NJDOT Wins 2022 America’s Transportation Award for Best Use of Technology and Innovation

New Jersey Department of Transportation has been recognized with a 2022 America’s Transportation Award in the category of best use of technology and innovation. The annual competition is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. NJDOT’s project, Implementation of Drivewyze on 647 miles of NJ’s Highways, involves the use of crowdsourced data to get more information into the hands of drivers about changing roadway conditions to inform their decision making in an effort to reduce crashes.  Commercial vehicle alerts inform truck drivers of hazards on the road, such as sudden slowdowns, disabled vehicles, debris, and adverse weather conditions, before the truck is affected by the incident. The driver can seek an alternate route or pull over until the slowdown is cleared. New Jersey’s project was highlighted in the November/December 2022 FHWA Innovator along with other State DOT winning innovations.  

For more information, go to:  

America’s Transportation Awards
https://americastransportationawards.org/new-jersey-department-of-transportation-implementation-of-drivewyze-on-647-miles-of-njs-highways/

NJ STIC Crowdsourcing for Advancing Operations
https://www.njdottechtransfer.net/2021/01/01/crowdsourcing-for-advancing-operations/

Drivewyze Dashboard. Courtesy of Drivewyze.

24th Annual NJDOT Research Showcase

The 24th Annual NJDOT Research Showcase provided an opportunity for the New Jersey transportation community to learn about the broad scope of academic research initiatives underway and share technology transfer activities being conducted by institutions of higher education partners and their associates. The annual event serves as a showcase to present the ongoing initiatives and benefits of the NJDOT Research program. This event was an in-person event with a livestreaming option with sessions held from 9:00am-2:45pm on October 26, 2022.

This year's Showcase theme, "Advancing Equity in Transportation" served as the organizing framework for the keynote speaker and panelists during the morning plenary session. Throughout the day the Research Showcase featured presentations on infrastructure, safety, mobility and equity topics being performed by research faculty, staff, and students and NJ agencies. Several awards were presented in recognition of research and implemented innovations.

The Research Showcase Program Agenda provides more information on the day's proceedings, including presented topics and speakers.  Recordings of the plenary and breakout sessions, and the presentations and posters shared during the event can be found below.


MORNING

Mike Russo, NJDOT Assistant Commissioner, Planning, Multimodal, and Grants Administration, welcomed attendees to the Research Showcase event.

Parth Oza, Assistant Commissioner, Capital Program Management, provided opening remarks focusing on ways that NJDOT has embedded equity in the project delivery process. Mr. Oza emphasized the importance of gathering input from communities affected by transportation projects throughout all project phases, using grant applications to address the impact of flooding on disadvantaged communities, and planning for the safety of all road users through the agency’s Complete Streets policy.

Valeriya Remezova, Deputy Division Administrator, Federal Highway Administration's New Jersey Division congratulated NJDOT for receiving the FHWA and AASHTO Innovative Initiative 2022 STIC Innovation Excellence Award. She recognized NJDOT research initiatives with an equity focus and noted New Jersey’s Metropolitan Planning Organization initiatives that advance equity.

Keith Benjamin, Associate Administrator for Highway Policy and External Affairs, Federal Highway Administration provided the keynote address. Mr. Benjamin discussed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the opportunities to use this funding to address equity in transportation planning, project development, and other activities. He noted that the funding allows for new ideas of transportation to become a reality, and looks forward to subsequent policy embedding these changes in people’s everyday transportation experience. He noted the program’s success will be measured by improvements such as people being able to cross the street safely, mitigation of unsafe corridors, availability of bus shelters, and repaving of dangerous streets. He offered several examples of local initiatives where collaboration among partner agencies and organizations and involvement of local residents in the process resulted in more equitable projects.

Mr. Benjamin responded to several questions in a Q&A session that followed his keynote remarks.

Plenary Session Recording

Morning Session Presentation

Keith Benjamin, FHWA Associate Administrator for Highway Policy and External Affairs with Assistant Commissioner Michael Russo. Photo by Steve Goodman.
Keith Benjamin, FHWA Associate Administrator for Highway Policy and External Affairs with Assistant Commissioner Michael Russo. Photo by Steve Goodman.
Keith Benjamin and the host moderator, David Maruca, discussed the Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Bill, the USDOT Equity Action Plan, and the safety benefits of Complete Streets, among other topics in a lively Q&A session that followed Mr. Benjamin’s Keynote remarks. Photo by Steve Goodman.
Keith Benjamin and the host moderator, David Maruca, discussed the Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Bill, the USDOT Equity Action Plan, and the safety benefits of Complete Streets, among other topics in a lively Q&A session that followed Mr. Benjamin’s Keynote remarks. Photo by Steve Goodman.

An interactive panel discussion, "Perspectives on Advancing Equity in Transportation," followed the keynote session with state, local and transportation management association (TMA) representatives who presented examples of the equity initiatives underway in their organization and reflected on some of the continuing challenges and opportunities for advancing equity in transportation in New Jersey. The panelists included:

  • Elkins Green, Director, Environmental Resources, New Jersey Department of Transportation. Green served as the Moderator for the session.
  • Veronica Murphy, Director’s Office, Division of Local Aid & Economic Development, New Jersey Department of Transportation. Ms. Murphy shared a short video of the organization of Local Aid & Economic Development and provided an overview of the role that her office plays in providing grant funding for transportation projects. Ms. Murphy noted that equity considerations are embedded in the distribution of funding and in the process of providing technical assistance to communities through the Local Aid Resource Center.
  • Krishna Murthy, President, EZ Ride described the mission and various activities of his TMA and focused on the organization’s EZ Ryde4Life program that assists older adults by coordinating with Lyft and Uber to provide rides. EZ Ride is trying to make the program more accessible to individuals who are paying directly for the program and have no sponsoring organization and described the affordability challenges for the users and operator.
  • Andrew Tunnard, Assistant Commissioner, Transportation Operations Systems & Support, New Jersey Department of Transportation. Mr. Tunnard spoke about the Trenton MOVES project, an autonomous vehicle system that is being planned to offer transit shuttle services for an urban core population in the City of Trenton that tends to have one or no cars and spends a high proportion of their income on transportation to reach regional employment and other opportunities.
  • Byron Nicholas, Supervising Transportation Planner, Hudson County Engineering described the County’s efforts to advance equity through project prioritization, public involvement, multimodal safety.

Participants responded to a series of questions posed by the moderator and by the audience members.

Panelists discussed equity initiatives underway in their organization and shared their views on the challenges and opportunities for advancing equity in transportation. Photo by Steve Goodman.
Panelists discussed equity initiatives underway in their organization and shared their views on the challenges and opportunities for advancing equity in transportation. Photo by Steve Goodman.

Perspectives on Advancing Equity in Transportation Panel Discussion Recording

The program continued as Amanda Gendek, Manager, NJDOT Bureau of Research, announced several awards given in recognition of research, innovation and implementation efforts.  Below is a listing of the award winners presented at this year's showcase:

  • 2022 Outstanding University Student in Transportation Research Award – Xiao Chen, Rutgers University (Innovative Pothole Repair Materials and Techniques)
  • 2022 Research Implementation Award – Anil Agrawal, City College of CUNY (NJDOT UAS/Drone Procedures Manual and Best Practices for Use in New Jersey)
  • 2022 Best Poster Award – Ahmed Edrees, New Jersey Institute of Technology (Minimizing Total Cost of Work Zones on Two-Lane Roads with Managed Lanes)
  • 2022 NJDOT Build a Better Mousetrap Award (State Agency) – Gary Liedtka-Bizuga and Henry Jablonski, NJDOT, Sawcut Vertical Curb

The Sawcut Vertical Curb was recognized as an innovative response to a change in standards requiring existing curbing at guide rails to be reduced in height. The Sawcut Vertical Curb innovation saves time and money and increases safety and efficiency by obviating the need to pour new concrete curbing and allowing guide rail to remain in place during the process.  A short video about the Sawcut Vertical Curb innovation was presented when the BABM award was announced during the event.

Presentation of Awards

Accepting the Better Mousetrap Award, Gary Liedtka-Bizuga, Roadway Design Group 1, with Acting Assistant Commissioner Parth Oza, Bureau of Research Manager, Amanda Gendek, and Assistant Commissioner Michael Russo. Not shown here: Henry Jablonski, Region Central Construction. Photo by Steve Goodman.
Best Poster Award Recipient, Ahmed Edrees, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Minimizing Total Cost of Work Zones on Two-Lane Roads with Managed Lanes. Photo by Steve Goodman.
2022 Outstanding University Student in Transportation Research Award, Xiao Chen, Rutgers University, Innovative Pothole Repair Materials and Techniques. Photo by Steve Goodman.
2022 Outstanding University Student in Transportation Research Award, Xiao Chen, Rutgers University, Innovative Pothole Repair Materials and Techniques. Photo by Steve Goodman.
2022 NJDOT Research Implementation Award, Anil Agrawal, City College of CUNY, NJDOT UAS/Drone Procedures Manual and Best Practices for Use in New Jersey. Photo by Steve Goodman.
2022 NJDOT Research Implementation Award, Anil Agrawal, City College of CUNY, NJDOT UAS/Drone Procedures Manual and Best Practices for Use in New Jersey. Photo by Steve Goodman.

AFTERNOON 

In the afternoon, concurrent break-out sessions for research presentations focused on the topics of Equity & Mobility, Infrastructure, and Safety in Transportation, and for the presentation of posters from students and researchers at New Jersey’s colleges and universities describing their methods and findings on ongoing and recently completed research and responding to questions by attendees.

Equity & Mobility Session Recording

Infrastructure Session Recording

Safety in Transportation Session Recording

 


Equity and Mobility Presentations

Peter J. Jin, Rutgers University-CAIT, Real-Time Traffic Signal System Performance Measure Phase II  LINK

Zijia Zhong, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Assessing High-Resolution Connected Vehicle Data for TSM&O Applications  LINK

Hannah Younes, Rutgers University-VTC, Factors Influencing the Fatality of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Involved Crashes in New Jersey  LINK

 


Infrastructure Presentations

Seyed Masoud Shirkhorshidi, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Corrosion Performance of Ultra-High Performance Concrete in Uncracked and Cracked Beams  LINK

Rojyar Barhemat, Soroush Mahjoub, Victor C. Li and Yi Bao, Stevens Institute of Technology  LINK

Ashith Padinhar and Marath Purakkal, Rowan CREATES, Developing Electrically-Heated Flexible Pavement for Self-Deicing Application LINK

 


Safety Presentations

Branislav Dimitrijevic, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Development and Evaluation of a Pedestrian Crossing Alert System Using 2-Channel LiDAR Sensor LINK

Anahita Kakhani, Rowan University, Emerging Countermeasures for Pedestrian Safety: A Review of State of Art and Recent Advances  LINK

Sam Rosenthal, Rutgers University, Complete and Green Streets: Effective Public Engagement Practics and Resouces to Promote Safety and Advance Equity  LINK

 


2022 Poster Presentations

Decision Aided Cost and Construction Time Estimates for the Gateway Tunnel Project - Ehsan Mehryaar, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Recommendations for Improving NJDOT Specifications for Cold In-Place Recycling - Ahmed Saidi, Rowan University

Minimizing Total Cost of Work Zones on Two-Lane Roads with Managed Lanes - Ahmed Edrees, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Simulating Corrosion Induced Damage in Recycled Aggregate Concrete Systems - Jin Fan, New Jersey Institute of Technology

A Review on Seat Belt Compliance of Drivers and Front Passengers: Data Collection, Analysis, and Countermeasures - Omar Al-Sheikh, Rowan University

Feasiblity Study of Shared Mobility Programs as a First/Last-Mile Solution in Underserved Communities: A Case Study in Camden City, NJ - Ruqaya Alfaris, Rowan University

Zero-Emission Bus Fleet: A Review of State Practices, Recent Developments, and Future Directions - Zahra Vafakhah, Rowan University

How Distraction Triggers Speeding: An Observational Case Study in New Jersey - Ahmed Sajid Hasan, Rowan University

Use of 100% RAP for Repair Purposes - Dr. Faisal Kabir, Rowan University

Three-Dimensional Finite Element Modeling of Cold In-Place Recycled Asphalt Sections in Accelerated Pavement Testing - Chenchen Huang, Cheng Zhu, Yusuf Mehta & Daniel Offenbacker, Rowan University

Assessment of the Impact of Binder Grade on the Laboratory Performance of Fiber-Reinforced Asphalt Mixtures - Ali Reza Khan, Ayman Ali, Yusuf Mehta, Rowan University

A Framework for Proactive Safety Evaluation of Intersection Using Surrogate Safety Measures and Non-Compliance Behavior - Deep Patel, Rowan University

 


Michael Russo
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Michael Russo
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The Research Showcase was organized by the NJDOT Bureau of Research in partnership with the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) and the Rutgers Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center. The 24th Annual NJDOT Research Showcase was co-sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration.

Try This at Home: MoDOT’s Innovations Challenge

The sixth round of Every Day Counts (EDC-6) was kicked off with a Virtual Summit that introduced the innovations that FHWA would be promoting over the next 2 years. The Summit also featured a National State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) Network Showcase that highlighted some 245 innovations developed and deployed by agencies throughout the United States. This article is one in a series that takes a closer look at “homegrown innovations” implemented by state and local agencies to save lives, time, and money. 

During Innovations Challenge showcases, MoDOT employees are able to physically see potential new best practices and ask questions about them in a professional environment.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has promoted a culture of innovation through its Innovation Challenge contest, which showcases and proliferates improvements to MoDOT’s tools and processes annually. Spurred on by MoDOT’s commitments to performance management between 2004 and the present, and its expressed values that ”embrace new ways of doing work” (1), this competition enables employees at all levels of the Department to introduce innovations that generate measurable results and cost savings. Since its inception in 2007, the Innovation Challenge has given thousands of MoDOT employees the opportunity to share their office’s improvements to productivity, tools, and project processes with the wider agency.

MoDOT employees receive small cash rewards for the highest ranked innovations, in addition to formalized recognitions such as the Dixon People's Choice Award or the Directors’ Safety Award. Innovations are divided into three categories (2) to convey the nature of each potential improvement:

  • Tools and Equipment - Innovations to items that were fabricated or modified by MoDOT employees.
  • Project - Innovative project implementations that produce exceptional results for transportation users or internal operations.
  • Productivity - Improvements to office and field processes, materials, and product submissions.

After an Innovation Challenge showcase, subject matter experts evaluate the innovations to determine if they should be considered as best practices for MoDOT to adopt and promote. MoDOT has implemented over 300 showcased innovations to the level of best practices since 2007. The institutional benefit of rewarding innovation extends beyond the findings of the showcase itself; encouraging a culture of innovation through this event motivates MoDOT teams to consider how to improve their work throughout the rest of the year. Giving hundreds of employees the opportunity to learn from their co-workers in such a celebratory way also increases buy-in for new transportation technologies and methods. Additionally, MoDOT notes that providing a space for employees at all levels of the Department to share ideas “can result in employee retention and boost teamwork” (2).

Two recently showcased improvements at MoDOT’s Innovation challenge are a Camera Assisted Remote Sprayer (CARS) and a Signing Information System (SIS).

The Camera Assisted Remote Sprayer puts a greater distance between the vegetation control chemicals and the operator, making the task safer as well.

At a Southeastern District Innovation Challenge, a team from Qulin, Missouri displayed their development of CARS, a set of remotely adjustable vegetation control equipment that allows one driver to finish tasks that previously required two people. This reduction in required personnel was motivated by the need to reduce COVID-19 contact and presents efficiency benefits by cutting the required labor for the task in half. CARS is designed to be attachable (and detachable) to most flatbed trucks — meaning trucks can still be used for other tasks — and provides two cameras for the driver to remotely direct the dual nozzles and spray bar of the equipment. A video describing this Tools and Equipment innovation in further detail is available here.

The Central District submitted their SIS innovation to the 2022 Innovation Challenge Showcase for the Productivity category. The SIS keeps track of damaged signs across the district, and it records the date, caller, location, cause, and required repair type of the damage, among other information. Filtering row by row, SIS users can check the repair status of a particular road’s reports within a county. The physical repair status of signs is broken down into four recorded categories detailing progress for its dig rights, stub, post and the sign itself. The system is recorded in Excel, which makes it easy to edit, modify, and scale for other topics and jurisdictions. A video describing this Productivity innovation in further detail is available here.

The success of MoDOT’s Innovation Challenge illustrates the importance of leadership in the development of a culture of innovation within an agency. As previously noted, three of the Department’s stated values, “Be Bold,” “Be Better,” and “Be One Team,” encourage extra effort in evolving processes and products, even if it invites the potential for failure (see text box). By “empowering staff (particularly middle-management leaders), encouraging innovation, demanding measurable results and cost savings, and holding staff accountable for results” (3), MoDOT and its Innovation Challenge sustains an improvement-oriented mindset that is worth emulating. In the 2020 National STIC Showcase, FHWA recognized the Illinois Innovative Ideas Council, Illinois DOT’s annual innovation contest inspired by MoDOT’s, showing that this approach has potential outside of Missouri. Information on Illinois DOT’s sister initiative is available here (3).


Illinois DOT's "Innovative Ideas" Contest has recognized and promoted innovations such as a Mobile Plow Racking Emergency Stand System, Rotating Sign Holders, and an improved Payroll Calculator

Resources and References on MoDOT’s Innovation Challenge:

MoDOT Mission, Values and Tangible Results:  https://www.modot.org/mission-values-and-tangible-results
The MoDOT Innovation Challenge Homepage: https://www.modot.org/innovations-challenge
Innovations Showcase Homepage: https://www.modot.org/innovations-showcase-homepage
Southeast Missouri Innovation Contest: https://www.modot.org/seinnovationschallenge
Illinois DOT’s Innovative Ideas Contest: https://idot.illinois.gov/innovative-ideas

Further References:

(1) Caltrans Division of Research, Innovation and System Information. (2015, July 18). Fostering Innovation within State Departments of Transportation. https://dot.ca.gov/-/media/dot-media/programs/research-innovation-system-information/documents/preliminary-investigations/fostering-innovation-pi-2015-07-28-a11y.pdf
(2) MoDOT Innovation Explainer Page with Videos: https://www.modot.org/innovation
(3) Illinois Department of Transportation. (2022). Innovative Ideas Contest. https://idot.illinois.gov/innovative-ideas.

Examples of Promoted Innovations:

HERE Camera Assisted Remote Sprayer.  https://www.modot.org/se-innovations-camera-assisted-remote-sprayer
HERE Signing Information System. https://www.modot.org/signing-information-system

FHWA Issued Its EDC-6 Progress Report #3

FHWA’s latest report tracks progress on advancing innovations by the state DOTs during Round 6 of the EDC program.

The Every Day Counts Round 6 Progress Report #3 is now available here.

Every Day Counts (EDC) is the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) program to advance a culture of innovation in the transportation community in partnership with public and private stakeholders. Through this State-based effort, FHWA coordinates rapid deployment of proven strategies and technologies to shorten the project delivery process, enhance roadway safety, reduce traffic congestion, and integrate automation.

The Progress Report summarizes the June 2022 status of deployment for the seven innovations in the sixth round of EDC. The report is intended to be a resource for transportation stakeholders as they develop their deployment plans and to encourage innovation in managing highway project delivery to better serve the Nation.

More information on the EDC-6 Round Innovations, including the initial Baseline Report and Progress Reports can be found here.

UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair

What is UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair?

Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) is a new material for bridge construction that has become popular for field-cast connections between prefabricated bridge elements. Bridge preservation and repair (P&R) is an emerging and promising application for UHPC. UHPC-based repair solutions are robust, and offer superior strength, durability, and improved life-cycle cost over traditional methods. State and local agencies can deploy UHPC for bridge preservation and repair to maintain or improve bridge conditions.

Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) offers enhanced durability and improved life-cycle cost performance for bridge preservation and repair.

Keeping bridges in a state of good repair is essential to keeping the transportation system operating efficiently. Agencies at all levels can deploy UHPC for bridge preservation and repair to maintain or improve bridge conditions cost effectively.

Stronger Repairs, Extended Service Life

Because of its strength and durability, UHPC can be an optimum solution for some repairs. UHPC can be used in situations that normally use conventional concrete or repair mortars, and in some cases those that use structural steel. Some UHPC mixes gain strength rapidly, so bridges could be opened to traffic 24 hours after completing the necessary repairs. Additionally, UHPC repairs are long lasting and resilient, requiring less maintenance and fewer follow-up repairs than conventional methods. In some cases, they can outlive and outperform their conventional counterparts—UHPC repairs could be the strongest and most durable part of the bridge.

Benefits

Versatility. UHPC can generally be used anywhere other types of concrete would be used, and due to its strength and durability, it can be the optimum material for many applications.

Durability. UHPC-based repairs are long-lasting and require less maintenance and fewer follow-up repairs.

Cost Savings. UHPC repairs can outlive and outperform their conventional counterparts, resulting in life-cycle cost savings. UHPC bridge deck overlays and link slabs can extend the service life of bridges well beyond that of traditional preservation and repair strategies.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair in NJ

Stage of Innovation:
ASSESSMENT
(June 2022)

Using UHPC. NJDOT completed construction of two bridge preservation projects in 2020. The agency is currently gathering information on performance and usability from these two pilot projects, which include four bridges using UHPC overlay. First UHPC link slab application is in the construction phase. Additional UHPC Link-Slab applications are currently in the Final Design Phase

Communicating UHPC Information on Bridge Preservation & Repair. The State participated in workshops, webinars, or peer exchanges related to UHPC for Bridge P&R, including:

  • NJDOT Hosted FHWA Workshop UHPC EDC-6 P&R
  • International Bridge Conference Poster Session
  • NYSDOT UHPC Link-slab Peer Exchange 2022
  • ABC December 2022 presentation and paper

What’s Next?

The Future of UHPC for Bridge Preservation & Repair (P&R). The agency anticipates incorporating UHPC for bridge preservation and repair in its new design manual, using data collected from the current pilots and will further investigate performance and examine life cycle costs. NJDOT will use these indicators to determine future usage and applicability with additional research through the Bridge Research Program.

 

UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair: NEW & NOTEWORTHY 

UHPC Bridge Preservation and Repair – NJ Efforts Highlighted

UHPC Bridge Preservation and Repair – NJ Efforts Highlighted

The FHWA's EDC Newsletter of April 28th highlighted a project to test UHPC bridge preservation materials, in partnership with Rutgers University Below is a reprint ...
Stronger, More Resilient Bridges: Ultra High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) Applications in New Jersey

Stronger, More Resilient Bridges: Ultra High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) Applications in New Jersey

How the emerging innovation of Ultra High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) is being implemented in New Jersey. ...
Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Bridge Preservation and Repair: NJDOT Example Featured

Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Bridge Preservation and Repair: NJDOT Example Featured

The FHWA's EDC News Weekly Newsletter featured how NJDOT has applied UHPC for bridge preservation and repair. ...
EDC-4 Final Report Highlights Innovations

EDC-4 Final Report Highlights Innovations

The EDC-4 Final Report highlights the results of round four of the Every Day Counts program to rapidly deploy proven innovations to enhance the transportation ...

Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS)

What is Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS)?

Solutions for integrating innovative overlay procedures into practices that can improve performance, lessen traffic impacts, and reduce the cost of pavement ownership.

Approximately half of all infrastructure dollars are invested in pavements, and more than half of that investment is in overlays. By enhancing overlay performance, state and local highway agencies can maximize this investment and help ensure safer, longer-lasting roadways for the traveling public.

Improved Pavements that Last Longer

Many of the pavements in the nation's highway system have reached or are approaching the end of their design life. These roadways still carry daily traffic that often far exceeds their initial design criteria. Overlays are now available for both asphalt and concrete pavements that enable agencies to provide long-life performance under a wide range of traffic, environmental, and existing pavement conditions.

Concrete overlays now benefit from performance-engineered mixtures, including thinner-bonded and unbonded overlays with fiber reinforcement, interlayer materials, and new design procedures that improve durability and performance. Asphalt overlay mixtures have also advanced significantly with the use of stone-matrix asphalt (SMA), polymer-modified asphalt (PMA), and other materials and agents that reduce rutting, increase cracking resistance, and extend pavement life.

Benefits

Safety. Thousands of miles of rural and urban pavements need structural enhancement and improved surface characteristics, such as smoothness, friction, and noise. Targeted overlay pavement solutions can improve the condition of highways significantly in a relatively short time.

Cost Savings. Timely and well-designed overlay applications are consistently cost-effective because less subsurface work is required. In urban areas, impacts to utilities and pedestrian facilities are minimized.

Performance. Targeting overlay solutions to high-maintenance areas such as intersections, bus lanes, ramps, and curved alignments can pay immediate dividends in terms of reduced maintenance needs, fewer work zones, and improved safety.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

TOPS in NJ

Stage of Innovation:
DEMONSTRATION
(June 2022)

New Jersey has been a leader in Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS). The following activities occurred in under previous EDC rounds:

High-Performance Thin Overlay (HPTO). NJDOT incorporated HPTO into its standard specifications and has used it for the preservation of good pavement and as the surface course on some composite pavement overlays. HPTO is also used by the Structural Design unit for bridge deck overlay.

Crack Attenuating Mixture. NJDOT incorporated this into its standard specifications and has used it for the intermediate course on some composite pavement overlays followed by SMA surface course.

Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA). NJDOT incorporated SMA into standard specifications and has used it for the surface course on high traffic pavement, for the surface course on some composite pavement overlays, and over top of BRIC mix as overlay of composite pavements.

Asphalt Rubber Gap-Graded (ARGG). NJDOT incorporated ARGG into its standard specifications and has used it for the surface and/or intermediate course on some composite pavement overlays.

Open-Graded Friction Course (OGFC). NJDOT incorporated OGFC into its standard specifications and has used it for full depth porous asphalt pavements in outside shoulders, parking lots, pathways, sidewalks and other low traffic pavements.

Ultra-Thin Bonded Wearing Course (UTBWC) / Ultra-Thin Friction Course (UTFC). NJDOT incorporated UTFC into its standard specifications and used it for preservation of good pavement and for the surface course on some resurfacing pavement overlays.

What’s Next?

The Department is working to pilot a demonstration of Ultra-HPTO / Highly Modified Asphalt (HiMA) on the Rt.42 Pavement Preservation project. The Department plans to monitor closely and analyze the pros and cons of utilizing this type of asphalt mixture on NJ concrete pavements.

NJDOT Pavement Management unit procured new skid testing equipment in 2022. Skid testing by NJDOT Pavement Management unit on high friction surface treatment sections and alternative enhanced friction overlay (EFO) sections will continue using the new equipment.  There are plans to test, analyze, and monitor skid test results to advise the department on future development and use of enhanced friction overlay treatments.

The Department is also working with an academic partner to perform companion testing of these friction test sections with a Dynamic Friction Tester (DFT) unit.

Ultra High Performance Thin Overlay is included in one project (UPC 213090). Specification is finalized and the item number has been created.

Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS): NEW & NOTEWORTHY 

Targeted Overlay Payment Solutions (TOPS): NJDOT Example Featured

Targeted Overlay Payment Solutions (TOPS): NJDOT Example Featured

The FHWA's EDC News Weekly Newsletter featured NJDOT's use of HPTO as a cost-effective pavement preservation tool. ...
Lunchtime Tech Talk! WEBINAR: NJDOT’s Pavement Support Program—Goals, Deliverables and the Future

Lunchtime Tech Talk! WEBINAR: NJDOT’s Pavement Support Program—Goals, Deliverables and the Future

Dr. Thomas Bennert, who leads the Pavement Support Program (PSP), discussed how the group's research supports NJDOT's efforts to improve pavements across the state. ...
Pavement Preservation Treatments at NJDOT

Pavement Preservation Treatments at NJDOT

This video features the work that the NJDOT Pavement and Drainage Management and Technology Unit is doing to advance Pavement Preservation treatments on state roads to increase ...
Paving the Way to Better Roads at Lower Costs

Paving the Way to Better Roads at Lower Costs

Pavement preservation is just one example among many of how NJDOT is committed to keeping New Jersey’s roadways in a state of good repair and ...
Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Asphalt Pavement Preservation at Construction and Use Stages Using Life Cycle Assessment

Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Asphalt Pavement Preservation at Construction and Use Stages Using Life Cycle Assessment

A recent study found that pavement preservation techniques can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to savings for both transportation agencies and drivers. ...

Strategic Workforce Development

What is Strategic Workforce Development?

The demand for highway construction, maintenance, and operations workers is growing while industry is experiencing a revolution of emerging technologies that will require new skills. To attract and retain workers in the contractors' workforce, new resources are available to help compete with other industries and demonstrate the value of a career in transportation.

An Industry and Public Workforce Collaboration

Government agencies, trade organizations, private agencies, and communities nationwide need new, collaborative approaches to meeting this challenge. The nation depends on the highway system, and the highway system depends on qualified workers.

Additionally, increasing the contractors' construction workforce can help communities thrive while solving one of today's most persistent national transportation problems. It also offers an opportunity to recruit minorities and women to jobs that can change their lives, and the lives of their families, for the better.

Benefits
Effective Solutions. Advancing the lessons learned through the highway construction workforce pilot offers the transformational ideas and support needed to fill the gaps in the workforce.

Proven Training. Training programs, practices, and tools from across the country are available to help plan workforce development activities.

Flexibility. Free materials are available to support workforce marketing efforts. Posters, flyers, mailer cards, and social media graphics can be customized with local contact information.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

NJ Advances Strategic Workforce Development

Stage of Innovation:
ASSESSMENT
(June 2022)

New Jersey is utilizing diverse strategies to develop the state's transportation workforce:

Apprenticeship Program.  Has an operations apprenticeship program that is currently in the implementation stage. NJDOT has a one-year training program that includes testing as trainees move through the system.

Professional Programs. NJDOT has expanded outreach to draw attention to its professional series positions by partnering with high schools, vocational-technical schools, colleges and universities, community organizations, and the Department of Labor; working with under-represented communities of interest; expanding its social media presence; and building its pipeline and knowledge base that allows growth into the journeyman title.

What's Next? 

In September 2021, NJDOT participated in an FHWA pilot, Let’s Go! Workshop. In this 2-day workshop, NJDOT participants developed a Mission Statement – “To create career opportunities for a diverse workforce in terms of disciplines, demographics, and career levels in order to meet the demands of the transportation skills of tomorrow".  The workshop participants defined a set of priority actions, including:  Industry Association Outreach; Goal, Measures, Timeline, Buy-In; Regular Meetings and Follow-up Actions; and College/University Outreach.

Since then, NJDOT has continued to seek partnerships with national and local organizations to support hiring efforts and to acquire best practice information. The NJDOT Civil Rights programs has sought to perform outreach in underserved communities and pursue a NJDOT leadership training effort. NJDOT is also exploring potential development of a training program for construction inspection/maintenance.

During this period, interviews were conducted with HR staff about early stages of institutionalizing an apprenticeship program. Engagement activities were held to facilitate connections with Industry Association and Higher Education Institutions (e.g., Union, Workforce Development Boards and County College).

The Strategic Workforce Development Working Group convened to formulate a Department-Wide Mentorship Program; identify Emerging Skillset needs with Partners; and continue Industry Association and College/University Outreach activities.  Research into best practices for identifying emerging skillsets and incorporating these considerations into mentoring programs could assist the advancement of this initiative.

Strategic Workforce Development: NEW & NOTEWORTHY

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Exploring Strategic Workforce Development – Model Programs, Partnerships and Lessons from Oregon

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Exploring Strategic Workforce Development:  An Interview with NJDOT’s Human Resources

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We spoke with Kelly Hutchinson, Director, Human Resources at NJDOT about ongoing and planned workforce development initiatives at NJDOT. ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ: An Interview with the IUOE Local 825

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ: An Interview with the IUOE Local 825

We spoke with Greg Lalevee, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 825. The organization collaborates with Hudson County Community College (HCCC) ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development:  An Interview with the Office of Apprenticeship, NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL)

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We spoke with Nick Toth, Director, New Jersey Office of Apprenticeship, NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development to learn about the State’s role in ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ:  An Interview with Hudson County Community College

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Digital As-Builts

Highway construction projects produce massive amounts of valuable data. Historically, information such as materials tickets and as-built plans were communicated via paper. Today’s transportation agencies are improving on these paper processes by integrating them into electronic and digital workflows. While electronic ticketing (e-Ticketing) improves the tracking, exchange, and archiving of materials tickets, digital as-builts, and other digital information such as 3D design models and other metadata, can enhance the value of contract documents and the future usability of the as-built plans for operations, maintenance, and asset management. Both can increase project safety and quality through efficient data gathering and sharing.

What are Digital As-Builts?

Using digital data such as 3D models to build road projects is becoming an industry standard. Sharing the design model and associated digital project data allows agencies and contractors to streamline project delivery and contract administration and to collaborate on challenges “virtually” before they get to the field. The digital information is further leveraged when the model is updated, and other data incorporated, to reflect the project’s as-built condition for future maintenance, asset management, and rehabilitation activities.

Benefits

Safety. Construction using digital information can lead to safer projects and shorter work zone traffic impacts.

Time Savings. Digital information provided to construction enhances planning and can streamline project delivery. Digital as-builts including utility locations and other asset information will improve post-construction decisions and shorten future project delivery.

Quality. Digital as-builts can provide enhanced historical data, enabling State DOTs to better maintain the transportation infrastructure and develop future projects.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

Digital As-Builts in NJ

Stage of Innovation:
DEVELOPMENT
(June 2022)

The NJDOT EDC team added representation from in-house roadway design staff, traffic engineering, geodetic survey and the CADD Unit along with Local Aid, Construction, Project Management Office (PMO), and the consultant industry over time to develop this initiative.

Before digital as-builts could be advanced at NJDOT, the new CADD platform of Open Roads Designer (ORD) and Open Bridge Designer (OBD) must be fully in place and in full use.  NJDOT's CADD unit has been working with Bentley on a new workspace for ORD and OBD.  Several key steps required completion before the new software could be fully implemented by in-house and consultant designers including development of a new CADD Manual. The EDC team will provide assistance to the CADD unit for this and other activities.

Research. NJDOT has met with the Pennsylvania DOT to learn about their digital as-built program and delivery plan and has contacted the consultant developing FHWA guidelines for 3D As-Builts.

Pilot Development. NJDOT has identified a digital as-built pilot project that will meet various functional and business requirements. The pilot project, Route 138, GSP to Route 35 (MP 0.37 to 3.52), will be designed in-house using OpenRoads Designer (ORD) through mapping submitted in ORD following the new CADD Standards. The mobile LiDAR Survey is in process and preliminary engineering (PE) is slated to be initiated in the fall of 2022.  The team has completed the task of connecting pay items to the design elements to ready the project.

What’s Next?

Next steps will be to coordinate with Construction on the specifics of the post construction survey for the digital as-builts. The implementation team is participating in various webinars and workshops to learn more about the national trends and to hear about lessons learned.

The loss of key staff in the CADD Development Unit and the Geodetic Survey Unit, due to retirements and promotions, has disrupted the team's learning curve for the storage of 3-D As-Builts and integration into GIS.  With the pilot project not yet initiated and construction not due to start for a couple of years, the team expects to adjust staffing levels, groom new subject matter experts, and/or leverage consulting staff augmentation for support.

DIGITAL AS-BUILTS: NEW & NOTEWORTHY

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Mentoring in Monroe: An Interview on NJDOT’s Commitment to Communities

As a part of the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT)’s Commitment to Communities, three Monroe Township High School students received assistance with their senior capstone project from NJDOT Bureau of Research (BoR) research scientist, Dr. Giri Venkiteela. The capstone project was undertaken as a part of the Project Lead the Way program which seeks to incorporate hands-on STEM projects into primary and secondary education across the country. The specific aim of these students’ project was to improve the processes for pothole repair in the area. Maintenance of roadways with potholes is an important aspect of transportation infrastructure particularly because potholes can grow or crack and damage roads further if left unresolved.

The students employed a survey of local residents to investigate the relative state of road conditions in Monroe and familiarized themselves with research relating to road maintenance and design. They engaged with subject matter experts from Rutgers University, the BoR, and other stakeholders who helped the students hone the depth and direction of their capstone. We spoke with Dr. Venkiteela about this mentorship process and what the future may hold for this project and the team behind it.

Background

Q. What is your role at the NJDOT’s Bureau of Research? How did BoR and NJDOT become involved in mentoring the Monroe Township High School students?

Project Lead the Way capstones at Monroe Township High School Source: Courtesy of NJDOT Bureau of Research

Project Lead the Way capstones at Monroe Township High School. Courtesy of NJDOT Bureau of Research.

I am a research scientist and a subject matter expert (SME) in structural design, technology transfer, and pavement materials among other areas at the NJDOT Bureau of Research. The students reached out to the NJDOT Commissioner by email to request help because they were trying to find solutions to a transportation issue – pothole repair. The Commissioner then assigned me to coordinate with the students and engage with other relevant SMEs to lend assistance. We had a couple of back and forth meetings to get the students connected, and that is how everything started.

Q. To what degree did mentoring Monroe high school students with their Project Lead The Way engineering capstone reflect the Bureau of Research’s mission?

It is the mission of the Bureau, and of the state-wide Department, to help communities, students, universities, and the wider public engage with transportation topics. Beyond the innovations and assistance that such engagements yield back to us as an organization, it is our aim to benefit residents and stakeholders as much as possible. Mentoring the Monroe high school students reflects this aspect of the agency’s “Commitment to Communities” and helps cultivate the next generation of engineers.

Q. Could you describe the capstone project the students undertook?

The students produced a survey targeted to local drivers about the state of potholes in the Monroe area. The students also spoke with individuals, agencies, and local organizations in order to come up with solutions to improve pothole repair processes. The students combined the quantitative information from their survey with more qualitative interviews from key stakeholders and SMEs for their final presentation and capstone project.

Project Outcomes

Q. We understand that you helped get the students in touch with Rutgers and NJDOT SMEs in mentoring these students. Could you describe that mentoring? In what ways did this mentoring encourage, direct, or otherwise support their project?

Beyond facilitating the students’ contact with experts, NJDOT and I helped them sharpen the focus and direction of their project. After they designed and conducted their survey, for instance, we asked them to come up with the three core ideas they might want to explore further. The SMEs and I looked at these ideas, and we provided additional feedback and comments on them, so the students could make a final decision on how to proceed with the project.

Research Project Manager, Dr. Giri Venkiteela, with the three Monroe Township High School Students. Courtesy of NJDOT Bureau of Research

The students definitely aimed high with their project, but I would say part of the mentoring process was supporting their ambitions with advice on the practical, feasible side of the capstone that could lead them to successfully carrying out their vision. We found there was a fine line between providing this type of feedback and not discouraging the students. I also tracked their progress to make sure I could offer support as they moved along with their project.

Q. What were some of the most interesting findings from the students’ capstone/survey?

The students originally wanted to eliminate the potholes that can form in asphalt roads by using concrete slabs equipped with sensors. As the students imagined it, these sensors would detect cracks or physical depressions occurring in the roads’ concrete and report it for repair. When the SMEs and I reviewed their idea though, we made them aware that it is not practical to use concrete in all of the roads that we might be interested in because of freezing and thawing and other conditions affecting the roads. Their ideas might be applied to smaller road sections or local roads. The students learned why roads are built out of the materials they are: this kind of learning was interesting to engage with.

A large pothole forming cracks in the surrounding surface of a road. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

All the same, I would say placing the sensors in the pavement itself was a very interesting idea. It is a good, creative approach that was interesting to discuss for their capstone.

Q. What are your thoughts on the educational benefits of capstone projects for secondary education or beyond? In what ways do you feel the capstone might have benefited the students’ academic and professional development?

Beyond the outcome of a capstone project itself, these types of projects facilitate critical thinking. Exposure to a large organization like NJDOT and the practical side of engineering problem solving will help their career and intellectual development wherever they go or whichever field they specialize in. The hands-on experiences of coming up with solutions to specific problems, prototyping, and working in labs are incredibly valuable.

Flyer describing the Capstone team’s project, “The Pothole Solution Project”, and contacts
Source: Courtesy of NJDOT Bureau of Research

One of the most important things I saw personally was that the students are very interested in their presentation skills. I was so impressed, actually; I can imagine once they reach the college or postgraduate level, they will be able to express their thoughts and findings remarkably well. That aspect of their development is core to becoming a scientist, engineer, educator, or who knows. There are so many things they will be able to choose from with the skills fostered by this educational process.

Next Steps

Q. What are the next stages for their project and its findings? Have any public or nonprofit entities (such as local governments, NJDOT, or neighborhood groups) taken notice of it?

Absolutely, in a certain sense the NJDOT has already taken interest with my involvement. For high school students working on a project like this, however, the next steps are complicated since we do not know if they are going to specialize in college in computer science, civil engineering, materials engineering, etc. If we were certain the students were going into civil engineering with their academic and professional futures, we could endeavor to keep them in the loop, but having spoken to the students, their interests and futures are likely to be varied. One is heading into environmental studies for a college major, another will be a computer sciences major, and one will do civil engineering.

We definitely encourage them to continue reaching out to us with their ideas with pothole repair — it is a major issue within transportation. Though it is, of course, impossible to eliminate one hundred percent of potholes, the next generation will come up with the solutions to this wider concern.

Q. Do you think it may prompt or support future studies/capstones?

Though the current students are graduating from high school and going in their own directions for college, next year’s students could continue this project and the progress these students have achieved. I could see friends of different graduating years passing on some of the efforts from previous capstones and building on one another. NJDOT, and I personally, would be glad to participate in future capstone projects and to serve the broader community in this way.

Be on the Cutting Edge: Join the NJ Mileage-Based User Fee Pilot Program

Current funding for transportation infrastructure comes from the gas tax. With a shift to electric and hybrid vehicles, a new funding approach is needed. With an MBUF program, drivers pay for the miles they travel. The MBUF Pilot Program is funded by a U.S. Department of Transportation grant program that funds efforts to utilize a user fee structure.

NJDOT has joined with the Eastern Transportation Coalition, a partnership of 17 states and Washington D.C., to launch Phase 4 of the New Jersey Mileage-Based User Fee (MBUF) Pilot Program.

To better understand how an MBUF program could work, the Coalition is conducting a Pilot Program in New Jersey and they want you to join and tell them what you think! It is free to participate, and there are strict privacy protection measures to safeguard your data. Here’s how to join the Pilot in four easy steps:

1. Enroll – Fill out the enrollment form by clicking the link on the website.
2. Insert – Plug a small device into your vehicle to record mileage.
3. Drive – Then drive as you normally do.
4. Return – After a few months, mail back the device.
*These steps may vary depending on the mileage-reporting option selected.

Your participation is important, so visit NewJerseyMBUFpilot.com to learn more and enroll by July 31st to participate in this innovative program.  Participants who qualify can receive up to $100.

Have questions? Contact a Pilot team member at 609-293-7800 or NewJersey@MBUFpilot.org.