December 8, 2016
Innovation of the Month: Improving Collaboration and Quality Environmental Documentation
Through Every Day Counts, the Federal Highway Administration is encouraging states to use strategies and tools to improve collaboration and quality environmental documentation and expedite National Environmental Policy Act approvals for construction projects.
The Arizona Department of Transportation rolled out a quality assurance and quality control process to help streamline reviews and approvals on environmental documents. The Arizona DOT is also working on a tool to guide local agencies through the process of developing quality environmental documents. The tool is expected to reduce errors and save time.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is collaborating with FHWA to develop templates for environmental assessments and environmental impact statements. The templates are designed to help those who produce environmental documents make them clear, concise, consistent and legally sound.
For more strategies on developing effective environmental documents, read Preparing High-Quality NEPA Documents for Transportation Projects, published by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
Delaware Opens First Diverging Diamond Interchange
The Delaware Department of Transportation opened the state’s first diverging diamond interchange at Delaware Routes 1 and 72 in New Castle County on November 19. The agency used the design-build delivery method on the project, which received an Accelerated Innovation Deployment Demonstration grant from FHWA. Using the diverging diamond interchange design may have reduced construction time and costs by 75 percent compared to traditional alternatives. A Delaware DOT video explains how to drive on the new interchange.
Idaho Transportation Executive Wins National Award
Idaho Transportation Department Director Brian Ness won the 2016 Navigator Award in the Agency and Department Chiefs category from the national organization Route Fifty. The award is based on his citizen-focused approach to government and transformative style. Ness was honored during a November 16 ceremony in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Since the Idaho Transportation Department Innovate program started in 2014, the agency has implemented more than 424 innovations, saving nearly 70,000 hours for workers and $2.1 million for taxpayers.
Indiana Council Chooses EDC-4 Innovations
At its November meeting, the Indiana State Transportation Innovation Council decided to pursue nine of the 11 innovations in Every Day Counts round four. The STIC identified goals for each innovation for teams to consider as they draft implementation plans. Indiana is particularly interested in automated traffic control performance measures technology and has been a national leader in developing this innovation. STIC member organizations would like to tailor this and several other innovations for use by local governments.
Maine Transportation Conference Draws 600
More than 600 people attended the 66th Annual Maine Transportation Conference on December 1 in Augusta. Among the sessions was a panel discussion on e-Construction, which Maine is implementing as part of Every Day Counts. Other topics included keeping bridges safe, economic benefits of transportation investment and maintaining a livable community. The Maine Department of Transportation, Maine Better Transportation Association and Maine Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers sponsored the conference.
Maryland Event Demonstrates Smarter Work Zones
The Maryland State Highway Administration and FHWA collaborated on a smarter work zone field demonstration on December 6. Participants from Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania learned about strategies to minimize travel delays and enhance safety for motorists and workers in work zones. The demonstration included the use of automated speed enforcement technology and project coordination strategies.
Washington Focuses on Innovation
The Washington State Department of Transportation held its second Innovations and Partnerships in Transportation Conference on December 1 in Tacoma. Topics included environmental justice, leading a multigenerational workforce and transportation in the next American city. The conference followed the Every Day Counts summit on November 29 and 30 in Portland, Oregon, which about 20 Washington representatives attended. In the state’s caucus at the summit, participants agreed to pursue four EDC-4 innovations: collaborative hydraulics, data-driven safety analysis, e-Construction and partnering, and weather-savvy roads.