NJ STIC 2020 Fall Meeting

The NJ State Transportation Innovation Council (NJ STIC) Fall 2020 Meeting, held on November 6, 2020, focused on the introduction of EDC-6 Innovative Initiatives and summary of experience of EDC-5 initiative implementation. The topic anticipated the beginning of the Every Day Counts (EDC)-6 two-year program in January 2021. The STIC Meeting Agenda had been distributed to the invitees prior to the meeting. Participants could use the chat feature to offer comments or ask questions of the speakers during the online meeting.

After Asst. Commissioner Michael Russo offered his Welcome and Opening Remarks, Valeriya Remezova, Deputy Division Administrator for the FHWA NJ Office, and Amanda Gendek, Manager of the NJDOT Bureau of Research, rounded out the Welcome and Opening Remarks and set the stage for the primary focus of the Fall Quarterly STIC meeting on the transition from EDC-5 to EDC-6.

FHWA EDC-5 Innovation Updates. Helene Roberts, Innovation Coordinator and Performance Manager for the FHWA NJ Office, gave a brief update on  NJDOT’s progress on institutionalization of EDC-5 initiatives.  She presented a dashboard that displays the current and planned stage of deployment over the 2-year cycle for each innovation initiative, and tracks projects and funding under the STIC Incentive Grants and the Accelerated Innovation Deployment Demonstration Grant programs.

Core Innovation Area (CIA) Updates. The meeting continued with presentations from Core Innovative Area (CIA) Team Leaders who provided updates of the status of EDC-5 initiatives on topics of Safety, Mobility and Operations and Infrastructure Preservation.

Featured Presentation: Weather Savvy Instrumentation. Sal Cowan, Senior Director of Transportation Mobility at NJDOT, gave a presentation on the Weather Savvy Roads Pilot Project, a demonstration project funded through an Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Grant that involves equipment installation and development of a web interface that enables real-time monitoring of roadway conditions. This winter will provide an important test of the system’s capabilities.

Featured Presentation: Weather Savvy Instrumentation

EDC-6 Innovations: Priorities – Interactive Polling Exercise.  Helene Roberts introduced each of the seven EDC-6 Innovative Initiatives with a brief description. Initiatives include strategies that focus on people, products and processes. A poll was conducted for each of the initiatives to gauge interest in the initiative among STIC members, and what kind of technical assistance would be most helpful in working toward institutionalization of each initiative. Helene noted that the responses will inform the NJDOT discussion around adoption of the EDC-6 initiatives.

EDC-5 & Other Initiatives – Challenges and Lessons Learned Break-Out Sessions. Meeting participants were divided into break-out sessions to explore their agency experience of the EDC-5 initiatives including the status of implementation and any challenges encountered. Participants were asked what kind of technical assistance would be most valuable as the agencies and organizations work toward institutionalization of these initiatives. Discussion also explored topics for Tech Talks! and success stories of innovation implementation throughout the State.

Reminders and Updates. Asst. Commissioner Mike Russo encouraged NJ STIC members to enroll in a mileage-based user fee (MBUF) study being sponsored by the Eastern Transportation Coalition (formerly the I-95 Corridor Coalition). The study is exploring an MBUF as a possible sustainable solution for transportation funding in New Jersey. The study needs participants; more information is available here.

Helene Roberts announced the FHWA EDC-6 Virtual Summit to be held on December 8th-10th. Registration is open to the public and the link to register is here. The Summit offers in-depth information on the new innovative initiatives, and an Innovation Showcase that will feature examples of STIC and non-STIC innovations from across the country in order to expand their use and impact.

The Fall Quarterly STIC meeting offered an opportunity for STIC members to share experiences of the EDC program and to contribute to the adoption of EDC-6 innovative initiatives in the next program round.

A recording of the NJ STIC Fall 2020 Meeting can be found here and to the right.

The NJ STIC Fall Meeting Presentation can be found in its entirety here and in sections below.

A summary of the polling and break-out sessions can be found here.

Welcome, Introductions & FHWA Remarks

CIA Team Update: Mobility and Operations

Mileage Based User Fee Study
& Thank You

CIA Team Update: SAFETY

Feature Presentation: Weather Savvy Roads Instrumentation

CIA Team Update: Infrastructure Preservation

EDC-6 Innovation Priorities: Interactive Polling
Exercise & EDC-5 Breakout Sessions

NJ Invites You to Participate in Mileage-Based User Fee Study

New Jersey’s Department of Transportation is participating in a pilot study exploring a potential future transportation funding solution for the roads, bridges and public transit in New Jersey. The pilot study will examine whether mileage-based user fees (MBUF) offer a feasible alternative to the fuel tax, which is seeing declining revenues as more drivers shift to more efficient and electric vehicles.

The pilot study is taking place through a partnership of the New Jersey Department of Transportation and The Eastern Transportation Coalition. NJDOT is neutral about whether MBUF is the ultimate answer, but recognizes the importance of further studying MBUF in real-world pilots as a means to finding a realistic and effective solution to our long-term funding challenge.

NJDOT is seeking participants from the transportation community to help test drive new technology needed for a MBUF system and offer their insights.  While the pilot study is currently underway, there is still time to enroll in the program.

Enrollment is easy and only requires a couple of steps to begin:

Step One: Gather the following information:

 Step Two: Visit the Coalition’s MBUF website to begin enrollment.

Within a week of enrollment, you’ll receive a device that turns your car into a “smart car.” Just plug it in, drive for four months, and provide feedback via quick online surveys.

The Eastern Transportation Coalition has already conducted pilot studies for trucks and passenger vehicles.  Findings from these pilot studies and other technical memoranda addressing such topics as administration and compliance, privacy, interoperability, equity and fairness can be found here.

For more information please download the attached flyer, visit the project website or contact mbuf@tetcoalition.org.

The Eastern Transportation Coalition, formerly known as the I-95 Corridor Coalition, is a partnership of 17 states and the District of Columbia focused on connecting for solutions to support the economic engine of the U.S. The Coalition represents 40% of the U.S. population and GDP. 

The Coalition is neutral regarding MBUF as the ultimate solution for transportation funding but wants to ensure that the voices of citizens along the Eastern Seaboard are part of the national discussion. Results from studies across the country will help policymakers decide on next steps.

NJDOT’s Traffic Incident Management Training Program

NJDOT’s Traffic Incident Management Program offers training and resources to improve the coordinated response to traffic incidents. Source: NJTIM website

NJDOT’s New Jersey’s Traffic Incident Management (TIM) program consists of a planned and coordinated multi-disciplinary process to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents so that traffic flow may be restored as safely and quickly as possible after an incident. According to the 2015 State of New Jersey Traffic Incident Management Strategic Plan, about half of all traffic congestion is caused by temporary, one-time occurrences, such as crashes, disabled vehicles, spilled cargo, highway maintenance and reconstruction, adverse weather, and planned special events. These occurrences reduce roadway capacity, disrupt the normal operation of the transportation system, increase the risk of secondary crashes, and result in lost time and productivity, increased cost of goods and services, negative impacts on air quality and the environment, and reduced quality of life and motorist satisfaction.

Training classes include incident resolution exercises. Source: NJTIM website

Training classes include incident resolution exercises. Source: NJTIM website

By reducing the duration and impact of traffic incidents, effective traffic incident management practices improve the safety of crash victims, other motorists, and emergency responders. TIM practices are designed to reduce the time to detect, respond to, investigate, and safely clear the incident, to safely manage personnel and equipment at the site, provide timely and accurate information to the public, and to manage affected traffic until normal conditions are restored. Stakeholders in the Traffic Incident Management program include federal, state, and local agencies and private sector partners including emergency medical services (EMS), fire and rescue, law enforcement, transportation agencies, medical examiners and coroners, hazardous materials contractors, towing and recovery, emergency management, public safety communications, and traffic information media.

The FHWA’s Every Day Counts (EDC) program, in cooperation with the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2), offered the first national traffic incident management process and training program as an innovation under EDC-2 in 2013-2014. First offered in 2010, NJDOT’s classes in TIM predated the FHWA EDC initiative. The NJ TIM Responder Training provides interactive, hands-on incident resolution exercises to help participants learn to coordinate incident response activities and optimize operations in the field. The training supports development of a unified practice among all stakeholders. NJDOT has continued to train in TIM during the pandemic and, as of September 1, 2020, the program has trained 29,798 incident responders.

NJDOT and the ITS Resource Center at NJIT have updated the NJTIM website. Source: NJTIM website

NJDOT and the ITS Resource Center at NJIT have updated the NJTIM website. Source: NJTIM website

In alignment with the 2015 Strategic Plan, NJDOT and the ITS Resource Center at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, developed the NJ TIM website in 2016 to provide support to the TIM program. Recently, they have modernized the website through the addition of new content, including videos and other resources such as case studies and training recaps. A schedule of virtual trainings, and registration for individual and group training, are available. The website provides links to the Strategic Plan and Safety Guidelines for Emergency Responders, as well as contact information for all federal, state, county, and local law enforcement agencies operating in the state.

Video screenshot of hazard display message received by motorists. Source: NJDOT

Through EDC-4, FHWA promoted the use of data to improve traffic incident management. NJDOT is increasingly looking to technology to improve safety at incident sites. A pilot study looked at the effectiveness of using connected vehicle technology on 32 safety service vehicles to alert drivers to the presence of safety service patrol (SSP) workers via the mobile navigation app Waze. NJDOT established a Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) Integration Working Group to develop a plan for CAD integration among New Jersey agencies and other organizations. Using the OpenReach system, NJDOT has implemented the FHWA key performance measures: roadway clearance time; incident clearance time; and number of secondary crashes. Traffic incident management data sharing between the NJDOT and law enforcement systems is expected to decrease incident response times, properly capture the incident timeline, and improve the traffic incident management process. More information on these efforts can be found at the NJDOT Technology Transfer website.

FHWA Announces Every Day Counts (EDC-6) Innovation Areas

Every two years, FHWA works with state transportation departments, local governments, tribes, private industry and other stakeholders to identify and champion a new collection of innovations that merit accelerated deployment through the Every Day Counts Program (EDC). The FHWA’s Center for Accelerated Innovation (CAI) has recently issued the next round of areas of innovation, EDC-6.

EDC is a state-based model that identifies and rapidly deploys proven, yet underutilized innovations to shorten the project delivery process, enhance roadway safety, reduce traffic congestion, and improve environmental sustainability. Proven innovations promoted through EDC facilitate greater efficiency at the state and local levels, saving time, money and resources that can be used to deliver more projects.

FHWA’s CAI fosters collaboration between stakeholders within the transportation community through the State Transportation Innovation Councils (STIC), which are charged with evaluating innovations and spearheading their deployment in each state.

FHWA announced that it will officially launch EDC-6 by webinar on September 23, 2020. More information is expected to follow regarding virtual summits during which transportation leaders and front-line professionals from across the country will discuss and identify opportunities for implementing the innovations that best fit the needs of their respective state transportation program. Following the summits, New Jersey will finalize their selection of innovations, establish performance goals for the level of implementation and adoption over the upcoming two-year cycle, and begin to implement the innovations with the support and assistance of the technical teams established for each innovation.  Further descriptions of each of the EDC-6 Innovations are below:

Crowdsourcing for Advancing Operations. State and local transportation agencies need real-time, high-quality, and wide-ranging information to optimize roadway operations for reduced congestion and increased safety. Agencies are increasing the quality and quantity of operations data with crowdsourcing, which enables staff to make better decisions that lead to safer and more reliable travel and apply proactive strategies cost effectively. With crowdsourced data from multiple streams, agencies can capture in real time what happens between sensors, in rural areas, along arterials, and beyond jurisdictional boundaries.

e-Ticketing and Digital As-Builts. Highway construction projects generate massive amounts of valuable data that historically were communicated via paper, but agencies are improving on paper process by integrating them into electronic and digital workflows. Electronic ticketing improves the tracking, exchange, and archiving of materials tickets. Digital information, such as three-dimensional design models and other metadata, enhances the future usability of as-built plans for operations, maintenance, and asset management. Both can increase project safety, quality, and cost savings through efficient data gathering and sharing.

Strategic Workforce Development is among the innovative initiatives in EDC-6 offering strategies to identify, train, and place workers for highway construction jobs.

Next-Generation Traffic Incident Management: Integrating Technology, Data and Training. More than 6 million traffic crashes are reported each year, creating congestion and putting motorists and responders at risk of secondary crashes. Next-generation traffic incident management (NextGen TIM) builds on FHWA’s national TIM responder training program to shorten the duration and impact of incidents and improve the safety of motorists, crash victims, and responders. NextGen TIM offers tools, data, and training mechanisms that can benefit both new and existing TIM programs, including local agency and off-interstate applications.

Strategic Workforce Development. The demand for highway construction, maintenance, and operations workers is growing while the transportation industry is experiencing a revolution of emerging technologies that require new skills. The Highway Construction Workforce Partnership developed strategies and resources to demonstrate the value of a career in transportation and fill the jobs that support the Nation’s highway system. Resources include the “Identify, Train, Place” workforce development playbook and Roads to Your Future outreach campaign to attract and retain workers in highway construction jobs.

Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions. Pavement overlays represent a significant portion of highway infrastructure dollars. Many pavements in the highway system have reached or are nearing the end of their design life while carrying traffic that exceeds their initial design criteria. Targeted overlay pavement solutions (TOPS) are now available for asphalt and concrete pavements that enable agencies to maximize their investment and help ensure safer, longer-lasting roadways. TOPS will improve performance, lessen traffic impacts, and reduce the cost of pavement ownership.

Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Bridge Preservation and Repair. Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC)—a fiber-reinforced, cementitious composite material with mechanical and durability properties that far exceed those of conventional concrete—has become popular for field-cast prefabricated bridge elements. Bridge preservation and repair is a new application of UHPC that offers superior strength, enhanced performance, and improved life-cycle cost over traditional methods.

Virtual Public Involvement. Public engagement during transportation project planning and development helps agencies identify issues and concerns early in the process, which can ultimately accelerate project delivery. Virtual public involvement supports agency efforts to engage the public more effectively by supplementing face-to-face information sharing with technology. Techniques such as telephone town halls, online meetings, and social media increase the number and variety of ways to inform the public, receive feedback, and collect and consider stakeholder input.

STIC Incentive Funding Grant Awarded for Local Aid Software Training

FHWA recently announced the award of a State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) funding grant ($38,490) to support NJDOT’s Division of Local Aid and Economic Development in their efforts to deliver software training to NJDOT and local transportation agency staff to perform electronic plan reviews.

The STIC-funded training initiative will be provided in conjunction with NJDOT’s efforts to implement features of the Project Management and Reporting System (PMRS), initially launched in 2018, to establish electronic document management, electronic plan review, and other 21st century project management innovations to help make project management more efficient. The PMRS is also being designed to integrate with tools, such as Bluebeam® Revu® and geographic information systems (GIS), to enable collaborative plan review and georeferencing project data.

NJDOT is continuing with its plan for an enterprise innovation shift to electronic project management. The NJDOT Division of Local Aid is about to implement Phase 2 of the PMRS.   This implementation includes transitioning plan review from a paper-based process to an electronic process offering greater standardization and tracking capabilities. The Department’s shift is well-aligned with EDC-3’s e-Construction initiative and Local Aid’s objectives to improve program delivery through electronic review.

With this shift, Local Aid project managers will have easier access to project plans and documents from the District Offices in electronic formats from anywhere.  The innovations embedded in the platform and supporting software will enable easy file sharing, efficient project transfers, tracking comments and their resolution, and the ability to track and review previous project phases more efficiently.

The STIC funding will support the NJDOT Division of Local Aid in the development of a software training program for municipal and county engineers and Local Aid staff.  The training will be conducted over a two-month period with various morning and afternoon classes to offer flexibility in scheduling and attendance.  The initial “live” training sessions are expected to be recorded for future online, “on-demand” use.  The course development and training initiative will be carried out by a team that manages the Local Aid Resource Center in association with NJDOT Local Aid staff.

The training seeks to accomplish key goals aligned with the Department’s commitment to using technology to enable staff to be more efficient in accomplishing routine tasks and collaborative activities with external stakeholders.   Ultimately, the transition to an online tool is expected to reduce paper consumption as well as centralize and standardize project management activities.

Click on NJ STIC Incentive Funding Grants to get more information on the purpose, eligibility and uses for which the NJ STIC has sought incentive funding in recent years.

 

Pavement Preservation Treatments at NJDOT

NJDOT's Pavement and Drainage Management and Technology Unit is advancing the use of Pavement Preservation treatments on the state's roads to increase safety, enhance durability, improve customer experience and minimize costs. Pavement rehabilitation is needed for deficient roadways, but pavement preservation can extend pavement life for state highways in good and fair condition. 

Watch this educational video to learn more about the Pavement Preservation program at NJDOT and the tools in the pavement preservation toolbox. The video explains the rationale for maintaining roads in a state of good repair and establishing a dedicated program for pavement preservation. The video highlights several pavement preservation treatments in the NJDOT toolbox and how, when and why the treatments are used.

Development of Real-Time Traffic Signal Performance Measurement System

Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT) is a smart traffic signal technology that adjusts timing of traffic signals to accommodate changing traffic patterns and reduce congestion. NJDOT recently deployed this technology in select corridors and required a set of metrics to gauge functionality and effectiveness in easing traffic congestion and reliability. However, the monitoring and assessment of the ASCT performance at arterial corridors has been a time-consuming process.

The Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures system (ATSPMs) developed by Utah DOT is one of the widely-used platforms for traffic signal performance monitoring with a large suite of performance metrics. One limitation of the existing ATSPM platform is its dependency on high-resolution controllers and the need to set up hardware and software at each individual intersection. Upgrading the existing controllers and reconfiguring the hardware and software at each intersection requires significant investment of funding and labor hours.

Recently completed research funded by the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Research mobilized researchers from Rutgers University, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), and Rowan University to assist in advancing the goal of establishing automated traffic signal performance measures. The goals of the needed research were to develop a prototype Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures platform for ASCT systems. The main focus was how to take advantage of the centrally-stored signal event and detector data of ASCT systems to generate the ATSPM performance metrics without intersection-level hardware or software deployment.

The study’s primary objectives were to examine: 1) how to utilize existing field data and equipment to establish Signal Performance Measures (SPMs) for real-time monitoring; and 2) identify what additional data and equipment may be employed to generate additional SPMs while automating the real-time traffic signal monitoring process. This research is especially important for New Jersey (NJ) with the deployment of ATSPM and the establishment of NJDOT’s Arterial Management Center (AMC).

Background

At present, NJDOT maintains a traffic signal system comprised of many types of equipment that affect signal performance, including different signal configurations and vehicle detection devices. Older equipment and ineffective detection technologies make real-time traffic signal monitoring quite difficult to implement across the state. With the implementation of more centrally-controlled traffic signal systems and the Department’s Arterial Management Center (the central control for remotely monitoring these signals) coming online, NJDOT needed standards to assure that the signals would operate properly and ease traffic congestion, and that the signals could be monitored remotely in real-time effectively.

ATSPMs are promoted by FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) as an EDC-4 (Every Day Counts 4) initiative. The use of ATSPMs has important foreseeable benefits:

  • Increased Safety. A shift to proactive operations and maintenance practices can improve safety by reducing the traffic congestion that results from poor and outdated signal timing.
  • Targeted Maintenance. ATSPMs provide the actionable information needed to deliver high-quality service to customers, with significant cost savings to agencies.
  • Improved Operations. Active monitoring of signalized intersection performance lets agencies address problems before they become complaints.
  • Improved Traffic Signal Timing and Optimization Policies. Agencies are able to adjust traffic signal timing parameters based on quantitative data without requiring a robust data collection and modeling process.
Research Approach

The research team recognized that the deployment of various adaptive traffic control systems such as InSync and SCATS systems on major NJ corridors and networks improved the capability for building real-time performance measures. The study included: a review of the literature and best practices; several stakeholder meetings; and recommendations and development of performance metrics, system architectures, data management, and strategies for deploying ATSPM systems using existing and planned NJDOT arterial infrastructure and technologies.

Figure 1: An Example real-time performance monitoring on County Road 541 and Irwick Road, Burlington County, NJ

Figure 1. An Example real-time performance monitoring on County Road 541 and Irwick Road, Burlington County, NJ

The researchers first conducted a literature review to identify examples of existing Signal Performance Measurement (SPM) systems to help inform the development of ATSPMs. The researchers described several exemplary initiatives, including the following:

  • In 2013, the Utah Department of Transportation’s (UDOT) SPM Platform was named an American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Innovation Initiative. Deployed across the state, the system allows UDOT to monitor and manage signal operations for all signals maintained by the agency while aiding in more efficient travel flows along corridors.
  • From 2006 to 2013, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), with Purdue University, established a testbed of signal performance measures. INDOT developed a common platform for collecting real-time signal data, which became the foundation for AASHTO’s Innovation Initiative on Signal Performance Measures. This performance system has now been deployed at more than 3,000 intersections across the country.
  • Researchers at The College of New Jersey have established a signal performance measurements testbed using Burlington County’s centralized traffic signal management system. Traffic signal data collected along County Route 541 has been used to generate real-time performance measures and identify infrastructure improvements that could advance NJDOT’s ability to use real-time SPMs. An example of the existing real-time performance monitoring for Irwick Road and CR541 in Westhampton, NJ in Burlington County is shown in Figure 1.
  • Many state or local agencies including Pennsylvania DOT, Michigan DOT, New Jersey DOT, Lake County (Illinois), and Maricopa County (Arizona), etc., are actively incorporating ATSPMs into their traffic management and operation strategies. Lessons learned from implementation of ATSPMs from different agencies revealed that ATSPMs are critical to ATCS.

The research team organized and facilitated targeted stakeholder meetings. These meetings confirmed that stakeholders were not currently able to perform efficient real-time post-processing of the existing available data.  Through the meetings, the research team was able to scope more deeply into the type of performance measurements that were feasible and what could be done with the collected information.  Stakeholders also conveyed that the total number of operating adaptive signal intersections would more than double in the near-term future, making the need to efficiently process and leverage data from adaptive systems a more pressing concern. The discussions further confirmed that the big question for study was how to best leverage these adaptive systems to evaluate and manage future corridors.

Figure 2. Corridors where NJDOT has deployed ASCT systems; red denotes full operation, yellow denotes under construction, and blue denotes concept development

Figure 2. Corridors where NJDOT has deployed ASCT systems; red denotes full operation, yellow denotes under construction, and blue denotes concept development

The research team sought to better understand the inventory of NJDOT’s existing and planned ASCT systems. In 2019, New Jersey had over 2,500 NJDOT-maintained signals, but only 76 signals were on Adaptive Traffic Signal Systems.  In addition to the existing five corridors and the district in which ASCT systems had been deployed, 3 corridors were under construction and/or in final design and another 11 corridors were in the concept development phase for future ASCT installation at the time of the study (see Figure 2).

The research team visited the state’s Arterial Management Center (AMC) and investigated several signal performance systems – specifically, the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS), Rhythm Engineering’s InSync, and the Transportation Operations Coordinating Committee’s (TRANSCOM) real-time data feed – to better understand their interfaces, different types of detectors and their availability.

Figure 3. System Operation Data Flow Diagram

Figure 3. System Operation Data Flow Diagram

The research team designed an automated traffic signal performance measurement system (ATSPM) based on existing ATSPM open-source software to develop an economically justifiable ATSPM for arterial traffic management in New Jersey.  The entire system operates as shown in Figure 3. The high-resolution controller belonging to existing infrastructure is connected to an AMC at each signalized intersection. The controller event log file contains signal state data that is sent to an AMC database. The research team’s program automatically retrieves these data logs and translates the unprocessed data into a standard event code. The converted event file is inserted into an ATSPM database and the ATSPM software can generate signal performance metrics and produce visualizations to support performance-based maintenance and operations by traffic engineers.

Key Research and Implementation Activities

The research team successfully created a bench test of the ATSPM system based on data collected from high-resolution data from adaptive signal control systems including 13 SCATS locations on NJ Route 18 and 2 InSync locations on US Route 1. As a result of the testing, the research team successfully assembled a prototype for automated traffic signal performance measures in New Jersey.

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Key research activities from the project are as follows:

  • Create Inventory of Existing NJDOT Arterial Management System: The team investigated several signal performance systems including InSync, SCATS, and TRANSCOM fusion application interfaces and different types of detectors and their availability. The team also conducted intensive review of state-of-the-art-and-practice of ATSPM system and identified ways of migrating the system to NJ.
  • Identify Performance Metrics and Measurement Methods for NJDOT ATSPM System: The team conducted a comprehensive review of SPMs built into an ATSPM system. The team investigated and customized SPMs that can be generated by NJDOT detector and travel time data.
  • Develop System Architecture and Concept of Operations for NJDOT ATSPM System and Established a Bench Test of ATSPM Located on TCNJ’s Campus: To leverage the existing ATCS system, the team developed a signal event conversion program to translate existing SCATS and InSync history log file to an event code that can be recognized by ATSPM. The detailed metrics are summarized in the figures to the right.
  • Prepare Real-Time Traffic Signal Data Management Guidelines: The research team created data management guidelines and a manual for data processing. The team validated the outputs through a comprehensive process. The team also completed a test to automatically connect to an ATSPM database using a VPN and MSSQL database management system.
  • Develop Deployment Strategies Considering Existing, Planned, and Future Systems/ Conduct Case Studies of System Deployment: The team initiated the pulling of one-month of data into their platform for the ATSPM. Large scale deployment of this system was expected to be conducted as part of Phase II research.

The research team observed that ATSPMs have distinct advantages over traditional traffic signal monitoring and the accompanying management process. The systems help shorten feedback loops with easier data collection and signal performance comparisons to enable before and after timing adjustments.

Future Work

In the first phase of the research project, the research team developed a software toolbox, NJDOT ATSPM 1.0.  The toolbox can convert the event output data from SCATS and InSync ATSC Systems into event data that can be processed by the ATSPM platform. The primary accomplishment was to integrate ATSPMs with existing ATCS from the centralized management console, instead of configuring at each controlled intersection on field. The proposed system bridges the gap between increasingly deployed ATSC and emerging ATSPMs without investment on new controllers. The effect of this research was validated on two selected corridors. NJDOT arterial management operators are able to use the ATSPM platform to generate key performance metrics and conduct system analysis for NJDOT’s ATSC corridors.

While the initial deployment and analysis was successful, it was limited in its scope. Phase II of the research involves the development and deployment of a significantly-enhanced version of the original toolbox, NJDOT ATSPM 2.0, along with a pilot study on the integration of ATSC controllers with Connected Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) technologies.

The research team will work with NJDOT to identify and add new performance metrics to generate additional Signal Performance Measures. The team can incorporate proprietary data from traveler information providers (e.g. INRIX and HERE) to generate other performance metrics such as queue/wait time, degree of saturation, predicted volumes, etc., and incorporate them into the NJDOT ATSPM platform. The team will also conduct pilot testing on the integration of Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV), Roadside Units (RSU), On Board Unit (OBU) with the existing and planned NJDOT ATSC systems.

This developed ATSPM system from Phase II will bridge the gap between collected traffic data (e.g., signal controller data, detector data, and historical data) and needed performance information for decision-making. Phase II research is underway with an expected completion by November 2021.

Relationship to Strategic Goals

The development of RT-SPMs and the adapting and deployment of ATSPM with existing NJ ATSC systems is aligned with the FHWA EDC (Every Day Counts) Initiative to promote the rapid deployment of proven innovations. NJDOT ATSPM 2.0 will help meet the strategic EDC goal to accelerate the deployment of ATSPMs on existing and planned arterial corridors to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities, optimize mobility and enhance the quality of life.

The Phase II research supports the state initiative on advancing policy and testing of CAV technologies in New Jersey. The outcome of the project will be reported to NJDOT which is part of the New Jersey Advanced Autonomous Vehicle Task Force to make recommendations on laws, regulations and guidance to safely integrate advanced autonomous vehicle testing on the State’s highways, streets, and roads.


Resources

McVeigh, Kelly. (2019). Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures.  Presentation at NJ STIC May 7th, 2019 Meeting.

Jin, P. J., Zhang, T., Brennan Jr, T. M., & Jalayer, M. (2019). Real-Time Signal Performance Measurement (RT-SPM) (No. FHWA NJ-2019-002).  Retrieved at: https://www.njdottechtransfer.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/FHWA-NJ-2019-002.pdf

Jin, P. J., Zhang, T., Brennan Jr, T. M., & Jalayer, M. (2019). Real-Time Signal Performance Measurement (RT-SPM) – Technical Brief Retrieved at: https://www.njdottechtransfer.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/FHWA-NJ-2019-002-TBrev.pdf

Zhang T., Jin P., Brennan, T., McVeigh, K. and Jalayer, M, Automating the Traffic Signal Performance Measures for Adaptive Traffic Signal Control System. ITS World Congress. 2020.

Lunchtime Tech Talk! WEBINAR: Evaluation of Precast Concrete Pavement Systems and State Specifications

On June 10, 2020, the NJDOT Bureau of Research hosted a Lunchtime Tech Talk! Webinar on "Evaluation of Precast Concrete Pavement Systems and State Specifications.” Dr. Yusuf Mehta, Director of Rowan University’s Center for Research and Education in Advanced Transportation Engineering Systems (CREATEs), introduced the presentation and acknowledged the contributions of individuals and other state DOTs to the research effort.  Dr. Daniel Offenbacker began the presentation with a description of the research study performed for NJDOT to identify, evaluate, and compare precast pavement systems, specifications, and practices currently in use for Precast Concrete Pavement (PCP). The study included an extensive literature review and surveys with Subject Matter Experts from various state DOTs that have experience with precast concrete pavement rehabilitations.

Dr. Offenbacker discussed the benefits and drawbacks of Precast Concrete Pavements.

Rigid pavements play an important role in highway infrastructure, primarily in regions with high traffic density such as New Jersey. NJDOT is continuously exploring innovative pavement rehabilitation strategies, such as Precast Concrete Pavement (PCP), that allow for faster and more durable rehabilitation of rigid pavements. Precast concrete is cast off-site to specifications and installed to match a particular location. Dr Offenbacker noted the benefits of precast concrete systems including quick installation that limits the duration of road closure and requires minimal interaction with drivers. The material is durable and long-lasting. Drawbacks include the high cost, challenges to installation requiring tight specifications, and limited capability among contractors and systems.

The researchers surveyed 17 states and followed up with 8 states that are using PCP systems. Other states shared experiences with systems in use, standards for manufacture and installation, permitting of new systems, and experiences with installation and performance. Eight different state specifications were identified that addressed panel fabrication, bedding and grout stabilization, installation tolerances, and encasement grout.

The research led to the conclusion that installation is critical to PCP performance. Failure is generally due to misalignment or poor leveling. Dr. Offenbacker described a proposed five-step system approval process to be used in New Jersey for acceptance of newly-developed precast pavements. The approval system included materials and slab approval, demonstration of system installation, and proof of performance. Recommendations included use of documented experiences from other states in establishing specifications and exploring development of a generic PCP system for New Jersey.

The research resulted in recommendations for a Precast Concrete Pavement approval process for use in New Jersey

Dr. Offenbacker noted the need for future work to investigate the long-term performance of PCP systems, to prepare a life cycle cost analysis to quantify the economic benefits, to assess the usefulness of intermittent precast systems in light of surrounding pavement deterioration, and to develop a training platform for contractors to insure proper installation.

Following the presentation, participants posed questions via the chat feature. Responding to a question about the use of planar vs. non-planar slabs, Dr. Offenbacker noted that the existing conditions of the roadway would determine which slab would be used to match the existing structure.

A participant asked if there was any criteria for choosing between rapid-set concrete and PCP. Dr. Offenbacker responded that there was no criteria yet for when one would choose one over the other.

A participant asked what Dr. Offenbacker considered the key takeaway from the surveys. He responded that installation was the key consideration. He emphasized the need to understand the economic benefits of PCP, which are starting to outweigh the benefits of other rehab techniques such as rapid-set.

In response to a question about training needed, Dr. Offenbacker noted that training is needed in the specific systems. California requires each contractor to go through a certification process if they want to use precast pavement systems on a regular basis.

A participant asked if deterioration of slabs adjacent to a replacement slab was due to the replacement slab. Dr. Offenbacker replied that the replacement slab would not cause deterioration if installed properly. The roadway may be deteriorating incrementally.

A participant asked if the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provided input on QA/QC for underslab grouting and grouting dowel bar slots. Dr. Offenbacker responded that there are thorough specifications for these elements and they are available in the final report.

In response to a question about whether there is a maximum and minimum size for PCPs and how that correlates to performance, Dr. Offenbacker noted that this has not been explored well yet. The typical length is 15 feet.

The presentation given by Dr. Mehta and Dr. Offenbacker can be downloaded here.

A recording of the presentation is also available here (or see right).

For more information about the research study, please access the final report and technical brief here.

For more information about research at Rowan University's CREATES, click here.

NJ STIC 2020 Spring Meeting

NJ STIC’s first virtual meeting on May 6, 2020

NJ STIC’s first virtual meeting on May 6, 2020

The NJ State Transportation Innovation Council (NJ STIC) Spring 2020 Meeting focused on the EDC-5 Innovative Initiative Virtual Public Involvement. The topic was appropriate to the times as STIC members gathered for the group’s first virtual meeting in response to NJ Executive Order 107 in force during the COVID-19 pandemic. The STIC Meeting Agenda had been distributed to the invitees prior to the May 6, 2020 meeting. Participants could use the chat feature to offer comments or ask questions of the speakers during the meeting.

After his Welcome and Opening Remarks, Asst. Commissioner Michael Russo introduced NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti who emphasized the distinction between virtual meetings, public meetings, and public hearings. She noted that NJDOT’s work continues during the lockdown and the agency will be instrumental in helping the state get back on its feet once re-opening begins. Division Administrator for the FHWA NJ Office, Robert Clark, and Amanda Gendek, Manager of the NJDOT Bureau of Research, rounded out the Welcome and Opening Remarks setting the stage for primary focus of the Spring Quarterly STIC meeting on the implementation of Virtual Public Involvement (VPI) in everyday activities of transportation agencies.

Jill Stark from FHWA reviewed online tools to increase public involvement

Jill Stark from FHWA reviewed online tools to increase public involvement (click for presentation)

The meeting continued with presentations from representatives of FHWA, New Jersey’s three Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Monmouth County, Princeton and industry discussing how they have adapted to the need for virtual public meetings and the benefits and challenges associated with the transition to the online formats.

VPI Tools and Techniques - Jill Stark and Lana Lau from FHWA presented several resources, such as mobile apps, crowdsourcing tools, project visualizations, and online mapping, to enhance public involvement and offered several examples of their use in other state transportation agencies. Ms. Stark noted that virtual public involvement will not replace in-person meetings but can supplement traditional engagement activities.

DVRPC used the chat feature during the board meeting to take public comment (click for presentation)

DVRPC used the chat feature during the board meeting to take public comment (click for presentation)

During their talk, the FHWA identified several resources, including webinars and fact sheets, available on Virtual Public Involvement. The agency is also creating videos that highlight innovative and virtual public engagement strategies in use in state and local transportation agencies. An article on the videos, including the fact that NJDOT and NJTPA activities were featured examples, was the subject of a recent post on the NJDOT Technology Transfer website.

MPO representatives reported on the need for quick technological transitions to remote work, experiences with online platforms, and related lessons learned.

NJTPA’s online survey was available in translation and participants could leave comments (click for presentation)

NJTPA’s online survey was available in translation and participants could leave comments (click for presentation)

DVRPC: Virtual Meeting Best Practices - Barry Seymour and Alison Hastings from DVRPC discussed increased public participation at their recent board meeting and the request for remote access to meetings going forward. Noting that reaching underserved communities just got harder, they emphasized features of their chosen meeting platform that increase accessibility, such as phone and computer audio, an app for cell phones, and closed captioning and audio channels for live translation.

Virtual Public Involvement - Mary Ameen and Melissa Hayes from NJTPA offered tips for online discussions, advocating for gearing the message to the audience, keeping meetings brief, providing multiple feedback options, and making the meeting mobile-friendly. Their Virtual Public Engagement Best Practices guidance is available online. They also offered examples from municipalities using online tools to reach their communities.

SJTPO is looking for alternatives methods of reaching populations lacking internet access (click for presentation)

SJTPO is looking for alternatives methods of reaching populations lacking internet access (click for presentation)

Virtual Outreach During COVID-19 in the SJTPO Region - Jennifer Marandino and Alan Huff from SJTPO spoke about the agency’s dive into the issue of limited access to online public involvement opportunities in low-income and minority communities. They have discovered areas in their region that require focused in-person public involvement. The agency is delaying public involvement on major issues and exploring alternative means for reaching the region’s population.

Monmouth County used a project website to inform the public and gather feedback (click for presentation)

Monmouth County used a project website to inform the public and gather feedback (click for presentation)

Monmouth County Bridge Replacement Projects: Virtual Public Meetings – County Engineer Joseph Ettore and Consultant Martine Culbertson spoke about the limitations of virtual meetings and the impact on project development on two Bridge Replacement Projects in Monmouth County. The speakers discussed design of a project website, the challenges of virtual public meetings, how to proceed when a project faces some local opposition, and the need to keep projects on track to retain funding.

Princeton used various methods to track and display feedback from public involvement activities (click for presentation)

Princeton used various methods to track and display feedback from public involvement activities (click for presentation)

Virtual Public Involvement: A Municipal Perspective - Deanna Stockton, Engineer for Princeton, discussed the challenges related to bid openings, and holding council, zoning board and planning board meetings, and shared some useful resources. She noted the need to meet MLUL requirements and deadlines associated with zoning and planning board project reviews and discussed the creation of permanent digital files.

Industry Presentation: Virtual Consultation Platform - The final presentation, from Orla Pease and Andy Thomas of AECOM, offered a STIC industry partner perspective, and highlighted a new online virtual meeting platform. The meeting closed with a brief question and answer session.

The Spring Quarterly STIC meeting offered an abundance of useful information, tips, and lessons learned related to virtual public involvement tools and strategies.


 

 

A recording of the NJ STIC Spring 2020 Meeting can be found here and to the right.  There was insufficient time to answer all questions posed during the session. Answers to these questions can be found here.

The NJ STIC Spring Virtual Meeting Presentation can be found in its entirety and in sections below.

Click for entire presentation (10MB).
Virtual Meeting Best Practices by DVRPC
Monmouth County Bridge Replacement Project Virtual Public Meeting
Q&A and Thank You
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Virtual Public Engagement by NJTPA
Virtual Public Involvement: A Municipal Perspective
Presentation by FHWA
Virtual Outreach During COVID-19 in the SJTPO Region
Industry Presentation, Virtual Consultation Platform

Reducing Rural Road Departures: Upcoming FHWA Webinar and Other Resources Advance EDC-5 Initiative

FHWA Storyboard

On May 12, 2020, the Federal Highway Administration will host FoRRRwD on All Public Roads: Innovative Mechanisms to Deliver Safety Projects, the second of its monthly webinars designed to help reduce rural roadway departures and save lives. Reducing rural roadway departures is one of the ten initiatives addressed by the 5th round of its Every Day Counts program (EDC-5). The EDC program identifies and deploys proven innovations to save state departments of transportation time, money, and resources. This webinar is the latest FHWA offering of technical materials aimed at reducing roadway departures (see below). Other recent materials include:

  • A storyboard on horizontal curve warning signs. The storyboard demonstrates the effectiveness of low-cost solutions such as advance warning signs and curve chevrons to reduce crashes on curves, especially at night.
  • An informational video. Released in late March 2020, this video showcases the benefits of rumble strips in reducing road departures. The video notes that rumbles strips can reduce departure crashes by up to 50 percent. (Embed the video here)
  • An innovation spotlight video. This 2019 video highlights key countermeasures to prevent or reduce severity of crashes, and systemic analysis tools agencies can use to prioritize locations on a network with high risk for future crashes.

New Jersey has also been working to address this issue, using some of the methods listed above on rural roads across the state. This recent NJDOT Tech Transfer article highlights how Cumberland and Somerset Counties are reducing rural road departures along high risk portions of their networks.

FoRRRwD on All Public Roads: Innovative Mechanisms to Deliver Safety Projects

May 12, 2020
1-3 pm

Rural roadway departures make up a third of U.S. traffic fatalities—about 30 people a day. The Every Day Counts round five (EDC-5) initiative, Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD), features four pillars: 1. Addressing All Public Roads, 2. Systemic Approach, 3. Safety Action Plans, and 4. Proven Countermeasures.

This webinar focuses on the first pillar. State, local, and tribal agencies come learn unique approaches and methods that you can use to efficiently deliver safety countermeasures and projects to reduce rural roadway departure crashes. Speakers and Topics to be covered include:

  • Steve Landry, Maine DOT, will discuss Maine DOT’s use of safety supply (Curve Warning Signs, RRFBs, Speed Feedback Signs) procurement projects where state procurement procedures are used, and local public agencies or State forces perform installation at their cost.
  • Mark Thomas, Mississippi DOT (MDOT), will discuss how agencies in Mississippi have used agency force account to deliver roadway departure countermeasures, and a program where MDOT provides warning and advisory signage to local governments to install.
  • Patricia Burke, Montana DOT (MDT), will discuss MDT’s use of Job Order Contracting to streamline the delivery of safety projects.

This webinar is free and open to anyone who is interested. Registration is limited to 500 seats.

Registration: Participants must register in advance at https://collaboration.fhwa.dot.gov/dot/fhwa/WC/Lists/Seminars/DispForm.aspx?ID=2260

Please Note: Non-USDOT employees who have never participated in an FHWA webinar must create an account at https://collaboration.fhwa.dot.gov/FBA/MembershipRequest.aspx in order to register for this webinar.

FHWA recommends using Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer for optimal registration experience.