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FHWA Home / OIPD / Accelerating Innovation / Every Day Counts / EDC News: November 16, 2023

EDC News

November 16, 2023

Innovation of the Month: Next-Generation Traffic Incident Management

Roadway debris, while dangerous for drivers, is even more dangerous for responders who must dodge traffic to remove objects from the road. Vehicles can strike objects in the road, hit the object and propel it into another vehicle or person, or cause the driver to swerve or brake suddenly to avoid the debris. Debris can include items like tire tread, ladders, furniture, vehicle parts, and trash, and is commonplace on our roadways.

The North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) is one agency enacting measures to increase safety for its responders. NTTA noted its responders were typically leaving the relative safety of their vehicles to manually remove this dangerous debris to the median or shoulder. To address the dangers associated with the task, NTTA acquired and installed debris removal systems on their roadway safety service (RSS) trucks. Vehicle-mounted debris removal systems allow the operator to lower a plow-type blade to the roadway surface from inside the cab and push debris out of the travel lanes.

Once lowered, debris removal systems push debris from the travel lanes to the shoulder or median. (Credit: NTTA)

Side-by-side image. At left, aerial view of overpass with traffic on roadway under encountering a traffic incident. At right, UAS hovering approximately 20 feet above the ground, connected to a box via a tether.

The benefits of tethered UAS include the potential for operation without an FAA remote pilot certificate or pilot license. They can also withstand rain, snow and windy conditions that would ground a typical UAS. Most importantly, their flight is not limited by the typical 30 minutes of battery life like most UAS because they are tethered to a power source. Tethered UAS are being evaluated by several transportation agencies, including the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Incident Management Assistance Patrol.

These systems expedite removal, and more importantly, they allow the operator to execute the debris removal from the safety of the truck cab. The debris removal system used by NTTA is integrated with the vehicle’s front push bumper, allowing the agency to push vehicles as well larger debris items and spilled loads at traffic crash scenes.

Quickly identifying the locations of debris is another tactic which helps increase roadway safety. NTTA uses both a toll-free number (#999) that can be easily dialed from a mobile phone and an app to help road users report road debris and solicit assistance from their RSS team. The RSS have cleared over 12,000 instances of road debris to date.

To learn more about Next Generation TIM and tactics your agency can use to protect motorists and responders after a traffic incident, please contact Paul Jodoin or James Austrich, FHWA Office of Operations.

Did you sign the Crash Responder Safety Week Proclamation?

Traffic incident responders put their lives at risk when clearing each of the nearly 7 million annual motor vehicle crashes or the broader range of incidents such as stalled vehicles or roadway debris. Crash Responder Safety Week (CRSW) is an FHWA-sponsored initiative that communicates simple steps everyone can take to help keep roadway responders and the public safe around traffic incidents. CRSW offers an opportunity to promote road user awareness and adherence to Move Over laws and Traffic Incident Management (TIM) training for all traffic incident responders.

Show your support for responder and all road user safety by signing the National CRSW Proclamation, through Menti.com. Simply scroll down to enter your name and organization.  View the CRSW National Kickoff webinar to hear Shailen Bhatt, FHWA Administration, speak to the importance of CRSW, testimonies from responders, and technologies for savings lives.  To learn more on how to implement Next Generation TIM Technologies for Saving Lives reach out to Paul Jodoin, Jim Austrich or Joe Tebo, FHWA TIM Program Team.

Connected Vehicle Technology Improves Snowplow Operations Efficiency

Connected vehicle (CV) technologies are being used across the country in support of weather-responsive management strategies (WRMS) during inclement weather. The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is one such agency using CV technology to improve safety and reliability of its snowplow fleet.

UDOT’s Snowplow Preemption Project leverages CV technologies by equipping UDOT snowplows with onboard units (OBUs) that can preempt an upcoming signal when they are actively plowing, changing a red light to green to allow the snowplow to move through the intersection at efficient speeds. This practice improves the efficiency of plowing operations and facilitates a faster removal of snow and ice from roadways.

UDOT began equipping snowplows in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area with OBUs in 2019, and by the end of 2023, UDOT will have 294 equipped signalized intersections supporting plow preemption and 74 equipped snowplows from 7 maintenance garages and one city. An additional 113 signalized intersections are being equipped and planning is underway to equip 63 intersections in northern Utah and 10 plows in one UDOT maintenance station and one additional city. UDOT continues to plan for the expansion of snowplow preemption using CV technology in other areas of the state. 

Learn more about the Utah deployment as well as another demonstration from Minnesota in this case study. If you have any questions on how to incorporate CV technology into your WRMS, please contact David Johnson, FHWA Office of Operations.

Discover Home-Grown Innovations from Around the Country

Logo-Premium Quality Home Grown State & Local 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. The Showcase features several innovations around pavements.

Screenshot of STIC Network Showcase section of EDC Virtual Summit website.
Screenshot of STIC Network Showcase section of EDC Virtual Summit website. Text title reads, &dquo;National STIC Network Showcase&dquo; with 10 categories of links which the innovations are broken up into. Those categories include &dquo;Asset Management & Finance,&dquo; &dquo;Maintenance & Emergency Response,&dquo; &dquo;Operations,&dquo; &dquo;Design & Construction,&dquo; &dquo;Technology & Materials,&dquo; &dquo;Planning & Environment,&dquo; &dquo;Safety,&dquo; &dquo;Pavement & Structures,&dquo; &dquo;Civil Rights, Workforce, and Equity,&dquo; and &dquo;2020 Archive.&dquo;

Learn about the Texas North Central Council of Governments' (NCTCOG) NCT9-1-1 program, which uses crowdsourced data to improve emergency response to roadway incidents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Operators report the introduction of the Waze roadway incident data stream into 911 operations has been very helpful in determining the exact location of crashes and locating roadway hazards.

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.

New Innovator Now Available!

The November/December 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.

Applications Open for AID Demonstration Grants

Are you looking to deploy an innovation on a highway project and need funding to offset the costs? The Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Demonstration provides incentive funds to eligible entities to accelerate the implementation and adoption of innovation in highway transportation. AID Demonstration funds can be used in any phase of a highway transportation project between project planning and project delivery, including planning, finance, operation, structures, materials, pavements, environment, and construction. The 2023-2026 AID Demonstration will make up to $10 million in grants in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 and $12.5 million FYs 2024 through FY 2026. Learn about AID Demonstration and the 127 grants and more than $95.7 million dollars that FHWA has awarded since its launch in 2014. Join the upcoming 2023 AID Demonstration Information Session on November 20, 2023 (3:00 PM ET - 4:30 PM ET).

Register Here

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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.

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

Except for the statutes and regulations cited, the contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the States or the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide information regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

Recommended Citation:
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
EDC News; November 16, 2023
Washington, DC


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Jeffrey A. Zaharewicz
(202) 366-1325

Page last modified on November 17, 2023
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