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FHWA Home / OIPD / Accelerating Innovation / Every Day Counts / EDC News: February 22, 2024

EDC News

February 22, 2024

Innovation of the Month: Crowdsourcing for Advancing Operations

Among the nearly 20,000 bridge structures in Tennessee, the I-40 Hernando DeSoto andthe I-55 Memphis-Arkansas bridges are the only two that connect Tennessee and Arkansas across the Mississippi River. They collectively support 75,000 vehicles per day.The bridges also serve as key commercial freight corridors, supporting the movement of $400 billion in goods and $9.2 billion in annual economic impact generated by the Port of Memphis. The Departments of Transportation for Arkansas (ArDOT) and Tennessee (TDOT) share responsibilities such as maintenance, repairs, and inspection of these bridges.

In May of 2021, a routine inspection revealed a fracture along the I-40 Hernando DeSotobridge, forcing an immediate closure to all six interstate lanes over the river. A day afterthe closure, eastbound traffic along the only alternate, I-55, increased from 15 minutes to 70+ minutes during peak periods. Westbound traffic increased from 15 to 50 minutesduring the evening peak period.

View of Hernando DeSoto bridge from side. A visible fracture going all the way through the beam is present on the lower support of the bridge. Four workers are present, two at road-level and two on beams underneath the bridge.
This fracture along the Hernando DeSoto bridge required closure to repair. (Credit: TDOT)

Crowdsourced data played a key role in the immediate and long-term response to the emergency bridge closure. Vehicle probe-based crowdsourced data helped TDOT better collaborate with agencies to define, adjust, and improve diversion plans throughout the duration of the I-40 bridge closure. Collaborating with the City of Memphis, ArDOT, and others, TDOT modified traffic signal timing plans, deployed portable changeable message signs, and made other adjustments to traffic operations. TDOT used crowdsourced and roadside sensor data to assess the effects of adjustments and make further changes to steadily reduce delays and more quickly clear incidents along detour routes.

TDOT also used vehicle probe-based crowdsourced data to share travel delay estimates with motorists, which helped them better plan their commutes by day of the week. Additionally, TDOT shared changes to operations (e.g., lane closures) with Waze®, a navigation application provider, enhancing the reach of traveler and public information efforts.

The collective outcomes from using crowdsourced data for operational adjustments and traveler information are safer and more reliable travel for all road users in the Memphis region. To learn more about TDOT’s use of crowdsourced data to improve emergency operations, download the Tennessee DOT case study or view the September 2023 Talking TIM webinar.

To learn more about crowdsourcing, contact James Colyar, FHWA Office of Operations, Greg Jones, FHWA Resource Center, or Ralph Volpe, FHWA Resource Center.

Missouri Tests Coordination of Drones above Traffic Incidents

In 2021 the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) lost its fifth Road Ranger service patrol operator to a struck by line of duty death. Since then, the agency has been evaluating a number of Traffic Incident Management (TIM) technologies to improve roadside safety for Road Rangers.

Pickup truck with angled 'scoop' connected to front with a hydraulic lift. Scoop shape directs debris to right. UAS view of mock incident scene. (Credit: MoDOT)

The highlight of the training was the first coordinated use of multiple unmanned aerial systems (UAS) at a Missouri traffic incident scene. Under the Incident Command System, the Air Operations Branch falls under the Operations Section, which comprises most of the other TIM response agencies as well. The term "Drone Boss" was found to be an appropriate name for the individual charged with coordinating UAS activities at the mock roadway incident.

UAS are a proven technology for faster mapping and measurement of crash scenes, and they are increasingly being used by fire departments and transportation agencies to enhance situational awareness. Missouri DOT (MoDOT) personnel noted that safety on the ground is always the first objective for TIM, and with this new approach the skies above traffic incidents are now safer as well.

To learn more about Next-Gen TIM please contact Paul Jodoin, James Austrich, or Joseph Tebo, 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. Don’t miss your opportunity to view all the content through the end of this month! After February, a summary of STIC Showcase entries will be available for reference.

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 Delaware Department of Transportation's Low-Clearance Bridge and Tunnel Clankers, which deters overheight vehicles from striking bridges or tunnels. These heavy-duty plastic clankers warn vehicles when struck that they are too tall to safely pass under the upcoming bridge or tunnel.

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:

Build a Better Mousetrap Nominations 2/12/24
USDOT Funding Resources and Opportunities 2/12/24
Unmanned Aerial Systems 2/13/24
Virtual Public Involvement / NEPA 2/13/24

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About EDC

Every Day Counts, a State-based initiative of the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Innovation and Workforce Solutions, works with State, local, and privatesector partners to encourage the adoption of proven and underutilized technologies to deliver transportation projects more efficiently, enhance safety forall users, support a sustainable and resilient infrastructure, and incorporate equity inproject planning and delivery.

EDC News is a weekly publication highlighting successful EDC innovation deployments across the country.

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

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; February 22, 2024
Washington, DC


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Jeffrey A. Zaharewicz
(202) 366-1325

Page last modified on February 21, 2024
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