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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-19-004    Date:  Summer 2019
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-19-004
Issue No: Vol. 83 No. 2
Date: Summer 2019


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

Public Information and Information Exchange

Using ITS Technology to Improve Motorcycle Safety

USDOT published a report highlighting the relationship between motorcycles and intelligent transportation systems (ITS). The report, Motorcycle Safety and Intelligent Transportation Systems Gap Analysis, explores the potential of improving motorcycle safety through ITS.

ITS present an array of promising ways to improve motorcycle safety. While ITS technologies have predominantly targeted automobiles and commercial vehicles, little has been done to specifically address motorcycles or motorcycle safety. To help rectify this, the project surveyed a wide range of ITS technologies with potential relevance to motorcycles. It also analyzed each technology's current relevance to motorcycles and potential to improve motorcycle safety, and then further investigated those technologies with strong potential to improve motorcycle safety.

Photo. A motorbike lies on its side in the street beside the front end of a car. © Dmitry Surov, Shutterstock.com.
Many ITS technologies could be applied to motorcycles to improve rider safety.

The project team conducted a comprehensive literature review and interviewed leading practitioners from a cross section of the motorcycle industry and community. The report documents a series of trends and gaps in the current state of research on motorcycle safety and ITS identified during the literature review and interviews. It also recommends strategies and areas of research to advance the overall field of ITS as it relates to motorcycle safety.

Recommended strategies include actively promoting research on motorcycle ITS and exploring synergies with closely related research; engaging the motorcycle community and general public to improve the design and acceptance of motorcycle ITS; embracing upcoming technology (particularly connected vehicles and big data applications); and collaborating with all sectors and stakeholders to promote ITS harmonization and widespread implementation.

The recommended areas of research include synergizing ITS technology and implementation with the proven technology of antilock braking systems in motorcycles; rider-motorcycle interfaces; motorcycle safety data (including preparations to take full advantage of big data moving forward); applied research and assessments of safety benefits; and the harmonization of ITS technologies and standards (such as interoperable connected vehicles).

For more information, download the report at https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/37089.

Applying New Technology to Transportation

USDOT's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center published a report summarizing a speaker series held from June to October 2018 that explored how new technologies may affect workers in the transportation sector. The series, titled "Transportation in the Age of Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics," convened experts in government innovation, vehicle automation, and logistics to consider the promise and potential of recent breakthroughs in machine learning and data analysis.

Photo. Cover of the report Transportation in the Age of Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics. Source: USDOT.

The experts shared their visions for how new technologies can be applied throughout the transportation sector—such as large amounts of data from mapping applications that can improve traffic modeling and save lives on U.S. roads. They also discussed how data helps freight professionals better understand complex shipping markets, and shared how the Federal government can encourage transportation innovation without being overly prescriptive.

The interactive online report includes video highlights from each speaker, as well as articles summarizing each presentation.

For more information, the report is available at www.volpe.dot.gov/sites/volpe.dot.gov/files/docs/events/63256/transportationaifinalreport.pdf.

Volpe Center

GeoTechTools Website Now Supports Mobile Devices

In April 2019, Iowa State University updated its GeoTechTools website to support the use of tablets and mobile phones. The GeoTechTools website provides a system for the dissemination of research results developed for the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) project R02: Geotechnical Solutions for Soil Improvement, Rapid Embankment Construction, and Stabilization of the Pavement Working Platform.

The updated platform retains all of the technical content of GeoTechTools. It adds increased functionality such as search capabilities and dynamic dimensioning for ease of use and improved accessibility on various devices including desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. All of the content that had been in PDFs has been integrated into the new platform as HTML, making it easier to reference and browse—especially on mobile devices because downloads are no longer necessary. Additionally, the updated platform incorporates more security measures.

The developers welcome comments and suggestions on the new platform.

For more information, visit https://geotechtools.geoinstitute.org/.

Iowa State University

PBIC Launches New Website with Data Resource Tool

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) recently launched a redesign of the PedBikeInfo website to connect practitioners and others with tools that help advance pedestrian and bicyclist safety, mobility, access, equity, and more. The website is available at www.PedBikeInfo.org.

Screen capture. The home page of the relaunched PedBikeInfo.org. Source: PBIC.

The new site builds on content and resources restructured into new areas for improved functionality, based on input from a variety of website users and stakeholders. A section for facts and figures provides updated data related to pedestrian and bicyclist concepts, and PBIC added 30 new topic pages with resources related to key issues. The site also includes a searchable archive of webinars, resources, and best practices developed by experts across a variety of fields.

The redesigned website links to PedBikeData, a new clearinghouse of pedestrian and bicycle datasets for researchers and practitioners. Funded and developed by the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety (CSCRS), PedBikeData provides collision, count, and infrastructure data from sources across the United States to download. The database contains more than 3,000 records, most of which are readily available online. CSCRS welcomes others to partner on future phases of the site to improve it as a resource for all who are interested in pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

For more information, visit www.PedBikeInfo.org and www.PedBikeData.org.


FHWA Publishes Guidance for Selecting Bicycle Facilities

In February 2019, FHWA released the Bikeway Selection Guide (FHWA-SA-18-077) to help transportation practitioners consider and make informed decisions about various bikeway types. The guide outlines a process for identifying the desired bikeway type and assessing and refining potential options based on real-world conditions and decisionmaking factors.

The report highlights linkages between the bikeway selection process and the transportation planning process. It draws on research where available and emphasizes engineering judgment, design flexibility, documentation, and experimentation. The report may be downloaded at https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/tools_solve/docs/fhwasa18077.pdf.

Photo. Cover of the Bikeway Selection Guide. Source: FHWA.

In developing the Bikeway Selection Guide, researchers conducted a comprehensive literature review to identify and evaluate existing guidance for separating bicyclists from traffic, identify common bikeways for separating bicyclists from traffic, summarize the relative safety impact on bicyclists for these bikeways, and identify and evaluate decisionmaking strategies for selecting a bikeway.

FHWA published the summary of the results, Literature Review: Resource Guide for Separating Bicyclists from Traffic (FHWA-SA-18-030). The document discusses the history of guidance for separating bicyclists from traffic in the United States to provide context for current bicycling activity and safety. The literature identifies example practices and metrics for selecting an appropriate bikeway treatment to accommodate bicyclists on public roadways. The literature review is available at https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/tools_solve/docs/fhwasa18030.pdf.


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