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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 62· No. 2 > Along the Road

September/October 1998
Vol. 62· No. 2

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.

Management and Administration

Gore Announces $60 Million More for California's Flood-Damaged Roads

Vice President Al Gore today announced that California will receive an additional $60 million in emergency relief funds for repairs on roads damaged by flooding that began in February 1998.

The $60 million is in addition to $40 million in emergency relief funds that the state received earlier this year to repair roads damaged by heavy rains and flooding, bringing the total this year to $100 million.

The money, which comes from FHWA, was provided in response to the state's request for help to repair federal-aid roads. FHWA money is awarded after a formal emergency proclamation has been issued and the state has filed a preliminary damage assessment for its highways and bridges on the federal-aid system.

The funds reimburse the state for emergency work that is already completed and provides funding for other necessary repairs to correct major or unusual damage to federal-aid highways. Eligible repair work includes reconstructing damaged bridges and pavement surfaces; establishing detours; removing slides and debris; and replacing signs, lighting, and guardrails.

Washington Receives $7.6 Million From FHWA

The state of Washington will receive $7.6 million in emergency relief funds for repairs on roads damaged by flooding that began May 26 and for repair of a fire-damaged bridge.

Of the total, $625,000 will go for work necessary to repair damage to the Carbon River bridge on State Road 165 in Pierce County. The bridge was critically damaged and closed to traffic by a vehicle fire on March 3, 1998. The remaining $7 million will be used for work necessary to repair damage to roads in the counties of Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille.

Technical News

FHWA Experiments With TMCs

Hundreds of remote closed-circuit televisions (CCTV) are expected to be used in future traffic management center (TMCs) for monitoring the roadway system. FHWA researchers conducted a series of three experiments to evaluate existing and proposed approaches for selecting and controlling arrays of remote cameras.

Operators of these TMCs will have to quickly select appropriate cameras and control their pointing angles, zoom ratio, and focus. Researchers evaluated four basic interface concepts in their experiments: joystick, keyboard, mouse, and touchscreen. They also compared tests involving cameras that moved between pre-programmed pointing angles and cameras in which the operators had full manual control of the cameras.

Operators using a touchscreen interface made significantly more errors when selecting cameras than did those using the other interfaces. When manipulating cameras, operators using a keyboard and mouse were able to manipulate the cameras more effectively than those using a joystick or touchscreen. Cameras with preset pointing angles were found to be significantly more efficient than those with fully manual controllers. Operators using the preset cameras, however, needed a mechanism to fine-tune the pointing angles. Thus, a hybrid approach, in which the camera automatically moves to an approximate position and the operator manually centers the camera on the point of interest, was strongly preferred.

New Superpave Guidance Available

This construction season, Superpave will comprise 30 percent of awarded asphalt tonnage. Two publications, which have recently been published, give detailed guidance on using Superpave: 1998 AASHTO Superpave Lead States Guidance and Superpave Construction Guidelines.

The Lead States Guidance on Superpave Issues, published by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), provides guidance on how to improve the use of the Superpave mix design provisional AASHTO specifications. It specifically addresses the issues of varying materials and climate conditions.

Superpave Construction Guidelines, published by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) under a cooperative agreement with FHWA, explains how to deal with mix production and construction issues involving coarse-graded Superpave-designed mixtures. Both publications are currently available

Public Information and Information Exchange

NLEV Program Is in Effect

The National Low-Emission Vehicle (NLEV) Program, which represents an alternative, more effective method of regulatory development through extensive interaction between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and stakeholders, is in effect after more than three years of debate among automobile manufacturers, state governments, EPA, and other interest groups.

This "cleaner car" program, launched by Vice President Gore early this year, will dramatically improve air quality and protect public health by making cleaner-burning cars available to American consumers. Nine northeastern states - Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and the District of Columbia - and 23 auto manufacturers have decided to participate in the voluntary program, which had been debated in the northeast during negotiations for the original Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) for the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC). Now, with the program in effect, the production and marketing of cleaner vehicles can begin later this year to meet NLEV's stricter emissions requirements for 1999 light-duty cars and light-duty trucks.

Seat-Belt Use Improves

This summer, California was touted as the first state in the nation to achieve a 90-percent seat-belt use rate.

To promote seat-belt use on a national level, President Clinton committed the federal government to leading the way towards increased seat-belt use by signing Executive Order (EO) 13043, "Increasing Seat Belt Use in the United States." The EO requires federal employees on official business to use seat belts when using a motor vehicle.

President Clinton has set the goal of 90-percent seat-belt use nationwide by the year 2005.

DOT Secretary Rodney E. Slater's goal for DOT is to increase federal employee seat-belt use to 85 percent by 2000 and 90 percent by 2005. The plan, developed by the department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has four elements:

  • Build public-private partnerships to help America reach its potential of saving lives and preventing injuries through the use of seat belts and child safety seats.
  • Expand well-coordinated effective public education programs.
  • Ask the states to enact strong legislation for standard seat-belt laws and strengthened child passenger safety laws.
  • Embrace active, high-visibility law enforcement of seat-belt use.

If all states maintained an 85-percent seat-belt use rate, annually, more than 4,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries would be prevented. Currently, the national buckle-up rate is 69 percent.

N.J. Electronic Toll Collection Consortium Enters Partnership

The New Jersey Electronic Toll Collection Consortium and MFS Network Technologies entered into a public-private partnership to design and implement an electronic toll collection system called E-Z Pass. The New Jersey Consortium includes the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, New Jersey Highway Authority, South Jersey Transportation Authority, Port Authority of New York, and the New Jersey and Delaware DOTs.

The system is intended to be integrated with similar systems in other states, enabling motorists to drive from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., without stopping to pay a toll. E-Z Pass is scheduled to be up and running on the Atlantic City Expressway by Nov. 10, 1998, with the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway following the Atlantic City Expressway project within 14 months.

CFLHD Awards Design-Build Contract

The Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFLHD) awarded its first design-build contract to Kiewit Pacific Company. The $33.4 million contract, the largest ever awarded by CFLHD, was awarded to reconstruct El Portal Road in Yosemite National Park, Calif.

The park suffered damage as a result of devastating floods that occurred in January 1997. The emergency repairs were completed in May 1997; the design work began in June; and the physical construction is planned to begin in early September after the heavy tourist season ends. The park received $180 million in flood-recovery money through special appropriations. That money is also paying for most of the design-build project.

New Traffic Management Technologies Featured

New traffic management technologies were unveiled this July as part of TransGuide, an advanced traffic management system developed by the Texas Department of Transportation.

The new projects were introduced under the federal government's Model Deployment Initiative (MDI). This initiative was set up to demonstrate to decision-makers across the nation the value of full integration of an intelligent transportation infrastructure.

Since TransGuide became operational on 42 kilometers of San Antonio highway, this system has reduced accidents by 15 percent and cut emergency response time by 20 percent. The system is expected to expand to 465 kilometers of highways and city streets all around San Antonio.

The new MDI projects include the following:

  • Lifelink - an emergency medical system (EMS) that allows two-way video, audio, and data teleconferencing between hospitals and San Antonio Fire Department EMS units.
  • Bus-incident monitoring system and automated vehicle location systems- cameras on transit buses provide added security for bus drivers and passengers.
  • In-vehicle navigation units.
  • Traveler information kiosks.
  • Travel Tag - a real-time travel tag program that tracks a driver through sensors located on various highways. A credit-card-size tag located on a driver's windshield can be read to determine current travel times and speeds.
  • Internet current traffic conditions map - visitors to TransGuide's Web site (www.transguide.dot.state.tx.us) can find out the current traffic conditions.

Winter maintenance technological developments in Europe. FHWA Sponsors Winter Maintenance Scanning Tour

FHWA sponsored the second winter maintenance technology scanning tour of Europe this past March. Participants from federal, state, county, and city governments who are responsible for winter maintenance in their jurisdictions within the United States visited local, state, and national road officials in France, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The purpose of the tour was to examine state-of-the-art developments in winter maintenance technologies used abroad and apply those technologies to the United States. The scanning team studied the following topics:

  • Public information and training.
  • Studded tires.
  • Road and weather information systems.
  • Snow removal in urban areas.
  • Performance measures of automated dispatch and traffic management systems for winter service.
  • Avalanche prediction and control.

A report detailing the team's findings will be available fall 1998.

Personnel

Shibley Appointed FHWA Director of Communications

Gail R. Shibley, formerly a state representative in the Oregon legislature, has been appointed FHWA director of communications. Shibley was a member of the transportation committee in that state.

From 1990-1996, Shibley was director of communications for the Bureau of Traffic Management in Portland, Ore. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Oregon.

ITS America Chooses New President

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America's (ITS America) board of directors selected John Collins as their new president. Collins, who is an experienced transportation association executive, succeeded James Costantino this past May.

John Collins Before accepting the position at ITS America, Collins was the principal of a consulting firm, Transportation Law and Strategy, and a consultant to the 35,000-member American Trucking Associations (ATA). Collins was also a senior manager at ATA for 10 years.

In addition to his work at ATA, Collins served as assistant general counsel for legislation in DOT's Office of the Secretary.

Collins holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Princeton Unversity and a doctor of jurisprudence from Temple University Law School.

- ITS America

New ITS America Chairman Elected

Wayne Shackelford, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation, was elected chairman of ITS America.

Wayne Shackelford (left) As chairman, Shackelford is responsible for leading ITS America and its 1,300 member organizations toward deployment of intelligent transportation system technologies throughout the nation. Shackelford was elected chairman at the society's eighth annual meeting held this past May.

- ITS America

Seales Appointed Chief Counsel of NHTSA

Frank Seales Jr. was appointed chief counsel of DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Seales spent more than 20 years in the practice of law, including eight years as the senior assistant attorney general and chief of the Antitrust and Consumer Litigation section of the Virginia attorney general's office and 14 years as a senior trial attorney with the Anti-Trust division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He is the first African-American to serve as NHTSA's chief counsel. Seales will oversee the day-to-day operations of the 600-person organization.

Student Wins Award

Kerry Perrillo, an employee of FHWA since February 1998, received the Institute of Transportation Engineer's (ITE) 1998 Student Paper Award for her paper entitled, "Effectiveness of Speed Trailers on Low-Speed Urban Roadways." This paper was based on her master's thesis research, performed while she was enrolled at Texas A&M University. Perrillo's thesis effort was accomplished under the co-chairmanship of Raymond Krammes, a former professor at Texas A&M, who now works in the Office of Safety and Traffic Operations Research and Development at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va.

The paper was evaluated among several others submitted from around the country on its originality, significance, validity, and applicability. Perrillo's work will be published in a future volume of the ITE Journal.

ACI Hires New Chief Engineer

The American Concrete Institute (ACI) announced the hiring of Shauib H. Ahmad as the chief engineer of ACI's engineering department.

He holds an engineering degrees from N.E.D. University, Pakistan; Kansas State University; and the University of Illinois, Chicago. He was a teaching and research assistant at the University of Illinois before becoming a professor at North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

- ACI

St. John Selected as Division Administrator

James E. St. John was selected as the administrator of FHWA's Florida Division. Currently, St. John serves as the deputy administrator of Region 3 in Baltimore. St. John holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and a master's degree in special studies.

Conferences

Winter Road Maintenance Symposiums To Be Held This Fall

FHWA will co-host the Third Annual Eastern Winter Road Maintenance Symposium and Equipment Expo with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on Sept. 9-10, 1998. Registration is free. To register for the Eastern Symposium, contact Patti Miller at (717) 783-8559 or visit the Web site: http//www.ota.fhwa.dot.gov/winter.

On Sept. 29, 1998, the Western Winter Road Maintenance Symposium will be held in Estes Park, Colo., in conjunction with the American Public Works Association's (APWA) Western Snow and Ice Conference and Roadeo. Registration is free. To register for the Western Symposium, contact Linda Arson of APWA at (978) 586-5331.

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