Local Access Management Regulations

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) is responsible for administering an access management policy for the state highway system.  The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) defines access management as “the proactive management of vehicular access points to land parcels adjacent to all manner of roadways. Good access management promotes safe and efficient use of the transportation network.”

Figure 1: Conceptual Roadway Functional Hierarchy. Source: FHWA, 2017

Key components of an access management code include access spacing, driveway spacing, safe turning lanes, median treatments, and right-of-way management. While New Jersey’s access management code is highly regarded, it only applies to state highways and not local roads. Local authorities in New Jersey do not have uniform access management codes, regulations, or standards for local roads. This creates a gap in policy for how to address the issues that arise when new developments take place on local roads near intersections with state routes or when state highway improvements are required near intersections with local roads.

To address these issues, the NJDOT Bureau of Research solicited a research study of local access management regulations. The primary research objective was to identify and recommend strategies, tools, and guidelines to facilitate access management on local roads (i.e., county and municipal) intersecting and/or impacting state highways in New Jersey.

The selected research team sought to evaluate how other state DOTs address access management on local roads near state highways and explore how New Jersey local government and transportation agency officials perceive these access management issues between state and local jurisdictions

The research team carried out several tasks. First, they compiled a literature review of local access management drawing upon resources from state DOTs, the FHWA, the Transportation Research Board (TRB), local governments, among others (see Figures 1 and 2). Next, they organized and facilitated discussions with a stakeholder committee of professionals in New Jersey (e.g., municipal, county, and MPO engineers and planners) with experience addressing access management. The team conducted structured interviews with state DOTs from 13 different states, including California, Colorado, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.  NJ local government officials were reached through an online survey to gather information on current practices, issues, and relevant case studies. The researchers conducted case study analyses of specific problematic issues at intersections of local roads and state highways in New Jersey. Four site locations were selected based on the availability of data, severity of issues, geographic and land use patterns, and the relative difficulty for access management implementation based on the current system.

The interviews with other state DOTs focused on several themes, including the basis and scope of authority given under current access management laws and regulations; issues related to the development of corner lots; proactive steps taken to avoid access management issues; and recommendations for developing and implementing access. From the interviews with the state DOT officials, the research team gleaned that there is substantial variation on access management approaches. Similar to New Jersey, other State DOTs are mostly focused on

Figure 2: Diagram of Intersection Corner Clearances. Source: TRB, Access Management Manual, 2014.

state highways, although many acknowledged facing local-road issues. The team uncovered some best practice strategies that could be pertinent to New Jersey, including the development of corridor agreements between local governments and state DOTs; training local government professionals on access management; establishing communication channels between local offices of state DOTs and local governments; and funding local governments to develop their own access management guidelines and standards.

Stakeholder meetings and surveys of local New Jersey officials revealed broad support for advancing local access management guidelines. Among those surveyed, 27 percent said the local agencies that they served had formal or informal access management guidelines and 60 percent said local access management standards similar to the state highway code would be beneficial. However, key barriers were also identified, including the cost and availability of training. Local officials generally were not in favor of extending NJDOT’s authority beyond the State Highway System to county and local roads, and preferred initiatives from NJDOT to local governments that involved dedicated funding, improved coordination or dialogue, or technical assistance.

Based on the literature review and survey feedback, the research team offered for consideration to NJDOT and local governments some criteria for intersections between state highways and local roads where no local access code or guidelines are available (see Table 1).

The research team also recommended that NJDOT:

  • Develop project-specific access management criteria for intersections between state and local roads in highway improvement projects, which will work to communicate early to local agencies and property owners if they may lose parking, road access, right-of-way, etc.
  • Provide assistance via funding and training to encourage local governments to develop their own access management guidelines consistent with state code yet with more flexibility to their local roads.
  • Provide incentives for local governments to establish and apply access management policies and guidelines (using a similar approach that has been used to encourage Complete Streets policy adoption and implementation training).
  • Adopt proactive measures such as corridor agreements with local governments at corridors with highway improvement projects in the next 5 or 10 years according to the state highway improvement plan of local MPOs and NJDOT and specify the spacing criteria for intersections between state and local roads on selected corridors.
  • Establish communication channels between divisional offices of NJDOT and local governments so that all parties are aware of projects early on.
  • Continue working with the stakeholder committee established for the research study to foster dialogue between NJDOT and local governments on access management

Table 1Criteria of Access Spacing and Corner Clearance based on Posted Speed Limit

Criteria Agency Posted Speed Limit (mph)
25 30 35 40 45 50 55
Minimum Access Spacing Peer State DOTs Minimum Access Separation (feet)
NJDOT(C) 105 125 150 185 230 275 330
Peer State DOTs 125-245 125-245 125-250 245-305 245-440 440-660 440-660
AASHTO Sight Distance

280

(240*)

335

(290)

390

(335)

445

(385)

500

(430)

555

(480)

610

(530)

TRB-Manual** 330 330 330 330 660 660 880
NJ Local Agencies 150-300 200-350 250-425 300-475 350-525 400-600 400-600
Minimum Corner Clearance Minimum Distance from Corner (feet)
NJDOT(C) 50 50 100 100 100 100 100
Peer DOTs Same as Access Spacing
NJ Survey

Same as Access Spacing

Notes: (C) stands for Code/Regulations/Ordinance; (G) Stands for Guidelines/Manual/Standards; * for right-turn-only access points with median blockage; ** TRB Access Management Manual.

The research team also suggested some future work items to further advance implementation. Notably, the development of semi-automated screening tools and GIS overlays could assist in the identification of problematic locations based on state or local intersection spacing criteria. This could help expedite the design process and facilitate proactive communications and problem solving between NJDOT and local governments. Additionally, NJDOT could establish a co-training program for their related departments and local agencies to deliver needed training on general knowledge, prevailing standards and design concepts, institutional procedures, and real-world practice on past state and local access management projects. Based on this report, there is clear evidence of strong support across local and state officials as NJDOT looks to implement these recommendations and further study how to improve current practices.

Sources:
FHWA. “What Is Access Management?” February 15, 2017. https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/access_mgmt/what_is_accsmgmt.htm

Jin, Peter J., Devajyoti Deka, and Mohammad Jalayer. “Local Access Management Regulations – Technical Brief.” 2019. FHWA-NJ-2018-003 TB

Jin, Peter J., Devajyoti Deka, and Mohammad Jalayer. “Local Access Management Regulations – Final Report.” 2019. FHWA-NJ-2018-003

Williams, Kristine M., Vergil G. Stover, Karen K. Dixon, and Philip Demosthenes. Access management manual. 2014. https://trid.trb.org/view/1341995

Get Oriented with EDC-5 Innovations – Webinars and Baseline Report

In June 2018, FHWA announced the fifth round of Every Day Counts Innovations (EDC-5). From September 10-26, 2018, the agency held Orientation Webinars, 90-minute sessions to introduce each EDC-5 innovation area. The EDC-5 website posted webinar recordings, factsheets, and presentation slides following each session.

See the full list of orientation webinars for EDC-5 innovations here.

Every two years, FHWA works with state departments of transportation and other public and private stakeholders to identify innovative technologies that merit widespread deployment. State Transportation Innovation Councils (STICs) in all fifty states then meet to evaluate these innovations and lead deployment efforts.

Innovations for EDC-5 include weather-responsive management strategies, collaborative hydraulics, rural roadway departures, advanced geotechnical exploration methods, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), virtual public involvement, use of crowdsourcing to advance operations, project bundling, Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP), and value capture of transportation.

In Fall 2018, transportation leaders and front-line professionals from across the country gathered at five Regional Summits to discuss the EDC-5 innovations, exchange ideas with industry counterparts, and provide feedback to FHWA on resources needed to support innovation adoption.

The NJDOT team attended the Regional Summit in Albany, New York. Following the summits, New Jersey finalized its selection of innovations, established performance goals for the level of implementation and adoption over the upcoming two-year cycle, and initiated its efforts to implement the innovations with the support and assistance of the technical teams established for each innovation.

In the Spring of 2019, the FHWA issued a summary report, EDC-5 Summit Summary and Baseline Report that describes the Regional Summits and indicates the priority innovations for deployment being taken by the individual states.

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

Employing pavement preservation techniques can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to savings for both transportation agencies and drivers, according to a recently published study in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation. The researchers determined that extending the life of pavement through preventive maintenance  can reduce greenhouse gases by 2 percent; save transportation agencies between 10 to 30 percent in spending; and reduce cost for drivers between 2 to 5 percent on fuel consumption, tire wear, vehicle repair, and maintenance because of smoother surfaces (Bates 2019). This research can assist transportation agencies like NJDOT and local public agencies consider the right maintenance strategies when determining environmental effects in future projects.

This research is notable, in part, because pavement preservation has been a hot topic among many state highway agencies.  The Federal Highway Administration’s Every Day Counts (EDC) program brought greater attention to the benefits of pavement preservation by making it one of its national initiatives in the fourth round of the EDC program. Through EDC-4, many states made commitments to increase their use of pavement preservation treatments and give a fuller commitment to its integration in their maintenance programs (FHWA 2018a).

NJDOT has significantly increased its use of preventive maintenance treatments on roadways in good or fair condition in recent years. Applying preventive maintenance treatments early has proven to be cost-effective by slowing the rate of deterioration and allowing NJDOT to reduce the backlog of deficient pavements.  The lead author  for this research, Hao Wang, previously worked as the co-investigator on a NJDOT-funded research study, Appropriate Implementation of Pavement Preservation Treatments, completed in 2015. That study looked at the pavement preservation techniques that NJDOT could use on its high volume state-maintained roads (Wang & Vitillo 2015).

Pavement preservation consists of surface refreshment to alleviate functional indicators of deterioration, such as friction, minor cracking, or oxidation. The three pavement preservation treatments considered in this recently published research were thin asphalt overlay (placing up to 2 inches of asphalt on roads), chip seal (spraying asphalt emulsion on pavement and laying aggregate), and crack seal (filling cracks with rubberized asphalt or polymer-modified asphalt with some filler).

While previous studies have looked at the environmental impact of preservation treatments at the construction stage, few have considered how the change in pavement smoothness affects vehicle fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions. The purpose of this study was therefore to systematically look at both the construction and use stage to determine the environmental impacts of several pavement preservation treatments throughout the whole life-cycle.

In order to quantify the environmental impact, the researchers used life-cycle assessment (LCA), focusing specifically on CO2 emission for global warming potential (GWP). To determine the emissions during construction stage, the group looked at the raw material, manufacturing, transport, and placement.

Illustration of different stages in pavement LCA with system boundary (Wang et  al. 2019)

Researchers measured pavement condition using the International Roughness Index (IRI), which states are required to report to the FHWA as it provides a standardized and objective measurement methodology. IRI models for pre- and post-treatment were then created with data obtained from the Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTTP) program Specific Pavement Studies (SPS-3). The LTTP program was established in 1986, and has been maintained by the FHWA since 1991, with the purpose of collecting and storing pavement performance data in a centralized database (FHWA 2019). SPS-3: Preventive Maintenance Effectiveness of Flexible Pavements specifically compares the effectiveness and mechanisms of selected maintenance treatments to preserve and extend pavement service life, safety, and ride quality (FHWA 2018).

The pavement’s pre- and post-treatment effects on vehicle fuel consumption and air quality were then analyzed using data from the Highway Development and Management Tool (HDM-4) and the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES). HDM-4 is a software package that is used worldwide for analysis, planning, management, and appraisal of road maintenance, improvements, and investment decisions. MOVES is the EPA’s emission modeling system for mobile sources, which is used at all project levels to estimate for criteria air pollutants, greenhouse gases, and air toxics.

The results for the CO2 emissions at the construction stage showed significant differences in energy consumption for the three pavement preservation treatments, mostly due to the varying raw materials and manufacturing processes. Thin asphalt overlay had the highest energy consumption, followed by chip seal, and then crack seal, which requires a comparatively small amount of material over the entire process. Additionally, thin asphalt overlay tends to have a higher cost compared to the other two. At the use stage though, thin overlay showed the highest reduction of CO2 emissions, based on the post-treatment IRI values, and crack seal the lowest reduction.

A machine compacts asphalt over existing pavement at a construction site at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City (Wang 2019).

Despite their environmental impacts, the various preservation treatments still had an overall benefit when quantified using a life-cycle assessment approach, according to the researchers. Additionally, they found that the timing of preservation treatment could have a large effect on the subsequent emissions at the use stage. Specifically, for thin overlay and chip seal, the optimal time to achieve maximum life-cycle environmental benefit becomes earlier as traffic volume or initial IRI value increases. Despite the variance in effectiveness over the life-cycle, all three treatments reduced emissions overall.

In explaining the rationale for the research, the study’s authors  note that transportation sector is second to electricity in generating greenhouse gas emissions among all U.S. end-use sectors at 27 percent. Additionally, fuel consumption of vehicles accounted for 83 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions within the transportation sector in 2015. In December 2018, Governor Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey would be rejoining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a group of neighboring states that have set policy goals and initiatives in order to achieve a 100-percent clean-energy portfolio by 2050 (Murphy 2018). Improving the performance of existing highways is well-aligned with this initiative.

By filling the gap in research focused on  the entire life-cycle environmental impacts of pavement preservation treatments, the research offers important information for life-cycle assessment in future roadway projects. As transportation agencies look at how to manage their current assets, reduce costs, and avoid and minimize environmental impacts, pavement preservation offers a multitude of benefits to help achieve these goals.

Shown above is a Bergkamp M1, which can be used for slurry seal and microsurfacing. Source: By Eric Pulley – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5176467

Citations:

Bates, Todd. “Keeping Roads in Good Shape Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Rutgers-Led Study Finds.” Rutgers Today. January 14, 2019. https://news.rutgers.edu/keeping-roads-good-shape-reduces-greenhouse-gas-emissions-rutgers-led-study-finds/20190114#.XH2SRYhKiUl.

BTS. “Road Condition.” Bureau of Transportation Statistics. June 2015. https://www.bts.gov/content/road-condition.

FHWA. “Long-Term Pavement Performance.” FHWA. 2019. https://highways.dot.gov/long-term-infrastructure-performance/ltpp/long-term-pavement-performance.

FHWA. “Pavement Preservation (When, Where, and How).” Center for Accelerating Innovation. May 30, 2018a. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovation/everydaycounts/edc_4/pavement.cfm.

FHWA. “Specific Pavement Studies.” FHWA. March 12, 2018b. https://highways.dot.gov/long-term-pavement-performance/data-collection/specific-pavement-studies.

Murphy, Phil. “Murphy Administration Proposes Rules For State’s Re-Entry Into Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.” Office of the Governor. December 17, 2018. https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562018/approved/20181217b.shtml.

Vitillo, Nicholas, and Hao Wang. “Appropriate Implementation of Pavement Preservation Treatments.” NJDOT. April 2015. https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/refdata/research/reports/FHWA-NJ-2015-011-I.pdf.

Wang, Hao, Israa Al-Saadi, Pan Lu, and Abbas Jasim. “Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emission of Asphalt Pavement Preservation at Construction and Use Stages Using Life-cycle Assessment.” International Journal of Sustainable Transportation. January 11, 2019. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15568318.2018.1519086?journalCode=ujst20.

PMGA Divisions Take Lead on Extreme Weather, Climate Risks, and Asset Management

Introduction

In the summer of 2017, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), through a competitive application process, selected NJDOT as one of six (6) state DOTs to participate in a pilot program focused on extreme weather, climate risks and asset management. Each state is to prepare a case study that demonstrates how extreme weather and climate risks are integrated into asset management. FHWA intends to use the results of this effort to develop guidance materials to assist State DOTs in integrating extreme weather and climate risk into asset management practices, specifically in life cycle planning. Planning, Multimodal and Grant Administration’s (PMGA) Divisions of Environmental Resources and Statewide Planning have combined resources to undertake this endeavor that began in October 2017 and is to be completed by February 2019.

Extreme Weather Considerations Vary by State

The six (6) states selected for the Pilot program are Arizona, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Texas and New Jersey, giving a diverse geographic perspective. Extreme weather involves different stressors dependent upon location. Whereas riverine flooding associated with heavy precipitation is the “extreme weather” condition that New Jersey and Texas have focused on, Maryland has focused on sea level rise and coastal flooding. Kentucky is focusing on both riverine flooding and other secondary extreme weather hazards from excessive rain such as landslides and sinkholes. Arizona has indicated that they often experience extreme weather in the form of excessive heat, wildfires and dust storms, as well as flash flooding from excessive rain. Finally, Massachusetts, also concerned with riverine flooding, is pursuing the development of a “stream power” tool to assist in assessing extreme weather impacts to their bridges and culverts.

New Jersey’s Approach

Case Study Area (Photo Credit: PMGA)

Originally selecting culverts as the “asset class” to investigate impacts of extreme weather, the New Jersey study has refocused more on identifying the root causes of flooding in specific areas to target cost-effective risk management and mitigation strategies. Using the Departments’ Drainage Management System (DMS) as the primary tool for identifying vulnerable areas subject to road closures due to severe precipitation such as flooding and/or icing, the study team has focused on two locations:

  • Portions of the I-80 corridor, milepost 56.43 – 58.22, ranked # 1 in 2016 DMS.
  • The intersecting Route 23 corridor milepost 4.00 – 7.00, ranked 14th on the 2016 DMS.

Culverts within these limits were identified as well as drainage systems, roadway conditions, topography, flood elevation mapping, and other pertinent data to fully understand the root causes of flooding at these vulnerable areas, and to see how projected climate changes could affect them. Once root causes are identified, then appropriate mitigation strategies can be developed to maintain a state of good repair in extreme weather conditions as best possible.

Communications: Key to Success

The ongoing study has seen early success by engaging internal and external stakeholders; promoting the need and value of cross communication among asset managers, engineers, planners, environmental and maintenance staff. Input from the “owners” of the Drainage Management System, Maintenance Management System, GIS, as well as designers for active projects in the study area from CPM all played key roles in providing critical information, assisting in developing findings for this effort. Maintenance crews have provided real time information related to recent extreme weather events, describing activities needed to further resiliency efforts in the study corridors. Finally, collaboration with NJTPA’s Passaic River Basin Resilience study has resulted in the sharing of critical flooding and climate forecasts to further assist in developing our Pilot Study. Together, the ongoing cross-communication has been the most valuable tool in developing this study, and has laid the groundwork for ongoing discussions on the subject of extreme weather, asset management, and transportation resilience.

Project Overview: Framework (Photo Credit: PMGA)

Early Findings

Addressing extreme weather and asset management cannot be handled in a broad sense as each asset has its own uniqueness in determining its sensitivity to extreme weather. Also, not all assets are vulnerable to projected climate forecasts. To truly address asset management and extreme weather, appropriate tools need to be developed, preferably in GIS format, to fully identify all assets that are vulnerable to extreme weather (excessive precipitation), then determine what mitigation strategies are needed to enable these assets to be resilient and maintain a state of good repair for New Jersey’s vast transportation network. Final recommendations on how to address extreme weather considerations in asset management will be a part of the final study and will serve as a starting point to address resiliency in the Department’s practices.

Contributed by Elkins Green

Featured image (top) is case study area #1: I-80 between M.P. 56.43 and M.P. 58.22. Photo Credit: NJDOT Aeronautics UAS Photo

This article first appeared in the December 2018 SCOOP, the employee newsletter of Planning, Multimodal and Grant Administration, “PMGA Divisions take lead on Extreme Weather, Climate Risks, and Asset Management: Quest for Resiliency.

 

New Jersey STIC Incentive Project Grant Funding Available

The FHWA offers technical assistance and funds—up to $100,000 per STIC per year—to support the costs of standardizing innovative practices in a state transportation agency or other public sector STIC stakeholder. NJDOT is the primary recipient of the STIC Incentive Grant. Other public sector STIC stakeholders such as MPOs, local governments or tribal governments are eligible to receive STIC Incentive funding as sub-recipients to the NJDOT.

The NJ STIC’s mission is to identify, evaluate, and where and when possible, rapidly deploy new technologies and process improvements that will accelerate project delivery and improve the quality of NJ’s transportation network. In recent years, STIC Incentive Funding Grants have been used in New Jersey to support innovation initiatives, including a Data Driven Safety Analysis; Implementation of a Connected Vehicles Pilot Program; and the Purchase, Use, and Evaluation of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), among others.

The STIC Incentive Funding Project Grant proposal should include the following:

  • Description of the proposed work
  • End product/ result
  • Amount of STIC Incentive funding requested
  • Commitment of other funding
  • Budget justification
  • Project schedule

An initial deadline for submitting STIC Incentive Funding Grant proposals was set for February 1, 2019.  However, grant proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis through the fiscal year provided funding is available. For more information on the STIC Incentive Funding Project Grant, please visit the following page: NJSTIC

 

The Use of Porous Concrete for Sidewalks

In December 2017, a team of researchers at the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) at Rutgers University published a research study for NJDOT on “The Use of Porous Concrete for Sidewalks.” A porous concrete sidewalk typically consists of a porous concrete slab on top of an open graded stone reservoir layer. A filter fabric is placed between the underlying soil and the reservoir layer. One of the most important benefits of porous concrete is its effectiveness for stormwater management, i.e. improving water runoff quality, reducing stormwater runoff, and restoring groundwater supplies. However, there are concerns related to its construction, cost, maintenance, and durability.

Rodding and finishing of a porous slab. Photo source: Najm, 2017.

The primary objective of the research study was to evaluate the various factors that influence the performance of porous concrete in sidewalks. These include hydraulic performance to meet New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) regulations and structural performance to meet typical sidewalk strength requirements as well as life-cycle cost and maintenance requirements. The researchers compared the performance of porous concrete in sidewalks with other materials, such as conventional concrete and asphalt alternatives, and tested various pervious concrete mixes to evaluate the hydrological and structural performance and energy budget versus conventional concrete mixes. The team also conducted a cost benefit analysis for use of porous concrete on sidewalks versus alternatives. The study resulted in recommendations and guidelines that NJDOT could use to inform the mitigation of stormwater runoff and development of maintenance standards.

The study found that the effectiveness of porous concrete in reducing stormwater runoff could contribute to cost savings. The research report examined a number of important considerations affecting the broader implementation of this technology. A life-cycle cost analysis of three sidewalk design alternatives—porous concrete, porous asphalt, and conventional concrete—found that porous concrete had the highest initial construction cost, with conventional concrete coming in slightly less, and porous asphalt being the cheapest. The study showed that the service life of porous concrete may be shorter than conventional concrete, driving up the life-cycle cost and potentially offsetting the savings from stormwater management best practices. For porous asphalt, which has the shortest service life, findings showed that if the service life ratio of porous asphalt compared to conventional concrete was greater than 0.60, then porous asphalt would be the most economically competitive option of the three. Another consideration in some areas is that it may be less effective to implement porous pavement if the soil has low permeability. The report notes that, once implemented, periodic maintenance is required to prevent clogging from debris and sediments, and freezing in the winter to avoid failure due to freeze and thaw cycles.

Porous concrete beam during flexural test. Photo source: Najm, 2017

The research team recommended that next steps should include construction of a porous concrete sidewalk and a porous asphalt sidewalk for long- and short-term performance testing. They noted that implementation should include geotechnical evaluation of the subsoil layers for infiltration rates, hydraulic design and storm-runoff analysis, selection of porous mix design based on NJDOT specifications and contractor recommendations, sample prisms and cylinders extracted for lab tests, scheduled maintenance based on NJDEP and NJDOT guidelines, and regular inspection. While there are environmental benefits to the implementation, such as filtration of contaminants like metals, oils and grease, to improve water quality and reduce chloride pollution, there are also concerns it can cause groundwater contamination. These concerns, along with recommended further performance testing, highlight the importance of interim steps before wider implementation.

Pervious pavement is a key component of green infrastructure methods that seek to improve stormwater management. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection lists the practice among others such as rain barrels, cisterns, and rain gardens/bioretention basins as strategies that can be implemented on a variety of scales in order to both treat runoff and reduce runoff volume. Yet, as the report notes, there has been little published research on performance and practical experience in the United States, highlighting the researchers’ final recommendation for further testing.

Sources

Green Infrastructure in New Jersey. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.nj.gov/dep/gi/More_Info.html

Najm, H., Wang, H., Miskewitz, R., Roda, A. M., Ali, A., He, H., Chen, X., Hencken, J. (2017). The Use of Porous Concrete for Sidewalks. Retrieved from https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/refdata/research/reports/FHWA-NJ-2018-001.pdf

Najm, H., Wang, H., Miskewitz, R., Roda, A. M., Ali, A., He, H., Chen, X., Hencken, J. (2017). Technical Brief: The Use of Porous Concrete for Sidewalks. Retrieved from https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/refdata/research/reports/FHWA-NJ-2018-001-TB.pdf

New Jersey To Expand Data-Driven Approach to Highway Safety Management

NJDOT is investigating a powerful set of tools to more effectively manage New Jersey’s roads and highways. The agency has been piloting a study of Safety Analyst, a software package used by state and local highway agencies to identify highway safety improvement needs and projects for funding. The New Jersey State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) applied Federal Highway Administration’s STIC Incentive Program funding to purchase the Safety Analyst license and service units from AASHTOWare. Following the kickoff and first year, NJDOT has continued to fund the project through FHWA’s Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).

According to AASHTOWare, Safety Analyst helps agencies “proactively determine which sites have the highest potential for safety improvement, as opposed to reactive safety assessment done conventionally” (SafetyAnalyst.org). The software automates procedures and assists agencies to implement the six main steps of the highway safety management (HSM) process—network screening, diagnosis, countermeasure selection, economic appraisal, priority ranking, and countermeasure evaluation. Safety Analyst features four tool modules to perform the six HSM steps:

  • Module one utilizes the network screening tool and identifies sites with potential for safety improvement
  • Module two provides the diagnosis and countermeasure selection tool, which establishes the nature of accident patterns at specific sites
  • Module three includes the economic appraisal and priority ranking tool, which evaluates cost considerations of countermeasures for a specific site
  • Module four provides the countermeasure evaluation tool, which allows users to conduct before and after evaluations of implemented safety improvements

A detailed explanation of the benefits and capabilities of these four modules can be found in a series of white papers available from AASHTOWare.

NJDOT’s plans for using Safety Analyst

After receiving funds for Safety Analyst, NJDOT began a pilot study in Burlington County using the software. The objective of this study is to determine a methodology for meeting statewide goals. Items under review include implementation methodology (i.e., the manner and locations of data collection) and the resource requirements (i.e., the time, effort, and cost of implementing the software). NJDOT plans to use the software to more efficiently allocate its resources, time, and funds to improve the state’s roadways. Previously, NJDOT screened roads by identifying equivalent property damage, based on average frequency and severity of crashes and, depending on the project list, other factors such as annual average daily traffic and bicycle/pedestrian generators. Using Safety Analyst, NJDOT anticipates identifying needed road improvement more comprehensively using additional variables, such as roadway volume and characteristics, driveway density, and lane widths.

According to NJDOT Bureau of Transportation Data and Support’s Peter Brzostowski, who is working with the Bureau of Data and Safety, the agency is exploring other innovative ways to gather data for Safety Analyst. Leading ideas include:

  • Encouraging collaboration among several NJDOT Bureaus for data collection, including Traffic Engineering, Mobility and Systems Engineering, and Access Management
  • Employing monitoring systems to capture data, e.g., using existing/new cameras and radar monitoring
  • Utilizing Model Inventory of Roadway Elements (MIRE) (i.e., the FHWA Roadway Safety Data Program’s recommended list of roadway and traffic elements critical to safety management)
  • Developing official NJDOT policy for data collection standards
Who’s using Safety Analyst?

Motor traffic on Garden State Parkway, New Jersey, photographed in the evening. Most of the cars are southbound, moving from New York to the suburban homes in New Jersey.

State transportation departments and partner educational institutions can use Safety Analyst. At least eleven U.S. states have Safety Analyst licenses—Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, as well as Ontario, Canada. Some examples of its use include:

  • Ohio DOT employed their Safety Analyst model to develop the Access Ohio 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan, which utilized crash data from the statewide AASHTOWare Safety Analyst model to predict the future safety impacts of alternative networks.
  • Michigan DOT is using Safety Analyst and GIS tools to develop a work-order-based maintenance management system and is exploring how to integrate new data collection tools, such as Light Detection and Ranging, or LIDAR, into its use of the software. See this MDOT case study for more information.
  • At least eight universities, including United Arab Emirates University, have educational licenses to use Safety Analyst.

The Safety Analyst software tool requires access to a minimum set of data elements including roadway segment characteristics, intersection characteristics, ramp characteristics, and crash data. Agencies or institutions that do not have the ability to collect the minimum data will not be able to utilize Safety Analyst.

According to AASTHOWare’s project manager, Vicki Schofield, the states that have been part of the Highway Safety Improvement System, a multi-state database that contains crash, roadway inventory, and traffic volume, typically have sufficient data resources to utilize the Safety Analyst software. She noted, however, that “all states should be using Safety Analyst or something as robust and researched.” She offered that Safety Analyst is an ideal tool to begin to evaluate the data, even if a state has not completely collected the system data.

How states can begin implementing SafetyAnalyst

Ms. Schofield explained that to implement Safety Analyst effectively, states should work in partnership with other state and federal agencies to assign roles and responsibilities and leverage expertise and capacity. For example, the state transportation planning office can be used to collect roadway and attribute data; the state enforcement office (i.e., Division of Highway Traffic Safety in New Jersey) to compile crash data; the state IT office to manage secure access to databases; and the FHWA division office to connect the state agencies with other resources.

With the Safety Analyst tool, a state will be able to efficiently perform highway safety management—a data-intensive and statistically complex process—to better predict long-term levels of safety at various locations. The tool supports more effective decision-making and provides justification for expenditures of Highway Safety Improvement Program funds, resulting in greater benefits for New Jersey residents and drivers from every dollar invested.

According to Ms. Schofield, the cost for purchasing the software is relatively minor and the primary barrier to implementing Safety Analyst is the time it takes to ready the data-intensive tool for use. Regional or local universities may be able to help expedite implementation by performing tasks that a transportation agency cannot and to help ensure integrity of the tool.

The NJDOT Bureau of Transportation and Support reports that work on the Safety Analyst Pilot Study is almost complete.  The Pilot Study is expected to provide information on areas that need to be addressed when developing a full scale contract for the implementation and development of Safety Analyst on a statewide level.  The goal will be to maximize the benefit of Safety Analyst to NJDOT and to provide the necessary structure for a sustainable future for the program.

Sources

AASHTOWare. 2010. SafetyAnalyst: Software Tools for Safety Management of Specific Highway Sites:

Brzostowski, P. 2017. AASHTOWare Safety Analyst. Presentation to the New Jersey State Transportation Innovation Council. Winter Meeting.

Harwood, D. W., Torbic, D. J., Richard, K. R., & Meyer, M. M. 2010. SafetyAnalystTM: Software Tools for Safety Management of Specific Highway Sites. FHWA-HRT-10-063. Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center.

LiSanti, D., and C. Trueman. 2018. CIA Safety Team. Presentation to New Jersey State Transportation Innovation Council. Summer Meeting.

LiSanti, D., and K. Skilton. 2018. CIA Safety Team. Presentation to New Jersey State Transportation Innovation Council. Fall Meeting.

Participate in the NJDOT Transportation Research Ideas Collaboration Site!

The New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT) Bureau of Research invites you to participate in the NJDOT Transportation Research Ideas Collaboration site.

We are asking NJDOT’s research customers and other transportation stakeholders to propose research ideas for the NJDOT Research Program. Join us in finding workable solutions to problems that affect the safety, accessibility, and mobility of New Jersey’s residents, workers, visitors and businesses.

REGISTER TO PARTICIPATE.  Once you are registered, you may submit ideas at any time.  If you registered last year, you do not need to register again.

HOW DO I SUBMIT AN IDEA?  Only registered participants can log in to submit a new idea or vote on other ideas to show your support. Register at the NJ Transportation Research Ideas website welcome page here:  https://njdottechtransfer.ideascale.com/

NEXT ROUND OF RESEARCH.  Please submit your research ideas no later than December 31, 2018 for the next round of research RFPs. The NJDOT Research Oversight Committee (ROC) will prioritize research ideas after this date, and high priority research needs will be posted for proposals.

Questions about how to register?
Email: ideas@njdottechtransfer.net

For more information about NJDOT Bureau of Research, visit our website:  http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/refdata/research/

Or contact us:  Bureau.Research@dot.nj.gov or 609-530-5966

NJDOT Awarded Accelerated Innovation Deployment Grant to Start Weather-Savvy Roads Pilot Program

The Federal Highway Administration has awarded NJDOT a $322,461 Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Demonstration grant to “start a ‘weather-savvy roads’ pilot program to improve roadway safety and operational efficiency.”

Preliminary plans include equipping up to 20 NJDOT road maintenance vehicles with dash-mounted cameras and weather sensors, which will feed real-time data directly to NJDOT year-round. The data will support improved awareness of road conditions and faster response times during weather events.[1] New Jersey’s winter season includes frequent precipitation, making for slick road conditions and added congestion. The data retrieved from the cameras and sensors will help quicken operations and also enhance deployment of incident management strategies.

This is the first AID grant applied for through New Jersey’s State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC). This year, FHWA awarded $8.4 million to nine states for work on innovative highway and bridge projects to improve safety and operational efficiency.

Importance of Weather-Responsive Management Strategies

Weather effects on our nation’s roads have enormous social and economic costs. According to the FHWA, 1.2 million (or 21 percent) of the more than 5.7 million vehicle crashes over the past 10 years were weather-related. Nearly 6,000 people are killed and over 445,000 are injured in weather-related crashes each year. In terms of mobility, the weather is responsible for 25 percent of non-recurring delays as well as congestion costs of up to $9.5 billion per year for 85 urban areas[2] and $3.4 billion in freight costs.

To address these problems, states can implement weather-responsive management strategies, which have many benefits including reducing crash risks and delays, lowering negative environmental impacts by minimizing road salt use, and enabling travelers to make better driving decisions.

In recent years, the FHWA Road Weather Management Program has focused on using mobile observations and connected vehicle data to support traffic and maintenance management. States such as Nevada, Michigan, and Minnesota have already implemented winter maintenance/anti-icing strategies using “Integrating Mobile Observations” (IMO), which involves collecting weather and road condition data from government fleet vehicles. Pathfinder, another solution, is a collaborative strategy across state DOTs to disseminate road weather information for proactive transportation system management ahead of, and during, adverse weather events.

Every Day Counts and State Transportation Innovation Councils

The AID program works closely with the FHWA Every Day Counts (EDC) program to foster a culture of innovation. Every two years, FHWA works with state DOTs and other public and private stakeholders to identify new sets of innovative technologies that merit widespread deployment to address transportation challenges. State Transportation Innovation Councils (STICs) from all fifty states then meet to evaluate these innovations and lead deployment efforts.

Weather management was named a priority in recent years. In 2017-2018 the fourth round of EDC (EDC-4) cited11 innovations including “Road Weather Management – Weather-Savvy Roads.” In 2018-2019, EDC-5 identified 10 innovations including “Weather-Responsive Management Strategies.

See the FHWA’s Innovation Spotlight video on Road Weather Management: Weather Savvy Roads.

Weigh-in-Motion Sites Collect Vehicular Data

The NJDOT Bureau of Transportation Data and Safety (BTDS) is responsible for administering the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) mandated annual Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) reporting. The Traffic and Technology Section (TTS) of the BTDS supports the HPMS reporting by administering a Traffic Monitoring Program that includes a combination of continuous and short-term traffic data collection efforts. In addition to the approximately 150 state-wide continuous count sites, the TTS also uses consultants to count in excess of 1,800 short-term sites per year and 650 ramp sites per year.

Typical WIM installed on a Roadway in New Jersey (Photo Credit: BTDS Contractor)

The continuous count program includes the data downloading, data processing, and routine maintenance of the Weigh-in-Motion (WIM) and Traffic Volume Station (TVS) sites. The WIM and TVS sites in New Jersey are located on various types of roadway classifications ranging from Urban Interstates to Rural County Roads. WIM sites collect vehicular data such as volume, classification, weight, and speed. TVS sites collect volume data only. Both types of site’s data are reported to FHWA and can be located on the NJDOT website.

Through the Innovative Concepts portion of the Traffic Monitoring Program contract, the TTS worked hand-in-hand with a consultant to develop an interactive website solely dedicated to NJDOT WIM information. This website enables any user to view New Jersey WIM statistics graphically, as well as having the ability to download data to fit their needs or requests. Users can see statistics such as overall volumes for the state by Class, entering/exiting volumes at WIM sites near New Jersey borders, and traffic information by lane and by hour for a specific WIM site just to name a few.

Currently, the TTS is responsible for 95 WIM sites state-wide. Although the latest historical data is available through an interactive map located on the NJDOT website, it is cluttered with the entire Traffic Monitoring Program Counts and only shows the latest couple years of data for any WIM site. In addition, any request for specific WIM data from the public or within NJDOT would have to be processed by in-house TTS staff.

The New Jersey WIM website was just recently launched and can be found on the NJDOT website. Early feedback has been extremely positive and has allowed TTS staff to drastically reduce the data processing task for recent requests by directing requestors to the website. Additionally, it enables the TTS data publication to reach a wider and more diverse audience.

Contributed by Eric Oberle

Featured image (top) is a typical WIM installed on a Roadway in New Jersey. Photo Credit: BTDS Contractor

This article first appeared in the June 2018 CIPGA SCOOP, the employee newsletter of Planning, Multimodal and Grant Administration.