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Summary of Initial-Stage Investigations 2011−2014

Initial Stage Investigations

Following the initial set of think tank forums, the EAR Program began conducting smaller, more focused investigations, called Initial Stage Investigations. This process included reference searches of published and unpublished materials, scanning trips to visit leading researchers and laboratories (many in disciplines not traditionally associated with highway research), and workshops convened to bring together researchers from different fields and leaders in highway research to explore how fundamental scientific and engineering advances could respond to current or emerging highway needs.

How Initial-Stage Investigations Have Led to EAR Program Investment in High-Return Research

Not all innovative ideas lead to EAR Program investments. Of the 15 to 20 ideas that the EAR Program considers annually, about one in four lead to funded research. The EAR Program seeks to leverage advances in science and engineering that could lead to breakthrough research for critical current and emerging issues in highway transportation. The focus is on where issues can be clearly articulated but solutions are not obvious, and where there is a community of experts from different disciplines who likely have the talent and the interest in researching solutions but would not do so without EAR Program funding.

Focus Areas

Breakthrough Concepts in Materials Science

This focus area leverages new approaches in materials science to produce innovative new highway materials with characteristics that enable enhanced functionality (including multi-functionality), constructability, sustainability, cost-effectiveness, operating characteristics, or system-monitoring sensors to enhance highway safety, reliability, and resilience.

Breakthrough Concepts in Materials Science Summary
TitleSynopsisYear
Green Materials: Environmental Impacts from Material Production and UseA look at active and recent research (2010–2013) on the emissions of greenhouse gases (primarily CO2) and mercury from production of cementitious materials. This would include empirical studies measuring actual emissions from cement production as well as modeling of emissions. Provide examples from literature, research, and organizations engaged in empirical studies, production, and emissions modeling of greenhouse gases (primarily C02) and mercury from the producing of cementitious materials.2013
Composite Materials for Highway InfrastructureAssess potential for new methods for designing, manufacturing, or applying in the field composite materials or new types of composite materials for highway infrastructure. Composites have been limited to repair applications but have the potential to provide improved structural performance and durability. For related information, see the fact sheet on “Understanding Material Durability—Workshop Examines Aging of Composite Materials."2012
Shape Memory AlloysReview all performed studies related to shape memory alloys and its application to earthquake and other natural hazard mitigations. Shape memory alloys are a class of adaptive materials that have the unique ability to undergo large deformations (10–20 times that of traditional infrastructure materials) while automatically returning to their undeformed configuration. Application of these materials are found in other fields (i.e., biomedical, aerospace, and mechanical engineering) but have yet to be fully exploited for their potential in civil infrastructure. Recent breakthroughs in material science and metallurgy have resulted in a set of conditions that make this an ideal time to evaluate the efficacy of applying these materials to civil infrastructure systems. In particular, these materials have the ideal properties to be used in multihazard risk mitigation of bridges, with applications in earthquakes, hurricanes and storm surge loading, and blasts loads. Finally, new approaches for manufacturing the material have resulted in significant reductions in costs.2012
Environmentally Resilient Structures: Corrosion Management System for Sustainable BridgesIdentify organizations and researchers (such as the University of Akron, which has a new program focused on corrosion science) who are focusing on cross-disciplinary approaches to protecting civil infrastructures from environmental damage (i.e., corrosion science). Are there other institutions conducting similar research? Where have faculty won awards or served on national or international bodies? Also, to what extent do programs leverage expertise in polymers?2012
Adaptive MaterialsIdentify research and funding in magneto-rheological elastomer (MRE) in structures or structural systems, other approaches to respond to dynamic and extreme loading in structures, and safety hardware research (2002–2012). More broadly, this topic falls under adaptive materials. What other approaches are people investigating to respond to dynamic and extreme loading conditions on structures (such as in earthquake, blast, crash, high winds, or waves or water flow)? The materials must have the potential for being scalable and cost-effective, which may preclude consideration of some materials of interest to the defense industry.2012
Geopolymer CementIdentify literature and references highlighting geopolymer cement from 2005 to the most current literature. Efforts were made to include research on aggregates; aluminum silicate; binders; waterglass; cement manufacture; compressive strength; mechanical properties; metallurgical slags; slag-based geopolymer cement; natural pozzolans; rock-based geopolymer cement; ferro-sialate-based geopolymer cement; fly ash-based geopolymer cement; alkali-activated fly ash geopolymer cement; and slag/fly ash-based geopolymer cement.2011
Nanoscale research – Measuring dispersal in 2D and 3DIdentify methods, approaches, and software available (2008–2011) for assessing (i.e., appraising or evaluating) or measuring the dispersal or agglomeration of nanoscale materials across a surface (2-dimensional) or in a volume (3-dimensional). Concepts include particle reinforcement, discontinuous reinforcement (of particles), dispersion methods, nano-mixing, viscosity, thixotropic characteristics, fractal dimension, nanomaterial characterization, nanostructure, and nanometrology.2011
Environmental Chambers for Structural ResearchIdentify builders or operators (2005–2011) who have built (or with capability to build) or who operate large scale (i.e., large enough for a full scale structure) environmental chambers, with the ability to cycle temperature, light exposure, humidity, salt spray, etc., in order to accelerate testing. In addition, identify environmental chambers of a size which will enable dynamic loading of full scale or partial scale structures.2011
Nanoscale Studies of Polycrystalline MaterialsLocate current or recent domestic research on polycrystalline materials that apply to civil infrastructure, highways, or other surface transportation. This topic includes ceramic composites or polycrystalline materials with intergrain strength, packing density, materials structure or material formation; use of material development using ferrocene-based catalytic chemical vapor deposition, radio frequency plasma irradiation (induced annealing), and molecular cross-bonding of functionalized carbon nanotubes; and the use of wet transmission electron microscopy for material characterization computational granular mechanics.2011

Connected Highway and Vehicle System Concepts

This focus area emphasizes the longer-term needs to reach critical Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) safety and mobility goals by developing the theory and assessing feasibility for systems that leapfrog current technological approaches for linking infrastructure with future vehicle and personal mobility technology.

Connected Highway and Vehicle System Concepts
TitleSynopsisYear
Autonomy and SafetyIdentify research documentation (2005–2011) authored by Sandor Szabo of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), addressing robot safety, autonomous vehicles, vehicle safety systems, and video feature extraction. Szabo worked to improve the development and field-testing of integrated crash warning systems, performance metrics for real-time object detection, and LADAR (LAser Detection And Ranging) sensor arrangements for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs).2011
Real-time Ride Sharing Leveraging Smart Phone TechnologiesLocate projects that are looking into smart phone ride share technologies similar to Seattle, Washington’s go520 project. Potential sources for locating applications (e.g., Go-Amigo), experimental tests, and research might consist of academic transportation centers, State departments of transportation (DOT), and other transportation groups.2011

Human Behavior and Travel Choices

This focus area leverages research concepts from the social sciences, including psychology and economics, along with more traditional research for improving safety, reducing congestion, and improving the livability of the Nation's communities.

Human Behavior and Travel Choices Summary
TitleSynopsisYear
Artificial Realistic DatabaseThe Artificial Realistic Database (ARD) will be designed as a test database against which various safety models can be compared to answer a variety of research questions. ARD is a synthesized model taken from idealized conditions found in real-world data sets. ARD will include important factors and traits influencing accident frequency and severity relevant to road sections and geometric features. The rules governing this data set would be known only to the creator to avoid manipulation of the data set. The data set is envisioned to provide models and algorithms in a uniform testing environment and could possibly be used for the Highway Safety Information System (HSIS) Data Contest. With that as the background, this research involved reviewing and scanning for those who have considered developing a simulation test bed for safety modeling or safety models (2006–2014).2014
New Travel Survey MethodsResearch to support testing a smartphone app that uses a random moments survey approach to capture multiday travel behavior and characteristics with less burden than traditional approaches. This includes using very brief smartphone interactions, e.g., less than 1.5 minutes per interaction, but conducted multiple times per day and over multiple days, to replace methods that often take 20 or 30 minutes in one sitting. Originally developed by Nielsen to measure exposure to commercial advertising, the random moments approach is used particularly during major sporting events. More recently, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is using this approach for a Congressionally-mandated report on staff time allocations to specific tasks in which 508 discrete tasks are identified through a nested query. Each query takes about 2 minutes to complete, and includes several questions, including demographic characteristics of the Housing Authority customer the staff is assisting. This approach was selected after a test of three different methods: traditional time cards (people tend to generalize and report few activities); independent field observation (very expensive); and the random moments approach. The random moments approach was selected because of better quality data, and nearly all of the respondents were happy with the level of burden delivered in small increments.2014
Visibility ResearchIdentify literature (2006–2014) on recent advances in visibility research from the vantage point of the driver in relationship to their surroundings, including roadways, pedestrians, and fellow motorists. Efforts were made to include research on visibility; behavior; human factors; behavioral research; driver or driving behavior; driver or driving visibility; night visibility; reduced or impaired visibility; visibility of pedestrians, other drivers, roadways, and roads or streets; eye tracking; eye movements; and distracted awareness.2014
Behavioral Economics Examination of Transportation SafetySpanning the disciplines of behavioral economics and transportation safety disciplines, this research examines the role of behavior in transportation choices to uncover mechanisms that will ‘nudge’ drivers (using Sunstein and Thaler’s terminology) into making safer choices. The primary focus is on how to improve safety of automobile drivers by changing behavioral responses that are contrary to safe driving practices. For example, every time people complete a text while driving (without a crash) they receive positive feedback that they are able to accomplish the text and drive task. The behavioral economics concept is the “framing issue” in which people frame their future behavior based on recent information. 2013
What Can We Learn from Past Downturns and Upticks in FatalitiesLocating research (2002–2012) to identify global indicators (e.g., economic activity, vehicle miles traveled (VMT), gas prices, weather) and secondarily, the contribution of government and industry policies and initiatives on the overall fatality numbers and rates. 2013
Data from Simulators vs. Data from Actual EnvironmentIdentify research (2003–2013) and compare data collected from simulators verses data collected from actual environments. Literature search on studies that compared data collected from simulators (e.g., driving simulator, flight simulator, train simulator, and nuclear power plant simulator) versus data collected from actual environment (e.g., cars on the roads, planes in the air, and trains in motion).2013
Exploring Business Model and Mathematical Geospatial Computational Methods in Establishing National Long-Distance Origin-Destination DataThe proposal here is to explore (1) business methods—how private cellular data holders can share, manipulate, and compute origin-destination (OD) data in a sustainable way year after year with and for public agencies; and (2) computation and modeling methods—how to translate cellular data into OD data at a county-level geography covering the entire United States. The objective of this research is to explore alternative methods and approaches to the traditional travel survey through travel diaries in establishing national long distance passenger travel OD matrices covering both business practices and actual methods development on a continuous annual basis. For related information, see the ”Cell Phone Data and Travel Research Workshop Summary Report."2013
Dynamic Ride SharingExperts studied the informal, dynamic carpooling system in three cities (Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; and Houston, TX). The report from the scan is available here. Appendix B to the scan report is available here2012
Driving Simulators to Test Shared Control, Limited-AutonomyIdentify effective uses of driver simulators to test shared vehicle control systems. Are there effective uses of driver simulators to test shared vehicle control systems (also known as semi- or limited-autonomous vehicle control systems)? Is it difficult to test new systems safely and efficiently using vehicles on closed courses or in naturalistic driving situations? There is a large gap between the researchers who develop and program driving simulators and engineers who develop shared-control or semi-autonomous systems. Are there groups that have brought together these programmers and system engineers to examine either system? If not for driving simulators, perhaps there are examples for flight simulators.2012
MegaregionsConsider researchers and institutes engaged in multiple discipline study of megaregions. The study of megaregions requires a multidisciplinary approach that involves economics, logistics, modeling, transportation planning, demographics, social network analysis, etc. What teams or research institutes currently practice a multidisciplinary approach? FHWA published a summary of literature through 2008.2012
Massive Data and Data MiningIdentify research on how to link highly disparate and unrelated data including unstructured data collected for Federal highways research. There are a large number of Federal programs working on big data. The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program includes a working group on big data. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have relevant research that may apply. A workshop summary report on “Utilizing Various Data Sources for Surface Transportation Human Factors Research” is available here2012
Alternative Revenue Technologies for Infrastructure UseDiscover methods for covering the costs of using limited goods from elsewhere in government but analogous to the highway system. Look for research on new technologies that would allow for sufficient and sustainable revenues to support highway transportation. Currently, research and development on highway revenue systems is focused on VMT fees. What other potential methods could be used that take advantage of new and emerging technologies and provide economic efficiency? If there are no examples specific to highway transportation, what research is taking place in analogous industries?2012
Video Decoding and Feature ExtractionScan for recently completed and ongoing research supporting improvements in video decoding and feature extraction. Highway transportation research is collecting and analyzing an increasing amount of video data. Reasons include recent technological breakthroughs that provide new and enhanced visual and other sensors for conducting research in multiple areas such as system planning, operations, safety, and infrastructure condition assessment. While the research community is fortunate to be able to collect more and better data, the amount of data has the potential to overwhelm the capacity to assess the data using current methods. Current methods include a mix of automated and manual, frame-by-frame coding that is not able to manage massive data stream and provides results that are not consistent or error free enough. The workshop summary report is available here2012
Risky Driving BehaviorsIdentify literature (1990–2011) addressing distracted driving, texting and driving, driving under the influence (DUI), aggressive driving, and perception of risk; segmenting findings by driver age groups (i.e., teen or adolescent, adult, and senior or older drivers) where available. Findings are organized by topics, age categories, and most recent to oldest literature.2011
Video Decoding, Feature ObscurationLocate organizations and individuals who have or are developing products for or are researching “feature obscuration” (also known as avatar/masking facial features) or “de-identification.” Also identify research in the “automatic privacy” of facial features and related issues.2011
Driver Monitoring Systems for Autonomous Driving SystemsIdentify (2010–2011) researchers and laboratories involved in driver or operator monitoring, human-in-the-loop, human-machine interface, human factors for assessing driver attentiveness or engagement (or distraction and disengagement) with autonomous vehicle systems, driver assistive systems, shared control(s), autonomous vehicles, and semi- or limited-autonomous systems. Methods may include: vision-based, video analysis, use of the Patriot head tracker or Mobile Eye tracker to assess face position or orientation, eyes open or closed, or eye glances (frequency or direction). The focus is on unobtrusive systems for naturalistic observation rather than obtrusive systems. Other measures may include heart rate, skin galvanization, or electroencephalogram (EEG).2011
Eye Movement Behavior and Modeling of DriversIdentify recently or currently funded work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Department of Defense (DOD). Results are not limited to drivers of passenger vehicles, or other types of vehicle operators. Focus on which programs are funding the research and who are the contacts within the funding programs, including nongovernmental funders, the National Science Foundation, etc.2011
Probabilistic Record Linkage For Safety DataIdentify active groups addressing probabilistic record linkage and crash data injury from international sources. Concepts include accident records; probabilistic methods; record linkage study; traffic accident victims; injury severity; injury data; and data sources.2011
Using Virtual Worlds: Experimental Research ToolLocate research groups who have or are developing virtual worlds to test research related to travel behavior, transportation planning, land use scenarios, or travel patterns for the purpose of developing a data warehouse or the development of synthetic data that would allow for university researchers to conduct virtual world experiments using or building on standard tools.2011

Integrated Highway System Concepts

This focus area emphasizes the longer-term needs to reach critical departmental safety and mobility goals by developing the theory and assessing feasibility for systems that leapfrog current technological approaches designed to link infrastructure with future vehicle and personal mobile technology.

Integrated Highway System Concepts Summary
TitleSynopsisYear
Cloud Based Autonomous Vehicles in Open Source Microscopic Traffic SimulationIdentify literature, individuals, and institutions engaged in modeling autonomous or semi-autonomous highway and vehicle systems or networks (2007–2014). Also, separately, identify any research or literature specifically on ways to model autonomous vehicles as “agents” or separately running models (not necessarily using agents) in conjunction with conventional traffic simulation models.2014
Novel Modal System ConceptsResearch systems that are outside current modal systems based on new technology, new combinations of existing technology, or radically different operations. They may include technologies based on new right-of-way or systems using existing right-of-way but not to include air or marine. Identify current and historic concepts (i.e., 1960–2014), research, researchers, organizations, and patents of studies focused on developing new methods for transporting people and goods.2014
Applications of Entropy Minimax to Statistics and ModelingReview Entropy Minimax literature to identify key elements with potential application to modeling and statistical analysis for traffic analysis.2014
Overheight Truck StrikesDiscover studies and technologies from literature and patents (2006–2014) that keep overheight trucks from striking bridges. What technologies exist that prevent or provide a warning for overheight trucks striking bridges? Systems may be using National Bridge Inventory (NBI) data that are wrong, for example, after repaving. LIDAR may be used in some systems to measure clearance height. Systems also may use a pole trigger on the escort vehicle as a simple, affordable approach provided specific communication protocols are developed outlining the distance between the escort vehicle and the transport truck. Check patent records and other database of commercial applications. Studies may include technologies that provide clearance warning(s) and automatic assessment of clearance.2014
Next Generation of Smart Traffic Signals for Signal ControlExplore the future of traffic sensor hardware and software design and the needs of algorithms and data for the next generation traffic control systems. Identify literature and studies (2009–2014) addressing the development of next generation smart traffic signals for signal control, including adaptive, traffic responsive, traffic adjusted, or interconnected-time of day scenarios.2014
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Applications for Highway TransportationWhat current research is taking place on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for highway applications such as collection of traffic and roadway data? Who is conducting the research and who is funding the research? Also examines pilot or demonstration applications, products, or services currently available. Identification of current research, researchers, and funding of UAVs for highway application, such as the collection of traffic and roadway data; and the location of pilot or demonstration applications, products, or services currently available. The published reference scan on this topic is available here2013
Mobile Ad Hoc Networks for Connected SystemsProvide literature and conference papers on most recent research in mobile ad hoc networking and computing. This research included the 13th International Symposium on Mobile Ad Hoc Networking and Computing, which focused on the latest research in the rapidly growing area of mobile ad hoc networking and computing. Efforts were made to include research on cognitive radios, software-defined radios, and self-organizing networks2013
Connected Highway-Vehicle Proving GroundsConduct search of academic, government, and industry operated driving courses including specifications such as length, geometry, and their level of instrumentation. Also identify research at bus testing courses, such as the one at Pennsylvania State University in Altoona, and other tracks, such as the one at the University of Buffalo. 2013
Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program Scan of European Technologies for Vehicle-Highway AutomationConduct a scan of the best developed European vehicle-highway automation technology resources and research results and summarize the results into a report and presentation. These products would provide content for researchers already active and could encourage U.S. stakeholders to recognize the potential and importance of this area. Scan the potential value of convening experts to validate the concepts and help establish a U.S. research agenda that complements and leverages work done internationally. For example, to encourage and model partners, and others, to better understand, to become more interested, and to support funding of additional developmental research and even technology demonstrations. Recent research recognizes that freeway travel is likely the nearest opportunity for deploying vehicle automation concepts, particularly since the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) program is funding significant research in vehicle-vehicle communication systems that might enable new mobility applications based on vehicle automation. The report from the scan is available here. The literature review from the scan is available here2012
Data Models for Transportation Modeling DataIdentify literature and studies on data models for transportation modeling data from networks, zonal data, and trip tables (1995–2012). Efforts were made to include research on database systems; engineering research; highway systems; mathematical models; travel demand; linear referencing system; transportation data object models; geographic information system (GIS) data models; enterprise data models; and traffic analysis zones.2012

New Technology and Advanced Policies for Energy and Resource Conservation

This focus area cuts across infrastructure, operations, and societal and complex natural systems to support innovative methods for reducing highway industry costs and moving towards sustainability.

New Technology and Advanced Policies for Energy and Resource Conservation Summary
TitleSynopsisYear
Electric Vehicle Commercialization and InfrastructureIt is imperative that transportation agencies, public officials, and public policies be ready to capitalize on this massive investment. This project will especially help departments of transportation collaborate and share information, relevant research, policies, and practices. More information and a copy of the full report are available here.2012
Underground Highway Transportation StructuresResearch the understanding of human behavior and the development of criteria for the design of long tunnels during standard operating situations and the design of long tunnels that counteract the impacts of monotonous tunnel cross sections. Also identify research on the impacts of lane and shoulder widths on the driver’s ability to navigate tunnels. Identify research on design criteria for tunnels that give clear directions to users in case of emergencies. Scan European experience with standard signage and determine potential implementation in the United States. Research the design criteria for long tunnels that will minimize the effects of claustrophobia.2012
Environmental SciencesExpand research on ecosystem services and effective markets, agent-based modeling and simulation, and environmental decisionmaking; and environmental data growth from inexpensive sensors. See the fact sheet on “Harnessing the Value of Ecosystems: The Concepts of Ecosystem Service Markets.”2012
Inductive Electric Vehicle Charging TechnologyExplore the state of inductive charging technologies and their application to transportation systems and infrastructure. Inductive charging for vehicles while in motion and not while they are parked. One of the biggest obstacles to the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) by consumers is range anxiety. Finding a convenient and safe place to recharge an EV is an issue for early adopters and future EV owners. The lack of EV charging infrastructure may hinder the penetration rates of these environmentally friendly and energy efficient vehicles into the current light-duty vehicle fleet. Inductive charging uses an electromagnetic field from a coil embedded in the ground to transfer charge to the battery pack of the EV. Essentially, the EV can be charged without the use of a plug or a cord. Currently, Plugless Power Solutions, manufactured by Evatran, is one of the first companies to offer inductive EV charging systems on the market. The system consists of a vehicle adapter—the receiving coil for the inductive charging process, which is permanently installed underneath the vehicle and a parking pad that is mounted on the floor for the transmitting coil of the wireless charging system. However, the most relevant application to transportation would be for the technology to be embedded in rest areas so vehicles traveling on the freeway with a low battery could exit and drive slowly over the coils to recharge, or for the technology to be embedded at traffic lights or strategically placed along the freeway so essentially the vehicles could be charged while in motion. 2012

Technology for Assessing Performance

This focus area seeks novel approaches and breakthrough technology that will revolutionize the use of performance management in the highway sector.

Technology for Assessing Performance Summary
TitleSynopsisYear
Performance Based Geotechnical Characterization and AssessmentIdentify research on the performance of highway assets in consideration of geotechnical features. This includes methods for characterizing, measuring, assessing, and predicting performance of geotechnical elements and features that affect corridor performance. To date, infrastructure and geotechnical feature performance has been based only on aspects that can be seen and accessed. As a result, geotechnical engineers have been challenged in establishing performance expectations, and identifying and implementing methods of measuring and testing performance in consideration of the overall system. The development of performance standards for geotechnical assets and features will need to be rooted in measurable standards to assess conditions that currently cannot be quantified.2014
Future Measure of CongestionExplore potential technology components, data sources, and system structures to support a congestion measure for the future that will account for all travelers and be multimodal. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) measures delay based on highway vehicle speeds. FHWA is seeking a “future” measure that can account for the movement of all passengers and goods across modes of travel, a true picture of how many people and packages are moving and how many are delayed. The effort will consider current and emerging technologies that could be used to capture the information. This evaluation will include a focused effort to explore the possibility of applying technologies used today to conduct regional and national travel studies (i.e., Global Positioning System (GPS)/Bluetooth tracking, social media crowdsourcing, and wireless signaling data) to monitor the performance of multimodal travel. Each technology will be evaluated to assess if the captured information can be used to monitor system performance in a reliable and timely manner. The results of this effort will be used to identify the more promising technologies that can be further studied and piloted as well as to develop a plan that can be used to move to a “future” congestion measure.2014
Wearable Sensors for Assessing Transportation ImpactsWearable sensors can monitor time, position, blood pressure, pulse rate, skin conductivity, or other indicators of stress to assess elements of the transportation environment that cause stress such as traffic noise and mobile source pollutants (e.g., air quality). They could assess environmental and physiological data concurrently. Some of the concepts include walking speed, breathing rate (related to asthma, for example), heart rate, biosensors, and environmental sensors. The research includes cyclists, but not pedestrians.2014
Methods for 3-D Mapping of Subsurface Soil ConditionsExplore research in electrical resistance tomography (ERT) and how it could be used to create a three–dimensional (3D) near-field map of subsurface soil conditions. Similar technologies are used in soil exploration, exploratory drilling, and industrial processing. Potential applications include in situ strategies to reduce the risks of bridge scour. Concepts include spatial resolution, multimodality measurement techniques, solid-liquid interface detection, and 3D visualization programming for ERT.2014
Assessment of Unknown Structural Foundation ConditionsIdentify research on condition assessment of unknown structural foundations. Existing technologies are characterized in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Research Results Digest 213: Nondestructive Testing of Unknown Subsurface Bridge Foundations—Results of NCHRP Project 21-5and in a supplemental unpublished report for NCHRP Project 21-5(02). Existing technology can determine the foundation boundary but not the condition such as corrosion of steel reinforcement or cracking. Look for potential new technologies based on recent breakthroughs in science and engineering and potential analogous applications in other domains. Examples are mining technologies such as precious or rare metals in surrounding rock and defense or emergency response search and rescue applications capable of mapping structures before entering them.2013
Structural Health MonitoringSeek current research (2010–2013) on structural health monitoring that includes the ability to model and analyze vibration and stress-strain data from new and existing structures and the accurate and timely forewarning of failure in complex structural systems. Identify research for structures for highways as well as for other domains (for example, other types of structures, devices, and buildings such as dams or high-rise offices, vehicles, manufacturing equipment, and medical devices).2013
Technologies to Disperse Ground Fog and Improve VisibilityDiscover research on methods considered, researched, or used to disperse ground fog to improve visibility.2013
A Cyclical Holographic Radar Imaging SystemIdentify radar imaging from recent and active research and patents (2008–2013) in support of a proposal to construct a next-generation low-power, high-speed, light-weight radar system (hardware, software, and firmware) capable of surface and sub-surface imaging, operable either as stationary or in motion. Acquisition of several surveys a second or surveys over longer duration can be collected to detect and monitor rockfall, landslide, scour, or erosion. Radar has advantages over other systems such as lasers or LiDAR, since radio waves can more readily penetrate vegetation, dust or smoke, snow, ice, and inclement weather. Radio waves not only reflect from solid objects but also can penetrate beyond solid objects to some degree.2013
Fiber Optic Embedded Sensors for Temperature, Deformation, and Acoustic SensingLocate current and recent awards, including NCHRP, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), Ideas Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA), National Science Foundation (NSF), plus patents and commercial applications of fiber optic embedded sensors. This work supports a proposal to develop a fiber optic sensing technology for transportation industry applications. Such a technology could provide early detection of a variety of potential problems related to road and bridge maintenance and safety. Changes in the characteristics of light transmission in the optical fiber can be analyzed to determine the extent of an external physical effect at any location along the fiber.2013
Use of Advanced Vehicle Identification/Re-Identification Sensors for Traffic Control Plan Selection and ControlExplore the development of mathematical and statistical descriptions of sampling vehicles using identification and re-identification sensors. This includes identifying reliable technologies to compute travel time information for traffic management. The mathematical and statistical models would allow calculation of how many sensors of what reliability in identification and re-identification would be needed to accurately calculate traffic travel times and origin-destination (O-D) patterns.2013
Water Turbulence ModelingIdentify current researchers and institutions (2008–2013) conducting work or developing programs that are funding work to abstract large eddy simulations (LES) to refine the accuracy of unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations applied to the transport of sediment. Potential concepts include direct simulations of turbulent flows, reacting turbulent flows in complex geometries, wall-layer models, subgrid-scale modeling, and other related applied computational fluid dynamics topics.2013
New Methods for Predicting Asset Valuation with Limited DataIdentify alternative approaches to improve the prediction of asset value with missing, limited, or poor data (2009–2013). Current practices for predicting the value of highway infrastructure assets are imprecise. One reason is a lack of/poor quality data. A second reason, the primary focus of this inquiry, is the modeling approaches used to predict value. Relevant examples may be found in other industries such as pipeline, energy generation, or energy transmission. 2013
Passive Wireless SensorsExplore research on wireless and unpowered remote sensors that include no batteries and no power harvesting, yet support numerous applications. Investigate proceedings of the ISA Communications Division, BP, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Oak Ridge National Laboratory sponsored the Passive Wireless Sensor Tag Workshop in Houston, TX, on July 27-28, 2011, and other related events.2012
Use of Vehicle Noise, Vibration, Harshness (NVH) to Study Road and Pavement Conditions, etc.Identify literature, conferences, key researchers, and experts (2001–2012) using vehicle infotainment, telematics systems, smartphone, and broadband to study ambient sound and noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) in determining road and bridge health. Explore technologies both within and outside the vehicle that may be capable of collecting data for the study of road and pavement conditions, bridge repairs and preventative care, development of diagnostic tools and computer code, and non-destructive testing of bridges and pavements to predict fatigue and failures. The workshop summary report is available.2012
Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) Virtual LaboratoryDiscover research to further define the concept of a national virtual research laboratory for non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of highway structures and pavements. A national virtual research laboratory would provide a mechanism for researchers from different academic institutions, Government agencies, and industry to coordinate and cooperate on NDE research, more effectively and quickly build on and advance work conducted by others, and increase access for new investigators into NDE research. All of these benefits substantially increases the potential for breakthrough approaches and improved movement of research from the laboratory to field testing and commercialization. A national virtual laboratory could include test and sample protocols to allow comparison and validation of research done at different locations, research data and metadata to allow future researchers and students to analyze or re-examine results, and analysis and visualization tools to aid in examining and reporting research data. A scanning and convening fact sheet is available.2012
Microwave Tomography Assessment of Concrete StructuresIdentify current or recent research (2008–2012) on using microwave tomography to assess concrete structures and detection and 3D mapping of contrasting properties inside structures; e.g., cracks in cement, rebar location, extent of corrosion, aggregate from cement paste, or air voids. Include researchers and organizations using microwave tomography and related imaging technologies to assess concrete structures and those studying the use of similar technologies and purpose in other disciplines.2012
New Underground TechnologiesDiscover research on new technologies for placing utilities underground. The problem is how to eliminate the thousands of crashes per year with electric utility poles. One solution is to eliminate the poles from the right of way by moving the wires underground. The questions are: (1) what are the impediments or barriers to undergrounding utilities, e.g., cost, technology, other? (2) Is there some exploratory advanced research that can be done to facilitate further development of trenchless technology to make them more practical and economical to use? 2012
Mobile Sensor Road Surface Monitoring ResearchIdentify additional or related mobile sensor road surface monitoring research. Topic includes mobile sensor capabilities for road sensing include civil infrastructure monitoring such as vibration, braking detection, and other sensors to identify potholes, black ice, and other road anomalies. GPS and network monitoring applications may be included.2011
Data Models for Transportation Modeling DataLocate literature on data models for transportation modeling data (1995–2011). Transportation models may contain network data, zonal data, and trip tables. The project also employs origin-destination (O-D)/cost matrices, model information exchange, transportation data models, geospatial data models, geographic information systems (GIS), road maintenance, transportation infrastructure, etc.2011
Fuel Tax Evasion Prevention–NanomarkersDiscover research, development, or products (including patents) related to targeting fuel tax evasion by leveraging nano-marker technologies. Fuel tax evasion can include fuel dilution and fuel mixing. Nano-marker material can be mixed with gasoline and diesel. Then associated sensor technology can detect the nano-marker density in the fuel. Project also employs vehicle tracking, geo-fencing, and wireless communication of valve and hatch openings.2011
New Technologies for Non-motorized Travel Data CollectionIdentify (2008–2011) who is using alternative approaches for counting non-motorized trips. Also, identify if there are researches who are able to make large data sets from the use of cycling computers (e.g., Garmin cyclometer), to show vehicle (i.e., location, speed, and pedal rate) and rider dynamics (i.e., heart rate) prior to a crash, a sort of naturalistic bicycle study.2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2018