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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 77 · No. 2 > Communication Product Updates

September/October 2013
Vol. 77 · No. 2

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-13-006

Communication Product Updates

Compiled by Lisa Jackson of FHWA's Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management

Below are brief descriptions of communications products recently developed by the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Office of Research, Development, and Technology. All of the reports are or will soon be available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). In some cases, limited copies of the communications products are available from FHWA’s Research and Technology (R&T) Product Distribution Center (PDC).

When ordering from NTIS, include the NTIS publication number (PB number) and the publication title. You also may visit the NTIS Web site at www.ntis.gov to order publications online. Call NTIS for current prices. For customers outside the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the cost is usually double the listed price. Address requests to:

National Technical Information Service
5301 Shawnee Road
Alexandria, VA 22312
Telephone: 703–605–6000
Toll-free number: 1–888–584–8332
Web site: www.ntis.gov
Email: customerservice@ntis.gov

Requests for items available from the R&T Product Distribution Center should be addressed to:

R&T Product Distribution Center
Szanca Solutions/FHWA PDC
13710 Dunnings Highway
Claysburg, PA 16625
Telephone: 814–239–1160
Fax: 814–239–2156
Email: report.center@dot.gov

For more information on R&T communications products available from FHWA, visit FHWA’s Web site at www.fhwa.dot.gov, the FHWA Research Library at www.fhwa.dot.gov/research/library (or email fhwalibrary@dot.gov), or the National Transportation Library at ntl.bts.gov (or email library@dot.gov).

Recent International Activity in Cooperative Vehicle-Highway Automation Systems (Report)

Publication No. FHWA-HRT-12-033

Cover of the report, Recent International Activity in Cooperative Vehicle–Highway Automation Systems.

During the past decade, the level of activity in cooperative vehicle-highway automation systems has increased significantly in Japan and Europe, while remaining relatively low in the United States. This report summarizes the current state of development with regard to these systems and highlights the latest thinking in other countries to help inform U.S. decisionmaking.

In Europe, perspectives differ between the organizations that approach cooperative vehicle-highway automation systems as automotive products and those that approach them as a means of improving public transportation. The former emphasize partial automation systems operating in mixed traffic, while the latter emphasize fully automated (driverless) vehicles in dedicated rights-of-way.

Researchers noted that the United States could develop a robust program in automated road transportation by building on its extensive experience and capabilities in automated road transport, its current areas of international leadership, and the knowledge being developed in other countries. Future actions could include conducting concept studies of automation applications to identify which could be most beneficial in addressing the Nation’s transportation problems. Where synergies and potential benefits can be established, the United States could collaborate with the European and Japanese programs.

FHWA’s Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program supported development of this report under the technical supervision of staff with the Office of Operations Research and Development at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. Download the report at www.fhwa.dot.gov/advancedresearch/pubs/12033/index.cfm. Printed copies are available from the PDC.

Impacts of Technology Advancements On Transportation Management Center Operations (Report)

Publication No. FHWA-HOP-13-008

Technology advances in transportation management and operations, as well as in communications and computing technology, will undoubtedly make transportation safer and more efficient over the next decade. Transportation management centers (TMCs), which have been at the forefront of leveraging technology to manage transportation, are likely to see significant changes in the systems currently relying on real-time information processing. TMC managers are under increasing pressure to adapt rapidly to these changing technologies and public expectations for accurate, real-time travel information.

This report identifies and examines potential impacts on TMC operations due to projected technology advancements in the next 10 years. It offers practices, strategies, and tools for TMC managers to build internal, technological, and broad agency frameworks to use emerging technologies and related trends.

Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and technological trends in the areas of communications, data management, connected vehicles, agency processes, control technologies, and traveler information could have a significant impact on TMC operations. Proliferation of wireless communication and the rise of social media enable an unprecedented understanding of the transportation network in real time that TMCs can leverage into increasingly sophisticated control strategies. At the same time, expectations for high-quality information about the transportation system are likely to increase as more travelers access personalized and user-friendly commercial information through apps on mobile devices.

With more detailed and varied data coverage across geographic areas, TMCs can draw upon a greater understanding of needs and conditions. By integrating with regional partners and developing new ways of using data, they can improve multimodal options, safety, and trip and network reliability with processes and systems that are increasingly automated. Third parties can be important partners in providing data to TMCs, developing innovative transportation analysis tools, and delivering traveler information to the public. This may enable TMCs to focus on transportation management and provision of information that private industry cannot offer. Flexibility will be important so agencies can adapt to changing roles and take advantage of new opportunities.

The report is available to download at www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/fhwahop13008.

Identification of Nondestructive Evaluation Needs for the United States Highway Infrastructure (Fact Sheet)

Publication No. FHWA-HRT-13-056

In September 2012, FHWA’s Office of Infrastructure Research and Development held a workshop to develop and prioritize a list of needs for the nondestructive evaluation of U.S. highway infrastructure. The workshop brought together experts in the fields of nondestructive evaluation and structural health monitoring, as well as professionals from Federal and State departments of transportation, academia, and industry. This document presents the list of priorities FHWA will use to determine new research and development activities to advance a strategic vision and roadmap for the program.

Workshop participants concluded that the vision and roadmap should enable FHWA’s nondestructive evaluation program to enhance its early goals while guiding the nondestructive evaluation community in its efforts to improve the health, maintenance, and repair of infrastructure. The vision and roadmap should include objectives that assist the Long-Term Bridge Performance Program in its long- and short-term goals, and should provide methods to assist States, industry, and academia with nondestructive evaluation needs. Also, the vision and roadmap should include the ways and means to reach out to other industries to develop nondestructive evaluation tools for use on structural components, materials, and systems, while fulfilling the missions of FHWA and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Technologies should address critical conditions and weaknesses in infrastructure that diminish the capacity of the transportation system and increase the risk of failure of bridges, pavements, and other structures that could decrease safety and mobility. The program should develop solutions, demonstrate their effectiveness, and partner with stakeholders to ensure proper training is available to implement them effectively.

This fact sheet features a list of 14 pressing needs for U.S. highway infrastructure. It is available to download at www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/infrastructure/pavements/13056. Printed copies are available from the PDC.

Tomorrow’s Transportation Market--Developing an Innovative, Seamless Transportation System (Fact Sheet)

Publication No. FHWA-HRT-13-058

Cover of the fact sheet, Tomorrow’s Transportation Market: Developing an Innovative, Seamless Transportation System.

Centralized transit systems and private vehicles make limited use of available and emerging real-time data to enhance overall capacity of the transportation system. The development of a decentralized system to supply transportation services to meet demands could provide an alternative solution that improves the efficiency of both transit and private vehicles.

This fact sheet discusses FHWA’s EAR Program project, Engineering Tomorrow’s Transportation Market, currently underway through a contract with the University of Southern California. The project aims to leverage emerging technologies that could advance a new type of decentralized transportation system to help meet U.S. congestion challenges.

Researchers believe an integrated system would place a value on idle and unused transportation resources and facilitate resource allocation in real time in response to shifting demand. A decentralized transportation system, or transportation market, could radically transform transportation systems by using resources more efficiently. Specifically, a transportation market could reduce congestion and pollution by increasing the average number of passengers per vehicle, make more transportation options available to consumers, and increase the number of transportation providers by facilitating entrance into the marketplace.

The system uses several emerging information technologies and focuses on growing information infrastructure and ITS development. Market providers, who could be public agencies or private vendors, will use the real-time information to dynamically price transportation options that form the basis of the market. As infrastructure and vehicles become equipped with more sensors, interconnected data systems, and onboard computers, a wealth of real-time data about traffic conditions will become available.

Researchers are developing a simulator with modules that replicate the transportation market and can model a future transportation system based on the market. Software will be open access so that other researchers and companies can use it as a basis for their own work and eventually for commercialization. FHWA is conducting several outreach activities, including conference participation and an invitational workshop with leaders in the field of dynamic ridesharing.

This document is available to download at www.fhwa.dot.gov/advancedresearch/pubs/13058/index.cfm. Printed copies are available from the PDC.

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