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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 70 · No. 3 > Along the Road

Nov/Dec 2006
Vol. 70 · No. 3

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-2006-001

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

National Initiative to Tackle Congestion Launched

In May 2006, then-Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta announced a national initiative to tackle highway, freight, and aviation congestion. During remarks to the National Retail Federation, Mineta said that "congestion kills time, wastes fuel, and costs money." He noted that the United States loses an estimated $200 billion per year due to freight bottlenecks and delayed deliveries. In addition, consumers lose 3.7 billion hours and 2.3 billion gallons of fuel sitting in traffic.

The new initiative, the National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on America's Transportation Network, provides a blueprint for Federal, State, and local officials to tackle congestion, Mineta said. He noted that over the coming months, USDOT will focus its resources, funding, staff, and technology on reducing traffic jams, relieving freight bottlenecks, and cutting flight delays. The initiative will seek Urban Partnership Agreements with communities willing to demonstrate new congestion relief strategies and will encourage States to pass legislation giving the private sector a broader opportunity to invest in transportation. The goals of the initiative are more wide-—spread deployment of new operational technologies and practices that end traffic tieups, designation of new interstate "corridors of the future," reduced port and border congestion, and expansion of aviation capacity.

"The bottom line is that every person and every business in America has a vested interest in reducing congestion," Mineta said. "We don't have to let traffic delays put our lives on hold any longer."

To download a copy of the plan, go to http://isddc.dot.gov/OLPFiles/OST/012988.pdf.

Acting U.S. Secretary of Transportation Maria Cino and Iraqi Minister for Construction and Housing Beyan I. Dezei sign the MOC between FHWA and the Republic of Iraq. The MOC will facilitate the possible development of a Technology Transfer Center and facilitate information sharing activities to meet the needs of the Iraqi highway transportation community. Photo: Ben Mitchell, USDOT photographer.
Acting U.S. Secretary of Transportation Maria Cino and Iraqi Minister for Construction and Housing Beyan I. Dezei sign the MOC between FHWA and the Republic of Iraq. The MOC will facilitate the possible development of a Technology Transfer Center and facilitate information sharing activities to meet the needs of the Iraqi highway transportation community. Photo: Ben Mitchell, USDOT photographer.

U.S. Helps Iraq Build Roads and Bridges

Acting U.S. Secretary of Transportation Maria Cino and Iraqi Minister for Construction and Housing Beyan I. Dezei made history August 4, 2006, by signing the first memorandum of cooperation (MOC) between the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Republic of Iraq.

The MOC will serve as the umbrella agreement under which both nations will engage officially in the exchange of transportation technology, and it will reaffirm the commitment of the United States to provide technical assistance to Iraqi roadbuilders.

The partnership will include the development of a Technology Transfer Center (TTC) in Baghdad and an engineering training program for Iraqi engineers in the United States. Through its University Transportation Centers and TTCs around the world, FHWA's National Highway Institute has developed an extensive roadbuilding training network. Lessons learned by international experts working in different climates, with different techniques and materials, will help to expand the knowledge base available to all road engineers.

The new U.S.-Iraq partnership will help motorists around the world by capitalizing on the insights gained by U.S. engineers in repairing road and bridge damage caused by natural disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Similarly, lessons learned from engineers internationally about road damage, repair and maintenance, sign placement, and lane width help U.S. transportation officials ensure the safety of motorists.

"We have long been partners with the Iraqi people in their transportation projects," says FHWA Administrator J. Richard Capka. "This memorandum of cooperation formalizes our relationship and will ensure that the highway programs of our two countries reap the benefits."

This year, Minister Dezei was in the United States for a whirlwind tour that included a visit to Washington, DC, to meet with FHWA officials, and to St. Petersburg, FL, where she participated in the Second International Symposium on Transportation Technology Transfer.

In 2004, FHWA hosted Iraqi officials interested in starting a technology exchange center in their country. Iraqi engineers also visited the United States in 2005 to work with FHWA's Federal Lands Highway Division and to receive on-the-job training on GEOPAK®, a civil engineering and transportation software technology.

Edward Rodriguez, FHWA

Public Information and Information Exchange

HSRC Receives $1.6 Million for National Bicycle, Pedestrian Clearinghouse

The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) recently received $1.6 million for the renewal of the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Clearinghouse, a nationwide source of pedestrian and bicycle information and technical assistance.

The National Bicycle and Pedestrian Clearinghouse has coordinated, both nationally and internationally, International Walk to School activities such as this one, where children are walking to Auburn Elementary School in California. Photo: International Walk to School.
The National Bicycle and Pedestrian Clearinghouse has coordinated, both nationally and internationally, International Walk to School activities such as this one, where children are walking to Auburn Elementary School in California. Photo: International Walk to School.

Included in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, the clearinghouse is funded by FHWA for 2 base years, with an option for an additional 21 months. HSRC has operated the clearinghouse for the past 6 years, disseminating information and technical assistance in the areas of health and safety, access and mobility, engineering, education, advocacy, and enforcement.

With the new funding, the clearinghouse will continue promoting bicycling and walking as transportation options, using innovative approaches such as downloadable presentations and searchable databases, and responding to the needs of the clearinghouse's audiences. The clearinghouse also will analyze and evaluate bicycle and pedestrian programs, as well as develop core studies and best practices reports.

The clearinghouse is available for use by transportation planners, engineers, educators, enforcement officers, advocates, the health community, and citizens who have an interest in pedestrian and bicycle issues. Multiple interactive and technical tools are available for practitioners to input their local concerns and obtain tailored guidance. The clearinghouse's Web site, www.pedbikeinfo.org, received an award in 2006 for best planning, design, and development from Planetizen, a planning and development network.

For more information, contact Katy Jones at HSRC at 919-843-7007 or jones@hsrc.unc.edu.

HSRC

Personnel

Capka Appointed FHWA Administrator

Former Acting Administrator J. Richard Capka was officially sworn in as the 16th FHWA Administrator on May 31, 2006. On June 12, he wrote to FHWA staff: "Though we have much for which to be proud, it is clear that we still have much in front of us, and much is dependent upon our ability to deliver...Technology and innovation are advancing at breakneck paces, and we need to be able to take full advantage of what they have to offer....Transportation will play a huge role in our Nation's ability to remain competitive [in] the global marketplace. Yet, access to sufficient resources with which to accomplish what needs to be accomplished remains an unresolved issue for us all."

Prior to his appointment, Capka served as the deputy administrator of FHWA. In this capacity, he helped to prepare the transportation reauthorization proposal and to shape the management of highway megaprojects across the country.

Before joining FHWA, Capka served as chief executive officer/executive director of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (MTA), where he directed oversight of the $14.5 billion Central Artery/Tunnel Project ("Big Dig") in Boston, the largest and most complex infrastructure project ever in the United States.

Prior to his position with MTA, Capka retired from a 29-year military career in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where he served in the United States, Europe, the Pacific, and the Far East. Before retirement as a U.S. Army brigadier general, Capka's most recent assignments included division engineer and commander of the Corps' South Atlantic Division.

In 1997, he led the Federal flood system recovery response to the unprecedented California floods that severely damaged the Sacramento and San Joaquin flood control systems. The effort earned specific praise from both then-President William J. Clinton and then-Governor of California Pete Wilson.

Capka is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and holds a master's in engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master's in business administration from Chaminade University of Honolulu. He is a professional engineer, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As a result of his military service, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit.

Kendall Named Executive Director of Highway Funding Commission

A new Federal commission to study ways of paying for the Nation's highway and transit systems now has an executive director. In May 2006, then-Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta named Quintin C. Kendall to head up the new Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission. The 12-member panel met for the first time on May 24, 2006, in Washington, DC.

J. Richard Capka, seen here in the middle, was sworn in as the 16th FHWA Administrator by Acting Secretary of Transportation Maria Cino (left) and then-Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta (right).
J. Richard Capka, seen here in the middle, was sworn in as the 16th FHWA Administrator by Acting Secretary of Transportation Maria Cino (left) and then-Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta (right).

"This commission will create the roadmap we need to navigate the financial future of our highway and transit networks," Mineta said. "Quintin has the skills necessary to help the commission accomplish its assignment."

Kendall will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the commission, including the scheduling of meetings and hearings, oversight of administrative support to the commission members, and development of the commission's final product, a report to Congress due July 1, 2007.

Kendall joined USDOT in 2002 as Secretary Mineta's White House liaison before becoming the deputy assistant secretary for management and budget in 2005.

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