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FHWA Home / OIPD / Accelerating Innovation / Every Day Counts / EDC-4 Innovations

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EDC-4 Innovations

Highway agencies typically retime traffic signals on a 3- to 5-year cycle, and for the majority of these efforts, effectiveness is measured by comparing a limited amount of before and after travel-time data. Where there is no ongoing performance measurement capability, agencies must often rely on citizen complaints to detect maintenance or operational deficiencies. This lack of data compromises safety and efficiency and contributes to congestion. ATSPMs are transforming these signal timing and operations practices by adding high-resolution data-logging capability to existing traffic signal infrastructure and data analysis techniques. This cost-effective technology provides agencies with the information needed to manage signal performance proactively to support safety and mobility goals.

For more information: https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/arterial_mgmt/performance_measures.htm

Current modeling tools used for hydraulic design apply several simplifying assumptions that can lead to overly conservative, inadequate, or inaccurate results that are insufficient to support today’s analysis requirements. The next generation of hydraulic engineering tools, particularly two-dimensional (2D) modeling and graphical visualization features, provides planners and designers with data they can use to improve project quality. These tools represent a significant evolution in hydraulic modeling theory and practice, with potential for streamlining environmental, regulatory, engineering, and other aspects of project delivery. Their use can improve the ability of highway agencies to design safer, more cost-effective, more resilient structures on waterways.

For more information: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/engineering/hydraulics/

Transportation can play an important role in supporting community development and revitalization. Using performance-based design approaches can help agencies develop highway retrofitting, rehabilitation, or removal options for turning aging infrastructure into opportunities for improving community connectivity and cohesion. These strategies include visualization tools, scenario planning techniques, public involvement techniques, context-sensitive solutions, and design and construction processes. Agencies can use the innovations, partnerships, and technologies highlighted in the Community Connections Toolbox to ensure all users have access to safe, reliable, affordable, and multimodal transportation networks.

For more information: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/community_connections/

Advances in highway safety analysis can provide transportation agencies with the reliable information they need to make effective investments in safety improvements. DDSA focuses on using predictive and systemic safety analyses to better target highway safety investments to reduce crashes and fatalities. Predictive approaches combine crash, roadway inventory, and traffic volume data to provide more reliable estimates of an existing or proposed road’s expected safety performance. The results inform roadway safety management and project development decision-making, as well as safety countermeasure selection and evaluation. Systemic approaches target high-risk roadway features associated with particular severe crash types. Comprehensive safety management programs can incorporate a systemic approach to complement traditional high crash location-oriented approaches.

For more information: https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/rsdp/ddsa.aspx

The administration of highway projects requires a significant amount of documentation. This has traditionally been accomplished through extensive, paper-based systems involving conventional postal delivery, project journals, note taking, stamped plan sets, design and construction submittals, and physical signatures on multiple copies of many documents. These paper-based documentation systems require significant time and money to create, process, and store. e-Construction, an electronic project document management system, decreases printing and document storage costs and reduces communication delays and transmittal time.

Construction partnering is a project management practice in which transportation agencies, contractors, and other stakeholders create a team relationship based on mutual trust and enhanced communication. e-Construction technologies can enhance these partnerships by improving communication and workflows while streamlining project delivery through faster approvals, increased accuracy, better document tracking, and heightened transparency.

For more information: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/econstruction/

Integrating National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and permitting processes allows various environmental reviews and permitting procedures required for Federal-Aid Highway Program projects to be performed simultaneously rather than sequentially. The resulting synchronization provides for more effective and efficient regulatory reviews, which can save time and reduce costs for involved agencies and improve environmental outcomes. Tools to help agencies integrate NEPA and permitting include the 2015 Red Book, which provides a guide for synchronizing environmental reviews, and FHWA’s eNEPA, an online collaboration tool that supports timely and consistent coordination among agencies to complete permitting processes. Programmatic agreements, NEPA/Clean Water Act Section 404 mergers, and innovative approaches to wetland mitigation, such as leasing federally owned lands, can also support integration of NEPA and permitting.

For more information: https://www.environment.fhwa.dot.gov/default.aspx

Applying a pavement preservation treatment at the right time (when), on the right project (where), with quality materials and construction (how) is a critical investment strategy for optimizing infrastructure performance. The “when and where” component supports preservation by managing pavements proactively. Whole-life planning defines expectations for the long term and provides more stability to the cost of operation and maintenance. Identifying preservation strategies at the network level reduces the need for frequent or unplanned reconstruction. The “how” component promotes quality construction and materials practices, including treatment options that apply to flexible and rigid pavements. These practices contribute to improved pavement performance, providing smoother, safer roads and delaying the need for rehabilitation.

For more information: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pavement/preservation/

Integrating Mobile Observations (IMO) and Pathfinder are two distinct road weather management solutions that can help State and local agencies manage the surface transportation system ahead of, during, and after adverse road weather conditions. IMO is a cost-effective way to gather information on weather and road conditions using existing fleet vehicles that can then be integrated into decision support systems. Vehicle-based technologies provide agencies with data to manage transportation systems before the impacts of adverse weather occur. The Pathfinder process enables transportation departments, the National Weather Service, and private weather service providers to collaborate on clear, consistent road weather messaging for the public. It provides the foundation for coordination across agencies to develop cohesive weather impact information, helping drivers make informed travel decisions.

For more information: https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/

The majority of pedestrian roadway fatalities occur at uncontrolled crossing locations (such as midblock areas). The following countermeasures have known safety benefits for reducing those crash types:

  • Crosswalk visibility enhancements, such as crosswalk lighting and enhanced signing and marking, help drivers detect pedestrians.
  • Raised crosswalks are a traffic calming technique that can reduce vehicle speeds and encourage drivers to yield to pedestrians.
  • Pedestrian refuge islands provide a safer place for pedestrians to stop at the midpoint of the road before crossing the remaining distance.
  • Pedestrian hybrid beacons provide pedestrian-activated stop control in areas where pedestrian volumes are not high enough to warrant a traffic signal.
  • Road Diets reconfigure a roadway cross-section to accommodate all users safely.

For more information: https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/step/

Prefabricated bridge elements are structural components of a bridge that are built offsite then brought, ready to erect, to the project location. Prefabricated bridge elements not only shorten onsite construction time–minimizing traffic impacts and increasing traveler and worker safety–but can also offer superior durability. The durability of prefabricated spans, and how quickly they can be constructed, relies on the connections between the elements. Field-cast UHPC has emerged as a solution for creating connections between prefabricated concrete components with more robust long-term performance than conventional PBE connection designs.

UHPC is a steel fiber-reinforced, portland cement-based, advanced composite material that delivers performance far exceeding conventional concrete, which allows the behavior of the joined prefabricated components to surpass that of conventional construction. UHPC allows for small, simple-to-construct connections that require less volume of field-cast concrete and do not require post-tensioning. The mechanical properties of UHPC also allow for redesign of common connection details in ways that promote both ease and speed of construction. This makes using prefabricated bridge elements simpler and more effective.

For more information: https://highways.dot.gov/bridges-and-structure/ultra-high-performance-concrete/ultra-high-performance-concrete

Traffic incidents put travelers’ and emergency responders’ lives at risk and cause congestion that can lead to secondary crashes. Traffic incident management (TIM) programs plan for and coordinate response among agencies to improve safety and reduce incident duration and the congestion impact. Low-cost, often off-the-shelf, technologies can be used to collect data that helps agencies enhance TIM programs. FHWA encourages agencies to initially adopt three key national TIM performance measures: roadway clearance time, incident clearance time, and number of secondary crashes. With better data and analytics, agencies can quantify program performance, demonstrate program effectiveness, and improve TIM planning and resource management.

For more information: https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/eto_tim_pse/about/tim.htm

Page last modified on April 14, 2023
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