Along the Road
Along the Road
"Along the Road" is a hodgepodge of items of general interest to the highway community. But this is more than a miscellaneous section; "Along the Road" is the place to look for information about current and upcoming activities, developments, and trends. This information comes from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.
Policy and Legislation
Colorado Developing Air Quality Controls
The Colorado Department of Transportation (DOT) Commission and the Colorado Department of Health (CDOH) Air Quality Control Commission met with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), metropolitan planning organizations, environmental groups, and others to develop conformity procedures and--possibly--joint CDOT-CDOH state conformity regulations. In Denver, the Regional Air Quality Council proposed a ban on high-emitting trucks and cars from streets in the metropolitan area during periods of high air pollution concentrations.
Indiana Improves Auto Emissions Testing
Indiana implemented legislation to enhance its state auto emissions testing program; this legislation was in response to an indication by the EPA that the state would be subject to air quality sanctions because of severe air pollution problems in two counties.
Seat Belt Laws Pass; Helmet Laws Don't
Kentucky and South Dakota have, after lengthy delays, passed seat belt laws; these will take effect in July 1994 and January 1995, respectively. Several other states, including Rhode Island and Utah, failed to pass laws mandating motorcycle helmet use.
FMCSRs Now Cover Private Buses
As of Jan. 1, 1995, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations will cover most interstate private bus operations. This change will upgrade safety requirements for all private operations and will minimize unnecessary regulatory and paperwork burdens on what are mostly nonbusiness enterprises.
Management and Administration
Pilot Program Addresses Disadvantaged Contractors
Washington State DOT and FHWA are launching a pilot Mentor/Protégé Program to aid disadvantaged minority and women contractors.
Several States Promote Quality Initiative Concept
Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming are among the many states that have recently held quality initiative seminars, workshops, and conferences. These events have been well-attended and are sparking numerous follow-on sessions for academicians, contractors, suppliers, engineering consultants, and government personnel--among others--on single-topic transportation-related issues.
FHWA Studies Nitrogen Oxides
Nitrogen oxides (NOx) have been identified as a current or potential problem for many areas attempting to meet air quality conformity requirements. FHWA staff are conducting field visits and lab research on NOx, and are discussing policy issues in this area with the EPA.
FHWA Redirects Congestion Pricing Pilot Program
FHWA is changing the focus of its congestion pricing pilot program. Instead of selecting a pilot project from the applications received, FHWA is shifting its emphasis to nurturing the development of market pricing experiments in areas showing the most promise for eventually implementing congestion pricing projects.
Georgia Receives Funds for Interactive Travel Information Kiosks
FHWA approved $4 million in federal support for a system of travel information distribution through electronic interactive kiosks and other devices by Georgia DOT. This activity will build upon the capabilities being developed in the Atlanta Regional Automated Travel Management System.
North Carolina Wins Award
North Carolina DOT won the national 1993 Sheldon G. Hayes Award for the Highest Quality in Asphalt Paving for its Raleigh Beltline (I-440); moreover, paving of this highway was done at night.
Michigan Opens Traffic Control Center
The Michigan Intelligent Transportation Systems Control Center was officially dedicated on March 1 in Detroit. The center will serve as the control headquarters of the Detroit metropolitan freeway system and as a research center for IVHS technology.
Florida Announces Recommendations to Improve Safety of Rail Crossings
Among the recommendations made by the Florida Railroad Crossing Safety Commission are increasing the driver/train warning time from 25-30 seconds to 45 seconds, prohibiting lane closures or traffic merges in close proximity to a crossing, increasing public education, and increasing traffic fines for crossing violations.
New York Tests Information Collection/Incident Detection System
New York's TRANSMIT project will test the use of vehicles, equipped with transponders, as probes on a highway system equipped with readers/antennas. The probe vehicles will collect travel time and speed data and, with dynamic software, will detect incidents. The project will be operational by mid-summer.
Public Information and Information Exchange
Arkansas Kicks Off Underage DUI Law Campaign
In February, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department initiated a public information campaign on the state's new tough measures to combat underage drinking and driving. The campaign includes public service videos and brochures.
Several IVHS Workshops/Forums Are Held Throughout the Nation
In March, an Intelligent Vehicle-Highway Systems (IVHS) User Acceptance Workshop was held for DOT staff in order to familiarize these employees with key methods for determining whether IVHS application of new technologies will be accepted by the public and to review the results of recent research in this area. Meanwhile, the series of 10 IVHS Information Exchange Forums continued at the regional level. Attendance at these forums has been excellent, and the roundtable discussions have been lively.
Conferences and Calls for Papers
National Traffic Data Acquisition Conference
Sept. 18-22, 1994
The Connecticut DOT, in cooperation with FHWA, is hosting the 1994 National Traffic Data Acquisition Conference (NATDAC '94) at the Hartford Marriott in Rocky Hill. The conference will focus on traffic data issues as they relate to government transportation personnel and will include discussions and technical demonstrations. Topics to be covered include weigh-in-motion, management systems, classification, air quality, congestion, expert systems, enforcement and counting, urban issues, nonintrusive technology, and data quality. This biannual conference, previously known as the Weigh-In-Motion Conference, was held in 1992 in Sacramento, Calif. For more information, call Anne-Marie McDonnell at (203) 258-0308, or write to:
c/o Connecticut Department of Transportation
Division of Research
280 West Street
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
Jim Cooper is FHWA's Engineer of the Year
On February 22, the National Society of Professional Engineers-Professional Engineers in Government (NSPE-PEG) recognized James D. Cooper as the "Engineer of the Year" for FHWA. Cooper and engineers from 32 other federal agencies were named by NSPE-PEG as the top engineer for his/her agency. Cooper, who has been with FHWA for 18 years, is the chief of the Structures Division in the Office of Engineering and Highway Operations R&D. He is also the chairman of the Structures Research and Technology Coordinating Work Group, and he is active on several other government and professional committees. Cooper is an internationally renowned expert in earthquake engineering and structural engineering research. He has managed a 10-year, multifaceted, multimillion-dollar research program for FHWA to develop national highway bridge earthquake design criteria. His article about the Northridge earthquake and earthquake engineering research appears on this page of this magazine.
George Shrieves Retires After 35 Years in FHWA
On March 31, George M. Shrieves, director of the National Highway Institute (NHI), retired after serving FHWA for 35 years. Shrieves was the director of NHI since 1979. Under Shrieves' direction, NHI in 1982 developed the Rural Technical Assistance Program (RTAP) to help communities and transportation agencies below the state level. RTAP was very successful and has evolved into a network of technology transfer centers throughout the United States. The networking model has been copied in several other countries. Since 1991, Shrieves also served as director general of the Pan American Institute of Highways (PIH). PIH is modeled after RTAP and now includes 45 centers in 18 countries. Shrieves received the Administrator's Award for Superior Achievement in 1975, the Secretary's Award for Meritorious Achievement in 1985, and the Distinguished Career Service Award on his retirement.