U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

Research & Technology Transporter
This newsletter is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
Research & Technology Transporter Home | Current Issue | Past Issues | Search Research & Technology Transporter
Publication Number:  N/A    Date:  October 1996
Publication Date: October 1996


Table of Contents








Federico F. Peña
U.S. Department of Transportation
Rodney E. Slater
Federal Highway Administration
Jane F. Garvey
Deputy Administrator,
Federal Highway Administration

Bud Wright--Safety
Stan Gordon--Structures
Jim Scapellato--Motor Carriers
Paul Teng--Pavements
Gary Euler--ITS
Bob Ford--International
Barna Juhasz--Policy, Planning, Environment,
Information Management & Right-of-Way

Anne Barsanti, Managing Editor
Jon Schans, Editor
Zac Ellis, Editor



FHWA Bridge Engineers Help Russia Rehabilitate its Bridges

During the last two years, bridge engineers from FHWA Regions 5, 7, and 10 have made five visits to Russia to help develop a Russian bridge rehabilitation program. This 4-year, $460 million program will be funded by a loan from the World Bank. It will include repair and reconstruction of 210 bridges on Russia's main highways, connecting Moscow to Europe and the Far East, and construction of three new bridges for two major interchanges near Moscow. FHWA bridge engineers inspected some of the worst bridges that clearly demonstrated the need for the program and helped to justify World Bank approval of the loan. Other visits focused on developing an evaluation method to cost-effectively select bridges for rehabilitation. In addition, the engineers introduced their Russian counterparts to state-of-the-art repair methods that will increase the durability of existing Russian bridges.

FHWA Region 5 Structural Engineer Steve Toillion (far left) conducts a joint inspection

FHWA Region 5 Structural Engineer Steve Toillion (far left) conducts a joint inspection near Tver, Russia, with local agency (Oblast) bridge engineers.

Detailed reports have been prepared that document the current condition of Russian federal and local bridges and their bridge standards. The detailed automated method of selecting bridges for widening and rehabilitation, based on the internal rate of return considering all capital and user costs over a period of 20 years, has been well documented. This method will be discussed during a major bridge rehabilitation conference to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, later this year.

The project includes training in competitive bidding, contract administration, bridge maintenance, and bridge management; procurement of modern maintenance and repair equipment for Russian bridge maintenance agencies; and enhancement of the Russian Bridge Management System (BMS). FHWA provided information on new technologies, modern equipment for both testing and repair, and details of several BMS programs currently operating in the United States. Bill Forrester, FHWA's Region 7 Structural Engineer, will spend several weeks in Russia this fall to assist in translating and adapting existing NHI bridge training courses to Russian conditions. The courses will be for Russian federal and local agency bridge engineers and are expected to be presented by Russian engineers. The first bridge construction contracts using competitive bidding were advertised earlier this summer. Most of the prequalified bidders are joint venture Russian-Western firms. Construction inspection will be handled by consultants.

-- Donald Symmes (202) 366-9627


Bridge Expert Jim Cooper Addresses International Audience in Spain

FHWA's Jim Cooper, who is Chief of the Structures Division in the Office of Engineering R&D, was invited to give the keynote address at the U.S.-European Workshop on Bridge Engineering held in July 1996 in Barcelona, Spain. His presentation on High Performance Materials: A Step Towards Sustainable Transportation was well received by the international audience. He focused on the advances made in the development and deployment of high performance concrete, which is concrete that is not only higher strength but also higher durability; high performance steel, which is steel that is stronger, more corrosion resistant, and more tolerant to welding procedures; and advanced composites, which promise longer lasting maintenance-free construction.

Workshop participants visited the medieval village of Besalu, north of Barcelona

Workshop participants visited the medieval village of Besalu, north of Barcelona, where they inspected a beautiful stone arch bridge that dates to the 11th century.

The objectives of this National Science Foundation-sponsored workshop were to review and assemble the most recent bridge engineering advances in North America and Europe and identify future lines of U.S.-European communication, cooperation, and collaborative research projects. The workshop provided an outstanding snapshot in time of important ongoing work in Europe. Further, it reinforced the direction of FHWA's structures program of assessing the physical condition of a bridge with advanced inspection technologies and fixing the problems using higher performing materials.

-- Jim Cooper (202) 493-3023





Environmental Research Needs Conference Planned

An Environmental Research Needs Conference will be held from November 14-16, 1996 at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in Washington, DC. The conference is being jointly sponsored by TRB, FHWA, and the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE). Its aim is to identify and establish national priorities for environmental research in transportation for the next several years. A similar conference, held in Denver in 1991, was very successful in identifying a baseline of strategic research needs for developing solutions to environmental problems in all modes of transportation. The conference this year will use and expand upon the earlier baseline. It will reach out beyond the TRB committees for ideas on future environmental research.


Wetlands will be one of the research issues addressed at the conference

An integral part of the conference is the development of draft research needs statements that have been solicited from researchers and practitioners from all over the country. These statements will cover 12 topic areas that will address issues related to wetlands, wildlife, and ecosystems; social and economic impacts and environmental justice; cultural resources; air quality, water quality, and hydrology; noise, aesthetics, and visual quality; and hazardous wastes. Submittal of 400 research needs statements are expected and will form the starting point for panel discussions at the conference.

A diverse cross-section of participants will be attending the conference. Representatives are expected from Federal, State, local, and regional governmental agencies; private non-profit organizations; universities; research centers; and consulting firms. Conference proceedings will be published and will synthesize all the output from the sessions to include break-out session reports, research needs statements, and topic area papers. The output from this conference will assist FHWA in developing a 5-year strategic environmental research program. The conference proceedings will be shared with State transportation agencies, environmental research groups, universities, and other partners. The purpose of sharing the proceedings is to encourage more environmental research and more effective partnerships in conducting the research.

-- Eleanora Babij (202) 366-9196 and Bruce Eberle (202) 366-2060





Advanced Technologies Explored to Assist Law Enforcement in Collecting Accident Data

Improved collection of traffic accident data will lead to improved safety on the roads by giving transportation planners better information. That is the idea behind ALERT (Advanced Law Enforcement Response Technology), a computer-based system to help police officers collect complete, standardized information at accident sites while ensuring a greater margin of safety for the officers. The Office of Technology Applications (OTA) in partnership with NHTSA, Texas DOT, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Transportation Institute, and the College Station Police Department, is field testing the ALERT system as part of OTA test and evaluation project 37.

Officer uses a hand-held computer to complete an accident report

Officer uses a hand-held computer to complete an accident report.

The ALERT architecture operates on a rugged, temperature-resistant host computer located in a vehicle's trunk. The host computer communicates to the officer's interfaces, which consist of a hand-held, pen-based computer and a touch-screen display to control the in-vehicle equipment. The hand-held computer includes accident report forms allowing electronic data entry at the accident scene. Errors resulting from illegible handwriting and repeated entry of data will be eliminated. Data will be more complete because the reports are much easier to fill out. A software editing feature helps pinpoint errors to the officer as data are entered. After the information is entered, it can be sent electronically to State records data bases or the officer's base station. Since data can be entered and transmitted more quickly, accessibility to records will improve. With better information, traffic engineers and public works officials can make better decisions when planning highway safety improvements.

The ALERT system's computer architecture enables integrated incorporation of global positioning systems, magnetic striping, advanced video systems, speed detection systems, and the use of stored digital imagery for accident scene documentation. The ALERT vehicle system will have the capability of being adapted to incident management vehicles, commercial vehicle enforcement, and basically any emergency vehicle used to relieve traffic congestion and enhance traffic safety. Once the system has been tested and evaluated during the field testing, it will be showcased throughout the country to emergency response, data collection, and transportation managers.

-- Dave Smith (202) 366-6614





Heated Bridge Technology Working Group Meets in Texas

On July 15 and 16, 1996, the Heated Bridge Technologies (HBT) Technical Working Group (TWG) met at the Ambassador Hotel in Amarillo, Texas. The TWG members are George Romack (Chairperson), FHWA Office of Engineering; John Baldwin, West Virginia DOT; Milo Cress, FHWA Nebraska Division; David Minsk, consultant; Milton Pravda, Square M Associates; Mark Read, Texas DOT; Howard Jongedyk, FHWA Office of Engineering R&D; and Jerry Clemena, Virginia Transportation Research Council. Others attending were Peter Chang, FHWA Region 6; Tamer Ahmed, FHWA Texas Division; Merideth Mercer, Oregon DOT; Ed Hoppe, Virginia Transportation Research Council; Allen Tomlinson, Superior Graphite; and Barbara Murdock, Tonya, Inc.

TWG members inspect construction of the North 15th Avenue Bridge

TWG members inspect construction of the North 15th Avenue Bridge.

The meeting was held to discuss the evaluation plan for the HBT program and to review the status of eight HBT projects constructed or currently being constructed. The States participating in the program are Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The TWG members and other attendees also visited the twin bridge structure at North 15th Avenue in Amarillo where a Value Engineering ground heating system was being installed.

Chairperson George Romack welcomed the group and assisted Milton Pravda with a brief overview of the Informational Guide for Bridge Deck Heating Systems which was issued by the Bridge Division on June 26. The guide is intended to assist States interested in participating in the HBT program by providing information for specifying, designing, integrating, and operating heated bridge deck systems. Representatives from the participating States made presentations on their respective system covering the problems and successes encountered during the design, construction, and operation. For the three bridge sites that were operational last winter, the systems performed as anticipated and there was favorable feedback from the traveling public.

Workers install hydronic hoses in the North 15th Avenue Bridge.

Workers install hydronic hoses in the North 15th Avenue Bridge.

Along with the issuance of the informational guide, FHWA requested assistance in identifying viable FY 1997 candidates for the HBT program. This is the last year of the program which was initiated under Section 6005 of the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act.

-- George Romack (202) 366-4606


Soil Reinforcement Services Available Under DP82

OTA and the Office of Engineering recently announced Demonstration Project No. 82 (DP82), "Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes" (MSEW/RSS). The basic concept behind these related soil reinforcement methods is to combine soil, reinforcing materials made of steel or polymers, and an appropriate facing to produce a composite material with improved engineering properties. MSEW/RSS structures are cost-effective alternatives for most applications where reinforced concrete or gravity type retaining walls have been traditionally used to retain soil. These methods of earth fill construction are extremely cost-effective, aesthetically pleasing, and provide substantial construction time savings compared to other techniques. The purpose of DP82 is to optimize the implementation of MSEW/RSS technology in routine transportation design and construction practices.

Reinforced soil slope under construction.

Reinforced soil slope under construction.

The services available under DP82 include a 2 1/2-day workshop on design and construction, 1-day workshop on construction inspection and monitoring, technical assistance, design and analysis computer software, and field evaluations of unusual applications. Comprehensive design and construction guidelines for MSEW/RSS applications and a parallel document on the corrosion and degradation of reinforcement materials have been developed for DP82. Both publications were prepared with the benefit of extensive industry review and in close cooperation with AASHTO's Technical Committee on Substructures and Retaining Walls.

The project is tailored to meet the needs of local agencies. Any or all of the services available through the project may be requested. It is intended for structural, geotechnical, roadway design, and construction engineers and managers responsible for selecting, designing, and constructing earth retaining structures. Federal, State, and local transportation agencies may select the project's available services. The host transportation agencies are encouraged to invite consultant, industry, and academic representatives who work on public sector transportation projects.

-- Jerry A. DiMaggio (202) 366-1569





ROSAN on the Scene at Tire/Friction Workshop

In spring 1996 five representatives from the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) participated in the Third Annual Tire/Runway Friction Workshop at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Wallops Flight Facility. Attendees included Dennis Sixbey, Loren Staunton, and Greg Triplett from TFHRC's Special Projects and Engineering Division, and Jim Mekemson and Nicolas Gagarin who are on-site computer service contractors working at TFHRC. There were also representatives from a dozen foreign countries; Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); academia; aviation industry; manufacturers of friction, texture, and profile measuring equipment; tire manufacturers; and other interested observers.

ROSAN is a faster and easier way of measuring the surface macrotexture depth

ROSAN is a faster and easier way of measuring the surface macrotexture depth while eliminating operator influence.

The objectives of the workshop were to (1) discuss current operational practices, measurement techniques, and problems encountered in maintaining adequate tire/runway friction performance; (2) demonstrate, inspect, and observe new or improved texture and friction measuring equipment; (3) perform extensive field testing and data analysis to evaluate a variety of runway surface treatments for data accuracy and repeatability; (4) identify methods to improve the harmonization between different devices and test procedures used around the world; and (5) expand upon the correlation between tire friction and pavement texture measurements.

A manually performed sand patch test for measuring the macrotexture depth of pavement surfaces.

A manually performed sand patch test for measuring the macrotexture depth of pavement surfaces.

About 15 friction measuring vehicles, 10 texture measuring devices and tests, and 24 test surfaces were tested and evaluated. Data were collected on concrete and asphalt pavements, non-grooved and transversely grooved sections, micro-texture surfaces, and several special aluminum plate (low friction) surfaces. In addition, several shot peened (Skidabrader-treated) concrete sections were evaluated. FHWA collected macrotexture data with its different ROSANs (Road Surface Analyzer), performed numerous sand patch tests and outflow meter tests, and took profile measurements with its PRORUT II.

-- Dennis Sixbey (202) 493-3078





National Traffic Data Acquisition Conference Attracts Large Audience

Garry Maring addresses the opening session of the conference

Garry Maring addresses the opening session of the conference.

On May 6 to 9, 1996, the National Traffic Data Acquisition Conference (NTDAC) was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There were 400 attendees from 47 States and 10 countries at the conference which was sponsored by FHWA and the New Mexico DOT. The luncheon speakers were Christine Johnson, Director of FHWA's ITS Joint Program Office, and Tony Kane, Executive Director of FHWA. There were over 90 presentations in three general sessions and 9 concurrent sessions focusing on traffic data collection and analysis including congestion monitoring, weigh in motion, and traffic data analysis. The conference also included exhibits by 30 traffic monitoring equipment vendors.

-- Ralph Gillmann (202) 366-5042


FHWA Sponsors Conference on Designing Bridges for Extreme Events

FHWA requests your support and attendance at the Conference on the Design of Bridges for Extreme Events. The conference will be held from December 3 to 6 at the Inforum Theater in Atlanta, Georgia. A block of rooms has been reserved for conference participants at Federal Government per diem rates (currently $85 per night) at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Atlanta. The hotel is only a 3- to 5-minute stroll from the Inforum Theater, which is located next to the recently famous Centennial Park.


The speakers of the conference will present, evaluate, and recommend both current and future design methods for bridges subjected to such extreme events as vessel impact, seismic events, and flooding. It will be beneficial to structural, geotechnical, and hydraulic engineers. The invited speakers include 19 national experts from FHWA, State highway agencies, universities, and private industry. The conference will include an icebreaker reception and four technical sessions which are loading combinations for extreme events, vessel impact, current seismic design practice within the United States, and ground motion and soil dynamics.

Registration fees for FHWA employees will be waived per agency policy. For FHWA employees to register for the conference, please submit no later than November 1 your name and job function to Mr. Chien-Tan Chang by phone: (202) 366-6749, fax: (202) 366-7909, or E-mail: Chien-Tan.Chang@fhwa.dot.gov. For non-FHWA participants, significant discounts will apply to registration fees if you register before November 1. To register or obtain more information, contact Operator 551 at Technautics, Inc., by phone: (703) 671-5200, fax: (703) 671-8699, or E-mail: op551@technautics.com. Additional information is also available from the onference's Internet home page: http://www.technautics.com/conferences/atlanta.html.

-- Chien-Tan Chang (202) 366-6749 and Chris Dumas (410) 962-2464


Researchers Collaborate on TFHRC's Web Site

Researchers at TFHRC are accelerating down the information superhighway aboard TFHRC's recently expanded http://www.tfhrc.gov web site. Highway engineers worldwide can check out TFHRC laboratories' current projects in several research disciplines: human factors, ITS, pavements, safety, and structures. The web site's "What's New" section currently features project overviews of ITS Field Operational Tests, an annotated bibliography of articles on high performance concrete, human factors reports, and the latest issue of Public Roads magazine. TFHRC's site also offers many useful links to other transportation resources on the Internet. Soon to come will be a data base of steel bridge tests and access to data from the Long-Term Pavement Performance data base.

-- Dick Stirb





Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101