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Implementing the Results of the Second Strategic Highway Research Program: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life Summary The highway system has a pervasive presence in U.S. society. Whether driving, biking, or traveling by bus, many Americans use the nation’s roads every day in their personal, professional, family, and social activities. The 4-million-mile highway system is the backbone of the U.S. economy, carrying 65 percent of the nation’s $15 trillion in freight traffic and 88 percent of all noncommercial person miles traveled. The highway network also provides passenger and freight links to all other modes of transportation. U.S. highway facilities have been in constant use for decades, often exceeding their original design life and traffic volumes. As a result, the system is deteriorating and heavily congested. Moreover, deaths and injuries from highway crashes constitute a major public health concern. A few statistics suggest the scale of the issues and the importance of addressing them: Some 43,000 deaths and millions of injuries occur on the nation’s roads every year; beyond the personal toll, the estimated annual cost of these deaths and injuries is $230 billion. After years of decline, the number of fatalities and the fatality rate per million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) appear to be leveling off. Safety professionals are increasingly convinced that substantial advances in the future must be based on a fuller understanding of the most critical and least examined component of the driving system—the driver. In 1999, resurfacing was performed on 12.85 percent (20,586 miles) of the National Highway System. Reconstruction was performed on 3,200 miles of roads. The average age of bridges in the national inventory is 40 years; 27.5 percent of this inventory is structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Work zones appear to be ubiquitous, causing disruption, delays, and unsafe conditions.
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Implementing the Results of the Second Strategic Highway Research Program: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life In 2005, congestion cost travelers more than 4.2 billion hours and nearly $80 billion and resulted in the waste of approximately 3 billion gallons of fuel. One of the most significant impacts of congestion on the individual driver is the increasing difficulty of predicting how long a given trip will take. This lack of travel time reliability has both personal and economic costs. By 2030, the U.S. population is expected to grow by 24 percent, VMT by 60 percent, and truck VMT by 75 percent; truckloads are predicted to increase by 80 percent, to nearly 23 billion tons, by 2035. In addition to better system operation and more rapid renewal of in-place infrastructure, this growth will necessitate additional highway capacity in selected locations. Any capacity enhancements will have to be performance driven and outcome based while integrating environmental, economic, and community requirements. THE SECOND STRATEGIC HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM Research and innovation have an important role to play in addressing the issues and concerns associated with the planning, design, building, maintenance, operation, and use of the highway system. In addition to ongoing research programs at the federal and state levels, in private industry, and at universities, strategic research programs have focused on particular critical needs. These include the American Association of State Highway Officials Road Test, conducted in the late 1950s, and the first Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 1), conducted in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The success of SHRP 1 prompted Congress to authorize a second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users of 2005. Approximately $170 million is expected to be appropriated over a 4-year period (2005 –2009) to support a program lasting 7 years (mid-2006 to mid-2013). The content of the program was specified to include four research focus areas: Safety: Make a significant improvement in highway safety. The overall goal of this research is to prevent or reduce the severity of highway crashes through more accurate knowledge of driver behavior and other crash factors. Renewal: Accelerate the renewal of America’s highways. The overall goal of this research is to develop a consistent, systematic approach to per-
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Implementing the Results of the Second Strategic Highway Research Program: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life forming highway renewal that is rapid, causes minimal disruption, and produces long-lived facilities. Reliability: Provide a highway system with reliable travel times. The overall goal of this research is to provide highway users with reliable travel times by preventing and reducing the impact of nonrecurring incidents. Capacity: Provide highway capacity in support of the nation’s economic, environmental, and social goals. The overall goal of this research is to develop approaches and tools for systematically integrating environmental, economic, and community requirements into the analysis, planning, and design of new highway capacity. These focus areas were developed through almost 3 years of study and consultation with a broad array of stakeholders to ensure that the most critical needs would be addressed. The overarching approach of the program is to focus on goals that are meaningful to highway users, such as increasing safety, reducing congestion, minimizing disruption to users when roads are being rehabilitated, and providing new capacity that enhances neighborhoods and avoids environmental harm. The products of this research, if widely implemented, have many potential beneficiaries, including those listed in Box S -1. In recognition of the importance of the implementation of the results of SHRP 2, the legislation authorizing the program included a requirement to submit to Congress a report on implementation of the research results, which became the Statement of Task for the present report. This report, due by February 1, 2009, was to include the following: An identification of the most promising results of research conducted under the program (including the most likely beneficiaries of those results); A discussion of potential incentives for, impediments to, and methods of implementing the results; An estimate of the costs of implementation; and Recommendations for how implementation should be conducted, coordinated, and supported in future years, including a discussion of the administrative structure and organization best suited to carrying out those recommendations.
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Implementing the Results of the Second Strategic Highway Research Program: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life Box S-1 POTENTIAL BENEFICIARIES OF SHRP 2 RESEARCH PRODUCTS Taxpayers Motorists Commercial drivers Bus riders Shipping and logistics professionals Environmental agencies Communities, businesses, and owners of event venues served by the highway system Railroads Utilities Automobile manufacturers and suppliers Metropolitan planning organizations Law enforcement Firefighters Emergency medical services Highway designers, contractors, and suppliers State and local transportation agencies The committee’s response to this congressional reporting requirement is summarized below. FINDINGS SHRP 2 Research, Promising Results, Potential Users, and Incentives for and Impediments to Implementation SHRP 2 research was ongoing for less than a year when the committee began the task of preparing this report. No final products of the research are as yet ready for use. The committee studied the plans for and tentative outcomes of the program’s early research efforts and consulted with the SHRP 2 governing and technical committees and staff, as well as a variety of stakeholders, to project the ultimate outcomes of the program, its potential users, and the incentives for and impediments to implementation that may be encountered.
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Implementing the Results of the Second Strategic Highway Research Program: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life Safety SHRP 2 is taking a systems approach to safety by examining how the driver interacts with the roadway, the vehicle, and environmental factors. Using technologies designed and tested in smaller-scale studies, SHRP 2 will conduct a naturalistic driving study in which the vehicles of 4,000 volunteer drivers will be instrumented with sensors, and data on vehicle and driver performance will be recorded for a year or more. These data will be correlated with roadway data so that all three elements can be studied. This research represents by far the largest study of its kind ever undertaken and promises to serve as a resource for improving highway safety for decades to come. The research conducted in SHRP 2’s Safety focus area is expected to produce the following products: Initial findings that can be used in the development of new driver, vehicle, and roadway treatments to reduce deaths and injuries and in the modification and improved targeting of existing treatments. A rich body of naturalistic driving data, linked with roadway data, of unprecedented size and diversity, as well as tools for the development and evaluation of potential crash countermeasures. Safety researchers and practitioners should be able to use these products to improve highway safety for years, if not decades, into the future. Analysis tools [including validated crash surrogates (events or conditions that precede, happen more frequently than, and are highly correlated with crashes)]; research protocols; and specifications for monitoring, recording, and encoding instrumentation that safety researchers can use and build on. A site-based video system for studying vehicle behavior on particular roadway segments, such as intersections. Potential users of these products include safety researchers in the public, private, and academic sectors; highway safety practitioners; and vehicle manufacturers. The data and analysis tools provided by SHRP 2 should help these users design better highways, vehicles, and driver education and enforcement programs. The greatest potential impediment to implementation of these products is the size and complexity of the database. This impediment can be overcome by providing long-term access to the data, as
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Implementing the Results of the Second Strategic Highway Research Program: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life well as training, expert assistance, and more accessible versions of subsets of the data. Renewal The Renewal focus area addresses the need to complete renewal of existing highways quickly, with minimal disruption to the community, and to produce facilities that are long-lasting. These objectives are intended to provide “rapid renewal” consistently and systematically, as opposed to reliance only on isolated special projects. This new way of doing business is built on more collaborative relationships and decision making; better integration of management, planning, design, construction, and maintenance; and more synergistic use of technologies and methods so that optimal benefits can be realized from complementary sets of innovations. Products in the Renewal focus area fall into two general categories: Technology: Products in this category include bridge and pavement materials and systems, equipment, designs, and other tools for directly carrying out the renewal work. Project delivery: Products in this category support the renewal objectives by addressing construction and asset management, quality control, risk management, and institutional arrangements between transportation agencies and their many partners. The primary potential users of Renewal products are highway agencies at the state, regional, and local levels. Other users include contractors, materials suppliers, design consultants, utility companies, and railroads. Incentives for product adoption include reduced disruption for roadway users as well as businesses and property owners adjacent to the roadway, less travel delay, streamlined project delivery, greater resource efficiency for highway agencies, and reduced exposure of workers to work zone crashes. A significant impediment to implementation in this area is the relatively high initial construction costs of many innovations that lower life-cycle and user costs. Given restricted budgets and pressure to undertake projects in multiple jurisdictions at once, many agencies may find it difficult to carry out fewer projects with higher initial costs in a given year. They will need information and resources to articulate the benefits of rapid renewal in
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Implementing the Results of the Second Strategic Highway Research Program: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life terms that are meaningful to the public and to political leaders, training and technical support to guide them through the implementation of innovative approaches, and possibly financial assistance to cover the additional costs associated with demonstrating a new technology. Reliability The Reliability focus area is aimed at improving travel time reliability by addressing the portion of the congestion problem that results from nonrecurring events, such as crashes, vehicle breakdowns, inclement weather, special events, and work zones. Products of the research fall into four categories: Data, metrics, analysis, and decision support: Research in this category will result in the development of quantitative relationships and analytical tools that can help agencies evaluate the reliability impacts of different strategies and incorporate reliability estimation into planning and operations models. Other products include an archive of travel time data, performance measures, and operational strategies and a guidebook for establishing reliability monitoring programs. Institutional change, human behavior, and resource needs: Products of research in this category include guidance for effectively disseminating travel time reliability information to road users, identification of the most effective practices and organizational structures for managing highway systems, and a focused training program for safe and efficient incident response procedures in traffic environments. Incorporating reliability into planning, programming, and design: Research in this category will produce improved tools for identifying and evaluating the effectiveness of infrastructure and operational counter-measures and quantifying the impacts of nonrecurring congestion on overall highway capacity. The research will also produce analyses of the impact of highway design features on reliability for incorporation into standard highway design manuals. Future needs and opportunities: This research will define user requirements, performance standards, and present and future concepts of operations so as to provide guidance to agencies on the best alternative operations strategies for improving travel time reliability. The research will
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Implementing the Results of the Second Strategic Highway Research Program: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life also produce a portfolio of innovative ideas, supported by accompanying proofs of concept, aimed at improving reliability. Implementation of these products will benefit the traveling public; transportation agencies; shipping and logistics concerns; bus operators; providers of police, fire, emergency medical, and towing services; special event managers; and researchers and analysts. The main incentives for product adoption are safer and more efficient highway operations and more efficient use of resources due to more solid foundations for decisions and better analysis, planning, and design tools. Incident responders will experience greater safety and better coordination because of clear, consistent guidelines. Impediments include resistance to institutional change, agency personnel constraints, and a lack of local data to support product use. Capacity SHRP 2 Capacity research addresses the challenge of planning and designing new transportation capacity that integrates mobility, economic, environmental, and community needs. Meeting this challenge calls for collaborative decision making in which the right people are involved at the right time with the right information. To be successful, this research must have a framework that is supported by an effective strategy for enhancing the environment, improving economic vitality, and achieving social goals. Products of the Capacity research fall into four categories: Elements of collaborative decision making: The central product of the Capacity focus area will be the Collaborative Decision-Making Framework (CDMF), an integrated web-based tool focusing on key decision points in the planning and programming process and supported by tools in the other three categories. An ecological approach to surface environmental protection: The products in this category will be an ecosystem-based credits system, a business model, and guidelines that will enable conservation banking or other strategies to go beyond resource-by-resource mitigation. Improved tools for analysis of travel behavior: SHRP 2 will provide support for ongoing efforts to develop and use activity-based travel demand models. Research in this category will result in the development of math-
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Implementing the Results of the Second Strategic Highway Research Program: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life ematical relationships among motorist behavior, pricing, and congestion, and it will demonstrate the effects of highway management strategies on sustainable highway throughput in peak conditions. Economic impacts of highway investment: This research will produce before-and-after case studies of economic development impacts, a practitioner’s handbook to make development impacts more transparent to noneconomists, and improved economic analysis tools. Potential users of these products are state and local transportation agencies and metropolitan planning organizations. The main incentive for implementing the CDMF and related products is to enable agencies to improve the quality of decisions and deliver projects more quickly. In addition, the CDMF can be expected to improve a transportation agency’s relationships with its partners and stakeholders by promoting more transparent communication and decision making. The main potential impediments are the cost of changing agency procedures, insufficient data in some jurisdictions, and the large number of stakeholders that must buy into the framework. Successful Implementation Strategies There are many methods for implementing innovations; their success varies across types of products and user groups. The committee identified several methods that appear to be most promising for the implementation of SHRP 2 products: Strategic packaging and branding; Technical assistance; Standards, specifications, guidebooks, and manuals; Follow-on research, testing, and evaluation; Lead users and demonstration projects; Training and education; and Long-term stewardship. Knowledge management and information technology (IT) capabilities are required for all of these strategies. These capabilities include, for example, the ability to establish Internet-based communication and collabora-
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Implementing the Results of the Second Strategic Highway Research Program: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life tion tools, such as webinars and wikis; the development of communities of practice; and ways to capture learning and knowledge gleaned both in individual focus areas and about implementation itself. Principal Implementation Agent While many stakeholders will be involved in SHRP 2 implementation, the effectiveness of a coordinated implementation program will depend in large part on having a strong principal implementation agent, that is, an organization that will lead and support SHRP 2 implementation. The mission of this agent will be to promote and support the effective implementation of SHRP 2 products wherever they can help achieve the goals of the Safety, Renewal, Reliability, and Capacity focus areas. The principal implementation agent will carry out a number of tasks. One of the first will be to assess the readiness for implementation of each SHRP 2 product and develop implementation plans accordingly. Plans should identify users and others affected by the product and specify the most effective implementation methods for each product. The agent will be responsible for administering competitive processes to provide for the additional research, testing, evaluation, demonstration projects, training, technical support, and other activities necessary to support implementation. Other responsibilities will include arranging for stakeholder involvement, coordinating with related programs, promoting collaboration, tracking the progress of implementation, measuring results, providing knowledge management and IT expertise and tools, and publishing reports and other materials to aid implementation efforts. Implementation will require strong leadership. A single point person at a high enough level in the organization will be needed to ensure that SHRP 2 implementation receives the necessary visibility and priority. Staff who support the implementation program will require adequate funding, salient technical knowledge, good judgment about people and opportunities, communication and diplomatic skills, foresight, flexibility, dedication, and a willingness to become directly involved in real-world applications. Implementation is a time-intensive task that requires a concentrated focus. Managers must understand this and provide a work environment that allows implementation staff to maintain that focus.
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Implementing the Results of the Second Strategic Highway Research Program: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life RECOMMENDATIONS Widespread implementation of SHRP 2 products promises to deliver on the program’s overarching goal of providing outstanding customer service for the 21st century. In view of the findings documented in this report, the committee makes the recommendations presented below. These recommendations are rooted in the principles and strategies outlined in Chapter 6 and should be understood in that context. Recommendation 1: A SHRP 2 implementation program should be established. Recommendation 2: The Federal Highway Administration should serve as the principal implementation agent for SHRP 2, in partnership with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Transportation Research Board. NHTSA should exercise a leadership role in the long-term stewardship of the safety database. Recommendation 3: Stable and predictable funding should be provided over several years to support SHRP 2 implementation activities. Total funding for the first 6 years of the implementation program is estimated at $400 million. The need for additional funding thereafter should be assessed at the appropriate time. Implementation planning and budgeting should take into account that several SHRP 2 products, especially the safety database, will require long-term support that will extend beyond the initial 6-year period. Recommendation 4: A formal stakeholder advisory structure should be established to provide strategic guidance on program goals, priorities, and budget allocations, as well as technical advice. At a minimum, this advisory structure should include an executive-level oversight committee for the entire SHRP 2 implementation program and a second oversight committee focused exclusively on administration of the safety database. Recommendation 5: Detailed implementation plans should be developed as soon as feasible to guide the implementation efforts.
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