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This magazine is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
|Publication Number: Date: Autumn 1994|
Issue No: Vol. 57 No. 2
Date: Autumn 1994
"Along the Road" is a hodgepodge of items of general interest to the highway community. But this is more than a miscellaneous section; "Along the Road" is the place to look for information about current and upcoming activities, developments, and trends. This information comes from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.
Secretary of Transportation Federico Peña recently delivered a report to Congress recommending the establishment of a permanent National Scenic Byways Program beginning on Oct. 1, 1994. The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) authorized an interim grants program. The report was prepared by the NationalScenic Byways Advisory Committee and proposes minimum criteria for nominating highways for designation as National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads. All-American Roads, described in the report as roads with "such stunning intrinsic values that both domestic and international travelers will enjoy exploring them," will be the highest class of National Scenic Byways. "This program is voluntary. No agency or organization will be required to participate; those that decide against doing so will suffer no penalty," Peña said. However, the interim grants program has provided $10 million annually to states to use on existing byways or to develop state programs. The U.S. Travel Data Center estimates $1 billion is spent by tourists annually on scenic byways; with about 35,000 miles of scenic highways that means a mile is worth almost $30,000. Any individual, organization, tribe, or agency can nominate a road as a National Scenic Byway, but the nomination must be submitted through the appropriate state agency (usually the state department of transportation, but in some cases the state tourism agency). The nominated road must have significant intrinsic value in one or more of the following categories: scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, natural, and/or archeological.
--Scenic Byways Bulletin
"Parking Cash-Out" Legislation Drafted
FHWA and the Federal Transit Administration have recommended legislative language to provide federal employees with the option of receiving an equivalent cash allowance or transit fare in lieu of a parking subsidy where free or partially subsidized parking--with a lease or market value of $80 or more per month--is provided. The parking cash-out program strives to transform the tax exemption for employer-provided parking into a reward to encourage commuters to ride transit, carpool, telecommute, or find some other way to work. Employers participating in the program would be able to claim the costs of providing the cash-out allowance (both administrative and actual payout) as a tax deduction. Employer-owned parking and businesses with fewer than 25 employees would be exempted from the program requirements.
United States and Canada Sign Safety Ratings Agreement
The long-awaited agreement between the United States and Canada on reciprocal recognition of motor carrier safety ratings was signed at the North American Transportation Summit on March 25, 1994. This agreement will serve as an umbrella document for future agreements on reciprocity and information sharing.
Metric Signing for Highways Delayed
Public opinion and a congressional prohibition against using federal funds to convert signs to metric terms have caused FHWA to delay implementation of metric traffic control sign legends until after 1996. In the interim, the agency will develop nationwide standards and guidelines for the signs.
Federal Lands Highway Office Focuses on Native American Needs and Activities
Several recent activities reflect FHWA's commitment to address the highway transportation needs of Native Americans. For example, FHWA, which certifies all Indian Reservation Road programs of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), reviewed the program of the BIA Portland, Ore., Area Office. In Albuquerque, FHWA representatives participated in discussions on a broad range of tribal issues including infrastructure and transportation. In North Dakota, FHWA took part in the State/Tribal Transportation Planning Conference to discuss awareness of transportation issues on Indian reservation lands and to gather tribal input on the state transportation plan. FHWA also participated in a joint meeting between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), BIA, and the Navajo Nation on the quality of roads and streets designed and constructed by HUD to serve Indian housing projects. Also, Federal Lands Highway Office representatives attended the first annual Intertribal Transportation Association national conference, which was held in March in Denver; the theme of the conference was "Pathways to Progress--A National Tribal Transportation Summit."
Baltimore Gets Pilot Urban Youth Corps Program
On May 25, Federal Highway Administrator Rodney E. Slater and Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke announced the establishment of a transportation-oriented Urban Youth Corps in Baltimore's Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood. FHWA will provide $250,000 for the pilot program authorized by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. Corps members will be paired with skilled laborers to receive job training in street maintenance, road and sidewalk construction, demolition, landscaping, and other skills. This one-year program, which is expected to become a model for other communities, will provide hands-on work experience coupled with support services for disadvantaged youth and young adults, ages 16-25. It will provide opportunities for the participants to develop marketable skills and to assist in the rehabilitation of transportation facilities in Sandtown-Winchester. The program was developed by FHWA, the Maryland State Highway Administration, the Department of Public Works in Baltimore City, and the Baltimore-based Community Building in Partnership.
Chicago Authorizes New Downtown Signal System
The city of Chicago recently let a $2.24-million project for a new Central Business District Signal System for 73 intersections in the downtown area. The new system will feature state-of-the-art controller equipment with remote monitoring and timing capabilities.
United States, Canada Conduct Vehicle Load Research Project
FHWA signed an agreement with Transport Canada to participate in a research project on securing commercial vehicle loads. This study of load-securement systems will result in the development of principles for securing loads on heavy trucks; these principles could contribute to a revised international standard. The project is a public-private, U.S.-Canadian effort. Funding is provided by FHWA, Transport Canada, New York State, various Canadian provinces, the American Trucking Association, the Canadian Trucking Research Institute, and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.
FHWA and NPS Win Engineering Award for Segmental Arch Bridge
FHWA's Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division and the National Park Service received one of seven Grand Awards in the 1994 Engineering Excellence Awards Competition sponsored by the American Consulting Engineers Council. The award was given for the Natchez Trace Parkway segmental arch bridge over Tennessee Route 96.
Green Box Development Begins
New Mexico's State Transportation Authority is funding a $500,000 effort to develop sensor technologies to monitor rail cars and cargo. The sensors, mounted in an impact-survivable container, called a "green box," should improve rail safety and make rail commercial transport a more attractive alternative.
Soil Nail Wall Design Specifications Are Being Revised
Development recently began on the finite-element analytical models and laboratory calibration tests needed to begin preparation of American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) design specifications for soil nail wall shotcrete facings. This project is a cooperative effort between the Federal Lands Highway Office, the Office of Technology Applications, and Region 10; it will produce design and construction specifications, guidance, and project assistance for soil nail walls.
AASHTO Is Developing a QC/QA Guide Specification
The Joint Materials/Construction Task Force on Quality Control/Quality Assurance (QC/QA) met in Little Rock, Ark., to develop a draft AASHTO QC/QA Guide Specification. The draft specification is being sent to the Construction and Materials subcommittees and to industry for comment. Then, the revised draft will be considered for inclusion in the next edition of the Construction Subcommittee's Guide Specifications.
Public Roads Is Adding a Reader Exchange Section
Starting in the Winter 1995 issue, Public Roads will feature a "reader exchange" section. This section will provide readers an opportunity and a forum to contribute ideas, information, suggestions, and general feedback. The purpose is to maximize the magazine's effectiveness in meeting the informational needs and interests of our readers. Public Roads solicits your input and feedback about articles and information presented in the magazine as well as your suggestions for new or follow-on articles. Please address your correspondence to Public Roads Editor, Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, Attention: HRD-10, 6300 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22101-2296. Please provide your telephone and fax numbers and Internet "address" to facilitate appropriate, rapid coordination and/or clarification. All letters should be less than 250 words. Public Roads reserves the rights to edit all letters to the editor and to determine which letters will be published. Manuscripts for publication must follow the "Instructions to Authors" printed on page.
Time Capsule Caps Centennial Celebrations
On June 14, in a historic dedication ceremony marking the close of FHWA's centennial year, a time capsule was buried at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va. The time capsule is to be opened in 2093. "If we cannot know the future, we can at least help the future to know us better," said FHWA Administrator Rodney E. Slater. "In selecting items, therefore, for the capsule we have tried to pick items that reflect what we are today and how we came to this moment in history. We have technical and scientific items, centennial material, photos and maps, plus brochures, letters, and memos that reflect our concerns here in the 1990s--everything from highway openings and the Northridge earthquake to sensitivity and sexual harassment issues, as well as workplace diversity."
Traveler Information Systems to be Used During '96 Olympics
The Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) is placing Intelligent Vehicle-Highway Systems (IVHS) Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) in two welcome centers to be constructed before the 1996 Olympic Games. Regional and state personnel are working with the Georgia Department of Industry and Trade and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games to develop displays and interactive systems that will enable visitors to access information about traffic conditions, Olympic venue times and locations, recommended travel routes, and dining and lodging. The system will also tie into the public transit system via information kiosks at Olympic game sites and at rapid transit depots. These services provided for visitors to the Olympics are part of a larger project to test a metro-wide traveler information system; partners in the test are Scientific-Atlanta, Federal Express, TRW, Concord Associates, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology, Clark Atlanta University, Georgia DOT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, and FHWA.
Smithsonian Officials Consider IVHS Exhibit
Representatives of the FHWA IVHS Office staff and IVHS AMERICA met with officials of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History and the IVHS community. The purpose of the meeting was to brief the Smithsonian officials on the national IVHS program and provide ideas for an IVHS exhibit. Smithsonian officials are considering adding an IVHS module to their ongoing Information Age exhibit.
Fourth IVHS AMERICA Convention Is Largest Yet
More than 3,500 transportation experts--government officials, business executives, engineers, scientists, and academicians--from around the world attended the IVHS AMERICA annual meeting held last April in Atlanta. During the four-day meeting, 62 presentations and panel discussions focused on the use of advanced communications, electronics, and computer technologies in vehicles, highways, and public transit systems. Senior U.S. DOT leaders--including Secretary of Transportation Federico Peña, FHWA Administrator Rodney E. Slater, and Federal Transit Administrator Gordon J. Linton--addressed the participants. The meeting also featured 118 exhibitors demonstrating the latest intelligent vehicle-highway systems, products, and services. For example: Rockwell introduced a traffic sensor for monitoring traffic flow, an automatic vehicle location system, and an in-vehicle navigation/route guidance system. GTE Personal Communications Services and Navigation Technologies demonstrated new traveler information and safety applications--including turn-by-turn driving instructions to a desired destination--using Cellular Digital Packet Data technology. Sony introduced a Global Positioning System-based invehicle mobile navigation system that uses Etak software with information stored on CD-ROM disks and displayed on the unit's five-inch color LCD screen. Also, during the convention, Lawrence D. Dahms, executive director of the Oakland, Calif., Metropolitan Transportation Commission, was installed as chairman of the IVHS AMERICA Board of Directors and four new members were elected to the board.
IVHS Discussed at North Carolina A&T State University
Staff from the FHWA Office of Traffic Management and IVHS made a presentation on IVHS to students at North Carolina A&T State University as part of that school's 1994 Transportation Lecture Series. FHWA's North Carolina Division is helping to sponsor this lecture series and other activities at the school as part of FHWA's continuing commitment to develop and use the expertise of the nation's historically black colleges and universities.
States Kick Off New Safety and Awareness Campaigns
South Carolina and Maryland recently began new large-scale public information campaigns. Both are conducting campaigns to deter red-light running. South Carolina filmed two public service announcements on this theme; Maryland's campaign is being supplemented by integrating more and longer all-red phases into the state's signal system. South Carolina also recently introduced MILES, an animated section of traffic stripe that "comes to life" to inform the public on traffic safety issues. Finally, Maryland is administering a multiyear campaign to educate motorists on safely sharing the road with large commercial vehicles. The campaign introduces a new term to highway safety--the "No Zone." The No Zone refers to the various blind spots and other "accident-prone" areas around commercial vehicles.
Region 1 Educates Driving Educators
Many operational characteristics and features of the highway are known only within the highway industry. Drivers might behave differently if they knew more about the "forgiving" highway and the silent factors of highway safety: for instance, an uninformed motorist might end up in a rollover accident in trying to avoid a breakaway sign support. To convey this type of information, Region 1 recently gave a short course on roadside safety features to New Hampshire driving education instructors; the course might later be developed for continuing use in the driver ed curriculum.
ASCE Supports Continuing Education for Relicensing
ASCE, America's oldest national engineering society, is working to make continuing education a condition for the relicensing of civil engineers nationwide and to make continuing education requirements uniform in states that already mandate continuing education as a prerequisite to relicensing. ASCE's position reflects a trend in many professions toward stronger educational requirements for association membership, licensing, and relicensing. "ASCE has responded to the rising demands of practicing engineering in a global environment where the rate of change in technology and business is rapidly accelerating," said James W. Poirot, ASCE president. State and federal engineering regulations, for example, are rapidly expanding. New engineering technologies, such as software and advanced composites, have exploded, requiring intensive and continuous learning. "The volume of even basic knowledge for civil engineers to stay current is growing at an unparalleled rate," Poirot said. "Civil engineers hold a sacred public trust. ... Public opinion polls reveal that consumers rank engineers among America's most respected groups. But to maintain that trust, like all professions, civil engineering faces a dramatic and prolonged period of transition. The world is turning faster, and civil engineering must move with it."
--American Society of Civil Engineers
FHWA and AAA Open a Scenic Byways Clearinghouse
The National Scenic Byways Clearinghouse is a joint effort of FHWA and the American Automobile Association. The clearinghouse is currently collecting publications, studies, videos, and other sources of scenic byways information. The data will be logged into a scenic byways data base from which it will be readily accessible to the public and interested organizations. If you have any material that you would like included or for more information, contact the National Scenic Byways Clearinghouse, 1440 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 202, Washington, DC 20005. The telephone number is (202) 628-7718, and the fax number is (202) 347-2145.
--Scenic Byways Bulletin
James E. Davis to be Executive Director of ASCE
James E. Davis, P.E., will become the executive director of ASCE on Oct. 14 at the Society's International Convention and Exposition in Atlanta. He will succeed Dr. Edward O. Pfrang, P.E., who is retiring after 11 years as executive director. Davis has been serving since May in the interim position of executive director-designate. Davis, a registered civil engineer, joined the ASCE staff in 1989 as the assistant executive director and chief operating officer. His career spans more than 20 years as an executive, program administrator, national transportation planner, and civil engineer. Among his awards is the silver medal for meritorious achievement from the Secretary of Transportation.
--American Society of Civil Engineers
Thomas B. Deen Retiring from TRB
Thomas B. Deen, executive director of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) since 1980, recently announced his retirement from TRB. At press time, a successor had not be named; Deen has agreed to continue to serve until his successor is installed. TRB is a private, non-profit unit of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering. TRB, one of the most prestigious of U.S. transportation organizations, is dedicated to the coordination and dissemination of research results. Deen initiated the TRB study that recommended the recently completed, five-year, $150-million Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP). From 1992 to 1994, he chaired the Strategic Planning Committee for IVHS AMERICA and directed the preparation of the national strategic plan for research, development, and deployment of intelligent vehicle-highway systems in the United States. The two most recent of his many awards are the 1994 George S. Bartlett Award for outstanding national contributions to U.S. transportation and the 1994 Ronald D. Kenyon Award for Education and Research presented by National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) Research and Education Foundation. Deen was educated at the University of Kentucky, the University of Chicago, and Yale University. He is a registered professional engineer in seven states.
--Transportation Research Board
Pavements Conference Attracts Reps from 46 Countries
The Third International Conference on Managing Pavements was held in San Antonio on May 22-26. Approximately 550 participants, representing 46 countries, attended. FHWA sponsored the attendance of one pavement specialist from each state, and FHWA Executive Director E. Dean Carlson was a speaker at the conference. The conference provided an opportunity for executives, practitioners, and researchers to learn about the latest practices and technologies, share and evaluate recent experiences with pavement management systems, discuss common problems and share innovative ideas, and develop an enhanced appreciation for the importance of pavement management technology. Conference sponsors were FHWA, TRB, AASHTO, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Texas DOT, International Society for Asphalt Pavements, and American Concrete Pavement Association.
International Forum Discusses Bearing Capacity of Roads and Airfields
Papers were presented by more than 125 individuals, representing 90 countries, at the Fourth International Conference on the Bearing Capacity of Roads and Airfields, held on July 17-21 in Minneapolis. The focus of the more than 500 conference attenders was on designing and strengthening pavement that is subjected to varying traffic loads under highly variable environmental conditions. The preceding international conferences on this subject were held in Trondheim, Norway, in 1982; in Plymouth, England, in 1986; and again in Trondheim in 1990. Sponsors for this conference were FHWA, Minnesota DOT, Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Research Council of Canada, and U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
NCHRP Projects Selected for 1995
AASHTO's Standing Committee on Research met in Washington, D.C., on March 22 and 23 and selected the following new projects for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) in fiscal year 1995:
1-33 Comprehensive Framework for Pavement Investment Strategies
1-34 Cost Effectiveness of Subsurface Pavement Drainage
2-19 Transportation Investment and Economic Productivity Research
2-20 Economic Trends and Transportation Requirements
3-52 Implementing Access Management Strategies
3-53 Development of HOV Systems Manual
3-54 Modified MUTCD Signal Operation for Permitted/Protected, Lead/Lag Left Turns
3-55 Development and Delivery of the Year 2000 Highway Capacity Manual (HCM)
4-20 Aggregate Tests Related to Performance of Portland Cement Concrete
4-21 Appropriate Use of Waste and Recycled Materials in Highway Construction
4-22 Best Traffic Line Striping Material
8-32(3) Integration of Land Use Planning with Multimodal Transportation Planning
8-32(4) Develop and Maintain Partnerships for Multimodal Planning
8-32(5) Develop Improved Data and Data-Collection Efforts
8-33 Quantification of Air Quality Benefits and Costs Resulting from Measures to Reduce Automobile Travel
10-44 Characterization of In Situ Materials Properties of Pavement Structures
10-45 Procedures for Evaluating the Performance of Admixtures as Corrosion Inhibitors
10-46 Corrosion of Steel Piling
12-42 Ongoing LRFD Bridge Design Specification Support
14-12 Maintenance Quality Assurance
17-12 Identification of Vehicular Accident Characteristics and Reporting Systems With Respect to Design Criteria Selection
18-3 Silica Fume Concrete for Bridge Decks
20-39 Identification of User Needs for On-Line Access to TRIS Through the AASHTO VAN
20-40 Conversion of AASHTO Publications and Software to Metric Units
22-12 Guidelines for the Selection, Installation and Maintenance of Highway Safety Features
24-7 Alternate Countermeasures to Protect Bridge Piers From Scour
24-8 Research Needs: Scour at Bridge Foundations
25-11 Modal Emission Factor Development
Project statements inviting proposals for research on most of these projects are scheduled to be issued during the second half of 1994, and research is expected to begin early in 1995. A preliminary announcement containing more details on these problems was distributed in April to all those on the NCHRP project-statement mailing list. Prospective proposers may be added to the mailing list by writing to Program Officer, Cooperative Research Programs, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418.