NJ STIC 2019 Spring Meeting

The NJ State Transportation Innovation Council recently held its 2019 Spring Meeting.  After the welcome and introductions, the FHWA provided a brief update of the status of Every Day Counts (EDC-5) Innovative Initiatives, noting that progress reports are quickly approaching for the initial six-month milestone period (January-June, 2019).

Short presentations were given by the three Core Innovation Area (CIA) Teams -- Safety, Mobility & Operations, and Infrastructure Preservation -- reporting on the activities planned and underway to meet commitments for the current EDC-5 round.  The Mobility & Operations CIA Team gave a featured presentation on "Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPMs)" that described current research in-progress that seeks to identify and develop metrics, guidelines, and deployment strategies for real-time monitoring of traffic signal performance based on existing infrastructure resources and the transportation agency's needs. 

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and the Burlington County Engineering Office jointly delivered the featured Local Public Agency presentation on "Signal Timing in Burlington County". The presentation described a traffic signal timing optimization project funded through DVRPC that followed a six-step signal timing process.  The project used a rapid field assessment method that involved real-time coordination with traffic operations control to fine-tune signal timings to safely improve travel times.   Key findings, lessons and the benefits of the project as well as a before and after video demonstrating improved travel times were shared with those in attendance.

The Bureau of Research described recent outreach and coordination efforts being taken at the National STIC network level and by the New Jersey STIC to raise awareness of the EDC-5 Innovative Initiatives, model practices and available resources.  The NJDOT Technology Transfer website's NJ STIC Outreach and Coordination webpage has more information on these activities.   To foster knowledge-sharing, attendees were also encouraged to complete the "STIC Innovative Initiatives Survey" that was launched recently.  The survey is targeted to Local Public Agencies and seeks to identify examples of successful implementation of innovative practices, among other topics.  The meeting closed with a Roundtable discussion that highlighted the value that the NJ STIC can bring in convening and sharing innovative practices among its diverse set of stakeholders.

The next two upcoming STIC meetings are scheduled for August 8 and November 19, 2019.

The NJ STIC Spring Meeting Presentations can be found here or in sections below along with Burlington County's before and after video of their signal optimization.


Welcome; Roundtable Recap; FHWA Update

CIA Team Update: Safety

CIA Team Update: Mobility and Operations

CIA Team Update: Infrastructure Preservation

Automated Signal Timing Performance Measures

Signal Timing in Burlington County

Outreach & Coordination Efforts; STIC Survey; Roundtable

Purchase and Evaluate the Use of Tablets for Construction and Work Zone Inspection

In FY2017, the NJ STIC recommended that a STIC Incentive Funding grant be used for the purchase and the piloting of the use of the tablets for construction and work zone inspections.

Once acquired, the use of tablets were found to expedite as-built review reporting. For example, comments between team members were easier to share and compile and As-Built review reports, checklists and other supporting documents were no longer printed prior to the review. The reports and checklists could be completed electronically at the field office during the review as the information was collected.  A list of findings could be created during the review and shared electronically with the resident engineer (RE) and the review team.  Guides and manuals could also be shared with the RE on the tablets during the As-Built review to answer any questions.

Several benefits were evident from the use of the tablets in construction and work zone inspections:

  • Improved communications within a team in sharing or demonstrating a design idea such as sketches, field changes, request for information, etc.
  • Improved efficiency in keeping field records, particularly through the use of the camera’s function for capturing field videos and pictures.
  • More productive meetings as participants had the ability to quickly reference contract documents, plans or emails (Ex. progress construction meetings with contractor, Project Manager/Designer, and utilities.)

Some other lessons were noted in piloting the use of the tablets:

  • It is important to keep the battery fully charged; the battery life was found to last up to two hours with extensive use.
  • For practical use on site, the use of a stylus pen makes it much easier to use.
  • The tablet keyboard will be easier to use if a mouse device is available.
  • It is essential to have and maintain the remote internet access connection to enjoy the benefits of the field use of tablets.

Advancing Use of Mobile Devices in Administration and Oversight of Local Public Agencies Program

By adopting a paperless process for delivering construction administration documents, practitioners can save time and resources while improving the process of managing construction documents. New Jersey’s State Innovative Council recommended that a STIC Incentive Funding Grant be awarded to NJDOT to advance the use of mobile devices in the administration and oversight of its Local Aid Program.  The NJDOT received a STIC Incentive Funding Grant of $21,464 in FY2015.

The STIC grant funded the acquisition of tablets for use in two areas: application ratings and construction inspection.  The primary benefits of the transition to tablets were expected to come from improved staff efficiency through a reduction in the preparation time prior to field visits and an elimination of the need to manually transfer data collected on paper in the field.

NJDOT’S Division of Local Aid was able to use the funding to acquire 14 tablets and Mi-fi “hotspot” cards to ensure field network connectivity.  NJDOT’s IT department was engaged to coordinate the procurement process to the purchase the tablets for Local Aid staff and install cellular connection, VPN Access, security software, licensing. Electronic Field Inspection reports were designed, developed and tested in accordance with the Division’s Policy and Procedure for Construction Inspection.  District training was delivered for the use of tablets for construction inspections of federal projects. The tablets were distributed to the 4 Local Aid districts and are in use.