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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 69 · No. 6 > Along the Road

May/Jun 2006
Vol. 69 · No. 6

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-2006-004

Along the Road

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 (USDOT) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.

Management and Administration

Gulf Coast States Receive $868 Million for Hurricane Reconstruction

In January 2006, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta announced that Gulf Coast States still rebuilding after 2005's devastating hurricanes will share $868 million in Federal funds aimed at fueling road and bridge projects. Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas will use the money to repair or rebuild federally supported highways and bridges damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Mineta said.

"This money gives States the confidence of knowing we are with them," Mineta said. Eligibility for Federal funds varies by project, but in most cases, the Federal Government will pay for 100 percent of the work, he added.

The funding was included in a $2.75 billion emergency relief package requested by President George W. Bush and approved by the U.S. Congress in late 2005.

Earlier, USDOT sent $25 million each to Louisiana and Mississippi, enabling them to begin repairs while they awaited Congressional action on a more comprehensive transportation funding package.

Technical News

Electronic Toll Collection Reduces Harmful Air Emissions

FHWA and the National Transportation Center at Morgan State University in Maryland recently completed a study that examined changes in mobile air emissions after electronic toll collection systems were installed at three major toll plazas outside Baltimore. The system used toll tag readers and in-vehicle transponders to execute toll transactions automatically as vehicles passed through toll booths. Based on field observations of traffic conditions at the Fort McHenry Tunnel, the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, and the Francis Scott Key Bridge, researchers used computer models to simulate traffic patterns and quantify emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides before and after the systems were deployed.

The researchers simulated three scenarios to evaluate the impacts on air quality. The first represented conditions prior to the deployment (early spring of 1999). The second represented conditions as the market penetration rates reached 21-28 percent (summer of 1999), and the third represented conditions as market penetration rates reached approximately 50 percent (2001).

A comparative analysis of the pre- and postdeployment scenarios showed that the electronic toll collection system reduced hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide emissions by 40-63 percent, and reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides by approximately 16 percent.

For more information, visit www.itsbenefits.its.dot.gov/its/benecost.nsf/0/2A54E49709FE232D852570A7004590D8?OpenDocument.

FHWA Develops Guidelines for Road Tunnel Design

During the past 10 years, highway agencies built major road tunnel projects in Alaska, Arkansas, Massachusetts, and other States. These tunnels were built using generally accepted procedures influenced by bridge standards and specifications developed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and other organizations. Until recently, however, uniform national standards or guidelines had not existed.

"Many designers have expressed a need for design standards," says Jesus Rohena, senior tunnel engineer at FHWA. "There was a gap that needed to be filled. Also, because there has been little uniformity of approach to tunnel designs in the past, there are now widely varying designs. And in some cases, projects are overdesigned."

To help fill the void, FHWA recently developed the FHWA Road Tunnel Design Guidelines (Publication No. FHWA-IF-05-023), which provide technical design criteria on topics such as planning, design, machinery, and construction.

The FHWA Road Tunnel Design Guidelines provide design standards for tunnels like the one shown here on Skyline Drive near U.S. 211 in the Shenandoah Valley, VA.
The FHWA Road Tunnel Design Guidelines provide design standards for tunnels like the one shown here on Skyline Drive near U.S. 211 in the Shenandoah Valley, VA.

The next phase of the initiative is to expand the guidelines and develop a Road Tunnel Design Manual. "The manual will be more detailed, covering procedures and all the steps that need to be followed to design a tunnel," Rohena says. The manual, expected to be completed in 2007, will incorporate the latest accepted national and international technologies and methods for the design and construction of long-lasting tunnels.

To obtain a copy of the FHWA Road Tunnel Design Guidelines, contact the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) at 800-553-6847 or info@ntis.gov, or visit its Web site at www.ntis.gov. The NTIS document number for the publication is PB2006-100660. For more information, contact Jesus Rohena at 202-366-4593 or jesus.rohena@fhwa.dot.gov.

Public Information and Information Exchange

FHWA Honors 2005 Roadway Safety Initiatives

FHWA and the Roadway Safety Foundation (RSF) recently honored the winners of the "2005 National Roadway Safety Awards." Out of the 65 life-saving projects submitted, 14 winners received the award for their innovation and excellence in operations, planning, and roadway design to reduce fatalities. The winners included State DOTs, State police agencies, metropolitan planning organizations, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service.

Red-light running violations were reduced by 50 percent at an intersection in Clearwater, FL, after traffic managers installed intersection enforcement lights like the one shown here. The white light illuminates with a specific red light so that when a violation occurs, a single police officer positioned downstream can both observe the violation and pull over the offender.
Red-light running violations were reduced by 50 percent at an intersection in Clearwater, FL, after traffic managers installed intersection enforcement lights like the one shown here. The white light illuminates with a specific red light so that when a violation occurs, a single police officer positioned downstream can both observe the violation and pull over the offender.

The winning projects represented the key components of safety: engineering, education, and enforcement. FHWA Acting Administrator J. Richard Capka, FHWA Acting Associate Administrator for Safety Michael Halladay, and RSF Executive Director Gregory Cohen presented the awards.

A complete brochure of the awards is available at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/pedforum/index.cfm. The next National Roadway Safety Awards competition will take place in 2007. For more information, please contact Kathy Krause at 202-366-9265 or kathy.krause@fhwa.dot.gov.

FHWA Develops Guidelines for Road Tunnel Design

During the past 10 years, highway agencies built major road tunnel projects in Alaska, Arkansas, Massachusetts, and other States. These tunnels were built using generally accepted procedures influenced by bridge standards and specifications developed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and other organizations. Until recently, however, uniform national standards or guidelines had not existed.

"Many designers have expressed a need for design standards," says Jesus Rohena, senior tunnel engineer at FHWA. "There was a gap that needed to be filled. Also, because there has been little uniformity of approach to tunnel designs in the past, there are now widely varying designs. And in some cases, projects are overdesigned."

To help fill the void, FHWA recently developed the FHWA Road Tunnel Design Guidelines (Publication No. FHWA-IF-05-023), which provide technical design criteria on topics such as planning, design, machinery, and construction.

The next phase of the initiative is to expand the guidelines and develop a Road Tunnel Design Manual. "The manual will be more detailed, covering procedures and all the steps that need to be followed to design a tunnel," Rohena says. The manual, expected to be completed in 2007, will incorporate the latest accepted national and international technologies and methods for the design and construction of long-lasting tunnels.

To obtain a copy of the FHWA Road Tunnel Design Guidelines, contact the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) at 800-553-6847 or info@ntis.gov, or visit its Web site at www.ntis.gov. The NTIS document number for the publication is PB2006-100660. For more information, contact Jesus Rohena at 202-366-4593 or jesus.rohena@fhwa.dot.gov.

TDOT Debuts New Web-Based Map Showing Road Conditions

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) recently debuted an electronic map displaying road conditions, as part of its SmartWay information system on the department's Web site.

"This is an exciting advancement in the level of information we can provide to the public," says TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. "It is a much more sophisticated map that can provide specific road condition information like we were never able to do before, plus it is now easier and faster to use."

This is the first major improvement to the map since the late 1990s. In its early form, the map provided road conditions only on a county-by-county basis.

"This advanced SmartWay system allows people to log on and pinpoint specific roadways rather than just a county to find out the current driving conditions," adds Judy Steele, director of TDOT's Community Relations Division. "We sincerely hope that people will use the map frequently and begin to depend on it as an important travel tool when planning their driving trips any time of the year."

Weather-related road conditions displayed on the map include snow, ice, and flooding. Users can view information on a statewide, regional, or local scale. Options include information about construction, roadway incidents, traffic flow, and road conditions. The map also will enable users to view TDOT SmartWay cameras and variable message signs in Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville.

To access the map, visit www.tdot.state.tn.us.

TDOT

Caltrans Wants Teens to "Slow for the Cone Zone"

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is launching a statewide driver safety education campaign urging teens to "Slow for the Cone Zone" and drive safely through work zones. As an incentive, Caltrans is offering participating high school students a chance to win a new car, tires, rims, and car insurance for a year.

A screenshot of the 'Slow for the Cone Zone' web site

"Slow for the Cone Zone" uses classroom materials and private driver training to teach teens to be watchful and slow down in highway construction and work zones. At a news conference at C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento, CA, Caltrans Director Will Kempton explained the details of the campaign and sweepstakes, which is sponsored in part by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

"Driving is a huge responsibility, and 16-year-olds are four times as likely as other drivers to be killed in a collision," Kempton said. "Caltrans wants to reinforce safe driving habits, especially in work zones. We hope this incentive will help get teens' attention."

To qualify, teen drivers must watch a short educational DVD, answer 13 questions on the "Slow for the Cone Zone" Web site (www.slowfortheconezone.com), and fill out an entry card. Those who answer correctly will be entered to win a new car with upgraded tires and rims, plus a year of car insurance.

"Slow for the Cone Zone" is a public awareness campaign that aims to save the lives of highway workers, drivers, and passengers in work zones. Since it was launched in 1999, the campaign has reduced deaths and injuries to motorists in highway work zones.

For more information, visit www.dot.ca.gov or www.slowfortheconezone.com.

Caltrans

License Plate Sales to Benefit Children of Fallen Highway Workers

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), along with Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC), is launching a new public awareness campaign to help improve safety in roadway work zones and directly benefit the children of highway workers killed on the job.

APC developed license plates with the message "Slow Down! Highway Workers" and asked its members to outfit their construction fleets with them. The plates were designed at the direction of the APC/Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Joint Safety Committee to educate motorists about the need to drive responsibly in highway work zones. They are available to the public for a nominal fee.

APC is selling front license plates to increase public awareness of the need to drive responsibly in highway work zones, and to raise scholarship money for the children of fallen highway workers.
APC is selling front license plates (shown here) to increase public awareness of the need to drive responsibly in highway work zones, and to raise scholarship money for the children of fallen highway workers.

The proceeds will be used to support the ARTBA Transportation Development Foundation's (ARTBA-TDF) Highway Worker Memorial Scholarship Program, which provides post-high school financial assistance to the children of highway workers killed or permanently disabled on the job. Over the past 5 years, the foundation has awarded nearly 50 scholarships.

A rendering of the plate is available online at www.paconstructors.org. For more information, contact Brian Fraley at 717-238-2513, ext. 104 or bfraley@paconstructors.org.

ARTBA

HIPERPAV Paves the Way With Honors

To open newly constructed pavements within days or hours after the work is completed, pavement contractors in the early 1990s used "fast-track" concrete mixes that gain strength rapidly but can be severely damaged if placed during adverse weather conditions. In response to this problem, Stephen Forster, former technical director for Pavement Research & Development at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, led a research effort involving FHWA, The Transtec Group, Inc., academia, State DOTs, industry, pavement contractors, and materials suppliers to create the HIgh PERformance PAVing (HIPERPAVTM) software program. HIPERPAV provides guidance on designing and constructing concrete pavements.

Recently the American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) selected HIPERPAV as the winner of its 2005 Marlin J. Knutson Award for Technical Achievement. The annual award goes to a project that has made significant contributions to advance the development and implementation of innovative technical and best practice approaches in the design and construction of concrete pavements.

Released in 1996, HIPERPAV operates in a Microsoft® Windows® environment and helps pavement planners and designers predict the stresses and strength in early-age concrete. It also helps users evaluate the potential for uncontrolled cracking in new concrete pavements during construction. The program makes these predictions by considering the potential impact of various construction procedures, mix and pavement designs, traffic levels, and environmental factors on the overall long-term performance of the pavement.

In 2005, FHWA released HIPERPAV® II, an expanded version of the software containing new features and modules. The first module enables users to see the effect that early-age design and construction strategies can have on the long-term performance of jointed plain concrete pavement. The second module predicts the behavior of continuously reinforced concrete pavements for the days and months after placement. Other improvements in HIPERPAV II include enhanced materials characterization, additional flexibility in climatic input, and a completely redesigned graphical user interface.

For more information on HIPERPAV, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/pavement/pccp/hipemain.cfm or contact Fred Faridazar at 202-493-3076, fred.faridazar@fhwa.dot.gov or Mauricio Ruiz at 512-451-6233, mauricio@thetranstecgroup.com.

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