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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 - Spring 2024

Spring 2024
Issue No:
Vol. 88 No. 1
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Along the Road

Along the Road

An aerial view of a parking lot with parked trucks. Image: © Lazy_Bear /
Truck parking is an important factor in drivers attaining adequate rest to continue to safely operate on the Nation’s roadways.

Public Information and Information Exchange

Trucking Industry, USDOT Celebrate Parking Milestone

In September 2023, members of the American Trucking Associations, industry leaders, truck drivers, and government officials—including U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg—gathered in South Dakota to celebrate the creation of new truck parking spaces. The 11 new parking spots, along the State’s Interstate 90, highlight the progress that’s being made to resolve the Nation’s truck parking shortage.

As mentioned in the Winter 2023 issue of Public Roads (, the lack of safe truck parking is a consistent concern expressed by commercial motor vehicle operators. A USDOT report found 98 percent of drivers regularly experience problems finding safe parking and many States have identified parking capacity deficiencies as a major issue. The issue stems partly from an active economy, which places pressure on the trucking industry to move larger quantities of goods.

Under the Biden Administration, USDOT has increased funding allocated to trucking and freight. South Dakota was awarded a $61.1 million grant to improve its freight corridor, including expansions to truck parking accommodations. A truck travel plaza in Texas was awarded $23 million from USDOT’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program; the truck plaza in Texas will be between Austin and San Antonio, and encompass approximately 20 short-term and 100 long-term truck parking spaces in addition to an entry/exit gate control, lighting, fencing, a rest stop with restrooms and showers, and 24-hour monitored security.

Likewise, a truck parking facility in northeast Louisiana was recently awarded a $10.5 million RAISE grant. The Louisiana facility will be able to accommodate 50 trucks for overnight parking as well as 100 cars and be equipped with electric vehicle chargers for semitractors and passenger vehicles. Similar truck parking expansion grants through USDOT’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program were awarded to Florida and Tennessee, totaling $37.6 million. “We are evaluating the I-40 Smith County Rest Area to accommodate an additional 125 truck parking spaces,” says Dan Pallme, assistant bureau chief of Freight and Logistics at the Tennessee Department of Transportation. “For additional safety purposes, we will increase the length of the on and off ramps to accommodate the acceleration and deceleration of commercial motor vehicles when they are merging in and out of traffic. In addition, we will reconstruct a new bridge and increase the height restriction to ensure safety for years to come. We are currently designing some concept plans,” he continues.

Secretary Buttigieg has spoken publicly on several occasions about the need for safe truck parking and USDOT’s support for parking investment. At the September event, Buttigieg announced the availability of additional funding, more than $80 million in grants, for highway safety programs, including parking projects. To review Secretary Buttigieg’s full remarks on truck parking at the South Dakota event, visit

CTC Allocates $3.7 Billion for Projects, Local Roads Benefit

In October 2023, to enhance safety and create more convenient options for travelers, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) allotted nearly $3.7 billion for transportation projects across the State of California. The bulk of the funding, $2.3 billion, is from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) of 2021, which will be distributed to more than 600 cities, counties, and regional agencies within the State to improve transportation infrastructure (e.g., bridges), reduce traffic delays, and reduce climate impact—among other benefits.

The projects that CTC approved for funding focus on local roadways that help connect counties and cities together. For example, approximately $1.3 million is allocated toward roadway and other repairs on U.S. Route 101, from the Humboldt County line to the Klamath River Bridge in Del Norte County. An additional $1.3 million was allocated to U.S. Route 101—at two different locations from south of Hamilton Road to northbound Sixth Street in Crescent City—toward the removal and replacement of culverts. Additionally, on State Route 1 near Westport south of Hillcrest Terrance in Mendocino County, nearly $38 million was allocated toward roadway repairs (i.e., extending a retaining wall and constructing a dewatering system).

Another portion of the funding, $169 million, was provided via Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. For more information on projects funded by SB1 and IIJA in California, visit

People standing in front of an electric semitruck. Image Source: FHWA.
FHWA division staff stand in front of a CARMA truck at the conclusion of the 2023 in-person TFHRC Division Research Coordinator Meeting.

TFHRC Restarts Division Research Coordinator In-Person Meetings

In August 2023, staff with the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management (HRTM) hosted a full- and half-day long business meeting with FHWA division research coordinators. The August 2023 meeting commenced the first of several in-person meetings scheduled in 2024, 2025, and 2026.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over the course of 4 years, HRTM staff traveled to each of the 52 FHWA division offices (one in each State, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico). During the pandemic, HRTM increased its efforts to collaborate with division research coordinators at State Planning and Research-Subpart B Program forums, division research coordinator regional network meetings, and webinars on pooled fund updates, some of which were accessed online. HRTM staff wanted to continue building the relationship between TFHRC and the division research coordinators in the field and restarted the in-person meetings.

For the next 4 years (2023-2026), HRTM will provide travel funds to 12–13 FHWA division research staff per year to visit the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) in McLean, VA. The goal is to ensure that each of the 52 designated FHWA division research coordinators can attend an in-person meeting.

In 2023, division research coordinators from 12 States visited and participated in discussions with TFHRC’s office directors as well as key research partners from FHWA’s Office of Federal Lands, the National Cooperative Research Program, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Research Advisory Committee. The August 2023 meeting wrapped up with a three-hour tour of five TFHRC laboratories: the J. Sterling Jones Hydraulics Research Laboratory, Saxton Transportation Operations Laboratory, Structures Laboratory, Concrete Laboratory, and Human Factors Laboratory. Participants also met afterward for a dinner business meeting, continuing their discussions and strengthening their camaraderie.

The next FHWA division research coordinator meeting, scheduled for summer 2024 at TFHRC, will likely follow the format of the August 2023 assembly, with a different group of division research coordinators.

For more information on these meetings, contact Jill Stark, Research and Technology Program Development and partnership team member, at

A view of a transit station with trains and people under a cloudy sky and mountains on the right side. Image: © Utah Department of Transportation.
The 2023 Grand Prize-winning project, “Teamed Up for Transit,” was led by the Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Transit Authority.
: Two children, each wearing a helmet and riding a bicycle, on a pathway aligned with grass and vegetation. Image: © Vermont Agency of Transportation.
The 2023 People’s Choice Award-winning project, “Lamoille Valley Rail Trail,” was led by the Vermont Agency of Transportation.

Two Winners Named in Coveted 2023 America’s Transportation Awards

Sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Automobile Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the America’s Transportation Awards honors State departments of transportation (DOTs) and highlights the positive impacts their projects bring to communities. For the 2023 awards, 81 nominations were submitted by 36 State DOTs.

The categories for the 2023 competition were: Operations Excellence (recognizes the ability to operate and maintain the existing transportation system as safely and efficiently as possible); Best Use of Technology & Innovation (recognizes the use of new technology and/or creative, innovative solutions as part of a transportation project); and Quality of Life/Community Development (recognizes community involvement and interaction, and the public benefit for customers/users). Nominated projects first compete on a regional level against projects of similar size (i.e., small, medium, and large); after which, the three highest scoring projects compete for the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award.

The Grand Prize-winning “Teamed Up for Transit” project, led by the Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Transit Authority, built the new Frontrunner train station, expanding the community’s active transportation network and benefiting pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users. The Vermont Agency of Transportation’s “Lamoille Valley Rail Trail” project—a 93-mile multimodal recreational path in northern Vermont that connects 18 town centers and links to other trails in Vermont and Canada—earned the People’s Choice Award. The trail is open year-round for walking, biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing, all against Vermont’s natural landscape.

For more information, or to nominate a transportation project, visit

New U-Md. Center for Greener Transportation

The University of Maryland (U-Md.) received $10 million from funds in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to launch the U-Md. Center for Multi-Modal Mobility in Urban, Rural, and Tribal Areas, based at the A. James Clark School of Engineering. In partnership with teams at four other higher learning institutions, the center’s research into the future of the Nation’s transportation system will focus on building fairer, greener transportation networks.

The center has a wide-ranging mission and will explore a variety of transportation concepts, designs, and policies, looking deeper into the effects and benefits of, for example, fare-free transit, Complete Streets, and the role of autonomous vehicles in low-income communities. Researchers also will consider ways to improve connections between rural and Tribal communities with nearby cities as well as how to better invest time and funds into transit, active transportation, and multimodal transportation.

Project Milkweed Returns in June 2024

Milkweed is a flowering plant that serves a critical role in the survival and growth of monarch butterflies. The plant serves as a food source; monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed, and milkweed provides a space for monarch butterflies to lay their eggs. Given their role, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) carries out Project Milkweed, a subset of their Pollinator Habitat Program—a partnership between multiple State agencies and nonprofits to conserve native pollinators and habitats.

: A poster with illustrations of a bee and flowers above the following text: “Project Milkweed with Polli the Bee. Pollinators will make a beeline to your garden when you plant this beautiful, native milkweed! Common Milkweed Asclepias syriaca.” An illustration of a butterfly attached to the logo for the Tennessee Department of Transportation and a QR code is at the bottom. Image: © Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Since June 2023, TDOT has taken nearly 131,000 individual orders from Tennesseans willing to plant milkweed to support monarch butterflies.

In October 2023, due to overwhelming demand, TDOT halted online orders for free milkweed seeds, which was a part of Project Milkweed’s effort to restore and preserve the habitats of monarch butterflies and other pollinator species. Since June 2023, TDOT has taken nearly 131,000 individual orders from Tennesseans willing to plant milkweed to support monarch butterflies. After the number of migrating monarch butterflies sank to the lowest recorded population in 2013 and 2014, State departments of transportation, transportation associations, transportation planners, and roadside managers have been encouraged—via a 2014 presidential memorandum—to maximize insect pollinator habitats along roadways to curb pollinator losses.

TDOT’s online offering of free milkweed seed will return in June 2024 during National Pollinator Week. For more information on Project Milkweed, visit

Teller and USDOT Create Firsts, Make History

In May 2023, Arlando Teller received an historic appointment by becoming the first U.S. Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary for Tribal Government Affairs, a role established through the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) of 2021. The position was created to address critical infrastructure impacts on Native American communities throughout the United States.

A photo of Arlando Teller. Image Source: USDOT.
In 2003, Teller received an historic appointment to a position created to address infrastructure impacts on Native American communities throughout the United States.

Previously, Teller—a member of the Navajo Nation—served as USDOT’s deputy assistant secretary for Tribal Affairs; deputy director of the Navajo Department of Transportation; a former member of the Arizona State Transportation Board; and as an elected State representative for District 7 in the Arizona House of Representatives. In California, he worked on multimodal transportation projects as a transportation planner and as a Tribal liaison for the California Department of Transportation, served as a senior transportation planner for the Navajo Nation’s Division of Transportation, and served as the vice chair for the Indigenous Peoples Caucus.

Teller is no stranger to firsts. He entered the aviation industry as the first Native American graduate from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In his current role, Teller looks forward to building the foundation of the Office of Tribal Government Affairs, increasing capacity, improving engagement, and streamlining policy opportunities for Tribal transportation connectivity.

ADOT Approves 25-Year Transportation Plan

In October 2023, after a robust, year-long planning and public involvement process, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) approved the State’s 2050 Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The LRTP covers the next 25 years of transportation planning for the State, providing a roadmap for how the growing demands on Arizona’s transportation system will be addressed to support Arizonans’ quality of life; nearly 10,000 Arizonans contributed to the plan by completing surveys, attending public meetings, and submitting comments to ADOT.

A report cover with a collage of photos of vehicles on a roadway, a mountainous area, and a roadway beneath a city skyline at night. Above the photos is ADOT’s logo, in the middle of the cover is “2050 Arizona Long-Range Transportation Plan: Final Document.” Beneath the title is a photo of vehicles on a highway as well as “2050 Long-Range Transportation Plan” and an icon with a navigation arrow. Image: © Arizona Department of Transportation.
Arizona’s LRTP covers the next 25 years of transportation planning.

The LRTP also provides direction to the State, residents, metropolitan planning organizations, and councils of government on transportation needs, available revenue, and system performance. More specifically, the LRTP defines how ADOT intends to allocate future resources across three major transportation investment types: preservation (i.e., activities to maintain the current highway system), modernization (i.e., activities to improve safety and operations of the existing highway system), and expansion (i.e., activities to add new highways). Arizona transportation investments are paid for with a combination of Federal, State, and local funding.

To support implementation of the 25-year plan, eight reports were referenced as supporting documents, including the Resilience Improvement Plan Primer, Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and Pima Association of Governments (PAG) Current Conditions Report, Infrastructure Investment Act (IIJA) and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Funding Analysis, Vision Report, Gap Analysis Report, Public Involvement Summary Report, and 2050 Multimodal Needs Analysis. The 2050 Multimodal Needs Analysis identifies the projected transportation needs in Arizona for the years 2026–2050.    

To review the LRTP, visit

First PBL Now Open in Anchorage, AK

In September 2023, Anchorage’s first protected bike lane (PBL) opened as a pilot study that was funded entirely through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration. A PBL is a special bike lane with a vertical element physically separating it from vehicular travel lanes, which helps calm traffic and provides an added layer of safety for cyclists, pedestrians, and people with disabilities. For the month-long pilot study, temporary PBLs were installed along Pine Street and McCarrey Street, and multiple promising PBL treatments were tested. Through this pilot study, a research team consisting of the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, engineering consultants, local elected leaders, and a local advocacy bike organization aimed to learn how PBLs can be implemented in Alaska to improve transportation access equity and multimodal safety.

Cyclists travel on both sides of a roadway in lanes designated for bike riding. Image: © Bike Anchorage.. Image: © Bike Anchorage.
Following the success of a September 2023 pilot study, Anchorage is planning another for summ

The project garnered substantial public feedback that provided valuable insights both into elements that worked well and those that did not. One clear positive outcome was that during the pilot, speed data showed a 40 percent increase in drivers obeying the 30 miles per hour (mph, 48 kilometers per hour (kph) speed limit, and drivers speeding 20 mph or above (32 kph or above) the limit was decreased from 1.8 percent to less than 0.1 percent of drivers. This community-led research project will further inform Complete Streets policy development at both the city and State level. Anchorage is now planning a second PBL pilot in their downtown area for summer 2024 that will build upon the lessons learned.

For more information, visit:

Technical News

GDOT Celebrates Next Step in C-V2X Integration

In August 2023, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) received cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) waivers granted by the Federal Communications Commission, the organization that regulates interstate and international communications across the Nation. Securing the waivers places GDOT once step closer to fully integrating C-V2X technology across the State. Georgia already has more than 700 intersections and interstate installations ready to deploy C-V2X technology in addition to over 1,200 signalized intersections already deployed with connected vehicle technology.

GDOT hopes to enhance the safety of Georgia’s driving public. For example, C-V2X technology will help to ensure first responders have priority on the roadway (improving response times through congested corridors); reduce idling at intersections (reducing emissions by 20 percent); and provide motorists with critical real-time information (e.g., work zone alerts and green light optimal speed advisories) to prevent accidents and reduce fatalities.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allows for technology funding in transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration supported GDOT as it secured the FCC waivers and implemented the C-V2X technology on Georgia roadways. For more information, visit

Accelerating Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) Deployments

In 2022, there were an estimated 42,795 fatal vehicle crashes in the United States. The U.S. Department of Transportation is actively pursuing an approach to reduce the number of roadway fatalities to the only acceptable number of crashes: zero. Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology, which enables communication between vehicles, roadside infrastructure, and other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, is a powerful tool in achieving USDOT’s goal for Vision Zero.

The wireless connectivity for V2X technologies must be interoperable (able to exchange and make use of information), ensuring that safety applications and other services dependent on seamless communications can be trusted to operate reliably and effectively across all the Nation’s surface transportation system. Under interoperable connectivity, a diverse range of devices can communicate ubiquitously, efficiently, and securely in using multiple wireless communications technologies. V2X connectivity is a critical transformational technology that not only advances safety but also enhances mobility, bolsters efficiency, and reduces negative environmental impacts.

: Illustration of a projected timeline for interoperable V2X deployments and actions taken by USDOT, infrastructure owner-operators (IOOs), and the private sector showing a start date in 2023 and end date in 2034. Starting from the 3rd V2X Summit there is a projected increase of interoperable V2X deployments from 12 to 25 to 50. Responsibilities are distributed by USDOT actions, IOO actions, and private sector actions. USDOT will provide seed funding and grants, champion V2X spectrum/standards, and facilitate V2X community building. IOOs will take the lead on infrastructure deployments, and the private sector will take the lead as the V2X market matures. Image Source: USDOT.
Strategic, coordinated actions of key stakeholders create momentum towards inter­operable V2X deployments.

Accelerating V2X deployment now is a crucial step toward saving lives. USDOT has been working to roll out a series of products to assist the Intelligent Transportation Systems community in moving forward toward interoperable connectivity. Notable actions over the past year include:

  • USDOT worked with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Federal Communications Commission to expedite the granting of waivers to permit the immediate deployment of V2X technology in the 5.9 GHz band. As of December 2023, a total of 39 waiver requests have been granted to organizations, including State departments of transportation.
  • On October 26, 2023, USDOT held the 3rd V2X Summit on Saving Lives with Connectivity in Ann Arbor, MI, with nearly 800 public and private sector stakeholders, and where a draft National V2X Deployment Plan was unveiled ( This Plan outlines strategic goals and targets to creating a path toward achieving national interoperable connectivity. A companion document (V2X Deployer Resources) is being developed to provide more detailed technical guidance for deployers, is scheduled for release in early 2024.
  • To coincide with the 3rd V2X Summit, USDOT announced the Saving Lives with Connectivity: Accelerating V2X Deployment Initiative. This $40 million funding opportunity will enable entities to deploy, operate, and showcase roadway deployments featuring applications enabled by V2X technologies.
  • USDOT established the Interoperable Connectivity Cohort to allow private sector, public sector, and academia to share insights and best practices.

For more information on how USDOT is accelerating the deployment of V2X technology, visit:

Policy, Regulations, and Grants

USDOT SMART and ATTAIN Programs Emerge

In October 2023, the U.S. Department of Transportation began accepting applications for two new programs made possible by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 to award funding based on the use of technology to improve safety and transportation infrastructure.

The Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grants Program will offer up to $100 million in grants to fund projects by public sector entities that address key transportation priorities like vehicle technology (e.g., automation and connectivity), systems innovation (e.g., smart grid and data integration), and new ways to monitor and manage infrastructure (e.g., sensors and unmanned aerial systems).

The Federal Highway Administration’s $60 million Advanced Transportation Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) Program will fund projects that utilize advanced technologies to improve safety, mobility, efficiency, system performance, intermodal connectivity, and infrastructure return on investment. ATTAIN-eligible projects will also be evaluated on how they consider climate change and environmental justice impacts—including the disproportionate impacts on disadvantaged communities. For more information, and

Delaware’s New Motorcycle Helmet Law

On September 1, 2023, a new endorsement motorcycle helmet law went into effect in Delaware. The new State law requires everyone who obtains a new motorcycle endorsement (license) on or after the September 2023 date, or anyone riding with that person, to wear a helmet and eye protection for two years after they receive their endorsement.

Person riding a red motorcycle on a country road. Image: © uladzislaulineu /
Helmet use reduces the number of motorcycle fatalities.

In 2022, 22 motorcyclists were killed on Delaware roadways; as of August 31, 2023, 12 motorcyclists were killed in roadway incidents. With the new regulation, the Delaware Department of Transportation and Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles hope to reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities within the State, as over the last 5 years 25 percent of the crashes involving a Delaware-licensed motorcycle rider resulted in fatal and serious injury and involved a rider in their first 2 years of having a motorcycle endorsement.

A civil penalty will be assessed to those found to be in violation. Along with the provisions in the new law, all motorists are encouraged to always exercise caution: look twice at intersections, do not tailgate, and eliminate all distractions. For more information, visit