Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) news

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

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

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

 

WSDOT Spawns Innovation at the National STIC Network Meeting

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

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

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

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

 

FHWA EDC-5 Webinar: FoRRRwD on All Public Roads - Systemic Approach: Risk Factors for Roadway Departure

June 16, 2020 from 1:00-3:00 pm ET/10:00am-12:00 pm PT.
This webinar is free and open to anyone who is interested.

Target Audience: State, local, and tribal agencies - come discover how agencies have used different approaches to identify locations that are at high risk for roadway departure crashes in the future with varied levels of roadway data.

Presenters:

  • Data-rich example: Laura Slusher, Indiana LTAP, will present how to complete a systemic analysis and Indiana’s systemic safety approach for counties, and Craig Parks, Boone County Indiana, will provide an overview of their Local Road Safety Plan (LRSP) that was developed through this process and how they have implemented the LRSP to reduce roadway departure crashes.
  • Data-limited example: Adam Kirk, Kentucky LTAP, will demonstrate Kentucky’s approach to identifying risk factors with limited roadway data, and Duane Campbell, Boyle County Kentucky, will provide a local perspective to utilizing the systemic process to identify roadway departure safety projects.
  • Tribal example: Khaled Ksaibati, Wyoming LTAP, will discuss the five-step process developed by the University of Wyoming, combining crash data and qualitative field observations to identify roadway departure systemic safety risks for development of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe roadway safety improvement program.

Registration: Participants must register in advance. Space is limited. Please register as soon as possible.

Please Note: Non-USDOT employees who have never participated in an FHWA webinar must create an account in order to register for this webinar.   5/20

 

Innovation of the Month: Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian

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

These countermeasures include:

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

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

STEP Resources:

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

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

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

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

 

EDC Outtakes – Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian

pedestrian hybrid beacons

In EDC Outtakes—a series of short interview videos—State practitioners and FHWA personnel give insight into the current round of EDC innovations. In our latest edition, Carl Langford, Safety and Neighborhood Traffic Engineer for the City of Phoenix, AZ, discusses Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs), their benefits, and how they work. PHBs are one countermeasure promoted in the Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian initiative.   5/20

 

EDC Innovation Suggestions Summary Document Now Available

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Caltrans Improves Local Road Safety

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Short Span Steel Bridges

Shelter-in-Place Webinar series Every Tuesday
3:00pm – 4:00pm EDT

The non-profit Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance (SSSBA), in cooperation with the American Galvanizers Association (AGA), is launching a seven-part Shelter-in-Place series of online webinars for bridge professionals during April and May to provide educational opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The weekly webinars are free of charge and will focus on solutions for cost-effective steel bridges under 140 feet. Each webinar awards 1 PDH or 1 CEU, and presenters will be available for a moderated discussion after each webinar to answer questions.

  • April 7: Steel Bridge Accelerated Bridge Construction Applications
  • April 14: Manufacturer Steel Bridge Solutions Showcase
  • April 21: No webinar - We’re taking a break to attend NASCC: The Virtual Steel Conference - Learn more.
  • April 28: Development and Experimental Validation of Composite Press-Brake Formed Modular Steel Tub Girders for Short Span Bridges
  • May 5: Capabilities and Advantages of Steel Buried Bridges
  • May 12: Development of eSPAN140 and Short Span Steel Bridge Design Standards
  • May 19: Short Span Bridge Economy and Life Cycle Costs
  • May 26: Hot-Dip Galvanizing Steel Bridges & Rebar

The presentations cover many of the topics essential to county and public works officials, including:

  • Accelerated Bridge Construction
  • Manufactured Bridge Solutions
  • Buried Bridges
  • Design Aids and Standards
  • Bridge Economy and Life Cycle Costs

Read more general information or sign up to register for individual webinars, or all 7 webinars.   4/20

 

USDOT FHWA's Road Safety Resource

Rumble Strips: The Sweet Sound of Safety

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

 

New Jersey LTAP Video Training

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

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

 

FoRRRwD Begins Monthly Webinar Series on April 16

FHWA has been working with State DOTs and local agencies to reduce roadway departure (aka lane departure) crashes since the inception of the Focused Approach to Safety in 2004.  Even so, nearly 12,000 people die every year in the U.S. in lane departures on rural roads - that's 30 people every day. The current FHWA Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) emphasizes four pillars in its mission:

  • Address all public roads
  • Use a Systemic Approach
  • Develop a Safety Action Plan
  • Install Proven Safety Countermeasures

Webinar Series based on Pillars

This webinar series, which is a collaborative effort between the FHWA, the National Center for Rural Road Safety, and the National Local Technical Assistance Program Association (NLTAPA) Safety Workgroup, will cover all four pillars.  The pillars work together, but each webinar will highlight a specific pillar.

The first two webinars, scheduled for April 16 and May 12, cover the first pillar.  They will show how some States and local agencies have evaluated safety data to identify projects that reduce lane departures.  Additionally, they will highlight how these agencies have funded development of local road safety plans (LRSPs) and projects based on those plans, including contracting mechanisms to deliver the projects. FHWA also plans to host a related webinar shortly after this that features a related topic - bundling safety projects.

The next few webinars will accentuate the systemic approach to FoRRRwD and why it is critical to addressing these crashes that never seem to happen in the same place twice. The FoRRRwD Team hosted a webinar that underscored this in May 2019. The follow-up webinars will include risk factors specific to rural roadway departures, tools to use in systemic analysis, and prioritizing locations.

Roadway departure countermeasures will be grouped for audiences. For instance, high-friction surface treatments, SafetyEdgeSM, and rumble strips will likely be covered in one webinar since they all relate to the pavement surface, while traffic control treatments such as signing and striping would be the topic of another webinar.

Since the Rural Road Safety Centers recently had two webinars on LRSPs, the FoRRRwD webinars on Safety Action Plans will be held near the end of the series and will complement the previous webinars, both broadening the potential range of plans beyond local agency specific plans, and narrowing the focus to plans that primarily address rural lane departure.

All the webinars will be free to everyone, so please join us and help us save the people behind the numbers!

April 16 Webinar Details

FoRRRwD on All Public Roads: Funding and Data to Identify Projects.

  • Bryon Fuchs, North Dakota DOT, will discuss funding the local road safety plan (LRSP), sharing HSIP funds with local agencies, and moving forward with projects from the LRSP.
  • Stephen McCall, Champaign County, Ohio, will discuss how Champaign County initiated partnerships with Ohio DOT and other stakeholders to review safety data on all public roads within the boundaries of their county, resulting in the development of activities and projects that fed into their LRSP.
  • Greg Parker, Johnson County, Iowa, will discuss how Johnson County has been proactive in evaluating their safety data to identify projects and partnering with Iowa DOT to reduce rural roadway departure crashes on all public roads.

How to Register for the April 16 Webinar

Non-USDOT employees who have never participated in an FHWA webinar must create an account in order to register for this webinar.

Registration: Participants must register in advance. Space is limited.   4/20

 

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

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

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

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

 

UAS Soar to Savings with Sign Inspections

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Help Us Determine the Next Round of EDC Innovations!

While the close of 2019 represents the halfway point of EDC-5, FHWA is already on the lookout for more proven processes and technologies to showcase in our next round of Every Day Counts from 2021-2022.

We are seeking ideas from State, local, Tribal, and industry partners as well as the public on proven, market-ready processes or technologies that have the potential to transform the way the highway transportation community does business by enhancing roadway safety, shortening project delivery time, reducing traffic congestion, or integrating automation.

Do you have experience with a market-ready and proven innovation that can transform the highway transportation community? If your innovation is game-changing and could have national impact…we want to know!

Submitting a suggestion is simple. Download the submission form (pdf 1.1 mb) from our website, answer a few questions, and submit it to EDCsuggestions@dot.gov by January 21.

Your ideas will help us make every day count to ensure our infrastructure is built better, faster, and smarter. Learn more about current and past EDC innovations at our website.   12/19

 

EDC-5 Synergies

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is demonstrating how combining EDC innovations accelerates success.  The WSDOT Visual Engineering Resource Group (VERG) combines Virtual Public Involvement (VPI) and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to enhance the transportation decision making process.

VERG provides clear and effective communication of project development, design, and delivery issues through visual media made with a wide range of 3D modeling, animation, video, and other graphic software packages. From planning and communication to design and construction, VERG products are vital to project success.

VERG uses aerial video in many of their products, and WSDOT credits UAS with reducing lead-time and cost. Purchasing a UAS system can be a similar price as a few hours of helicopter rental, and the UAS provides years of service.  VERG uses the UAS to recreate cinematic shots and effects in their visual storytelling of a project.

To support public involvement for one of the most complex projects in WSDOT’s history, VERG used drones to capture footage of key stages of the Alaskan Way Viaduct’s construction process to provide public updates through web links, public meetings, and social media, including their YouTube channel.

In the City of Bingen, WA, VPI and UAS came together in another project, where a roundabout was being proposed. VERG combined aerial video with 3D modeling to create a combined view, visualizing what the project would look like once complete. This visualization was able to clearly explain the project to stakeholders including local government officials and businesses, which helped generate support for the project while avoiding potential delays.

To find out how VPI can help your agency expand its outreach, contact Scott Allen, FHWA Office of Planning, or Carolyn Nelson, FHWA Office of Project Development and Environmental Review. For more information on UAS, contact James Gray, FHWA Office of Infrastructure.   12/19

 

Save the Date

Bridge Maintenance Save the Date 2020
Reminder to "save the date" for the next Pacific Northwest Bridge Maintenance Conference.   11/19

October 13-15, 2020
Red Lion Hotel on the River - Jantzen Beach
909 North Hayden Island Drive
Portland, Oregon 97217

 

New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington Win STIC Excellence Awards

State Transportation Innovation Councils (STIC) in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington received 2019 STIC Excellence Awards for demonstrating success in fostering a strong culture of innovation. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and Federal Highway Administration collaborate on the annual award, which was presented to the winning STICs at AASHTO’s annual meeting in St. Louis, MO.

New Jersey

The New Jersey STIC is developing a culture of innovation with broad stakeholder participation, shared metrics, and an engaged leadership. The STIC established processes to identify and move new technologies into practice, including an online portal to solicit potential ideas. The STIC also created three teams—Infrastructure Preservation, Safety, and Mobility and Operations—to champion innovations. A new web page features information on the STIC’s innovation initiatives and a searchable innovation database.

Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania STIC fosters an innovative culture at all levels of government and throughout the private and nonprofit sectors to ensure smart investments in Pennsylvania's highway infrastructure. The STIC consolidated its Technical Advisory Groups from 10 to four—Design, Construction and Materials, Maintenance, and Safety and Traffic Operations—to improve efficiency, enhance collaboration between groups on overlapping innovations, and provide flexibility to engage a variety of subject matter experts. The STIC also revamped its website, which features innovation deployment information and an interactive Year-End Report.

Washington

The Washington STIC is building a culture of innovation through collaboration to update the Washington State Department of Transportation Hydraulics Manual and to develop a programmatic biological assessment with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These efforts brought local, Federal, and private sector partners to the table to look at how to institutionalize innovations statewide.

For more information on the STIC Excellence Awards, contact Sara Lowry of the FHWA Center for Accelerating Innovation.   10/19

 

Innovation of the Month: Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian

FHWA’s Guide for Improving Pedestrian Safety at Uncontrolled Crossing Locations (pdf 6.81 mb) details a six-step process to help agencies select countermeasures for uncontrolled crossing locations based on research and best practices.

The Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System (PEDSAFE) Countermeasure Selection Tool responds to user input and returns a list of STEP countermeasures suitable to the roadway conditions. For each countermeasure, PEDSAFE provides users details about typical costs, design considerations, and installation examples.

The STEP Countermeasure Tech Sheets describe countermeasures for uncontrolled crossing locations and provide detailed information on cost and crash reduction factors. A set of STEP Countermeasure Videos is also available to explain the overall purpose and design elements for several of these countermeasures. These materials emphasize the life-saving impact of the STEP countermeasures to state and local transportation agencies.

States are already using these resources to develop and implement plans of their own across the country.

Pedestrian fatalities continue to rise across the nation and in Arizona. To combat the increase, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) formed a multi-agency team including ADOT, FHWA, the City of Phoenix, City of Tempe, and City of Tucson to advance implementation of STEP countermeasures. The STEP team referenced the Statewide Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (2017) (pdf 24.7 mb) to help identify locations for focused improvements. The team also identified the different challenges that rural and urban areas face with implementing the STEP countermeasures and designed resources to help local agencies advance STEP on locally owned road systems.

The team developed an AZ STEP Guide website devoted to their program, including an interactive countermeasure selection tool based on FHWA guidelines. The website provides links to Arizona-specific installation examples, illustrations of the countermeasures, and references to State laws and MUTCD guidance for the design of the treatments.

To learn more about the STEPs you can take to choose and implement countermeasures, please contact Becky Crowe with the FHWA Office of Safety or Peter Eun with the FHWA Resource Center.   10/19

 

FHWA Final Rule Encourages Innovation in Federally Funded Highway Projects

On September 27, 2019, FHWA issued a Final Rule (pdf 334 kb) in the Federal Register repealing the long-standing federal provisions (23 CFR 635.411(a)-(e)) for the use of patented or proprietary products on federal-aid projects; this rule will take effect on October 28, 2019.  The Final Rule provides to the states the flexibility to use their procurement procedures when deciding the selection of proprietary or patented materials.   10/19

 

Innovation of the Month: Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian

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

The seven countermeasures include: crosswalk visibility enhancements, raised crosswalks, refuge islands, Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons (RRFBs), Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs), Road Diets, and Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs).

Over the next four weeks, we will look at four features of implementing STEP. They include the system— considering all pedestrian crossings and the risk factors that contribute to crashes and fatalities; the tools—countermeasures selected to increase pedestrian safety at a given location; evaluation—verified results in areas implementing STEP can lead to further implementation, and people—partnerships formed between agencies and the integration of law enforcement and public education into your pedestrian safety efforts.

STEP Resources:

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

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

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

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

Watch and share our innovation spotlight video for STEP, and to learn how your State can STEP up its pedestrian safety efforts, contact Becky Crowe with the FHWA Office of Safety or Peter Eun with the FHWA Resource Center.   9/19

 

Innovation of the Month: Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures

Over the last few weeks, we have discussed the four pillars of the focus on reducing rural roadway departures (FoRRRwD) initiative—addressing roadway departures on all public roads, using systemic safety analysis to identify those locations most at risk, developing safety action plans, and implementing proven roadway departure countermeasures.

This week, we showcase Washington State, who worked with its local agencies to use all four pillars of FoRRRwD to effectively prevent lane departure crashes.

The State evaluated the location of fatal and serious collisions, and dedicated 70 percent of their Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding to local agency projects—putting the money where the problems were.

Washington State determined 70 percent of its fatal and serious collisions occurred on local roads. They dedicated a matching 70 percent of HSIP funding to local roadways to combat this problem.

The State conducted initial data analysis and provided information to county engineers for their own county-level systemic analysis. The crash and roadway data allowed each county to easily compare itself to similar counties based on a number of risk factors. Thirty-five of 39 counties completed local road safety plans (LRSPs) to establish priorities and qualify for HSIP funding.

In Thurston County, where about two-thirds of the roads are in rural areas, officials used systemic analysis and its LRSP to target horizontal curves. These curves accounted for 45 percent of the county’s fatal and serious injury crashes from 2006 to 2010. With HSIP funding, Thurston County implemented curve safety countermeasures such as enhanced signing, raised pavement markers, rumble strips, and guardrail delineation.

As a result, fatal and serious injury crashes on horizontal curves in Thurston County decreased by 35 percent from 2012 to 2016.

To learn more about how Washington State significantly reduced roadway departures, contact Cate Satterfield with the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin with the FHWA Resource Center.   9/19

 

Innovation of the Month: Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures

During the month of September, we are discussing the four pillars of the focus on reducing rural roadway departures (FoRRRwD) initiative—addressing roadway departures on all public roads, using systemic safety analysis to identify those locations most at risk, developing safety action plans, and using proven countermeasures to reduce lane departures.

Once an agency has identified at-risk locations with systemic analysis and developed a safety action plan, it must implement roadway departure countermeasures to achieve crash reductions. There are many lane departure countermeasures to consider, including those in the Proven Safety Countermeasure Initiative. It is important to understand the three objectives that these safety treatments seek to achieve.

Transportation agencies are encouraged to use 18 trading cards illustrating rural roadway departure crash types, countermeasures and tools in their own meetings to educate staff on various approaches to reduce rural roadway crashes. Click on the image to download a printable PDF.

Objective 1: Keep vehicles on roadways and in their lane. Signing, pavement markings, friction treatments, and rumble strips are countermeasures that help achieve this objective. In a study analyzing data from Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Washington State, centerline rumble strips on two-lane rural roads reduced head-on injury crashes by 38-50 percent.

Objective 2: Increase the opportunity for safe recovery. Shoulders, traversable slopes, clear zones, and SafetyEdge℠—a paving technique that provides a safe transition back onto the pavement, are examples of this objective in practice. In a study including Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and one Florida county, SafetyEdge℠ reduced all injury crashes by 11 percent.

Objective 3: Reduce crash severity. Barriers and breakaway designs for signs, luminaires, and mailboxes are examples of these types of countermeasures. Cable barriers, for example, are a flexible barrier that reduces crash severity. They are most commonly seen as a median barrier on divided highways, and are being used as roadside barriers on two-lane roads in South Dakota, New York, and Colorado. Cable barriers are particularly effective on the outside of curves, where run-off-road crashes are most common.

To learn more about countermeasures used in roadway departure safety, please visit this website or contact Cate Satterfield with the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin with the FHWA Resource Center.   9/19

 

National Roundabouts Week

Each year, during the third week in September, FHWA celebrates National Roundabouts Week to raise awareness about this safe and efficient intersection design. Modern roundabouts reduce severe crashes by approximately 80 percent (pdf 245 kb) compared to traditional two-way stop-controlled intersections.

Roundabouts are effective in urban and rural areas under a wide range of traffic conditions. Today, there are more than 4,000 modern roundabouts in the United States.

FHWA encourages transportation agencies to consider roundabouts during new construction and reconstruction projects, as well as for existing intersections identified as needing safety or operational improvements. There's no way around it-roundabouts are an effective safety countermeasure.

Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #RoundaboutsWeek..   9/19

 

MassDOT Making Bus Routes Safer for Pedestrians

As part of its effort to integrate pedestrian safety countermeasures into Massachusetts policies, plans, and projects, MassDOT is looking at ways to make systemic improvements to pedestrian crossings along bus routes, beginning in the City of Chelsea.

As part of a pedestrian safety study, Chelsea inventoried pedestrian accommodations at bus stops. Looking at the highest volume stops, MassDOT compared pedestrian-related crashes and the physical conditions of the stops and then conducted road safety audits for Chelsea’s bus corridor to identify potential pedestrian crossing improvements, bus stop improvements, and roadway changes to reduce pedestrian-vehicle conflicts.

The City is currently developing a preferred corridor design with safety enhancements, scheduled for completion in late 2019.

The State is evaluating using this process as a model for how to improve pedestrian safety on roadways with bus routes.

To learn more about MassDOT’s effort to improve pedestrian safety along bus routes, please contact Kevin Fitzgerald with MassDOT or Michael Pezzullo with the FHWA Massachusetts Division.   9/19

 

Innovation of the Month: Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures

Last week, we discussed two of the four pillars of the focus on reducing rural roadway departures (FoRRRwD) initiative—recognizing that roadway departures happen on all public roads and using systemic safety analysis to identify those locations most at risk.

The next pillar involves taking those identified locations and developing strategies to address them in a safety action plan. These plans, whether simple or complex, are a powerful, data-driven way to prioritize safety activities and improvements and justify your investment decisions. A formal plan helps to communicate your priorities to other stakeholders including elected officials and the public, and may help secure any necessary funding. Last week we highlighted County Road Safety Plans in Minnesota, but any type of road agency can create Local Road Safety Plans (LRSPs).

The planning process has some key steps, obtaining stakeholder input, using crash and roadway data, and choosing proven solutions to implement. This process is scalable and can be modified for any level of available data and expertise. Data is critical to the plan, but lack of data shouldn’t prevent an agency from developing one. For instance, if traffic volumes aren’t available, agency staff can categorize the roads into low, medium and high volume. If roadway departures are occurring on curves for which geometric information is not available, a map can quickly help identify the sharpest curves or other areas that may require attention. Law enforcement, public health officials, and roadway maintenance staff are a great resource for this type of data.

This Local Roads Safety Plan video shows the overall steps to develop a Local Road Safety Plan.

In California, Caltrans piloted a project with five counties to develop LRSPs. When these pilot counties apply for Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds, Caltrans can be confident these are data-driven safety projects. Caltrans is considering an approach which will require a local agency to have an LRSP or equivalent plan to qualify for HSIP funding.

Next week, we will look at some proven countermeasures for reducing roadway departures.

To learn more about developing a safety action plan to reduce severe roadway departure crashes in your jurisdiction, contact Cate Satterfield with the FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin with the FHWA Resource Center.   9/19

 

Bundling Helps Improve System Performance

Did you know project bundling has proved to be a valuable tool in all three major approaches to managing bridge condition and performance: preservation/preventive maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement? It allows agencies to strategically focus resources and increase return on investment as they improve system-wide performance and safety.

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is combining the preservation needs of eight eastern counties into three project bundles, one each for preservation, painting and washing. NYSDOT also bundled 81 deck replacement projects into 9 bundles, improving the efficiency of program delivery. In total, NYSDOT replaced 116 bridge decks in two years using bundling.

Read FHWA’s Bridge Bundling Guidebook (pdf 19.5 mb) for case studies on these programs and others. For technical assistance, contact Romeo Garcia, FHWA Office of Infrastructure, or David Unkefer, FHWA Resource Center.   9/19

 

Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures

Thirty people will die today, and every day, in a rural roadway departure—accounting for one third of U.S. traffic fatalities. The Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) EDC initiative aims to provide technical assistance and training to States, counties, parishes, townships, and other local agencies across the country to address this deadly problem. This is accomplished through FoRRRwD’s four pillars.

The first pillar is recognizing that roadway departures happen on all public roads. Up to half of roadway departure deaths happen on locally-owned roads, off the State highway system. This is why the FoRRRwD initiative puts emphasis on helping both local and State agencies.

Another pillar of FoRRRwD is systemic safety analysis to identify locations for safety improvement. The systemic approach identifies locations that are at high risk of serious rural roadway departure crashes. The analysis is based on roadway features that correlate with particular crash types. Then agencies can install countermeasures at multiple locations across the system with those higher-risk features. Essentially, historic crash and roadway data help agencies identify locations with the greatest potential for future crashes. Because roadway departures are scattered across the rural network, the systemic approach is essential, as it involves widely implemented low cost improvements.

Narrowing down probable crash locations and implementing countermeasures, sometimes even before crashes occur, allows agencies to improve rural road safety in a proactive way.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) used systemic safety analysis as it developed road safety plans for each of the State’s 87 counties. Using a process similar to that outlined in the systemic safety project selection tool, MnDOT helped identify high-risk locations in each county. The analysis also identified emphasis areas to significantly reduce the severe and fatal crash types and helped compile a list of potential safety countermeasures. Ultimately, this information helped counties identify low-cost safety projects to implement on a systemic basis, a key objective of the road safety plans.

Next week, we will discuss how to use the results of systemic analysis to develop safety action plans, the third pillar of FoRRRwD.   8/19

 

Leading Pedestrian Intervals Key to Pedestrian Safety in the District

The FHWA Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) program promotes leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs) as a proven safety countermeasure for pedestrians crossing at signalized intersections. LPIs allow pedestrians to walk—usually 3 to 5 seconds—before vehicles receive a green signal to turn left or right.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in Washington D.C, is implementing LPIs across their network. Starting in 2018 with the Citywide Signal Optimization program, DDOT developed selection guidelines and criteria where intersections could be evaluated quickly for LPI implementation. These guidelines capture the magnitude and severity of pedestrian-vehicle interactions at signalized intersections, and identify locations where the physical characteristics of the intersection make those interactions more dangerous.

The data used to drive these decisions includes crash data, pedestrian and vehicle volume counts, land use, and a visual inspection of sight line obstructions and crosswalk locations.

Under DDOT's program, every signal in the city will be evaluated for LPI implementation by the end of the current five-year cycle. Last fall, DDOT implemented approximately 90 new LPIs, bringing its total to over 330. This year, it expects to implement over 250 new LPIs as they maintain their commitment to Vision Zero.

Is your agency considering widespread installation of LPIs? If so, please contact Becky Crowe of the FHWA Office of Safety or Peter Eun of the FHWA Resource Center.   8/19

 

Washington Virtually Engages Public on First Diverging Diamond Interchange

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) launched a virtual public involvement (VPI) initiative to inform the public on what to expect from its first diverging diamond interchange (DDI).

The State’s visual engineering resource group (VERG) used three-dimensional modeling to create a virtual representation of the project and how it could impact drivers and pedestrians. WSDOT then captured public opinion on various aspects of the proposed model through the use of online polling.

A video of the project, “Diverging Diamond Interchange Comes to Washington State,” was a valuable tool to describe the project and its benefits in high volume interchanges to improve safety and efficiency. The video has more than one million views, indicating the VPI initiative was successful at reaching a wide audience of stakeholders.

WSDOT officials believe this project provides an example of how other States can incorporate VPI into projects. For more information on how Washington incorporated VPI in this project, contact Kurt Stiles with the WSDOT VERG.   8/19

 

Unmanned Aerial Systems

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, transform highway transportation by enhancing safety and productivity and reducing cost.

North Carolina uses UAS in construction inspection to routinely monitor and document large and complex construction projects. Source: North Carolina DOT

During August, we will give you examples of UAS deployment in three major categories— structural inspection, construction inspection, and emergency response— and show the benefits agencies using UAS are already seeing.

  • In structural inspection, UAS improve safety for inspection teams and the traveling public by reducing the need for temporary work zones.
  • In construction inspection, UAS provide data for surveying, project scoping, quantity verification, and work zone traffic monitoring.
  • In emergency response operations when roadways are impacted and difficult to access, UAS allow agencies to make informed decisions in response to rockslides, avalanches, floods, earthquakes, fires, severe storms, and other emergency events.

To learn more about UAS and how they are changing the way transportation agencies do business, visit FHWA’s UAS website. If you would like to learn how to deploy UAS in your State, please contact James Gray with the FHWA Office of Infrastructure or John Haynes of the FHWA Utah Division.   8/19

 

How Many Bridges to Bundle?

How Many Bridges to Bundle?

When it comes to project bundling, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. States have successfully used bridge bundles ranging from 2 to more than 500.

  • Missouri replaced or rehabilitated 802 bridges over 3.5 years using a single contract for 554 bridges and smaller bundles for the remainder.
  • Georgia accelerated the replacement of 25 local bridges using 5 bundles with 4–6 bridges each, based on location.
  • Pennsylvania is replacing 558 State bridges in under 3 years in a single public-private partnership procurement. The State also offers a local agency program that bundles bridges with similar designs into smaller contracts.

Learn about the criteria used to determine bundle size and select projects for these programs and others in FHWA’s Bridge Bundling Guidebook (pdf 19.5 mb). For details, contact Romeo Garcia, FHWA Office of Infrastructure, or David Unkefer, FHWA Resource Center.   8/19

 

Colorado Uses Friction Sensors to Increase Safety and Lower Costs

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is using friction sensors— electronic radars attached to the back end of fleet vehicles— to collect data on the amount of grip present on a roadway, increasing road safety and lowering costs. The sensors relay information on pavement temperature changes, along with friction and moisture levels present on a roadway, to the Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) where they determine which segments of roadway need salt, liquid materials, plowing, or a combination of treatments. By mapping site-specific data, maintenance workers can focus on areas that need treatment rather than treating whole sections of roadway.

In testing these sensors on a small selection of roads, CDOT reduced use of solid materials by 21 percent and liquid materials by 56 percent over the course of three statewide snowstorms. These reductions resulted in $180,000 of savings in material costs for CDOT. If implemented State-wide, CDOT estimates these sensors will save over a million dollars per year with the State’s average 15 snowstorms per winter.

The program’s success has resulted in its expansion, with the State expecting to have 70-80 mobile sensors in the field by the end of winter, 2019-2020. To learn more about road weather management – weather-savvy roads, contact Ray Murphy of the FHWA Resource Center.   7/19

 

FHWA Low Cost Safety Improvements video series available

FHWA has posted a Low-Cost Safety Improvements video series on YouTube.

Video-specific links:   6/19

 

AID Demonstration Incentivizes Innovation Implementation and Adoption

Since its launch in 2014, the Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Demonstration program has awarded over $65 million in grant funds to assist federal, state, local, and tribal government agencies use innovative traffic, safety, and construction practices.

The AID Demonstration program provides funding as an incentive for eligible entities to accelerate the implementation and adoption of innovation in highway transportation. The techniques and methods used on all AID Demonstration projects follow all applicable federal regulations and policies to ensure that roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure are built safely for use by the traveling public.

Learn more about the AID Demonstration awards that have been awarded since the program’s inception or view the factsheet to learn how your State can apply for future awards. Applications are accepted and evaluated on an open, rolling basis until the program ends or funding is no longer available. Go to Grants.gov to apply (search for Opportunity Number FHWA-2016-21063).   5/19

 

EDC-5 Baseline Report Now Available

Every Day Counts: On-Ramp to Innovation is now available. This report describes the 10 technologies and practices FHWA is promoting in EDC round five. It also summarizes the deployment status of each innovation as of January 2019 and the goals States set to advance their adoption by the end of 2020.

Will your State institutionalize unmanned aerial systems or use modern communication techniques through virtual public involvement during this round? Will it bring its A-GaME on subsurface exploration or STEP up on pedestrian safety? Read the report and stay tuned to EDC News for updates and success stories.   5/19