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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-21-001    Date:  Autumn 2020
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-21-001
Issue No: Vol. 84 No. 3
Date: Autumn 2020


Communication Product Updates

Below are brief descriptions of communications products recently developed by the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Research, Development, and Technology. All of the reports are or will soon be available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). In some cases, limited copies of the communications products are available from FHWA's Research and Technology (R&T) Product Distribution Center (PDC).

Compiled by Lisa A. Shuler of FHWA's Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management

When ordering from NTIS, include the NTIS publication number (PB number) and the publication title. You also may visit the NTIS website at www.ntis.gov to order publications online. Call NTIS for current prices. For customers outside the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the cost is usually double the listed price. Address requests to:

National Technical Information Service
5301 Shawnee Road
Alexandria, VA 22312
Telephone: 703-605-6050
Toll-free number: 1-888-584-8332
Website: www.ntis.gov
Email: customerservice@ntis.gov

Requests for items available from the R&T Product Distribution Center should be addressed to:

R&T Product Distribution Center
Szanca Solutions/FHWA PDC
700 North 3rd Avenue
Altoona, PA 16601
Telephone: 814-239-1160
Fax: 814-239-2156
Email: report.center@dot.gov

For more information on R&T communications products available from FHWA, visit FHWA's website at www.fhwa.dot.gov, the FHWA Research Library at www.highways.dot.gov/resources/research-library/federal-highway-administration-research-library (or email fhwalibrary@dot.gov), or the National Transportation Library at https://ntl.bts.gov/ (or email library@dot.gov).

Safety Evaluation of Pedestrian Countdown Signals

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-19-045

The research documented in this report was conducted as part of FHWA's Evaluation of Low-Cost Safety Improvements Pooled Fund Study. FHWA established this pooled fund study in 2005 to conduct research on the effectiveness of the safety improvements identified by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 500 series as part of the implementation of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' Strategic Highway Safety Plan. The pooled fund studies provide a crash modification factor and benefit-cost economic analysis for each of the targeted safety strategies identified as priorities by the pooled fund member States.

First page of the report, Safety Evaluation of Pedestrian Countdown Signals.

This study evaluated the safety effectiveness of pedestrian countdown signals by conducting a before-after empirical Bayes analysis on data from 115 treated intersections in Charlotte, NC, and 218 treated intersections in Philadelphia, PA. The study results showed that after the implementation of pedestrian countdown signals, pedestrian crashes decreased by 9 percent, total crashes decreased by 8 percent, and rear-end crashes decreased by 12 percent. All these reductions were statistically significant. The economic analysis revealed a benefit-cost ratio of 23, with a low of 13 and a high of 32. This report will benefit safety and traffic engineers and safety planners by providing greater insight into pedestrian safety.

The document is available to download at www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/19045/index.cfm.

Potential Uses of Reduced Datasets from the Roadway Information Database: A White Paper

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-20-009

The second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) Roadway Information Database (RID) is linked to Naturalistic Driving Study data. The level of coverage and accuracy of its mobile data, combined with the inclusion of supplemental data from existing sources, make the RID a powerful stand-alone database. Using the RID requires basic geographic information system (GIS) expertise, since the roadway data elements are conflated to a GIS-based network. To make data accessible to novice GIS users, FHWA developed reduced datasets that can be used off the shelf with basic programming skills. Making data more accessible will increase their use and application, thereby increasing opportunities for research to influence policies and practices that ultimately reduce the number of traffic fatalities and serious injuries on the Nation's highways.

Cover of the report, Potential Uses of Reduced Datasets from the Roadway Information Database: A White Paper.

This report describes the potential highway safety research questions that can be addressed using reduced datasets. Potential research topics span seven topic areas: (1) crash predictions, (2) safety performance impacts of horizontal curve features, (3) safety performance impacts of intersection features, (4) safety performance impacts of access management, (5) risk factors for systemic safety analysis, (6) crash assignments, and (7) driver awareness of signalized intersections when entering urban areas. This report will be of interest to individuals involved in highway safety, safety training, crash and injury reduction, roadway design and policymaking, and traffic operations and management.

The document is available to download at www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/20009.

Analysis of SHRP2 Data to Understand Normal and Abnormal Driving Behavior in Work Zones

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-20-010

In 2016, FHWA posted a Broad Agency Announcement to conduct research on potential safety improvements using the Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS) and RID information collected during the research phase of SHRP2. Phase 1 served as a "proof of concept" to determine if meaningful conclusions or countermeasures can be developed using the NDS and RID databases. Phase 2 enabled researchers to conduct more indepth analyses, leading to specific highway safety improvements.

First page of the report, Analysis of SHRP2 Data to Understand Normal and Abnormal Driving Behavior in Work Zones.

The report describes the methodology and results of one of six resulting projects to characterize normal and abnormal driving behavior in work zones. In this study, the researchers successfully used the NDS and RID databases to quantify the role of traffic management, work zone activities, and traffic conditions on driver behavior such as speed and merging. The results suggest that "nudging" drivers to comply with work zone speed limits and safe following distances would be effective at reducing the number of safety-critical events.

This report will be of interest to State and local department of transportation professionals who are responsible for managing work zones, setting guidelines and policies to implement in work zones, and developing applications and communication protocols for autonomous vehicles.

The document is available to download at www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/20010/index.cfm.

Challenges in Meeting Data Needs for Use of Environmental Product Declarations in Pavement Design and Construction: State of Practice and Future Scope

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-20-022

The work presented in this report is part of FHWA's ongoing efforts to support the development of datasets that will provide convenient access to comprehensive, reliable, and transparent life-cycle inventories for highway construction materials. The FHWA Sustainable Pavements Program has been working toward applying life-cycle assessment (LCA) methods for evaluating environmental impacts associated with pavement design and construction and has produced a framework that addresses the fundamental goal and scope of conducting pavement LCAs. This framework has laid the foundation for the development of product category rules for pavement construction materials and the use of environmental product declarations (EPDs) in communicating the impacts of cradle-to-gate LCAs. While this framework is a step in the right direction, it has exposed various challenges associated with producing consistent product category rules and using EPDs to reliably communicate environmental impacts of pavement construction materials.

Cover of the report, Challenges in Meeting Data Needs for Use of Environmental Product Declaration in Pavement Design and Construction: State of Practice and Future Scope.

This report documents these challenges and classifies them within technical and organizational contexts. A key challenge identified was that, to improve the reliability and usefulness of EPDs as an instrument for assessing the life-cycle environmental impact of a product as part of a full pavement LCA, there is a critical need to identify and develop reliable, consistent, publicly available background datasets for upstream processes, create protocols to harmonize product category rules, and ensure the use of these consistent background datasets in future EPDs creations. To address this need, FHWA has initiated a follow-on research effort that will develop a framework to aid consistency of LCA background data and provide guidance for PCR harmonization with completion expected in late next year.

In addition, this report documents the requirements of the recently passed California Assembly Bill 262 and the experience of the California DOT as it prepares to address the challenges of adopting EPDs into practice as an implementing agency and as it prepares to pilot requiring EPDs for a wide range of pavement materials. This report concludes with suggestions to best address identified challenges and facilitate the smooth adoption of EPDs. This report is intended for State DOTs' LCA practitioners, product category rule developers, and EPD producers.

The document is available to download at www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/infrastructure/pavements/20022.