Next-Generation TIM: Integrating Technology, Data, and Training

What is Next-Generation TIM: Integrating Technology, Data, and Training?

New methods for improving Traffic Incident Management (TIM) programs aim to increase traveler and responder safety and improve trip reliability and commerce movement on all roadways.

Over 6 million reportable crashes occur every year in the United States. Each crash places responders and motorists at risk of secondary crashes while having a severe impact on congestion. New tools, data, and training mechanisms can be used to improve safety and reduce clearance times at roadway crashes. New and existing TIM programs, including those for local agencies and off-interstate applications, will benefit from using enhanced TIM practices on all roadways to save lives, time, and money.

A New Generation of TIM

While the FHWA's national TIM responder training program successfully trained almost 500,000 responders to clear incidents collaboratively, safely, and quickly, it was largely focused on agencies that respond on interstates and high-speed roadways. Next-generation (NextGen) TIM increases the focus on local agency TIM programs while integrating new and emerging technology, tools, and training to improve incident detection and reduce safety response and clearance times on all roadways.

Traditionally, transportation agencies capture incidents (crashes, roadway debris, stalled vehicles on mainlines, etc.) where sensor technologies are installed, where safety service patrols are present, or when contacted by public safety/law enforcement agencies. NextGen TIM significantly expands this capacity. It enables agencies to improve TIM strategies by implementing new options such as back-of-queue warning, navigation-app notification of active responders in the vicinity, notification-based incident detection using crowdsourced data, and more.

By using NextGen TIM methods, State and local agencies can increase traveler and responder safety, improve trip reliability and commerce movement, and enable responder communities to focus more resources on other pressing citizen needs.

Benefits

Increased Safety. NextGen TIM targets advances in safety through engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency services to help keep responders, drivers, and pedestrians safe across freeway, arterial, and multimodal travel.

Improved Travel Times. Training, data, and technology combine to help local and State agencies reduce secondary crashes and clearance times, improving trip reliability and increasing motorists' awareness of active responders along their travel routes.

Improved Operations. Integrating new and emerging technology, tools, and training can improve incident mitigation and safety throughout the whole TIM timeline, from incident detection to clearance on all roadways.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

Integrating NJDOT and Law Enforcement Systems for Traffic Incident Management

Stage of Innovation:
DEMONSTRATION  (Dec. 2018)

Several activities were undertaken during EDC-4:

Established a Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) Integration Working Group to explore the possibilities and develop an action plan for CAD integration. The working group has representatives from NJDOT Traffic Operations, and Central Dispatch Unit (CDU), NJ State Police, New Jersey towing association, TRANSCOM, and FHWA New Jersey Division office.  The working group seeks to establish and implement the standard and efficient use of technology and promote the integration of traffic management center (TMC) and law enforcement CAD systems. The traffic incident data sharing between the TMC and the law enforcement is expected to decrease incident response times, properly capture the incident timeline, and improve the traffic incident management process.

Implemented the FHWA Performance Measures for recommended roadway and incident clearance using the OpenReach System. Beyond the scope of EDC-4, NJ seeks to implement a functionality to track when incident congestion returns to normal traffic by coordinating with TRANSCOM to determine when the new functionality can be used in the OpenReach system.

Participated in Peer Exchange Workshops and Webinars to review the current state of practice and share best practices with I-95 corridor states, cutting edge states, and the FHWA.

Next-Generation TIM: Integrating Technology, Data, and Training: NEW & NOTEWORTHY

Final Report Released for the Connected Vehicles Program Pilot Testing of Technology for Distributing Road Service Safety Messages from Safety Service Patrols

Final Report Released for the Connected Vehicles Program Pilot Testing of Technology for Distributing Road Service Safety Messages from Safety Service Patrols

NJDOT’s top priority is to improve highway safety. To support this goal, in September 2018, New Jersey began a pilot study of the effectiveness of ...
Connected Vehicles Program Pilot Testing of Technology for Safety Service Patrol Workers Continues

Connected Vehicles Program Pilot Testing of Technology for Safety Service Patrol Workers Continues

The pilot study continues to examine the effectiveness of connected vehicle technology to alert motorists to Safety Service Patrol (SSP) workers at an incident site. ...
New Jersey Pilots Connected Vehicles Program  to Protect Safety Service Patrol Staff

New Jersey Pilots Connected Vehicles Program to Protect Safety Service Patrol Staff

This study will examine the effectiveness of connected vehicle technology to alert motorists to Safety Service Patrol (SSP) workers at an incident site. ...

NJ STIC 1st Quarter 2021 Meeting

The NJ State Transportation Innovation Council (NJ STIC) 1st Quarter 2021 Meeting, held on March 29, 2021, focused on the advancement of the EDC-6 Innovative Initiatives during the two-year program time frame (January 2021-December 2023). 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.

Amanda Gendek, Manager of the NJDOT Bureau of Research greeted the meeting participants, followed by Asst. Commissioner Michael Russo who provided the Welcome and Opening Remarks.

FHWA EDC-6 Innovation Baseline. Helene Roberts, Innovation Coordinator and Performance Manager for the FHWA NJ Office, noted that feedback from the STIC Caucus was helpful in establishing the baseline reports for the EDC-6 initiatives, and provided a brief update on the current and planned stage of deployment for each of NJDOT’s EDC-6 innovation initiatives over the two-year time frame.

Core Innovation Area (CIA) Updates. The meeting continued with presentations from Core Innovative Area (CIA) leaders who provided status updates, covering the EDC initiatives overseen by the Safety, Mobility and Operations, and Infrastructure Preservation CIA team. Amanda Gendek noted that the Organizational Improvement and Support CIA was formed recently to include the Strategic Workforce Development and Virtual Public Involvement initiatives. This CIA will be reporting out at the next STIC meeting.

STIC Incentive Grant Funding. Amanda Gendek reported on the status of the development of the NJ STIC Communications Plan which is a guide to encourage the exchange of ideas and promote innovation among STIC members and the broader transportation community. The Plan is nearing completion and will be available soon. Sal Cowan, Senior Director for Transportation Mobility at NJDOT, described the partnership with Waycare for the Enhanced Crowdsourcing for Operations in NJ pilot to improve traffic incident detection and roadway system monitoring.

EDC-6 Innovations Break-Out Sessions. The quarterly meeting offered an opportunity for STIC members to further consider how the EDC-6 initiatives can be advanced at the state and local level, and what coordinated efforts will be needed. Meeting participants were divided into break-out sessions to briefly discuss the current status of implementation for the EDC-6 initiatives and explore steps to be taken to advance these initiatives toward the anticipated implementation status at the end of the two years. Participants discussed their capacity to create a working group to continue discussion on these initiatives, how FHWA and NJDOT can work with local public agencies and other transportation partners to advance the initiatives, and whether participants are aware of innovations that could be shared at a future STIC meeting.

Plenary Session.  All participants reconvened and break-out group facilitators reported out on the discussions for each initiative.

Reminders and Updates.  Before closing the meeting, Amanda Gendek reminded meeting participants that information on NJ STIC is available on the NJDOT Tech Transfer website.  She let participants know that the 2021 Build A Better Mousetrap Competition is underway.  The BABM competition encourages state and local agencies to share successful examples of ideas that were translated into implementable solutions in transportation.  She also encouraged participants to subscribe to the NJDOT Tech Transfer News which is released quarterly to stay informed on other research and innovation topics.

A recording of the NJ STIC 1st Quarterly Meeting of 2021 can be found on this page.

Meeting Presentations can be found in its entirety here and in sections below.

Meeting notes for each of the EDC-6 Innovation break-out session topics are available here.

Welcome, Introductions & FHWA Remarks

CIA Team Update: Mobility and Operations

EDC-6 Breakout Sessions

CIA Team Update: Safety

CIA Team Update: Organizational Improvement & Support

Reminders, Announcements & Thank You

CIA Team Update: Infrastructure Preservation

Feature Presentation: STIC Incentive Grant Project Updates

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.