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Publication Number:      Date:  Autumn 1994
Issue No: Vol. 57 No. 2
Date: Autumn 1994


New Research

The following new research studies reported by the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of Research and Development are sponsored in whole or in part with federal highway funds. For further details on a particular study, please contact Bob Bryant, editor of Public Roads, (703) 285-2443.

NCP Category A -- Highway Safety

A.6: Human Factors Research for Highway Safety

Title: Motorist-Highway Interface

Objective: This study is part of a cooperative research effort between the FHWA and the government of Saudi Arabia. FHWA will conduct laboratory research in a driving simulator to design and evaluate novel, raised pavement marker (RPM) systems. The Saudi government will subsequently conduct field studies to operationally test the derived RPM designs.

Contractor: University of Iowa

Expected Completion Date: July 1995

Estimated Cost: $299,994

NCP Category B--Traffic Operations/Intelligent Vehicle-Highway Systems

B.4: Advanced Vehicle Control Systems

Title: AVCS Infrastructure and Traffic Impacts

Objective: Several types of Advanced Vehicle Control Systems (AVCS) are under study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), including run-off-the-road warning/avoidance and intersection collision warning/avoidance systems. This major NHTSA effort is expected to raise numerous issues concerning infrastructure interactions with these type systems. In many cases, system concept feasibility will hinge on this infrastructure element. This effort will address these infrastructure issues, in close coordination with NHTSA. In addition, AVCS will be conceptualized, and existing contracts will be evaluated with a focus on improved traffic flow. The contracts will be structured to conduct work on a task order basis (indefinite deliver, indefinitely quantity); individual tasks will be generated based on the status of the above ongoing AVCS efforts.

Contractor: Engineering Research Assoc.

Expected Completion Date: May 1996

Estimated Cost: $1,149,040

NCP Category D--Structures

D.2: Bridge Management

Title: Fatigue Crack Detection System

Objective: Phase I of this study will take the results and recommendations of the August 1992 Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Conference and assess the most critical needs of bridge inspectors related to types of inspection, functional specifications for needed systems, potential market, and cost estimates to verify if systems are practical and marketable. Phase II will develop new and efficient inspection devices that are tailored to specific bridge inspection needs identified in Phase I. New fundamental NDE technologies will not be developed, rather existing technologies, including software development to aid in signal interpretation, will be packaged into hardware for specific bridge detail evaluations.

Contractor: Sierra Matrix Inc.

Expected Completion Date: 1998

Estimated Cost: $1,200,000

D.3: Hydraulics and Hydrology

Title: Management of the Discharge and Quality of Highway Runoff in Karst Areas to Control Impacts to Ground Water

Objective: This investigation is part of an overall effort to evaluate the impacts of highway storm water runoff on ground and surface water. This study is directed toward the assessment of ground water contamination from ordinary highway runoff for areas of karst or limestone rocks, typically the most vulnerable land areas due to high permeability for water infiltration. The overall national and selected local potentials for ground water contamination will be evaluated. Feasible remedial measures to prevent and mitigate ground water contamination from highway storm water runoff will be formulated. The following 14 states are participating in this joint FHWA-pooled fund effort: Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Contractor: P.E. La Moreaux and Associates Inc.

Expected Completion Date: April 1996

Estimated Cost: $349,287

Title: Channel-Stability Problems in the Loess Area of the Midwest

Objective: The objectives of this interagency agreement are to provide and demonstrate technologies for use by highway engineers to identify channel-stability problems that threaten bridges and constructed facilities along and over destabilized streams and illustrate those methods in the sensitive, deep loess soils areas impacted by the 1993 Midwest floods. To accomplish the objectives, the following tasks, as a minimum, must be performed: (1) identify the magnitude and general extent of channel-stability problems in the loess areas of the Midwest, (2) evaluate the utility of available methodologies for identification and analysis of channel-stability problems and projected future channel changes, (3) select and analyze channel processes and forms for at least three representative loess soil channels and one other bed/bank material type, (4) provide guidance on applicability of countermeasures under various scenarios of channel instability, (5) report on conceptual and analytic stream evolution model procedures and appropriate stabilization measures and controls, (6) conduct a pilot, three-day short course on technologies for identification, analysis, and correction of channel-stability problems, and (7) deliver graphical and pictorial evidence of processes that demonstrate the technologies and solutions and prepare outlines of trial video and other instructional tools for use by highway departments.

Contractor: U.S. Geological Survey

Expected Completion Date: December 1994

Estimated Cost: $135,455

NCP Category F--Policy

F.4: Improving Transportation Data Acquisition and Management

Title: 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS)

Objective: To plan, design, pretest, and conduct a national survey of 25,000 households to collect data on the amount and nature of household travel over the course of a year. NPTS is a multiagency (FHWA, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Federal Transit Administration, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)-sponsored survey that is used by the U.S. Department of Transportation as a primary source of travel characteristics data.

Contractor: Research Triangle Institute

Expected Completion Date: April 1997

Estimated Cost: $2,470,000




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