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FHWA Home / OIPD / Accelerating Innovation / Every Day Counts / EDC News: December 16, 2021

EDC News

December 16, 2021

Innovation of the Month: Crowdsourcing for Advancing Operations

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the greater Phoenix region, encompasses 27 cities and towns, three Native nations, two counties, and over 10,000 square miles, supporting travel for 4.7 million people. MAG began exploring archived connected vehicle data, a form of crowdsourced data, from a third-party data provider in 2020. This connected vehicle data includes 3-second snapshots of passenger vehicle journeys including position, speed, heading, and other data fields for approximately 4 to 6 percent of vehicles in the region.

Screenshot from video representing connected vehicle speed and position at a major intersection. Many colored dots make up the image with the colors representing different speeds.

Screenshot of connected vehicle speed and position visualization. (Credit: Maricopa Association of Governments)

MAG has found many uses for this data that collectively enable more efficient and effective transportation planning and operations. MAG uses this crowdsourced data to conduct more comprehensive congestion studies that helps local agencies better understand freeway bottlenecks and travel times, capture signalized intersection turning movement delays and arrivals on green, and measure travel time reliability benefits from corridor improvements. MAG also leverages this crowdsourced data to conduct safety analyses using derived variables such as harsh braking (high acceleration and deceleration rates) correlated with other safety data such as roadway crashes. They even use the data to better understand travel patterns including origin—destination patterns, trip length distribution, path choice, and trip frequency.

Using this crowdsourced data did not come without technical challenges. This included managing 1.5 billion data points per week. MAG explains that connected vehicle data is proving to be tremendously useful but cautions that it must be explored using “big data” management and analytics techniques. For example, a brief video illustrating connected vehicles’ speed and location for a single freeway interchange for analysis can be hundreds of megabytes, yet incredibly useful in visualizing queuing patterns. The screenshot pictured here, from one of the videos, depicts a freeway interchange with color-coded dots reflecting connected vehicle speeds. These dots show slowdowns upstream of an on-ramp due to the high volume of on-ramp merging vehicles.

To learn more about Crowdsourcing for Advancing Operations, please contact the FHWA EDC-6 Crowdsourcing Co-Leads, James Colyar, Greg Jones, or Ralph Volpe.

Gaming App Helps Users Explore Construction Project Skills

Stakeholders in Pennsylvania organized a working group to develop creative ways to market the highway construction industry to potential job candidates. One key way is redefining the way people think about the necessity of a four-year degree. The working group is promoting construction apprenticeships as “the other four-year degree.” One member of the working group, the Construction Association of Western Pennsylvania, developed an app, Future Road Builders, that lets users explore a virtual highway construction project to see the skills needed for the job. Learn about other strategies to Communicate the Value of Highway Construction Careers in the Highway Construction Workforce Partnership (HCWP) playbook. The playbook contains eight “Plays” to help you form a working group that is organized and equipped to identify, train, and place individuals into highway construction jobs and start them on rewarding careers.

FHWA’s Strategic Workforce Development initiative has additional resources to help you fill the construction jobs that support the Nation's highway system. For assistance, contact Karen Bobo, FHWA Transportation Workforce Development or Joe Conway, FHWA Local Aid Support.

Transportation Agencies Can Consistently Save with Project Bundling

The FHWA Every Day Counts Project Bundling team has developed two new resources to help transportation agencies consistently capitalize on economies of scale to save resources, money, and time. Agencies can use the self-assessment tool and resource database to determine existing project bundling capability levels and develop short and long-term goals to create an implementation plan for making bundling a routine business process or “institutionalized.” The capability stages are defined as the level to which an organization has documented and institutionalized its policies, processes, and procedures so they can be consistently applied across the agency. Agencies are encouraged to gather teams together to work through the self-assessment tool. FHWA staff are available to provide support if needed.

The self-assessment tool is based on 25 nationally-proven advanced project bundling practices, each linked to resources in the database—case studies, contracts, examples of agencies that took a programmatic approach, references, and research documents.

For more information about project bundling or assistance using these new tools, contact the Project Bundling team leader, David Unkefer, FHWA Resource Center.

The Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting is Right Around the Corner

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) 101st Annual Meeting will be held January 9—13, 2022, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in Washington, D.C.

The meeting will feature more than 5,000 presentations in over 800 sessions and workshops, addressing topics of interest to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academia. Learn about the EDC-related sessions taking place during the meeting and stop by booth #531 in the exhibit hall to talk to a team member.

The 2022 program is available online. Participants must register online ahead of time.

Stay Up to Date on the EDC Innovations That Interest You Most

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EDC teams are always on the move! If you blink, you could miss out on important webinars, case studies, tools, videos, and more. To never miss information for the EDC innovations that interest you most, visit the subscription page and select the topics you’d like to receive updates on directly from the teams that coordinate them.

Recent bulletins:

A-GaME — 12/7/21

NextGen TIM — 12/6/21

TOPS — 12/1/21

Road Weather Management — 11/29/21

Collaborative Hydraulics: Advancing to the Next Generation of Engineering — 11/23/21

FoRRRwD — 11/23/21

About EDC

Every Day Counts, a state-based initiative 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.

EDC News is published weekly by the FHWA Center for Accelerating Innovation.

Notice: The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this presentation only because they are considered essential to the objective of the presentation. They are included for informational purposes only and are not intended to reflect a preference, approval, or endorsement of any one product or entity.

Recommended Citation:
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration Every Day Counts: Innovation for a Nation on the Move
EDC News: December 16, 2021
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Jeffrey A. Zaharewicz
(202) 366-1325

Page last modified on February 25, 2022
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