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: 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

 

Innovation of the Month: Project Bundling

Last week, we showed you how several small municipalities in Georgia used project bundling to increase bid participation. This week, we’re going to focus on how bundling can use economies of scale to save time and money on projects.

In April 2016, The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) was faced with the need to use surplus funds quickly. Bundling 17 bridges was identified as a method to use these funds. ITD selected 17 single-span bridges over canals and small rivers spread across three districts in Southeast Idaho.

ITD’s goals for these projects included minimizing impact to the traveling public, improving bridge geometry, accommodating ever-changing stream geometry, facilitating wildlife habitats, and enhancing access to nearby recreational and historic features.

The project team first met in August 2016, a contractor was selected in September 2017 and all 17 bridges were completed by October 2019. ITD estimates that the bridge projects would have taken 17 years had they not been bundled. This reflects large economies of scale in construction operations due to the bundles. Finally, as the final bid for the bundle came in $6 million below the engineers’ estimate, ITD realized significant cost savings as well.

The FHWA bridge bundling guidebook (pdf 19.5 mb) is an important resource for agencies to not only develop bridge bundling programs like the one in Idaho, but to learn the steps used in any bundling program.

For more information on Idaho’s bridge bundling program or to learn how your agency can use project bundling to gain economies of scale, contact Romeo Garcia with the FHWA Office of Infrastructure or David Unkefer with the FHWA Resource Center.   7/20

 

Innovation of the Month: Project Bundling

This month, we will showcase an advanced approach to project bundling that addresses the growing need to address aging infrastructure in a way that can expedite project delivery, reduce costs, and improve contracting efficiency.

Project bundling is not a new concept to transportation, but this advanced approach is built around 10-steps that improve the likelihood of success for these efforts. To take an in-depth look at these 10 steps, view the Bridge Bundling Guidebook (pdf 19.5 mb). Although the guide focuses on bridges, the information can be broadly applied to develop bundles that maximize agency resources on all types of projects.

A contract bundle’s scope can cover a single county, district, or State to address goals such as bridge and roadway repair and rehabilitation, reducing rural roadway departures, or improving pedestrian safety. Bundles can also be written to allow a combination of work types to best meet an agency’s specific needs.

Project bundling streamlines preconstruction activities such as environmental reviews and project design. If projects share features, agencies can use common design elements across the bundle. Addressing infrastructure needs in this way uses economies of scale to leverage design expertise, save procurement time, and reduce cost..

Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation (PennDOT) conducted a three-county, $25 million pilot project that rebuilt, replaced, or removed 41 county-owned structures. This bundling effort resulted in a 25-50 percent savings on design and 5-15 percent savings on construction. The success of this effort led PennDOT to pursue a statewide, 558-bridge contract bundle.

To learn more about this practice, watch our Innovation Spotlight video or contact Romeo Garcia with the Federal Highway Administration Office of Infrastructure or David Unkefer with FHWA’s Resource Center for information, technical assistance, and training7/20

 

WSDOT Spawns Innovation at the National STIC Network Meeting

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Secretary of Transportation, Roger Millar, presented at the National STIC Network Meeting (Adobe Connect required to view video), April 23, 2020, on the innovative means WSDOT has undertaken to open up 90% of fish habitat by 2030. To meet this challenge, WSDOT incorporated the following innovations into their work plan:

  • Using project delivery approaches such as design build, progressive design build, accelerated bridge construction concepts and alternative construction materials.
  • Bundling of projects to maximize geographic locations and habitat benefits in a watershed.
  • Addressing regulatory requirements by providing liaison support between State and Federal agencies, programmatic approvals and early project coordination with Tribes and regulators.
  • Forming partnerships with adjacent land owners to remove barriers within the watershed more quickly.

WSDOT has seen costs savings and expedition of projects by using these innovations. WSDOT has also created partnerships with local and regulatory agencies that have improved over 300 miles of habitat access. For more information, watch Secretary Millar’s presentation (Adobe Connect required to view video) or contact Kim Mueller with WSDOT.

Also—don’t miss your opportunity to nominate (pdf 559 kb) your STIC for the STIC Excellence Award (pdf 559 kb). Nominations for 2020’s Award are due by July 1, 2020.   5/20

 

Innovation of the Month: Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian

In 2018, an estimated 6,227 pedestrians died in the United States, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association—the highest total number of pedestrian fatalities since 1990. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 35 percent between 2008 and 2017, while other traffic fatalities decreased by six percent. The Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) program promotes seven proven countermeasures at pedestrian crossings to reduce growing numbers of pedestrian fatalities.

These countermeasures include:

In 2019, the City of Austin Transportation Department implemented Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) (pdf 312 kb) at 110 intersections in the Austin central business district to improve pedestrian safety in the City’s most active pedestrian environment. The effort required collaboration between City’s Vision Zero Program staff, traffic signal engineers, and public information personnel. The project was not labor intensive for staff to complete; three City engineers implemented the LPIs over 4 hours during December 2019, using remote communication with the traffic signals. The City then set all of the LPIs to 5 seconds after reviewing operations. 

The City received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the public following implementation, and is continuing to monitor pedestrian safety effects. The City conducted an intercept survey of 166 pedestrians in downtown Austin, and 87 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they felt safer crossing at an intersection knowing they had a head-start due to the LPI. Furthermore, 60 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they are more likely to use a crosswalk knowing that it has an LPI.

STEP Resources:

The FHWA Guide for Improving Pedestrian Safety at Uncontrolled Crossing Locations (pdf 6.8 mb) details a six-step process to help agencies select countermeasures for uncontrolled crossing locations.

FHWA published 18 STEP Case Studies that highlight State and local agency practices, policies and decision-making strategies for deploying the STEP countermeasures. The case studies include installation examples with measured impacts on pedestrian safety, and practices where State DOTs integrated pedestrian safety and countermeasures into Complete Streets policy, transportation plans, and data analysis.

A set of six STEP Countermeasure Tech Sheets is also available, describing each STEP countermeasure promoted for uncontrolled crossing locations. Each tech sheet includes an illustration, cost information, design considerations, and crash reduction factors.

Finally, six STEP Countermeasure Videos are available to explain the overall purpose and design elements for STEP countermeasures. These animated videos will help educate a broad spectrum of officials and the public. You can use these videos to engage audiences at conferences, public meetings, and through other digital communications.   5/20

 

EDC Outtakes – Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian

pedestrian hybrid beacons

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, Carl Langford, Safety and Neighborhood Traffic Engineer for the City of Phoenix, AZ, discusses Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs), their benefits, and how they work. PHBs are one countermeasure promoted in the Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian initiative.   5/20

 

EDC Innovation Suggestions Summary Document Now Available

FHWA published a Request for Information (RFI) in December 2017 for new innovations for the fifth round of Every Day Counts (EDC), and again in December 2019 for the next round of deployment in 2021–2022. These RFIs were FHWA’s opportunity to hear from State, local, academia, and industry partners regarding ideas for accelerated deployment of proven, market-ready processes or technologies with the potential to provide efficiencies at all levels of the transportation system. Each RFI received more than 100 suggestions and comments, which are presented in this report (pdf 564 kb).

While not all ideas submitted become initiatives promoted through EDC, many of them will be considered for advancement by other programs within FHWA. Thank you again for your ideas to help us make every day count to ensure our infrastructure is built better, faster, and smarter! To learn more about the EDC program, please visit our website.   5/20

 

WYDOT Adds Feature to Mobile App to Push Crowdsourced Data to Public

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) developed a hands-free mobile app for reporting conditions on and off highways statewide. The app allows citizens and WYDOT staff to submit text and images, which are geo-located and sent to the traffic operations center for verification.

Once verified, the system now has a backend feature that allows the information to be automatically pushed back to app users as well as to the 511 traveler information website. This ability will help WYDOT identify appropriate resources and reduce response times and the potential for secondary crashes. To further enhance communications, WYDOT is also developing a prototype function to alert emergency managers automatically in each county of relevant crowdsourced reports.

To learn more about how crowdsourcing can help your State develop innovative practices such as these, contact James Colyar or Paul Jodoin with the FHWA Office of Operations.   4/20

 

Caltrans Improves Local Road Safety

In California, over 800 people die each year due to a roadway departure on a rural road. That is more than two people lost every day. Over 60 percent of these occurred on local roads. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is moving FoRRRwD by dedicating $10 million of their safety funding for local agency roadway safety improvements. For agencies to obtain the funding, the state requires a Local Road Safety Plan (LRSP) in future funding cycles that identifies a 4E approach (engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency medical services) to local agencies’ safety priorities.

Working with Caltrans, FHWA provided comprehensive training to five counties to develop LRSPs. Now, those counties are assisting other counties in the state by sharing their successes and lessons learned through peer exchanges and statewide webinars. Together, this outreach and technical assistance has reached hundreds of local agency officials to assist them with making roads safer and reducing the risk and number of fatal and injury crashes.

The Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) team is here to help provide technical assistance in your State. To learn more about how your agency can receive technical assistance, contact EDC-5 FoRRRwD team leads Cate Satterfield or Dick Albin.   4/20

 

Don’t Miss the First EDC Storyboard- Telling the Story of Curve Warning Signs

The EDC team will begin sharing innovation deployment stories in an interactive digital slideshow, that incorporates images, video, and graphics to create a highly visual experience for our readers.

Our first storyboard, Curve Warning Signs Save Lives, comes from the focus on reducing rural roadway departures (FoRRRwD) team and promotes greater use of curve warning signs. More than 36,000 people die each year on the nation’s highways. Over 25 percent of those fatalities occur on horizontal curves—curves that change a road’s direction or alignment. Curve warning signs, such as chevrons, are cost-effective tools proven to reduce horizontal curve crashes. For instance, chevrons reduce nighttime crashes on curves by 25 percent.

For more information on using curve warning signs on your roadways, contact Cate Satterfield or Dick Albin with the EDC FoRRRwD team.   4/20

 

USDOT FHWA's Road Safety Resource

Rumble Strips: The Sweet Sound of Safety

Watch this video and see how center and edge rumbles have been proven to save lives. When you hear the rumble, you may have just heard someone's life being saved!   4/20

 

New Jersey LTAP Video Training

ADA Basic Requirements, Self-evaluations and Transition Plans for Public Rights of Way

This video is approximately 23 minutes long, and explains basic ADA requirements for local governments, self evaluation, and developing transition plans.   4/20

 

FHWA Awards $8 Million to 10 States for Innovative Highway Projects

FHWA recently announced more than $8 million in Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Demonstration program grants to state departments of transportation (DOTs) and local governments in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and North Dakota. The grants will help deliver bridge projects sooner, improve traffic management, and accelerate the use of innovative tools and technologies:

  • The Alabama DOT and Baldwin County will employ accelerated bridge construction and next beam ultra high-performance concrete retrofitting to shorten construction time from 14 to 6 weeks on bridge retrofit projects.
  • The Arkansas DOT will use 3D modeling and e-Construction to enhance use of global navigation satellite system technology in the engineering and construction phases of projects.
  • The Colorado DOT will use snow plow signal priority to improve traffic flow during and after snow removal.
  • The Florida DOT and City of Orlando will improve traffic signalization at intersections in Orlando and fund a pilot demonstration that is part of a larger project to intelligently manage transportation flows around downtown Orlando.
  • The Illinois DOT and City of Jerseyville will use compacted concrete pavement to improve roadway surface conditions.
  • The Iowa DOT and City of Dubuque will develop a smart, next-generation traffic management and control system to link 11 corridors into one integrated system.
  • The Michigan DOT will use accelerated bridge construction and prefabricated bridge elements and systems (PBES) to reduce potential delays during project construction.
  • The Minnesota DOT and City of Winona will improve safety, mobility, and access for drivers and bicyclists.
  • The New York State DOT will improve traffic incident management on a region-wide basis.
  • The North Dakota DOT will deploy an autonomous crash truck to protect workers from traffic during routine maintenance activities.

Since 2014, FHWA officials have awarded more than $74 million for 102 grants to help federal land management agencies, tribal governments, state DOTs, metropolitan planning organizations, and local governments accelerate the use of innovative practices and improve safety through AID Demonstration. To learn more about the 2019 AID Demonstration grants, read the full FHWA press release, and to learn more about the AID Demonstration program, please contact Fawn Thompson, AID Demonstration program coordinator.   3/20

 

UAS Soar to Savings with Sign Inspections

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) uses Unmanned Aerial Systems extensively in programs across the State. UDOT has the majority of its bridge inspectors FAA certified to operate UAS and has several members of maintenance staff certified to conduct sign inspections, snow depth analysis, and asset inspections.

Before UAS, overhead sign inspections were a time consuming process. These inspections, which look for missing rivets and bolts after installation, could only cover two to three signs per day with traditional methods and required additional traffic control to protect department personnel. By contrast, in one project assessing signs on State Route 201 and I-80, UAS enabled UDOT inspectors to complete up to 16 inspections per day, saving over $100,000 through productivity increases and reduced needs for traffic control.

To learn more about how UAS can save your agency time and money, contact James Gray, FHWA Office of Infrastructure.   3/20

 

FHWA and ITE Partner to Provide Training to Local and Tribal Transportation Practitioners

Washington, DC -- Through an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), ITE will provide free web-based training modules to local and tribal public agency practitioners in smaller jurisdictions (counties with fewer than 100,000 population; cities, towns and townships with fewer than 50,000 population; all tribal governments) through the ITE Learning Hub. This training, geared toward local agency and tribal government highway maintenance, construction, safety and engineering staff and managers as well as others, will involve numerous critical transportation areas, including transportation fundamentals, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), traffic engineering, and safety.

The goal of this training is to provide local and tribal transportation practitioners with the knowledge to meet the challenges faced by greater mobility and expanded population. Across the United States, there are more than 39,000 local governments and 573 federally recognized tribes that own and operate more than 80 percent, or roughly 3.3 million miles, of our nation’s highway network.

To be eligible, transportation professionals must be employed by a public agency:

  • in a county with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants;
  • in a city, town, or township with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants; or
  • that is part of a tribal government.

"It is important to ITE that all transportation professionals – regardless of community size – have access to the necessary training and education to improve the quality of life in their communities," stated ITE’s Executive Director and CEO, Jeffrey F. Paniati. P.E. "We are very pleased to partner with FHWA to share our expertise."

Local roads provide critical connections that allow people and goods to move about communities, neighborhoods, and towns. All these organizations share similar unmet needs in managing their networks and require assistance in capacity building and implementation of innovation.

These training modules will offer access to information about foundational and emerging technologies and practices to help these professionals move beyond the status quo and identify new ways of looking at problems and the use of both proven and innovative solutions. There will be no charge for access to these training modules.

To learn more and to confirm eligibility, please contact Kellyanne Broom, ITE Professional Development Manager, at pdinfo@ite.org.

About ITE
Founded in 1930, ITE is a community of transportation professionals including, transportation engineers, transportation planners, educators, policymakers, technologists, solution providers, and researchers with equal representation from the public and private sectors. Through meetings, seminars, publications, and a network of nearly 16,000 members working in more than 90 countries, ITE connects you to a world of ideas, people, and resources.   2/20