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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
This magazine is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
|Publication Number: Date: September/October 2001|
Issue No: Vol. 65 No. 2
Date: September/October 2001
Along the Road is the place to look for information about current and upcoming activities, developments, trends, and items of general interest to the highway community. This information comes from U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.
Policy and Legislation
Senate Passes Transportation Spending Plan, Restricts Mexican Truck Access
The U.S. Senate approved a $60.1 billion transportation appropriations bill, S. 1178, on Aug. 1 that provides $225 million for the federally managed Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program. The U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of the spending plan, H.R. 2299, in late June.
President George W. Bush wants Mexican trucks to have broad access to the United States in keeping with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) provisions. However, the Senate bill would restrict the number of Mexican truckers allowed to travel freely, and the House spending bill prohibits any expansion. The White House has threatened to veto the final spending bill if the Mexican trucks remain restricted.
More information is available on the ITS Legislative page at www.itsa.org.
FMCSA Proposes Disqualification of Commercial Drivers Convicted of Serious Violations
U.S. DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed a requirement that drivers of large trucks or buses who are subject to the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 be disqualified from driving if convicted of certain offenses while driving any vehicle.
Offenses that would disqualify a convicted driver include drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident, committing a general or substance?related felony, violating railroad?highway grade crossing signs, excessive speeding, and reckless driving. Disqualification would mean suspension, revocation, or cancellation of a commercial driver's license by the issuing state. The time period for disqualification would vary according to the offense committed.
The proposed rule would also require states to share traffic violation information in some cases and would authorize FMCSA to make emergency grants to help states meet all commercial driver's licensing standards. The proposal also authorizes tougher penalties on states that do not comply with the new requirements.
Written comments should be sent by Oct. 25 to the U.S. DOT Docket Facility, Attn: Docket No. FMCSA-01-9709, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590-0001. The proposed rule can be viewed by searching at http://docketsinfo.dot.gov/. Comments may be submitted electronically at http://docketsinfo.dot.gov/.
DOT Updates Drug and Alcohol Testing Requirements
U.S. DOT announced that it is issuing several rules to update its new drug and alcohol testing procedures that were published in December 2000 and which became effective Aug. 1, 2001.
The first of these rules is a set of technical amendments that clarify or correct a number of details in the regulations published last December. The amendments emphasize the obligation of participants to start using a new, simpler drug testing collection form, but provide a three-month period during which use of the old form will not cause tests to be declared invalid. The rule also provides that "validity testing" of urine specimens will remain voluntary until the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publishes a final rule governing laboratory procedures for validity testing.
Each of the department's operating administrations is also publishing a "conforming" rule to make its own drug and alcohol testing requirements fully consistent with the DOT rules.
In addition, the department is publishing a document responding to comments on certain policy issues raised concerning the new requirements.
All of the documents have been posted on the department's docket Web site at http://docketsinfo.dot.gov/ (Docket Nos. OST-1999-6578, FAA-2000-8431, FTA-2000-8513, and FRA-2000-8583). The documents are also available at the department's drug and alcohol testing Web site at www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/, and will be published in the Federal Register.
Management and Administration
Mineta Announces Initiative to Develop First Ever National Tunnel Management System
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced a U.S. DOT initiative to develop a tunnel management system for the nation's highway and transit tunnels. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are joining together to focus on this critical, but often overlooked, segment of America's transportation network.
The first ever Tunnel Management System will be a comprehensive effort to produce a complete inventory of the nation's highway and transit tunnels, lay out procedures for proper inspection and record keeping, and provide guidance for proper maintenance and rehabilitation techniques to ensure safe and efficient tunnels in the future.
The system is scheduled to be completed in 2002, and a guide that will assemble the best practices from all available sources will be published.
Standards Priority Deployment Areas Announced
The ITS Standards Program has chosen six deployment areas as priority areas for standards: signal systems, traffic management (center-to-center communications), dynamic message signs, transit, incident management, and environmental sensor stations.
Project managers for standards efforts that support the traffic management, signal systems, and dynamic message signs areas have developed an aggressive schedule in order to complete development or amendment within 12 to 18 months.
Monitoring Highway Runoff Water Quality
FHWA contracted with URS Group, Inc. to conduct an evaluation of water quality monitoring equipment for measuring the constituents of highway stormwater runoff. Testing was done on the methodologies and the use of various monitoring and sampling equipment in the highway environment.
The result of the study is a report, Guidance Manual for Monitoring Highway Runoff Water Quality. This manual will assist states and local governments in preparing highway stormwater monitoring programs based on monitoring goals. Guidance is provided to assist the user in selecting not only equipment, but also highway stormwater runoff monitoring designs for a comprehensive plan. Recommendations and field evaluations are given for specific equipment and monitoring methods. The report provides recommendations on adaptations necessary for using available off-the-shelf equipment to improve the evaluation of stormwater runoff in the highway setting.
For more information or to obtain a copy of the report, contact Patricia Cazenas at (202) 366-4085, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Information and Information Exchange
ARTBA & NAPA Join Forces With Smithsonian to Launch Transportation Exhibition
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) have pledged a combined $2 million to support a permanent exhibition called "America on the Move" at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The exhibition, scheduled to open in Fall 2003, will provide an educational experience on the importance of transportation and its underlying infrastructure to the nation's history and economy.
Using state-of-the-art media and interactive presentation techniques, this exhibition will tell the story of transportation history through period settings using artifacts from the Smithsonian collections. The Interstate Highway System will be a major part of the exhibition.
One of the other sponsoring partners of "America on the Move" is U.S. DOT.
For additional information about "America on the Move," contact ARTBA Vice President of Communications Matt Jeanneret at (202) 289-4434 or NAPA Vice President of Marketing & Communications Margaret Cervarich at (888) 468-6499.
-American Road & Transportation Builders Association
FHWA's CD-ROM Wins Audiovisual Award
A CD-ROM developed by FHWA to help improve pedestrian safety has received one of the highest honors in audiovisual competition from the International Film and Video Festival ¾ the Gold Camera Award for interactive multimedia.
"Safer Journey - Interactive Pedestrian Safety Awareness" is an interactive CD-ROM that takes the user through various pedestrian safety scenarios encountered on roads and streets in order to improve the level of pedestrian knowledge for all road users (including schools, driver education groups, enforcement, etc.) and people involved in advancing safety.
Copies of this product can be obtained by contacting the FHWA Office of Safety, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC 20590, (202) 366-2288, or by e-mail at email@example.com. For more information, visit Pedestrian/Bicycle.
Ohio DOT Wins Award for System to Evaluate Consultants
Ohio DOT's Division of Production Management won a Pathfinder Award from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) for the development of its Web-based Consultant Evaluation System (CES), which analyzes and rates the performance of consultants who work on state transportation projects.
CES allows district project mangers to create evaluations tailor-made to every type of project. District project managers rate consultants based on their performance in meeting Ohio DOT's expectations using a numerical scale, with written comments and explanations.
Because CES is Web-based, district project managers throughout Ohio and employees in Ohio DOT's central office in Columbus can easily access information in this flexible, user-friendly system in order to match the best consultant to a department project.
"Driving Vacations Through the Ages"
A special multimedia presentation was recently released by msnbc.com. "Driving Vacations Through the Ages" is an interactive presentation tracing the evolution of the Great American Road Trip. The presentation contains an historical account of roads, highways, and the Interstate highway system, as well as the fads, music, and political and business twists of the early years through the 1990s.
-American Society of Civil Engineers
ITS America Launches e-zine
ITS View, a new monthly online magazine published by ITS America, offers a lively venue for passing ITS information to interested readers via the Internet. It provides a forum for opinions from staff and others presented in a casual, user-friendly format, bringing a lighter slant to the industry and ITS technology.
Trucker Channel Goes Nationwide
The 32-year-old Midnight Cowboy Radio Network will begin broadcasting to truckers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, nationwide over the Sirius satellite radio network later this year.
Providing segments on industry news, efficiency and productivity, and new products, as well as entertainment features, programming focuses on providing "business tools" for commercial drivers and fleet managers. It will also broadcast up-to-the-minute information and news.
HIPERPAV Used in DTU Course
An FHWA-developed software package HIPERPAV (developed for predicting early-age cracking in concrete pavements) was used in the "Behavior and Performance of Early Age Concrete" course held at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) from June 17-23 in Lyngby, Denmark.
FHWA's HIPERPAV software was used in several course segments, including "Practical Models for Pavement Behavior" and the computer laboratory portion of the course.
The course was free to students due to the sponsorship of the Knud Højgaard Foundation.
Houston's METRO U.Pass Program Returns
After a pilot program that achieved impressive numbers and received rave reviews from student users throughout the academic community, Houston's metropolitan transit authority (METRO) announced that its U.Pass program, which offers free rides to college and technical school students, is back in session Aug. 1 through Dec. 31.
The program encourages the use of mass transit, which, in turn, helps reduce air pollution in the Houston, Texas area. Once registered, students need only show a valid post-secondary school ID when using the U.Pass to ride any of METRO's fixed bus routes.
Student participants in the pilot program praised the excellent service and reduced costs for gas and parking. They were also proud to do their part to enhance the Houston region's air quality.
-METRO, Houston, Texas
Transportation Board Signs ITS Agreement With FHWA
The Virginia DOT Commonwealth Transportation Board approved a partnership agreement with FHWA to deploy ITS and services in the Interstate 81 corridor.
The Transportation Appropriations Act specifies that at least $3 million be allocated to the I-81 "safety corridor" and that Virginia DOT, where possible, will work with Virginia Tech, James Madison University, and George Mason University.
Specific initiatives designated to receive this funding include:
• Extending and expanding "Travel Shenandoah" and implementing the 5-1-1 travel information service.
• University support for evaluation and other activities.
• I-81 Corridor Concepts of Operation for the Salem, Bristol, and Staunton districts, which will form a regional structure for managing Virginia DOT's ITS equipment in use along the corridor and regional emergency operation centers.
New Jersey Turnpike Is First Recipient of Perpetual Pavement Award
The Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA) announced the first recipient of its newly created Perpetual Pavement Award. The New Jersey Turnpike, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, will receive the award that was created to recognize hot-mix asphalt pavements that have lasted at least 35 years without rehabilitation other than surface treatments and whose underlying structures are still providing exceptional service to the traveling public.
APA continues to accept nominations for this award, which will be evaluated by engineers at the National Center for Asphalt Technology at Auburn University in Alabama. Nomination forms are available from all state asphalt pavement associations and state DOTs. For more information, contact Roger Sandberg, APA, at (888) 468-6499 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about the Perpetual Pavement Award is also available at www.asphaltalliance.org.
-Asphalt Pavement Alliance
Virginia's Wildflowers Brochure Is Available
"Wildflowers Color Virginia," a new brochure by the Virginia DOT, describes their popular program that has grown more than 202 hectares (500 acres) of assorted species of wildflowers along Virginia's state highways.
Wildflowers promote economic development, and well-kept highways can help reduce accidents and litter. The fields of vibrant color rouse drivers from "highway hypnosis" and diminish driver fatigue. Studies also indicate that most people are less inclined to throw trash onto a clean, aesthetic roadway.
The brochure, which folds out into a poster featuring photographs, botanical names, and blooming seasons of the 13 species of flowers used to beautify Virginia's highways, is available at visitor centers throughout Virginia or by calling 1 (800) PRIDE VA (774-3382) or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Survey Launched To Determine Public Expectations of 5-1-1 Service
ITS America selected The Gallup Organization to conduct a public survey on expectations for the emerging 5-1-1 traveler information service. The survey will describe what the basic features of the 5-1-1 service are likely to be and will ask how important the attributes are in terms of ensuring use of the service by the public.
The survey could pose up to 45 questions to commuters, through travelers, and commercial vehicle operators. The final report will include results from focus groups in as many as four cities and will cover issues related to content, consistency, and cost.
ITS Deployment in Major Cities Lagging, But Making Strides
Twenty-three of the top 78 U.S. metropolitan areas continue to have low levels of ITS deployment, according to a recent survey. However, a closer analysis reveals that these cities are making some strides in five key areas:
• Percentage of freeway miles under surveillance.
• Transit lines with automatic vehicle location and electronic fare payment.
• Number of signalized intersections under centralized or closed-loop control.
• Agencies disseminating regional multimodal traveler information.
• Emergency services vehicles using computer-aided dispatch.
The results of the survey, which included about 20 pages of questions, were based on a 90-percent response rate to a mailing of 2,000 surveys. There will not be a survey in 2001 as the format undergoes a revision to make it shorter and Web-based.
In 1996, U.S. DOT set a goal of reaching complete deployment of ITS in the top U.S. cities by 2005.
The survey can be viewed at http://itsdeployment.ornl.gov/its2000/.
Runge Becomes 12th NHTSA Administrator
Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D., has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 12th National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator.
Runge is a nationally recognized physician expert in motor vehicle injury care and prevention. A researcher and educator in emergency medicine, he has focused on the area of injury prevention and control, with a particular interest in motor vehicle injuries.
Certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine, Runge has served on the faculty of the Emergency Medicine Residency at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., since 1984. His undergraduate degree is from the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn. He received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1981 and completed his residency in emergency medicine at Charlotte Memorial Hospital and Medical Center in 1984. He was most recently the director of the Carolinas Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Runge is on the Trauma Care and Injury Control Committee and the Research Committee of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He has been the president of the North Carolina College of Emergency Physicians and the speaker of the North Carolina Medical Society.
Clinton Promoted to Resource Center Manager — West
Chester Glenn Clinton has been appointed Resource Center Manager — West, Western Resource Center, San Francisco, Calif., effective May 20.
Prior to his appointment, Clinton served as team leader, Program Delivery Team — North, in the California Division. He has held several other key positions in the California Division, including team leader, Program Delivery Team — South; chief, Program Review/Policy Coordination; and district engineer. Clinton joined FHWA in 1962 as a highway engineer trainee.
ACI Elects Baker as President
The American Concrete Institute (ACI) and its Board of Directors has announced the election of Daniel Baker as its new president. Baker's term runs through March 2002.
Baker, who is also president of one of the nation's largest concrete construction firms, Baker Construction Company, Inc., of Monroe, Ohio, has been a long-standing member of ACI for more than 25 years.
-American Concrete Institute - International