, Templeton said, "These accomplishments not only reflect the widest possible range of activity but mirror the distinctiveness of every region of our country, North, South, East, and West. We know that our winners this year will continue to set quality standards and lead the pack for years to come. What's more, their achievements will continue to improve the quality of life for the driving public."

For more information on the Iowa team's accomplishments, visit www.nphq.org/press_2005_ia.cfm. For more information about the winning project teams from Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia, visit www.nphq.org/press_allWinners2005.cfm.

National Partnership for Highway Quality

Personnel

FHWA's Jorge Pagan-Ortiz Recognized as 2005 HENAAC Luminary

Jorge Pagan-Ortiz, principal bridge engineer in the FHWA Office of Bridge Technology, was recently honored for his significant contributions to the Hispanic technical community at the 2005 Hispanic Engineers National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC).

The HENAAC Luminary Honor is an award given for leading, collaborating, and initiating key programs and research and demonstrating noteworthy milestones in carrying the torch of promoting success through education. Pagan received the award on October 7, 2005, in Anaheim, CA.

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