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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-17-006    Date:  September
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-17-006
Issue No: Vol. 81 No. 2
Date: September


Guest Editorial

Facing Highway Challenges

Photo. Headshot of Michael F. Trentacoste, Associate Administrator for Research, Development, and Technology and Director of the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, Federal Highway Administration.The diversity of disciplines and goals associated with the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of the Nation’s highway and transportation network is both impressive and dynamic. This issue of Public Roads serves as a reminder of the growing challenges of working on a system that is in need of repair and upgrade, while also improving the environment in which the Federal Highway Administration and its Federal, State, local, and industry partners operate.

Central to FHWA’s mission is providing innovations to the agency’s customers and stakeholders--particularly for renewal of highway infrastructure. Two case studies in this issue discuss managing the risks and processes associated with rapid renewal and strategies for complex projects. (See “Getting a Grip on Risks” on page 20 and “Breaking Down Project Complexities” on page10.) These projects involve implementation of research results from the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2), which has coordinated efforts over the last decade between the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, FHWA, the States, and the Transportation Research Board. One project also demonstrates the growing need to address the challenges of multimodal transportation.

Another article, “What’s in Your Asphalt?” (page 14), points to the need for constant vigilance in monitoring the performance of the highway network, the use of highly scientific tools to determine the materials and other components used in construction, and the need to constantly update specifications and performance standards to ensure that State and local agencies receive the product they are paying for and that performance objectives are achieved.

“What’s New Today Is Mainstream Tomorrow” (page 26) presents the successes and impacts of the third round of FHWA’s Every Day Counts initiative--illustrating how FHWA and its State and local partners are deploying innovations to address challenges.

Completing the spectrum of articles in this issue are two that present ways to make roadways and highways safer for users--whether human or insect. Making highways safer, especially for pedestrians, is a top priority for all local, State, and Federal agencies involved in transportation. These entities are always working to improve the type, level, and analysis of data; to develop countermeasures; and to deploy innovations that drive down the number and severity of highway crashes. (See “Watch for Me” on page 32.) Added to that goal is a mounting objective to make highway rights-of-way safer for the pollinators that are essential to the production of food for all Americans and the world population. (See “Save the Bees and Butterflies!” on page 4.)

Facing challenges often means changing to adapt. With this edition of Public Roads, FHWA is implementing two changes. First, because of budgetary and human resource limitations, the magazine is transitioning to a quarterly publication rather than bimonthly. In addition, there will be an increased reliance on electronic distribution while retaining some print copies.

Finally, I will be retiring at the end of September and would like to recognize and thank everyone involved in production of the magazine: the authors, organizers, editors, graphic designers, distributors, and other contributors. You all have helped to continue what is now almost 100 years of quality communication on highway and transportation technologies, innovations, and research results to the world.

Michael F. Trentacoste
Associate Administrator for Research, Development, and Technology
Director, Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, Federal Highway Administration

Notice: Effective October 1, 2017, Public Roads will be transitioning from a bimonthly to a quarterly publication. The initial quarterly publication will be the Autumn 2017 issue. Please direct any questions or comments regarding this transition to Editor-in-Chief Lisa Shuler at lisa.a.shuler@dot.gov.




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