|Research & Technology
Communicating Federal Highway Administration research, developments, and technologies.
|This newsletter ended with the September 2006 issue and is an archived publication. It may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.|
|Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Transporter > June 1996|
The Research & Technology Transporter was a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) research and technology publication issued under FHWA's Research and Technology Program. The 8-page newsletter transmitted research and technology-based developments from FHWA program offices to engineers in the field and professionals in the industry. Publication of the Research & Technology Transporter ended with the September 2006 issue.
Last Updated: 7/17/96
TxDOT Takes the Lead with HPC
Close to 200 U.S. transportation experts came to Houston March 25-27, 1996, to see and hear the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) tell their story on high-performance concrete (HPC) at the HPC Showcase.
The event was hosted by TxDOT because they are the first State to construct an all-HPC bridge. While TxDOT takes the lead with their Louetta Road overpass and San Angelo bridge projects, Nebraska and New Hampshire are close behind, each of them in the construction phase. Virginia and the two newest States to join--Ohio and Colorado--are in the design phase.
At the showcase, representatives from Nebraska, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Texas (those with HPC projects as of February) related their experiences with HPC. Presenters included professors from the universities who do the HPC research, researchers from the State DOT's who design the bridges, and the precast fabricators and construction contractors who build the bridges. The Federal Highway Administration, the catalyst for the State projects, was also a major presenter at the event and assisted TxDOT and the University of Texas at Austin in producing the showcase.
Representatives from sixteen other States who are considering their own HPC projects attended this event along with a representative from Concrete Canada.
The 3-day event culminated in a tour of the Louetta Road overpass site, located on State Highway 249. En route to that site, an additional stop was made along S.H. 249 to view Texas's newly developed U-beams. While the Louetta Road and San Angelo projects both require the use of HPC in the superstructure and substructure, only Louetta Road uses the U-beams, while San Angelo uses the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Type IV beams. Beam strengths for the projects range up to 101 MPa for San Angelo and up to 90 MPa for Louetta Road. Durability was enhanced for both projects.
The Federal role in the HPC projects has been to provide technical assistance and co-funding to the individual States. States interested in information on HPC or the Texas projects should contact: Susan N. Lane or Terry D. Halkyard at FHWA, or Mary Lou Ralls (512) 416-2249 at TxDOT.
-- Sue Lane
New LRFD Course for Highway Bridges Developed
In 1993, the AASHTO adopted a new Design Specification entitled "The AASHTO Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) Bridge Design Specifications" as an equal to the long-standing Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges. Since that time, progress has been made toward the eventual acceptance of the LRFD Specification as the primary design specification and eventual archiving of the Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges.
The FHWA recognized the need for training in the background and use of this new specification. Under the direction of the National Highway Institute (NHI), a 4-1/2 day course was prepared and is currently being offered to provide a complete review of the new design specification, including background and philosophy of specification development, development of the new live load model, examples of applying live load model to multi-span bridges, and superstructure and substructure design. This course will also present detailed design examples for live load distribution factors, a prestressed concrete beam, a railing test specimen, a steel composite girder and a concrete box culvert. Through the spring of 1996, this course has been taught 18 times in the classroom setting and twice through televised distance learning. Students receive a two-volume workbook that contains not only the information presented during the lectures, but additional background and explanatory information for future reference.
The course is presented by a team of lecturers selected from a cadre of instructors who were intimately involved with the development of the LRFD Bridge Design Specifications. The instructors are able to bring important personal, theoretical, and practical design-oriented experience into the classroom. The LRFD course will be of value to design professionals responsible for the development of designs using the new specification, as well as supervisors who may be required to evaluate those designs or help to guide and instruct professionals in implementation of the specification. Courses may be scheduled by calling Lynn Cadaar at (703) 235-0528 and requesting course number 13061. Students who complete the course receive an NHI diploma and three continuing education units.
-- Vasant C. Mistry (202) 366-4599
FHWA Represented at CAR's Annual Symposium
On April 16 and 17, Jim Sorenson of FHWA's Pavement Division participated in the 4th Annual Symposium and technical committee meetings conducted by the Center for Aggregate Research (CAR). The meeting, held in Atlanta, was attended by over 250 contractors, industry representatives, transportation researchers, and State highway agency personnel. Sorenson presented a paper titled, "Critical Issues in Recycling and the Use of RAP (Recycled Asphalt Pavement)." The paper was well received and the topic generated good discussion from the audience.
This presentation was based on the recently published technology assessment project report, Pavement Recycling Executive Summary and Report, publication FHWA-SA-95-060, currently being transmitted to the field. The technology report was furnished to all participants. Partnering with CAR and their research interests promises to be an area of industry interest and one that shows merit for FHWA.
-- James Sorenson (202) 366-1333
Maryland Steel Bridge Wins in Regional Competition
A steel bridge developed in FHWA's Structures Laboratory by the University of Maryland Steel Bridge Team took first place in every category at this year's Maryland-District of Columbia Regional Steel Bridge Building Competition. The competition is sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction and co-sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Iron and Steel Institute, and the James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation. This inter-collegiate challenge requires Civil Engineering students to design, fabricate, and construct a steel bridge to meet specific requirements and restrictions on the size of the members and dimensions of the structure. In this year's competition, the bridges must span 5.5 m, and must pass a lateral load test of 45 kg with a maximum deflection of 2.5 cm, and a dead load test of 1134 kg with a maximum deflection of 5 cm. The bridges are judged on the categories of time of assembly, weight, deflection at the third points of the span, and aesthetics.
The University of Maryland team was able to sweep the region with an assembly time of only 18 minutes (3 minutes X 6 builders), a bridge weight of only 40 kg, a maximum deflection at the third points of only .16 cm, and the best looking bridge. Howard University took a distant second place with a time of about an hour, a weight well over 45 kg, and a deflection of 3.2 cm. John Hopkins and George Washington University's bridges, the other two competitors, were disqualified in the lateral load test.
Maryland's bridge was the result of the dedicated effort of a group of engineering students who spent 5 months brainstorming, designing, analyzing, procuring funding and materials, and manufacturing the structure. The deck consists of 2.5X2.5 cm square tubing of 0.16 cm wall thickness. The top chords are made of 3.3 cm diameter round tubing of the same thickness, and it supports the deck with 0.64 cm diameter tension rods. Students performed all manufacturing except for the welding. The team is now preparing for the national competition in Buffalo at the end of May, with the participation of most of the country's regional winners and second place teams, which makes it an extremely competitive event.
Initial test fabrication and loading of the bridge was performed at the Structures Lab of the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center where team member Juan Lemus works and studies. Lemus and the entire Maryland Bridge Team give special thanks to FHWA researchers Lloyd Cayes and Bill Wright for their support in this effort, Tim Tuggle and Matt Gaillardetz for their help in loading the bridge, and specially to Nat Jansen for his invaluable input.
SPA Being Tested in Florida
The Office of Technology Applications (OTA) has issued two work orders, one to TxDOT and the other to Florida DOT to test and evaluate the Seismic Pavement Analyzer (SPA). The SPA was developed in 1992 by the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), a historically black university, under a Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) contract. During its initial testing the SPA showed promise in identifying distress precursors in pavements at their early stages of deterioration. Knowing the earliest point at which pavements begin to significantly deteriorate gives maintenance engineers an opportunity to preform preventive maintenance to extend the life of the pavement. Preventive maintenance is much cheaper than repairing pavement after it visibly shows distress.
In early 1995 the Florida DOT indicated an interest in the test and evaluation of the SPA for possible use in the management of its pavements. Florida A&M University (FAMU/FSU), another historically black university, was selected to take the lead on the tests.
This test and evaluation procedure is an excellent opportunity for FHWA to work with two of America's historically black universities. The tests are expected to be conducted sometime this summer and the final report prepared for distribution in the late fall. Currently the SPA is undergoing some minor modifications and rehabilitation at the UTEP in preparation for transportation to FAMU.
-- George E. Jones (202) 366-1338
Surface Transportation Trade Promoted In Roundtable
Export promotion and international trade are important to the United States. Several, if not all, of FHWA's offices have been involved in international trade promotion activities. However, FHWA has been involved in these primarily on an ad hoc basis. Now FHWA has decided to create a programmatic approach to trade promotion activities by looking at what has already been done and by giving consideration to what could or should be done. With this in mind, the FHWA International Coordination Group created a Trade Promotion Task Force to develop an action plan by December 1995. One recommendation of the Task Force was for FHWA to reach out to the private sector to find out what they thought the FHWA role should be. Hence FHWA, along with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA), hosted a Surface Transportation Trade Promotion Roundtable on April 4, 1996.
Deputy Secretary Downey opened the meeting with a strong call for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to be engaged in trade promotion. He paid tribute to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Brown and underlined the need to build on his leadership of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Council (established by Congress in 1992).
FHWA Deputy Administrator Garvey, FTA Administrator Linton, and FRA Administrator Molitoris presented overviews of each agency's trade promotion-related activities and indicated a commitment to doing more based on industry's input.
The attendees participated in breakout groups that dealt with the following aspects of DOT's role and activities to support U.S. industry abroad: Priorities for Countries, Technologies or Customers; Informing the Domestic Community; Informing the International Community; Multi-Lateral Initiatives; Funding Issues and Opportunities; and Standards and Compliance Testing. All breakout groups also discussed developing partnerships.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association committed to continue discussions with a small group from the Roundtable and provide a report to DOT. Also, the individual DOT modes expressed an earnest commitment to continue the dialogue with the private sector in order to hone the list of possible actions and establish short and long-term priorities.
-- Pat Hasson (202) 366-9163
Simulator Supports Study of ATMS-ATIS Interaction
Researchers are now able to study how Traffic Management Center (TMC) operators and roadway travelers will interact in the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) era. Funded by FHWA in a project titled "Human Factors in Advanced Traffic Management Systems (ATMS) Evolution," a simulator was developed to study human factors issues in the design of TMC's for ATMS. A second phase of development added work stations at which volunteer research subjects can act as drivers and view traffic conditions as though they were driving along selected corridors in Atlanta. As they travel along the designated routes, they can get information about traffic conditions from variable message signs (VMS), Highway Advisory Radio (HAR), commercial radio traffic reports, and from their own in-vehicle Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS) display. At key points, they must decide whether to divert to an alternate route.
Meanwhile, in a nearby room, other volunteer research subjects trained as TMC operators are busy verifying incident reports, requesting services for incidents, and getting information out to travelers about traffic conditions. Their goals are to find incidents quickly, get them serviced and cleared quickly, and manage traffic problems created by these incidents. One of their sources of information about incidents and traffic conditions is the simulated cellular phone calls placed by the drivers in the other room. The traffic conditions simulated for the TMC operator and for the drivers are identical, controlled by the same traffic model which is at the heart of the simulation.
The diversion decisions made by the drivers on any one route are used as input to the diversion fractions used in the traffic model, and in turn, the traffic conditions seen by TMC operators. This feature allows researchers to study system-level human factors questions by putting both drivers and TMC operators "in the loop" at the same time.
The first set of experiments being conducted in the expanded simulator is examining the effectiveness of different configurations of ATMS information sources to drivers. One experiment will compare the effectiveness of a few VMS's (mostly at major freeway interchanges) versus many VMS's. A larger number of VMS's gives more options for getting information to drivers -- but also creates more workload (and more opportunity for errors) for the TMC operator. Another study will compare the effectiveness of a wide-area HAR versus a network of localized HAR transmitters. Also, in each of these conditions, the impact of real-time traffic information obtained from the ATIS display will be studied.
-- Nazy Sobhi
Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Types of the Early 1990's
Each year, pedestrians and bicyclists together comprise more than 14 percent of all highway fatalities. Forty to 50 percent of traffic fatalities in some large urban areas are pedestrians. The 1994 General Estimates System (GES) data indicate that 90,000 pedestrians and 60,000 bicyclists were injured in this type of crash. Many more injuries are not reported. An early 1990 study showed that fewer than two-thirds of the bicycle-motor vehicle crashes serious enough to require emergency room treatment were reported on State motor vehicle crash files.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed a system of "typing" pedestrian and bicycle crashes. Each crash type is characterized by a specific sequence of events. Precipitating actions, predisposing factors, populations, and locations can be targeted for intervention.
Examples of pedestrian-motor vehicle crash types include:
Examples of bicycle-motor vehicle crash types include:
FHWA has published the results of a study on these pedestrian and bicycle crash types as Publication No. FHWA-RD-95-163 Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Types of the Early 1990's. The study's specific aims are to apply the basic NHTSA pedestrian and bicyclist crash typologies to a sample of recent crashes and refine and update the crash type distributions with particular attention to roadway and location factors. A sample of 5,000 pedestrian- and 3,000 bicycle-motor vehicle crashes was drawn from five States: California, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Utah.
Two informational guides -- one regarding bicycle crashes, the other pedestrian crashes -- are being developed in conjunction with this final report and will be available at a later date.
-- Carol Tan Esse
NCAC Announces Opening of Web Site
On January 10, 1996, the FHWA/NHTSA National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC) announced the opening of its World Wide Web site on the Internet. The site at http://wwwcf.fhwa.dot.gov/exit.cfm?link=http://www.ncac.gwu.edu/, hosts a rapidly growing collection of information relating to vehicle safety, and showcases many advanced Internet technologies. In its first month of operation, the site was visited over 1,500 times by users around the world.
The web page provides access to archives of information maintained by the NCAC. The animation archive contains a comprehensive collection of animated computer simulations performed by the NCAC which can be downloaded and played back on most PC's. The NCAC Film Library is also online, with a sophisticated search engine which allows users to find and order crash test films and reports. The site includes an archive of computer finite element models of vehicles, roadside hardware, and interior components. By placing text and graphics descriptions alongside the actual finite element models, users can easily select models appropriate for their application. For users of high-end PC's or graphics workstations, the site even includes versions of the models which can be viewed using 3-D web browsers implementing a technology known as Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML). This allows researchers to interactively inspect available finite element models in 3-D.
Further additions to the NCAC web page, including more information on ongoing research activities, an expanded collection of papers and publications, and a more sophisticated interface to information in the film library, are planned for the upcoming months. More information on the NCAC web page can be obtained by sending E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply by connecting to the web page.
-- Leonard Meczkowski
High Performance Concrete Showcase Seminars Conducted in India
Over the last few years, FHWA has been making the SHRP results and products available to the national and international public and private sectors, including High Performance Concrete (HPC) technologies. In 1995, OTA received a request from the Indian Concrete Institute and the Indian Cement Manufacturers Association to share HPC technologies.
To respond, FHWA organized an HPC Team to share technical information and explore future private and public partnerships in India. The team members were Leet Denton, President of Denton Construction Company; Sam Haleba, W.R. Grace; Charles Goodspeed, University of New Hampshire; Paul St. John, New York State DOT; John Hallin, FHWA's Office of Engineering; and Suneel Vanikar, FHWA's Office of Technology Applications.
The U.S. Team visited India during February 1996 to offer the first international SHRP-HPC workshops in Delhi, Madras, Bombay, and Baroda. The workshops were organized and supported by the Indian Cement Manufacturers Association, the Central Road Research Institute, and the Indian Concrete Institute. The workshops were attended by more than 600 public and private sector engineers.
In conjunction with the workshops, the U.S. Team visited project sites and laboratories and held discussions with representatives of the Indian private and public sectors.
Results of the international workshops and other activities include preparations of an agreement of understanding between a U.S. contractor and an Indian Construction Company, the exploration by a major U.S. manufacturer of concrete admixtures for business opportunities in India, and the possibility of technology transfer activities between FHWA and the Government of India. A concise report providing details of the trip activities has been prepared.
-- Suneel Vanikar (202) 366-0120
Clements Moves On to Transportation Consulting
Amidst an outpouring of well-wishes, Associate Administrator for Research and Development John Clements resigned from FHWA effective April 12, 1996. Clements will be missed, but he will continue working as a private transportation consultant in Washington, D.C.
A farewell reception for him was attended by his many FHWA friends, including Associate Administrators Dennis C. Judycki, George S. Moore, Thomas J. Ptak, and Director of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office Christine M. Johnson. Tom Ptak presented Clements with the Administrator's Award for Public Service, and quoted a letter from Administrator Slater stating the "award certainly recognizes your service to FHWA, but even more, it recognizes your many years of public service to the transportation community."
Dr. Moges Ayele of the National Highway Institute and Greg Speier of the Pan American Institute of Highways presented Clements with a plaque for his dedicated service to the Pan American Institute of Highways.
In a parting E-mail message to R&D employees, Clements stated: "I'm particularly grateful for the strong support of the great crew here at Turner-Fairbank. Its been a privilege to serve with them over the past three years. I hope I've made a contribution as well."
We, at FHWA, all thank John for his distinguished public service contributions.
-- Bonny Falk
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