R & T Now Home | Current Issue | Past Issues
FHWA R&T Now - September 2012
A news update of research, technology, and development from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®
EAR Program Initiates Research in Modeling Cement Hydration Kinetics
FHWA entered into a cooperative agreement with Princeton University to focus on clearly defining the causes of the onset and end of the induction period of alite, which controls set, strength, and subsequent microstructural development in concrete. Researchers will use new experimental methods capable of measuring chemical and microstructural changes on the nanometer to micron scale during hydration. The goal is to use this insight to improve the ability of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) HydratiCA model to predict hydration kinetics and microstructure in the presence of supplementary cementitious material such as fly ash, slag, and metakaolin, as well as organic admixtures. This understanding is expected to lead to an improvement of the boundary nucleation and growth model to permit prediction of hydration kinetics and setting behavior in a software tool that is powerful but simple enough to be used in the field. The award follows a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) proposals issued in spring 2011.
For more information about the project, contact Richard Meininger, 202-493-3191, firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the EAR Program, contact David Kuehn, 202-493-3414, email@example.com.
EAR Program Begins Study in Video Decoding and Feature Extraction Automation for Highway Research
FHWA entered into a contract with University of Maryland to develop a system that provides continuous, ultra-high definition, real-time simultaneous monitoring, tracking and analysis of multiple events or characteristics in the fields of view of cooperating cameras. The envisioned system will be capable of autonomously recording vehicle types, including make and model identification, speeds, abnormal vehicle patterns, and accidents. The system will track observed events such as congestion using wide field of view, high-resolution, cooperating cameras mounted on low-cost servo-stabilized steerable camera platforms. This will enable traffic surveillance and monitoring systems that use multiple cameras to simultaneously detect and track multiobject motion and conduct anomaly detection and classification in real time. The award follows a BAA for EAR proposals issued in spring 2011.
For more information about these projects, contact David Gibson, 202-493-3271, firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the EAR Program, contact David Kuehn, 202-493-3414, email@example.com.
EAR Program Commences Research in New Technology Solutions for Wayfinding and Navigation Guidance for People with Vision Impairment and Other Disabilities
FHWA entered into a cooperative agreement with the City College of New York to explore and develop situation awareness and assistive navigation technologies to provide blind or visually impaired persons with obstacle avoidance and intelligent wayfinding capabilities in indoor environments by using wearable sensors (e.g., cameras, three-dimensional orientation sensors, and pedometers). In a proposed second phase, the technology will be improved and research will be extended to outdoor pedestrian environments to provide blind users with waypoint navigation, path planning, and advanced warning of events through interaction with Global Positioning System (GPS), Geographic Information System (GIS), and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) infrastructure.
FHWA has also entered into a contract with TRX Systems, Inc. to begin a project with potential for technical innovation and commercial application in the field of navigation aid for the blind or visually impaired. The project has five main objectives. The first is to provide navigation aid that can track the location of a blind person anywhere, including areas where GPS is not available or reliable (for example, indoors or in urban areas with tall buildings). The second is the ability to look ahead in time and space to plan the route to get to a destination and adaptively update the route based on vision system recognized obstacles to be avoided (for example, people or construction within the path). In robotics, this concept is known as Event Horizon. The third objective is the ability to take gestural input and provide natural route guidance based on tactile stimulus instead of relying solely on auditory or visual instructions. The fourth objective is to use computer vision techniques to verify that the user has reached the correct destination, as well as to find stairs, elevators, buttons, hallways, and doors in the visual scope to help with the navigation. The fifth objective is to take input from and provide input to intelligent traffic systems (for example, to communicate with drivers by sending them alerts when they are getting close to a blind person crossing the street). These awards follow a BAA for EAR proposals issued in spring 2011.
For more information about the project under the agreement with the City College of New York, contact Mohammed Yousuf, 202-493-3199, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the project under the agreement with TRX Systems, Inc., contact Charlene Wilder, 202-366-1077, email@example.com. For information about the EAR Program, contact David Kuehn, 202-493-3414, firstname.lastname@example.org.
EAR Program Seeks Industry Partners for Anti-Fuel Theft System
As part of the EAR Program sponsored project, “Safeguarding Truck-Shipped Wholesale and Retail Fuels,” the Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory sent a request for information to companies representing telematics, commercial vehicle electronics, and petroleum equipment manufacturing. The information will assist in determining if and how to proceed with field trials. The Office of Highway Policy Information, Tennessee Division Office, and departments of transportation in Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, and Tennessee are providing technical assistance to support the research. For more information, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/advancedresearch/pubs/12020/index.cfm.
Eco-Experiments Suggest Fuel Savings
On August 23, FHWA’s Office of Operations R&D hosted experiments at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC). Researchers used TFHRC’s intelligent intersection to provide Signal Phase and Timing (SPaT) and Geometric Intersection Description (GID) data to a test vehicle equipped with an onboard dedicated short-range communication modem, onboard computer processor, and a display device to provide the driver with speed advice. The onboard computer received SPaT and GID messages from the intersection; interpreted the received information, current vehicle speed, and location with an algorithm designed to improve environmental performance; and suggested a vehicle speed for approach and departure legs at the intersection. Preliminary results showed fuel savings between 10 and 20 percent and a reduction of harmful emissions by about 12 percent. The experiments were directed by the University of California, Riverside and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation Intelligent Transportation Systems initiative, Applications for the Environment: Real-Time Information Synthesis (AERIS). This initiative is aimed at identifying transformative concepts to improve environmental performance. Researchers were able to assess the practicality of implementation and gather data that can be used to calibrate and validate future AERIS computer modeling efforts.
To see a video of a test of eco signal operations at UC Berkeley’s Richmond Field Station, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/multimedia/research/advancedresearch/index.cfm.
For more information about the AERIS testing, contact Peter Huang, 202-493-3484, email@example.com
Please forward this newsletter to others you think might find it interesting and/or useful.
Suggestions may be submitted to: FHWA_Now@fhwa.dot.gov