Image of a street iwth four lanes for traffic, three parked cars, and a series of shops, such as center city deli, hi five, Ocean Therapy, and casino city barber and salon

ATLANTIC AVENUE, ATLANTIC CITY: Planning for Safer Conditions for All Roadway Users

In November, the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) announced that Atlantic City would receive $10.3 million as part of the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grants program. The grant award will help to fund the Atlantic City Corridor Revitalization and Safety Project, which aims to implement Complete Streets improvements on approximately 2.7 miles of Atlantic Avenue. The project will include a road diet, ADA accessible sidewalks, drainage facilities, new bike lanes, traffic signal synchronization, LED streetlighting, and improved accessibility at transit stops.

Supported by the RAISE funds, the project will enhance safety and provide alternative transportation options for residents and visitors who travel for work, school, medical appointments, recreational activities, and other daily activities.

The below article, originally posted in July 2021, describes several planning activities that helped lead to this successful Federal grant award.

Image of a bus with passengers boarding, reading Atlantic Avenue Road Safety Audit Atlantic City, New Jersey, Report, December 2014

The Atlantic Avenue Road Safety Audit was performed by a multidisciplinary team that analyzed high incident areas along the route, courtesy NJDOT

Atlantic City, well known for its resorts, casinos, and boardwalk, has a large share of residents who use alternative transportation modes daily: about 30 percent of its residents use public transit and 17 percent walk to work. On centrally-located Atlantic Avenue, high pedestrian volumes and a disproportionate number of traffic incidents have prompted several studies to determine the scope of needed infrastructure improvements to support pedestrian and bicycle safety and address deficiencies for vehicular travel.  New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), and the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO), the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization, in partnership with the City, supported these studies to analyze conditions along the route and to make recommendations for a safer corridor.  The decade-long planning process for the Atlantic Avenue corridor provides an example of collaboration between the municipality, SJTPO and NJDOT to implement safety improvements for all roadway users.

The planning process used strategies such as Data-Driven Safety Analysis and Road Safety Audits that are supported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Many of the study recommendations include safety countermeasures that FHWA has promoted through its Every Day Counts (EDC)-4 and EDC-5 Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian, or STEP, Innovative Initiative. These strategies include Leading Pedestrian Intervals, Crosswalk Visibility Enhancements, Pedestrian Crossing/Refuge Islands, and Road Diets. The EDC program identifies proven and underutilized innovations and promotes rapid deployment.

About the Corridor

Atlantic Avenue is a major thoroughfare through the center of Atlantic City. The street is 69 feet wide, with four travel lanes and a fifth lane at some intersections for turning. Along the corridor, there are retail and commercial centers, a bus terminal, healthcare facilities, and a public library. Eleven bus stops, each accommodating up to ten different bus routes, provide frequent transit service and contribute to high pedestrian volume. The Atlantic City Rail Terminal is situated several blocks to the Northeast, adding to pedestrian trips.

Due to high foot traffic, and the nature of the roadway, this segment of Atlantic Avenue saw 829 crashes in a five-year period, from 2013 to 2017. Compared to the rest of the municipality, three times as many incidents involving pedestrians, and twice as many involving cyclists occurred along this 2.65 mile stretch. Recognizing the ongoing challenges, leaders and transportation planners at both the City and the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO) initiated the process to study safety improvements for this important corridor.

2011 – A Policy Framework

Following NJDOT’s adoption of a Complete Streets policy in 2009, Atlantic City passed its 2011 Complete Streets policy to promote consideration of the safety of all roadway users in infrastructure planning. The resolution mentions the need to improve safety for cyclists and all users of a street, such as the elderly, non-drivers, and the mobility impaired. It acknowledges, too, that incorporating pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure can simultaneously reduce traffic congestion and fossil fuel emissions. The 2011 resolution and policy supports the City Planning Department’s goals of improving bicycle and pedestrian safety and accessibility, enhancing economic development, and developing initiatives to increase residents’ knowledge of safe bicycle and pedestrian travel (Atlantic City Resolution No. 917).

2013  – Atlantic City Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan

Image of plan cover page, the first reads Atlantic City, always turned on, Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, Local Planning Assistance Program, Final May 2013, an dbelow four square images, clockwise of people crossing a street, a man in a wheelchair waiting to cross, a young girl feeding gulls on the boardwalk, and people biking along the boardwalk. Below it reads Prepared for: The New Jersey Department of Transportation and the City of Atlantic City.

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan helped to first identify problem areas along Atlantic City's Atlantic Avenue, courtesy NJDOT

NJDOT funded the 2013 Atlantic City Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan through the agency’s Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP), which helps New Jersey municipalities improve active transportation infrastructure.

Consultants analyzed the City’s bicycle and pedestrian network, and made suggestions for improvements in areas of concern. Among the City’s streets, the Atlantic Avenue corridor ranked first for both pedestrian and bicycle crashes. Analysts also identified the corridor as the location of 8 of the top 10 intersections for pedestrian or bicycle crashes.

According to the Plan, “Pedestrian safety is imperative not only because each of us becomes a pedestrian as part of every trip, but also because creating safe walkable streets is critical to the success of the City redevelopment and tourist efforts.” However, the document notes that, at the date of publication, there were no dedicated bicycling facilities in Atlantic City. (Atlantic City Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan).

The 2013 Plan suggested several alternatives for street design interventions in Atlantic City. On Atlantic Avenue, Alternative 1 involved removing a lane of travel in each direction, widening the median, installing buffered bike lanes between Ohio and Maine Avenues on the corridor. In the same stretch, Alternative 2 proposed using parking as a buffer for bike lanes abutting the curb on each stretch. The report concluded by calling for the formation of a task force of stakeholders to discuss the implementation of such road diets.

2014 – Atlantic Avenue Road Safety Audit (RSA)

Graphic with a depiction of a magnifying glass covering a road with people walking on it, reading "Road Safety Audits: a Road Safety Audit is a proactive formal safety performance examination of an existing or future road or intersection by an independent and multi disciplinary team. Safety Benefit: 10 to 60 percent reduction in total crashes.

RSA's were one of the safety countermeasures FHWA promoted through EDC-4 and EDC-5, courtesy FHWA

The following year, the Transportation Safety Research Center (TSRC) at the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT), in collaboration with the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO) and the City of Atlantic City, conducted a road safety audit of the most heavily trafficked portion of Atlantic Avenue, between South Carolina and Michigan Avenues. This study analyzed dangerous intersections in depth along the Atlantic Avenue corridor.

Road Safety Audits (RSA) are one of FHWA’s proven safety countermeasures. An RSA, conducted by a multi-disciplinary team that is independent of the design team, considers all road users and their capabilities and limitations. Findings are documented in a formal report and, while they do not constitute engineering studies, require a response from the road owner. RSAs can result in a 10-60 percent reduction in crashes.

According to FHWA, advantages of an RSA include:

  • Reduced number and severity of crashes due to safer designs.
  • Reduced costs resulting from early identification and mitigation of safety issues before projects are built.
  • Improved awareness of safe design practices.
  • Increased opportunities to integrate multimodal safety strategies and proven safety countermeasures.
  • Expanded ability to consider human factors in all facets of design.

Based on crash data, the RSA identified pedestrian “hot spot” and corridor locations along Atlantic Avenue, between Mississippi Avenue and Virginia Avenue. The study looked at crashes according to time of year, week, and day; lighting conditions; collision type and severity; and intersection.

Bar graph reading Crash Type and Severity, the tallest bars (by a wide margin) are same direction, rear end, and same direction, side swipe. Pedalcyclist and pedestrian collisions rank very high as well.

Many of the incidents involved vehicles striking each other in the same direction, one motivation for the road diet, courtesy SJTPO.

NJDOT provides network screening lists to the three Metropolitan Planning Organizations which identify hot spot and corridor locations based on crash data. The RSA analysts took this data for the SJTPO region and then worked to identify the source of the crashes by examining geometric and physical characteristics of the location. The process involved looking at types of crashes and other details to establish patterns, and then suggesting countermeasures to address those problems. These hot spot lists are crucial to securing federal funding for infrastructure improvements such as the proposed road diet.

The Road Safety Audit identified issues, such as signal phasing, roadway maintenance, and lack of bicycle facilities, and made recommendations. Like the 2013 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, the 2014 Road Safety Audit provided two road diet alternatives, suggesting the removal of one lane to accommodate bike lanes and a median with a turning lane. Road diets are promoted by FHWA as a safety countermeasure that improves speed limit compliance, reduces crashes, and provides a space for enhanced bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

2020 – Atlantic Avenue Road Safety Assessment

PDF cover, reading January 2020, Road Safety Assessment, Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City, Atlantic County, NJ, then there are three images of the route, rather car-oriented in design, followed by text: Road Safety Assessment, Atlantic Avenue from Boston Avenue to Maine Avenue

A final Road Safety Assessment was performed in 2020, recommending a road diet, with a median and protected bike lanes, courtesy City of Atlantic City

Building on the findings of the 2014 report, consultants in 2019 conducted a data-driven analysis of the conditions along Atlantic Avenue from Boston Avenue to New Hampshire Avenue, and recommended safety countermeasures to improve pedestrian safety, reduce the frequency of vehicular collisions, and improve traffic flow.

The 2020 Atlantic Avenue Road Safety Assessment looked at all crashes along the entire corridor, by crash type (pedestrian, bicycle, parked vehicle), and by intersection. Consultants also conducted travel time runs during each of the corridor’s scheduled signal timing schedules. They engaged in site visits to look for causes of crashes and to observe the condition of the roadway infrastructure, and then developed statistical observations and recommendations from their findings.

Overall, they found a lack of consistency on the roadway that resulted in unpredictable driving conditions. In one example, poorly timed signals caused drivers to try to “beat” the light, which, in combination with poor pedestrian visibility and infrastructure, led to collisions.

For a recommendation, the consultants cite NJDOT guidance for bikeway selection. At the current vehicle traffic figures (Annual Average Daily Traffic 15,000) and an 85th percentile speed of 35 mph, NJDOT recommends a Buffered Bicycle Lane, Separated Bicycle Lane or Shared Use Path. The report presented two preferred options, Alternatives #5 and #6, each of which involve removing a driving lane and adding a median; Alternative #6 would place the bikeway between the curb and parked cars, to decrease the chance of “dooring.” These alternatives recall those suggested by the 2013 Master Plan.

2021 – Atlantic Avenue Road Diet Implementation

Twelve years after Atlantic City passed its Complete Streets policy, a road diet will be built, extending the length of Atlantic Avenue. The four-lane road will be reduced to two travel lanes with a center median. Protected bicycle lanes will be located between the travel lane and curbside parking, in both directions. Other countermeasures to be implemented echoed those called for in the 2013 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, including leading pedestrian intervals, traffic signal heads with backplates, and targeted left turn restrictions. According to City Engineer Uzo Ahiarakwe, improvements to some intersections will include bump-outs to decrease the distance that pedestrians need to cross Atlantic Avenue, synchronization of traffic lights, higher visibility crosswalk striping, and ADA-compliant curb cuts.

Atlantic Avenue’s road diet conversion and additional infrastructure improvements will cost between $8 and $10 million. The City expects to cover 10 percent of the project cost and to receive federal funding for the remaining 90 percent. The project is set to go out to bid in Fall 2021 with construction due to be complete in Summer 2022 (Brunetti).

 

Resources

Brunetti, Michelle. Atlantic City putting Atlantic Avenue on a ‘diet’. March 5, 2021. Press of Atlantic City. https://pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/atlantic-city-putting-atlantic-avenue-on-a-diet/article_f9b1e44f-43f0-5cf2-9b8a-91e4c1d3fb0e.html

City of Atlantic City. (2011). Resolution Establishing and Adopting a City of Atlantic City Complete Streets Policy. City of Atlantic City. http://njbikeped.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Atlantic-City-Complete-Streets-Resolution.pdf

City of Atlantic City. (2013). Atlantic City Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. Local Planning Assistance Program. City of Atlantic City. https://njcrda.com/wp-content/uploads/Atlantic-City-LTA-Final-Report.pdf

Federal Highway Administration. Road Safety Audits. Federal Highway Administration. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/rsa/

Federal Highway Administration. Proven Safety Countermeasures: Road Safety Audits. Federal Highway Administration. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/road_safety_audit/

Federal Highway Administration. Proven Safety Countermeasures: Road Diets. Federal Highway Administration. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/road_diets/

JMT. (2020, January). Road Safety Assessment: Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City, Atlantic County, NJ. City of Atlantic City. https://www.njdottechtransfer.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/19-01474_Road_Safety_Assessment_Report.pdf

South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization. Atlantic Avenue Road Safety Audit. South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization. https://www.sjtpo.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/2014_AC_Atlantic-Avenue-RSA-Report.pdf

 

NJ STIC 4th Quarter 2021 Meeting

The NJ State Transportation Innovation Council (NJ STIC) convened online for the 4th Quarter Meeting on December 15, 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.

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 Innovation. Helene Roberts, Innovation Coordinator and Performance Manager for the FHWA NJ Office, reported that the TOPS EDC-6 initiative team had been very active. New Jersey is a leader in Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS) for asphalt solutions. The TOPS session at the County Engineers Fall Forum included the initiative team as well as other speakers who provided New Jersey-specific information to the municipal and county engineers. The TOPS working group met on October 7, 2021 and had input from Monmouth County and Princeton.

Ms. Roberts noted that the Let’s Go Workshop pilot was held at the end of September with the Digital Project Delivery and Strategic Workforce Development initiative teams. She announced that New Jersey will be a featured state at the next National STIC meeting with discussion of the new STIC Communications Plan, and possibly highlighting the use of interactive STIC meetings early in the pandemic, and other topics. She asked that attendees contact Ms. Gendek if they have other suggestions for topics that could be highlighted. She reminded CIA leads that the next progress report is due at the end of January.

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

Featured Presentations.  Kevin Becica, PE, PP, CME, Camden County Engineer described work on Targeted Overlay Pavement Systems Projects Using BRIC and SMA. Ms. Becica provided Westfield Avenue Phases I and II as case examples for the use of Binder Rich Intermediate Course (BRIC) and Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA). The county road system comprises predominantly older concrete roads, with some asphalt overlay surfaces, and asphalt pavements in the southern section of the county. When the older concrete pavements fail at the longitudinal and transverse joints, the county is using overlay of BRIC and SMA to repair roads rather than use full concrete slab replacement which is expensive. The county uses NJDOT standard specifications for these materials. Some of the benefits of BRIC include a longer life than standard asphalt, a smoother surface, a surface that supports pavement markings so that they remain durable and visible, and a uniform look. Challenges to use of BRIC include higher costs due to the need to shut down regular asphalt production at a plant in order to produce this specialty material. Although utility companies are required to repave after digging up a road, they will replace the material with standard asphalt. Ms. Becica considers that the benefits outweigh the detriments and notes that local officials need to understand the arguments for using these materials. She is looking forward to the next project, possibly on Kings Highway. For more details on Camden County’s use of BRIC and SMA, see Ms. Becica’s presentation.

Sue Catlett, Project Manager in NJDOT’s Mobility Research Group provided an update on the Weather Savvy Roads project, an Accelerated Innovation Deployment Grant-funded project. The project has expanded to 24 equipped vehicles. She discussed the instrumentation process including set-up of the cameras and sensors and other equipment, and the web interface which includes the virtual video wall, the map, the camera view, and ambient air and road temperatures. NJDOT is comparing the value of mobile and fixed RWIS, and testing FirstNet signal strength compared with commercial cellular strength on state roads. The Weather Responsive Management System can also assist in traffic incident management by providing video of an incident scene that can help ensure that individuals in the field receive the appropriate support and get the road back open more quickly. NJDOT is continuing to work on improving the capacity of the video management system, acquiring additional instrumentation, and improving hardware maintenance and driver awareness and understanding of the system. This project won the ITS-NJ 2021 Outstanding Project Award.

Amanda Gendek introduced the 2021 Build A Better Mousetrap Competition Video. The video features the state and local agency winners for 2021 and describes the competition. As highlighted in the video, the next round of submissions of implemented ideas is due on May 1, 2022 for both state and local agency agencies. The Build a Better Mousetrap page on the Technology Transfer website features the competition video as well as the innovations recognized in past years of the competition.  Application for the next round can be found here.

Ms. Gendek also encouraged attendees to contact her if there are innovations at NJDOT or at local agencies that could be advanced through a video. The Bureau of Research’s Technology Transfer program has the contractor and a funding mechanism to produce case study videos highlighting noteworthy innovations.

Reminders and Updates.

Ms. Gendek 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:

A recording of the NJ STIC December Meeting can be here.

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

NJ STIC December 2021 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

Slide image reading: CIA Team Infrastructure Preservation, NJDOT Bob Signora, FHWA - Nunzio MerlaCIA Team Update: Infrastructure Preservation

Slide image reading CIA Team Mobility & Ops NJDOT - Sue Catlett, FHWA - Ek PhomsavathCIA Team Update: Mobility and Operations

CIA Team Update: Organizational Improvement and Support

Feature Presentation: Use of BRIC by Camden County

Feature Presentation: Weather Savvy Roads Update

Slide image reading: Reminders & Announcements, NJDOT Tech Transfer Website (www.njdottechtransfer.net), NJ STIC Website (www.njdottechtransfer.net/nj-stic/), and all meeting recordings, presentations, and summary are posted: njdottechtransfer.net/nj-stic-meetingsReminders, Announcements, and Thank You

NJDOT UAS/Drone Procedures Manual and Best Practices for Use in New Jersey

The use of drones at NJDOT has expanded to improve safety and efficiency and save time and money.

The use of drones at NJDOT has expanded to improve safety and efficiency and save time and money.

The NJDOT Knowledge Management Toolbox offers examples of several knowledge sharing practices that have been, or could be, adopted by agency units to retain knowledge in a unit in the face of illness, retirements or transfers to other units at NJDOT.

NJDOT’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Operations Manual (UASFOM) is an example of knowledge sharing through development of a procedures manual that guides practice within the agency. In 2021, Anil Agrawal, PhD. A Professor of Engineering at The City College of CUNY completed a research study, NJDOT UAS/Drone Procedures Manual and Best Practices for Use in New Jersey, funded through the NJDOT’s Bureau of Research. The study resulted in the UASFOM that standardizes all aspects of UAS operations for NJDOT’s use, and provides guidance to NJDOT personnel, consultants, and contractors for the inspection, operation, and management of UAS. The document emphasizes maintaining a high level of safety standards in daily flight operations while meeting performance targets.

NJDOT’s Bureau of Aeronautics has used drones to video NJDOT dredging operations, among other applications.

NJDOT’s Bureau of Aeronautics has used drones to video NJDOT dredging operations, among other applications.

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), or drones, were promoted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as one of the Every Day Counts Round 5 (EDC-5) innovations. In May 2016, the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Division of Multimodal Services established the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program as a unit within the Bureau of Aeronautics. Under the direction of NJDOT’s UAS Coordinator, Glenn Stott, NJDOT became a national leader in UAS. Mr. Stott retired from the agency in 2021.

NJDOT Bureau of Aeronautics used several funding grants to build the program and purchase equipment and provide training. Integrating UAS in transportation has been the subject of research and field studies to demonstrate the use case for high-mast light pole inspections, traffic incident management and monitoring, dredging and beach replenishment, photogrammetry, bridge inspection, and watershed management, among other topics. UAS has been shown to improve safety, save time and money and increase efficiency. UAS is considered to be institutionalized within NJDOT.

An example Risk Management Worksheet is one of several forms described in the Procedures Manual.

An example Risk Management Worksheet is one of several forms described in the Procedures Manual.

The procedures manual provides comprehensive guidance for UAS missions from planning to debriefing. The manual presents NJ’s laws and regulations affecting UAS operations, discusses NJDOT’s safety management system and risk management approach, established best practices, the agency’s three-phase training program, and incident reporting. The manual also provides NJDOT’s UAS forms needed for documentation and to ensure compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. The manual is intended to be a “living document” to incorporate changes as experience grows with UAS within the agency.

A procedures manual is one way to counter the loss of expertise and institutional knowledge when employees retire or transfer. A manual can build and sustain knowledge within the agency to ensure continuity of operations.

The UASFOM can be found in the Knowledge Management Toolbox. The Final Report and Technical Brief for the Research can be accessed here.

TAMS: New Management System Streamlines Multiple Databases

In August 2021, AASHTO recognized NJDOT's Transportation Asset Management System (TAMS) as a regional winner in the 2021 America's Transportation Awards Competitions in the "Best Use of Technology and Innovation" category. The article below, which first appeared in Transporter (Vol. 52, No. 3), an NJDOT employee newsletter, was entitled New Management System Streamlines Multiple Databases, One Man's Vision Becomes a Transformational Information Hub. The article was penned by the NJDOT Commissioner, Diane Gutierrez-Scacetti in recognition of the value of the innovation for NJDOT's operations.

Inspiration can come at any moment and in any place – even when ordering a sandwich at a local Wawa. Yes, that was when it struck Andrew Tunnard, Assistant Commissioner, Transportation Operations, Systems & Support (TOS&S), on how to revolutionize information sharing at NJDOT. While ordering lunch at the kiosk with Urvi Dave, formerly TOS&S Administrative Analyst 4, he shared his vision of creating a platform that would aggregate data from various units, and provide a menu of assets, much like the system that they were using to order lunch.

A drawn image of a road with an intersection, and bridges, with various parts, such as drainage inlet and traffic signal, showing the conceptual framework for what would become NJDOT's TAMS information management system

Andrew Tunnard, Assistant Commissioner, TOS&S, the visionary behind the TAMS system, shared his original concept graphic and stated, “This is a hand drawn depiction of the original concept of TAMS. It was meant to show the disparate asset management systems and how we had the potential to merge them into one system. The new system gives users visibility into work performed on all assets.”

This system would bridge all units, allowing data to be transparent, drive informed decision-making, and create pathways to efficiency. The system would provide complex datasets that are required for budgeting and cost analysis, helping to reduce costs and increase productivity. In short, the system would change the entire manner in which staff accessed and shared information. Urvi embraced the vision of a better solution and began brainstorming.

In October 2020, after years of planning and hundreds of work hours, NJDOT released the first iteration of the Transportation Asset Management System (TAMS). After a year of operation, TAMS is becoming the asset management hub that will transform the way we share Department information for years to come. The new system replaces the inefficient legacy Maintenance Management System (MMS) and numerous other software applications used by various units that made data sharing cumbersome and fact-finding a challenge.

What Is TAMS

TAMS is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that integrates all of the TOS&S maintenance assets into a single platform. TAMS provides field and office staff with a system that includes a menu of services, equipment, materials, locations and more that are used in their daily activities. It is accessible from any location, at any time, for data input, reporting and analyzing. Assets include labor, equipment, material, projects, budgets, all state owned and maintained roadways, electrical assets, bridges, and traffic signals, etc. More than 500,000 assets in approximately 64 categories are available in the TAMS menu.

Staff can input real-time data of all work activities from the field or office, including labor, materials, and equipment used for every maintenance project, with a date and time stamp of work begun and completed. This information goes into the Geographical Information System (GIS) with assets displayed on a map. When the user opens the asset on the map, it displays a before and after picture of the maintenance or project work completed, along with all of the other pertinent project information, providing a complete history from construction/installation to end of life in real- time.

Senior Management will now have easy access to all assets through the TAMS smart dashboard for reporting, planning, budgeting, and risk assessment. TAMS creates a synergy between staff of varying responsibilities by making data accessible to everyone in a manner that has never before existed in the Department. Using machine learning, the system will accumulate data enabling predictive asset maintenance and replacement scheduling. It will also allow repetitive problem locations to be identified, tracked, and addressed. Managing labor and allocating for overtime also will now be based on real-time data analysis. In addition, it will facilitate faster and more accurate report generation for Federal funding reimbursement.

TAMS Today

An Emergency Call Records form (EL-15) often mobilizes TOS&S staff when maintenance is required. The TAMS platform integrates the EL-15 form allowing for the tracking of all activities including labor and equipment costs, weather and special events, while providing GIS location and images.

TAMS by the Numbers Since Launch:

  • Activity Reports: Nearly 90,560 daily activity reports have been entered into the platform
  • Potential Claims: Nearly 4,050 activity reports have been identified by field crews as potential claims for reimbursement with the newly added early detection TOS&S functionality.
  • Major Events: Nearly 44 major weather events have been recorded.
  • Emergency Call Records (EL-15 records): More than 30,295 EL-15 reports have been documented.
  • Public Problem Reports: 4,219 Public Problem Reports (PPR) have been submitted and administered by the Central Dispatch Unit and acted on by field crews. This is a 14% increase in public reporting from the prior system. PPR replaced the public Pothole Hotline webpage.

The Future of TAMS

TAMS is scalable to other units and will provide all designated staff with platform access, allowing cross-unit data input and retrieval. The cross-unit platform will create an easy, efficient and transparent tool that will make the entire Department more efficient and productive.

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

UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair is a model innovation in the latest round of the FHWA’s Every Day Counts Program (EDC-6).  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.   

This Q&A article has been prepared following correspondence with Pranav Lathia, an NJDOT Supervising Engineer, Structural & RR Engineering Services, to learn more about current initiatives to test and deploy UHPC on the Garden State’s bridges. The Q&A correspondence has been edited for clarity.

 

Q. What is Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC), and why is it particularly useful for bridge preservation and repair (P&R)?

Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) is a new class of concrete which contains extraordinary properties of durability and strength. UHPC is a cement based composite material, which consists of steel fiber reinforcement, cement, fine sand, and other admixtures. UHPC is a useful alternative for bridge repairs and preservation due to its long-term durability, which will minimize repairs to a specific structure over time.

Q. Why, in some cases, is UHPC a better application than traditional treatments?

Due to its chemical properties UHPC has a compressive strength of seven times that of regular concrete. Therefore, UHPC is mostly used for thin overlays, closure pours, link slabs, beam end repairs and joint headers.

Q. What are some advantages of UHPC?

UHPC overlays appear to have many ideal properties for desk surface, including superior bond strength, compressive strength, lower permeability, greater freeze-thaw damage resistance, good abrasion resistance, and rapid cure times, among others.

Q. What are some disadvantages to UHPC?

There are some disadvantages to UHPC.  UHPC has higher material costs which has to be a factor in the Department's decision process. A life-cycle cost analysis is appropriate for making a determination of whether it is a cost-effective alternative for the Department.  Fresh UHPC does not bond well to hardened UHPC, therefore careful consideration for joint construction is needed, including reinforced staging joints. There is also limited test data for construction materials to determine their ability to perform well with UHPC. In addition, the NJ construction workforce is not very familiar with the use of UHPC as an overlay.

Image of a red rectangular device that works to smooth the UHPC,

Figure 1: It is imperative that contractors establish the proper amount of UHPC fluidity to maintain the bridge deck’s grade. Courtesy of NJDOT.

Q. When is UHPC perhaps not an appropriate solution?

UHPC would not be an appropriate solution for a full deck replacement, superstructure replacement, or total replacement.

Q. What are some examples of UHPC’s previous implementations?

Before our initiation of a pilot program, UHPC had only been used for ABC (closure pours) and pre-cast connections in New Jersey since 2014.

 Q. How is NJDOT approaching the potential implementation of UHPC for bridge preservation and replacement (P&R)?

Currently NJDOT uses UHPC ABC (closure pours) for prefabricated superstructures. NJDOT has launched and implemented a UHPC Overlay Research Project in conjunction with the design engineering firm, WSP Solutions.

Q. Can you describe the how UHPC is applied in the pilot project for P&R?

In the pilot project, a 1.5” UHPC overlay has been applied to four NJDOT structures. The UHPC overlay was constructed on the bridge deck along with the reconstruction of deteriorated deck joints.

Q. What bridges were selected, and what was the rationale for their selection?

Four structures were chosen for the UHPC overlay pilot program and split into two separate contracts, Contract A (North) and Contract B (South):

  • I-295 NB & US 130 NB over Mantua Creek in West Deptford, Gloucester County
  • NJ 57 over Hances Brook in Mansfield, Warren County
  • I-280 WB over Newark Turnpike in Kearny, Hudson County
  • NJ 159 WB over Passaic River in Montville, Morris County

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. Eight candidate structures were fully evaluated and tested before the four structures were advanced. The bridges that were ultimately selected varied in their age, size and design. All the bridges had asphalt overlay.

Q. What were the evaluation criteria used for the selection of the pilots?

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 the concrete cores we had completed on each bridge deck.

Q. What best practices were learned from the pilot projects?

It was best to install the UHPC overlays in locations that UHPC would serve as the final riding surface. The Department felt that an UHPC overlay should be constructed on structures which had an existing asphalt overlay. A thinner overlay could have been provided to cut material costs. Using a pan mixer, the supplier had the ability to control the fluidity of the UHPC, which is extremely important when dealing with extreme temperatures and high deflection/ movement structures. A flow test should continue to be required to verify the proper mixing and consistency of the UHPC overlay material.

Q. Were there any innovations from the implementation of the pilot projects?

A deeper overlay could be considered as a viable alternative for structures that need major deck rehabilitation or replacement.

A bridge with a plastic cover at night, waiting for the UHPC to cure

Figure 2. An NJDOT UHPC treatment in the process of curing. Courtesy of NJDOT.

Q. How is data from the pilots being used to research further UHPC applications?

The data from the pilot program will be used to further the Department’s investigation in UHPC for applications other than just bridge deck overlays.

Q.  What can be done to prepare industry and the workforce for UHPC as an overlay?

The implementation of UHPC affects the current workforce because it is a new material to be used in New Jersey. The current workforce does not have enough experience with UHPC’s properties which could make a repair more challenging.  UHPC has only been used for closure pours in New Jersey. This knowledge gap could be solved by supplying the workforce with workshops, seminars, and suggested construction sequences, practices and equipment. A test slab should also be constructed to verify the proposed material and the contractor’s procedures.

Q. Are there needed actions to better educate NJDOT staff on its efficacy and potential uses?

Yes, training and peer exchange activities are valuable for further educating NJDOT staff on UHPC. Recently, we participated in a a two-day UHPC workshop (October 2021) with the U.S. Department of Transportation. The workshop provided participants with a greater understanding of what UHPC is, and explored solutions for using UHPC for bridge deck overlays, link slabs, and steel girder end repairs. Participants were given information on where to obtain guidance for implementing different types of UHPC preservation and repair strategies. The workshop also provided participants with the opportunity to discuss their UHPC implementation strategy, construction specifications, and design details with FHWA EDC-6 UHPC team members.

Image of a bridge with a new white smooth UHPC application on top.

Figure 3. The final product, a UHPC overlay before asphalt paving. Courtesy of NJDOT.

Q. What does the future of UHPC look like in New Jersey?

The future of UHPC in New Jersey could consist of UHPC connection repairs, seismic retrofits, column repairs, concrete patching, shotcrete, steel girder strengthening, bridge deck overlays, and link slabs.

Q. In the current EDC-6 Round, the NJ STIC states that it is planning on performing an assessment of the UHPC pilot projects. When they are complete, how will they be assessed? Could you tell us more about the long-term testing program being developed to gather performance data in the assessment phase?

These are still works in progress. A long-term monitoring and testing program is being developed to gather performance data in the assessment phase. The scope of our current efforts includes further investigation and research, collection and evaluation of performance data, updating the standard specifications and conducting a life cycle cost analysis.

Q. Can you describe the objective(s) and/or provide any other status information about the long-term program goals?

A long-term goal for the department is to incorporate UHPC into our design manual, including for P&R.Eventually we could see UHPC incorporated with bridge deck overlays and concrete bridge repairs. There is currently no timeline on incorporating UHPC into the design manual. We anticipate revising the standard specifications, but there are no updates regarding the revision of the standard specifications for UHPC.


Resources

Federal Highway Administration. (2019, February). Design and Construction of Field-Cast UHPC Connections. Federal Highway Administration. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/infrastructure/structures/bridge/uhpc/19011/index.cfm

Federal Highway Administration. (2020, November). Eliminating Bridge Joints with Link Slabs—An Overview of State Practices. Federal Highway Administration. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/preservation/docs/hif20062.pdf

Federal Highway Administration. (2018, April). Example Construction Checklist: UHPC Connections for Prefabricated Bridge Elements. Federal Highway Administration. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/abc/docs/uhpc-construction-checklist.pdf

Federal Highway Administration. (2018, March). Properties and Behavior of UHPC-Class Materials. Federal Highway Administration. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/infrastructure/structures/bridge/18036/18036.pdf

Federal Highway Administration. (2018, February) Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Bridge Deck Overlays. Federal Highway Administration. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/infrastructure/bridge/17097/index.cfm

Mendenhall, Jess and Rabie, Samer. (2021, October 20). UHPC Overlays for Bridge Preservation—Lessons Learned. New Jersey Department of Transportation. https://www.njdottechtransfer.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/NJDOT-UHPC-Overlay-Research-Project-EDC-6-Workshop.pdf

New Jersey Department of Transportation. (2021, October 20). NJDOT Workshop Report. New Jersey Department of Transportation. https://www.njdottechtransfer.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/NJDOT-UHPC-Workshop-Final-Report.pdf

New Mexico Department of Transportation. (2010). Feasibility Analysis of Ultra High Performance Concrete for Prestressed Concrete Bridge Applications. New Mexico Department of Transportation. https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/24640

New York State Department of Transportation. (2021, June). Item 557. 6601NN16 – Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC). New York State Department of Transportation. https://www.dot.ny.gov/spec-repository-us/557.66010116.pdf

Image of backed up traffic and first responder in neon vest standing on highway

NextGen Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Webinar Series

The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) EDC-6 NextGen Traffic Incident Management (TIM) initiative promotes safety, reliability, and the most efficient use of responder resources and supports and expands local agency capacities. To this end, FHWA's Talking TIM webinar series provides best practices, new technological innovations, and successful implementations. The FHWA-sponsored webinars are hosted by the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE).

  • January 2021: The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Role in TIM, Digital Alert Pilots in St Louis and Kansas City, and FHWA Every Day Counts Round Six (EDC-6) NextGen TIM Overview
  • February 2021: Innovative Tools for Responder and Road Worker Safety
  • March 2021: AASHTO's Role in TIM, Nebraska Tow Temporary Traffic Control Program, Fire Truck Attenuators for Temporary Traffic Control, Massachusetts Legislation for Driver and Responder Safety
  • April 2021: Wisconsin's Traffic Incident Management Enhancement (TIME) Program, City of Seattle TIM and Response Team Program, and North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) TIM Innovations
  • May 2021: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Role in TIM, Incident Detours Involving Railroad Crossings, Washington State's TIM Program and Virtual Coordination, and Responder Vehicle to Traffic Management Center Video Sharing
  • June 2021: Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for Traffic Incident Management
  • July 2021: Lubbock Fire and Rescue Helmet Innovation,  RESQUE-1 Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Assistance, Geographically-Tagged Information from Travelers
  • August 2021: CDOT TIM for Localities, Texas Commission on Law Enforcement TIM Training Requirement, Schertz Fire and Rescue TIM Training Institutionalization, Institutionalizing TIM training for EMS Professionals in Georgia
  • September 2021: Rural Roadway Strategies for Incident Management
  • October 2021: Autonomous Truck Mounted Attenuator Testing and Implementation in Colorado, Autonomous and Driverless Pilots for Large Trucks in Arizona, Rural-Focused Towing Programs in Florida
  • November 2021: National Kickoff: Crash Responder Safety Week 2021
  • December 2021: Using the Traffic Incident Management Benefit/Cost (TIM-BC) Tool

General information on this EDC-6 initiative may be found here.

FHWA contacts for NextGen TIM are Paul Jodoin (Paul.Jodoin@dot.gov), and James Austrich (James.Austrich@dot.gov).

Virtual Public Involvement Peer Exchanges and Video Case Studies

Early, effective, and continuous public involvement brings diverse viewpoints and values into the decision-making process. Transportation agencies can increase meaningful public involvement in planning and project development by integrating virtual tools into their overall public involvement approach.  Public involvement tools and practices have expanded and shifted dramatically over the past decade due to changes in communications, technology, and lifestyles.  Transportation professionals cannot expect the public to come to the transportation agency's events; practitioners must reach them in their everyday lives–online, at home, and in chosen gathering spaces.

CASE STUDIES.  FHWA has developed video case studies that highlight how transportation agencies are using virtual public involvement tools and techniques.  This video series features short conversations with professionals involved in virtual public involvement efforts at their respective agencies.  Agencies and topics featured in the first batch of videos are listed below. A second batch of videos is expected to be released later.

PEER EXCHANGE WORKSHOPS. FHWA has been hosting in-person and online peer exchange workshops to provide a forum for sharing VPI strategies and practices. These peer exchanges bring experienced and less-experienced peers together to present and discuss their approaches to using specific VPI strategies.  Various topics have touched upon project visualizations, online meetings, engaging traditionally underserved populations, and crowdsourcing approaches. The FHWA typically provides workshop summary reports, recordings, and other resources for each event.

 

 

Four images, a drainage pipe, an overpass, a parking space, and a curb, with text in the center that reads Capitalizes on Economies of Scale

Project Bundling Webinar Series

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has provided webinar recordings as part of ongoing support for the EDC-5 Project Bundling Initiative. While project bundling is not an entirely new concept, these trainings share best practices and advanced methods for the most efficient and effective project bundling applications. Several more trainings are scheduled through May 2022. 

Upcoming Webinars


Past Webinars

  • September 16, 2020: Advanced Project Bundling: Examples Beyond Bridges (Webinar link)
  • October 21, 2020: Moving Towards Advanced Project Bundling: Key Characteristics of Lead Agencies (Webinar link).  )
  • November 18, 2020: Advanced Project Bundling: Making the Business Case (Webinar link)
  • December 16, 2020: Project Bundling for Local Public Agencies (Webinar link)
  • January 20, 2021: Advanced Project Bundling: How To (Webinar link)
  • February 17,2021: Advanced Project Bundling: Overcoming Hurdles (Webinar link)
  • June 15, 2021: A Strategic Approach to Project Bundling: What Does Success Look (Webinar link)
  • August 17, 2021: Project Bundling: The Business Process (Webinar link) 
  • October 14, 2021: Bundling Implementation Best Practices Workshop: The Self-Assessment Tool (Registration link)
  • October 19, 2021: Project Bundling: Planning and Capital Programming (Registration link) 

 FHWA contacts for the Project Bundling initiative are Romeo Garcia (Romeo.Garcia@dot.gov) and David Unkefer (David.Unkefer@dot.gov).  

Updated September 15, 2021

NJDOT’s “Weather Savvy Roads” System Receives 2021 Outstanding Project Award from ITS-NJ

The Intelligent Transportation Society of New Jersey (ITS-NJ) recognizes outstanding projects or programs that employ or advance ITS technologies. This year NJDOT’s “Weather Savvy Roads” system, also known as the Mobile RWIS effort, received its 2021 Outstanding Project Award.

NJDOT’s Weather Savvy Roads Program was recently recognized by the Intelligent Transportation Society of New Jersey

NJDOT’s Weather Savvy Roads (WSR) program started with NJDOT’s Mobility Division applying for and receiving NJ’s first federal Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) grant.  The concept was to procure and install mobile RWIS devices and dash cameras in 23 DOT snow-fighting vehicles statewide to view real time conditions and guide decisions for allocation of resources during a winter event.

The team is comprised of staff from NJDOT Mobility, NJDOT Operations, the NJIT ITS Resource Center, and technical partners from Vaisala and EAI.  NJIT created a web-based platform where users could view a statewide map and data from the RWIS devices and video from the CCTV6 in real time.

The WSR project was also designed to continue NJDOT’s investigation into cellular strength along NJDOT’s road network. This effort was first evaluated during NJ STIC Incentive grant funded program using iCone devices on SSP trucks. Utilizing a cellular router carrying FIRSTNET cellular capability, the technical team at NJIT is evaluating the strength of this first responder-only focused cellular system to see the various levels of signal strength. The project has shown tremendous benefits after just one winter season with staff across multiple levels of the Department utilizing the web platform to make better informed decisions about staffing and contractor use.

To learn more about the project, click on the NJ Innovative Initiatives, Weather Responsive Management Strategies page, or watch a presentation to the NJ STIC by Sal Cowan, Senior Director of Mobility at NJDOT about the equipment installation and web interface efforts taken for the pilot project.

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