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3 Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V This chapter describes each major highway research program funded through Title V of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efï¬cient Transporta- tion Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). Program areas reviewed include advanced research, infrastructure, operations, plan- ning and environment, safety, policy, and the University Transportation Centers (UTC) program. The intelligent transportation system (ITS) research projects funded by the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) but managed by the Federal Highway Adminis- tration (FHWA) are subsumed under the appropriate topic areas (oper- ations and safety), as is the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) 2 (discussed under infrastructure, operations, safety, and planning and environment). ADVANCED RESEARCH In 2001, the Research and Technology Coordinating Committee (RTCC) recommended that âFHWAâs R&T program should focus on funda- mental long-term research aimed at achieving breakthroughs in the understanding of transportation phenomenaâ (TRB 2001b, 6). In 2005, SAFETEA-LU, Section 5201(g), authorized $14 million annually for advanced research, or âlonger-term, higher-risk research with poten- tially dramatic breakthroughs for improving durability, efficiency, environmental impact, productivity, and safety (including bicycle and pedestrian safety) aspects of highway and intermodal transportation systems.â This compares with an authorization of $1 million annually for advanced research under the previous authorization. Research 28
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 29 topics are defined as those the Secretary determines appropriate, including: â¢ Characterization of materials used in highway infrastructure, including analytical techniques, microstructure modeling, and the deterioration processes. â¢ Assessment of the effects of transportation decisions on human health. â¢ Development of surrogate measures of safety. â¢ Environmental research. â¢ Data acquisition techniques for system condition and performance monitoring. â¢ System performance data and information processing needed to assess the day-to-day operational performance of the transportation system in support of hour-to-hour operational decision making. The committee views fundamental, long-term research, or advanced research, as somewhere in the middle of the continuum from basic to applied research. âIt involves and draws upon basic research results to pro- vide a better understanding of problems and develop innovative solutionsâ (TRB 2001b, 7). In contrast with applied research, a speciï¬c application may not be apparent at the outset of this work. Before SAFETEA-LU, FHWA had been supporting a small advanced research activity for several years (Asmerom and McCrae 2006). Examples of research topics included measurement of concrete moisture content at the nanometer scale, mea- surement of tension in steel cables based on principles of magnetorestric- tive sensing, and development of algorithms describing trafï¬c behavior. The Exploratory Advanced Research Program is receiving about $11.5 million annually for ï¬scal years (FY) 2006 to 2009. FHWA initi- ated the program by soliciting preproposals through a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) in January 2007. The BAA solicited preproposals for âresearch and development projects that could lead to transforma- tional changes and truly revolutionary advances in highway engineering and intermodal surface transportation in the United States.â Eligible topics in the ï¬rst BAA included highway safety, planning and environ- ment, transportation policy, trafï¬c congestion, highway infrastructure, and crosscutting topics. From the hundreds of preproposals submitted in the ï¬rst round in response to this BAA and after extensive merit
30 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses review of completed proposals, FHWA selected 11 projects, nine of which had been awarded at the time of this writing (see Table 3-1). In May 2008, FHWA issued a second BAA. In contrast to the ï¬rst BAA, which was broadly open to innovative proposals, the second BAA solicited proposals in ï¬ve speciï¬c areas: 1. Understanding of empirical decomposition mode analysis and develop- ment of a new data analysis method in support of integrated safety system for highway safety, 2. Development of methodologies to evaluate the nighttime safety impli- cations of the roadway visual scene under varying cognitive task loads, 3. Making driving simulators more useful for behavioral research, 4. Greatly increased use of ï¬y ash in hydraulic cement concrete for pavement layers and transportation structures, and 5. Sustainability of freight movements: methods to measure and reduce the United States carbon fuel emissions associated with freight movements. TABLE 3-1 Exploratory Advanced Research Program, Round 1 Awards as of July 2008 Topic Institution Intelligent Multi-Sensor Measurements to Enhance Vehicle Auburn University, GPS and Vehicle Navigation and Safety Systems Dynamics Laboratory Intersection Control for Autonomous Vehicles University of Texas, Austin Next Generation of Smart Trafï¬c Signals University of Arizona, ATLAS Center Development and Evaluation of Selected Mobility University of California, Berkeley, Applications for VehicleâInfrastructure Integration PATH Program Institute of Transportation Studies Development of Soil Stiffness Measuring Device for Pad Colorado School of Mines, Division Foot Roller Compactor of Engineering Development and Demonstration of Systems-Based University of Central Florida, Monitoring Approaches for Improved Infrastructure Department of Civil and Management Under Uncertainty Environmental Engineering High-Performance Stress-Relaxing Cementitious Composites Texas Transportation Institute for Crack-Free Pavements and Transportation Structures Increased Understanding of Driver Visibility Requirements Science Applications International Corporation Layered Object Recognition for Pedestrian Collision Sensing Sarnoff Corporation
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 31 Selection of these areas was preceded by research and consultation with experts. A total of $3.275 million in research funding from FHWA was made available in the second BAA. The Exploratory Advanced Research Program represents about 6 per- cent of the combination of FHWAâs share of Title V funding and SHRP 2 funding. The program, however, is not the only source of funding for advanced research through Title V. There are two substantial earmarks for asphalt research, which is mostly advanced, that total about $29 million in budgeted funds over the life of SAFETEA-LU. SHRP 2, discussed later, is not designed as an advanced research activity; nonetheless, it includes research totaling about $43 million in its Safety Program and about $3 mil- lion in its Renewal Program that could be classiï¬ed as advanced. Together, these funds represent about 15 percent of FHWAâs share of Title V funding and SHRP 2 and about 8 percent of all of Title V and SHRP 2 research fund- ing. There may also be a few projects throughout the research programs dis- cussed in this report that could be classiï¬ed as advanced. The UTC program surely includes some advanced research, but, as described in the section of this chapter on that program, the program as a whole is biased toward applied research by the dollar-for-dollar matching requirement. INFRASTRUCTURE RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND TECHNOLOGY Infrastructure research, development, and technology (RD&T), addressing pavements and structures, is a central and long-standing area of FHWA research activity. The âultimate goal of FHWAâs pavement research and development is to provide performance-based models and tools to facili- tate effective management of the national highway infrastructure.â1 The structures programs are intended to result in four outcomes: â¢ Outcome 1: Highway structures are designed, constructed, and reha- bilitated with standards and materials that provide longer and more reliable performance. â¢ Outcome 2: Highway structures are constructed or rehabilitated with systems, methods, and practices that reduce congestion and improve safety. 1 www.tfhrc.gov/pavement/pave.htm. Accessed Feb. 15, 2008.
32 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses â¢ Outcome 3: Highway structures provide a high level of safety and service under all conditions. â¢ Outcome 4: Highway structures ï¬t their environment through the application of context-sensitive solutions principles. Expected funding for infrastructure (actual amounts budgeted), includ- ing FHWAâs programs and the Renewal Program of SHRP 2, totals about $270 million for FY 2006â2009. FHWAâs pavements and structures programs and SHRP 2âs Renewal Program are described below. Pavements FHWA pavements RD&T includes three designated programs and two signiï¬cant earmarks. Annual funding for pavements RD&T averages about $30.5 million. Designated Programs SAFETEA-LU provides for three programs that are managed by FHWAâs Pavement Technology Program: â¢ The Innovative Pavement Research and Deployment (IPRD) Program, â¢ The Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) Program, and â¢ The AlkaliâSilica Reactivity (ASR) Program. The IPRD Program was established to promote, demonstrate, support, and document the application of innovative pavement technologies, prac- tices, performance, and beneï¬ts. Congress speciï¬ed a number of program goals, including the following: â¢ Deployment of new, cost-effective, innovative designs, materials, recy- cled materials (including taconite tailings and foundry sand), and prac- tices to extend pavement life and performance and improve customer satisfaction; â¢ Reduction of initial and life-cycle costs of pavements, including the costs of new construction, replacement, maintenance, and rehabilitation; â¢ Deployment of accelerated construction techniques to increase safety and reduce construction time and trafï¬c disruption and congestion; â¢ Deployment of engineering design criteria and speciï¬cations for inno- vative practices, products, and materials for use in highway pavements;
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 33 â¢ Deployment of new nondestructive and real-time pavement evaluation technologies and techniques; â¢ Evaluation, reï¬nement, and documentation of the performance and beneï¬ts of innovative technologies deployed to improve life, perfor- mance, cost-effectiveness, safety, and customer satisfaction; â¢ Effective technology transfer and information dissemination to acceler- ate the implementation of innovative technologies and to improve life, performance, cost-effectiveness, safety, and customer satisfaction; and â¢ Development of designs and materials to reduce storm water runoff. SAFETEA-LU speciï¬cally allocates portions of the IPRD funding to research on asphalt pavement, concrete pavement, alternative materials used in highway pavements (including those used in highway drainage applications), and improved aggregates used in highways on the National Highway System. In total, these suballocations account for approximately 65 percent of IPRD funds, leaving some ï¬exibility within the overall IPRD framework. LTPP provides for continued testing, monitoring, and data analysis under a program that was initiated as part of the original SHRP and has been managed by FHWA since 1992. The final year of SAFETEA-LU, FY 2009, marks the end of the originally planned 20-year monitoring period for the program. At that time, FHWA will deliver an updated database that â¢ Contains complete data setsâinventory, materials, trafï¬c, climate, maintenance and rehabilitation, and pavement performance dataâ for most LTPP test sections; â¢ Has been reviewed and checked through quality control/quality assur- ance processes and data studies and is as error-free as time and the program budget allow; â¢ Is documented in terms of not only its content but also how the data were collected and their quality; â¢ Is accessible to the public; and â¢ Conforms to federal guidelines on the quality of information dissem- ination. The ASR program provides for further development and deployment of techniques to prevent and mitigate ASR, including lithium-based tech-
34 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses niques, and for assistance to states in inventorying existing structures for ASR. Unlike the other programs discussed here, the ASR program encompasses not only pavements but also bridges and structures. Earmarks Pavements RD&T is subject to two earmarks: â¢ Fundamental Properties of Asphalts and Modiï¬ed Asphalts, and â¢ Asphalt Research Consortium. The Fundamental Properties of Asphalts and Modiï¬ed Asphalts earmark is a continuation of a long-standing earmark that directs funding (about $3.4 million annually) to the Western Research Institute to conduct, as the title suggests, research on the fundamental properties of asphalts and modiï¬ed asphalts. The Asphalt Research Consortium earmark (about $6.2 million annually) calls for a grant to âthe asphalt research consortium led by the Western Research Institute to research ï¬exible pavement and extending the life cycle of asphalts.â Other consortium members include the University of Nevada, Reno; the Texas Transportation Institute; the University of Wisconsin, Madison; and Applied Asphalt Technologies. Together, these two earmarks account for about a quarter of the total funding authorized by SAFETEA-LU for pavement research. Structures SAFETEA-LU authorized a number of research programs in the struc- tures area that address FHWA and stakeholder needs and priorities; these include both designated programs and earmarks. Funding for the structures RD&T program averages about $21.50 million annually (actual, not authorized amounts) through FY 2009, of which about $2.4 million was earmarked annually for FY 2006 through 2009. The primary designated programs are â¢ The Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) Program, â¢ The Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment (IBRD) Program, â¢ The High-Performance Concrete (HPC) Bridge Research and Deploy- ment Program, â¢ The Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) Research Program,
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 35 â¢ The Higher-Performing Steel (HPS) Bridge Research and Technology Transfer Program, and â¢ The Steel Bridge Testing Program. The earmarks are in two areas: â¢ Seismic research, and â¢ Wood/fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite materials and structures. Designated Programs The LTBP Program is an ambitious multiyear research effort that is being modeled somewhat after the LTPP Program. The LTBP Program has been designed as a 20-year effort that will include detailed inspection and periodic evaluation and testing of a representative sample of bridges throughout the United States to monitor and measure their performance over an extended period. The LTBP program also includes a set of instru- mented bridges that can provide continuous, long-term structural bridge performance data, as well as detailed forensic autopsies on bridges using some of the structures that are decommissioned by state transportation agencies. The intent is to collect actual performance data on deteriora- tion, corrosion, or other types of degradation; structural impacts from overloads; and the effectiveness of various maintenance and improvement strategies typically used to repair or rehabilitate bridges. The resulting LTBP database is expected to provide high-quality, quantitative performance data for highway bridges that will support improved designs, improved predictive models, and better bridge management systems. The IBRD Program was established to encourage highway agencies to accept more rapidly the use of new and innovative materials and technolo- gies or practices in the construction of highway structures.2 The intent of the program is to promote, demonstrate, evaluate, and document the appli- cation of innovative designs, materials, and construction methods in the construction, repair, and rehabilitation of bridges and other structures. The 2 This program was not funded in FY 2008 because of a budget rescission enacted by Congress that affected selected items in the federal budget. At the time of this writing, it was not clear whether the program would be rescinded again in FY 2009. For the purposes of this report, the funding is not included for FY 2008 but is included for FY 2009.
36 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses goals are to increase safety and durability, reduce construction time and trafï¬c congestion, and reduce the maintenance and life-cycle costs of bridges. The program includes support for innovative research in the areas of hydraulics, aerodynamics, and geotechnical engineering; another part of the program supports the deployment of innovative approaches in the construction of bridges throughout the United States. The HPC Bridge Research and Deployment Program is a subset of the IBRD Program; it is intended to continue the advancement of HPC applications through targeted research that addresses needed improve- ments in design, fabrication, erection, and long-term performance to achieve the strategic goals of the IBRD Program. HPC research is focused on material and casting issues, including improved performance crite- ria, lightweight concrete, curing, and test methods; structural perfor- mance concerns, including compression, shear, and fatigue behavior for both seismic and nonseismic applications; and concepts related to accel- erated construction and bridge system design and performance. ILLUSTRATIVE RESEARCH BENEFITS Prefabricated Components Manufacturing steel and reinforced concrete components off- site for bridges and tunnels is nothing new. Today, however, the task of reconstructing or replacing heavily used highway facili- ties has expanded the use of prefabricated components in some startling ways. In some cases, the components are manufactured thousands of miles from the job site; in others, they are manufac- tured immediately adjacent to the site. Either way, the highway community is seeing a rethinking of how design and construction can be better integrated. When the Texas Department of Transportation needed to replace 113 bridge spans on an elevated Interstate highway in Houston, it was able to reuse the existing columns, but the bent caps (the horizontal connections between columns) needed to (continued)
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 37 be replaced. As an alternative to the conventional and time- consuming cast-in-place approach, researchers at the University of Texas developed and tested new methods for installing precast concrete bents. Used on the project, the precast bents cut con- struction time from 18 months to just over 3 months. As part of a massive project to replace the San Franciscoâ Oakland Bay Bridge, the California Department of Transportation and the Bay Area Toll Authority needed to replace a 350-foot, four-lane viaduct section on Yerba Buena Island. In this case, the contractor, C. C. Myers, prefabricated the section immediately adjacent to the existing viaduct. The entire bridge was shut down for the 2007 Labor Day weekend while the existing viaduct was demolished and the new 6,500-ton segment was ârolledâ into place. All of this was accomplished 11 hours ahead of schedule. Probably the most extensive and stunning collection of prefab- ricated applications on a single project was used on the Central Artery/Tunnel Project (âBig Digâ) in Boston. For the Ted Williams Tunnel, twelve 325-foot-long steel tunnel sections were con- structed in Baltimore, shipped to Boston, ï¬oated into place, and then submerged. For the tunnel section underneath the Fort Points Channel, which is part of the I-90 extension, bridge restric- tions made such an approach infeasible. Instead, a huge casting basin was constructed adjacent to the channel, where thirty 50-ton concrete tunnel sections were manufactured. When all of the sec- tions were complete, the basin was ï¬ooded, and the sections were winched into position with cables and then submerged. To build the extension tunnel under existing railroad tracks with poor underlying soil conditions, an even more complex process was used. Concrete and steel boxes were built at one end of the tun- nel and then gradually pushed into place through soil that was frozen, by using a network of brine-ï¬lled pipes. SOURCE: Skinner 2008.
38 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses In addition to the program funding research and development (R&D) on HPC, but funded separately from IBRD, the UHPC Research Pro- gram continues R&D of optimized applications for the use of UHPC. UHPC, also known as reactive powder concrete, is a unique material that is reinforced with short steel ï¬bers and requires no conventional steel reinforcement. Prior FHWA research on UHPC focused on basic material characterization and the development of optimized structural systems using this very high-performance but costly material. Under the UHPC Research Program, additional work is being conducted to further char- acterize the material and assess its corrosion-resistance properties while addressing its use in other structural components, including precast bridge deck panels and prestressed I- and bulb-tee girders. The HPS Bridge Research and Technology Transfer Program is a broad-based effort aimed at resolving a number of issues and concerns with respect to the design, fabrication, erection, and long-term perfor- mance of both conventional and high-performance steels. The program is focused on research and technology transfer and education in the areas of materials and joining (e.g., optimized welding processes and proce- dures), long-term performance (including advanced knowledge of the performance limitations of weathering steels and the potential devel- opment of a 100-year shop-applied permanent steel coating system), innovative design (including testing and deployment of modular steel bridge super- and substructure systems), and fabrication and erection tools and processes. Finally, the Steel Bridge Testing Program is focused on the further development and deployment of advanced nondestructive evaluation (NDE) tools that can be used to detect and quantify growing cracks in steel bridge members and welds. As deï¬ned in SAFETEA-LU, the NDE technology should be able to detect both surface and subsurface cracks in a ï¬eld environment for ï¬aws as small as 0.010 inch in length or depth. R&D Earmarks SAFETEA-LU directed FHWA to conduct research in two speciï¬c areas with designated research institutions. The earmarks for seismic research are for the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of New York at Buffalo, Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER).
ILLUSTRATIVE RESEARCH BENEFITS Specialty Portland Cement Concretes New generations of specialty concretes have emerged that improve one or more aspects of performance and allow for greater ï¬exi- bility in highway design and construction. High-performance concrete typically achieves compressive strengths of at least 10,000 pounds per square inch (psi). Today, ultra-high-performance concretes are emerging whose formula- tions include silica fume, quartz ï¬our, water reducers, and steel or organic ï¬bers. They achieve improved durability and com- pressive strengths of up to 30,000 psi, allowing engineers to employ thinner sections and longer spans. Latex-modiï¬ed concrete overlays have been used for many years to extend the life of existing deteriorated concrete bridge decks. The Virginia Department of Transportation has pioneered the use of very early strength latex-modiï¬ed concretes for this application. In high-trafï¬c situations, the added costs are more than offset by the savings in trafï¬c control costs and reduced delays to users. Concrete is seldom poured on highway projects when air tem- peratures dip below 40Â°F because costly insulation techniques are required. Using commercially available admixtures that depress the freezing point of water, the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory has developed new concrete for- mulations that retain the necessary strength and durability prop- erties and allow for concrete construction at temperatures as low as 23Â°F. This signiï¬cantly reduces construction costs com- pared with insulation techniques and can extend the construction season in cold-weather regions. As useful as these and other specialty concretes are, the intro- duction of nanotechnology and nanoengineering techniques to concrete research, now in its infant stages, holds the potential for even more dramatic improvements in the performance and cost of concrete. SOURCE: Skinner 2008.
40 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses The focus of the program at the University of Nevada, Reno, is on improving the seismic resilience of the federal-aid highway system. The speciï¬c objectives are to provide a comprehensive assessment tool for measuring highway resilience by improving on the current Risk for Earthquake Damage to Roadway Systems technology developed under the previous Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) seismic research program, develop design aids for the design of structures subjected to near-fault effects, develop new technologies to improve bridge seismic design, work with stakeholders to implement the devel- oped methodologies and technologies, and conduct outreach to transfer knowledge and improve seismic safety. The objective of the program at MCEER is to develop innovative technologies and demonstrate their appli- cations for enhancing the seismic performance of highway bridges, with a focus on cost-effective methods for implementing design and retroï¬t strategies. The earmark for wood/FRP composite materials and structures is for the University of Maine. This research focused on the development and application of wood/FRP composite materials as primary structural members in highway bridges. SHRP 2 Renewal Program SHRP 2 is funded by FHWA and administered by the Transportation Research Board (TRB). TRB convenes the committees that govern the program and oversee speciï¬c program areas, manages the process by which researchers compete for the research funding, and establishes the processes for merit and peer review.3 The formation of SHRP 2 included an intensive priority-setting process, which included substantial oppor- tunities for stakeholder input (TRB 2001a). SHRP 2 follows the general structure outlined in TRBâs Special Report 260: Strategic Highway Research: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improv- ing Quality of Life, which was requested by Congress in TEA-21. Following the publication of that report in 2000, the states and FHWA collaborated 3 FHWA is included in the program governance. The FHWA administrator is on the main over- sight committee, two FHWA participants are on the Technical Coordinating Committee, and FHWA staff are involved in the Expert Task Groups.
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 41 on the development of detailed research programs for a new strategic highway research program. SHRP 2 was promoted aggressively by the states with the understanding that they would accept having some of their capital program funds shifted to research. Instead of funding the program under Title I (the highway funding title) of SAFETEA-LU, however, Congress funded the program through Title V (the research funding title) until passage of the Technical Corrections legislation in June 2008, which shifted the programâs funding to Title I. The gover- nance structure for the program is designed so that stakeholders set the program direction and approve research funding. SHRP 2 funds research across four different areas, one of whichâthe Renewal Programâinvolves infrastructure. (A listing of all SHRP 2 projects as of July 2008 appears in Appendix B.) The goal of the SHRP 2 Renewal Program is to renew aging infra- structure through rapid design and construction methods that cause minimal disruption and produce long-lived facilities. The $28.9 mil- lion program takes an integrated approach encompassing engineering, ï¬nance, contracting, planning, safety, maintenance, and customer rela- tions. The emphasis is on innovation in project delivery through inte- grated, systemic changes in the processes used to design, fund, and build new infrastructure. By a commonly used deï¬nition in the highway ï¬eld, SHRP 2 is an ear- mark because the amount and recipient are speciï¬ed. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), however, uses a more nuanced deï¬nition for earmarks in its tracking of R&D earmarks in all ï¬elds of science (AAAS 2006). Its deï¬nition depends on the âper- formerâ of the funded activity.4 Whereas TRB administers SHRP 2, all research funds (80 percent of the total amount of funding received) are awarded on a âfull and openâ competitive basis, and the proposals of universities, consulting ï¬rms, and research institutes are subject to merit review by peers. SHRP 2 retains a share of the total funding (about 4 In AAASâs definition, R&D earmarks are defined as âcongressionally designated performer- specific R&D projects not included in agency budget requests.â In describing its interpretation of earmarks, AAAS notes that âCongress often designates funding for speciï¬c projects or research topics; in some cases such as in DODâs peer reviewed medical research programs the topics may be congressionally designated but the performers are selected competitively so that they are not counted as earmarksâ (AAAS 2006).
42 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses 20 percent) for administration, which includes the costs of meetings for the development of requests for proposals, research oversight, and merit and peer review. Thus SHRP 2 is in a gray areaâan earmark by one deï¬- nition, but not by the deï¬nition used by the association representing the scientiï¬c community. ILLUSTRATIVE RESEARCH BENEFITS Visualization, Global Positioning Systems, and Other New Tools for Design and Construction For more than 20 years, highway engineers have used two- dimensional computer-aided drafting and design systems to speed the design process and reduce its cost. As important as these systems have been, their beneï¬ts have derived essentially from automating the conventional design process, with engineers doing more or less what they had done before, albeit much faster and with greater ï¬exibility. Today, new generations of three- and four-dimensional sys- tems are introducing innovative ways not only to design roads but also to build them. For example, while three-dimensional visualization techniques are clearly useful for engineers, it is their role in communicating potential designs to affected communi- ties and public ofï¬cials that represents a new design paradigm. Four-dimensional systems are helping engineers and contractors analyze the constructability of proposed designs well in advance of actual construction. Global Positioning System applications in highway construction include surveying/layout, automated guidance for earth-moving equipment, and quantity monitoring. Other innovations include the use of in situ tem- perature sensors coupled with data storage, transmission, and processing devices that provide on-site information about the maturity and strength of concrete as it cures. SOURCE: Skinner 2008.
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 43 OPERATIONS RD&T The safe and efï¬cient operation of the nationâs highway system is of great importance to the federal government, which grants states more than $40 billion each year to improve the systemâs quality and performance. RD&T in trafï¬c operations can make a substantial difference in system performance through improved signaling systems, traveler information, electronic transmission of documents for carriers, and development of techniques to improve practice. This section reviews the operations RD&T programs of FHWAâs Ofï¬ces of Operations and Operations RD&T and the SHRP 2 Travel Time Reliability Program. FHWAâs Ofï¬ces of Operations and Operations RD&T In May 2006, the Secretary of Transportation stressed the importance of improving operational performance by issuing a National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on Americaâs Transportation Network (USDOT 2007). This strategy outlines a series of actions aimed at making more effi- cient use of the system, ranging from the promotion of operational and technological improvements to the forging of federal partnerships with urban communities willing to test new congestion relief policies, methods, and tools. The Secretaryâs initiative has prompted the U.S. Department of Trans- portation (USDOT) to focus more attention on operations-related projects and programs, particularly those aimed at congestion relief. During the past decade, the federal government has invested more than $1 billion in ITS research, much of which is aimed at improving highway operations and reducing congestion through trafï¬c, road weather, freight, and incident management (GAO 2005). Funding for the ITS Program (which is admin- istered by RITA) under SAFETEA-LU totals about $100 million per year. Also available is about $7.4 million per year for USDOT to conduct research that assists state and local jurisdictions in measuring and addressing con- gestion problems, and $800,000 per year to improve freight planning capac- ity. Despite these RD&T investments, however, congestion continues to grow in metropolitan areas, at a societal cost most recently estimated to total $78 billion annually (Shrank and Lomax 2007). Within USDOT, responsibility for RD&T addressing highway opera- tions is shared by FHWAâs Ofï¬ces of Operations and Operations RD&T
44 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses and supported by the ITS Joint Program Ofï¬ce. This report covers those ITS programs managed by FHWA, as well as the congestion relief and freight capacity building activities. The Ofï¬ce of Operations has inte- grated the roughly $7.4 million RD&T budget available to it annually through SAFETEA-LU into its program delivery; hence it does not have a discrete program for RD&T. Instead, this funding supports research activities embedded in many services the ofï¬ce provides to states and local governments. (In this review of the $7.4 million for RD&T, the committee selected a few projects to examine in depth that illustrate the nature and range of the RD&T activities supported with this funding.) In addition, FHWA manages some of the ITS R&D projects funded through the ITS Program, examples of which are also discussed. In alignment with SAFETEA-LU and the Secretaryâs congestion ini- tiative, FHWA has grouped its operations-related RD&T activitiesâ including those in ITSâinto the following priority areas: â¢ Reducing recurring congestion,5 â¢ Reducing nonrecurring congestion,6 â¢ Improving global connectivity by enhancing freight management and operations, and â¢ Creating a foundation for 21st-century operations. RD&T activities in the ï¬rst of these areas, reducing recurring conges- tion, range from the development of a trafï¬c signal timing manual to the scanning of travel demand management practices in Europe. Two activ- ities in this priority area are examined in this sectionâAdaptive Control Software (ACS) Lite and Congestion Pricing. RD&T aimed at reducing nonrecurring congestion ranges from the development of performance metrics for work zone management to the ITS CLARUS initiative to develop and evaluate advanced road weather information products. An example activity in this priority area that is reviewed in this section is the Trafï¬c Incident Management (TIM) Program. The priority areas of improving global connectivity and creating a foun- dation for 21st-century operations include RD&T to assess state-of-the-art 5 Recurring congestion is that created more or less routinely when more users are attempting to use a facility than it can handle at one time. 6 Nonrecurring congestion is caused by special events, unusual weather, and crashes.
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 45 models for freight forecasting, support demonstration projects for regional transportation collaboration, and develop metrics for measuring opera- tional performance. The Electronic Freight Management (EFM) Program, a key initiative in the priority area of improving global connectivity, is examined in this section. The four example activities noted aboveâACS Lite, Congestion Pric- ing, TIM, and EFMâreï¬ect the range of operations-related RD&T. Each is described in turn below. This is followed by a discussion of the SHRP 2 Travel Time Reliability Program. ACS Lite ACS for intersection signals has been used in some large U.S. cities since the mid-1990s. This technology, which has received much attention in the ITS Program, can improve the operational performance of arterial roads by enabling real-time changes in signal timing in response to changes in trafï¬c ï¬ows, especially unanticipated or short-term changes that can- not be accommodated by timing patterns developed for assumed volume levels. Full-scale ACS, however, requires a signiï¬cant investment in hard- ware and software and thus is suitable primarily for large cities with hundreds of signalized intersections. Except for a handful of large cities, therefore, pretimed and actuated trafï¬c controls are used at most signalized intersections in the United States. FHWA estimates that an appreciable share (about 5 percent) of high- way congestion can be attributed to poor signal timing and that some medium-sized and smaller cities may have trafï¬c conditions suited to adaptive control methods. A survey of public highway agencies conducted by FHWA revealed that most were reluctant to invest in ACS because of concern about purchase costs, maintenance requirements, and incompat- ibility with existing signal control systems. Accordingly, FHWA has sought to develop a simpliï¬ed, or âlite,â adaptive control product that would leverage the large ITS investment in ACS but would be affordable for smaller cities and could be retroï¬tted to their existing closed-loop trafï¬c control systems. Working with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, FHWA invited signal system manufacturers to participate in research aimed at developing an ACS Lite product. Four companies accepted the invitation. FHWA used a competitive bidding process for software devel-
46 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses opment, contracting with a team of researchers from Siemens, Purdue University, and the University of Arizona. The researchers worked with the four vendors to develop generic software that could be modiï¬ed to work with each vendorâs controller software and application programs. On the basis of a 2005 ï¬eld test of ACS Lite, researchers estimated that savings in vehicle fuel and delay time averaged $340 per day, or $88,500 per year (Ghaman 2006, 28). Following additional deployments, the savings in vehicle fuel and delay time from the Houston area ï¬eld test were estimated to be about $2,000 per day (Ghaman 2006, 29). On the basis of data from these initial deployments, FHWA estimates average annual beneï¬ts of $800,000 per system, with a system consisting of 10 to 12 controlled inter- sections. The estimated cost for system installation is $30,000 to $80,000. FHWA spent $500,000 on the ACS Lite software development effort and anticipates 800 ACS Lite systems being installed by 2010. Congestion Pricing The Secretaryâs congestion initiative positions USDOT in a leadership role in ï¬nding and implementing solutions to congestion, including solutions that involve pricing the use of transportation facilities to manage demand. Meanwhile, SAFETEA-LU gives states greater ï¬exibility to use pricing to manage congestion. Several provisions in SAFETEA-LU pertain to conges- tion pricing. These include the Value Pricing Pilot Program, funded at $59 million through FY 2009 to support the costs of implementing up to 15 variable-pricing pilot programs nationwide, and the Express Lanes Demonstration Program, which allows for a total of 15 pricing demon- stration projects through FY 2009. (These two programs are not funded through Title V of SAFETEA-LU. Some of the $7.4 million in operations RD&T supplements these programs with funding for evaluation.) FHWA supports congestion pricing through various means, including funding research to assess the impact of road pricing on vehicle through- put, sponsoring congestion pricing workshops, developing primers on congestion pricing techniques and experiences, and providing state and local governments with a central source of information on pricing strategies and techniques. Through the Value Pricing Pilot Program, FHWA has worked with agencies in more than a dozen states to demon- strate the feasibility and beneï¬ts of congestion pricing on transportation facilities.
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 47 Trafï¬c Incident Management The National Strategy to Reduce Congestion calls for USDOT to advance low-cost operational and technological means of improving highway operations. The TIM Program, funded at $1 million in FY 2007, is intended to advance such means by providing research and technology assistance for the development of comprehensive and performance-oriented TIM programs in communities. The basic goal of TIM is to further a multipronged approach to managing trafï¬c incidents, which are major causes of nonrecurring congestion on urban highways. TIM consists of a number of RD&T activities. A major area of research is the development of performance measures for TIM. Through work- shops, conferences, and other means of communication and outreach, FHWA division ofï¬ces are working with states to identify appropriate mea- sures and sources of measurement data. FHWA is also aiding in the devel- opment of a self-assessment process that states and local communities can use for collaborative assessment of their TIM programs and sharing of their experiences to identify opportunities for improvement. FHWA is preparing a handbook to aid states and local communities in implementing full-service patrols for emergency response and TIM. This handbook describes the functions of these patrols and explains equip- ment and training requirements. FHWA is also developing documents describing best practices for TIM, covering such subjects as the develop- ment and adoption of clearance laws, incident management in work zones, and trafï¬c control during incident management. To aid in training personnel for effective TIM, the National Highway Institute is offering a course for emergency responders on the use of inci- dent command systems during highway incidents. To further the adoption of comprehensive and multijurisdictional approaches to incident manage- ment, FHWA is working through the National Trafï¬c Incident Manage- ment Coalition (NTIMC) to promote comprehensive TIM programs. Organized by the American Association of State Highway and Transporta- tion Ofï¬cials (AASHTO), NTIMC comprises national organizations of agencies and providers of transportation, emergency medical services, law enforcement, and towing and recovery. NTIMC is committed to promot- ing, developing, and sustaining multidisciplinary, multijurisdictional TIM programs to achieve enhanced responder safety; safe, quick trafï¬c incident clearance; and more prompt, reliable, interoperable communications.
48 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses FHWA also participates with the ITS Joint Program Ofï¬ce in the devel- opment and demonstration of integrated computer-aided dispatch trafï¬c management centers (CAD-TMC). While most major metropolitan areas have advanced TMCs, many of these centers are not integrated with the CAD systems used for incident response. To demonstrate how the inte- gration of these systems can improve TIM and how institutional barriers to their integration can be overcome, FHWA and the ITS Joint Program Ofï¬ce are sponsoring operational tests and evaluations of CAD-TMC. A CAD-TMC user group, composed of transportation and public safety practitioners, has been formed to discuss technical, institutional, and operational issues encountered in implementing these systems. Electronic Freight Management One of the reasons given for the Secretaryâs congestion initiative is that delays and unreliability are so pervasive in the transportation system that they are threatening the productivity of the freight supply chain on a national level. FHWAâs Ofï¬ce of Freight Management and Operations, within the Ofï¬ce of Operations, has responsibility for numerous freight- related activities within FHWA, including those related to freight fore- casting and research, the promotion of cost-effective infrastructure for freight, and border-crossing issues and technologies. One of the ofï¬ceâs responsibilities is to promote the deployment of technology to facilitate the smooth ï¬ow of goods through the nationâs transportation system. Freight movement, particularly international movement, involves numer- ous information exchanges among multiple entities, both public and pri- vate. To facilitate these exchanges, the Ofï¬ce of Freight Management and Operations is involved in EFM, an ITS initiative. The aim of EFM is to improve shipment visibility, reduce redundant data entry, facilitate exchanges with government authorities, and enhance security by simplifying and streamlining the exchange of information among supply chain partners. From the public sectorâs standpoint, improving freight efï¬ciency and data exchange offers a number of poten- tial beneï¬ts that justify government involvement, including faster and more reliable ï¬ling of government-required information, better access to freight data for the purpose of transportation infrastructure planning and investment, reduced congestion on transportation facilities and resultant emissions, and opportunities to enhance freight safety and security.
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 49 ILLUSTRATIVE RESEARCH BENEFITS Intelligent Transportation Systems Investments in ITS research over the past decade or more have yielded many technological and system improvements. The devel- opment and application of monitoring and sensing systems is pro- viding real-time travel information in many corridors. Software based on complex algorithms developed by studying trafï¬c ï¬ows is improving the ability of trafï¬c control systems to adapt trafï¬c signals to optimize trafï¬c ï¬ow; these improvements, in turn, reduce congestion and the excess vehicle emissions resulting from stop-and-go travel. In-vehicle technologies, combined with trafï¬c management systems for transit, are providing customers with real-time information about when the next bus or train will be arriving and allowing operators to maintain headways by avoid- ing bus bunching. Monitoring systems and information dissemi- nation technologies are providing travelers with better information about trafï¬c incidents, which allows those who can do so to choose alternative routes or travel times. Electronic information is mak- ing the collection of tolls and parking fees more efï¬cient for both agencies and travelers. Dynamic pricing enables operators to man- age scarce capacity more effectively and allows travelers to select the level of service they desire and pay for superior service quality (for example, the use of high-occupancy toll lanes in some states). Real-time information about weather conditions is giving auto- mobile and truck drivers better information about the safety of travel conditions during adverse weather. Electronic transmission and screening of freight carriers and cargo documents are reduc- ing delays to private carriers and improving the quality of infor- mation available to public agencies. As these and other ITS technologies continue to be deployed and improved, deï¬nitive estimates of their impacts on mobility, safety, and the environment will become available. The popular- (continued on next page)
50 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses Illustrative Research Beneï¬ts: Intelligent Transportation Systems (continued) ity of information about travel conditions and weather and the time savings associated with electronic transactions make it likely that passengers and private carriers value the beneï¬ts accruing from investments in ITS research. Many more beneï¬ts can be expected as more advanced technologies are proven in the labo- ratory and the marketplace. Most large carriers and shippers already track cargo within their sys- tem and transmit cargo information outside their system to public and private organizations. EFM is intended to provide an open system by which all carriers and shippers have this capability, using Internet-based technologies. Use of the Internet to make data broadly available to autho- rized and authenticated users in real time is viewed as key to improving information exchange and to making freight networks more efï¬cient and secure. The idea is to develop a system that is able to accommodate a multitude of organizations, both public and private, and is able to adapt to changing business environments and user needs. FHWA is working with the freight industry through the Intermodal Freight Technology Working Group (managed by the Intermodal Asso- ciation of North America) to identify speciï¬c EFM projects to be pursued. EFM is also building on the outcomes of other freight-related ITS pro- grams, including the electronic supply chain manifest. A limited demon- stration of Internet-based EFM services for information sharing using some of the suppliers and carriers involved in the working group is being planned. During the test, the role of EFM and its value to FHWA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and other government agencies will be examined. SHRP 2 Travel Time Reliability Program The $18 million SHRP 2 Reliability Research Program targets the variabil- ity of travel time, which affects how much time is needed to reach a desti- nation and how much extra time drivers must allow to arrive within a
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 51 desired time window. Travel time reliability is important to both travelers and shippers; it is also an aspect of the congestion problem on which transportation agencies can make signiï¬cant gains even as travel demand grows. The original RD&T plan for SHRP 2 operations, prepared before SAFETEA-LU was authorized, anticipated a much larger level of funding than was ultimately available to the program. The plan was subsequently restructured to accord with available funding levels. SHRP 2 reliability research addresses the root causes of unreliable travel times by focusing on how the highway system is operated. Research proj- ects will develop reliability data, performance measures, and monitoring programs; design and assess institutional architectures; improve the means of integrating operations activities into planning, modeling, and decision making; aid the implementation of operations strategies; and examine trends, alternative futures, concepts of operations, and innovations. Because travel time reliability is a relatively new ï¬eld of investigation, opportunities for early impact may exist. For example, techniques have been developed to manage special events, but they may not have been made available for wider application. A greater challenge is to be forward looking, to evaluate the potential contributions of advanced technologies that could reinvent the frame of reference for operations strategies. The ï¬rst two SHRP 2 research projects discussed below address this challenge. Overall guidance for reliability research is provided by a Technical Coor- dinating Committee (TCC) made up of experts and stakeholders. This group decides about overall program goals and direction and the scope of projects and recommends the funding allocation among projects. The SHRP 2 Oversight Committee approves the funding allocation. Requests for proposals for each research project are prepared under the guidance of Expert Task Groups (ETGs). The ETGs also conduct merit review of the proposals received and make recommendations to the Oversight Commit- tee, which makes ï¬nal decisions on contract awards to bidders. All contracts are competed and awarded in full and open competition. The travel time reliability research plan is based on four themes that provide context for individual projects: â¢ Data, metrics, analysis, and decision support; â¢ Institutional change, human behavior, and resource needs; â¢ Incorporating reliability in planning, programming, and design; and â¢ Fostering innovation.
52 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses Data, Metrics, Analysis, and Decision Support The ï¬rst issue addressed by SHRP 2 reliability research is the need for data on travel times, how they are inï¬uenced by nonrecurring incidents, and how well travel time variation is reduced by different methods. Research in this area will determine data types, measurement methods, and analy- sis tools. An archival system will be developed to support transportation agencies at all levels in monitoring travel times and related reliability measures, developing and using performance measures and models, and evaluating actions to control and mitigate nonrecurring congestion. A guidebook will help practitioners establish reliability monitoring programs. Technical relationships between mitigation measures and performance will be developed so that practitioners will have a basis for making informed choices. And mechanisms will be devised to incorporate reliability estimation into planning and operations models. Institutional Change, Human Behavior, and Resource Needs In any complex system, the human actors are critical. In the area of highway operations and incident management, these actors are numerous and quite diverse: managers of highway agencies and their technical staff; the political leaders who provide authorization, budgets, and over- sight; drivers; emergency responders; maintenance and construction workers; and businesses and sponsors of special events. Reduction of congestion related to nonrecurring events will require signiï¬cant modi- ï¬cations to the intra- and interorganizational structures and business practices of transportation and public safety agencies. Impact mitigation will require new organizational systems, practitioner interactions, and effective communications. Research in this area will provide agency managers and practitioners with information to guide them in making business process and institutional changes in support of improved relia- bility. Managers will be given guidance for effectively disseminating travel time reliability information to road users in several alternative formats so they can make informed driving decisions. Case studies from both domestic and international transportation organizations and from nontransportation industries, together with the insights gained from research in organizational behavior, are identifying the most effective practices and organizational structures for managing 24-hour facilities, with a speciï¬c emphasis on how these management
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 53 approaches can improve incident management and travel time reliability. A focused training program is being developed to ensure that all profes- sionals who respond to highway incidentsâtransportation staff, ï¬re- ï¬ghters, police, emergency medical personnel, tow truck operators, material spill respondersâare well versed in the state of the art of safe and efficient incident response procedures in traffic environments. Driver behavior is being addressed in two ways. One project addresses travel time information by examining the accessibility and utility of mechanisms and technologies for providing this information and then assessing their effects on system performance. A second involves the use of video and other data collected in past studies and SHRP 2âs safety ï¬eld study to learn how drivers behave in work zones or in the vicinity of crashes, special events, or other incidents. Results from these driver- oriented studies should lead to better trafï¬c management and more effective communication with drivers. Incorporating Reliability in Planning, Programming, and Design The data, tools, and information about institutional and human behavior developed in the above two areas will need to be consolidated and incor- porated into the planning, programming, and design processes used by transportation agencies to improve trafï¬c conditions and reduce and mitigate nonrecurring congestion. Currently, the technical procedures needed to incorporate mobility and reliability performance measures into the transportation investment process are not available, and as a result, the effects on traditional capital expenditures of short- and long- term strategies aimed at achieving improved reliability cannot be deter- mined. Similarly, the effects of alternative design features that can improve reliability have not been fully evaluated, and those features that have been evaluated are not included in design manuals. Research in this area addresses the need for improved tools to identify and evaluate the effectiveness of infrastructure and operational counter- measures and to quantify the impacts of nonrecurring congestion on overall highway capacity. The research will link changes in performance measures to individual reliability improvement strategies so that trade- offs between capital and operating costs can be integrated into the tradi- tional programming process. The effort will include pilot studies of the procedures in a number of agencies. In coordination with work in the
54 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses capacity area of SHRP 2, travel time reliability will be included among the factors considered in the highway planning and programming process. Reliability performance and the costs and effectiveness of measures to improve reliability will be incorporated into the key steps that lead to decisions about how the transportation system evolves and is operated. Highway design featuresâsuch as median crossovers and wide pave- ment shouldersâand crash investigation sites are being studied to assess their costs and effectiveness in managing incidents to reduce travel time variability. Many such features are currently in use but not included in standard design guides because of perceived high costs and the lack of data on potential cost savings. The research will also address other designs used in countries outside of the United States, such as active trafï¬c manage- ment, which combines lane control, variable speed limits, hard shoulders, and handling of accident investigation sites so highway system managers can control trafï¬c ï¬ow both laterally and longitudinally. Results of these analyses will be used to develop nonrecurrent congestion factors for the Highway Capacity Manual and the AASHTO Policy on Geometric Designâ standard reference materials for highway designers. Translating research results into practical guidance that meets the requirements of these design documents is essential in inï¬uencing actual highway designs. Fostering Innovation The research described thus far is focused largely on making signiï¬cant improvements in the short term and takes much of the current highway environment as given. Yet many technological, social, and institutional developments are occurring and will continue to do so; thus highway oper- ations must be capable of functioning in new environments and even of generating these environments. Research in this area will focus on fostering innovative thinking that can form the foundation for long-term reductions in nonrecurring incidents and improvements in travel time reliability. One project will deï¬ne user requirements, performance standards, and present and future concepts of operations to provide guidance for agencies on the best alternative operations strategies to improve travel time reliability. A second project will develop a portfolio of innovative ideas, supported by accompanying proofs of concept, aimed at improving reliability. The intent is to undertake several small experiments or pilot studies to explore innovative ideas deemed promising for future application.
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 55 PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENTAL RD&T FHWAâs planning and environmental RD&T covers a wide range of top- ics and engages many different stakeholder groups. Annual budgets aver- age $18.6 million over the life of SAFETEA-LU. Included in this amount are two earmarks totaling about $1.3 million annually in FY 2007â2009 (a third earmark for $700,000 in FY 2006 was for 1 year only). Under SAFETEA-LU, total funding for RD&T in planning and environmental RD&T declined by at least 13 percent from the previous authorization.7 Aside from the earmarks, the main source of FHWAâs RD&T funding for planning and environmental topics comes from the Surface Transporta- tion Environment and Planning (STEP) Cooperative Research Program, which was authorized and funded in SAFETEA-LU. The SHRP 2 Capacity Program is designed to foster highway improve- ments in full compliance with planning and environmental requirements. The $18 million program of activity includes several signiï¬cant projects dealing explicitly with planning and environmental issues associated with adding or improving highway capacity. Approximately $13.9 million is allocated annually for the STEP Pro- gram, which is a new initiative for FHWA. A similar surface transportation planning and environmental cooperative research program was authorized in TEA-21, but specific funding was not authorized or appropriated. TEA-21 did call for an advisory committee to recommend environmental research. This committee of experts from academia, environmental groups, and transportation agencies, convened by TRB with funding from FHWA, recommended a research agenda and governance structure for a coop- erative research program (TRB 2002). AASHTO and others encouraged funding for the program during reauthorization. SAFETEA-LU autho- rized the STEP Program and required stakeholder involvement in merit review of proposals and program governance; it also left administration of the program up to the discretion of the Secretary. Because of funding constraints, FHWA lost funding it had previously relied on for research, 7 With regard to research funding only, funding for the planning and environmental program declined by 13 percent between TEA-21 and SAFETEA-LU. In the prior legislation, however, this area also received substantial technology deployment funding, which, when combined with research funds, results in a percentage decline between the two authorizations that is almost twice as large.
56 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses technical assistance, outreach, training, and other services to constituents in the planning and environmental area. As a result, the agency has had to rely on the STEP Program for such purposes. FHWAâs STEP Program for FY 2008 is divided among planning and environmental topics, development of technical tools, and administration and outreach. It is further subdivided into 17 emphasis areas intended to support 55 different activities. Each year the STEP Program plan may vary on the basis of departmental priorities and stakeholder input; the topic areas and funding amounts given in Table 3-2 and described below are those proposed for FY 2008.8 Planning One could describe the bulk of the activities in the planning area as efforts on each of the topics listed in Table 3-2 to identify and share best practices and encourage technical exchange through websites, training and technical assistance, peer exchanges, workshops, and conferences. The program could include research on a diverse set of topics, such as visualization practices (use of three-dimensional imagery of proposed projects) to improve the quality of public involvement, the ramiï¬cations of various new financing techniques, strategies to better link land use and transportation planning, opportunities for metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to work together, analysis of causes of border con- gestion, quantiï¬cation of the costs of border delay, digital mapping of the National Highway System, and case studies of the economic development consequences of rural highways. Environment Possible research activities in FY 2008 in the area of air quality include updating, expanding, and testing tools and strategies to reduce trans- portation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; analyzing how national GHG reduction strategies might affect transportation; exam- ining GHG reduction strategies; and providing funding for USDOTâs Climate Change Center. Other activities could include outreach and 8 Program and research plans can be found at www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/step/fy08rp.htm.
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 57 TABLE 3-2 FY 2008 Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Program Budget by Emphasis Area (Before Technical Corrections) Number of Proposed Recommended FY 2008 Emphasis Area Activities Budget ($) Planning Congestion 1 750,000 Safety Planning 1 100,000 Freight Planning 1 100,000 Public Involvement, Environmental Justice, Visualization 1 375,000 in Planning Other Activities That Support State/Local/Tribal Planning 9 2,425,000 Capacity Building U.S./Canada and U.S./Mexico Border Planning 2 400,000 National Security, Defense, and Interstate Planning 3 300,000 Environment Air Quality and Global Climate Change 4 1,148,500 Water, Wetlands, Vegetation, Wildlife Habitat, Brownï¬elds 8 1,070,000 Historic Preservation 2 225,000 Bicycle/Pedestrian and Health 1 70,000 Noise 1 200,000 Outdoor Advertising Control/Realty Program Management 4 300,000 Environmental Streamlining/Stewardship 5 1,663,500 Context-Sensitive Solutions 2 500,000 Tools to Support Planning and Environment Travel Modeling 1 730,000 Geographic Information Systems/Spatial Information for 6 400,000 Improved Decision Making Program Management and Outreach 3 1,000,000 Associate Administrator for Planning, Environment, 659,491 and Realty Total 55 12,416,491 communication, evaluation of new emission models, and analysis to support project-level emissions estimates. In the Water, Wetlands, Vegetation, Wildlife Habitat, Brownï¬elds area, possible activities include technical exchange of research and other information with professionals; support for a best management prac- tices storm water database; collaboration on research with other federal agencies; development, compilation, and sharing of the latest informa-
58 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses ILLUSTRATIVE RESEARCH BENEFITS Waste and Recycled Materials Highway construction has a long history of employing waste and by-product materials from other industries. The motivations have been simpleâhelp dispose of materials that are otherwise difficult to deal with and reduce the initial costs of highway construction. The challenge has been to achieve these benefits without compromising critical performance properties or intro- ducing materials that are potentially harmful to people and the environment. As concerns about sustainability have become more prominent in public thinking, the incentives to use by- product materials have grown. In addition, because reconstruc- tion and resurfacing of highways create their own waste, the recycling of construction materials increasingly makes economic and environmental sense. Research and demonstration have generated many success stories about the use of by-product and recycled materials in ways that simultaneously meet performance, environmental, and economic objectives. â¢ Crumb rubber from old tires, for example, has received increased acceptance as an additive for selected hot-mix asphalt pavement mix designs, and a number of patents have been issued concerning the production and design of âcrumb rub- berâ or âasphalt rubberâ pavements. Several states, notably California and Arizona, use asphalt rubber hot mix as an over- lay for distressed ï¬exible and rigid pavements and as a means of reducing highway noise. Materials derived from discarded tires have also been used successfully as lightweight ï¬ll for highway embankments and as backï¬ll for retaining walls and for asphalt-based sealers and membranes. â¢ Fly ash and silica fumeâresidues from coal-burning power plants and metal-producing furnaces, respectivelyâare (continued)
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 59 becoming relatively common additives to portland cement concrete. Fly ash concretes can reduce the alkaliâsilica reactions that lead to premature deterioration of concrete, and increased reliance on ï¬y ash reduces the carbon dioxide emissions result- ing from cement production. Silica fume is a component of ultra-high-performance concrete. â¢ After many years of experimentation and trials, reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) is now used routinely in virtually all of the states as a substitute for aggregate and a portion of the asphalt binder in hot-mix asphalt, including SuperpaveÂ® mixes. Typically, the reclaimed material constitutes 25 to 50 percent of the ânewâ mix. The National Asphalt Pavement Associa- tion (NAPA) estimates that each year, 90 percent of the asphalt pavement removed is recycled, and approximately 125 million tons of RAP is produced, with an annual savings of $300 mil- lion. NAPA reports that asphalt pavement is the most recycled material in the country. SOURCE: Skinner 2008. tion on managing the environmental aspects of rights-of-way; develop- ment and sharing of information on ï¬sh passages under bridges and through culverts; and assessment of infrastructure impacts on endan- gered species. Much of the activity in the environmental area could be character- ized as developing and sharing information and providing technical assistance: â¢ Historic preservation work will involve identifying and sharing infor- mation on best practices for integrating the protection of historic places into early planning activities while also making the process more efficient. â¢ Bicycle/pedestrian and health funds will be devoted to data gathering.
60 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses â¢ Activities dealing with noise will be limited to improving and updat- ing a noise model developed by FHWA for use by state departments of transportation (DOTs). â¢ Outdoor Advertising Control/Realty Program Management will fund the development of stewardship tools for local governments; stakeholder dialogue, communication, and outreach; and peer exchanges. â¢ Efforts in the Environmental Streamlining/Stewardship area will focus on developing and applying performance measures, identify- ing and sharing best practices with states, and providing technical assistance. â¢ In the Context-Sensitive Solutions area, a clearinghouse of information and targeted technical assistance will be provided. Technical Tools Funding provided for travel modeling will support the outreach com- ponents of the Travel Model Improvement Program, which include training; technical assistance; development of case studies of best prac- tices; support for peer exchanges on modeling topics; and mechanisms to share information through websites, reports, brochures, and work- shops. The funding will also support follow-up work to respond to the recommendations made with regard to improvements to travel models and modeling practice in Metropolitan Travel Forecasts: Current Practice and Future Direction (TRB 2007). Work on geographic information sys- tems (GIS) is designed to assist practitioners through enhancement of the GIS website, identiï¬cation and communication of best practices, peer exchanges, and development of methodologies for using GIS to support decision making. Program Management and Outreach The funding provided for this area will be used to assess and facilitate the implementation of the STEP Program, provide resources to support dis- semination, and support stakeholder outreach. Potential RD&T activi- ties include program support, website development, workshops, scans, training, technical assistance, publications, and conferences.
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 61 Other FHWA Planning and Environmental Activities SAFETEA-LU designated funding in two environmental areas: a Center for Environmental Excellence (about $1 million annually) and Advanced Travel Forecasting ($2.2 million annually). The former, which was com- peted for and won by AASHTO, serves as a resource for transportation professionals to promote environmental stewardship and streamlining of the transportation delivery process. The latter funds implementation of the Transportation Analysis and Simulation System (TRANSIMS) modeling system in pilot locations. TRANSIMS is an advanced model- ing system developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory through a $25 million earmark in TEA-21. There are two earmarks. One is for implementation of the Trans- portation, Economic, and Land Use System (TELUS) (about $800,000 annually), a software and decision-support system for MPOs that links transportation improvement planning processes with state air quality implementation planning processes. TELUS was developed through ear- marks in previous legislation to the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The software is used by MPOs nationwide. The other earmark (about $500,000) goes to the National Association of Development Organizations for the Center for Transportation Advancement and Regional Develop- ment, a technical resource for development ofï¬cials in rural areas and small communities. SHRP 2 Capacity Research The original vision of the SHRP 2 Capacity Program was for an $80 mil- lion, 6-year effort to develop fully integrated planning and programming processes that would take advantage of new technology. âFully integratedâ meant that the program would result in earlier and more complete con- sideration of all important community, environmental, economic, and other issues in the planning process for highway capacity expansion. When the Capacity Program was reduced to $18 million over 4 years in SAFETEA-LU, the TCC overseeing the program had to start over; the reduced funding would not have been sufï¬cient to allow for the envisioned levels of process and technological innovation. The 78 percent cut in funding resulted in a radically curtailed effort, far short of original program goals. The reduced and restructured program
62 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses focuses on evaluating key decision points and developing approaches to resolve the issues that emerge in a more timely fashion than is currently the case. Projects include development of a broader understanding of the multiagency decision-making framework; investigation of improved methods for analyzing economic, community, environmental, and con- servation issues as part of the analysis of alternatives; development and testing of more sensitive transportation demand models; evaluation of the extent to which smart-growth development reduces highway travel demand; and better integration of freight transportation needs into high- way planning. Improved understanding of these key issues and the shar- ing of this information with state and local decision makers and planners should enhance the quality of state and local decisions and reduce some of the delays in project development associated with the planning process. SHRP 2 is closely coordinated with FHWA and state planning activities to make efforts complementary and avoid duplication. SAFETY RD&T Safety RD&T funded through Title V includes (a) about $13.7 million annually for FHWA safety RD&T activities, about 20 percent of which is earmarked to four different organizations, and (b) about $12 mil- lion annually for the SHRP 2 Safety Research Program. FHWAâs safety RD&T activities were reduced by about 30 percent between TEA-21 and SAFETEA-LU. FHWA Safety Programs and Safety Research The mission of FHWAâs safety RD&T programs is to help reduce highway crashes and related fatalities and injuries by developing and implementing a program of nationally coordinated research and safety-related techno- logical innovations. The programs are guided by the four Eâs of highway safety: engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency response. FHWAâs Ofï¬ce of Safety and the safety research activities conducted at the TurnerâFairbank Highway Research Center are closely coordinated in the development of products and guidance for practitioners. The program is focused on roadway departure (58 percent of fatalities); intersections (21 percent); pedestrians (11 percent); and, beginning in 2008, speed
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 63 (estimated to be a contributing factor in 32 percent of fatal crashes). Fund- ing is split fairly evenly between safety programs and research. Roadway Departure Addressing the roadway departure problem requires focusing on the mul- tiple factors that contribute to crashes: driver, vehicle, and infrastructure. Within USDOT, FHWAâs primary responsibility is infrastructure-related factors (both roadway and roadside).9 The key objectives for reducing crashes due to roadway departure and their severity are as follows: â¢ Keep vehicles safely in their appropriate places on the roadway (decrease the number of vehicles leaving their lanes or the roadway). â¢ Provide clear recovery areas off the roadway and traversable side slopes to reduce the likelihood of a crash should a vehicle inadvertently leave the roadway. â¢ Provide crashworthy road and roadside features to reduce the sever- ity of crashes that occur when clear and traversable roadsides are not possible for errant vehicles. The program is focused on developing and promoting a greater knowledge base on roadway departure and advancing analysis methods and tools that can help improve the effectiveness of countermeasures aimed at keeping vehicles on the road and reducing the consequences of leaving the roadway. A goal of the program is to enhance guidance on the proper deployment of countermeasures and the systematic assessment of risk to maximize the application of cost-effective treatments. The website for FHWAâs safety programs offers a variety of practitioner- oriented documents on such topics as markings and signage, nighttime visibility, rumble strips, resurfacing, pavement edge drop, and roadside hardware. Research activities include development of the Interactive High- way Safety Design Module for analyzing the design of rural two-lane roads to improve safety and the development of Safety Analyst, a set of software tools for safety analysis of existing roads. Both of these tools represent a considerable advance over merely designing to standards. 9 To ensure that federal efforts are coordinated, FHWA works closely with the National Highway Trafï¬c Safety Administration, which has primary responsibility for driver- and vehicle-related contributing factors, and FMCSA, which has responsibility for truck crashes.
64 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses ILLUSTRATIVE RESEARCH BENEFITS Median Cable Barriers After the Missouri Department of Transportation (MDOT) iden- tiï¬ed as a major concern crashes in which drivers leave the road- way and cross the median into the path of oncoming vehicles, it initiated a research project to investigate possible solutions. MDOT determined that for long-distance installation on rural Interstates, cable barriers are a more cost-effective safety device than concrete barriers or guardrails. When a cable barrier is struck, the posts yield, and the cable deï¬ects up to 12 feet, effectively catching and decelerating the vehicle and keeping it in the median. A cable barrier therefore has an advantage over more rigid systems because the striking vehicle is less likely to reenter the driving lanes after hitting it. MDOT began installing cable barriers in the medians of Interstates on which crashes were frequent but then decided to install the barriers systemwide on highways whose medians were 60 feet or less in width. Installation costs varied from $60,000 to $100,000 per mile, depending on the amount of grading required, and maintenance costs range from $6,000 to $10,000 per mile, depending on the frequency of hits. The cable barriers were shown to keep striking vehicles from crossing the median in 95 percent of cases, which dra- matically reduced fatalities. On Missouriâs heavily traveled I-70, the state experienced 24 cross-median fatalities in 1999 before any median barriers had been installed. After about 20 miles of cable barrier had been installed, the number of fatalities declined to 14 in 2004. After 179 miles of the barriers had been installed, the number of cross-median fatalities fell to only two in 2006. SOURCE: Chandler 2007.
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 65 Intersections Reducing intersection and intersection-related fatalities is a key goal of FHWAâs national safety programs. The Intersection Safety Program includes strategies and projects that address this goal by focusing on the development of tools, technologies, and services to assist decision makers and practitioners. The program has the following objectives: â¢ Provide support to encourage the most effective use of existing inter- section safety information, strategies, countermeasures, and analysis techniques. â¢ Identify, develop, reï¬ne, expand, and share new analysis tools, success stories and best practices, research results, information on the effective- ness of countermeasures, and new technologies for intersection safety. â¢ Develop, evaluate, and market nontraditional intersection and inter- change designs. â¢ Develop and market major new ITS technologies, such as the Coop- erative Intersection Collision Avoidance System. Examples of materials for practitioners on the FHWA website include guidebooks and manuals for dealing with new designs (diamond inter- changes and roundabouts) and guidance on pedestrian and bicycle safety at intersections. Pedestrians Through the Pedestrian Safety Program, FHWA works to raise the qual- ity of pedestrian facilitiesâfor example, by offering technical assistance in the development of pedestrian safety action plans with the potential to have immediate results. The program is also aimed at ensuring that engineers are educated about pedestrian safety and accommodation so they will consistently incorporate these considerations into the design of pedestrian facilities. The programâs speciï¬c objectives are to â¢ Develop and implement pedestrian safety plans in cities and states with signiï¬cant numbers of pedestrian fatalities per year, â¢ Provide practitioners with tools and technologies to help identify and solve their pedestrian crash problems, â¢ Develop and evaluate promising countermeasures for reducing pedestrian crashes,
66 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses â¢ Form partnerships to facilitate technology transfer activities for the wide range of pedestrian safety strategies, and â¢ Evaluate and develop ITS technologies for pedestrian detection and warning systems to prevent potential pedestrianâvehicle collisions and determine which of these systems will signiï¬cantly reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries. The FHWA website includes practitioner-oriented documents related to pedestrian safety, such as road audit procedures for analyzing pedes- trian risk. Speed Management Speed management applies a balanced engineering, enforcement, and edu- cation (3E) approach to achieve safe and appropriate speeds for conditions on the basis of scientiï¬c research and, when appropriate, includes tech- nologies designed to aid in mitigating a speciï¬c problem. No single tech- nique can effectively accomplish the goal of reducing speed-related fatalities and injuries. Accordingly, the Speed Management Strategic Initiative was developed jointly with the National Highway Safety Trafï¬c Administration and FMCSA in 2005. It consists of 18 strategies and 53 key actions grouped under ï¬ve main areas of focusâdata, engineering, enforcement, education, and integration. FHWA is the lead agency accountable for most of the engineering efforts. However, state and local agencies and stakeholder organizations play important roles in ensuring desired outcomes. The strategies being developed in the Speed Management Program are designed for implementation across various jurisdictions and on different types of roadways. They include the following: â¢ Improve knowledge, understanding, and awareness of the dangers of inappropriate speed. â¢ Identify and promote engineering methods for creating a safer road environment with appropriate travel speeds, consistent speed limits, and condition-responsive warnings. â¢ Identify and promote effective speed enforcement and penalties that target dangerous drivers, on dangerous roads, at dangerous times. â¢ Work with governmental and nongovernmental organizations to pro- mote an integrated 3E approach and encourage local action to manage speed and crash risk more effectively.
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 67 The FHWA website mentions a specific research projectâa field operational test of variable speed limitsâand provides guidance on speed management in work zones. SHRP 2 Safety Research The goal of the $43.2 million SHRP 2 Safety Research Program is to improve understanding of driver behaviors in the roadway environment, particularly those associated with the risk of crash involvement. Despite the known importance of driver error as a cause of crashes, understand- ing of behaviors associated with this risk has been lacking, in large part because of the difï¬culty of conducting such research. The development of in-vehicle technologies to monitor behavior, coupled with successful pilot studies employing these technologies and demonstrating approaches to data management and risk measures, has opened up an entirely new and promising area of highway safety research. The committee classifies this research area of SHRP 2 as advanced research. The research has two overall components. The largest is a nat- uralistic driving study that will involve about 2,500 drivers of instru- mented vehicles. The other is a smaller initiative to design a program of site-based collection of driver performance data. Both vehicle- and infrastructure-based technologies will be used to gather precrash, crash, and exposure data that have never before been collected on such a large and systematic scale. The resulting information may substantially enhance understanding of precrash factors and thereby improve the design of safety countermeasures. Although a major share of the cost of the SHRP 2 safety research goes to the programâs massive data collection efforts, the research should yield a âcomprehensive assessment of the interaction of driving behavior and performance with roadway, environmental, vehicular, and human fac- tors, and the inï¬uence of these factors and interactions on collision risk, especially on lane departure and intersection collisionsâ (Campbell and Mason 2008, 5). In the naturalistic driving study, data will be collected from volunteer drivers of 2,500 vehicles over a 2- to 3-year period. Their vehicles will be instrumented with cameras and sensors to observe the driver, driver views, steering, braking, lane keeping, and other behaviors. Detailed data will also be collected on the roads used by the volunteer
68 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses drivers. For the site-based study, data will be gathered on all trafï¬c pass- ing through given road segments. These two studies will collect massive amounts of visual and other data. Part of the effort in both studies will be devoted to developing new procedures for extracting and analyz- ing data on events that could lead to crashes. The large amount of data being gathered will be necessary to establish statistical relationships among behavior, trafï¬c conditions, roadway conditions, and other factors. POLICY RESEARCH FHWAâs Ofï¬ce of Policy and Governmental Affairs is the locus of research and analysis to inform policy decisions in support of USDOT, the execu- tive branch, and Congress. In addition to supporting research, the ofï¬ce collects, analyzes, and distributes highway-related data; provides access to international sources of information on highway practice and research; initiates key policy reports on the condition and performance of highways that inform decisions about total levels of funding needed for the federal- aid highway system and provide the technical basis for federal highway taxes on various classes of highway users; develops analytical tools and data systems for policy development and studies; conducts analyses and studies to support the formulation of transportation policy and legislative initia- tives; and monitors and forecasts economic, demographic, and personal and commercial travel trends. Policy research at FHWA is an important but relatively small-scale activity within FHWAâs overall RD&T activities. In the last year of fund- ing under TEA-21, the Ofï¬ce of Policy and Governmental Affairs received about $9.5 million, $470,000 of which went to international activities, whereas under SAFETEA-LU, the only funding received ($211,000 in FY 2006 and 2007) went to the international program. In the 2008 Tech- nical Corrections legislation, the funding for policy research increased to $1.2 million, which, while welcomed, is still 87 percent less than was received under TEA-21. This signiï¬cant cut was inadvertent on Congressâs part. Policy research under TEA-21 was funded through authorized but undesignated funds for RD&T. Because of funding constraints, however, FHWA had no funds available for policy research and analysis and the development of related technical tools. For the technical aspects of its report to Congress, the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 69 Study Commission (2007) relied heavily on the staff of the Office of Policy and Governmental Affairs, the officeâs data programs, and the models developed for reports the ofï¬ce prepares for Congress on a reg- ular basis; these activities of the ofï¬ce were supported by funds dedicated to the commission. The Ofï¬ce of Policy and Governmental Affairs has several âproduct linesâ that are well known and relied on by professionals working in transportation policy. Perhaps best known is the semiannual Status of the Nationâs Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions and Performance.10 These reports to Congress are relied upon for several purposes, includ- ing the development of estimates of the funding levels for surface trans- portation reauthorization legislation. Also well known are reports on truck size and weight that inform national and state regulations on truck dimensions, the most recent example of which is the Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study (USDOT 2000). From time to time, the ofï¬ce also prepares a highway cost allocation report, which forms the technical basis for the allocation of tax rates for different highway users, particularly trucks. The last such report was produced in 1999 and updated in 2000.11 Research funds have been used in the past to develop the suite of com- plex models required to support these reports. As indicated above, no funding is authorized for these activities under SAFETEA-LU. The 2006 Conditions and Performance report was made possible by work initiated in 2002. Before passage of the Technical Corrections legislation, the 2008 report was being updated with no improvement to the technical tools used in developing estimates of condition and performance. (The Tech- nical Corrections legislation designated $1 million for FY 2008 and 2009 for updating of the Conditions and Performance report.) The Ofï¬ce of Policy and Governmental Affairs is also responsible for important data systems and reports. These include the Highway Perfor- mance Monitoring System,12 which uses sample data provided by states to develop measures of the highway systemâs condition and performance, and the Highway Statistics series,13 which provides annual statistical reports on highway mileage, ï¬nance, condition, and performance. 10 www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/olsp/reportspubs.htm. 11 www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/olsp/reportspubs.htm. 12 www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/ohpi/hpms/index.htm. 13 www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/ohpi/hss/index.htm.
70 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses ILLUSTRATIVE RESEARCH BENEFITS RoundaboutsâA Successful Innovative Technology As a result of exposure to new designs and research results during an international scan, U.S. practitioners became excited about the potential of modern roundabouts to improve traffic flow and safety. The publication Roundabouts: An Informational Guide (FHWA 2000) provided a wealth of information on the international benefits of roundabouts, design practices, and many adaptations from AASHTO policies on geometric design that would permit wide-scale use of an improved roundabout design in the United States. Although a few roundabouts had already been constructed before its publication, the guide lent legitimacy and credibility to an alternative intersection design and control proven to be safer, with operational beneï¬ts. FHWA promoted this innovative technology through training and workshops presented by staff of its Safety R&D and Resource Center. Before the publication of the FHWA guide, two statesâ Florida and Marylandâhad developed preliminary guidelines. Many states have now adopted the FHWA guide, and several have developed their own detailed guidelines inspired by that publication. Approximately 800 roundabouts have been built in more than a dozen states. More states and cities are adopting the technology as its beneï¬ts are further analyzed and conï¬rmed. The safety ben- efits of one- and two-lane U.S. roundabouts range from a 68 to 82 percent reduction in injuries and fatalities and an average 35 percent reduction in total crashes (Rodegerdts et al. 2007). Currently, roundabouts are applicable mainly for low and medium trafï¬c levels with balanced ï¬ows. Safety and operational evaluations of other innovative approaches to serve most inter- (continued)
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 71 section and interchange conditions are under way. FHWA is work- ing on several research studies and a report designed to provide information on the safety and operational beneï¬ts of these inno- vations, along with design recommendations and accommoda- tions for all users. These innovative treatments include continuous- flow intersections, median U-turn intersections, superstreet intersections, quadrant designs, diverging diamond interchanges, and displaced-left diamond interchanges. Policy research funds have also been used in the past to support econo- metric research on the value and economic return of highway investments. Such macroeconomic information is useful to policy makers in deciding on levels of highway funding in reauthorizations of the highway program. Funding has not been available for this activity under SAFETEA-LU. The Ofï¬ce of Policy and Governmental Affairs is involved in inter- national activities as well. These include seeking out and sharing infor- mation about innovations and practice throughout the world that would be useful to FHWA and the states. The best known of the ofï¬ceâs inter- national activities is a series of international scans, funded jointly with AASHTO through the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, which have introduced many innovations to U.S. practice. One example of a successful scan and follow-up research and implementation is the remarkable safety improvements achieved through modern roundabouts. Because of the severe cuts to this program under SAFETEA-LU (from $470,000 in the last year of TEA-21 to $247,000 during SAFETEA-LU), the number of international scans has been reduced. Lacking in the international research arena is a single ofï¬ce within USDOT with information on ongoing international research collabora- tions. Interest and activity in this area involving U.S. and European and other partners have grown in recent years. Such collaborations hold promise for sharing insights across borders and reducing the potential for duplicative effort, but an ofï¬ce within USDOT is needed to collect information on these activities, monitor progress, and provide guidance.
72 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses UNIVERSITY TRANSPORTATION CENTERS PROGRAM Although the UTC Program is multimodal and managed through RITA rather than FHWA, the committee has taken a keen interest in this pro- gram for several reasons: (a) most of the research conducted through the program is on highways; (b) universities are the best institutions to con- duct the advanced research the committee believes is so urgently needed; (c) the program is building the workforce of the next generation of high- way researchers and administrators; and (d) the funding for this program has grown sharply over the last three authorization cycles to the point where it represents a signiï¬cant portion of the total research authorized under Title V, and therefore an important share of the total highway research funded by Congress. The UTC Program was initiated under the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987, which authorized $10 million annually for the establishment and operation of transportation centers in each of the 10 federal regions. The program was reauthorized in the Inter- modal Surface Transportation Efï¬ciency Act (ISTEA) and expanded in sub- sequent reauthorizations. TEA-21 increased its size through earmarking of speciï¬c centers, added an emphasis on education by specifying this as one of the primary objectives of a UTC, and reinforced the programâs focus on multimodal transportation. SAFETEA-LU again expanded the program by adding substantially more funding and earmarking even more centers. TEA-21 authorized about $32.4 million annually for grants to establish and operate up to 33 UTCs throughout the United States in FY 1998 to 2003. Ten of these centers, designated as Regional Centers, were selected competitively in 1999. The other 23 UTCs were located at universities earmarked in TEA-21. (See Appendix D for more detail on participants in the UTC Program as of July 2008.) Congressional designations for the UTC Program in FY 2001 amounted to 93 percent of the potential grants. During FY 2002, 17 existing centers competed among themselves for funding for the ï¬nal 2 years of TEA-21 authorization. SAFETEA-LU authorized 60 UTCs and earmarked funds for another 16 universities outside of the UTC Program.14 Total authorized funding 14 Eight of these UTCs are earmarked in Title III of SAFETEA-LU (the Transit title), but they are not restricted to transit topics.
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 73 for the UTC Program under Title V was increased in SAFETEA-LU to about $67 million annually. In Title V, SAFETEA-LU provides fund- ing for universities in four separate categories: national, regional, Tier I, and Tier II. Ten universities in the national category are earmarked to receive the largest level of funding for individual centers (see Appen- dix D). National schools are authorized $3.5 million each for FY 2006 to 2009.15 In the regional category, 10 universities were selected in a com- petition to represent each federal region. Regional schools are autho- rized $2 million each for FY 2006 and 2007 and $2.25 million for FY 2008 and 2009. In the Tier I category, 10 schools competed against other earmarked schools for continued funding during the ï¬nal 2 years under TEA-21. These schools recompeted in FY 2006 and will compete on a 4-year cycle. They are authorized to receive $1 million annually. The 22 earmarked Tier II schools are authorized to receive $500,000 annu- ally through FY 2009. UTCs authorized through Title V must match their federal funding with nonfederal funds (with limited exceptions) on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The committee is most interested in this program for the research it will fund but recognizes that it is also an important educational pro- gram that can serve to attract students to the transportation profession. Some of the UTC research funds are supporting graduate students for this very purpose. This funding may or may not result in groundbreaking research; in either case, it is providing support to train the next generation of transportation professionals. Program Components Oversight of the original program begun under ISTEA was based on the detailed proposals universities submitted as part of the competition. There is little program oversight, however, for the earmarked universities.16 The 15 Actual funds received will be less because of the obligations limit on total authorized funding and because of the overdesignation and overearmarking of activities in the legislation (more funds were approved by Congress for programs and earmarks than were actually authorized in total). 16 RITA does require all UTCs to develop detailed strategic plans, and funding is dependent on RITAâs approval of those plans. Recipients are also required to collect and report various output measures.
74 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses legislation itself provides little speciï¬city as a basis for program oversight other than stating that the program objectives are to âadvance signiï¬cantly the state-of-the-art in transportation researchâ and âexpand the workforce of transportation professionals.â These activities are to be conducted through peer-reviewed research, education, and technology transfer. Issues The UTC Program began under ISTEA as a small program ($10 million annually for 10 centers) that was designed around a competitive process to ensure quality and relevance. The program has grown sixfold in fund- ing over three authorization cycles, while the number of funded cen- ters has increased ï¬vefold. The bulk of the funding is awarded and the involved universities (about 60 percent) are selected without competi- tion. In reviewing the UTC Program, RTCC identiï¬ed three signiï¬cant issues: (a) relevance, (b) fragmentation, and (c) quality control. Relevance The new, broad requirement SAFETEA-LU places on UTCs conducting highway research is that their work support the research priorities iden- tiï¬ed by a loose coalition of highway experts and interested parties in the National Highway R&T Partnership (2002) report Highway Research and Technology: The Need for Greater Investment and the Federal Transit Administrationâs (FTAâs) National Research and Technology Program.17 For competitively awarded funds, the Secretary of Transportation has discretion in specifying the content for proposals, and schools are encour- aged to propose unique themes to avoid duplication. SAFETEA-LU does not impose these quality control requirements for grants to earmarked institutions, but RITA has encouraged this approach for all funded pro- 17 The Highway Research and Technology report identiï¬es a large number of high-level research pri- orities. It was intended to provide justiï¬cation by stakeholders for a much larger total investment in highway research than existed under TEA-21; it was not designed to be a research program plan. Thus almost any discrete surface transportation R&D activity could be made to ï¬t within the broad range of R&D identiï¬ed in the document. FTAâs National Research and Technology Program is described in the agencyâs Strategic Research Plan (FTA 2005), which is expected to be updated and revised over time but is still at a fairly general level.
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 75 grams. The Secretary is required to evaluate each of the programs at least annually. SAFETEA-LU initially did not include increased funding for USDOT or for staff that oversee the expanded UTC Program; the limited funding for program coordination, annual review, and oversight (about $300,000 annually in contract authority for FY 2006 and 2007) amounted to about $5,000 per UTC per year. The Technical Corrections legisla- tion increased authorized funding for program administration and UTC evaluation to about $1.15 million annually for FY 2008 and 2009. The main mechanism for ensuring the relevance of the UTC Program is the matching requirement: as noted, both competitively selected and earmarked schools funded through Title V must match federal funding on a one-to-one basis. (Those universities earmarked in Title IIIâthe Transit titleâare not required to match funding.) The matching require- ment applies to both the research and education components of the UTC Program. For the most part, UTCs seek matching funds from state DOTs. Many state DOTs support research through individual universities, and some have designated a state school or a statewide consortium to con- duct some or all of their research agenda. (State DOTs, however, typi- cally decline to provide the match for education.) Although matching does ensure relevance to the cosponsoring institution, it also has at least two unintended consequences. First, because state DOTs provide a large portion of the matching funds and because states, for the most part, are interested in applied, problem- solving research, much of the matched research conducted through the UTC Program is highly applied. Indeed, one could argue that much of the work supported by State Planning and Research funds would be bet- ter characterized as demonstration or implementation of research than as applied research. To gain a sense of what topics the UTCs were using the funds to research, RTCC searched all UTC projects in the Research in Progress database, maintained by TRB, as of May 23, 2008. Of the 1,130 UTC research projects in the database, 779 (69 percent of the total) were self-reported by UTCs as addressing highways. The speciï¬c topics encompassed administration, design, energy and environment, ï¬nance, maintenance, operations, pavements, planning, safety, and structures. Examination of a 10 percent sample of these projects indicated that at
76 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses least 80 percent were highly applied research; the remaining 20 per- cent may have been advanced research under a liberal interpretation of advanced, but that proportion is probably too high. This applied research bias diverts the program away from the strength of universities, which is in knowledge creation through basic and fundamental research.18 Another disadvantage of the matching mechanism is that it inhibits the ability of professors and graduate students to undertake self-initiated research projects on important topics that are not currently of priority interest to the state DOTs with matching funds, such as research on strategies to reduce energy consumption or respond to climate change. The applied research bias resulting from the matching mechanism also conï¬icts with the reward system for most university professors and university pro- grams, which are rated in part on the basis of publications in the most prestigious journals (which usually do not accept papers reporting highly applied research). Second, FHWA is unable to inï¬uence the direction of UTC programs because it has almost no resources to provide as matching funds. More- over, SAFETEA-LU restricts the use of federal funds for matching pur- poses. For example, FHWA might build on the strengths of universities through its advanced research program, where it does have discretion, but these funds are not allowed as a match for the UTC Program. In summary, the matching requirement does bolster relevance and has surely strengthened the ties between state DOTs and universities within their states. Because most matching funds are used for applied research, however, the program diverts universities from their natural strength in knowledge creation. In addition, the limitation on sources of federal funds for matching makes it difï¬cult for FHWA to inï¬uence university programs. Many UTCs welcome the opportunity to partner with federal agencies. The last matching dollar into the program, however, tends to be the most inï¬uential. 18 This is not a new observation. In 1993, a TRB committee tasked to help USDOT review the UTC Program commented, âThe centers continue to operate under operating constraints and require- ments that are not always conducive to achieving stated goals. For example, the matching require- ments compel centers to be responsive to the goals and priorities of local and federal sponsors; typically, local sponsors are interested in applied research and not the high-risk, cutting edge research envisioned by the programâs foundersâ (TRB 1993, 2).
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 77 Fragmentation Although university funding has expanded signiï¬cantly under SAFETEA- LU, so has the number of schools. Indeed, the program appears to be frag- mented, for in addition to the 52 centers funded in Title V, some centers are consortia, often with several partners. UTC Program staff estimate that there are probably about 120 universities participating in the program. If so, the average annual funding per institution would be about $500,000.19 A further disadvantage of having so many different institutions involved is that relatively little of the funding actually goes to research. Moreover, because most schools in the program are earmarked and there are no requirements for project content other than to support the national research strategy identiï¬ed in Highway Research and Technology: The Need for Greater Investment (National Highway R&T Partnership 2002) and the FTA National Research and Technology Program, the overall university research effort lacks coherence. Thus, there is the risk that considerable funds will be provided for the program each year, but those funds will be divided up in so many ways that by the time they reach indi- vidual researchers, the amounts may be too small to âadvance signiï¬cantly the state-of-the-art in transportation research,â a SAFETEA-LU criterion for the UTC Program. The lack of overall coordination could also lead to duplication of research. To address this, RITA requires UTCs to post their ongoing research in the online Research in Progress database. Although this require- ment at least provides a place for individual researchers to check to see whether peers are already addressing potential topics of interest, it does not by itself lead to a coherent strategy. Quality Control Scientiï¬c knowledge has advanced dramatically in recent decades in the United States in part through the normal processes of quality control. Among the most important of these processes are competition for funds and merit review in the selection of ï¬nalists (TRB 2001b, 6). Only 38 per- cent of the Title V UTCs are awarded their funding competitively. 19 Contract authority for the Title V UTC Program in FY 2006 was about $61 million annually (lower than the authorized amount of more than $70 million), and the funds were not divided evenly since national centers were authorized to receive $3.5 million, regional centers $2 million, Tier I centers $1 million, and Tier II centers $500,000.
78 The Federal Investment in Highway Research 2006â2009: Strengths and Weaknesses Although most UTCs are earmarked, some distribute the funds they receive through a competitive process. Competitive awarding of research funds received by universities is one means of ensuring accountability for the public funds provided. Yet the researchers allowed to compete are typically restricted to the centerâs faculty or universities that make up its consortium.20 RITA requires UTCs to have a peer or merit review process for awarding their research funds, but it does not require that the funds be competed outside of the home institution or consortium. REFERENCES Abbreviations AAAS American Association for the Advancement of Science FHWA Federal Highway Administration FTA Federal Transit Administration GAO Government Accountability Ofï¬ce TRB Transportation Research Board USDOT United States Department of Transportation AAAS. 2006. R&D Earmarks Headed Toward Records in 2007. www.aaas.org/spp/rd. Accessed Aug. 11, 2006. Asmerom, A., and T. McCrae. 2006. The Evolution of Advanced Research. Public Roads, Vol. 69, No. 6, pp. 8â13. Campbell, K., and L. Mason. 2008. Developing Measures to Improve Highway Safety: The Safety Focus Area of the Strategic Highway Research Program 2. TR News, No. 255, MarchâApril, pp. 3â9. Chandler, B. 2007. Eliminating Cross-Median Fatalities: Statewide Installation of Median Cable Barrier in Missouri. TR News, No. 248, Jan.âFeb., pp. 29â31. FHWA. 2000. Roundabouts: An Informational Guide. FHWA-RD-00-67. June. www.tfhrc. gov/safety/00068.htm. Accessed Aug. 29, 2008. FTA. 2005. Strategic Research Plan. www.fta.dot.gov/documents/Strategic_plan_9-30-05. doc. Accessed Aug. 29, 2008. GAO. 2005. Highway Congestion Intelligent Transportation Systemsâ Promise for Managing Congestion Falls Short, and DOT Could Better Facilitate Their Strategic Use. GAO 95-943. www.gao.gov/new.items/d05943.pdf. Accessed Aug. 28, 2008. 20 The competitive process varies widely, but one common example is selection of the best research proposals from among a pool of those solicited.
Highway Research Programs Funded Under Title V 79 Ghaman, R. S. 2006. Enhancing Signal Timing with Adaptive Control Software Lite. ITE Journal, Vol. 76, No. 8, Aug., pp. 26â29. National Highway R&T Partnership. 2002. Highway Research and Technology: The Need for Greater Investment. onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/rtforum/HwyRandT.pdf. Accessed Aug. 29, 2008. National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission. 2007. Trans- portation for Tomorrow. Dec. www.transportationfortomorrow.org/ï¬nal_report/. Accessed Sept. 9, 2008. Rodegerdts, L., M. Blogg, E. Wemple, E. Myers, M. Kyte, M. Dixon, G. F. List, A. Flannery, R. Troutbeck, W. Brilon, N. Wu, B. N. Persaud, C. Lyon, D. L. Harkey, and D. Carter. 2007. NCHRP Report 572: Roundabouts in the United States. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id= 7086. Accessed Aug. 29, 2008. Shrank, D., and T. Lomax. 2007. 2007 Urban Mobility Report. Texas Transportation Institute. tti.tamu.edu/documents/mobility_report_2007.pdf. Accessed Sept. 30, 2007. Skinner, R. 2008. Highway Design and Construction: The Innovation Challenge. The Bridge: Linking Engineering and Society, Vol. 28, No. 3, pp. 5â12. TRB. 1993. Measuring Quality: A Review Process for the University Transportation Centers Program. National Research Council, Washington, D.C. TRB. 2001a. Special Report 260: Strategic Highway Research: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life. National Research Council, Washington, D.C. TRB. 2001b. Special Report 261: The Federal Role in Highway Research and Technology. National Research Council, Washington, D.C. TRB. 2002. Special Report 268: Surface Transportation Environmental Research: A Long-Term Strategy. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. TRB. 2007. Special Report 288: Metropolitan Travel Forecasting: Current Practice and Future Direction. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. USDOT. 2000. Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study. FHWA-PL-00-029. www.fhwa. dot.gov/policy/otps/truck/ï¬nalreport.htm. Accessed Aug. 29, 2008. USDOT. 2007. National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on Americaâs Transportation Network. May. isddc.dot.gov/OLPFiles/OST/012988.pdf. Accessed May 15, 2008.