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A news update of research, technology, and development from the U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration
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FHWA R&T Now - July 2008

A news update of research, technology, and development from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

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  • Exploratory Advanced Research Federal Register Notice Seeks Interest, Comments-

    On July 8, the Federal Register included a notice about the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program announcing five EAR projects that will take place at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC). The notice is seeking to encourage interest in the work by organizations or individuals conducting related work or anticipating the results of such work and to solicit comments about the long-term impact of the work on future research, technical innovation, or transportation industry practices. The EAR Program anticipates holding one or more Web conferences to answer questions and encourage dialogue about the research. Interested parties are encouraged to provide comments to FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2008-0070.

    Contact:, 202-493-3414

  • EAR Program Contract-

    FHWA signed a contract with the Arizona State University for the 10th project selected under a 2007 Broad Agency Announcement for EAR projects. The project constitutes a comprehensive attempt to integrate the three dimensions of urban systems modeling of land use, activity-travel demand, and network modeling. It is a collaborative effort between Arizona State University; City of Phoenix; the University of Arizona, Tucson; and the University of Washington, Seattle; in cooperation with the Maricopa Association of Governments; Maricopa County Department of Transportation; and Pima Association of Governments. Awarded through a cooperative effort of FHWA’s Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management; Office of Planning; and Office of Acquisition Management, the project will be managed by the Office of Planning. For more information about the project, contact Brian Gardner,, 202-366-4061. For more information about the broad agency announcement for EAR projects, contact Terry Halkyard,, 202-493-3467.

  • FHWA Received 17 EAR Proposals-

    In response to a Broad Agency Announcement, FHWA’s Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management (HRTM) received 17 EAR proposals. The EAR proposals relate to systems operations and reducing congestion, pedestrian and driver safety, next generation solutions to build and maintain future highways, and predicting societal and complex natural systems. Multidisciplinary panels of experts are reviewing the proposals. HRTM anticipates the solicitation will result in five awards totaling approximately $4 million in Federal funds and up to $1million in matching funds.

    Contact:, 202-493-3414


  • Highways of the Future—A Strategic Plan for Highway Infrastructure R&D-

    The FHWA Office of Infrastructure R&D developed this strategic plan and roadmap to guide all aspects of the office's research and technology initiatives for the next 10 to 15 years. The strategic plan provides direction for future infrastructure research and a framework to support the reauthorization efforts in advance of the expiration of authority under SAFETEA-LU.

    Contact: John McCracken at


  • The FHWA Safety Compass Newsletter—June/July/August 2008 Issue-

    The Safety Compass Newsletter is a publication of the FHWA Safety Program. This issue includes: Improving Motorcycle Travel Data; National Roadway Safety Award Winners; Georgia Click It Or Ticket; Maryland Median Barrier Analysis; Arizona Tribal Safety Summit; Child Transportation Safety; Resources, Tools and Technology Deployment; and an Events/Meeting Calendar.

    Contact: Lincoln Cobb at

  • Report: Minimum Retroreflectivity Levels for Blue and Brown Traffic Signs-

    In 2003, FHWA published research recommendations for minimum maintained retroreflectivity (MR) levels for traffic signs. The recommendations included most sign types but not white-on-blue signs or white-on-brown signs. In addition, the 2003 recommendations maintained that retroreflectivity levels were based on conditions representing dark rural environments. This report describes the research activities and consequent findings related to the development of recommendations for MR levels for white-on-blue signs and white-on-brown signs. This report also includes an investigation related to MR levels needed for complex visual conditions that include glare from oncoming headlamps and fixed roadway lighting.

    Contact: Carl Andersen at

  • Surrogate Safety Assessment Model (SSAM), Software User Manual-

    This software user manual for the Surrogate Safety Assessment Model (SSAM) provides guidance on the installation and use of the software, which is designed to perform surrogate safety analysis of a traffic facility, such as a signalized intersection.

    Contact: Joe Bared at

  • TechBrief: Surrogate Safety Assessment Model (SSAM)-

    This TechBrief summarizes the R&D of the Surrogate Safety Assessment Model (SSAM), a technique combining microsimulation and automated conflict analysis, which analyzes the frequency and character of narrowly averted vehicle-to-vehicle collisions in traffic, to assess the safety of traffic facilities without waiting for a statistically above-normal number of crashes and injuries to actually occur.

    Contact: Joe Bared at

  • Evaluations of Low Cost Safety Improvements Pooled Fund Study-

    This ongoing, multiphase, pooled-fund study is evaluating a number of safety improvement strategies, which were deployed in the field, but which lack reliable measures of their safety effectiveness. The results of four new evaluations are now available: Safety Evaluation of Flashing Beacons at Stop-Controlled Intersections, FHWA-HRT-08-048, April 2008; Safety Evaluation of Increasing Retroreflectivity of STOP Signs, FHWA-HRT-08-047, March 2008; Safety Evaluation of STOP AHEAD Pavement Markings, FHWA-HRT-08-045, March 2008; Safety Evaluation of Center Two-Way Left-Turn Lanes on Two-Lane Roads, FHWA-HRT-08-046, March 2008. TechBriefs and the full reports are available at:


  • Long-Term Pavement Performance Newsletter, Spring 2008-

    This issue includes: Forensic Evaluations of the LTPP Test Sites; Distress Viewer and Analyzer Online; In Brief: FHWA Sponsors Weigh-In-Motion (WIM) Workshops; and, New LTPP Publications.


  • Call for Fiscal Year 2010 International Scan Proposals-

    The Office of International Programs currently is accepting proposals for the fiscal year (FY) 2010 cycle of the International Technology Scanning Program (ITSP), which is carried out by FHWA in cooperation with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). The deadline for submitting scan proposals is September 30, 2008.

Please note that the scan proposal process will now be conducted online through the Office of International Programs’ Web site. The Web site includes instructions for submitting scan proposals, an online scan proposal form, a summary of scan selection criteria, and other relevant information on the ITSP.

Contact: Hana Maier at or 202-366-6003


  • FOCUS Newsletter - June 2008-

    This issue includes: extending the life of roads and bridges in Louisiana, FHWA's soil nail showcase, the Little Book of Quieter Pavements, FHWA regional conference showcase on asset management around the country, and the highway technology calendar.

    Contact: Lisa Pope at

  • FOCUS Newsletter - May 2008-

    This issue includes: National Work Zone Awareness Week 2008: slow for the cone zone; rolling wheel deflectometer: a high-speed deflection device to improve asset management; advancing the future of long-term bridge performance; in brief; new course introduces strategies for achieving more effective pavement management programs; and the highway technology calendar.

    Contact: Lisa Pope at

  • Public Roads - May/June 2008-

    This issue includes: 1) EAR: A Journey Toward New Solutions: Breakthrough opportunities receive Federal funding to address long-term transportation challenges; 2) Making Signal Systems Work for Cyclists: A recent FHWA study of inductive loop sensors focused on whether they adequately detect motorcycles and bicycles; 3) Making the Case for Freight Investments: A new model to capture the additive costs and benefits could help prioritize highway improvement projects; 4) Focusing on Pedestrian Safety: Researchers in Arizona are trying to pinpoint when, where, and why pedestrians are killed on U.S. roadways; and 5) History Lessons From the National Bridge Inventory: Analyzing data from the NBI can help predict how bridge decks will perform.

    Contact: Dawn Vanlandingham at


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