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FHWA Home / OIPD / Accelerating Innovation / Every Day Counts / EDC News: June 1, 2023

EDC News

June 1, 2023

EDC-6: Virtual Public Involvement

Virtual Public Involvement (VPI) techniques can work with a wide variety of stakeholders, including communities that may be more challenging to reach. This includes engagement with members of tribal communities.

Screen capture from FHWA VPI Documentaries Video. Woman on right side of screen and a list of engagement techniques on left. The FHWA VPI Documentaries Video features New Mexico DOT's tribal and rural community engagement practices (Credit: FHWA)

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) uses VPI strategies as part of its public engagement approach in tribal communities such as the Navajo Nation (the largest tribal entity in the state). NMDOT uses social media, project websites, telephone town halls, and online surveys to engage with members of tribal communities about NMDOT projects that may be of interest to them.

After noticing that tribal governments were regularly using social media for communications with their members during the Covid-19 pandemic, NMDOT adopted social media as a communications platform for these communities as well. This included requesting that tribal governments repost or share NMDOT posts with their followers to help expand the reach of their communications in those communities.

The telephone townhall technique, used as part of the Restore 64 project, allows NMDOT to engage virtually with community members without internet access. This is particularly useful in tribal communities, and rural communities, which tend to have lower rates of in-home internet access and smartphone usage. NMDOT can proactively reach out to community members about the telephone town hall and then directly call and connect them at the scheduled date and time. For Restore 64, this resulted in 119 participants engaging in the virtual meeting, which far exceeded past in-person participation.

Project websites make information about projects easily accessible, including presentations and recordings of public meetings, background study information, and project timeline. This allows members of the public to engage with the project when it suits them, connecting residents with feedback mechanisms, including online surveys, and online meetings, so they can get involved in and provide input on transportation projects without traveling long distances (a particular concern in largely rural New Mexico).

To learn more about VPI, please contact Bob Washington, FHWA Office of Project Development & Environmental Review, or Mack Frost, FHWA Office of Planning, Stewardship & Oversight.

Oklahoma Uses “Self-Healing” Pavement Mixture to Reduce Cracks

Oklahoma asphalt pavement engineers are excited about the results they have seen with binder-rich intermediate layers, also known as crack attenuating mixture (CAM). CAM is sometimes referred to as a self-healing mix. CAM’s flexibility is a cost-effective method that can help delay or prevent a crack from coming up through to the surface.

A 4-lane, divided interstate road. Trucks are approaching in left lanes, another vehicle is heading away from camera. Crack attenuating mixture with highly modified asphalt will be used to rehabilitate this seven-mile section of I-40 in Oklahoma. (Source: Trenton January)

CAM is one of several asphalt products promoted as part of the Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS) initiative. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) first tried CAM as an intermediate layer in a 2012 project on I-40 in Caddo County. Eleven years later, the two-mile stretch of I-40 has an International Roughness Index that averages 50 inches per mile, which is smooth enough to result in ride quality bonuses for new construction in some states.

Since the original I-40 project, ODOT has used CAM on roadways ranging from Interstate highways to county roads across the entire State. ODOT plans to use CAM on an adjacent 7-mile section of I-40 in Canadian County. The project will include milling 7 inches of the existing asphalt, placing a CAM layer followed by Superpave and stone matrix asphalt, which is another recommended technology for TOPS.

I-40 traffic is estimated at over 37,000 vehicles per day, and 37 percent is truck traffic. The $24 million dollar investment is expected to provide a smooth surface for at least 15 years.

Looking for more information? Visit the TOPS website for resources, including case studies, one-pagers, and webinars. If you have any questions, please contact TOPS co-team lead Tim Aschenbrener (asphalt) or Robert Conway (concrete).

2023 Build a Better Mousetrap Nomination Deadline is Around the Corner

The deadline is drawing near for submitting nominations for the FHWA 2023 Build a Better Mousetrap National Recognition Program for Transportation Innovation. 

In 2022, 67 nominations from all over the country were submitted that improved safety, saved money, decreased time, and improved efficiency.

The last day to submit nominations is June 9th. FHWA is looking for innovations that provide agency and community benefit and has applicability for other agencies to implement. 

If you are interested in submitting a Build a Better Mousetrap application, contact your State's LTAP or TTAP Center for more information.

2023 STIC Excellence Award Nominations

Nominations are open for the 2023 State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) Excellence Award. FHWA and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Innovation Initiative partner in sponsoring the award to promote innovation and recognize excellence within the STICs. Nominations may be submitted to FHWA through June 30, 2023. Visit the STIC Excellence Award webpage to read about past recipients.

Discover Home-Grown Innovations from Around the Country

Homegrown Innovations

Are you interested in homegrown innovations being used by your peers in other parts of the country? Check out the National STIC Network Showcase, a component of the EDC-7 Virtual Summit. Registering for the event allows you to access all the content through February 2024.

Screenshot of STIC Network Showcase section of EDC Virtual Summit website.

The showcase prominently features several innovations focused on operations. Learn about the Idaho Transportation Department's Federal grant notification letter, which makes it easier and less time-consuming for ITD employees to monitor grant opportunities. This weekly newsletter outlines information on currently available grants, including who is eligible, deadlines, the amount, and where to find additional information.

Celebrate the ingenuity of your peers and read about these innovations — developed and deployed in-house at transportation agencies nationwide. Additionally, we invite you to watch the one-hour presentations on-demand that feature many of these and other innovations.

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 5/22/23
Sustainable Pavements CoOp Agreement NOFO 5/17/23
Strategic Workforce Development 5/15/23
Local Aid Support 5/15/2023

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; June 1, 2023
Washington, DC

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Jeffrey A. Zaharewicz
(202) 366-1325

Page last modified on July 12, 2023
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