February 14, 2019
Innovation of the Month:
Weather-Responsive Management Strategies
Road weather data helps transportation agencies implement the most effective response plans for maintaining safety and mobility during adverse weather. Maximizing the use of this data to support operations and maintenance decisions is a goal of the Every Day Counts round five (EDC-5) initiative on weather-responsive management strategies.
Many agencies use integrating mobile observations (IMO) technologies to collect weather, road condition, and vehicle data from agency fleets. IMO data provide operations and maintenance managers with a detailed view of weather and road conditions, as well as fleet locations on the highway network.
IMO benefits include more efficient operations, more proactive road weather maintenance, and reduced salt and sand use. The Michigan Department of Transportation, for example, estimated a 25 percent reduction in salt use with installation of automatic vehicle location and Global Positioning System equipment and use of a maintenance decision support system.
See the IMO toolkit for agency reports on deployment processes and lessons learned.
Ultra-High Performance Concrete Connections Accelerate Nebraska Bridge Construction
The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) used ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) connections for prefabricated bridge elements (PBEs) to speed construction on the Middle Logan Creek Bridge, part of a project to improve a 7-mile-long section of U.S. Highway 20. NDOT replaced the bridge using precast abutments, girders, approach slabs, and bridge deck panels, and UHPC for the transverse connections between the deck panels. These innovations enabled NDOT to limit the road closure to less than 45 days when use of traditional construction practices would have closed the road for 6 months. For information on UHPC, contact Benjamin Graybeal of the FHWA Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center or Mark Leonard of the FHWA Resource Center.
Innovation Exchanges Spark Peer-to-Peer Learning for Three Agencies
The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) used State Transportation Innovation Council Incentive funds to conduct two face-to-face innovation exchanges with the Utah and Wyoming Departments of Transportation. SDDOT partnered with Utah and Wyoming because of their common transportation challenges and experience deploying innovations of interest to South Dakota. SDDOT proposed 12 topics for the exchanges, and the three agencies collaborated on presentations and discussion guides. As a result of the exchanges, SDDOT is pursuing adoption of several innovations. The agency is deploying software for three-dimensional design and visualization and designing its first diverging diamond interchange in Rapid City. SDDOT is establishing an e-Construction process that includes developing a web portal for construction-related data, implementing electronic payroll submissions, and creating an electronic change order process that is expected to cut processing time from 30 days to under a week. The exchanges also strengthened professional relationships that led to ongoing information sharing on policies, designs, and operational techniques. For example, the agencies met at the Wyoming Traffic Management Center to continue discussions on transportation systems management and operations begun in the original exchanges. For information, contact Dave Huft of SDDOT.
Every Day Counts, a State-based program of the Federal Highway Administration’s Center for Accelerating Innovation, works with State, local, and private sector partners to encourage the adoption of proven technologies and innovations to shorten and enhance project delivery.