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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 75 · No. 2 > Along the Road

September/October 2011
Vol. 75 · No. 2

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-11-006

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.

Management and Administration

San Francisco Launches Real-Time Parking System

Screen grab of the SFpark Web site home page.Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Deputy Administrator Greg Nadeau recently joined transportation officials in San Francisco, CA, to unveil SFpark, a new system that provides real-time information on parking availability and pricing. The system combines various intelligent transportation systems and will help San Francisco drivers spend less time searching for parking.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is using a $19.4 million grant from FHWA for SFpark. The system will apply to 6,000 metered onstreet parking spaces, about one-quarter of the city's total, and 12,500 spaces in more than 14 garages and lots. Eight areas of the city will have SFpark: the Civic Center, the Fillmore, Financial District, Fisherman's Wharf, Hayes Valley, the Marina, the Mission, and SoMa.

SFpark also offers important safety benefits. City officials expect the new service to unclog slow traffic lanes, making it easier for emergency vehicles to make their way. Also, instead of drivers focusing on finding open parking spaces, they can focus on the road.

"This innovative system will save drivers time, fuel, and frustration," says Nadeau. "It's also good for the economy because it will make it easier to shop and do business within the city."

The system collects real-time information through intelligent transportation systems, including sensors and data feed technology, and distributes it to drivers via the SFpark Web site and smartphone applications. SFpark also will use dynamic message signs to inform drivers of parking availability. Parking space prices will fluctuate according to availability.

For more information, visit http://sfpark.org.

Technical News

FHWA Develops Design Software for Soil Nail Walls

The Federal Lands Highway Division (FLH) of FHWA recently released a software program for evaluating and analyzing soil nail walls for temporary cut excavations and permanent slope stabilizations. Although software programs for soil nailing are available to design nail size and length, they lack the capability to design temporary or permanent wall-facing elements or check the stability of the overall soil nail wall system. To fill this need, FHWA's FLH, through its Technology Development Program, produced the Soil Nail Analysis Program (SNAP) as a basic state-of-the-art package.

Workers are constructing the facing for a permanent soil nail wall on a project in Guanella Pass near Georgetown, CO.
Workers are constructing the facing for a permanent soil nail wall on a project in Guanella Pass near Georgetown, CO.

Features include the ability to conduct analysis of both internal (wall-facing and uniform and nonuniform nail length and inclination) and external failure modes for static and seismic loading conditions including global stability, sliding, and bearing capacity. SNAP also can evaluate maximum nail loading along the entire length of each nail, evaluate verification and proof field test results, and generate a comprehensive summary report. To run the program, users enter information about the wall, back-slope, and fore-slope geometries; retained single-layer slope material properties, such as friction angle, unit weight, and cohesion; ground water elevation; seismic loading; uniform or varying nail size, length, and inclination; and temporary and permanent facing support elements.

For more information, contact Khamis Haramy at khamis.haramy@dot.gov. To download the SNAP software and user's manual (FHWA-CFL/TD-10-004) at no cost, visit www.cflhd.gov/programs/techDevelopment/geotech/SNAP.

USDOT to Test Connected Vehicle Technologies

USDOT recently selected six cities where it will hold clinics for drivers to test automobiles outfitted with new vehicle-to-vehicle communications technologies. The clinics will help the Department learn more about how drivers respond to these technologies, which have the potential to help reduce traffic crashes and save lives, according to USDOT officials.

The clinics are part of the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot, a USDOT program conducted by the Research and Innovative Technology Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Department is working with the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership, a research consortium of eight automobile manufacturers, to develop technology to help cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles avoid crashes by communicating with nearby vehicles and roadway infrastructure such as traffic signals and grade crossings. The in-car systems send safety warnings to alert drivers when there is a risk of a crash or other driving hazard.

The clinics will be held between August 2011 and January 2012 in Blacksburg, VA; Brooklyn, MI; Dallas, TX; Brainerd, MN; Orlando, FL; and San Francisco, CA. Each city will recruit approximately 100 local motorists to drive vehicles equipped with Dedicated Short Range Communication, a wireless safety technology. In a controlled environment, researchers will assess the drivers' responses to the in-car collision warnings, "do not pass" alerts, warnings that a vehicle ahead has stopped suddenly, and similar safety messages.

At the conclusion of the driver clinics, USDOT will deploy thousands of wirelessly connected vehicles to test how the technology performs in a real-world driving environment. The model deployment is scheduled to begin in fall 2012.

For more information, visit www.its.dot.gov/research/safety_pilot_overview.htm or contact Mike Schagrin at 202-366-2180 or mike.schagrin@dot.gov.

Public Information and Information Exchange

Now Available: Transportation Planning For Sustainability Guidebook

Cover of the Transportation Planning for Sustainability Guidebook.

A sustainable transportation system generally is one that contributes to the sustainable development of the community that owns and uses it. Individual States and metropolitan areas have begun developing policies, programs, and methodologies for improving the sustainability of the transportation system. This FHWA-sponsored publication, Transportation Planning for Sustainability Guidebook, examines how agencies can better incorporate sustainability considerations into transportation planning. The document includes case studies highlighting sustainability planning practices culled from experiences at State departments of transportation (DOTs) and at the national and international levels.

Divided into six chapters, the guidebook focuses on practices that refine, enhance, or redefine steps in the planning process.The guidebook be--gins by presenting critical issues involved in planning for sustainable transportation systems, such as prioritizing initiatives to best use limited funds and measuring and monitoring progress, and then reviews current practices that address these issues. Later chapters cover potential data sources and examples of how agencies are using data in sustainability-related initiatives, case studies of sustainability practices, and cutting-edge evaluation methods.

For more information, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/climate/resources.htm.

MoDOT Introduces New Spokesperson For Work Zone Safety

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) recently introduced its new face of work zone safety: Barrel Bob. Made from recycled orange and white barrels and standing 11 feet (3.3 meters) tall, Barrel Bob personifies MoDOT's current theme for work zone safety: "Don't Barrel Through Work Zones."

Barrel Bob, MoDOT’s safety mascot, stands at the entrance to a work zone as a reminder for drivers to slow down and use caution.
Barrel Bob, MoDOT's safety mascot, stands at the entrance to a work zone as a reminder for drivers to slow down and use caution.

According to MoDOT, Barrel Bob has been popular in the Kansas City area in recent years, his roadside presence serving as a reminder to motorists to pay attention and slow down in work zones. During National Work Zone Awareness Week in April 2011, Barrel Bob brought his safety messages regarding the dangers of speeding and the importance of staying alert to a series of radio public service announcements. The radio advertisements are part of a larger statewide campaign that reminds motorists to drive safely in work zones and includes Internet banner ads, safety ads on fuel pump tops, and information on electronic message boards.

Fifteen people were killed in Missouri work zones in 2010, and 1,033 people were injured, up from 13 deaths and 676 injuries in 2009 -- an increase of almost 53 percent in injuries. Since 2000, 15 MoDOT employees have been killed in the line of duty. The top contributing circumstances for work zone crashes in 2010 were motorists following too closely, inattention, improper lane usage/change, driving too fast, and failure to yield.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.modot.mo.gov/workzones/multimedia.htm.

MoDOT

Utah DOT Completes Longest Span Bridge Move

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and its contractor recently completed a project to transport the longest two-span bridge ever moved in the Western Hemisphere to a new location. Overnight, workers transported the 354-foot (108-meter)-long Sam White Bridge to its new location over I-15 in American Fork, UT. Despite cold temperatures, more than 1,000 spectators came to watch the move, including 200 State officials, delegates from FHWA and other DOTs, and transportation professionals from as far away as Europe.

UDOT’s I–15 Corridor Expansion crew members prepare to move the Sam White Bridge, shown here lifted on the hydraulic self-propelled modular transporters.
UDOT's I-15 Corridor Expansion crew members prepare to move the Sam White Bridge, shown here lifted on the hydraulic self-propelled modular transporters.

Using accelerated bridge construction techniques, workers constructed the overpass beam bridge from reinforced concrete and steel about 500 feet (152 meters) from its final destination. The bridge was then lifted 21 feet (6.4 meters) in the air, moved across eight freeway lanes, and lowered into place. Workers moved both spans simultaneously using two sets of self-propelled modular transporters -- essentially hydraulic jacks on wheels. By using accelerated bridge construction, UDOT eliminated the need for as many as six full freeway closures, thereby reducing traffic delays and keeping people, goods, and services moving.

The Sam White Bridge was the fourth of six bridges moved by self-propelled modular transporters on UDOT's Utah County I-15 Corridor Expansion, and the department's 23rd time moving a bridge under its accelerated bridge construction program -- nearly double the number moved by all other States combined. FHWA designated the move as a "showcase" event for this technology and how it can be applied to other transportation projects across the United States.

For more information, visit www.udot.utah.gov/i15core/bridge.

UDOT

Eleven Communities Designated "Walk Friendly"

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) recently announced its inaugural round of Walk Friendly Communities designations as part of its efforts to recognize cities and towns with a demonstrated commitment to improving walkability and pedestrian safety.

After evaluating applicant communities in several categories related to walking, including safety, mobility, access, and comfort, PBIC recognized 11 municipalities: Ann Arbor, MI; Arlington, VA; Austin, TX; Charlotte, NC; Charlottesville, VA; Decatur, GA; Flagstaff, AZ; Hoboken, NJ; Santa Barbara, CA; Seattle, WA; and Wilsonville, OR.

"The Walk Friendly Communities designation recognizes communities that help set the bar in fostering and accommodating walking," says Carl Sundstrom, program manager for Walk Friendly Communities.

Sidewalks and other amenities shown here promote pedestrian activity in Decatur, GA, one of eleven cities designated as a Walk Friendly Community.
Sidewalks and other amenities shown here promote pedestrian activity in Decatur, GA, one of eleven cities designated as a Walk Friendly Community.

According to PBIC, pedestrian injury and fatality levels remain high in the United States, despite a groundswell of support for active transportation. Communities are channeling this support for livability and taking advantage of the many benefits of walking, including environmental and personal health, reduced traffic congestion, enhanced quality of life, and economic rewards. The Walk Friendly Communities program empowers communities to make a long-lasting social impact by providing the tools to assess their own walkability and create plans for change.

For more information, visit www.walkfriendly.org.

PBIC

New Organization Works to Measure Infrastructure Sustainability

A newly established, independent nonprofit organiza-tion, the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), is working to develop and administer a sustainability rating system for North American infrastructure. ISI was founded by the American Council of Engineering Companies, the American Public Works Association, and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The ISI rating system, called envisionTM Sustainability Rating System, includes environmental, economic, and social considerations, and is designed to identify the benefits of sustainable practices for infrastructure owners, regulators, designers, and managers. The rating system, inspired by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating SystemsTM, is the only comprehensive assessment system that strives to measure a project's social and environmental performance, while also accounting for economic benefits.

ISI is aiming to launch the rating system in late summer 2011 as a voluntary, Web-based product. The ISI system will be performance-based and adaptable to project size and complexity. The system also will be applicable to a wide range of infrastructure projects, from roads and bridges to energy and water systems. Agencies that use the system will have options for self-assessment or third-party certification.

Through its rating system, ISI aims to promote community and policy acceptance of sustainable solutions and encourage knowledge sharing, innovation, and collaboration in the design, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure.

Visit www.sustainableinfrastructure.org for more information.

American Society of Civil Engineers

Toolkit Helps Advance RSAs on Federal and Tribal Lands

To increase implementation of road safety audits (RSAs), the FHWA Office of Federal Lands Highway and Office of Safety recently released a toolkit designed specifically for tribes and Federal land management agencies. The toolkit provides information about partnerships needed to build support, available funding sources for the program and improvements, tools to conduct RSAs, and resources to identify safety issues and select countermeasures.

RSAs are a proven technology for improving safety on and along roadways. For several years, FHWA has helped tribal governments and Federal land management agencies implement RSAs by leading the audits and providing training and technical assistance. However, these stakeholders often face challenges such as staffing and funding constraints that limit the use of RSAs. FHWA created the toolkit to help agencies and tribes overcome these obstacles by guiding them in establishing the necessary support and securing needed resources.

A multidisciplinary RSA team reviews crash records and conditions in the field to determine road safety issues in the Navajo Nation.
A multidisciplinary RSA team reviews crash records and conditions in the field to determine road safety issues in the Navajo Nation.

The toolkit includes worksheets and sample materials designed to aid in the eight-step RSA process, including requesting assistance, scheduling the audits, analyzing data, conducting field reviews, and documenting issues and suggestions. The toolkit also includes case studies.

For more information, visit http://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/programs/irr/safety/audits.htm#toolkit.

Now Available: Pavement Management Roadmap

FHWA recently released a publication on the long-term vision for pavement management. Pavement Management Roadmap (FHWA-HIF-11-011) discusses the research, development, and technology transfer initiatives needed to help agencies use pavement management to support broader asset management strategies and preserve valuable investments in the Nation's roads.

An increased emphasis on asset management to better allocate resources and to base decisions on system performance objectives means a shift for agencies to more fully utilize their pavement management systems. Traditionally, agencies used pavement management tools and techniques to assess and report pavement conditions, prioritize capital improvements, and estimate funding needs. But today, pavement management supports broader asset management strategies by enabling agencies to manage infrastructure assets over the course of their entire life cycles.

To help make this shift, the Roadmap identifies the steps needed to address current gaps in pavement management and establish research and development priorities and initiatives. The publication discusses short- and long-term needs as identified by participants in three regional workshops. Needs are grouped under four main themes: use of existing tools and technologies; institutional and organizational issues; the broad role of pavement management; and new tools, methodologies, and technology. For example, short-term needs include communicating pavement management information and benefits, while long-term needs include using these data to support design activities and developing performance models that consider a series of preservation treatments.

For more information, visit the FHWA Asset Management site at www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/asstmgmt/index.cfm.

FHWA Road Safety Workshop Targets Local Governments

FHWA's Office of Safety has developed a 1-day workshop focused on improving the physical factors of local and rural roadways that may contribute to crashes. Developed in cooperation with Federal, State, and local stakeholders, Road Safety 365: A Safety Workshop for Local Governments provides transportation agencies that manage local and rural roads with effective ways to incorporate safety into daily activities.

Using examples, case studies, and hands-on activities, the course demonstrates how to integrate safety solutions into transportation projects at all stages of the project development process -- planning, design, construction, implementation, operations, and maintenance. The course provides practical guidance for identifying road safety issues and implementing low-cost countermeasures. Workshop participants also will learn about the benefits and potential cost savings associated with integrating safety improvements into daily operations and maintenance activities.

FHWA developed the workshop for Local Technical Assistance Program and Tribal Technical Assistance Program centers to deliver to local practitioners. The workshop is divided into nine modules that cover all aspects of improving safety on rural roadways -- from understanding the need for safety to planning and paying for safety improvements. Upon completion, participants will have an understanding of how adopting a culture of safety can help make roadways safer.

For more information, contact Rosemarie Anderson at 202-366-5007 or rosemarie.anderson@dot.gov.

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