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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-20-001    Date:  Autumn 2019
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-20-001
Issue No: Vol. 83 No. 3
Date: Autumn 2019

 

Guest Editorial

A Century of Accomplishment

Thomas D. Everett, executive director of the Federal Highway Administration. Source: FHWA As summer heat gives way to changing leaves and cooler temperatures, we are easing back into the season of pumpkin spice lattes, trick-or-treating, and the end of daylight saving time. Autumn is an appropriate time to look back with pride on all that FHWA has achieved—not just this year, but over the last 100 years.

On July 7, 1919, a convoy of Army trucks left Washington, DC, bound for the Presidio in San Francisco, CA. The purpose of the trip was to test whether the country's roads could handle long-distance emergency movements of motorized Army units across the Nation. After 62 days and 3,251 miles (5,232 kilometers), the convoy—which included a young Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower—made clear the need for a system of well-built, well-maintained roads and bridges. The official report of the U.S. War Department chronicled 230 motor incidents of the convoy and concluded that the existing roads were "absolutely incapable of meeting the present day traffic requirements." Decades later, President Eisenhower's experience on that grueling journey led to the creation of the Interstate Highway System.

A century after that historic journey, we continue to find new ways of improving our roads, including a host of technological advances that promise to make the U.S. highway system safer and more efficient.

This issue of Public Roads highlights many such innovations. From alternative cementitious materials (see "Alternative Cementitious Materials: An Evolution or Revolution?" on page 4) to robotic air-coupled acoustic arrays (see "Speeding Up Bridge Deck Evaluations" on page 19) and the unprecedented success of the Cooperative Automation Research Mobility Applications (CARMASM) initiative (see "FHWA Grows Its CARMA Vehicle Fleet by Four" on page 2), FHWA is building pathways to the future.

In July 2019, FHWA representatives met with industry leaders to discuss CARMA, which is a multiparty effort to get automated vehicles to work together. Since July 2018, when FHWA first made it available as open-source software on GitHub, CARMA has been making it possible for academia, industry, and public agencies to work together on problems they cannot solve alone. While proprietary information is still protected, seeing onetime competitors teaming up to address challenges is encouraging.

This issue of PUBLIC ROADS also showcases innovations that will shape the future of the Nation's roads and advances that got us to this point, such as those featured in round four of the Every Day Counts program (see "Are You an Innovation Champion?" on page 12) and the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2).

FHWA's SHRP2 program makes tools available to help transportation professionals manage their utility programs more effectively. Utility Investigation Technologies, Identifying and Managing Utility Conflicts, and 3D Utility Location Data Repository are SHRP2 products that help transportation agencies nationwide address the challenges of underground utilities. For more information, see "Meet the SHRP2 Utilities Bundle" on page 10.

The accomplishments of the last century are just the beginning. We can take pride in our advancements and anticipate with excitement the successes that await us in the years ahead.

Thomas D. Everett
Executive Director
Federal Highway Administration

 

 

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