State Transportation Innovation Councils (STIC) in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington received 2019 STIC Excellence Awards for demonstrating success in fostering a strong culture of innovation.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and Federal Highway Administration collaborate on the annual award, which was presented to the winning STICs at AASHTO’s annual meeting in St. Louis, MO.
The New Jersey STIC is developing a culture of innovation with broad stakeholder participation, shared metrics, and an engaged leadership. The STIC established processes to identify and move new technologies into practice, including an online portal to solicit potential ideas. The STIC also created three teams—Infrastructure Preservation, Safety, and Mobility and Operations—to champion innovations.
The STIC includes New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) communications, Local Technical Assistance Program, and research staff to promote innovations through social media, with local partners, and with the university community. A new web page features information on the STIC’s innovation initiatives and a searchable innovation database.
New Jersey’s STIC is advancing unmanned aerial systems for bridge inspection and traffic incident monitoring, including developing guidance and specifications. To improve motorist and responder safety, the STIC is promoting the use of crowdsourcing applications to notify the public where NJDOT Safety Service Patrol vehicles are working on roadsides.
The Pennsylvania STIC fosters an innovative culture at all levels of government and throughout the private and nonprofit sectors to ensure smart investments in Pennsylvania’s highway infrastructure. The Moving Forward strategic plan, unveiled in 2018, provided the framework to reorganize and rightsize the STIC organization.
The STIC consolidated its Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) from 10 to four—Design, Construction and Materials, Maintenance, and Safety and Traffic Operations—to improve efficiency and enhance collaboration between groups on overlapping innovations. The streamlined structure also provides flexibility to engage a variety of subject matter experts to support a wider range of innovations.
The STIC added Innovation Owners and Development Teams to expand participation opportunities, particularly for Pennsylvania Department of Transportation engineering district staff members responsible for deploying innovations. To enhance stakeholder communication, the STIC revamped its website, which features innovation deployment information and an interactive Year-End Report.
The Washington STIC is building a culture of innovation through collaboration to update the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Hydraulics Manual and to develop a programmatic biological assessment with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). These efforts brought local, Federal, and private sector partners to the table to look at how to institutionalize innovations statewide.
With STIC Incentive funds, WSDOT revised its Hydraulics Manual to incorporate two-dimensional (2D) hydraulic modeling, fish passage and stream restoration design guidance, and bridge scour methodology to assist State and local hydraulic and design engineers. When erosion occurred around the foundations of the U.S. 101–Elwha River Bridge, for example, WSDOT engineers used 2D modeling to develop scour repair and monitoring strategies until a new bridge is designed and built.
WSDOT collaborated with USFWS on a programmatic biological assessment that allows local agencies to streamline Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultations. This approach reduces the ESA consultation timeline on local agency projects from a year to a few months and is expected to be used on at least seven projects in the next year.
For information on the STIC Excellence Awards, contact Sara Lowry of the FHWA Center for Accelerating Innovation.