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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Public Roads - July/August 2012

July/August 2012
Issue No:
Vol. 76 No. 1
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Communication Product Updates

Communication Product Updates

by Michael Thoryn of FHWA's Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management

Below are brief descriptions of communications products recently developed by the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Office of Research, Development, and Technology. All of the reports are or will soon be available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). In some cases, limited copies of the communications products are available from FHWA’s Research and Technology (R&T) Product Distribution Center (PDC).

When ordering from NTIS, include the NTIS publication number (PB number) and the publication title. You also may visit the NTIS Web site at to order publications online. Call NTIS for current prices. For customers outside the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the cost is usually double the listed price. Address requests to:

National Technical Information Service
5301 Shawnee Road
Alexandria, VA 22312
Telephone: 703–605–6000
Toll-free number: 800–553–NTIS (6847)
Web site:

Requests for items available from the R&T Product Distribution Center should be addressed to:

R&T Product Distribution Center
Szanca Solutions/FHWA PDC
13710 Dunnings Highway
Claysburg, PA 16625
Telephone: 814–239–1160
Fax: 814–239–2156

For more information on R&T communications products available from FHWA, visit FHWA's Web site at (or email, or the National Transportation Library at (or email


Nano-Enhanced Repair Materials: Pursuing a Superior Coating for Corrosion Prevention (Fact Sheet)

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-11-063


With so many critical highway structures in need of rehabilitation, a search is underway for more effective repair methods and longer lasting repair materials. Through FHWA's Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program, a 2-year project at Florida State University aims to produce a corrosion-inhibiting nanocomposite solution that can be used to repair, strengthen, and protect highway infrastructure. The project is called Multifunctional Nanomaterials and Processes for Infrastructure Repair and Corrosion Inhibition. This fact sheet includes information about the project, such as details on optimizing mixture design; exploratory challenges related to nanoparticle dispersion, curing behavior, and adhesion; and durability and physical properties.

Researchers are developing a multifunctional repair material to protect and strengthen salt-contaminated, corroding bridges. The experimental material uses carbon nanotubes, which offer superior strength and thermal conductivity, to inhibit corrosion and strengthen structural members. High concentrations of nanoparticles well-dispersed in a composite matrix could provide a protective barrier against corrosion while strengthening the structure. A self-curing, spray-on coating that can be applied easily at the repair site would lower labor costs, and the technical innovations developed by the research team could significantly advance multifunctional composite coatings used to control corrosion.

The document is available at Printed copies are available from the PDC.


Guide on the Consistent Application of Traffic Analysis Tools and Methods (Report)

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-11-064


This report is based on a study to identify and address consistency in the selection and use of traffic analysis tools. It offers recommendations on managing, planning, and conducting traffic analyses that will promote greater consistency in the use of analysis tools over the typical life cycle of project development. The report targets professionals operating in State departments of transportation and other agencies responsible for development and delivery of transportation projects.

A transportation improvement project typically moves through the following stages of development: identification of project need; project initiation; clearance; plans, specifications, and estimates; construction; and operation. In the early stages, the traffic analysis has to be relatively broad and comprehensive. However, the focus of the analysis becomes more specific as the project and its alternatives are better defined in later stages.

The study found that the key to managing consistency of traffic analyses throughout project development is a project delivery analysis plan scaled to the needs of each stage of the process. The plan needs to be a scalable master scope that describes the project, its purpose, and the objectives of the traffic analysis. Specifically, the plan identifies the measures of effectiveness used to evaluate the project and its alternatives; describes the traffic analysis approach, including tools, assumptions, and parameters; identifies the risks and contingency plans for dealing with those risks; determines the resource requirements; and lays out the schedule for the analysis.

The document is available at Printed copies are available from the PDC.


Independent Assurance Programs (TechBrief)

Publication Number: FHWA-HIF-12-001


Federal law requires that State transportation agencies conduct Independent Assurance programs to ensure that materials are sampled and tested properly and that the testing equipment is calibrated and operated correctly. Under 23 Code of Federal Regulations 637, an Independent Assurance program involves an unbiased and independent evaluation of all sampling and testing procedures, including a separate and distinct schedule of sampling, testing, and observation.

This TechBrief provides information regarding Independent Assurance as it relates to activities for the evaluation of the sampling and testing procedures used in quality acceptance programs for construction materials. The TechBrief discusses the scope of the regulation, frequency of Independent Assurance testing, equipment and personnel, prompt comparison and documentation, tolerances for comparison of test results, annual reports, various approaches, and commonly noted areas of concern.

The document is available at Printed copies are available from the PDC.


Preventing Fuel Tax Evasion - Developing a Real-Time Fuel Tax Evasion Detection Solution (Fact Sheet)

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-12-020


Existing approaches to identifying and preventing fuel tax evasion are time-consuming and mostly reactive, primarily conducted through enforcement and audits, electronic registration and data reporting, and processing and analyzing data on fuel taxes. An FHWA EAR Program study called Supply Chain-Based Solution to Prevent Fuel Tax Evasion is being conducted in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This document summarizes the need for the study and its goals.

The research integrates multiple innovative measures to create a detection system for fuel tax evasion. Instead of relying on a single solution, researchers are developing new inline sensors and other advances in sensor technology to integrate with wireless communications, vehicle tracking, and information analysis.

Oak Ridge is developing an ultrasonic-level system as a noninvasive method to locate a sensor on the outside of tanks. Researchers also are developing an optical-based detector of fuel markers that identify taxable fuels. This detector will use commercially available optical components integrated with electronic and optoelectronic signal conditions and readouts to identify the quantity of taxable fuel in a tank automatically.

The document is available at Printed copies are available from the PDC.


A New Path to the Future Transportation System (Fact Sheet)

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-12-021

An FHWA project called Feasibility for a New Concept of Integrated Active Transportation Systems focuses on developing the concept of an integrated transportation system for the future. The EAR Program launched the project in 2009, and researchers at the University of California at Berkeley are conducting the study. An integrated active transportation system would enable a seamless connection of vehicles, modes of transport, and infrastructure systems to enhance mobility, safety, and energy efficiency.

The project seeks to understand the necessary technical capabilities for such a comprehensive system and the social, political, economic, and legal factors that will govern its realization. Research is aimed at identifying technologies and developing a broad strategic framework for the evolution of a more integrated transportation system. This fact sheet discusses the research needs, goals and risks of the study, and next steps.

The document is available at Printed copies are available from the PDC.