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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
This magazine is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
|Publication Number: Date: Jan/Feb 1998|
Issue No: Vol. 62 No. 4
Date: Jan/Feb 1998
"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 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.
Policy and Legislation
DOT Announces Grants for States
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Mortimer L. Downey announced the award of $2.4 million in discretionary grants to eight projects to substantially reduce alcohol-related fatalities. The states involved in the project are California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Ricardo Martinez announced these grants at a "Partners in Progress" conference. Partners in Progress is a public/private partnership formed to reduce alcohol-related fatalities by 37 percent.
House Passes Transportation Extension Act
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the "Surface Transportation Extension Act of 1997" on Nov. 11. This interim bill provides funds for critical safety programs, continued operation of FHWA and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, additional contract authority for programs of the Federal Transit Administration, and federal-aid programs. Congress will consider multiyear, ISTEA-reauthorization legislation in early 1998.
Congress Provides Record Funding for ITS
Congress approved the latest U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) appropriations bill, providing a record level of appropriations to augment the national intelligent transportation systems (ITS) program for fiscal year 1998. Since the ISTEA-successor legislation is still unsettled, the long-term funding for ITS is unclear. H.R. 2169, the annual spending measure, was signed on Oct. 27, providing about $130 million for the fiscal year 1998 ITS program.
California Project Breaks New Ground
In November, FHWA's Deputy Administrator Gloria Jeff announced the terms under which FHWA will approve the state Route 710 project in Southern California. "The development of this project marks a new era in the way major urban highway projects are formulated," Jeff said. "The project represents an unprecedented effort to address community and environmental concerns while meeting significant, regionwide transportation needs." FHWA has worked extensively with state and local agencies and community groups to evaluate concerns regarding the project's impact on historic properties and the environment. After taking all views into consideration, the project was substantially modified to strike a balance between community concerns and regional mobility.
Management and Administration
SAE Receives FHWA Contracts
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) received contracts totaling $508,500 from FHWA to develop four new standards for the ITS infrastructure.
SAE currently has seven projects underway as part of a $4 million FHWA grant to produce a series of standards to support the development and deployment of ITS products and infrastructure. The new ITS Safety and Human Factors projects include ITS In-Vehicle Message Priority Standards, Visual Demand Measurement Standards, Adaptive Cruise Control: Operating Characteristics and User Interface, and Forward Collision Warning: Operating Characteristics and User Interface.
DOT Awards Transportation Fellowships
Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater announced the award of $2 million in FHWA transportation fellowships for 118 students and faculty to support postgraduate study and research in the transportation field. The fellowship program encompasses all areas of transportation.
The funds for these grants were provided under the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program, initiated in 1991 under the provisions of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. The minimum funding for the program each year is $2 million and is awarded to more than 100 fellowship recipients annually. FHWA's National Highway Institute manages the program.
Radar Bridge Deck Inspection Tools Tested
FHWA and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have jointly developed impulse radar bridge inspection tools. The High-Speed Electromagnetic Roadway Mapping and Evaluation System (HERMES) and the Precision Electromagnetic Roadway Mapping and Evaluation System (PERES) were field tested in northern California. HERMES is designed to survey the internal condition of bridge decks without disrupting traffic flow, and PERES is capable of high-resolution and reduced noise measurements for detailed inspection.
CERF and MDA Form Collaborative Composites Durability Study
The Civil Engineering Research Foundation (CERF) and the Market Development Alliance (MDA) of the Society of the Plastics Industry and the Composites Institute are working collaboratively on a composites durability study. This one-year joint effort will examine the uses of fiber-reinforced polymer composites in structural applications. A variety of infrastructure applications will be considered in the study: roads and bridges; rail, mass, and air transit; buildings and building systems; and ports, harbors, and waterways. The results of this project will benefit the design and construction industry, standards-making organizations, researchers, and composite materials suppliers and fabricators.
Waterborne Paints Outperform VOCs
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) regulation has caused concern for the pavement striping industry and for the public highway agencies. These proposed environmental regulations would prevent stripers from using the current solvent-based striping paints, which contain VOCs. As a result, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has initiated a voluntary testing of alternate products, comparing current paint-striping materials with alternatives such as waterborne paints. WSDOT conducted a study comparing the quality of waterborne paints and the standard solvent-based striping paints. The results of the test showed that waterborne paint lasts as much as 50 percent longer than the standard paint material and that these materials cost nearly the same amount. Since the study, five of the six WSDOT regions will have waterborne paint-application equipment ready for use for the 1998 striping season.
Public Information and Information Exchange
Slater Unveils Web Site With Regulatory Information
On Nov. 21, Transportation Secretary Slater unveiled the federal government's first Internet web site that contains rulemaking and other legal documents. The objective is to make the vast public files associated with federal regulations and other transportation activities easily accessible so that citizens can be better informed and can play a better role in developing the federal rules that govern transportation activities. The files, known as the docket, are available at http://dms.dot.gov. The docket is a compilation of information about proposed and final regulations issued by USDOT and includes public comments on DOT decisions, Federal Register notices, legal pleadings, rulemaking, and other documents produced during regulatory or adjudicatory actions.
FHWA and Maryland Target Aggressive Drivers
FHWA and Maryland recently started an enforcement program to target aggressive driving on the Capital Beltway. With a $400,000 grant from FHWA, the Maryland police will test advanced speed detection devices and high-resolution digital cameras to detect and record aggressive driving, such as speeding, unsafe lane changes, and following too closely. Warnings will be sent to the offending drivers, but no fines will be imposed at this time under the pilot program, which is called Project ADVANCE (for Aggressive Driving Video and Non-Contact Enforcement).
Houston Metro Has an AHS Demo
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston Metro), the only transit authority to participate in the automated highway system proof-of-feasibility demonstration (Demo '97) in San Diego, and the National Automated Highway System Consortium hosted an automated highway demonstration on Houston's northwest high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lane, Dec. 13-14. Houston Metro provided rides on 12.2-meter (40-foot), low-floor, automated buses. These are the same buses that participated in Demo '97. These vehicles are equipped with the hardware and software necessary for automated steering, braking, headway maintenance, and collision avoidance.
FHWA and APWA Form Partnership
FHWA and the American Public Works Association (APWA) have established a partnering agreement to improve the nation's transportation system. The activities of this joint partnership will focus on education, outreach, and proactive leadership. FHWA and APWA will assist public works professionals, support DOT's strategic goals of promoting safety and enhancing mobility, advance the community's economic growth and development, and protect the natural environment affected by transportation-related activities.
CERF Accepting Award Applications
CERF has announced they are accepting applications for the 1998 CERF Charles Pankow Award for Innovation. There are two award categories: the 1998 Innovative Applications Award and the 1998 Innovative Concept Award.
Entries for the Innovative Applications Award in the following categories are encouraged: materials and systems, construction and equipment, and information technology systems for design and project management.
The 1998 Innovative Concept Award is designed to stimulate the development of innovative concepts in materials and systems as they pertain to a specific application. This year, the focus will be the use of high-performance construction materials for green building applications. The jury will consider the use of high-performance construction materials, green building, market readiness, and constructability when reviewing the entries.
All entries will be reviewed by a jury of design and construction and industry leaders from the academic, corporate, and government communities. The jury will consider the following when evaluating the Innovative Applications Award entries: innovative technologies, collaborative research and implementation, and the impact on construction industry performance.
These awards were established in 1996 to honor the contribution of organizations working collaboratively to demonstrate innovative approaches to design, materials use, or the construction process. The 1998 award winners will be announced at the 1998 CERF Global Innovation Forum and Awards Dinner on Oct. 21, 1998.
Deadline for all entries is April 30, 1998, at 5 p.m. EDT. One original and 15 copies of the entry must be submitted. For more information on any of the programs offered call T.J. Rainsford of CERF, (202) 842-0555, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the web site: www.cerf.org.
INDOT and Joint Venture Win NQI Award
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the joint venture of Berns Construction Co. of Indianapolis and Weddle Bros. Construction Co. of Bloomington, Ind., won the National Quality Initiative (NQI) Achievement Award for reconstructing 2.64 miles (4.25 kilometers) of the six-lane Interstate 65 in downtown Indianapolis with 14-inch- (356-millimeter-) thick concrete pavement, using only 148 traffic lane-restricted days. This project was selected from among 34 U.S. projects for the award.
This award is sponsored by FHWA, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and nine industry associations. Founded in 1992, NQI is a partnership that recognizes and promotes continuous quality improvement within the highway industry. The NQI Achievement Award is awarded periodically to a project team demonstrating quality process with long-term improvement, teamwork, innovation, value, and customer satisfaction with a high-quality project.
- American Concrete Pavement Association
MnDOT Withdraws Support for Pilot Project
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) withdrew support for a two-year pilot project which would have introduced congestion pricing on I-394 in Minneapolis. The project was approved just last month for the last remaining interstate slot under ISTEA, Section 1012(b). It was scheduled for implementation in November. MnDOT Commissioner James Denn announced the decision after considerable public opposition was voiced in the media and witnessed at a recent public hearing. He indicated that MnDOT is not abandoning the concept but that the MnDOT and the Metropolitan Council effort must be redirected toward educating the public.
DC to Establish DDOT
The District of Columbia Department of Public Works (DC DPW) plans to establish the District Division of Transportation (DDOT). DDOT will consist of the Design, Engineering, and Construction Administration; the Office of Mass Transit; and the Office of Policy and Planning. Deborah Price, formerly administrator of the Office of Mass Transit, has been assigned to oversee the transportation functions of the new DDOT.
ITS America's President to Depart
Dr. James Costantino, who has directed ITS America - initially as executive director and more recently as president - announced at a Sept. 17 meeting of ITS America's Executive Committee that he will leave the presidency of ITS America at the end of 1998. At this meeting, he authorized Chairman Harry Voccola to retain a professional recruiting firm and to establish a board committee to begin the search for a successor. The search is expected to take from four to six months or more.
Costantino became ITS America's founding executive director in 1991, following careers in the private sector and government, including the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, and the USDOT. His most recent federal position was director of the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Mass.
- ITS America
NAHSC Changes Program Manager
Dr. James Rillings, program manager of the National Automated Highway System Consortium (NAHSC) is returning to General Motors (GM) as program manager of the ITS Office at GM's Research and Development Center in Warren, Mich. Steven G. Carlton of Lockheed Martin, who most recently was the AHS Concept and Architecture Team leader, is serving as interim NAHSC program manager.
- Intelligent Transportation Systems Observer/ITS Online
SAE Elects Chairman
Richard J. Weiland, general manager of SEI Technology Group, has been elected chairman of the SAE ITS Division. Weiland previously was vice-chairman of the ITS Division, and through SAE and the American National Standards Institute, he helped create the Technical Committee on Transport Information and Control Systems of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
He is a member of the U.S. delegation to ISO 204, holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, and has two master's degrees from the University of Chicago.
ATA Elects New President and CEO
Walter McCormick, Jr. was elected the American Trucking Associations (ATA) president and CEO by unanimous vote of ATA's Executive Committee at the association's annual management conference on Oct. 21. He assumed his post on Jan. 1, 1998. McCormick will succeed Thomas Donohue, who left to become president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
McCormick is an attorney and legislative strategist with experience as a former general counsel for the USDOT and as a staff director of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee.
IEEE/IES Calls for Abstracts for International Symposium
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Industrial Electronics Society (IEEE/IES), Intelligent Vehicle Committee is organizing an international symposium on Intelligent Transportation Systems in Stuttgart, Germany. This symposium is comprised of single sessions. The topics will cover sensing, control, system design, introductory strategies for intelligent vehicles, communications, and other related issues. They are accepting innovative papers from participants from universities and companies. To participate, send three copies of a one-page abstract by March 15, 1998, to Ichiro Masaki, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Room 39-611, 60 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA 02139. For more information, call (617) 253-8532.