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Center for Accelerating Innovation

FHWA Home / OIPD / Accelerating Innovation / Every Day Counts / EDC-7 Innovations of Interest

Every Day Counts Call for Ideas. Identify proven, market-ready and underutilized innovations for accelerated deployment in EDC in 2021-2022. Deadline: January 21, 2020.

EDC-7 Innovations of Interest

  1. Accelerating the Deployment of Electric Vehicle, Alternative Fuel, and Renewable Energy Infrastructure

    Challenge:  One of the Administration’s priorities is to address the climate crisis by accelerating the deployment of electric vehicle (EV) and alternative fuel infrastructure.  State departments of transportation (DOTs) are increasingly exploring projects to construct infrastructure and renewable energy technologies

    Solution:  This initiative will provide case studies, peer exchanges, and workshops to support planning, designation, and construction of EV and alternative fuel infrastructure, including through alternative uses of the right-of-way.

    Benefits:   State DOTs will be able to assess strategic locations to install fueling and charging facilities, analyze funding needs, support coordination, and address barriers to installation

  2. Complete Streets - Safety Transformations

    Challenge:  Despite the national crisis in fatalities, opportunities to integrate safety elements for all road users are often missed during project development.  A disproportionate number of fatal and serious injury pedestrian crashes takes place on non-freeway arterials (63 percent in 2019), which often feature high speeds and lack sufficient facilities, even as they serve as major corridors for public transportation.

    Solution:  Agencies can transform project planning and design with a Complete Streets Design Model.  It will help agencies identify opportunities to address project development and review process hurdles and use new methods to properly weigh safety, mobility, access, and other project impacts. This is especially valuable in designing safer non-controlled access arterials that serve a wide variety of road users and must provide throughput and local access to destinations. The Design Model creates new processes that assist engineers in applying innovations that manage speed and separate users. New analytic tools and design innovations routinely applied to arterial corridors can significantly reduce fatalities and serious injuries while filling gaps in multi-modal networks.  The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will increase federal funding to support this transformation. 

    Benefits:  These innovations will assist design engineers in the creation of safe, multi-modal networks that eliminate barriers and enhance safety for people driving, walking, bicycling, and rolling, while better integrating on-road transit vehicles, stations, and stops. Safer multi-modal streets provide better connectivity for individuals who don’t own automobiles and can increase low-carbon transportation. 

  3. Enhanced Visibility for Safety

    Challenge:  The number of fatal crashes occurring in daylight is about the same as those that occur in darkness. However, the nighttime fatality rate is three times the daytime rate because only 25 percent of vehicle miles traveled occur at night.

    Solution:  Enhanced visibility addresses a large safety problem. For example, lighting can be applied continuously along segments and at spot locations such as intersections and pedestrian crossings. Modern lighting technology, such as light-emitting diode lighting, increases safety for the traveling public and for highway workers and reduces costs over time. Enhanced visibility of traffic control devices also offers safety benefits. New or improved lighting can increase personal security and serve as deterrent to crime.

    Benefits:  Research indicates that continuous lighting installed on both rural and urban highways has a safety benefit, with a 28-percent reduction expected in nighttime injury crashes.  Flashing LED STOP signs are estimated to reduce right-angle crashes by 42 percent. Sequential flashing chevrons provide additional emphasis and guidance for drivers negotiating curves.  For pedestrians, rectangular rapid flashing beacons represent enhanced visibility of a traffic control device to make it safer for people to cross a road. To address roadway departure crashes, wider edge lines increase drivers’ perception of the edge of the travel lane and can provide a safety benefit on all facility types.

  4. Environmental Product Declarations for Sustainable Pavements

    Challenge:  Highway pavement construction materials such as cement, aggregates, asphalt mixtures, and concrete mixtures have potential environmental impacts during their life cycle including the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, also known as embodied carbon.   States are looking for tools to measure these impacts as they pursue strategies to reduce GHG emissions.

    Solution:  Environmental Product Declarations are verifiable and transparent instruments that communicate potential environmental impacts of products during their life cycle.  EPDs are important tools as State departments of transportation (DOTs) use life cycle thinking to set goals and implement strategies for reducing the carbon footprint of highway pavement construction materials.  In recent years, State DOTs and other stakeholders have expressed interest in using EPDs to support procurement decisions and track embodied carbon. Additionally, there is an increasing interest in using EPDs as data sources in the life cycle assessment (LCA) of highway pavements. 

    Benefits:  EPDs and LCA provide a systematic analysis of potential environmental impacts of highway pavements during their life cycle and thereby enables agencies to implement life cycle thinking to inform their decisions. 

  5. Digital Twins: Leveraging Digital As-builts, GIS, and Enterprise Data for Asset Management and Improved Decision-Making

    Challenge:  Significant volumes of data are captured, used once, then lost or warehoused in hard to access locations. This leads to recollecting information or existing data not being considered. There is also greater demand to make acquired information accessible in a timely fashion, retained for future business needs and easily available internally and externally to DOT stakeholders.

    Solution:  Digital twins are the next step in connecting highway system information to a geospatial model of the individual assets. As projects proceed through development and construction, a digital twin of the physical infrastructure is created and made available for maintenance and future reconstruction, closing a major gap in the information loop.

    Benefits:  The use of digital delivery and the development of digital twins provide access to data that feed many business needs. It is a cross-cutting endeavor where data is fed into a common environment and data is retrieved as needed across the agency. A digital twin provides an authoritative source for data for a variety of business uses, such as identifying the location or extent of various highway assets (guardrail, culverts, etc.); better locating utilities; creating as-built records for use in asset management; and providing real time work zone locations and data to feed agency dashboards.

  6. Integrating Greenhouse Gas Analysis and Targets in Transportation Planning

    Challenge:  The transportation sector is the United States’ largest emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, representing 29 percent of total GHG emissions and 35 percent of total carbon dioxide.

    Solution:  The transportation planning and project development processes play essential roles in implementing policies, programs, and projects that can reduce GHG emissions.  Establishing targets and including GHG emissions analysis in the transportation planning process is a critical.  This activity will share case studies and utilize tools and methods to support target setting and GHG estimation, including the Infrastructure Carbon Estimator and the Energy and Emissions Reduction Policy Analysis Tool.

    Benefits:  Transportation agencies will be better environmental stewards and help achieve national GHG reduction goals.

  7. Internal Curing for Concrete Bridge Decks, Pavements, and Repairs

    Challenge:  Shrinkage cracking in concrete is a key limiting factor in achieving acceptable long-term performance in concrete bridges, roads, and repairs. This cracking may reduce the service life of transportation infrastructure, leaving it in suboptimal condition to perform its intended function when exposed to continuous use, significant events, and a changing environment.

    Solution:  Internal curing was developed to target and mitigate the source of shrinkage cracking by directly designing and integrally providing curing water to the concrete mixture. It is a practice-ready technology that has been shown to mitigate shrinkage cracking, allowing for construction with higher performance concretes with estimated service lives that can exceed 100 years.

    Internal curing is an economical material-level technology that is accessible to any concrete producer already familiar with the current state of practice. It can be employed in any concrete mixture through an adjustment to mixture proportions and automatically fulfills its function after the mixture is placed and finished.

    Benefits:  Deploying this technology has the potential to triple the service life of typical concrete bridge decks and extend or enhance the performance of pavements and repairs.  It is estimated that 10 State DOTs, local municipalities, and transit authorities have begun implementing internal curing to meet their needs. This initiative would prepare additional transportation agencies to immediately deploy internal curing in their projects and adopt it in their specifications, giving them a new tool to enhance the durability of concrete infrastructure and reduce its embodied carbon footprint.

  8. Level Up in the Digital A-GaME

    Challenge:  Significant amounts of geotechnical data are included in a paper report and then put in a project file, while the valuable electronic data does not move forward with the 3D model or asset management programs and is therefore not being used by the owner, bidders, or contractors on current or future projects. Integration and exchange of geotechnical information in the digital environment is needed to improve active project design and construction efficiency as well as data accessibility for nearby and future projects.

    Solution:  “Level Up” promotes processes that harmonize project workflow, reduce errors and redundancy, improve interoperability, and facilitate collaborative visualization of design options and predicted performance for informed decision-making. The goal is to allow the creation and transmission of electronic borings, soundings, instrumentation data, etc. to have a “complete digital life” within the project and extending to archives and data warehouses where the information can be mined and used for research, summary statistics, or future projects.

    Benefits:  Benefits include risk reduction, improved quality, schedule acceleration, and lower project costs. Proven e-Construction technologies and tools will be applied to geotechnical information, leveraging advancements in geotechnical data acquisition (EDC-5 advanced geotechnical methods in exploration [A-GaME] techniques), programmatic asset management (TAM), data transmission and exchange (DIGGS), subsurface utility engineering (SUE), project data collaboration (BIM), and data visualization (augmented reality).

  9. Next Generation TIM: Technology to Transform Response

    Challenge: Over 6 million reportable crashes occur every year in the United States impacting safety and system operations. Each crash places responders and motorists at risk of secondary crashes while causing delays that impact travel and freight movement. Roadway incidents also often have a disproportionate impact on low income road users and transit users.

    Solution: Next-generation traffic incident management (TIM) will promote various technologies that are advancing operations and safety to mitigate incident impacts such as Responder-to-Vehicle alerts, unmanned aerial systems applications for TIM, responder video sharing, and Computer Aided Dispatch.  The strong demand for these technologies, and introducing additional technologies,  including smart emergency vehicle lighting to communicate with approaching vehicles more effectively, queue warning solutions to warn approaching drivers of potential dangers and debris removal devices that enhance worker safety as traffic passes will make a difference in the effectiveness of agencies.

    Benefit: Using enhanced next-generation TIM practices on all roadways can improve safety, and address effects on equity and quality of life. This initiative will assist agencies look at technologies and opportunities to mitigate the impacts of roadway incidents and reduce operational and economic disruptions.

  10. Preserving and Reconnecting Communities

    Challenge:  Preserving and Reconnecting Communities will address the legacy of highway construction that divided neighborhoods and minimize additional barriers to mobility and opportunity. Additionally, new projects could negatively impact communities if these impacts are not mitigated from the beginning of the project development process.

    Solution:  FHWA’s “Screening Tool for Equity Analysis of Projects” and other innovative techniques can assist States to use demographic data to identify and mitigate impacts to environmental justice and underserved communities (i.e. reduce the number of displacements, improve accessibility, and create more green space).  Additionally, removing or mitigating obstacles to mobility and opportunity will help create a more equitable transportation network that preserve and reconnect communities.  Highway right-sizing, caps, and enhanced bridges can integrate and support complete streets, parks, affordable housing, and multimodal options.  This initiative will provide case studies, peer exchanges, workshops, and trainings on ways to preserve and reconnect communities.

    Benefits:  States could benefit from having innovative tools to identify, avoid, minimize, and mitigate potential impacts to environmental justice and underserved communities in project planning and early in the National Environmental Policy Act process.

  11. Putting Work Zones on the Map

    Challenge:  Next-generation transportation management relies on access to consistent, reliable data describing events that cause operational disruptions.  Work zone events are a key type of disruption for which the physical and operational parameters can be defined and tracked as they change during a construction project.

    Solution:  FHWA developed the Work Zone Data Exchange (WZDx) in cooperation with agency and industry stakeholders as a mechanism to develop and share “digital twins” of work zone events. In this concept, when a work zone goes active for maintaining traffic during construction, a digital description—a single data record utilizing the WZDx specification—is created describing both the geometric and operational characteristics of that work zone. When the work zone on the ground changes, the WZDx record is modified to reflect the change.  This initiative will accelerate the deployment by expanding the national coverage of agencies producing WZDx data and demonstrating successful third-party applications for working with WZDx data.  

    Benefits:  WZDx datasets become important resources for communicating the presence and impact of work zones throughout project delivery workflows, to partner agencies, and to the public as real-time information. The resulting situational awareness regarding the “when, where, and how” of highway work zones improves the ability to manage projects and improve safety through improved traveler information.  The end goal is to realize the benefits of consistent, accurate, authoritative, standardized data to put work zone events “on the map.”

  12. Reduce Wildlife-Vehicle Conflicts

    Challenge:  Conflicts between vehicles and wildlife impact human safety, wildlife connectivity, and protection of threatened and endangered species across the United States. In 2018, approximately 312,000 reported collisions on U.S. roads involved an animal (4.6 percent of all reported motor vehicle collisions), with 185 resulting in human fatalities (NHTSA 2020).  In addition, wildlife vehicle collisions can result in property damage, emotional trauma, secondary crashes, and travel delays, and they can have significant costs associated with vehicle repair or replacement, emergency response services, and maintenance staff who are often required to assist with the aftermath of a Wildlife Vehicle Collision (WVC).

    Solution:  Targeted mitigation features are available to prevent WVCs and reduce wildlife-vehicle conflicts, including combinations of fencing, signage, and construction of wildlife crossing structures that help facilitate safe passage for animals and traffic. 

    Benefits:  Implementation of proven solutions to mitigate wildlife-vehicle conflicts will help practitioners reduce wildlife-vehicle conflicts to improve driver safety and improve environmental outcomes. 

  13. River and Road Connections

    Challenge:  Flooding is an increasingly persistent and widespread problem across the United States and is taking a toll on communities and transportation networks. Although FHWA and many State and local transportation agencies are working to implement infrastructure and natural ecosystem resilience, many transportation practitioners view river science and related flood resilience matters as complex and difficult to apply.  This has impeded agencies’ ability to best anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.

    Solution:  In 2020, the FHWA launched the Rivers and Roads initiative to use the latest technology to assist transportation professionals and their partners in understanding these critical river system considerations. This program provides access to new National Highway Institute courses, workshops, and peer exchanges that promote knowledge and learner-centric understanding of river functions and river and road interactions. Featured training activities can be adopted and modified to local stream conditions affected by a project to help facilitate better collaboration and understanding during project development and asset management activities.

    Benefits:  Incorporating river science such as qualitative and quantitative river assessments, hydraulic modeling, and design considerations into the planning, design, and operation of transportation projects will enhance resilience.  States such as Washington, Colorado, and Vermont relate that incorporating natural river processes into project planning, design, and maintenance operations has resulted in increased infrastructure flood resilience, reduced life-cycle maintenance costs, improved aquatic and terrestrial habitat, and enhanced recreation opportunities. 

  14. Strategic Workforce Development

    Challenge:  The demand for highway construction, maintenance, and operations workers is growing while industry is experiencing a revolution of emerging technologies that will require new skills. A 2021 national survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reports that 89 percent of construction firms reported difficulty finding qualified workers. A 2015 report by the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Education, and Labor estimated that the transportation sector will need to hire approximately 4.6 million workers between 2012 and 2022.

    Solution:  A collaboration between FHWA, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AGC, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), and the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration explored how industry representatives could work with the public workforce system to improve their ability to recruit, train, and retain highway construction workers. The resulting Highway Construction Workforce Partnership  (HCWP), when complemented with resources such as the customizable Identify, Train, Place” playbook, has the goal to increase the capacity and capability of the highway construction workforce and increase the number of individuals trained and hired in highway construction trades and crafts. 

    Benefits: Industry stakeholders can work collaboratively with the public workforce system to improve their ability to recruit, train, and retain highway construction workers. Expanding the reach of the HCWP to include rural communities and Tribal lands will increase career opportunities to support an industry upon whom the Nation depends every day.

  15. Supporting Equity in Federal Contracts: Effective DBE Program Practices in Design-Build

    Challenge:  Almost every state has approved Design-Build (D-B) contracting legislation. The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program is a regulatory requirement that must be considered as part of any project development process that includes federal funding. D-B contracting presents many challenges to the administration of the DBE Program. Some challenges include limited project information at the time of proposals, difficulty associated with calculating a DBE goal, and multiple levels of subcontracting. All State DOTs have approved DBE Program procedures, but most do not address the nuances of D-B, which could limit opportunities for small, disadvantaged firms to compete for work on federal projects.

    Solution:  The Office of Civil Rights has researched and collected market-ready best practices of successful administration of the DBE Program in the context of a D-B project. The handbook, “DBE Program Administration and Oversight on Projects with Alternative Contracting Methods ” compiles background information, tips, and best practices for DBE program implementation on alternative contracting, with significant focus on D-B contracting.   Adoption of these best practices will support equitable opportunities for DBE firms and a decrease in compliance challenges.

    Benefits:  Efficient, effective, and equitable integration of the DBE Program requirements in all aspects of D-B contracting will increase opportunities for small, disadvantaged businesses to compete for work on projects financed with Federal dollars. This Every Day Counts initiative will provide a mechanism to educate our stakeholders on key information from the handbook, share examples of States that have successfully implemented these best practices on D-B projects, and provide technical assistance when necessary.

  16. Deadline

    A sample of a previous suggestion for EDC-6 is provided here.  Responses should be submitted by April 11, 2022.

    ADDRESSES: Submit responses by electronic mail to: EDCsuggestions@dot.gov

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Additional information about the EDC Program is available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/everydaycounts/. For questions, contact Julie Zirlin FHWA Center for Accelerating Innovation at (202) 366-9105 or Julie.Zirlin@dot.gov.

Page last modified on March 7, 2022
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