NJ STIC 1st Quarter 2023 Meeting

The NJ State Transportation Innovation Council (NJ STIC) convened online for the 1st Quarter Meeting on March 15, 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.

Welcome and Introductions.  Brandee Sullivan, NJDOT Innovation Coordinator, greeted the meeting participants, followed by Assistant Commissioner Michael Russo who provided the Welcome and Opening Remarks. He introduced a new Core Innovation Area Team, Planning and Environment, that will lead the implementation activities for two of the EDC-7 Innovations being addressed by the NJ STIC. The two EDC-7 innovations, EPDs for Sustainable Project Delivery, and Integrating GHG Assessment and Reduction Targets in Transportation Planning, will fall under the responsibility of this newly formed CIA Team.  Andrew Swords, NJDOT, and Sutapa Bandyopadhyay, FHWA, are the leads for this Team.

Asst. Commissioner Russo thanked Helene Roberts, Innovation Coordinator and Performance Manager for the FHWA NJ Office, who is retiring in April. He thanked Helene for her years of service, and her guidance and support in making the NJ STIC successful.  Mr. Russo introduced Robert Clark, Division Administrator for the FHWA NJ Office, who also thanked Helene for all her work. He noted that she is a Pavement and Materials engineer and has recently won two national awards.  In crediting Ms. Roberts for her significant work on behalf of the NJ STIC, Mr. Russo showed a timeline of the STIC’s development over more than 10 years of innovating, including being the recipient of two STIC Excellence Awards.

FHWA Innovation Updates. Helene Roberts spoke about the closeout of EDC-6 and provided a summary of the status of each innovation initiative at the end of the two-year period. She noted that Crowdsourcing for Advancing Operations and Virtual Public Involvement had reached the institutionalization stage.  The other EDC-6 Round innovations undertaken by the NJ STIC had not changed status at the close of the two-year period, but were on a path to continue to make progress by their respective teams.

Ms. Roberts also spoke about the EDC-7 National Summit recordings of which will be available on-demand for a year. Access to all of the recordings requires registration. Ms. Roberts noted NJ participation in the National Summit: Sal Cowan presented on Next-Gen TIM technologies in use by NJDOT, and Ted Ritter, NJTPA, and Jaclyn Davis, DVRPC, presented on Virtual Public Involvement at the National STIC Network Showcase. General information about the EDC-7 Virtual Summit can be found here along with a link to the event's agenda.  A short post about the NJ involvement at the FHWA Virtual Summit, including the referenced presentations, can be found here.

Amanda Gendek, Bureau of Research summarized the EDC-7 NJ Caucus proceedings held on February 22, 2023. She requested that those who participated in the NJ Caucus could still complete the Feedback Form (a link was shared) to help the NJDOT Bureau of Research in organizing future Caucus-related events.

Breakout Rooms: EDC-7 Conversations with Core Innovation Area Leads. The meeting continued with conversations with Core Innovative Area (CIA) leaders about the EDC-7 innovations being pursued by the NJ STIC. Attendees chose to join one of the five CIA Team breakout sessions: Safety; Infrastructure Preservation; Mobility and Operations; Organizational Improvement and Support; and Planning and Environment.  The sessions continued the discussions that began with the NJ STIC Caucus and reviewed the baseline status of each innovation, the stage of deployment goal for the innovation over the next two years. and implementation steps that could be taken to achieve the deployment goal.

Featured Presentation – Nighttime Visibility for Safety.  Two presentations highlighted research on lighting design guidance and various design improvements aligned with advancing Nighttime Visibility for Safety, an EDC-7 Innovation topic.

Leigh Ann Von Hagen, Managing Director, Active Transportation & Mobility Safety Group, Rutgers Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC), and Greg Woltman, Project Coordinator, summarized previous work on street lighting and the relationship of lighting to pedestrian and bicyclist crashes. Enhancing nighttime visibility for pedestrian and bicycle safety is the subject of a research effort on Life-Saving Lighting that Rutgers-VTC is beginning with researchers at Rowan University funded through the NJ Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center. This work will result in a lighting design guide for local jurisdictions. VTC requested input from people in the meeting through a Menti poll.  Anahita Kakhani, Graduate Research Assistant at Rowan, introduced herself as a member of the research team for preparing the lighting design guide.

Charu Jegan and Andrey Terentiev, NJDOT Bureau of Traffic Engineering, presented on safety countermeasures for Nighttime Visibility and pedestrian and bicyclist safety. NJDOT has been installing LED lighting on state highways; improving ADA accessibility for pushbuttons and voice command at crosswalks, and ensuring that pedestrian signal heads can be seen clearly from the crosswalk; installing traffic signal backplates with retroreflective tape; installing pedestrian-activated Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB); and evaluating the effectiveness of vertical illumination.  They discussed the benefits and challenges of these countermeasures.

Reminders and Updates.  Ms. Sullivan closed the meeting with information and reminders on the online location of several resources that highlight the NJ STIC and other innovation topics funded through research and technology transfer activities, including:

She announced that the 2023 Design Summit, sponsored by NJDOT, FHWA, and American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), has a theme of Innovation. The Summit will be held on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. NJDOT Bureau of Research will be gathering information from NJ stakeholders on EDC-7 initiatives through the use of QR-coded surveys.

Ms. Sullivan also announced that STIC Incentive Program funds are available. The FHWA offers these funds, as well as technical assistance, to support the standardization and advancement of innovative practices in a state transportation agency or other public sector STIC stakeholder. NJ STIC receives $100,000 each year. Ms. Sullivan asked that the STIC network members communicate these grant opportunities through their networks. Local public agencies are eligible to apply. Find more information, including examples of allowable activities and prior recipients, here.

Ms. Sullivan reminded attendees about the NJ Build a Better Mousetrap Competition. The deadline for entries is May 1, 2023. This year, state agencies can submit innovations to the national competition if the innovation is replicable in other agencies.  To learn more about the competition and see examples of past winners, go here, or download the entry form and guidance here.

Asst. Commissioner Russo provided closing remarks.

A recording of the NJ STIC March 2023 meeting can be found here.

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

Welcome Remarks

FHWA EDC Innovation Updates

EDC-7 NJ Caucus Review & Feedback

Feature Presentation #1:
Nighttime Visibility for Safety, Rutgers-Voorhees Transportation Center with Rowan University

Feature Presentation #2:
Nighttime Visibility for Safety, NJDOT Bureau of Traffic Engineering

Reminders, Announcements, and Thank You

NJ at the 2023 FHWA Virtual Summit

The FHWA EDC-7 Virtual Summit, held February 14-16, 2023, featured several New Jersey initiatives.

NJDOT’s Sal Cowan, Senior Director, Transportation Mobility, presented as a subject matter expert on Next Gen TIM: Technology for Saving Lives. He discussed NJDOT’s use of real-time notifications to commercial drivers, LED flares at incident scenes, and light towers on incident management response trucks for scene lighting. You can see his presentation here or the first video to the right.

As part of the National STIC Network Showcase, two New Jersey Metropolitan Planning Organizations, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), presented on techniques for Virtual Public Involvement. The MPOs used innovative strategies to increase public participation, particularly among traditionally underserved populations, in the long-range planning process. Click to see the presentation or see the second video to the right.

Six New Jersey innovations were included as part of the National STIC Network Innovation Showcase. Please click on the images below to find out more about these innovations that were implemented in the Garden State.

The FHWA EDC-7 Virtual Summit introduced the next round of innovative initiatives that merit widespread adoption by transportation agencies and other stakeholders.

General information on the EDC-7 Virtual Summit can be found here along with a link to the agenda for the event.

FHWA EDC-7 Virtual Summit Breakout: Next Gen TIM: Technology for Saving Lives

FHWA EDC-7 Virtual Summit | National STIC Network Showcase: Growing an Inclusive

National STIC Network Meeting – January 2023 (Recording)

The National STIC Network meeting was held on January 25, 2023. The meeting featured Ohio STIC and Idaho STIC which were awarded 2022 STIC Excellence Awards.  The recording of the January 2023 National STIC Network meeting is available here.

The Ohio STIC representative discussed expansion of STIC membership to Rural Transportation Planning Organizations and Institutes of Higher Education, increased collaboration and development of criteria for STIC Incentive project selection, and cost savings achieved through innovation in Ohio DOT internal processes.

The Idaho STIC representative spoke about the STIC’s support of the Idaho Career Opportunities – Next in Construction (ICONIC) training program, their On the Job Training/ Supportive Services program. With this support, the program tripled in size, and increased outreach to, diversity of, and employment opportunities for program participants.

The NJ STIC was also awarded a 2022 STIC Excellence Award.  The activities and accomplishments of the NJ STIC were featured during the National STIC Network Meeting – June 1, 2022 (Recording).

Attendees were encouraged to register for the FHWA EDC-7 Virtual Summit which will be held Feb 14-16, 2023.



From left to right: a woman in a hardhat working with a crowbar, then two men helping place a bridge component, finally three men on a paving device

Strategic Workforce Development Online Recordings & Presentations

Strategic Workforce Development is one of FHWA's seven initiatives promoted through the sixth round of the Every Day Counts (EDC) program. Key emphasis is made on developing new, innovative strategies to support qualified workers for highway construction projects. By strengthening this workforce, through applying lessons learned, new training tools, customizable marketing materials, state transportation agencies can help to foster the next generation of transportation workers.

FHWA's Center for Workforce Development has hosted several webinars about the Highway Construction Workforce Partnership (HCWP highlighting success stories and best practices.


Recent webinars were held in November 2022, including representatives from Michigan, Connecticut, New England Laborers Training Academy, Texas, National Skills Coalition, Oregon, and the Pennsylvania representatives from the Pittsburgh region, including the Partner4Work and Builders Guild organizations.  A host of supportive services were highlighted that both educate and maintain their trainee's opportunities and availability to participate in the respective workforce development programs.

Other recordings and select presentations are available here and future webinar announcements will be located on the HCWP website.  Some examples of recent webinars and presentations are listed below.


FHWA contacts for Strategic Workforce Development are Karen Bobo (Karen.Bobo@dot.gov) and Joe Conway (Joe.Conway@dot.gov).

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development: NJDOT’s Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement Program

Strategic Workforce Development, an innovative initiative of the Every Day Counts Program, suggests the importance of fostering an environment and partnerships favorable to training programs, pre-apprenticeship programs, and support for women and minorities in the construction workforce, among other strategies. NJDOT’s Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement Program promotes workforce development by supporting transportation-related community projects that engage youth and young adults in underserved communities. NJDOT partners with local government agencies, not-for-profits, community-based organizations and other entities with established youth programs to provide summer employment, as well as training and other supportive services, to the program participants working to improve gateway areas at state highways.

We interviewed Chrystal Section, Supervisor of the Non-Discrimination Programs Unit in the NJDOT’s Division of Civil Rights and Affirmative Action. The unit includes Title VI, Environmental Justice, Americans with Disabilities Act, Limited English Proficiency, and two special programs: the Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement program and the National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI).

Q. The Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement Program has been operating since 1998. What prompted the start of the program?

Members of the Division of Civil Rights attended an AASHTO subcommittee conference on the program. Our division became very interested seeing that it would be beneficial to our youth and young adults in underserved communities. At the time, Civil Rights worked with NJDOT’s Adopt a Highway program to develop the Urban Gateway Enhancement Program.

Q. Is the NJDOT program affiliated with the NJ Department of Labor’s Youth Corps Program in New Jersey?

No. We do not work directly with the NJ Department of Labor Urban Youth Corps program. NJDOT implements the Urban Gateway Enhancement Program with the support of federal funding.

Q. What is your role with the program?

I am the project manager, and I work with the supervisors at the various agencies that are participating. I am responsible for outreach, the website presence including grant cycle announcement and application availability statewide, review of applications, award announcement letters, the kick-off meeting with all the funded organizations, ensuring recipients provide close-out documents for reimbursement, and providing the final project report to FHWA.

Q. How much funding is available to each applicant?

Up to $32,000 is available to each applicant organization.  At least 50 percent of the budget must be dedicated to the youth participants in earnings, training and supportive services. Teams are formed with approximately 6 to 10 youths. The funding also pays for the local supervisor, and equipment and supplies as needed.

Some of the applications request less than the grant cap, especially if the organization has participated previously and has purchased costly equipment already.

Q. What might be a typical hourly wage or stipend?

Participants are paid minimum wage, $15/hour, although some of the participating organizations have stipends, so they would pay them based on the stipend. The youths and young adults are not paid less than minimum wage. The participants work four to six hours per day for up to six to eight weeks during the summer.

Program participants may learn skills including the basics of landscaping, horticulture, and installation of streetscape and pedestrian enhancements.
Program participants may learn skills including the basics of landscaping, horticulture, and installation of streetscape and pedestrian enhancements.

Q. How do you get the word out about the program?

Our outreach includes sending letters to previous participants and mayors in underserved communities, and we send out a blast on all NJDOT social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and post the notice on the NJDOT website on the Civil Rights and Clean Up NJ webpages.

Q. How are participating organizations chosen?

We accept applications from any entity that fits the criteria set forth in the application. When I first started with the program, I worked primarily with Urban Enterprise Zones but the program has spread through word of mouth. We continue to focus on underserved communities. The applicants must have established youth programs. The goal of NJDOT’s program is to benefit youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 who are economically or socially disadvantaged and who have experienced barriers to employment (e.g., the lack of a high school diploma, homelessness, teen parenting, being physically or mentally challenged, or an ex-offender).  These program participants receive training while receiving a paycheck.  Depending on the project, they will have an opportunity to learn the basics of urban forestry, landscaping, fabrication and installation of streetscape and pedestrian enhancements, horticulture, construction inspection and materials testing.

Applicants have included cities, youth corps, churches, school districts, and other not-for-profit community-based organizations. Each community organization provides the program’s structure and supervision and also provides life skills, and safety and technical skills training. For examples of grantees and projects, please see Table 1.

As previously noted, some former funding recipients apply in subsequent years, often to continue maintenance on the original project site.

Q. Can you describe the process once you have received the applications?

We receive 14 applications on average each year, and we can usually fund up to 12. A team of 11 NJDOT subject matter experts (SMEs) serve on the application scoring team. These individuals are from several areas including Civil Rights, Local Aid & Economic Development, Community Outreach, Landscape, Project Management, Statewide Planning, Capital Planning and Management, and Operations. Representatives from these departments volunteer their time to review and individually score the applications and then we discuss the scoring and make the awardee selections.

In their applications, the organizations can list up to three site locations and specify the type of projects they will be working on at each location. The projects must be located at gateways to state roadways and be sited on land owned by the State, as NJDOT does not have jurisdiction over county and municipal roadways. Clean-up, maintenance, on-going maintenance from previous projects, anti-graffiti initiatives, planting flowers and trees, and other landscaping are typical projects.

Scoring of the applications takes into consideration whether the project is feasible and provides meaningful and productive work for the participants. Skills training, including work skills, life skills, and safety skills training should be included. Ensuring a safe environment, including providing COVID 19 personal protective equipment and protocols during the pandemic, is also a consideration. Scorers also look for local support for the projects.

Q. Once projects are awarded, what’s next? Does the program leverage the expertise or capabilities of NJDOT employees? How do NJDOT employees get involved in teaching or mentoring in the program?

When we have our kick-off meeting there are representatives from NJDOT Operations and Landscape present to answer any questions. As the project moves forward, we provide technical support as needed, either by meeting with the teams at the project site or answering questions by phone.

Members of the committee visit the project sites during the summer to provide feedback on the great work participants are doing, and to answer questions they may have

Q. What are the benefits of the program?

There are numerous benefits to both NJDOT and the program participants. NJDOT benefits from the opportunity to partner with non-profit agencies and community-based organizations and local governments. The program also provides a prospective employee pool for the Department. The participants benefit from learning about transportation and jobs that are available in the field, and in some cases from the mentorship by NJDOT employees. The participants also gain a sense of ownership of the sites, of pride in their accomplishments and their community. They learn new skills, including life skills, while earning a pay check. This work experience, and employment services offered through the organization, can help them when applying for jobs in the future. The community benefits from an improvement project that beautifies gateway areas so they are inviting to residents and visitors, and from having citizens who are engaged and better equipped to find a job.

Program participants may learn skills including the basics of landscaping, horticulture, and installation of streetscape and pedestrian enhancements.
Program participants may learn skills including the basics of landscaping, horticulture, and installation of streetscape and pedestrian enhancements.

Q. What are challenges of the program?

There are three main challenges: continued maintenance of the project sites, obtaining increased funding for the program, and closing out projects in a timely manner at the end of the year.

Ensuring that maintenance is continued for these projects depends on the participating community organizations, as maintenance is not a grant requirement although highly desired. Many recipients have strong relationships with the municipal Department of Public Works (DPW), which may accept responsibility for continued maintenance of the project sites. Others apply for additional funding to maintain the sites.

We would also welcome increased funding that would enable us to support more projects and open the program up to more organizations in the state.

Regarding program close-out requirements, this program is a reimbursement program. At the end of the project, the organizations have to submit payment vouchers and receipts. Delays in the process are common due to the other priorities of the organizations, but NJDOT’s ability to secure new funding from FHWA depends on the successful close-out of the year’s projects. Sometimes, we have to skip a year of the program due to late reporting. For example, we awarded grants in 2021 but skipped the 2022 cycle.

Q. Are there any program changes being discussed?

I have been managing the program independently for the past two years, but I now have two new staff members who are excited about the program. Now that they have joined me, I will have capacity to reach out and see what other states are doing with similar programs to gather lessons learned.

Q. Is there a workforce development component to the program? Are program participants encouraged to apply to NJDOT for employment in Operations or other divisions, bureaus or units?

Our goal is to not limit our investment in these individuals to only summer employment, but to also open the door to employment at NJDOT. In January 2022, we invited our partner organizations to a meeting to make them aware of the Highway Operations Technician (HOT) positions available in Operations. We worked with Human Resources and the Manager of Operations to discuss the way the HOT program works, and the application process at NJDOT. Although there were no promises made for hiring, the organizations could make their youth and young adult program participants aware of these existing job opportunities. NJDOT considers this outreach a continuing investment in the on-the-job training. We hope to hold other meetings in the future when these or similar positions are available – positions that require the skills these individuals have developed through the program. We are looking at this initiative as a component of our workforce development program.

Q. Do you have an example of what you would consider a successful project?

I will give you the example of a Trenton-based program operated by Isles, a non-profit organization, which has been a funding recipient for several years. Their work has focused on a variety of beautification and land management tasks, including installation of a TRENTON sign at Barlow Circle, and improvements at plaza gateways, at the Motor Vehicle Commission building, and at ARTWORKS.

Projects led by Isles, Inc. in Trenton serve as some of the examples of this successful program.
Projects led by Isles, Inc. in Trenton serve as some of the examples of this successful program.

When our team of committee members went out to meet with the program participants who worked on this project, these young people were a little resistant to engage with us at first. But when we toured the project sites together and they had the opportunity to explain their contributions and what they learned, you could see a positive change. They were proud of their accomplishments and happy to share that with us. They were not only earning money but learning skills, including how to prepare a resume and other life skills. It is truly meaningful when we as NJDOT employees have the chance to go out and meet with these young people and have an exchange where they can ask questions about the work we are doing, and we can build relationships.

You can always give funding, but it becomes so meaningful when you have the chance to spend half the day with these young men and women and find out about their work, interests and goals. Overall, it is a wonderful experience to oversee this program for NJDOT, to help make communities beautiful, and see lives positively changing from our efforts.

Grantee OrganizationMunicipalityCountyProject Locations
The Work GroupCity of CamdenCamden• Grassy triangle at Admiral Wilson Boulevard and Bank Street
• Exit 3 off 676 North at Morgan Street
City of East Orange Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training (MOET)  City of East OrangeEssex• Freeway Drive-East
• Freeway Drive-West
• North Oraton Parkway (Main Street overpass)
• Ampere Plaza- 4th Avenue
Groundwork ElizabethCity of ElizabethUnion• Kellogg Park
• Mattano Park
• McPherson Park
City of Long BranchCity of Long BranchMonmouth• Jackson Woods Park, Route 36
New Brunswick Board of Education/New Jersey Youth Corps of Middlesex CountyCity of New BrunswickMiddlesex• War Memorial Park, New Brunswick- Route 27- Lincoln Highway (Northbound) and Route 91 a spur of Route 1- Jersey Avenue (Southbound)
• Buccleuch Park, New Brunswick- County Road 527- Easton Avenue (Northbound) and New Jersey State Road Route 18 (Northbound)
• Recreation Park, New Brunswick- Route 171 Jersey Avenue (Northbound)
City of PassaicCity of PassaicPassaic• Madison Street, NJ Route 21 Exit
New Jersey Youth Corps of PatersonCity of PatersonPassaic• Route 80
• Route 20
• Various entrances or gateways to the City of Paterson, NJ
City of Perth AmboyCity of Perth AmboyMiddlesex• Route 35 (Convery Boulevard) and Route 184 (Pfeiffer Boulevard)
• South-West Corner of Smith Street Convery Boulevard (Route 35) and Riverview Drive
• Outer High Street and Route 440 Ramp
• NJ-184 (Lincoln Drive)
New Jersey Youth Corps of PhillipsburgTown of PhillipsburgWarren• NJ 122 (Alt 22) South Main Street 900 Block
• South Main Street (Union Square to Walters Park)
• US Rte. 22 and Roseberry Street (NW Corner)
New Jersey Youth Corps of Atlantic CountyCity of PleasantvilleAtlantic• Delilah Road and Franklin Avenue
Isles, Inc.City of TrentonMercer• Route 1/Perry Street. Interchange & adjacent Roberto Clemente Park- on/off ramp, strip between on-ramp and park
• Route 1/Market Street at Stockton/Mill Hill Park- on/off ramps, MVC building, planned Artwalk and “Trenton” landscaped sign
• Market Street Plaza- gateways that connect Route 1 with Mill Hill and Market Street/Broad Street intersection and corridor
Table 1: NJDOT Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement Program Grantees for 2021


NJDOT Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement Program

NJ STIC 4th Quarter 2022 Meeting

The NJ State Transportation Innovation Council (NJ STIC) convened online for the 4th Quarter Meeting on December 14, 2022. 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.

Brandee Sullivan (Chapman), NJDOT Innovation Coordinator greeted the meeting participants, followed by Assistant Commissioner Michael Russo who provided the Welcome and Opening Remarks. He announced that the NJ STIC was awarded the FHWA STIC Excellence Award, for development of the STIC Communications Plan, creation of a full-time Innovation Coordinator position, and creation of a new core innovation area related to Organizational Improvement and Support. This is the second STIC Excellence Award received by NJ STIC.

FHWA EDC Innovation. Helene Roberts, Innovation Coordinator and Performance Manager for the FHWA NJ Office, noted that the EDC-7 cycle will be beginning in January 2023. She highlighted the seven initiatives that will be part of the next cycle: Nighttime Visibility for Safety; Next Generation TIM: Technology for Saving Lives; Integrating GHG Assessment and Reduction Targets in Transportation Planning; Enhancing Performance with Internally Cured Concrete (EPIC2); EPDs for Sustainable Project Delivery; Rethinking DBE in Design-Build; and Strategic Workforce Development. She noted that the FHWA EDC-7 Summit will be held from February 14-16, 2023 as a virtual event. The Summit will be followed by a NJ STIC Caucus on February 22, 2023.

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

There was a brief break during which meeting participants could take part in an online transportation trivia quiz on innovations promoted through the Every Day Counts Program since its inception.

Featured Presentation – Ultra High Performance Bridge Preservation.  Jess Mendenhall, Project Engineer, and Samer Rabie, Principal Engineer from NJDOT’s Structural Value Solutions Unit presented on the design, construction, and evaluation of Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) Bridge Deck Overlays for NJDOT.  The NJDOT Structural Value Solutions unit has been exploring the use of UHPC in bridge preservation and rehabilitation projects, an emerging application of UHPC in the United States. Bridge deck overlays were placed on four New Jersey bridges.

Mr. Mendenhall described the composition of the material and its superior mechanical and durability properties. He observed that the the advantages to using the material include preservation of bridge elements in good or fair condition and extension of the service life of bridge decks yielding potential life cycle cost savings. The disadvantages include the cost of the material, limited contractor experience with use of UHPC as an overlay, and the workability of the overlay mix. The cost of using UHPC tends to be higher than that of conventional overlay, and lower than replacement of the bridge deck.

Fully understanding the existing bridge condition and determining the remaining service life of primary structural components (i.e., the deck, superstructure and substructure) are crucial in choosing whether to proceed with deck preservation using UHPC overlay or conventional deck replacement and rehabilitation.  Mr. Mendenhall provided an illustrative example of how a life cycle cost analysis can help support the decision of preservation versus reconstruction of a bridge.

Mr. Mendenhall described the research process and criteria used for the selection of the four bridges, among other candidates, for advancement into design and construction for UHPC Bridge Deck overlay to permit testing of UHPC.  Eight candidate structures were fully evaluated and tested before the four bridge structures were advanced. In this stage, testing was performed on current deck conditions.  All structures included in the program were evaluated for suitability based on the structural evaluations, chloride content within the deck, feasible construction stages, traffic analysis results, and existing overlay depths. Chloride content was obtained from concrete core samples on each bridge deck.

The bridges that were ultimately selected varied in their age, size and design. All the bridges had asphalt overlay.  The selected bridges for the pilot program were in good condition to leverage the perceived long life-span of UHPC and not allow other factors to limit the potential service life.  Two of the bridges selected were less than 10 years old, and two bridges were 30-40 years old.

In the design phase, the finished bridge deck elevation was required to match the existing elevations. Various solutions were found for the four bridges including a thin overlay, a 1.5” overlay with an asphalt topping, and a 2.75”UHPC overlay with no asphalt topping. Design solutions avoided excessive UHPC overlay to control costs.

Mr. Mendenhall described the preferred surface conditions for the application of UHPC and the rationale for a hydrodemolition specification to remove the upper half inch of the existing deck surface. This process results in a roughened surface with exposed aggregate which is the ideal bonding surface for UHPC that limits microfractures that can affect bond performance compared to other technologies such as diamond grinding and milling.

During his presentation he also spoke about the staging of construction into two stages for all bridges, highlighting specifications and joint details to prevent water intrusion and provide structural continuity in the deck slab.  Exposed fiber finish was specified to promote bonding between stages of UHPC application to ensure an exposed aggregate finish suitable for UHPC application. He highlighted the need for full depth and reconstruction with UHPC to full depth at deck joints which can be susceptible to deterioration.

Samer Rabie discussed UHPC materials specifications and testing, specifications for construction processes, lessons learned, the evaluation process, and the focus of future assessments. He shared video examples of UHPC placement in the field and discussed design and construction special provisions, use of specialized equipment, mixing and application of UHPC, the importance of exposed fibers, the expertise required of the workforce and contractors, and proper curing and finishing, among other topics.

Several lessons learned were shared, including an expectation that NJDOT would seek in the scoping and concept development stage to identify project locations that could use UHPC as a final riding surface (rather than asphalt) to enable its evaluation, inspection and characterization for representative condition ratings for the future.  However, if an overlay is needed on top of UHPC for geometry or profile, the agency will consider BDWSC (Bridge Deck Waterproof Surface Course) or High Performance Thin Overlay materials.

To measure the existing conditions, the use of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) should be used to determine concrete cover, overlay thickness and reinforcement locations and to determine the causes of delamination.

Two special provision items will emphasize the use of surveys to inform depths of hydrodemolition and material qualities required for placement to ensure continuous operation and to specify watertight forms, top forms, minimum overfill, and surface grinding.

Mr. Rabie also outlined construction considerations and challenges in the application of UHPC and proper staging.  He described how UHPC slurry with no fibers was placed in air voids in response to surface defects before asphalt paving and emphasized that proper repair methods in contract documents should be defined to address aesthetic or structural anomalies.

Mr. Rabie also described in some detail the testing methods that have been used for annual evaluations for two bridges, including non-destructive impact echo testing and ultrasonic tomography, as well as physical sampling and lab testing. The ultrasonic tomography and impact echo testing indicated that the bond between UHPC and concrete substrate is sound and that the chloride content was within expectations.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Rabie observed that the baseline testing was successful, with no significant defects encountered. NJDOT is considering installing UHPC overlays on newly constructed decks as well as decks with lower condition ratings for future projects. A deeper overlay (with deeper existing deck removal) will be regarded as a viable alternative for structures that need a major deck rehabilitation. NJDOT is also incorporating UHPC for several applications in the new design manual, including P&R.  In future studies, the team will seek to better understand deterioration rates of UHPC.  The presenters also responded to questions related to the approximate service life of UHPC and its tensile capacity.

Reminders and Updates.

Mrs. Sullivan (Chapman) announced that NJDOT received the 2022 America’s Transportation Award for Best Use of Technology and Innovation for the Implementation of Drivewyze on 647 miles of NJ’s Highways.

Mrs. Sullivan (Chapman) provided reminders on the online location of several resources that highlight the NJ STIC and other innovation topics funded through research and technology transfer activities, including:

She reminded the attendees to save the dates for the FHWA EDC-7 National Summit and the NJ STIC Caucus. The EDC-7 Summit will be held from February 14-16, 2023 as a virtual event, featuring some states that have used the initiatives successfully, and an Innovation Showcase. The Summit will be followed by the NJ STIC Caucus on February 22, 2023 from 10:00am-12:00pm. During the Caucus, the NJ STIC will discuss the opportunities and barriers of the new initiatives and consider what initiatives New Jersey should pursue.

STIC Incentive Program funds are still available for 2022 and more funds will be available soon for the coming year. The FHWA offers these funds, as well as technical assistance, to support the costs of standardizing innovative practices in a state transportation agency or other public sector STIC stakeholder. NJ STIC receives $100,000 each year. Mrs. Sullivan (Chapman) asked that the STIC network members communicate these grant opportunities through their networks. Local public agencies are eligible to apply. Find more information, including examples of allowable activities and prior recipients, here.

Mr. Russo provided closing remarks.

A recording of the NJ STIC December 2022 meeting can be found here.

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

NJ STIC December 2022 Meeting Recording

Slide image reading: Welcome, Mike Russo, Assistant Commissioner, NJDOT Planning, Multimodal & Grant AdministrationWelcome Remarks

Slide image reading: FHWA Updates, Helene Roberts, P.E., Innovation Coordinator & Performance Manager, FHWA, NJ Division OfficeFHWA EDC Innovation Updates

Slide image reading: CIA Team Safety NJDOT - Dan LiSanti, FHWA - Keith SkiltonCIA Team Update: Safety

CIA Team Update: Infrastructure Preservation

CIA Team Update: Organizational Improvement and Support

CIA Team Update: Mobility and Operations

Feature Presentation: NJDOT Innovative Approach to Safety

Reminders, Announcements, and Thank You

Presentation: Design, Construction, and Evaluation of UHPC Bridge Deck Overlays for NJDOT

UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair is a model innovation in the sixth round of the FHWA’s Every Day Counts Program (EDC-6).  Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) is recognized as an innovative new material that can be used to extend the life of bridges. Its enhanced strength reduces the need for repairs, adding to the service life of a facility.    

NJDOT recently installed UHPC Bridge Deck overlays on four bridges in New Jersey. NJDOT engineers, Jess Mendenhall and Samer Rabie, explained the rationale for UHPC's installation and highlighted key lessons learned in bridge selection, existing conditions & testing, design, materials specifications, construction methods and evaluation during the NJ STIC 4th Quarter 2022 meeting.

Their recorded presentation, Design, Construction, and Evaluation of UHPC Bridge Deck Overlays for NJDOT, is viewable below.  Their presentation can be downloaded here or from the NJ STIC 4th Quarter Meeting page.

NJ STIC's UHPC Innovative Initiative page highlights the deployment progress and activities of the core team in seeking to advance UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair and contains other articles and resources.


How Collaborations Like NJCTII Advance Connected Vehicle Technology

Advancements in automobile technologies have prompted the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and other stakeholders across the nation and globe to explore the potential of Connected Vehicle systems. Connected Vehicle (CV) technology allows cars on the road to remotely communicate with surrounding digital systems, and react accordingly to ensure safety, operations and mobility benefits.

These communication networks are often divided into three broad concepts (1):

  • Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V): CVs communicating with each other to alert riders or prevent potential collisions.
  • Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I): CVs communicating with road or city systems, such as stoplights, to orient and guide safer road navigation.
  • Vehicle to Everything (V2X): CVs communicating with potentially any accessible device, such as a pedestrian’s phone to prevent unsafe traffic interactions.
CVs can be integrated with array of digital systems to improve vehicle safety.  Source: MnDOT
CVs can be integrated with array of digital systems to improve vehicle safety. Source: MnDOT

Over several years, NJDOT has introduced several initiatives and participated in various CV-related working groups to evaluate the requirements for upgrading its digital infrastructure to support the successful deployment and integration of CV equipment into the existing NJDOT ITS architecture. From these evaluations, NJDOT determined that the best way to implement a real-world Transportation System Management and Operations (TSMO) solution would be to establish a complete CV test-bed environment with pilot field locations. This determination led to NJDOT completing its New Jersey Connected Technology Integration and Implementation (NJCTII) project. NJDOT recently drafted a case study published by the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) that describes the lessons learned from the NJCTII initiative in advancing CV technologies (2).

TSMO Planning Strategies and Deployment

As part of the case study, NJDOT noted that a thorough planning and evaluation process was required to carry out the procurement, deployment and validation processes that could lead to the enhanced digital infrastructure hardware and software required for CV technologies. NJDOT described how its efforts followed the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) System Engineering Process, highlighting several key implementation steps:

  • Capability Maturity Matrix (CMM): A process tool that allowed the NJCTII to prioritize the proper actions and areas of emphasis throughout the NJCTII project.
  • Concept of Operations (ConOPS): A document that outlined the NJDOT’s current digital infrastructure and communications systems and identified the needs required to achieve statewide connectivity, CV data management and networking, procurement, and CV application deployment.
  • System Requirements Document (SRD): A document and a new process was created to evaluate deployment locations and determine needs for CV technology implementation, such as requirements for location selection, hardware selection, data flows security, and interoperability with existing NJDOT systems. NJDOT hosted or participated in several workshops to determine the overall system requirements of the digital infrastructure and CV technologies for successful deployment.
  • Solution Design Document (SDD): A document that utilized information from the SRD to design the digital infrastructure and CV systems for deployment at five pilot intersections, including wiring diagrams, networking, network equipment layout and field equipment installation.

Following this detailed TSMO implementation process, NJDOT was able to procure the hardware and software components required to complete a full CV system validation in a lab facility located at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) before conducting installation and field testing at pilot locations.

The laboratory testing and pilot implementation phases have involved a broad collaboration of government, academia, technology provider and engineering industry, stakeholders, among others. 
Source: NOCoE Report
The laboratory testing and pilot implementation phases have involved a broad collaboration of government, academia, technology provider and engineering industry, stakeholders, among others. Source: NOCoE Report

Outreach and Communications Lessons

The case study highlights the importance of outreach and communications processes that were conducted to coordinate with key stakeholders and other transportation agencies. These processes were used to determine the goals and needs for the CV system deployment on NJ’s roadway network and to consider the operational and safety issues that could be addressed through TSMO deployment strategies for CV systems. These activities included direct coordination with other transportation agencies within NJ, CV vendor and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), along with other departments within NJDOT.

Recognizing that there were many groups within NJ that were investigating CV technologies, but that they were working independent of each other, NJDOT and the NJCTII project team organized or participated in CV topic conferences, trainings, and laboratory demonstrations to disseminate knowledge of the emerging technology.  The team found that involving many stakeholders in the CV planning and development process was a useful means to improve knowledge-sharing among practitioners and organizations, avoid and minimize redundant breakthroughs, accelerate the output of R&D, and increase buy-in across organizations.


CV systems connect to variety of digital inputs and outputs to advance road safety controls beyond what a particular element could achieve in isolation.  Source: NJCTII Case Study Report
CV systems connect to variety of digital inputs and outputs to advance road safety controls beyond what a particular element could achieve in isolation. Source: NJCTII Case Study Report

Outcomes and Benefits

The case study highlights several notable outcomes and benefits.  One key benefit was that NJDOT successfully deployed and integrated CV technology for several purposes: Signaling, Phase and Timing (SpaT), Traveler Information Message (TIM), Basic Safety Message (BSM), Personal Safety Message (PSM) and MAP (i.e., messaging set to provide intersections) CV data.  The NJCTII team used a spiral based testing approach in the lab to validate the CV systems. NJDOT used the lessons learned from the lab to deploy a fully functional CV system at 5 pilot intersections.

Advancing Projects Through Pipeline

A pipeline of Smart and Connected Corridor projects, which use CV technology, are at various stages of planning, design and implementation in New Jersey demonstrating the fruits of the efforts to-date (3).  Earlier this year, the South Jersey Transportation Authority was awarded a $8.74 million grant for the Smart and Connected Atlantic City Expressway project (4). This project will utilize V2X and advanced intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technology to improve traffic safety and efficiency. The project is being funded via the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) grant, a program launched through the Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Bill, that is also supporting the implementation of CV systems in at least 9 other ITS projects (4). Another notable ATCMTD recipient-project is Kentucky’s Wrong Way Driving and Integrated Safety Technology System (4), which further highlights the potential of CV and ITS systems to implement road safety controls.

With an estimated 42,000 American car crash fatalities in 2021 alone (6), CVs’ potential to save lives and reduce congestion-generating crashes warrants increased attention. Models of better cooperation and general understanding of CVs, such as NJCTII, will continue to accelerate the improvement of the technology. The NJCTII initiative offers some useful lessons for other state DOTs and organizations in its approaches to test bed and pilot field-testing; use of trainings and lab demonstrations and other events to educate staff and stakeholders on CV technologies; and the development and sharing of documents to advance technological know-how and implementation through planning, design, procurement and installation phases.


(1) United States Department of Transportation (2020, February 27). How Connected Vehicles Work. https://www.transportation.gov/research-and-technology/how-connected-vehicles-work#:~:text=The%20CV%20concept%20uses%20data,doing%20and%20identify%20potential%20hazards

(2) National Operations Center of Excellence (2022). New Jersey Connected Technology Integration and Implementation (NJCTII). https://transportationops.org/case-studies/new-jersey-connected-technology-integration-and-implementation-njctii

(3) Intelligent Transportation System of New Jersey (2021, April 21). NJDOT’s Smart and Connected Corridor Program. Presentation: https://docplayer.net/211213418-Njdot-s-smart-and-connected-corridor-program.html

(4) NJ Biz (2022, August 11). SJTA receives $8.7M grant for AC Expressway project. https://njbiz.com/sjta-receives-8-7m-grant-for-ac-expressway-project/

(5) U.S. Department of Transportation (2022, August 10). U.S. Department of Transportation Awards $5.14 Million for Safe Driving Technologies in Kentucky https://highways.dot.gov/newsroom/us-department-transportation-awards-514-million-safe-driving-technologies-kentucky

(6) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2022, May 17). Newly Released Estimates Show Traffic Fatalities Reached a 16-Year High in 2021. https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/early-estimate-2021-traffic-fatalities


Additional CV, ITS, and Smart and Connected Corridor Resources

Minnesota Department of Transportation (2022). Connected and Automated Vehicles. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/automated/

DriveOhio (Accessed 2022, November 15). 33 Smart Mobility Corridor. https://drive.ohio.gov/programs/av-cv/33-smart-mobility-corridor


FHWA Announces EDC-7 Innovations

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 Accelerating Innovation (CAI) has recently issued the next round of areas of innovation, EDC-7.

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.

More information on the EDC-7 Innovations will be presented at the EDC-7 Virtual Summit, scheduled for February 14-16, 2023.  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.  Shortly after the Virtual Summit, an NJ STIC Caucus will be convened on February 22, 2023 to finalize the selection of innovations, establish baseline condition and performance goals for innovation deployment over the upcoming two-year cycle, and form leadership and technical teams to support the implementation of each of the chosen innovations.

In announcing its EDC-7 innovations, FHWA emphasized its commitment to a focus on safety for all users, sustainable infrastructure, and inclusive workforce development. Descriptions of each of the EDC-7 Innovations are below:

Nighttime Visibility for Safety. The nighttime crash fatality rate is three times the daytime rate. Enhancing visibility along corridors, intersections, and pedestrian crossings can help reduce fatalities. This initiative promotes traffic control devices and properly designed lighting to improve safety for all users.

Next Generation TIM: Technology for Saving Lives. Over six million crashes a year in the U.S. put responders and other vulnerable road users at risk. Next-Generation Traffic Incident Management programs promote emerging technologies such as emergency vehicle lighting and queue warning solutions. These and other tools can advance safety and operations to mitigate incident impacts.

Integrating GHG Assessment and Reduction Targets in Transportation Planning. Transportation is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the U.S. This initiative provides resources to help agencies quantify greenhouse gases and set goals to decrease motor vehicle, construction, and life-cycle emissions through planning and project development.

Enhancing Performance with Internally Cured Concrete (EPIC2).  Cracking in concrete is a limiting factor in achieving long-term concrete performance. Internal curing mitigates shrinkage cracking and has the potential to substantially extend the service life of concrete bridge decks and enhance the performance of pavements and repairs.

EPDs for Sustainable Project Delivery.  Construction materials such as concrete and asphalt have environmental impacts during their life cycle. Environmental product declarations, or EPDs, document those impacts. This tool helps States support procurement decisions and quantify embodied carbon reductions using life cycle assessments for sustainable pavements.

Rethinking DBE in Design-Build. Many disadvantaged business enterprise program procedures do not adequately address design-build contracting. New practices are available to support the effective integration of program requirements to help small, disadvantaged businesses compete for design-build contracts.

Strategic Workforce Development.  The demand for highway workers is growing, and emerging technologies require new skills. This innovation helps stakeholders improve their ability to identify, train, and place highway construction workers. The focus will expand to rural and Tribal communities to increase career opportunities.

FHWA Issued Its EDC-6 Progress Report #3

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

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

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

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

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