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Public Roads - Spring 1997

New Research

The following new research studies reported by the Federal Highway Administration are sponsored in whole or in part with federal highway funds. For further details on a particular study, please contact Bob Bryant, editor of Public Roads.

Title: Development of Prototype Driver Models for Highway Design

Objective: Produce a prototype system to aid highway designers in the development and evaluation of new highway designs. The system will identify designers' informational requirements; analyze the highway design process; integrate driver behavioral characteristics; and evaluate and select existing technology in the areas of driver models, computer-aided design, and simulation. A graphical user interface will be developed to permit candidate geometric designs to be studied as a function of single- or multiple-vehicle exposures.

Contractor: Battelle Human Affairs

Expected Completion Date: April 2000

Estimated Cost: $3,000,000

Title: Safety Evaluation of Intersection Design Improvements

Objective: Conduct before-and-after evaluations of certain geometric improvements installed at intersections to ascertain their safety performance. A knowledge base shall be developed on the safety effects of selected geometric improvements or combinations of improvements made at intersections. The procedures being developed under the FHWA effort titled "Development of Micro Evaluation Methodology for the Safety Management System" will be implemented in this pooled-fund effort and evaluated as a model for similar multistate safety evaluations of other safety countermeasures and programs.

Contractor: Midwest Research Institute

Expected Completion Date: September 2000

Estimated Cost: $800,000

Title: Direction, Analysis, and Treatment of Materials-Related Distress in PCCP

Objectives: Develop guidelines for: (1) systematic field evaluation and representative sampling for laboratory study of distressed areas of concrete pavement, (2) laboratory evaluation of the concrete pavement samples to determine the cause(s) of distress, and (3) appropriate treatment of distress in existing pavement and prevention of distress in new pavements.

Contractor: Michigan Tech University

Expected Completion Date: September 1999

Estimated Cost: $450,000

Title: Tire-Pavement Interface Pressure Patterns

Objectives: Develop tire pressure patterns from rolling dynamic load tests and simulations. Develop a neural network system to tie the measured traces to pavement design models.

Contractor: Nevada Automotive Test Center

Expected Completion Date: October 1997

Estimated Cost: $188,724

Title: Optimizing Changeable Message Sign Design and Uses

Objectives: Identify current applications and possible new uses for changeable message signs (CMS). The current state of the art of CMS design and fabrication will be assessed. The study will include, at a minimum, the following types of signs: reflective disks, fiber-optic, reflective disks with fiber optics, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and reflective disks with LEDs. Both portable and permanent signs will be considered. Sign placement requirements will be determined for each general application based on roadway geometrics, speed of traffic, environmental setting, etc. Cost for the most common CMS types will be obtained and applied in a benefit-cost tradeoff analysis user's manual.

Contractor: Bellomo-McGee

Expected Completion Date: January 1998

Estimated Cost: $98,573