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FHWA Home / OIPD / Accelerating Innovation / Every Day Counts / EDC News: March 17, 2022

EDC News

March 17, 2022

Innovation of the Month: Virtual Public Involvement

It is important to meet the public where they are when engaging them in transportation planning and project development. Increasingly, this means producing engaging online content that people find interesting and enjoyable. The Idaho Transportation Department's (ITD) Drive Idaho podcast is an example of how transportation agencies can use popular media platforms to provide the public with information and help them engage in transportation planning and project development.

ITD began producing the Drive Idaho podcast in 2019 and uses it to talk to Idaho residents about the agency's core mission areas: safety, mobility, and economic growth. The podcast is released monthly, with nearly 40 episodes and 20,000 downloads to date. Podcast episodes have focused on individual projects, with updates about upcoming construction or operations changes, as well as the transportation planning process, legislative changes that affect transportation funding, and how to drive safely during weather emergencies.

A group of men in a room, sitting and standing near microphones, reading from scripts.

ITD staff and guests recording audio for an episode of the Drive Idaho podcast. (Credit: ITD)

Drive Idaho episodes typically begin with a short news segment about projects around the state, followed by an interview on the focus topic for that episode. Interviewees may be ITD staff, business owners, community members, or other stakeholders. There is also a segment where ITD answers listener questions that have been sent in. Every episode includes a safety message to emphasize that safety is ITD's most important goal and closes with information about how to contact ITD and get involved.

Person, wearing safety equipment, being interviewed by another set of people, also wearing safety equipment.

ITD staff conducting a field interview for a Drive Idaho podcast segment. (Credit: ITD)

Podcasts have dramatically increased in popularity over the past several years as a format for news and information. The Drive Idaho podcast is a flexible way for ITD to share information that the public can access when and where they choose and build awareness of their work. It also provides opportunities for longer, more in-depth discussion of transportation topics than other media can accomplish. Members of the public can access episodes on podcast platforms, download episodes to listen to later, and subscribe to the podcast to be notified when new episodes are available. ITD considers the Drive Idaho podcast to be one of the core ways that it engages with the public and a method that provides a high return on investment.

To learn more about Virtual Public Involvement and other innovative ways States are engaging with the public, please contact Lana Lau, FHWA Office of Project Development & Environmental Review, or Jill Stark, FHWA Office of Planning, Stewardship & Oversight.

Puerto Rico Advanced TIM Training with Unmanned Aerial Systems

The National Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Responder Training Program advances the state of the practice nationally for TIM. More than 500,000 U.S. responders have been trained in person or online, including more than 50 percent of police, fire, EMS, transportation, and towing professionals in Puerto Rico.

Aerial photo of training scene, including vehicles, emergency responder vehicles, safety equipment, traffic cones, and barrels.

UAS-captured image of sample training scene. (Credit: Puerto Rico Police Academy)

The Puerto Rico Police Academy has taken their TIM training to the next level by using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to bring a different perspective to their TIM practicum. After several hours of classroom training, students are taken to a closed roadway section, where the training is transformed into a live demonstration with real responder vehicles, crash vehicles, and temporary traffic control devices. The unique aspect of the Puerto Rico Police Academy approach is that they use two drones to capture video of the exercise from unique angles and then bring those images back into the classroom for additional discussion. Where practicum brings the classroom experience to life, merging the two leverages the best qualities of each learning medium.

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

Flood Emergency Management with UAS – Preparing for the Storm

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are impacting, and in some cases completely changing, how transportation agencies conduct business. Flooding is a unique, often devastating, event that can be standalone or accompany another weather event. Flooding impacts can be gradual or sudden, but typically an area will have some warning prior to the event, giving agencies time to use UAS to prepare.

Flying before the flood crest to establish accurate "before" conditions is one of the primary use cases for UAS in a flood event. This can help update any topological data needed to project flooding and can help identify potential vulnerabilities, such as new homes that may not have a flood-proof emergency route. The low cost of UAS should allow routine flights for this purpose in most areas.

These pre-flood flights focus on attributes such as the condition and use of drainage structures or the true state of the terrain to predict flood effects. UAS with appropriate sensors can also provide additional information, such as soil moisture, which coupled with projected rainfall should produce a more accurate flooding prediction.

In the tech brief, "Use of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems for Emergency Management of Flooding," learn more about the seven basic small UAS missions for flood events, this use case, and others—before, during, and after flood events. Additionally, read about some of the 12 disasters since 2005 that have used UAS in various capacities for flood response.

To learn more about UAS flood emergency management, contact James Gray, FHWA Office of Infrastructure, or John Haynes, FHWA Utah Division.

Help Determine the Next Round of EDC Innovations

Do you have experience with a proven innovation that is currently underutilized but has game-changing potential for the highway community? If so, we want to know!

FHWA is seeking suggestions for market-ready innovations to deploy in 2023 in round seven of Every Day Counts (EDC-7). State, local, Tribal, and industry partners, as well as the public, are encouraged to submit innovative technologies or practices that can help provide safer roads for all users, address equity as part of project planning and delivery, and support sustainable and resilient infrastructure nationwide. The submission deadline is April 11, 2022. Visit the EDC website or watch the call for suggestions video to learn more.

Your ideas can help make every day count to ensure the Nation's infrastructure is built better, faster, and smarter.

New Innovator Now Available

Screenshot of Innovator issue 89 cover, featuring two people wearing safety equipment, adding steel microfiber reinforcement to UHPC.

The March/April issue of Innovator is now available, accessible from your computer, tablet, or mobile phone to optimize your reading experience!

In this issue:

Comments? Questions? We'd love your feedback! Drop us a line and let us know what you think.

Read past issues and sign up to receive Innovator by email here, or text "FHWA Innovation" to 468311 to get Innovator on your smartphone.

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

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:

CHANGE – 3/4/22
Local Aid Support – 3/3/22
Strategic Workforce Development – 3/2/22
TOPS – 3/2/22
A-GaME – 3/1/22

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
EDC News: March 17, 2022
Washington, DC:

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Jeffrey A. Zaharewicz
(202) 366-1325

Page last modified on March 21, 2022
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