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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-09-005    Date:  Jul/Aug 2009
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-09-005
Issue No: Vol. 73 No. 1
Date: Jul/Aug 2009


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.

Technical News

University of Minnesota Tests Self-Consolidating Concrete in Prestressed Girders

A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota recently completed a multiyear study of prestressed bridge girders made from self-consolidating concrete (SCC), a highly workable material that spreads into place without mechanical vibration.

University of Minnesota researchers found that prestressed concrete girders cast with self-consolidating concrete and no vibration (shown here) require fewer surface repairs than those cast with conventional concrete and internal vibration.
University of Minnesota researchers found that prestressed concrete girders cast with self-consolidating concrete and no vibration (shown here) require fewer surface repairs than those cast with conventional concrete and internal vibration.

The university researchers collaborated with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT), which sponsored the study, and local fabricators to develop SCC mixes based on locally available materials, and then used those mixes to fabricate prestressed bridge girders and cylinders. The mixes used an assortment of cementitious materials, aggregates, and admixtures. The researchers evaluated the properties of the SCC mixes using a variety of tests they developed to determine how well the mixes flowed, how easily the coarse aggregates could pass through reinforcing obstacles, and how resistant the mixes were to segregation.

The SCC girders performed comparably to conventional concrete girders, with measured prestress losses generally agreeing with predictions. Further, the researchers determined that models of creep and shrinkage based on data from the test cylinders can give reasonable predictions of prestress losses for both conventional and SCC girders.

To download or order a copy of the study report, Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC) for Prestressed Bridge Girders (Mn/DOT 2008-51), visit www.cts.umn.edu/Publications/ResearchReports/reportdetail.html?id=1682.

University of Minnesota, Center for Transportation Studies

Public Information and Information Exchange

Virtual Workshops Help DelDOT Cut Costs

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) is adding a new format for its public workshops. For certain types of projects, instead of hosting in-person workshops, the department now will conduct "virtual" meetings, cutting costs related to staff and contractor compensation and overtime, room rentals, and fuel. The virtual workshop format represents a new tactic in the department's toolkit for communicating with the public at various stages of a project's life cycle.

A virtual workshop consists of a Web page that includes information about a proposed transportation project, such as design plans, detour routes, and current photographs. The virtual workshop enables members of the public to respond to project-specific questionnaires and surveys online. Using the Web site's multimedia component, DelDOT officials can share project information through audio and video presentations as well.

DelDOT held its first virtual workshop in January 2009 for the Sandy Bend Road Bridge project. According to DelDOT representatives, this project was a good fit for a virtual workshop because the proposed bridge improvements are minor and affect a relatively small number of residents and businesses. DelDOT will continue to hold live public meetings for high-profile projects, which tend to attract more people and warrant the associated costs.

For more information, visit www.deldot.gov.


IABSE Offers Free, Online Publications Archive

The International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE) recently made its archive of publications from 1929-1999 available to the public online. The archive contains more than 80,000 pages of historical documents on structural engineering worldwide, all of which are accessible for free to students, researchers, transportation professionals, and the public.

The IABSE archive covers a broad range of topics dealing with structures (such as bridges, highrise and industrial buildings, and sports stadiums), materials (such as concrete, steel, composites, timber, glass, and plastics), and phases of the construction process (such as planning design, construction, operation, monitoring, maintenance, rehabilitation, and demolition). A major component of the archive consists of reports collected from IABSE conferences. Also included are other IABSE series and periodicals. Some publications are available in French and German.

Advanced search functionality enables site visitors to perform full-text searches for words anywhere in the documents. Or visitors can browse the archive by title, author, or year to find information on research, projects, and other IABSE activities.

For more information, visit www.iabse.org/publications/archive.


FHWA to Develop Long-Term Plan For Pedestrian Safety

The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Offices of Safety and Safety Research recently began a project that will create a comprehensive strategic plan for the agency's pedestrian safety program. The strategic plan will be data driven, using crash and injury data to identify and prioritize research, development, and deployment gaps needed to reduce pedestrian fatalities. The plan will provide the framework for the big picture in pedestrian safety over the next 15 years.

As part of the project, FHWA staff will contact pedestrian and bicycling stakeholders to assess the use of previously developed products and materials to determine if they were effective in helping improve pedestrian safety and accessibility. FHWA is interested in seeing how stakeholders have used the products, how products could be improved, and what types of products might be useful in the future. Some of the products the agency intends to evaluate include the Pedestrian Forum newsletter, the Safer Journey (pedestrian) and Bicycle Safer Journey CD-ROMs, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Analysis Tool, University Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation (FHWA-HRT-05-085), PedSafe and BikeSafe tools, the report How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (FHWA-SA-05-12), materials for FHWA's Pedestrian Safety Campaign, and assorted materials for Hispanic pedestrians and bicyclists.

The final plan is scheduled for completion in September 2010.

Highways for LIFE Wins Gold Award for Marketing

FHWA's Highways for LIFE program won a MarCom Gold Award, like the one shown here, for its DVD toolkit on prefabricated bridge elements and systems.
FHWA's Highways for LIFE program won a MarCom Gold Award, like the one shown here, for its DVD toolkit on prefabricated bridge elements and systems.

FHWA's Highways for LIFE program recently won a MarCom Gold Award from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals for the program's DVD toolkit on prefabricated bridge elements and systems. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in marketing and communications worldwide.

The winning DVD, "Prefabricated Bridge Elements & Systems Toolkit" includes two videos, four article reprints, a report on bridge technology decisionmaking, a manual on self-propelled modular transporters, and Web links. The Highways for LIFE team created the toolkit in DVD format so it can update and easily distribute new materials without the hassle of reprinting each individual piece.

The association received more than 5,000 entries from the United States and abroad for the 2008 competition. Judges selected winners in seven forms of media and communications, including marketing, publications, marketing/promotion, public service/pro bono, creativity, and electronic/interactive.

For a copy of the DVD, contact Lizzie Morris at 202-366-0131 or elizabeth.pollock@dot.gov. For more information, contact Kathleen Bergeron at 202-366-5508 or kathleen.bergeron@dot.gov.

TRISworld Now Available to TRB Sponsors

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) recently launched the "TRISworld" Web site, which provides access to the world's largest and most comprehensive bibliographic resource on transportation research information. TRISworld is accessible by employees of TRB sponsor organizations and enables sponsors to search both the Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) database and the English language records of the International Transport Research Documentation database.

TRISworld provides access to more than 727,000 records of published international transportation research, and more than 47,000 records now have links to full text documents. The new Web site offers both simple and advanced search screens. Site visitors can browse recent publications by mode, and then print, download, or e-mail records.

TRB sponsors can log into TRISworld at http://trisworld.trb.org. For a list of TRB sponsors, go to www.TRB.org. For more information, contact Barbara Post at bpost@nas.edu.


Road Safety Audit Software Available

Road safety audit (RSA) software, developed by FHWA's Office of Safety, now is available from FHWA's "RSA" Web site at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/rsa/software. The free software can assist auditors in drafting RSA reports and recording safety issues by enabling them to access prompt lists by topic and location. Prompt lists are one of the tools auditors use while conducting RSAs to identify potential safety issues.

A prompt list works differently from a checklist. The drawback of a checklist is the temptation for the auditors to simply tick the box rather than use the lists as an aid for applying their own knowledge and experience to the assessment. The software addresses these challenges by providing an opportunity for auditors to consider each safety issue through discussion and assessment. The software also supports the practical implementation of the FHWA Road Safety Audit Guidelines (FHWA-SA-06-06).

The goal of the software is to enable RSA team members to think about broader issues during the safety performance examination and to justify their findings and recommendations.

To download the software, visit http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/rsa/software.



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