Skip to contentUnited States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration FHWA Home
Research Home
Public Roads
Featuring developments in Federal highway policies, programs, and research and technology.
This magazine is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 62· No. 1 > Along the Road

July/August 1998
Vol. 62· No. 1

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 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.

Policy and Legislation

President Issues Memorandum on Plain Language

President Clinton signed a memorandum on June 1, 1998 stating that the federal government's writing must be in plain language.

The plain language requirements will vary from one document to another, depending on the audience for whom the document is written; however, all plain language documents will include the following features:

  • Active voice.
  • Short sentences.
  • Common words (except for necessary technical terms).

By Oct. 1, 1998, all new documents (other than regulations) that explain how to obtain a benefit or service, or how to comply with a requirement administered or enforced by a federal agency, must use plain language. By Jan. 1, 2002, these types of documents, created prior to Oct. 1, 1998, must also be rewritten in plain language. The National Partnership for Reinventing Government will issue guidance to help the public comply with these directives.

- Plain Language Action Network

House Plans Hearing on Kyoto Protocol

The U.S. House of Representatives is planning a hearing on the potential economic impacts of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a protocol drafted at a December conference held in Kyoto, Japan, in which the United States proposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent below the 1990 levels. Motor vehicles emit 25 percent of the U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This protocol was drafted to reduce the contribution of transportation to global change. If worldwide transportation trends continue, along with energy use in other sectors, emissions will continue to increase and contribute to global climate change.(See Public Roads article "Sustainable Transportation: The Road from Kyoto," March/April 1998, pages 20-26.)

The protocol awaits submission to the Senate for ratification. Rep. David McIntosh (R-Ind) will chair the oversight committee and hear testimony from environmental advocates, state and local government officials, private sector interest groups, and concerned citizens to access any potential impact the protocol may have on the economy.

Last March, White House Council of Economic Advisors concluded that costs related to the Kyoto agreement would be modest.

Management and Administration

Wykle Signs West Virginia Wetlands Agreement

FHWA Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle signed an agreement with the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) and six other state and federal agencies in an effort to protect America's wetlands.

In addition to WVDOT, other participating agencies committed to reversing wetland loss across the state are the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Within the Clinton administration's 1998 Clean Water Action Plan, federal-aid funds have paid for efforts that improved wetlands - wetlands that were unavoidably disturbed during current federal-aid highway projects. The aid has averaged approximately $64 million per year over the past two years. An average of 20 hectares of wetlands per year are being created, restored, enhanced, or preserved.

FHWA Funds Public Lands Projects

Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater announced that $18.5 million from FHWA's Public Lands Discretionary Funds will support projects on public lands or American Indian reservations in eight states. The construction will provide jobs and the improvements will benefit industry, residents, and visitors.

The $18.5 million will provide, among other things, $5.8 million for phase two of a project to reconstruct 23 kilometers of Claypool-Jakes Corner Highway in Tonto National Forest in Arizona; $4 million for reconstruction of 25 kilometers of Mesa Falls Scenic Byway in Idaho; and $3.4 million for Auburn-Foresthill Road in California.

Funds from the Public Lands Highways Discretionary Funds account support transportation projects that are within, are adjacent to, or provide access to public land areas.

Technical News

FHWA Authorizes Paperless Log System

FHWA and Werner Enterprises of Omaha, Neb., one of the largest truckload carriers in the country, signed an agreement to install satellite tracking systems to record and monitor hours of service by truck drivers. This new system replaces the current handwritten "records of duty status," (commonly called driver logs), which are required by FHWA's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Truck and bus drivers are limited to 10 hours of driving after which rest is required for at least eight hours. The Paperless Log System is installed in each truck and driver's hours and activists are automatically recorded throughout the day on a computer keyboard located in the truck, and the information is transferred to Werner's computer system in Omaha. The new system will lead to improved safety by providing an accurate method of monitoring truck driver hours and helping to prevent crashes resulting from fatigue. This agreement is part of a two-year pilot project during which motor carriers can volunteer to enter into agreements with FHWA to use advanced technology to manage their drivers' compliance with the hours-of-service regulation.

FHWA's TFHRC Hosts Ultra-Thin White-Topping Open House

FHWA, the American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA), and the Virginia Ready Mix Concrete Association hosted an open house at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) to kick-off the testing of a new high-strength, highly-durable, specialized asphalt overlay called ultra-thin concrete whitetopping. This new process involves placing two to four inches of fiber-reinforced concrete over a specially prepared surface of distressed asphalt. The resulting composite pavement delivers the long-life and superior performance of concrete pavement at a cost competitive with ordinary asphalt overlays.

This event celebrated the cooperative research and development agreement between FHWA and ACPA, which calls for design, construction, evaluation, and cost sharing of this innovative concrete pavement technology. Traffic stopped for red light.

Public Information and Information Exchange

FHWA Combats Red-Light Running Nationwide

April 30, 1998, marked the start of the second phase of a public education campaign designed to prevent drivers from running red lights - one of the most dangerous behaviors of aggressive drivers. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Chrysler Corporation, and the American Trauma Society (ATS) have partnered to educate the public and prevent the increase of red-light running.

Red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes. According to DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 8,100 people died in 1996 in intersection crashes. The economic impact of this red-light running is estimated at $7 billion each year in medical costs, missed work, rising insurance costs, and property damage.

Phase one of the campaign began in August 1995 when the then FHWA Administrator Rodney Slater awarded grants to 31 communities to implement local campaigns. The success of that national effort resulted in a significant decrease in crashes in 28 of the 31 participating communities. That success led to phase two of the partnership.

Arizona Bridge Receives ASCE Distinction

Arizona Department of Transportation's (ADOT) Historic Navajo Bridge, a 70-year-old structure that significantly improved transportation between Utah and Arizona, has been chosen as only the fourth National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in the state by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The bridge, which was replaced by a larger and stronger parallel structure in 1995, became the first bridge over the Colorado River for a 965-kilometer stretch between Green Valley, Utah, and Topock, Ariz., when it was completed in 1928. The bridge is now used for pedestrians.

New Web Site for FHWA Office

FHWA's Office of Environment and Planning has unveiled a new Web site. This site includes information on products, programs, regulations, and issue of national importance, such as environmental research objectives and wetlands and water quality initiatives. The Web site's address is http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/.

Downey Speaks at Infrastructure Meeting

The Partnership for the Advancement of Infrastructure and Its Renewal-Transportation (PAIR-T), a national initiative to restore the nation's transportation infrastructure, held a consensus-building workshop in Washington to discuss the future of the United State's transportation infrastructure. More than 70 leaders from private industry, the public sector, nongovernmental organizations, and academe attended the discussion. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Mortimer L. Downey, among others, spoke at the event. The goal of PAIR-T is to accelerate the comprehensive renewal and advancement of the aging civil transport infrastructure in an attempt to achieve a sustainable system.

- Civil Engineering Research Foundation

San Francisco Project Wins ACEC Award

The American Consulting Engineers Council (ACEC) honored Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation and its teammates, Dames & Moore and T.Y. Lin, with the 1998 Grand Conceptor Award. This award is the most prestigious of the honors present in ACEC's annual Engineering Excellence Awards competition.

Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation and Dames & Moore and T.Y. Lin, win ASCE's 1998 Grand Conceptor Award. The winners were selected for their innovative design and construction of twin tunnels, which run under one of San Francisco's busiest streets, and a cut-and-cover box section linking the existing MUNI Metro system with an extension to Mission Bay, the new Giants stadium, and CalTrain commuter terminal. The project involved tunneling directly over (and within 1.4 meters of existing Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) tunnels, within 16 meters of the San Francisco Bay, and within 11 meters of historic buildings.

The tunnels take trains to their turnback and storage facility, and they were built through remnant wood pilings of the Old Market Street Wharf, a sunken ship, and old freeway and building foundations. The structure is also designed to withstand the most severe of earthquakes with minimal damage.

It was completed without disruption to BART or the buildings, on schedule, and $25 million under budget.

- ACEC

Public Roads Wins Thoth Award

Public Roads, the bimonthly magazine of FHWA, received a Certificate of Excellence in the 1998 Thoth Awards in the four-color magazine category. The Thoth Awards, presented by the National Capitol Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, recognize outstanding achievement in public relations programs and products in the Washington metropolitan area.

FHWA Releases Highway Finance Publication

FHWA has released the biennial publication Highways Taxes and Fees - 1998. This publication presents information on state and federal laws that provide for the taxation of motor fuel, motor vehicles, motor carriers, and licensed drivers, and the distribution of these taxes and fees. This publication also shows the use of other state taxes for highways and the involvement of federal agencies and federal funds in highway activities.

To receive a copy of the publication call FHWA's Office of Highway Information Management at 202-366-0170, or access the Web site http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/.

1998 All-American Roads, National Scenic Byways Announced

Thirty-three roads in 19 states have been designated 1998 All-American Roads or National Scenic Byways. These highways have been selected for their scenic, natural, historic, cultural, archaeological, or recreational qualities.

National Scenic Byway The National Scenic Byways Program is designed to recognize and enhance the best of the America's national transportation corridors and is managed by FHWA. Designations are made in two categories: All-American Roads and National Scenic Byways.

All-American Roads are the highest designation in the program. These roads are uniquely picturesque throughways with uncommon scenery. The 1998 All-American Roads are Historic Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway in Oregon, and the Mather Memorial Parkway in Washington.

National Scenic Byways are exceptional roads that exemplify regional characteristics of the nation's culture, history, and landscape. National Scenic Byways for 1998 are Talladega Scenic Drive, Ala.; Seward Highway, Alaska; Crowley's Ridge Parkway, Ark.; Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway, Arizona; Death Valley Scenic Byway, Calif.; Frontier Pathways, Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway, and Top of the Rockies, Colo.; Ohio River Scenic Route and Meeting of the Great Rivers, Ind.; Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, Minnesota; White Mountain Trail, N.H.; Billy the Kid Trail, El Camino Real, Jemez Mountain Trail, and Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico; Cherohala Skyway, N.C.; Ohio River Scenic Route, McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway, Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, and Outback Scenic Byway, Ore.; Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway and Savannah River Scenic Highway, S.C.; Native American Scenic Byway, S.D.; Flaming Gorge-Uintas Scenic Byway and Neb Loop Scenic Byway, Utah; Mountains to Sound Greenway, Wash.; and Coal Heritage Trail, W.V.

HERMES Wins R&D 100 Award

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Dr. Steven Chase of the Structures Division at FHWA's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center have won the prestigious R&D 100 Award for developing the High-Speed Electromagnetic Roadway Measurement and Evaluation System (HERMES), an FHWA-sponsored project that measures the condition of bridge decks at highway speeds with detailed accuracy.

HERMES is a new system used for the inspection of reinforced-concrete bridge decks. The system involves using an array of 64 antennae, which emit radar waves, to probe the interior of bridge decks. The information is then collected and stored in a computer and special signal-processing algorithms are then used to combine the collected data to produce two- and three-dimensional images of the bridge deck interior.

The award is presented annually by R&D Magazine and honors the 100 most technologically significant products from submitted entries of that year.

Personnel

FHWA Researcher Wins Flemming Award

Carol Tan Esse Carol Tan Esse of FHWA's Office of Safety and Traffic Operations Research and Development has been named as one of 12 recipients of the prestigious Arthur S. Flemming Award for 1997 in the category of applied science for her work in pedestrian and bicyclist safety. The Flemming Award program of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., honors outstanding men and women in federal government. Past recipients of the Flemming Award include Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan and former Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole.

NAA Elects Chairman

Brenton P. Cook, executive vice president and treasurer of Bill Smith Sand & Gravel Inc., has been elected chairman of the board of directors for the National Aggregates Association (NAA). Cook was elected unanimously at the NAA Annual convention in San Diego. He succeeds Thomas W. Winter, president of Winter Brothers Material of St. Louis, Mo., in this position.

- NAA

ITS America Elects Chairman

Wayne Shackelford, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation, was elected chairman of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) at their annual meeting in Detroit. Shackelford will lead the 1,300-member organization to nationwide deployment of intelligent transportation systems (ITS).

- ITS America

Conferences

International Conference on Accelerated Pavement Testing Calls for Papers

The Transportation Research Board Task Force on Full-Scale and Accelerated Pavement Testing is accepting papers to be published in the conference proceedings. Paper topics may include the following:

  • Full-Scale Test Tracks.
  • Full-Scale Load Tests.
  • Laboratory-Scale Load Tests.
  • Pavement/Vehicle Interaction.
  • Equipment Developments.
  • APT-Related Pavement Instrumentation and Data Collection.
  • APT-Related Materials Considerations/Characterization.
  • Implementation Activities.
  • Prediction and Validation of Performance.

Authors must submit five copies of an abstract by Sept. 1, 1998, to International Conference on Accelerated Pavement Testing, Nevada T2 Center/257, University of Nevada, Reno, Nev. 89557. Please indicate the subject area under which the abstract should be considered; include the name of author(s) and affiliation; and provide address, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address. The Conference Technical Advisory Committee will review the abstracts by Oct. 1, 1998. Draft copies of the papers are due Dec. 15, 1998. All papers will be subject to peer review by members of the Conference Technical Advisory Committee. Authors will be notified of the acceptance of their papers and will be provided instructions for preparing the final camera-ready manuscript by Jan. 31, 1999. Final papers, a diskette, and original art work are due June 1, 1999.

ResearchFHWA
FHWA
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration