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

EDC News

January 6, 2022

Innovation of the Month: Next Generation Traffic Incident Management

Both transportation and public safety agencies have a vested interest in timely detection and response to roadway incidents like crashes, vehicle disablements, fires, and medical emergencies. Timely sharing of information between public safety and transportation agencies improves coordination of resources to clear roadways, enhances safety, and relieves congestion. Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) integration describes the real-time sharing of information between agencies, using their respective computing systems that track time and events.

Man, at center, seen from back, sits at large desk surrounded by seven computer monitors. In background, back wall is made up of additional video monitors depicting CCTV feeds and digital maps of roadways

Minnesota Department of Transportation Traffic Management Center Operator (Credit: MnDOT)

The Minnesota DOT (MnDOT) and the Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) began using a shared dispatching platform that enables each agency to more quickly obtain information about roadway incidents. Information provided in the real-time feed includes latitude/longitude, event type, start and close times, real-time location of response vehicles, and traffic management center (TMC) operator-entered remarks. Interactions between the agencies have become more seamless as the live data feed and the incident comments field are actively shared between the agencies, providing a two-way street for including relevant response and incident details. Access to State Patrol CAD greatly reduces incident notification time to the TMC, leading to faster messaging to motorists, quicker deployment of service patrol resources, and an overall more efficient response.

One of Minnesota's successes is using the combination of CAD integration and monitoring the MSP radio dispatch. Staff then uses closed-circuit television (CCTV) to verify, confirm, and remotely size up incidents in seconds. These activities are essential to reducing detection, verification, and response times to shorten overall incident duration.

MnDOT funded several technology enhancements that enabled increased CAD usage, including TMC and Safety Service Patrol (FIRST). This included adding computers and software onboard the FIRST vehicles and purchasing the CAD mobile software license and other supporting infrastructure to allow FIRST vehicles to run and access the MSP CAD. Criminal justice information and investigation-related matters are removed from the MSP information, which are often cited as stumbling blocks to CAD integration.

Additional enhancements have allowed for more automated data export to MnDOT's Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), called IRIS, as well as traveler information services and data analysis tools. With better data and incident timestamps, performance management and benchmarking both agencies improved response activities to more effectively deal with roadway incidents.

To learn more about Next Generation Traffic Incident Management, please contact Paul Jodoin or James Austrich, FHWA Office of Operations.

Construction Inspection with Unmanned Aerial Systems – Save Time, Lower Costs, and Increase Safety

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are impacting, and in some cases completely changing, how transportation agencies conduct business. Greater awareness of the technology and lower entry costs has resulted in an increase use of UAS for infrastructure construction inspection and condition monitoring.

Users have been able to reduce inspection times, improve inspection effectiveness, increase safety, and lower the cost of inspection with a modest investment in training and equipment. UAS are also being used for a variety of inspection tasks including erosion control, quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC), structure inspection, and construction progress monitoring.

In the tech brief, "Use of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems for Construction Inspection," learn more about this use case, including UAS advantages, regulatory information, considerations to make before using UAS, and limitations of using UAS for supporting construction inspection. Additionally, learn answers to questions such as what UAS platform, sensors, controls, and software may be required to effectively use UAS for construction inspection.

To learn more about UAS construction inspection, contact James Gray, FHWA Office of Infrastructure, or John Haynes, FHWA Utah Division.

Ohio's Snow and Ice Performance Evaluator Enables Improvements in Road Recovery After Winter Storm Events

The timely removal of snow and ice along roadways is critical for safety and mobility. In response to this need, the Ohio DOT (ODOT) developed its Snow and Ice Recovery Program to review performance in clearing roadways across the State's 88 counties. The program uses data to model snow events and grade performance using a snow and ice performance evaluator.

The measure combines weather data from the state's road weather information system (RWIS) network and probe speed data to model the event. Events begin when sensors detect snow or freezing rain, and speeds drop below 10 MPH from expectation. An event ends when precipitation stops, winds reduce below 15 MPH, and another event does not start for at least two hours. Lastly, "Route recovery" occurs when speeds return to within 10 MPH of expectations for at least one hour.

The grading process begins once an event ends. At this point, maintenance crews are on the clock, with each route tracked separately. The goal is for each primary route to be recovered within two hours and each secondary route to be recovered within four hours. Once recovery is complete, the program's performance dashboard is updated, showing how well each county did to achieve route recovery. Ohio's goal is to have 96 percent of routes recovered within the two- and four-hour timeframes. Ohio is working to provide maintenance managers with real-time map of speeds and snowfall and updates the performance dashboard in real time on how their county is performing.

To learn more about Ohio's Snow and Ice Recovery Program and related performance evaluators, contact John MacAdam, ODOT. For additional Weather-Responsive Management Strategies information and publications, contact David Johnson, FHWA Office of Operations.

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.

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: January 6, 2022
Washington, DC:

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Jeffrey A. Zaharewicz
(202) 366-1325

Page last modified on March 18, 2022
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