U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
|Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations|
Date: March 1999
Few people would buy a television set without looking at different models, seeing how well they work, and picking the one with the features and price they want. But this kind of comparison shopping can be a little trickier for State and local highway agencies looking at new equipment and materials for patching potholes. "Even at an equipment show, there's not usually an opportunity for vendors to take their products out to the parking lot to fill a pothole," says R.C. Slovensky of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) California Division.
Looking to influence the pavement design and maintenance strategies of the future? It's not too late to enter the long-term pavement performance (LTPP) program's DataPave contest. Sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), this contest for college students involves using data from the LTPP studies. Contestants are provided with the DataPave software, which contains information on traffic materials, performance, environment, and other variables at the more than 2,400 LTPP test sections on in-service highways and roads across the United States. Students determine a research objective, conduct the research, and analyze the data. The findings are then submitted in the form of a paper for evaluation.
For some years now, mobile asphalt testing laboratories operated by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have crisscrossed the country, providing hands-on training and technical support in designing and building Superpave pavements. To date, the two labs, each staffed with a team of technicians and outfitted with state-of-the-art mix design and testing equipment, have been put to use at 57 project sites in 33 States. They have also been showcased at more than 15 conferences. The labs allow highway agency staff, contractors, and asphalt suppliers to learn and experiment with the mix design procedures that form the core of the Superpave system.
Enhancing transportation research and technology through partnerships was the theme of a special session at the Transportation Research Board's (TRB) annual meeting in January. The session brought together industry representatives, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) personnel, and over 100 annual meeting participants to discuss the importance of partnerships in light of the lack of designated funding for research and development contained in the 1998 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).
A major winter storm is approaching. Two maintenance managers-Fred and Mike-take totally different strategies. Fred's listening to local weather reports and waiting for the storm to start; he'll then make decisions on when and where to dispatch plows. Mike's using forecasts specially tailored to his region, together with the latest in snow and ice control technologies, to determine where to send crews to treat roads with anti-icing chemicals before the storm starts.
Joe Mickes, chief engineer of the Missouri Highway and Transportation Department, has retired after 41 years with the department. During his tenure, he was a strong supporter of the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) and the implementation of the resulting SHRP products. This support was reflected in his service as chairman of the Transportation Research Board (TRB)-SHRP Committee and as a member of the AASHTO Task Force on SHRP Implementation. He also served as a member of TRB's Executive Committee.