U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content
Facebook iconYouTube iconTwitter iconFlickr iconLinkedInInstagram

Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

Research & Technology Transporter
This newsletter is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
Research & Technology Transporter Home | Current Issue | Past Issues | Search Research & Technology Transporter
Back to Publication List        
Publication Number:  N/A    Date:  March 1996
Publication Date: March 1996


Table of Contents








The Research & Technology Transporter was a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) research and technology publication issued under FHWA's Research and Technology Program. The 8-page newsletter transmitted research and technology-based developments from FHWA program offices to engineers in the field and professionals in the industry. Publication of the Research & Technology Transporter ended with the September 2006 issue.

Last Updated: 6/11/96

Federico F. Peña
U.S. Department of Transportation
Rodney E. Slater
Federal Highway Administration
Jane F. Garvey
Deputy Administrator,
Federal Highway Administration

Bud Wright--Safety
Stan Gordon--Structures
Jim Scapellato--Motor Carriers
Paul Teng--Pavements
Gary Euler--ITS
Bob Ford--International
Barna Juhasz--Policy, Planning, Environment,
Information Management & Right-of-Way

Anne Barsanti, Managing Editor
Jon Schans, Editor
Zac Ellis, Editor



FHWA Launches New Safety Outreach Effort

A computer-based, interactive touchscreen kiosk

FHWA is using innovative technology to communicate to the public. A computer-based, interactive touchscreen kiosk is one such innovation that focuses on safety issues. By using a full complement of multimedia, such as digital video and audio, 3-D animation, and full-color graphics, important safety issues are being brought to the attention of the general public in a way that is more engaging than traditional publications or videotapes. Users are able to interact with and experience various aspects of highway safety as well as test their understanding of these topics. By reaching highway users in this new way, FHWA hopes to provide important safety information so it is not only fun but memorable.

The kiosk consists of three separate modules: Road Trip, Road Challenge, and Safety Stops. Road Trip is a virtual journey where users encounter four different situations and must make decisions about highway safety. Road Challenge is a fast-paced game where users answer questions about highway safety to earn safety miles. Safety Stops is a database of facts where users can discover more about such topics as sharing the road with others, highway signs, signals, and the future of highway safety. The kiosk will provide information on demand in a menu-driven format, allowing users to browse and explore the safety topics.

Menu-driven modules Road Trip, Road Challenge, and Safety Stops

Recently, the kiosk was unveiled at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting and at an FHWA Open House. It is currently on display at Washington Headquarter's Nassif Building lobby, and the Office of Highway Safety and the Office of Technology Applications (OTA) have received several requests to have the kiosk on display at future annual meetings, conferences, and exhibits.

- Ann Walls (202) 366-6836, and Mike Burk (202) 366-8033.




World of Concrete '96 Attracts 47,000 to Las Vegas

The show floor of the World of Concrete (WOC) opened with nearly 1,000 companies representing all sectors of the concrete industry and a record registration of 47,000. Exhibits were housed in both the North and South Halls, which was a first in the history of the WOC appearance at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Visitors from more than 90 countries were in attendance. The WOC is a highly focused event for the concrete construction industry, highlighting all aspects of production, construction, and renovation. Concrete professionals from around the world look to the WOC expositions for equipment and materials, educational information, and international networking opportunities.

This year, OTA displayed exhibits featuring high performance concrete, alkali-silica reactivity, the related SHRP showcase, and corrosion survey techniques. OTA also dispensed literature covering other SHRP showcases in the concrete area, as well as general information on FHWA. The exhibit was well received with an overwhelming quantity of requests for additional information. The latest techniques and equipment for batching, placing, and finishing concrete were presented during 3 days of MEGA DEMOS.

All of the conference attendees were welcome to see live, full -scale demonstrations on laser-guided equipment, which increases productivity and profits on flatwork jobs; concrete pumping, which included power and roller screening, concrete coloring, slab and foundation formwork, vacuum de-watering, and a hammerhead bridge cap; and bridge deck paving, which included steel edge forming for flatwork, a side-discharge concrete conveyor, a rear discharge ready mix truck, and a bridge deck paver. The '97 World of Concrete will be held from January 21 to 24, 1997, and promises, unlike any other construction show, not only to bring the market to the event but the event to the market.

- Juaquetta J. Perry (202) 366-1130.





SHRP HPC Bridge Showcase Coming

The many benefits of High Performance Concrete (HPC) for bridges will be presented during the SHRP HPC Bridge Showcase, scheduled for March 25-27, 1996, in Houston, Texas. The Showcase is sponsored by the Texas DOT (TxDOT) and FHWA, in cooperation with the Center for Transportation Research at The University of Texas at Austin.

HPC is concrete with enhanced durability and, if needed, increased strength. Despite promising research results and the potential for cost savings, relatively little had been done before 1993 regarding the implementation of HPC in bridges in the United States. In July 1993, FHWA initiated its first HPC bridge project with TxDOT: the Louetta Road Overpass. Since that time, another HPC bridge project in Texas (the San Angelo Bridge) as well as HPC bridge projects in Virginia, Nebraska, and New Hampshire have begun.

The time has come to pass on this technology to other interested States. Toward this end, the first SHRP HPC Bridge Showcase will focus on the technical aspects of HPC and will highlight the two HPC bridges currently being constructed in Texas. The showcase is geared for the practitioner--how does one design and construct with HPC? Presenters will include TxDOT, FHWA, and University of Texas at Austin personnel, as well as consultants, concrete fabricators, and contractors. Because of the high level of interest, requests for attendance have been overwhelming and limited to invitation only. A videotape of the event is tentatively planned by TxDOT.

- Mary Lou Ralls, TxDOT, (512) 416-2249; Susan N. Lane, FHWA Headquarters, (202) 493-3044; Peter Chang, FHWA Region 6 Office (817) 334-3252; and Donald Harley, FHWA Texas Division, (512) 916 -5526.


NHI's New Seismic Bridge Design Applications Course to be Satellite Broadcast

The National Highway Institute (NHI) is broadcasting via satellite its new course on Seismic Bridge Design Applications The course will focus on providing application guidance for bridge designers to accomplish the AASHTO seismic design for commonly encountered bridges. It is intended for professional engineers in Federal, State, and local government agencies as well as private sector firms responsible for bridge design. The course will be transmitted in 2 full-day sessions and will be taught through the University of Maryland on April 25 and July 25.

Satellite broadcasts are the most timely and cost-effective way to deliver this course to the many States that have requested it. Organizations interested in receiving the broadcast but do not have satellite reception capabilities can usually make arrangements to view it at a local school district, community college, university, or business industrial organization having these capabilities. There will be a nominal fee per person with preregistration required so that NHI can ship the course materials to the appropriate location and arrange for correct billing. Specific information is available through NHI.

- Antonio Nieves Torres, voice: (202) 493-3153, fax: (703) 235-O593, or


Virginia Constructs Thin Bonded Overlays

As part of a nationwide effort to assess the state of technology for thin bonded overlays, the Virginia DOT has completed thin bonded overlays on six bridge decks on I-95 in Greenville County and plans to construct overlays on two bridge decks on Route 60 in Virginia Beach this spring. The thin bonded overlay program is funded under Section 6005 of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 and is designated to demonstrate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of using thin overlays and surface laminates on resurfacing projects. The Virginia bridge deck projects are 2 of over 30 that are being constructed or being planned in 19 States.

The thin overlays on the Greenville County bridge decks in Virginia demonstrated the application of styrene butadine latex-modified, methylmethacrylate latex-modified, and silica fume concrete overlays of 50-mm thickness on the existing bridge decks. Four of the overlays were opened to traffic within 4 days. Two high early strength overlays constructed with styrene butadine latex and silica fume were opened to traffic after 24 hours. The thin overlays on the Virginia Beach bridge decks will demonstrate the application of concretes containing silica fume, slag, type F fly ash, styrene butadine latex, calcium nitrite and two organic corrosion inhibitors, shrinkage reducing admixture, polyolifin fibers, polypropylene fibers, and steel fibers.

According to Michael Sprinkel of the Virginia DOT's Transportation Research Council, construction of the Greenville County bridge decks went as planned and VDOT is looking forward to collecting test results on the overlay sections for the next 3 years. The test sections will be evaluated using a plan developed by the Technical Working Group that oversees these projects. The evaluation will include tests for compressive strength, bond strength, permeability to chloride ion, and shrinkage of overlays. Visual observations, including a condition survey, will be conducted yearly as a minimum. The evaluation of these projects and a few similar projects will help determine if this approach is cost-effective for bridge deck overlays. The Technical Working Group is planning to hold an open house and visit several project sites in Virginia on April 16 and 17.

- Vasant Mistry (202) 366-4599.





How Does IVIS Affect Driver Performance and Compliance?

FHWA's Traffic and Driver Information Systems Division is undertaking a research program on "In-Vehicle Information Systems (IVIS)." The program addresses the in-vehicle aspects of Advanced Traveler Information Systems and will use computer and communications technology to provide a variety of real-time information to drivers. IVIS have the potential to improve highway safety and reduce traffic congestion by ensuring that drivers are safely presented accurate and timely information about roadway conditions so they can make informed decisions. One aspect of IVIS is the ability to provide more accurate information on traffic and road conditions than current static roadside signs. To date, research has been completed on preliminary human factor design guidelines and cost-benefit analyses. Addtional research requires architecture guidelines be integrated with in-vehicle information, all human factor issues be resolved, economic impacts of institutional and implementation issues be assessed, and display concepts be field evaluated.

Older drivers are one population that could significantly benefit from IVIS. Previous studies have found a general deterioration in sensory, cognitive, and psychomotor skills of people over 65. Visual characteristics are most affected, including useful field of view, dynamic visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity. IVIS will present visual and auditory information in a standardized way within vehicles, thereby reducing the need for drivers to scan the environment to detect and read roadway signs. The systems will allow for the personalization of information displays. Drivers will be able to get information when they need it and will not have to perform the forced pace task that is currently required in reading, interpreting, and responding to standard roadside highway signs.

FHWA researchers have recently completed data collection on a study that investigates drivers' detection of and compliance with signs presented on standard highway signs or through an IVIS. Young (18-21), middle-aged (30-45), and older (65+) drivers navigated through a rural highway scene in the Highway Driving Simulator (HYSIM) under clear or adverse visibility conditions. Throughout the drive, warning and regulatory signs were presented either outside the vehicle or through IVIS. Data collected included acceleration, deceleration, speed, and lateral movement under each information condition. IVIS will likely lead to better sign detection and compliance for all drivers, regardless of the visibility condition. A technical report will be available in the spring of 1996.

- Samuel C. Tignor (202) 493-3363, and Elizabeth Alicandri (202) 493-3376.





New Highway Traffic Noise Prediction Model Almost Complete

This spring, FHWA is planning to release its Traffic Noise Model, Version 1.0 (FHWATNM, for short). After an appropriate phase-in period, it will replace the existing FHWA Highway Traffic Noise Prediction Model (developed in 1977) and the existing model prediction software, STAMINA 2.0/OPTIMA.

The FHWA TNM will calculate traffic noise levels using totally new acoustical algorithms and newly-measured emission levels for five standard vehicle types: automobiles, medium trucks, heavy trucks, buses, and motorcycles. The calculations will be based on one-third octave-band analysis and subsource heights for trucks. The FHWA TNM will output overall a-weighted sound levels for locations with and without noise barriers. It will allow for analyses of (1) both constant-and interrupted-flow traffic; (2) attenuation due to rows of buildings and dense vegetation; (3) effects of parallel noise barriers; (4)results of multiple diffractions; and (5) noise contours.

The FHWA TNM will have a Microsoft Windows interface and internal Computer-Aided Design Drawing capability. It will be designed to run on an IBM-compatible PC, 66 MHz, 486 integral math coprocessor, 8 Mbytes of memory, 300 Mbytes of hard disk drive space, and an Accelerated Super VGA monitor.

- Bob Armstrong (202) 366-2073, and Steve Ronning (202) 366-2078.





Bridge Division Participates in T2 Activities with Mexico

On January 14, 1995, Jorge E. Pagán-Ortiz of the Office of Engineering's Bridge Division represented FHWA in a technology transfer (T 2) exchange in Monterrey, Mexico. Those represented were FHWA, Mexico's Secretary for Communications and Transportation (SCT), and the Mexican Institute of Transportation (IMT). Mr. Pagán-Ortiz presented a summary of FHWA's hydraulics activities, which included publications, software, and research in the field of hydraulics engineering. Mexican engineers made presentations on their current activities in hydraulics engineering.

Following this exchange, Mr. Pagán-Ortiz served as co-instructor of the Spanish version of the National Highway Institute (NHI) Course #13046, Stream Stability and Scour at Highway Bridges. He was assisted by Rubén Salas Pereira of the University of Costa Rica. The course, presented from January 15 to 19, was sponsored by FHWA's Office of International Programs and Pan American Institute of Highways. Participating in the course were engineers from several Mexican states: Aguascalientes, Baja California Norte, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Michoacán, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosi, Sonora, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas. Also participating in the course were engineers representing the State highway agencies of Arizona, California, and Texas.

Highlights of the course included an open forum for discussing factors affecting the stability of streams, the importance of selecting the appropriate design frequency for a storm event, the analytical procedures for estimating scour at bridges, and the importance of having a management system that could help engineers categorize the condition of bridges over waterways. Engineers from SCT and IMT made technical presentations on the procedures used in Mexico for estimating scour at bridges. Finally, a presentation of FHWA's Demonstration Project 97, "Scour Monitoring and Instrumentation," was made to show state-of-the-art technology for monitoring the progression of scour around bridge foundations. The presentation was made by Dr. James Schall, Ayres Associates, Fort Collins, Colorado, who represented the Office of Technology Applications. The success of the technology exchange was made possible by the excellent coordination and support among FHWA, TxDOT, SCT, IMT, and Nuevo León, Mexico.

- Jorge E. Pagán-Ortiz (202) 366-4604





Former GRF Student Receives UTC Award at TRB

Former Grant for Research Fellowships (GRF) student, Arlene Willis, was recognized at TRB's annual meeting for her 1994 work with the GRF program. Ms. Willis was presented the University Transportation Center's (UTC) Outstanding Student Award at a UTC Award Dinner on January 8 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. On January 9, she presented her research paper on "Evaluating Transportation Needs in a Developing Country: The Case of the Montego Bay Free Zone Employees."

- Ilene D. Payne (703) 235-0535.


DDETFP Staff Sponsors Student Transportation Meeting at TRB

FHWA's Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP) held a Student Transportation Meeting at the Washington Sheraton Hotel during TRB's annual meeting. It was held on January 9 at the Atrium. Recipients from all of the DDETFP components, faculty members, and transportation professional attended the meeting. FHWA Administrator Rodney E. Slater was the guest speaker. Dr. Moges Ayele, Director of Special Strategic National Highway Institute Initiatives, made the introductions. Dr. Ilene D. Payne, Director of the Universities and Grants Programs, welcomed the participants. Presentations were made by many of the former and current GRF recipients on an array of topics.

- Ilene D. Payne (703) 235-0535.


National T2 Focus Areas to be Identified

In September 1995, FHWA Executive Director Tony Kane established a task force to develop a process to identify focus areas for T 2 in accordance with one of the milestones in the FHWA Strategic Plan. The task force, which is chaired by Montana Division Administrator Hank Honeywell, is developing a consensus-based process for annually stating, or reaffirming, a limited number of T 2 focus areas around which FHWA's field offices can plan and allocate resources and Headquarters offices can use to focus their delivery support.

The task force is well into identifying the process, including solicitation, screening, selection, and promotion of National T2 Focus Areas. T2 focus areas are specific needs, problems, or opportunities in transportation for which available technologies can make meaningful and measurable improvements. They are characterized as being market-ready technologies that add benefits, are implementable, and have national applicability. These focus areas will be a source of T2 emphasis and will have commitment for support at all levels.

Membership on the task force includes Bill Baker (OTA), Chuck Chambers (Office of Engineering), Glenn Clinton (California Division), Dwight Horne (Connecticut Division), Hugh Jones (Office of the Federal Lands Highway Program Administrator), Doug McKelvey (Office of Motor Carrier Safety and Technology), Mary Stringfellow (Region 5), and Roy Trent (Office of Engineering R&D).

- Hank Honeywell (406) 441-1221.


FHWA Open House Celebrates the Designation of the NHS

On January 23, FHWA Headquarters and field offices held open houses to celebrate the historic designation of the National Highway System (NHS). Visitors, both FHWA and others throughout the highway community, were provided information on the NHS as well as other significant programs and new technology. At Headquarters, visitors were invited to "come take a ride into the future." Retroreflective tape on the floor and highway work-zone signs guided visitors through a serpentine course that included several rooms and hallways containing numerous exhibits featuring everything from interactive videos to recyclable paving material.

The open house focused on four major areas: technology, safety, innovative financing, and the environment. Of these four, the various technological innovations were highly visible. Most, like the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), are in some stage of research, development, testing, or deployment. One demonstration used a TravTex automobile dashboard mockup that included an ITS monitor mounted in it. Visitors to that exhibit could sit in the driver's seat and use the system, which provided traffic, route, and other helpful information for the traveler. Safety displays were among the most prevalent at the open house. Many of the individual components of ITS are safety devices, such as those that were presented at a DASCAR exhibit. Also available for use by visitors was a kiosk that, via a touch screen, provided safety information and tested users' knowledge of safety and roadway markings and signs. The kiosk uses colorful multimedia animation to entertain as it informs.

The open house also featured several exhibits on another critical area of highway management/finance. Innovative financing was the subject of several exhibits that presented many ideas on how State highway agencies might finance their highway construction and maintenance needs. The basic principle in FHWA's thrust to generate investment in the Nation's highways and bridges involves removing barriers and creating incentives for potential public and private investors. Judging by the number of attendees, their enthusiasm, and their interaction with the exhibits and those staffing them, the FHWA open house was a resounding success. It achieved its stated goals of celebrating the historic designation of the NHS and educating and informing attendees on new technologies and FHWA's major initiatives and programs of the past, present, and future.

- William Zaccagnino (202) 366-6095.



U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

Research, Development, and Technology
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, Virginia 22101-2296




Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101