Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) news

The Washington State Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) is a partnership between WSDOT's Local Program Division and FHWA, providing training opportunities and a coordinated technology transfer program for local agencies in Washington State. LTAP offers courses directly targeting the training needs of local agencies receiving Federal funding.

Below are news items of interest to our local agencies and partners.

If you have an article you would like to publish in the LTAP News, please email it to LTAP News. (Send photos as separate files, .jpg or .gif preferred with full photo and author credits. Thanks)

 

Innovation of the Month: Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures

Over the last few weeks, we’ve highlighted State, local, and tribal agencies that have implemented the pillars of the Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) initiative. Today, we’ll tell a story of how the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) made a difference on their local roads.

In Kansas, lane departures are responsible for two-thirds of the fatalities on locally-owned rural roads. Because of this, KDOT chose to set aside all its High Risk Rural Roads (HRRR) Program funding to address safety on these roads.

Plotting crash data was time consuming and showed crashes were scattered randomly across the system, which is typical of rural networks. This made it difficult to see patterns of crashes happening over time, limiting local agencies’ ability to compete for the available funding. As a result, only $1.4 million of the $8.4 million available was obligated after 6 years.

KDOT decided to change from a site-specific-only approach to a systemic approach. Instead of focusing on locations that have multiple crashes, the systemic approach considers roadway features that correlate with severe crashes and then identifies other locations with those features.

The KDOT crash data showed that rural major collectors were overrepresented for severe crashes on the local system. This gave KDOT a network to focus on and they used some of the available funds to assist counties in developing safety action plans

Next KDOT provided funding for local agencies to install proven countermeasures systemically as identified in their plan. The countermeasures included striping, improved signing, high friction surface treatment, rumble strips, lighting and clear zones. They also purchased devices that agencies could use to install the SafetyEdge when they were conducting paving projects.

The results were dramatic. Not only did local agencies start making safety improvements, reducing the backlog of safety funds, but the average of severe crashes on rural major collectors dropped from an average of 207 per year to 189.

Kansas DOT recognized the need to address safety on all public roads and then used the systemic approach and safety action plans to identify improvements that will reduce the risk of severe crashes on these roads.  They then deployed proven countermeasures and have seen a reduction in these crashes.  Kansas is driving FoRRRwD.

For more information on FoRRRwD or for technical assistance, contact Cathy Satterfield of the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin of the FHWA Resource Center.   7/21

 

FY 2021 AID Demonstration Program Now Accepting Applications /h3>

The Federal Highway Administration has announced the availability of up to $10 million in grant funding from the Accelerated Innovative Deployment (AID) Demonstration Program, which provides incentive funding to eligible State DOTs, Federal Land Management Agencies, and tribal governments to accelerate the implementation of proven innovation in highway transportation.  Eligible activities may involve any phase of a highway transportation project between project planning and project delivery. 

The 2021 AID Demonstration Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (693JJ321NF-AIDDP) is currently open and will close at 11:59 pm (EST) on September 28, 2021.  The notice is available now at grants.gov

FHWA invites interested applicants to join the AID Demonstration Information Session on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time/10:00 AM Pacific Time.  Click here to join the AID Demonstration Information Session.  This will be a Teams Live event and will be recorded.   7/21

 

Innovation of the Month: Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures

Over the last few weeks, we’ve highlighted transportation agencies that have deployed the four pillars of the Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) initiative. Today, we’ll share how the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) is using safety action plans to make rural roads safer across the State.

In 2013, after nearly 600 people died in Alabama as a result of a roadway departure, FHWA helped ALDOT create a safety action plan specifically for roadway departure crashes on the State system. ALDOT focused improvements at nearly 400 curves and added roadway departure countermeasures to resurfacing projects. As a result, they found that widening shoulders and installing rumble strips can reduce severe roadway departure crashes by 18-28 percent.

However, because nearly half of the rural roadway departure fatalities in Alabama happen on the local road system, ALDOT expanded their focus to address all public roads. One of the strategies that ALDOT used was to dedicate $4 million for local safety projects annually, either from the High Risk Rural Roads (HRRR) Program or the ALDOT Local Road Safety Initiative.

Elmore County piloted the first Local Road Safety Plan (LRSP) in Alabama and used a systemic approach to identify potential improvements. With the HRRR funding, several projects from their plan that implemented proven countermeasures have been completed. Based on the success of the Elmore County plan, ALDOT obtained a State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) Incentive program award  and leveraged Highway Safety Improvement program (HSIP) funds to assist 10 additional counties in developing LRSPs of their own.

In addition, ALDOT provides crash data to local agencies through the Critical Analysis Reporting Environment (CARE) platform. ALDOT has also used the FHWA Crash Tree Maker which uses crash data to help visualize safety issues and identify the types of locations at most risk of severe crashes. This data is crucial for agencies to apply the systemic approach.

Alabama has used safety action plans to address both State and local rural roads systemically to identify locations where proven countermeasures like signing, rumble strips and shoulder widening can make the greatest impact. This has put them on the path to reducing rural roadway departures. Alabama is moving FoRRRwD on all four pillars.

Contact Cathy Satterfield of the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin of the FHWA Resource Center for information and technical assistance.   7/21

 

Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures

Nearly 12,000 people die each year when their vehicle leaves its travel lane. That is 30 people today, and every day.

The Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) team has spent the last two years promoting tools and strategies to help agencies across the country drive those fatalities down.

The FoRRRwD approach rests on four pillars. One of those pillars is that safety should be a priority on all public roads, whether they are maintained by State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), local, or tribal agencies. That means, ideally, that resources would be shared and deployed wherever safety issues are, no matter who owns the roadway.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) proactively assisted local and tribal agencies in the State to achieve crash reductions on their roads by making 50 percent of its Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding available to help them implement Local Road Safety Plans (LRSPs). The State also created a website to house their plans to encourage the sharing of best practices. This addressed another FoRRRwD pillar, safety action plans. Local Road Safety Plans were developed for every county, major city, and tribe in the State.

The LRSPs used a systemic approach, which is another FoRRRwD pillar. This approach uses crash and other data to look for risk factors that correlate with severe rural roadway departure crashes. For instance, the Cass County (pdf 3.8 mb) plan used five risk factors for curves – radius, average daily traffic, intersection, visual trap, and crash history.

With the systemic approach, practitioners look for all the curves on their system with multiple risk factors and target proven, cost-effective countermeasures to those locations, sometimes before crashes happen.

In fact, proven countermeasures are the other FoRRRwD pillar. Roadway departure countermeasures such as curve warning signs and rumble strips were implemented on local roads as part of the NDDOT program. These improvements were also bundled in county-wide and multi-county projects, to achieve cost-effective economies of scale.

With these efforts, NDDOT observed a 14-percent reduction in lane departure severe injury crashes on local roads and a 21-percent reduction in curve crashes on local roads.

Visit the FHWA FoRRRwD website to learn more about how you can use the 4 pillars of FoRRRwD to reduce rural roadway departures on your roads. For more information and technical assistance contact Cathy Satterfield of the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin of the FHWA Resource Center.   7/21

 

Project Bundling Reduces Nebraska’s Deficient Bridges

In just five years, the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) has helped counties in Nebraska repair or replace over 300 bridges using project bundling. The effort began with the creation of the Nebraska County Bridge Match Program in 2016 when the State was ranked fifth in the nation for the number of structurally deficient or poor bridges.

The State legislature created the program and NDOT administers it using the Transportation Infrastructure Bank Fund. The law allows NDOT to expend no more than $40M to promote innovative solutions and provide additional funding to accelerate repair and replacement of deficient bridges on the county road system over seven years.

The DOT developed the program’s participation criteria and matching fund requirements in consultation with a statewide association representing county officials. County participation is voluntary. Every October, NDOT sends out a request for proposals. The counties then write proposals based on bridges selected from a list of eligible structurally deficient bridges on the county system. The County Bridge Match Program will end on June 30, 2023.

NDOT’s effort showcases that bridge bundling is a successful approach on smaller projects. Eighty-four of the 106 projects in the first five years included bundles ranging from two to nine bridges. Not only are counties bundling their own projects, they are working with neighboring counties to create bundles across county lines. Forty-one of the projects involved multi-county bridge bundles with two to four counties.

To learn more about project bundling, contact Romeo Garcia of the FHWA Office of Infrastructure or David Unkefer of the FHWA Resource Center.   7/21

 

Intersection Safety Outreach and Education Products Available

FHWA's Intersection Safety Program is pleased to share outreach and education products to assist State, local, and Tribal partners in advancing intersection safety efforts in their communities.

Three videos have been produced to help advance efforts to implement intersection solutions that also reflect the Safe System approach. For intersections, this approach involves separating users in space, separating users in time, modifying conflict angles, and reducing speed through conflict areas—all to manage the kinetic energy involved in a potential collision. Each video is 3–5 minutes, and is intended to help State, local, and Tribal agencies explain these intersections to their communities.

To learn more about these and other resources and how they could improve your agency’s safety efforts, please contact Jeff Shaw, FHWA Office of Safety.   7/21

 

All Public Roads and Systemic Analysis—Two Pillars of the FoRRRwD Approach

More than 30 people die each day on rural roadway departure crashes. These deaths, scattered across a vast network of rural roadways, don’t typically make the news, but account for nearly 30 percent of annual roadway deaths. The Focus on Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) program addresses this problem by highlighting four pillars that can help reduce rural roadway departures.

The first FoRRRwD pillar- all public roads, is important for establishing the scope of the problem. It is estimated that over 40 percent of fatalities happen on roads not typically maintained by State DOTs. Reducing these deaths requires a partnership. State DOT's have helped by making funds available to local agencies, making it easier to apply for funding, and assisting with data acquisition, compilation and analysis.

The second pillar—the systemic approach to identifying crash risk, is a data-driven method to identify where an agency should focus its attention for rural roadway departures. Systemic analysis uses roadway geometrics, traffic characteristics, and maintenance information along with crash data to identify risk factors, then uses those risk factors to identify locations at highest risk of future crashes. Low-cost countermeasures are installed at targeted, high-risk locations across the system, even if there has not been a crash. This is critical since rural roadway departure crashes are generally not concentrated at "hot spots".

To learn more about FoRRRwD, contact Cate Satterfield, FHWA Office of Safety, or Dick Albin, FHWA Resource Center. Read more about these pillars in article featured in the Fall 2020 Public Roads and stay tuned over the next few weeks for another article highlighting the final two pillars of FoRRRwD.   6/21

 

Innovation of the Month: Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian

Over the past few weeks we’ve highlighted the Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) program and how local or State agencies can implement its seven featured countermeasures. For our final article in this series, we will discuss lighting and where to install it to make a difference in pedestrian safety.

In 2018, 76 percent of pedestrian fatalities nationwide occurred in dark conditions. FHWA published a video storyboard that highlights four approaches to improve pedestrian visibility at night—improving overhead lighting, installing crosswalks with high-visibility crosswalk markings, enhancing visibility with Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons, and evaluating additional countermeasures like pedestrian refuge islands or other treatments.

STEP also published a summary that links to several resources explaining why improving lighting for pedestrians is important. Lighting increases the visibility of pedestrians in a crosswalk and it may even encourage more pedestrians to use a crosswalk. STEP notes that overhead lighting (pdf 361 kb), when used at intersections, can reduce all types of injury crashes by 27 percent.

FHWA hosted a virtual pedestrian lighting scan tour with six Departments of Transportation (DOTs) in February of 2021. The scan tour explored conditions for improving overhead lighting for pedestrian safety and approaches agencies used to select sites and prioritize potential improvements. During the Scan Tour, Florida DOT (FDOT) shared their experiences with lighting placement. FDOT uses a data-driven method to create a funding plan allocating $100 million to retrofit over 2,500 signalized intersections throughout the State’s seven districts. As of 2020, 80 percent of the funding was spent with 350 intersections in the design phase; 1,050 intersections awaiting construction; and 750 intersections completed.

If you would like to learn more about how your agency can improve pedestrian lighting and safety with STEP, contact Becky Crowe with FHWA's Office of Safety or Peter Eun with the FHWA Resource Center.   6/21

 

Innovation of the Month: Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian

States are using resources from FHWA’s Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian Program to determine the best locations to implement countermeasures. Each of the “Spectacular Seven” countermeasures, crosswalk visibility enhancements (pdf 361 kb), Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) (pdf 343 kb), Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs) (pdf 1.2 mb), pedestrian refuge islands (pdf 701 kb), raised crosswalks (pdf 684 kb), Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) (pdf 1.5 mb), and Road Diets (pdf 561 kb), are most effective when placed at locations that meet certain criteria. Understanding this context is an important part of countermeasure selection.

PHBs are most often considered for multi-lane roadways with higher speeds. These beacons are effective countermeasures for midblock crossings and intersections that are distanced from signalized intersections. Results have shown PHBs are especially beneficial in areas with high volumes of pedestrian crossings and vehicles speeds, but traffic signal warrants are not met. North Carolina (pdf 250 kb) evaluated the effects of a PHB installed at an intersection in a beach town and found vehicle compliance at the crosswalk increased from 27 percent to 74 percent after the PHB was installed.

Another example includes pedestrian refuge islands. Refuge islands supplemented with a marked high-visibility crosswalk can be installed at intersections or midblock crossings; however, other design factors such as large vehicle traffic and narrow lane width should be considered for each location. Agencies considering a countermeasure for midblock crossings on roads with four or more travel lanes and higher speeds should consider a refuge island.

The table below also highlights how each of the spectacular seven countermeasures are beneficial for the five safety issues highlighted in STEP: midblock, multi-lane, dark conditions, high speed, or older pedestrian crossings.

To learn more about the “Spectacular Seven” countermeasures and where they should be used, read the series of tech sheets and case studies produced by the STEP team. If you would like to learn how your agency can improve pedestrian safety with STEP, contact Becky Crowe with FHWA's Office of Safety or Peter Eun with the FHWA Resource Center.   5/21

 

Free Crowdsourced Data Offers Value in Project Prioritization

The Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) in Illinois has been archiving travel time data every two minutes for 600 directional road segments from a free navigation app provider. Beyond using this data in real-time for traveler information and incident management, LCDOT found this data valuable as a selection criterion in prioritizing their capital investment projects. Using this data, traffic engineers can better balance the congestion score, reflecting both intersection and route levels of service.

Crowdsourced data helps LCDOT deliver the best possible transportation system for residents and local commerce. To learn more about using crowdsourcing for project prioritization, contact James Colyar, Greg Jones, or Ralph Volpe, the FHWA EDC-6 Crowdsourcing co-leads.   5/21

 

States reach 98% of their goals – EDC-5 Report

From 2019-2020, FHWA promoted 10 innovations that helped States shorted project delivery, enhance safety, reduce congestion, and integrate automation. In this cycle, collectively States achieved 98% of their goals to reach demonstration, assessment or institutionalized implementation. That is the highest implementation attainment since the program began in 2009. In the EDC-5 Final Report (pdf 6.6 mb), learn more about the 10 featured innovations, see which innovations your State implemented over the last two years, and read spotlight features from around the country highlighting agencies that successfully used each innovation in their programs.   5/21

 

High Friction Surface Treatment Pilot in Arizona Sees Positive Results

In 2019, Maricopa County, AZ, completed its first pilot application of high friction surface treatment (HFST) at two locations to reduce rural roadway departures. HFST is a high-quality aggregate that is applied to existing pavement with a polymer resin binder to restore and/or maintain friction at areas with high potential for crashes. This technique is a proven solution for significantly increasing friction for spot applications.

The results of the pilot have been significant. Before installation, the two locations saw 50 crashes occur over a five-year period, 11 of which were severe crashes. After installation, friction values on the wet HFST pavement showed significant improvement. In the first 13 months after the completed application, the two locations have only seen 4 crashes.

If you would like to learn more about HFST and how to bring it to your area, contact Cate Satterfield or Dick Albin with the Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) team.   5/21

 

Innovation of the Month: Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Bridge Preservation and Repair

Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) is a high durability, cost-efficient material that is being used to improve life-cycle cost performance in bridge preservation and repair (P&R). Last week, we discussed how the New York State Department of Transportation used UHPC link slabs for bridge P&R, and this week, we’ll look to the Midwest to see how Iowa used a UHPC overlay to extend the service life of a deteriorating bridge deck.

The state and local bridge owners in Iowa are familiar with UHPC. The first bridge in the United States to use UHPC was constructed in Wapello County, IA in 2006, and similarly the first US UHPC overlay was installed in Buchanan County, Iowa, in 2016.

The Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) recently explored how to use UHPC to address a bridge linking the city of Prairie City to the State capital, Des Moines, and southeast IA. The bridge deck had exhibited repeated concrete spalls caused by corroding reinforcement and deteriorating concrete, which resulted in numerous deck patches over time. Iowa DOT decided to take a more permanent approach to extend the service life of the deck without having to do a costly and disruptive deck replacement by using a UHPC bridge deck overlay.

UHPC applied as an overlay would not only provide a long lasting and highly durable wearing surface, but it would waterproof the deck, cutting off water intrusion, which causes the reinforcing bars to corrode. UHPC is also suitable for repairing spalls, which potentially could remove a separate deck repair step. Finally, the durability properties of UHPC suggested it would provide a service life that exceeds that of conventional overlay materials.

Because the bridge’s original design accounted for a future wearing surface, the UHPC overlay was applied on top of the existing deck without having to remove any existing deck thickness other than the hydroscarification to ensure a quality bond. The choice of doing minimal concrete removal and placing the UHPC on top of the deck expedited deck preparation.

The construction was carried out in two stages, keeping one lane open to traffic at all times. The project took just over two weeks to prepare the deck, place and cure the UHPC.

Iowa DOT expects the new UHPC overlay to provide many decades of service life with little to no deck maintenance. While the traffic impacts were similar to an overlay operation using conventional materials, the mechanical and durability properties of UHPC indicate that it will outperform conventional materials, potentially providing as much additional service life as a new deck but with far fewer inconveniences to the traveling public.

To learn more about UHPC for bridge preservation and repair, contact Zach Haber or Mark Leonard, EDC-6 UHPC team co-leads.   4/21

 

Innovation of the Month: Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Bridge Preservation and Repair

This month, we’re discussing ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) which has already seen widespread use for field-cast connections between prefabricated bridge elements as featured during EDC-4. Using UHPC for bridge preservation and repair is a newer application that helps agencies at every level maintain or improve bridge conditions cost-effectively. Last week, we discussed how the Texas DOT rehabilitated a bridge using the UHPC beam end repair technique and this week, we highlight a State using UHPC link slabs as part of bridge rehabilitation.

Since 2013, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has let or completed many projects that have included over 100 UHPC link slabs as an alternative to conventional expansion joint replacement or repair solutions. One example was the rehabilitation of several bridges over the Mohawk River in Ilion, NY. These bridges, which were over 50 years old, exhibited extensive superstructure corrosion, including steel girder ends, concrete pier deterioration, and bearing damage. The structural damage was caused by expansion joint failure plus deicing chemical use.

The existing expansion joints couldn’t prevent water and the deicing materials from reaching the substructure, so UHPC link slabs, which would eliminate most expansion joints, were a warranted replacement. Another benefit of the UHPC link slabs was improved rideability.

A section of the existing concrete bridge deck around each joint was removed and epoxy coated reinforcement along with a compressible seal was installed. After additional preparation of the link slab location, the UHPC was mixed on site and poured into place under supervision of a certified inspector. Once the other bridge rehabilitation elements were complete, the UHPC link slabs were installed, successfully creating a contiguous structure that will protect the bridges’ substructure from future damage and corrosion.

Implementing UHPC link slabs in an area like upstate New York, where harsh winters place high demands on structures, made the project an excellent representation of how UHPC link slabs could be used in other New York bridges with similar deficiencies.

To learn more about NYSDOT’s experience with UHPC link slabs, contact Zach Haber or Mark Leonard, EDC-6 UHPC team co-leads or visit the team’s EDC website.   4/21

 

Innovation of the Month: Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Bridge Preservation and Repair

Last week, we introduced ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) for bridge preservation and rehabilitation (P&R) and described some of the benefits agencies can expect from choosing it for these types of projects. Over the next few weeks, we will provide case studies from State Departments of Transportation that have successfully used UHPC in P&R projects and describe why UHPC was selected and some of the benefits agencies realized.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Houston Division recently rehabilitated the Sidney Sherman Bridge using the UHPC beam end repair technique. The bridge sees high traffic volume and particularly high truck traffic volume, due to its adjacency to the Port of Houston. This bridge serves as a vital component for the Port, consistently ranked the nation’s largest in terms of overall tonnage.

TxDOT had identified severe corrosion in critical zones at the ends of the steel girders. The complex connections trapped water and debris that resulted in continuous and severe corrosion over time. By the time this was identified, the situation had become critical and immediate action was required. Although emergency repairs were installed, they were only temporary measures to prevent further deterioration. A new bridge was being considered, but construction would not occur for at least 15-20 years, thus a long-term, permanent solution was needed to ensure 15-20 additional years of dependable service life from the existing bridge.

Conventional repair methods would have been difficult and costly to implement due to an unacceptable length of traffic closures on the bridge. The UHPC beam end repair technique, which involves removing corroded steel, installing headed shear connectors, and casting UHPC, provided an alternative solution that allowed the bridge to be repaired safely and with a minimum disruption to service. TxDOT selected UHPC for the project due to its high flowability, high strength, high ductility, and low permeability. A recent Connecticut DOT project that had used UHPC to repair corroded girder ends and the supporting project research conducted by the University of Connecticut enhanced confidence in using the material.

After completion, the TxDOT team concluded that UHPC proved to be a highly effective tool to address multiple concerns in the corrosion repairs. TxDOT also believes UHPC shows great potential for further application in the rehabilitation of aging infrastructure across the nation.

To learn more about UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair, contact Zach Haber or Mark Leonard, EDC-6 team co-leads or visit FHWA’s EDC website.   4/21

 

Indiana Uses Artificial Intelligence to Maximize Project Bundling

Transportation agencies are using project bundling to capitalize on economies of scale more often and on more diverse projects than ever before. Some State, local, and tribal agencies have used their past successes to develop business rules for selecting bundles early in the planning and programming process. This creates agency-wide efficiencies by making project bundling a standard way of doing business.

The Indiana DOT (INDOT) is incorporating machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence, to further expand project bundling benefits. Machine-learning is the use of algorithms that improve automatically through experience. The algorithms build a mathematical model based on sample data to make predictions for decisions.

INDOT’s machine learning platform uses historical and asset management data, along with business rules, to automate and optimize bundle selections over multiple program years. It reduced the time staff took to create project bundles from weeks to hours. The new approach increased bundling savings by 40 percent and is expected to save INDOT $108 million over the next 4 years.

Watch this webinar for more information about INDOT’s bundling program, view the PDF (pdf 286 kb) discussing the program in the National STIC Showcase, or contact Romeo Garcia or David Unkefer, project bundling team co-leads.   4/21

 

Discover Home-Grown Innovations from Around the Country

Are you interested in homegrown innovations being used by your peers in other parts of the country? Check out the National STIC Network Showcase, a component of the EDC-6 Virtual Summit. Over 200 innovations, submitted by State DOTs, Local Agencies, and other STIC members, are grouped into eight topic area categories for easy navigation. This site features a convenient one-time registration that will allow you to continue accessing information throughout 2021.

The showcase prominently features several innovations focused on bridge preservation and repair. Learn about the El Paso County, CO, Adaptable Bridge Safety Platform (pdf 990 kb), a unique alternative fall protection solution for bridge deck replacements in areas with unstable soils and limited scaffolding space, but that aren’t high enough to require worker catch systems; Indiana DOT's Bridge Deck Preservation using Epoxy Injections (pdf 335 kb), which prevents fluid intrusion and slows down freeze/thaw deterioration; Minnesota DOT's Affordable Bridge Beam End Repair, which used concrete to reinforce beams in need of repair; and Federal Lands Highway's Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Deck Panels (pdf 389 kb), which were used to rehabilitate the 532-foot Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone National Park.

Celebrate the ingenuity of your peers and read about these innovations—developed and deployed in-house at transportation agencies nationwide. Additionally, we invite you to watch the one-hour presentations on-demand that feature many of these and other innovations.   4/21

 

Innovation of the Month: Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Bridge Preservation and Repair

Keeping bridges in a state of good repair is essential to keeping the transportation system operating efficiently. Agencies at all levels can deploy ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) for bridge preservation and repair to cost-effectively maintain or improve bridge conditions.

UHPC is a fiber-reinforced, cementitious composite material with mechanical and durability properties that far exceed those of conventional concrete materials. This has made it popular for bridge construction, especially for field-cast connections between prefabricated bridge elements (PBE). Bridge infrastructure preservation and repair (P&R) is a new application of UHPC that offers enhanced performance and improved life-cycle cost over traditional methods. UHPC can generally be used anywhere other types of concrete would be used and because of its strength and durability, UHPC can be an optimum solution for some repairs. UHPC can be used in situations that normally use conventional concrete or repair mortars, and in some cases those that use structural steel. Additionally, UHPC repairs are long lasting and resilient, requiring less maintenance and fewer follow-up repairs than conventional methods.

Examples of UHPC P&R applications include bridge deck overlays, girder end repairs, expansion joint repairs, PBE construction joint repairs, and column or pile jacketing. Some applications, such as bridge deck overlays and replacing expansion joints with UHPC link slabs, can extend the service life of bridges well beyond that of traditional repair strategies and are more cost-efficient than bridge replacement.

In 2020, 22 UHPC P&R projects were completed in 11 States. Over the next few weeks, we will look at several case studies that demonstrate successful use of UHPC for bridge preservation and repair. Additionally, in June, at this year’s virtual International Bridge Conference, the UHPC team will present two four-hour workshops- introduction, promising applications, and practical concepts and an expert panel discussion.

To learn more about UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair, contact Zach Haber or Mark Leonard, EDC-6 team co-leads or visit FHWA’s EDC website.   4/21

 

STEP Countermeasures Deployed Far and Wide

States are turning to the “Spectacular Seven” countermeasures included in FHWA’s Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) program to improve pedestrian safety at roadway crossings. Over the past few years, Connecticut has implemented crosswalk visibility enhancements (including updated signs and high-visibility markings) at all 1,200 crosswalks on the State system and an additional 1,000 locations on local roads.

Additionally, North Carolina has installed Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) and Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs) across the State as part of spot- and corridor-improvement efforts. Hawaii has begun to conduct crosswalk visibility enhancements (including advance stop bars, in-road signs, and improved lighting) as part of routine safety improvements. Virginia combined a hot-spot and systemic analysis approach to implement $8M of STEP countermeasure improvement projects through the State’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP).

If you would like to learn how your agency can improve pedestrian safety with STEP, contact Becky Crowe with FHWA's Office of Safety or Peter Eun with the FHWA Resource Center.   4/21

 

Systemic Analysis Identifies High-Risk Locations

Systemic analysis is a crucial technique for reducing serious and fatal crashes, especially on rural roadways. However, it can be challenging to understand at first because while roadway characteristics that increase the risk for rural crashes are predictable, the locations of those crashes are not. They are scattered randomly across the whole roadway network. So where should agencies focus their limited funds to make the biggest difference? Systemic analysis can help.

The Data-Driven Safety Analysis (DDSA) and Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) implementation teams produced this animated video to help explain this life-saving approach. To learn more about DDSA, contact Jerry Roche, FHWA Office of Safety. To learn more about FoRRRwD, contact Cate Satterfield with the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin with the FHWA Resource Center.   3/21

 

Innovation of the Month:
Strategic Workforce Development

The demand for highway construction, maintenance, and operations workers is growing while the industry is experiencing a revolution of emerging technologies that will require new skills. Construction firms nationwide are having trouble finding people to build and maintain the Nation’s highway system. In a 2015 report, the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Education, and Labor estimated the transportation sector would need to hire approximately 4.6 million workers between 2012 and 2022.

The strategic workforce development initiative provides new resources and innovative strategies for identifying, training, placing, and retaining individuals in the contractors’ workforce. This initiative will help the transportation sector compete with other industries and demonstrate the value of a career in transportation. This initiative features a partnership between FHWA, State departments of transportation (DOTs), local public agencies, contractors’ associations, and State/local workforce boards to develop the contractors’ workforce to continue moving the Nation’s highway infrastructure forward.

This partnership resulted in a highway construction workforce development playbook called "Identify, Train, Place." The playbook condenses the lessons learned from a two-year, multi-State pilot into simple, repeatable "plays" that others can use. The plays reflect solutions to challenges that affected the pilot participants and are customizable to local needs.

In addition to the playbook, FHWA developed a comprehensive outreach campaign called Roads To Your Future. The campaign includes free messaging and marketing materials to help recruit the next generation of highway construction workers. Many of the materials can be customized to advertise available jobs and training to potential applicants.

Increasing the contractors' construction workforce can help communities thrive while solving one of today's most persistent national transportation problems. This initiative connects agencies to a National partnership of highway construction practitioners and resources and offers an opportunity to recruit minorities and women to jobs that can change their lives and the lives of their families, for the better.

To learn more about strategic workforce development, contact Karen Bobo, FHWA Office of Innovative Program Delivery Center for Transportation Workforce Development or Joe Conway, FHWA Office of Innovative Program Delivery Center for Local Aid Support, or visit FHWA’s EDC website.   3/21

 

ALDOT and Elmore County complete first Local Road Safety Plan

The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and Elmore County recently completed the State’s first local road safety plan (LRSP). This data driven LRSP filtered 4 years of crash data through a network screening process with specific performance metrics selected for Elmore County. Each roadway, road segment and intersection was given a composite score based on safety performance. This scoring identified a 4.1-mile long major collector route for a High-Risk Rural Road safety project.

This project retained the existing lane widths while adding 2-foot paved shoulders and thermoplastic striping. The county chose this countermeasure based on a previous study (pdf 1.4 mb) that found that adding 2’-4’ shoulders reduced crashes by 28 percent and had a Benefit to Cost ratio of 53:1.

Based on the success of the Elmore County plan, FHWA has been assisting 10 other counties in Alabama to develop LRSPs and the state plans to provide assistance to additional counties in the future using a combination of STIC incentive and Highway Safety Improvement Program funding.

To learn more about LRSPs, please contact Cate Satterfield with the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin with the FHWA Resource Center.   3/21

 

Innovation of the Month:
Next-Generation Traffic Incident Management

Next-Generation Traffic Incident Management (NextGen TIM) focuses on working with State, local, and Tribal partners to improve TIM on all roadways. These entities are poised to take TIM to the next level by using innovative approaches that will continue to improve safety and travel reliability, saving lives, time, and money. In this month’s final article, we will provide an overview of the four technology areas that NextGen TIM will be promoting.

Computer-Aided Dispatch Integration

Public safety agencies like law enforcement use computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems to catalog and coordinate activities, which creates a rich source of real-time incident data. Timely sharing of this valuable information between public safety and transportation agencies improves coordination of resources to clear roadways, improve safety, and relieve congestion. Typically, sharing of information occurs with operating systems at transportation management centers (TMCs) and ranges from manual incident notifications to fully integrated data exchanges.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are remotely controlled by a pilot and can be flown over a traffic crash scene to capture images using high-definition cameras. The real power of UAS image processing lies in photogrammetry, where, using known measurements placed in the UAS photographs, computer software can produce the measurement between any two points in that photograph. The use of UAS for traffic crash investigations reduces responder time on-scene, accelerates investigations, and provides a cost-effective measuring and mapping alternative. NextGen TIM will also promote emerging applications of UAS for TIM including incident verification, response vehicle routing, queue detection and monitoring, secondary crash detection, and detour route monitoring.

Video Sharing

A picture is worth a thousand words, especially in the TIM world where images from the scene help both responders and TMC operators. Video sharing technologies allow cameras mounted on service patrol vehicles to stream images from incident scenes to TMCs, and support applications that allow responders to view these images in the field. Sharing of video enhances the ability of both responders and TMC operators to evaluate incidents, plan their response, and identify the need for additional resources.

Responder-to-Vehicle Alerts

Connected vehicle (CV) technology enable vehicles, “smart” roadway infrastructure, and smartphones to communicate and share vital transportation information through existing and emerging wireless communication technologies. NextGen TIM will focus on using CV technology to support responder-to-vehicle (R2V) alerts. When responder vehicles are stopped along roadways, approaching drivers can be warned via in-vehicle navigation providers who receive alerts from hardware or software that is integrated with responder vehicle emergency lighting. R2V alert technologies are quickly catching on as a way to improve safety by increasing advance warning of incidents and enhance advance warning, which supports adherence to “Move Over” laws and improves overall safety.

To learn more about NextGen TIM technologies and how they can benefit your agency, contact Paul Jodoin or James Austrich, EDC-6 team co-leads, watch the NextGen TIM innovation spotlight video, or visit the team’s EDC website.   2/21

 

Innovation of the Month:
Next-Generation Traffic Incident Management

Next-Generation Traffic Incident Management (NextGen TIM) focuses on working with State, local, and Tribal partners to improve TIM on all roadways. These entities are poised to take TIM to the next level by using innovative approaches that will continue to improve safety and travel reliability, saving lives, time, and money. Part three of our four-week series on NextGen TIM focuses on TIM data.

The collection, analysis, and use of TIM data are changing the way that law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, transportation, and towing agencies perform their respective jobs. The most advanced TIM data programs are leveraging analysis towards organizational objectives like improving responder safety, improving travel time reliability, and helping commerce. As a first step, agencies are encouraged to adopt four key TIM performance measures: roadway clearance time, incident clearance time, the number of secondary crashes, and the number of responders struck.

TIM data to support these performance measures can come from public safety computer-aided dispatch system time stamps, law enforcement traffic crash reports, safety service patrol applications, and transportation management centers. Crowdsourced data, which originates from roadway users, is a relatively new data source that can bolster TIM data, particularly with respect to the detection of incidents and identification of when roadways return to normal after clearance.

Once data collection is established, agencies can understand the impacts of incidents and how responder actions can affect incident duration. For example, comparing roadway and incident clearance times with historical averages enables response agencies to better allocate resources and refine procedures related to crash investigation and towing. Printed reports and web-based dashboard tools are helping agencies share their TIM data and analysis.

Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Bay Area Traffic Incident Management Dashboard uses incident details recorded from California Highway Patrol’s public facing incident-feed and California Department of Transportation’s Performance Management System (PeMS). The dashboard shows a summary of recent incidents as well as longer-term incident trends over the past 5 years. The dashboard includes incident clearance times and goals based on incident type. Data can easily be visualized through a toggle option on the website or the raw data can be downloaded.

The MTC has used the dashboard to understand incident clearance times and trends during travel restricted periods and regularly reviews it with responders to provide context for discussions at task force meetings. For example, recent meetings have focused on wrong way incidents and truck incidents and the dashboard has provided context on where wrong way incidents are happening, and how long truck incidents typically take to clear.

The MTC plans to use the dashboard in the future to help evaluate recently installed safety improvements, such as mile marker signs to aid with locating incidents in complex freeway interchanges and a suite of safety improvements to reduce crashes in a high collision mountain corridor.

To learn more NextGen TIM training opportunities, contact Paul Jodoin or James Austrich, EDC-6 team co-leads, or visit the team’s EDC website.   2/21

 

Rumble Strips: The Sweet Sound of Safety

Rumble strips are proven to reduce severe roadway departure crashes. However, some communities do not like the sound they make near residential areas. To change this mindset, FHWA created a video to reframe the discussion.

Instead of thinking of the “rumble strip sound” as annoying, the video encourages people to think of it like other sounds that warn of us danger – fire alarms and snake rattles.

People do not complain about those sounds because they are associated with safety. Rumble Strips: The Sweet Sound of Safety frames the sound of rumble strips the same way. Celebrate the sound of rumble strips when you hear it, because someone’s life could have just been saved!

To learn more about rumble strips or how to reduce rural roadway departures in your State, please contact Cate Satterfield with the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin with the FHWA Resource Center..   2/21

 

Minnesota County Installs High-Friction Surface Treatment

In recognition of the inaugural Rural Road Safety Awareness Week, we are highlighting one of several proven rural safety countermeasures that can be used on local roads: high friction surface treatment (HFST).

HFST is a high-quality aggregate that is applied to existing pavement with a polymer resin binder to restore and/or maintain friction at areas with high potential for crashes. This technique is a proven solution for significantly increasing friction for spot applications.

While developing its local road safety plan (LRSP), St. Louis County, MN, conducted a proactive or systemic analysis to identify locations with a higher risk of roadway departures. Of the 1,414 curves on the County system, 34 were identified that had 4 or more risk factors. These risk factors included curve radius, traffic volume, presence of an intersection or a visual trap as well as crash history. Ten of these curves with good pavement condition were selected for HFST installation.

The HFST was installed recently with the project funded through the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and State aid funding. The cost to install the HFST was $32 per square yard, including milling, pavement markings, mobilization and traffic control. The County was able to install one curve per day, or two per day if the curves were in close proximity.

If you would like to learn more about HFST and ways to bring it to your area, contact Cate Satterfield or Dick Albin with the Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures team.   10/20

 

Innovation of the Month: Collaborative Hydraulics: Advancing to the Next Generation of Engineering (CHANGE)

Last week, we discussed the importance of model reviews for the hydraulic modeling process which can help agencies assess flow conditions at roadway crossings more accurately.

Swiftly moving water at roadway crossings can cause bridge scour—the removal of sand, gravel, or other sediment from around bridge piers or abutments, which can compromise the integrity of a structure.

With one-dimensional modeling, flow directions are defined by the user during model setup. In a 2D model, flow directions are computed by the model at every element in the mesh.  This means multiple flow paths and flow splits are more accurately represented in a 2D model.

With this improved representation of the flow paths and flow distribution at a crossing, engineers can develop better estimates of scour at each bridge component.  Furthermore, since the flow direction is computed in a 2D model, the angle of attack at bridge piers can be directly assessed rather that estimated.

To support use of 2D model results for bridge scour evaluation, FHWA has added specific scour tools in the SMS software interface for the SRH-2D model.  With these tools, averaged hydraulic parameters from specified locations can be computed and used in the FHWA Hydraulic Toolbox Bridge Scour Calculators, or other custom scour spreadsheets developed by users.

For more information on these new bridge scour tools, please explore the following links:

To learn more, please contact Scott Hogan or Laura Girard, Collaborative Hydraulics: Advancing to the Next Generation of Engineering (CHANGE) team co-leads.   9/20

 

STEP Studio: Interactive Toolbox for Improving Pedestrian Crossing Safety

In July 2020, FHWA released the STEP Studio (pdf 5.7 mb): a toolbox for selecting and implementing countermeasures for improving pedestrian crossing safety. STEP Studio is a visual and interactive resource that follows the steps outlined in the FHWA Guide for Improving Pedestrian Safety at Uncontrolled Crossing Locations (pdf 6.81 mb) to identify potential countermeasures for a variety of contexts. STEP Studio links the user to case studies, research studies, videos and FHWA guidance that go deeper into the benefits and design considerations of the “spectacular seven” STEP countermeasures.

If you would like more information on the STEP program, contact Becky Crowe with FHWA's Office of Safety or Peter Eun with the FHWA Resource Center.   9/20

 

Check out these can’t miss PWX @Home opportunities for Small Cities & Rural Communities (SC/RC)!

As a small city/rural community, these professional development opportunities will benefit you! We encourage you to take advantage of any and all of the programs listed below.

SC/RC Perspective on Series

Join the SC/RC Perspective on Series for FREE, held live the first Wednesday of each month as part of PWX@Home. Each month the panel discussion will focus on a new technical area as it relates to unique challenges and opportunities for small cities and rural communities. Invite a colleague or your entire staff!

Register for the annual series and automatically receive instructions one-day prior to each live program.

Register for SC/RC Perspective on Winter Maintenance (Oct. 7)

Have a specific interest in winter maintenance or have staff that may be interested? Register now to participate in next month’s (October 7) live program. If you register for the annual series, you will automatically be registered for this program.

Past SC/RC Perspective on...Recordings

Check out the recordings from the first two programs.

Tell your Small City/Rural Community Story

The SC/RC Committee tells the SC/RC story via a monthly article in the APWA Reporter, but the stories are limited to the members of the committee. The committee would like to expand its voice and share more experiences, knowledge, and creativity with APWA members.

If your small city/rural community has stories of accomplishment, unique challenges, or creative solutions, we would love to invite you to tell your story in the APWA Reporter. If you are interested in writing an article, email mharper@apwa.net.

For more information on PWX @Home, visit apwa.net/pwxathome.   9/20

 

Innovation of the Month: Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures

Last week, we discussed the systemic approach, which identifies and prioritizes locations across a network for safety improvements. The final Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) pillar we will discuss is Safety Action Plans.

Remember—30 people die each day in rural roadway departures, and over 40 percent of those deaths happen off the State system. This means that local agencies must work alongside departments of transportation to help save these lives.

Local road safety plans (LRSPs), one form of safety action plans, are a data-driven way to prioritize safety activities and improvements and justify agency investment decisions. LRSPs are scalable and can be modified for any level of available data and expertise. LRSPs involve stakeholders from the 5Es of traffic safety: engineering, enforcement, emergency medical services, education, and everyone else. Like State Strategic Highway Safety Plans, the LRSPs include a vision and mission component, helping all entities, including elected officials, rally around a shared vision, such as helping residents they serve get home safely.

In California, 62 percent of fatal crashes occur on locally-owned roads. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Office of Local Assistance has assisted local agencies in the development of systemic safety analysis reports since 2016. However, Caltrans realized that more could be gained from a holistic approach by developing LRSPs. To encourage LRSP development, Caltrans hosted two in-state peer exchanges, and conducted several webinars that reached hundreds of local agencies. Caltrans also provides funding to develop LRSPs. A California agency with a completed LRSP that submits a project application through the 2020 Local Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) will be awarded “bonus points” during the selection process. In the next Local HSIP funding cycle (2022), Caltrans will require agencies to have an LRSP to be eligible to submit a project application. 

If your agency is interested in creating its own LSRP, please contact Cate Satterfield with the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin with the FHWA Resource Center. Also keep an eye out for the FHWA LSRP Do-It-Yourself website coming in September. This site will walk through the steps of developing a LRSP and include tutorials, tips, resources and examples in video and print format.   8/20

 

3rd National Summit on Rural Road Safety

Join the National Center for Rural Road Safety from September 29 - Oct. 1, 2020, for the 3rd National Summit on Rural Road Safety which will continue its mission as an action oriented event with interactive sessions providing REAL takeaways to assist professionals on their region's Rural Road to Zero. This year, due to COVID-19 concerns, we are going virtual!

Even though we can't meet in-person, we'll continue to provide the same high-quality, objective and knowledgeable speakers and sessions that you have come to expect. Going virtual will also allow us to invite individuals that may not have had the time or resources to travel to an in-person meeting. Numerous networking and hosted online interaction events will ensure that you get a chance to make new connections and ask questions of experts. Attendees will have the opportunity to receive CEUs for their attendance at the Summit from Montana State University (MSU). And you won't want to miss Tuesday, Sept 29th, featuring a full day of new trainings from the new Road Safety Champion Program (RSCP).

Learn more and register. Registration closes Monday, September 21st. We also have sponsorship and vendor opportunities available, know someone who might be interested?   8/20

 

Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) feedback requested by FHWA

Would you like to provide feedback on the Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP). FHWA ended the original training and technical assistance program structure in 2017 and initiated a new pilot program delivery method that ended in 2019. FHWA is now requesting feedback on the TTAP program structure moving forward. Comments are due by September 21, 2020.   8/20

 

Will You STEP UP for Pedestrian Safety?

The Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) program is challenging agencies to “STEP UP” to implement proven safety countermeasures at pedestrian crossings. FHWA kicked off the STEP UP campaign in June 2020 – focusing on pedestrian crossing safety in dark conditions, between intersections, and involving older pedestrians. The campaign provides educational resources such as a click-through video highlighting crosswalk visibility enhancements and other countermeasures for improving safety in dark conditions. STEP UP issue briefs summarize trends and connect safety champions to research on each of the campaign’s focus areas. FHWA is encouraging you to support the STEP UP campaign on social media using the hashtag #STEP_EDC. Share examples and photos of STEP countermeasures from your agency on social media or by sending information to Becky Crowe with FHWA's Office of Safety.   8/20

 

Innovation of the Month: Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures

Last week, we discussed recommended countermeasures in the Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) initiative—cost-effective treatments proven to reduce these types of crashes. The next pillar we will discuss is the systemic approach to identify and prioritize locations for safety improvements.

Rural roadway departure crash types occur consistently, but the crash locations are not concentrated and change from year to year. Reactively addressing locations where crashes have occurred may miss where they are likely to occur in the future. The systemic approach proactively identifies locations that have a higher risk of future severe crashes based on roadway features that correlate with particular crash types. This allows agencies to install low-cost countermeasures at locations with higher risk, even if they haven’t experienced a documented crash.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has institutionalized the systemic approach to proactively improve safety on both State and local road systems. Guidance and criteria for selecting proactive projects is included in the State’s highway safety improvement program (HSIP) announcements. MnDOT used systemic safety analysis to identify risk factors for serious and fatal crash types and compiled a list of potential roadway departure countermeasures.  An example of the systemic approach is contained in a head-on crash report (pdf 1.07 mb) for two-lane rural highways which found that drifting over the center line accounted for 65 percent of the fatal crashes. The report recommended center line rumble strips (CLRS) along US and MN State highways and estimates installing CLRS has the potential of preventing around 15 fatal crashes per year. The report also recommended CLRS for county roads of similar volume and indicated benefits for lower volume roads.

MnDOT also used systemic safety analysis as it developed road safety plans for each of the State’s 87 counties. MnDOT targets an approximate 50/50 split of HSIP funding for local and State safety projects. The State offers technincal assistance to local agencies and developed pre-filled project recommendation sheets to make the application process easier.

To learn more about the systemic approach, please contact Cate Satterfield with the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin with the FHWA Resource Center.   9/20

 

Innovation of the Month: Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures

Last week, we discussed the pillar of the Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) initiative which looks beyond the State highway system to focus on all public roads. The next pillar we will discuss is countermeasures—the cost-effective treatments proven to reduce rural roadway departure crashes.

The benefits for installing these countermeasures outweigh the costs for installation and maintenance, and can be maximized with a systemic approach to deployment. The countermeasures you select can either help keep vehicles in their lanes, or reduce the potential for crashes, or minimize crash severity when crashes do occur.

Signs and markings are often the first countermeasures considered because they are also very adaptable and easy to implement. For example, you can widen edge lines or use delineators on gravel roads, or select a variety of options to emphasize sharp curves. Implementing these countermeasures assists drivers to navigate both day and night.

Other proven countermeasures are applied to paved surfaces - SafetyEdge℠, rumble strips, and friction improvement treatments. Pavement friction is critical at curves, where friction is most needed and where it tends to be least available, because it wears quickly due to turning maneuvers. High friction surface treatment (HFST) can provide a long lasting solution if placed on pavement in good condition. With a benefit cost ratio of 6:1, HFST is proven to be very effective at curves: 57 percent overall crash reduction and 83 percent reduction in wet weather crashes.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) installed their first HFST project in 2006. Since then, PennDOT has installed over 400 HFST locations with over 10 years of severe winter conditions exposure with minimal failure rate. An analysis of 15 sites (pdf 159 kb) found HFST reduced crashes by 49 per year and saved $5 million—while costing only $262,000 to install. HFST reduced fatal and major injuries by nearly 1.5 per year.

If you missed the FoRRRwD team’s webinar on friction countermeasures, watch it (Adobe Connect Application Required). To learn more about countermeasures used in roadway departure safety, please visit this website or contact Cate Satterfield with the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin with the FHWA Resource Center.   8/20

 

Innovation of the Month: Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures

Thirty people will die today, and every day, in a rural roadway departure—accounting for one third of U.S. traffic fatalities. The Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) initiative provides technical assistance and training to States and local agencies across the country to address this deadly problem. FoRRRwD provides unique approaches and methods to deliver safety countermeasures and projects efficiently. FoRRRwD’s focus areas are identified through its four pillars- all public roads, proven countermeasures, systemic approaches, and safety action plans.

Many agencies are recognizing the need to address rural roadway departures on all public roads because over 40 percent of these deaths happen on roads off the State highway system. Not only are State DOTs assisting local agencies and encouraging them to use an appropriate share of Federal safety funds, but many are finding innovative methods to accomplish the goal.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), with assistance from the Ohio Local Technical Assistance Program, administers the Township Safety Sign Grant Program, a systemic curve signing upgrade program. This grant program helps ODOT reach the 84 percent of its roadways that are not on the State highway system. The top 200 townships with a greater than average crash rating over the previous five years are eligible to apply for up to $50,000 each in safety sign materials with no required local match.

Between 2015 and 2019, over 225 townships participated and completed signage installations. An evaluation of crash data (pdf 14.5 mb) in the 24 townships that installed signs in 2015 showed a 67 percent reduction in fatalities and 33 percent reduction in serious injuries in the two years following deployment, compared to statewide crash increases in fatalities by 9 percent and injuries by 11 percent.

To learn more about how your agency can use innovative programs and mechanisms to deliver safety projects, watch this webinar (Adobe Connect Application Required) from earlier this year. Additionally, you can visit the FoRRRwD website to learn more about the four pillars and watch the FoRRRwD overview video. If you have additional questions, please contact Cate Satterfield with the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin with the FHWA Resource Center.   8/20

 

EDC Outtakes – FoRRRwD

In EDC Outtakes—a series of short interview videos—State practitioners and FHWA personnel give insight into the current round of EDC innovations. In our latest edition, Matthew Enders, of the Washington State DOT, discusses several of the proven countermeasures recommended by the Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) team. Join us next week, as EDC News takes a deeper look into FoRRRwD countermeasures.

Keep reading EDC News for future editions of EDC Outtakes!   8/20

 

EDC Storyboard- Making It Safe for Pedestrians at Night

EDC storyboards are a new way to communicate innovation deployment stories in an interactive digital slideshow—incorporating photographs, video, and graphics to create a highly visual experience.

This week's storyboard promotes the use of crosswalk visibility enhancements. In 2018, 76 percent of pedestrian fatalities nationwide occurred in dark conditions. This storyboard proposes four approaches to improve pedestrian visibility and safety at crossings in the dark.

Check it out and let us know what you think about the storyboard!

For more information on improving crosswalk visibility, contact Becky Crowe or Peter Eun with the Safe Transportation for Every Transportation (STEP) team.   8/20

 

Innovation of the Month: Project Bundling

Last week, we showed you how Idaho saved big with project bundling through economies of scale. This week, we’ll look at an Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) study that shows just how much that State saved using project bundling.

INDOT examined the effects of contract size and other factors on cost savings achieved by bundling. Researchers used nine years of data from nearly 2,000 bridge projects delivered through more than 700 INDOT contracts. The results confirmed and documented the benefits of bundling and produced models INDOT and other States can use to select the most appropriate projects to bundle in the future. The INDOT study investigated several factors affecting project bundling costs, including project size, bundle size, bidding market conditions, and similarity of bundled projects.

The study found that INDOT’s bundling efforts have saved them more than seven percent compared to historical non-bundled pricing. Some of the significant findings of the study include:

ECONOMIES OF SCALE: Unit costs declined as project size increased for all project types.

ECONOMIES OF BUNDLING: Cost per project went down as the bundle size grew. This was true for all bridge project types and for most traffic, small structure, roadwork and miscellaneous project types.

ECONOMIES OF COMPETITION: Having more bidders lowers costs for most bridge projects, but larger contracts can discourage small firms from bidding. According to the study model, the average number of bidders tends to be highest when two to four projects are bundled. INDOT monitors bids and developed rules to ensure that Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program requirements were met. Bundles are created in ranges for all sizes of contractors.

PROJECT SIMILARITY: Project similarity within a bundle is an important factor for reducing project cost, especially for roadwork. Proximity also played a major factor, with projects less than 25-30 miles apart resulting in the best savings.

MAINTENANCE OF TRAFFIC (MOT) COST: Project bundling can generally reduce MOT cost for most road, traffic, bridge, and small structure work types. Of all work categories, roadwork benefits the most in terms of MOT cost savings.

The study recommends future bundling strategies including the use of statistical models to identify projects most suitable for combining into multiple-project contracts. In addition, patterns found in the study can be used to guide the number of projects selected for bundles and the findings can be used as a guide to support project scheduling decisions.

INDOT has developed business rules for bundling more strategically and earlier during project programming, allowing for greater economies of scale throughout project delivery. Based on bundling results, INDOT now assumes a significant annual savings, which can be put back into their budget for additional projects. With a developed process and data, INDOT is now piloting the use of machine learning to help automate bundle selections.

To learn more about INDOT’s bundling study and how your agency can use project bundling to save time and money, contact Romeo Garcia with the FHWA Office of Infrastructure or David Unkefer with the FHWA Resource Center.   8/20

 

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces Key Resource for Rural Communities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao today announced the Applicant Toolkit (Toolkit) for the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) Initiative at the U.S. Department of Transportation. It is the latest effort by the Department and the Trump Administration to improve rural access to federal grant funds. The Toolkit provides user-friendly information and resources to enhance rural applicants’ familiarity with the Department’s discretionary grant programs and the funding process.

“The ROUTES Applicant Toolkit will help rural communities better identify and navigate grant funding opportunities for rural transportation projects,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. 

Rural communities and their transportation networks have been instrumental in building and supplying urban areas throughout our nation’s history, carrying people from city to city and carrying freight from bedrock American industries such as agriculture, mining, forestry, and manufacturing. Yet rural transportation infrastructure has significant challenges.  

While one-fifth of Americans live in rural areas, 70% of America’s road miles are in rural areas, carrying nearly 50% of the nation’s truck traffic. In addition, 44% of automobile travel on rural roads is done by metropolitan area citizens, and rural America’s traffic fatalities are disproportionately high, with a fatality rate twice that of urban areas. Further, of the nation’s bridges that are posted for weight limits, 90% are in rural areas.

Discretionary grant applications can be complex and resource-intensive to complete. Many of the Department’s discretionary grant programs require non-federal funding to cover a portion of project costs, which may present an additional barrier to rural communities with limited funding. 

The new ROUTES Toolkit addresses these challenges by assisting rural stakeholders to better understand how to access the Department’s grants and financing products. Specifically, the Toolkit illustrates key applicant requirements when participating in the Department’s discretionary grants processes. It also catalogues discretionary grant programs by applicant type and eligible project activities. Additionally, the Toolkit provides resources for applicants to maximize the potential for award success.

Secretary Chao announced the ROUTES Initiative at the annual meeting of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in St. Louis, Missouri last October. The initiative is led by the ROUTES Council, an internal deliberative body at DOT, which identifies critical rural transportation concerns and coordinate efforts among the Department’s operating administrations.  

To learn more about the ROUTES Initiative and the Toolkit, visit www.transportation.gov/rural.

Secretary Chao’s remarks.   8/20