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Public Roads - September/October 2016

September/October 2016
Issue No:
Vol. 80 No. 2
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Hot Topic

EDC-4: Introducing a New Round of Innovations

by Thomas Harman

What do hydraulic modeling tools, ultra-high performance concrete, and data-driven safety analysis have in common? Each is among the innovations selected for deployment under the Every Day Counts (EDC) initiative.

EDC is the innovation partnership between the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, launched in 2009 to take on the challenges presented by limited budgets and to speed up the delivery of needed highway projects.

The fourth round of EDC innovations, known as EDC-4, features 11 technologies and practices selected for their ability to encourage collaboration, maximize efficiency, shorten project delivery, enhance safety and durability, and improve environmental sustainability in transportation networks.




Throughout the 2017–2018 deployment cycle, FHWA and AASHTO, along with champions from State departments of transportation, will share specifications, best practices, lessons learned, and relevant data among stakeholders through case studies, webinars, and demonstration projects. The result: Rapid technology transfer and accelerated deployment of these innovations across the country.

This fall, FHWA will host seven EDC Innovation Summits across the United Statesand provide support for up to 12 individuals from each State to participate. During the summits, participants will hear success stories related to the State Transportation Innovation Council network and learn about the 11 new innovations. During and after the summits, States will identify which innovations they are interested in pursuing for adoption, and deployment teams organized by FHWA will provide training and technical assistance to facilitate each State’s adoption of their chosen innovations. States also can leverage incentives up to $100,000 per year to pursue adoption of EDC innovations from all rounds, as well as other innovations.States and other entities eligible for Federal aid can pursue grant funding under FHWA’s Accelerated Innovation Deployment Demonstration program as well.

“EDC continues to foster a culture of innovation,” says Federal Highway Administrator Gregory G. Nadeau. “And that culture is really beginning to take root nationwide.”

Without further ado, here are the innovations recently unveiled for deployment in EDC-4.

Accelerating Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Data Collection

A TIM program is the systematic, planned, and coordinated use of human, institutional, mechanical, and other resources to shorten the duration and impact of incidents on U.S. roadways, and improve the safety of motorists, crash victims, and incident responders. This innovation focuses on improving the adoption and consistency of the collection of TIM data and increasing the volume of data from transportation, law enforcement, and other responder agencies. Further, this innovation promotes the use of low-cost, off-the-shelf technologies that streamline data collection, so agencies can measure and improve the performance of their programs.

Advanced Hydraulic Modeling Tools

Current modeling techniques used for hydraulic design apply several assumptions that can lead to overly conservative or inaccurate results. Advanced hydraulic modeling technologies offer planners, scientists, and engineers tools to depict specific physical, environmental, and habitat characteristics more accurately through 3–D visualization of flow, velocity, and depth.

Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures

Highway agencies typically rely on complaints or manual data collection to identify the need for signal retiming projects and their outcomes. These projects are typically scheduled on a 3- to 5-year cycle, at a cost of approximately $4,500 per intersection. The costs and effort associated with collecting performance data translates into congestion, reduced safety, and increased delays for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

That’s where automated traffic signal performance measures come in. They will revolutionize the management of traffic signals by providing the high-resolution data needed to actively manage performance. High-quality service can be delivered to customers with significant cost savings to agency maintenance and operations.A number of implementation options are available, ranging from a low-cost, open-source code framework to a fully integrated traffic signal system.

Community Connections

Many cities have highways that have reached, or exceeded, their useful lives.The timing is ripe to hold forums for transportation professionals to discuss and consider high-way retrofitting, rehabilitation, or removal options to improve connections between urban cores and neighboring communities. This innovation underscores the value of transportation in community revitalization, such as improving connectivity between disadvantaged populations and essential services.

Data-Driven Safety Analysis

Data-driven safety analysis is the use of cutting-edge software to analyze crash and roadway data and determine the expected safety performance of roadway projects more reliably. This type of analysis enables agencies to predict the safety implications of their decisions with confidence. Engineers now can quantify the safety impacts when making investment decisions, just as they do with environmental, traffic, and other traditional impacts. The analyses result in more scientifically sound, data-driven approaches to committing resources, as well as fewer and less severe crashes on the Nation’s roadways.

e-Construction and Partnering: A Vision for the Future

State DOTs have traditionally administered contracts and managed construction of highway projects using extensive, paper-based documentation systems. By using digital e-Construction technologies, DOTs can enhance partnering among stakeholders on project teams, while improving communications and workflow to streamline the delivery of projects.


Through e-Construction technology, project personnel can access plans, records, State specifications, and more in real-time using mobile devices.


Integrating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Permitting

Integrating the NEPA and permitting processes seeks to transform how agencies and stakeholders conduct concurrent, synchronized environmental and permitting reviews, saving time and cost for the agencies involved.

Pavement Preservation (When, Where, and How)

Applying a pavement preservation treatment at the right time (when), on the right project (where), and with quality materials and construction (how) is a critical investment strategy to help meet performance expectations. This innovation helps deploy an array of different analyses, treatments, and construction methods to help infrastructure owners achieve and sustain a desired state of good road repair despite tight budgets.

Road Weather Management – Weather-Savvy Roads

Weather events lead to traffic delays, reduced operational effectiveness, and increases in crashes. This innovation deploys two distinct road weather management solutions: (1) Pathfinder, which brings together DOTs and the National Weather Service to provide consistent messaging on adverse weather and road conditions, and (2) advanced vehicle-based technologies, also referred to as integrated mobile observations. These two solutions have the potential to be transformative, enabling State and local agencies to be proactive when it comes to weather, so they can manage the road system ahead of heavy rain, snow, or other storms.

"EDC continues to foster a culture of innovation. And that culture is really beginning to take root nationwide."
-- FHWA Administrator Gregory G. Nadeau

Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP)

Pedestrians account for an estimated 15 percent of all roadway fatalities, the majority of which are at uncontrolled crossing locations (such as midblock crossings) or at intersections with no traffic signal or STOP sign. This innovation helps transportation agencies address such crashes by promoting cost-effective countermeasures with known safety benefits.

Ultra-High Performance Concrete Connections for PBES

Prefabricated bridge elements and systems (PBES) offer superior durability and speed the onsite construction of bridges. The durability of prefabricated spans and how quickly they can be constructed is dependent on the connections between the elements. Ultra-high performance concrete can be used to help provide simple, strong, and durable connections for prefabricated bridge elements.


These workers are installing ultra-high performance concrete as a durable connection between prefabricated bridge elements on a bridge carrying U.S. 6 over Keg Creek near Council Bluffs, IA.


“The innovations in this round will build on the impressive records of the previous rounds,” Nadeau says. “This is the first round since the State Transportation Innovation Council network was completed and, naturally, we look forward to great things.”

For more information, visit See also “Building a Culture of Innovation” on page 4 in this issue of Public Roads.

Thomas Harman is director of FHWA’s Center for Accelerating Innovation, which administers EDC and leads the development and coordination of additional strategic programs to deploy innovations.