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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / May 1997

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-SA-97-023
Date: May 1997

Texas Holds LTPP Pep Rally

The Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) has a Texas-size commitment to the long-term pavement performance (LTPP) program, as evidenced by 90 general pavement studies sections and 142 specific pavement studies sections located on roads throughout the State. But over the years, as new people joined the staff and others retired, the staff's understanding of the test sections and their importance waned. To bring everyone up to speed, Texas DOT recently held a 2-day LTPP "Pep Rally" in Austin.

All but one of Texas DOT's 25 districts sent their district pavement engineer, the person responsible for LTPP activities, to the rally. Most districts also sent their pavement management system coordinators or the head engineers of their materials laboratories. Attendees also came from the DOT's Austin division office, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the Southern LTPP regional coordination contractor, Brent Rauhut Engineering. In all, more than 60 people attended the pep rally.

The event was inspired by a similar meeting on the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) and the LTPP program that Texas DOT held in 1994. Since then, "there have been a lot of changes in the department, and lots of people are new to the LTPP program," says Debbie Walker, Texas DOT's LTPP coordinator. "They knew that the LTPP program existed and that they needed to collect data, but they didn't know what the data was being used for or why."

The rally began with a review of the history and objectives of the LTPP program by Charlie Churilla, head of FHWA's Pavement Performance Division, which manages the LTPP program. Bob Templeton, Texas DOT's SHRP coordinator, and others described the status of experiment sites in the State. Engineers from Texas DOT and Brent Rauhut Engineering explained how Texas will benefit from the LTPP program.

The rally also reestablished and strengthened the links between the players in the LTPP program in Texas, according to Walker. Jerry Daleiden of Brent Rauhut Engineering spoke about each party's role in the program, especially the need for district staff to collect accurate information from LTPP sites. District staff also learned about how the data they collect eventually become part of the national LTPP Information Management System.

"The event was intended as a crash course on the LTPP program, and I think we succeeded," Walker says.

Proof of the event's success is the overwhelming response to a call for volunteers for the new Texas DOT LTPP data analysis team. Twenty-two people-more than a third of the DOT staff who attended the rally-signed up for the team. The volunteers will use the LTPP data in research projects aimed at solving pressing pavement problems in Texas.

For more information on the Texas DOT Pep Rally, contact Debbie Walker (phone: 512-467-3914; fax: 512-465-3681).

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