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Public Roads - March/April 2016

March/April 2016
Issue No:
Vol. 79 No. 5
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Along the Road

Management and Administration

Along the Road is the place to look for information about current and upcoming activities, developments, trends, and items of general interest to the highway community. This information comes from U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let’s meet along the road.

White House and USDOT Recognize Champions of Change

In October, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and the White House honored 11 individuals as White House Transportation Champions of Change for 2015 for their exemplary leadership and innovation in transportation. The event brought together individuals from across the country, various modes of transportation, and unique backgrounds. The work of these individuals represents the types of innovative solutions required to usher in a 21st-century transportation system that is safe, accessible, and equitable.

To underscore the progress transportation innovators are making to address the country’s future transportation needs, this year’s theme was“Beyond Traffic: Innovators in Transportation for the Future.”

Several USDOT senior officials recognized the champions for their achievements and contributions that have set standards for the future. In addition to Secretary Foxx, Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez, Under Secretary for Transportation Policy Peter Rogoff, Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau, National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Mark Rosekind, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Acting Administrator Scott Darling, and Senior Counselor to the Secretary Stephanie Jones participated in the event.

For more information, including the list of champions, visit“transportation-champions-change”.

Technical News

USDOT Selects Connected Vehicle Pilots

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx recently announced three pilot programs for connected vehicle technology. Projects in Florida, New York, and Wyoming will receive a total of up to $42 million for next-generation technology that will enable infrastructure and vehicles to share and communicate anonymous information with each other and their surroundings in real time. The goals are to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, and cut the crash rate for vehicles operated by unimpaired drivers by as much as 80 percent.

As part of USDOT’sConnected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program, the locations were selected in a competitive process to go beyond traditional vehicle technologies to help motorists better use the roadways to drive to work and appointments, relieve the stress caused by bottlenecks, and communicate with pedestrians on cell phones to warn them of approaching vehicles.


Connected vehicle technologies can help to mitigate crashes on busy urban streets.


The pilot program in Tampa, FL, aims to solve peak congestion during rush hour in the city’s downtown area and to protect pedestrians by equipping their smartphones with the same connected technology being put into the vehicles.Tampa also committed to measuring the environmental benefits of using this technology.

New York City will install vehicle-to-vehicle technology in 10,000 city-owned vehicles that frequently travel in midtown Manhattan, as well as vehicle-to-infrastructure technology in that area. The technology includes upgrading traffic signals along avenues between 14th Street and 66th Street in Manhattan and throughout Brooklyn. In addition, roadside units will be equipped with connected vehicle technology along Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive (FDR Drive) between 50th Street and 90th Street.

In Wyoming, the focus is on the efficient and safe movement of freight through the I–80 east-west corridor, which is critical to commercial heavy-duty vehicles moving across the northern portion of the Nation. Approximately 11,000 to 16,000 vehicles travel this corridor every day. By using connected technology in infrastructure, the Wyoming Department of Transportation will both collect information from and disseminate it to vehicles not equipped with the new technologies.

For more information, visit


Public Information and Information Exchange

Improved Access to Information On Highway Innovations

FHWA’s Center for Accelerating Innovation recently launched an updated Web site to provide access to the latest information on deployment of highway innovations, including news, resources, and tools. The streamlined site at makes it easier to find information on FHWA programs that advance innovation in collaboration with transportation partners.


These programs include Every Day Counts, FHWA’s stakeholder-based initiative to rapidly deploy proven innovations and create a culture of innovation; the State Transportation Innovation Council Network, a national movement to bring together stakeholders in each State to spearhead the deployment of innovations; and the Accelerated Innovation Deployment Demonstration program, which provides incentives for innovation deployment. The site also features innovation-related resources, such as funding opportunities, reports, events, contacts, and newsletters, including the weekly EDC News and bimonthly Innovator.

FHWA and NPS Publish Book on Historic Covered Bridges

FHWA’s Office of Infrastructure Research and Development and the Historic American Engineering Record, a division of the National Park Service (NPS), have maintained a joint research and technology program for historic covered bridges since 2002.One of the culminations of this multiyear program is the publication of Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering, edited by Justine Christianson and Christopher H. Marston.


FHWA and NPS recently published a book on the history of the Nation’s covered bridges. The book’s cover shows the Kidd’s Mill Bridge, built in 1868 in Mercer County, PA. The bridge is an early example of a truss patented by Robert Smith of Ohio, whose prefabricated wooden bridges successfully competed with iron ones during the late 1800s.


The book examines the development of wood trusses and the construction of covered bridges, profiles the pioneering craftsmen and engineers involved, explores the function of trusses in covered bridges, and looks at the preservation and future of these distinctly American bridges. Illustrations chosen from the thousands of photographs and drawings from the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey Collection at the Library of Congress, as well as other historic images and engineering diagrams, illustrate the book. The work is intended to show a new appreciation for the role that covered bridges played in the development of the Nation and in bridge engineering.

The publication is available at A limited number of hardcopies are available; contact Sheila Duwadi at or Christopher Marston at

Report Now Available on Active Transportation Surveillance

Physical activity is well known to enhance health, but most adults in the United States do not meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. One method to increase physical activity is through active transportation, such as walking or bicycling. However, until recently, no comprehensive, multiyear assessments of data from surveys of active transportation in the United States had been conducted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published a report, Active Transportation Surveillance--United States, 1999–2012, analyzing data from five surveys that assess one or more components of active transportation. The surveys used for the report include the American Community Survey, National Household Travel Survey, American Time Use Survey, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and National Health Interview Survey.

From these surveys, researchers determined the occurrence of active transportation as the primary commute mode to work, any single-day active transportation trips, or any habitual active transportation. The study found no consistent trends in active transportation across time periods or across all surveys as a group. Within each survey, data show that active transportation is usually more common among men, younger respondents, and minority racial and ethnic groups. Active transportation tends to be more prevalent in densely populated, urban areas.

Active transportation is assessed by Federal agencies in a variety of ways in multiple surveillance systems, resulting in a range of data estimates depending upon definitions and techniques. Although each type of assessment (such as transportation to work, any purpose, or habitual behavior) measures a different component of active transportation, all can be used to monitor participation trends.

To correctly evaluate findings from the various surveys, transportation agencies need to have an understanding of the strengths, limitations, and lack of comparability of the techniques used to assess active transportation. Public health and transportation professionals can use these systems appropriately to monitor participation and plan and evaluate interventions that influence active transportation.

For more information, visit

Transportation Research Board

Integrating Pedestrian and Bicycle Concepts Into College Courses

Sustainable, livable communities require successful integration of pedestrian and bicycle concepts into transportation planning, and entry-level transportation professionals need experience planning and designing for all modes. That is why the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) updated the Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation Short Series. The three-part series is designed to augment existing undergraduate courses in basic civil engineering and transportation planning with information on pedestrian and bicycle concepts.

The short series now includes up-to-date presentation slides for three modules with 50-minute lectures, speaker notes for instructors, references, and suggested additional readings. The series also includes four assignments--a walkability assessment, an existing conditions analysis, a level of service assessment, and bicycle level of service and level of traffic stress analyses--that students may work on individually or as part of a small group.

The three modules focus on planning, facility design, and data and performance. The module on planning covers the motivations to plan for pedestrians and bicyclists, the relationship between land use and transportation, and the interaction between pedestrian and bike planning and other planning processes. The module on facility design explains how streetscape influences design, gives examples of roadways designed to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists, and identifies opportunities to retrofit existing streets for pedestrian and bicycle use. The third module, which covers data and performance, describes the data needs for monitoring, analysis, and planning; explains how to collect and analyze that data; and demonstrates how to use facility analysis tools.


The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center developed content to supplement undergraduate transportation courses with information on accommodating pedestrians and bicyclists. One module includes ways to retrofit existing streets like this one in Boston, MA, with no designated bicycle lane.


These course materials are intended for undergraduate students studying introductory transportation planning or engineering, but they also may be suitable for graduate students.

For more information and to download the course materials, visit