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Oregon Roads No. 105

Oregon T2 Center Celebrates 30 Years

This year, the Oregon T2 Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary of service to public works agencies throughout Oregon including city, county, tribal governments, federal agencies, road districts and transit districts. The purpose of establishing the Center was to help local agencies obtain the latest and best available information and training on transportation technology. That purpose remains the same today.

In 1984, The Oregon T2 Center was one of 20 Technology Transfer Centers established nationwide by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) under the Rural Technical Assistance Program (RTAP) with the express purpose to furnish transportation information and training to local jurisdictions. Clients of the Oregon program were counties, cities, tribal governments, federal agencies, road districts and transit districts. There are now 58 Centers operating across the United States and Puerto Rico. 51 of those Centers are Local Technical Assistance Programs (LTAP) and seven of the Centers are Tribal Technical Assistance Programs (TTAP).

Let’s look at some of the accomplishments of the T2 Center from 1984 to 2014.

The program began with two co-directors, one from ODOT (in 1984, ODOT was called the Oregon Highway Division) and one from Oregon State University, one administrative assistant and two Circuit Riders/Trainers.

Dr. Gary Hicks, Oregon State University, and Gordon Beecroft, ODOT were the first co-directors of the Oregon T2 Center. Their tenures with the T2 Center were very short-lived.  The T2 Center still operates with a small staff consisting of a full-time Director, a full-time Training Coordinator, and three part-time Circuit Riders/Trainers.

In the first five years of the T2 Center, average training attendance was 199 students in a year and the average number of classes offered was14 per year. In the last five years, the average training attendance was 5,269 in a year and the average number of classes offered was 191 per year. The program budget started as $94,500 per year and now is $345,000 per year. 

The first five Oregon T2 Center newsletters were called “Horizons,” which changed in Spring 1986 to the title we are all familiar with of “Oregon Roads.”  The firstT2 newsletter was published and mailed on January 4, 1985 to 610 individuals. We have published to date 105 newsletters with the average electronic distribution now being around 1,800 individuals. In 2012, the T2 Center moved from external development of the newsletter and mailing 2,500 printed copies of the newsletter to developing it in-house and delivering it through email and website. This change has resulted in a significant cost reduction in producing the newsletter and allows us to focus a larger amount of the funding on providing training classes.

In 1984, the T2 Steering committee was formed with eight city and county appointed members. The first meeting was held on November 1, 1984 in Salem.  The steering committee now consists of eleven city, county and federal representatives.

The T2 Center’s focus and customer base has not changed over the last 30 years, nor has the fact that the Center provides many services on a limited staff and budget. However, technology and changes over the last three decades has allowed the Center to keep up with the increase in training by savings in printing and mailing costs for newsletters, training flyers and announcements, library requests, technical materials being available online, and many others. It has also reduced the staff time required to develop these items and process requests.

As we celebrate 30 years, we also look forward to the next 30 years of broadening out training programs to meet customer needs as well as continuing to utilize technology advancements to do as much as we can with the funding we have available. We are always open to hearing from our customers. If you have comments or recommendations, feel free to contact Rebekah.

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Don't Get Pinned: Safe Operation Starts with the Basics

The accident:
The contractor instructed an excavator operator to move dirt, clear debris and fill a trench, and then left the jobsite. Upon his return, he saw the excavator – which was an older model that had been purchased used – positioned over the trench, with the operator pinned to a tree and crushed by the machine. The contractor reached into the cab and pushed the joystick to free the operator; however, the cab rotated, pinning him to the tree as well. Although the contractor was able to free himself, the operator was already dead.

The bottom line: A post-accident investigation determined that although the excavator had a lock lever that disabled boom and arm movements as well as the swing function, the lock had not been activated. The cab door was open, indicating the employee was exiting the cab, and the bucket had not been lowered to the ground.  Investigators reached the conclusion the victim had inadvertently bumped the excavator’s left control joystick with his leg, causing the machine to rotate counterclockwise and pin him to the tree. The cause of death was determined to be asphyxia from crush injuries and thoracic compression.

 Forming good habits
The first – and easiest – step in preventing an accident such as this is as simple as developing a safe routine and sticking with it. Keep the following checklist in mind before exiting the machine:
  • Lower the bucket or other attachment and position to prevent accidental movement
  • Set the swing lock or brake and the parking or traction brake or lock
  • Ensure the engine is no longer running
  • Lock the ignition or starting circuit and remove the key

And note: extra caution should always be exercised with older machines not equipped with current safety

Value your competent person

Your company’s competent person will have evaluated the site prior to work to identify potential issues.
For this accident, a planning stage survey could have pinpointed the tree as a safety hazard because of its proximity to the trench. An appropriate control measure such as trench relocation would have prevented the accident. Ask if any risks were found during site evaluation, and if so, what control measures were taken to protect you and your fellow workers.

Better Roads Sponsored by Bridgestone

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It's the Stupid Driver's Fault

By Rick O. Drumm, FHWA Indiana Division Safety Engineer

When discussing safety on our roads and highways with many individuals who work on the “hardware” side of the issue (supervising the maintenance, design, or construction of the roads), there is a recurring theme: “It’s the stupid driver’s fault.”  Anecdotal information abounds. Often at the center of these stories is a person who was driving under the influence, texting, speeding, or simply not paying attention.

But do these stories accurately reflect the only contributing factors to driving accidents? Is there anything on the hardware side we can do to increase safety on the roads under our jurisdiction?

The Causes of Motor Vehicle Crashes

As with most areas of life, if one tries to determine THE cause or the Main cause of a negative occurrence, it gets quite complicated. A person may get a particular disease and it may be that her genetics played a role, or maybe his diet, or to what environmental factors she was exposed, or his habits. Or, as is most frequently the case, a combination of many factors may be the cause - and picking the degree one factor contributed to the situation over another may be very difficult to determine.

So it is with crashes on our roads. A crash could simply be one person falling asleep, running off the road, hitting an obstacle, and getting injured. Or it can be more complex, like a drunk driver who is texting and not wearing a seat belt, who runs off pavement with an eroded drop-off, which throws the car into a skid that slams it into a tree only four feet off the road . . . and it is nighttime and raining. So many factors are involved.

A comprehensive study1 published in Human Behavior in Traffic Safety a number of years ago looked at the contributing factors to motor vehicle crashes. It broke down the main factors into three categories: driver, roadway, vehicle. The driver contributed to the crash if he or she did something that helped cause it - from drinking alcohol, to poor judgment and failing to yield. The roadway contributed to the crash if
there was something about the roadway that was not up to standards - a sign not present or in the wrong place, or a tree two feet off the roadway (well within the clear zone). The vehicle contributed if there was something wrong with it such as faulty brakes or tires - whether many or all of the vehicle
factors can be traced back to human error is not to be investigated here.

The study was done in the United States and in England, with both yielding similar results. One of the unsurprising results is that the driver is a contributing factor in 93% of crashes. Very few times does the
roadway or vehicle cause a crash without the “help” of the driver. For motor vehicle crashes, the driver is,
literally and figuratively, in the driver’s seat. The driver is the one who chooses to drink, text, speed,
disregard signs, cut in front of other vehicles, follow too closely, get distracted by friends in the car, not
wear a seatbelt (reducing severity rather than the crash itself), or even drive while sleepy.

At this point, it is easy to see why many will say that this proves the point, “It’s the stupid driver’s fault.”

However, the data does not mean we, the overseers of the roads and highways, are free to consider it all the driver’s fault and not our responsibility. The road is a contributing factor in 34% of crashes. Signs and pavement markings may not be up to standard. Sight distance is too short. Objects are too close to the road. There are infrastructure improvements that must be made if we are to remove the road as a contributing factor.

The interaction between the driver and the road is a complicated one. The roadway gives the driver cues, information, and direction. The driver takes this all in and makes decisions based on the data. The driver will hit the brakes or turn earlier or slow down or become more aware of pedestrians or watch for other vehicles or take a number of other good driving task actions, based on the input the roads offer. Our job is to provide the driver with the best opportunities to make good decisions by providing roadways that send good messages and information to the driver.

Looking Further at the Venn

As one looks at this Venn Diagram and considers the interaction between roads and drivers, it is not difficult to see that there are many things we can do to help the driver in his or her task. We may be “covered” with a roadway that meets all the standards, but there will be some instances where going beyond the standards is needed to reduce crashes. The standards are there because they apply to most situations. But in special situations, more effort is needed.

Let’s take the example of a two-way, stop-controlled intersection that has had numerous crashes, most of which were caused by a driver running the stop sign. The driver is the only contributing factor in the Venn Diagram. There is a stop sign placed properly on the right side of the intersection. However, after reading the crash reports from a number of crashes, a theme emerges from the narratives: “Driver said he did not see stop sign.” You look at the intersection. The stop sign is there. It is in the correct place. The sight distance for the intersection is adequate - exceeding the standards, though not by much. Yet, for whatever reason, the drivers are not seeing the stop sign clearly. It may be sunlight at a particular time of day, or visual clutter behind the sign, or a number of other reasons.


The repeated message is what is key. By placing a larger stop sign with better retroreflectivity and a second supplemental sign on the left side of the intersection, drivers may have a far better chance of seeing the stop sign and crashes of the “Failed to Yield Right of Way” sort will be reduced. Note that we were not in noncompliance before. It was the stupid driver’s fault. However, we found a way to help the driver by communicating in a different way.

These types of situations exist in numerous places throughout the entire road system. Although most
locations meet standards and function well, there are still sites all around us that meet those standards
yet can show safety benefits from going beyond the standards, as crash analysis shows. These may be an individual intersection or curve, or there may be a number of intersections in a region or a series of curves in an area that can be treated altogether in a systemic way.

The Impact of the “Hardware” Side

Study after study has shown that changes to the roadway - the surface, the pavement markings, the signs, design features, the roadside, etc. - can result in reductions, some significant, in the number of motor vehicle crashes or the severity of the injuries. What we do on the “Hardware” side does make a difference.

The road safety community has developed Crash Modification Factors (CMFs) that are indicative of how effective a countermeasure is. These CMFs are based on thoroughly researched studies. There are many of them and they can be seen on the CMF Clearinghouse at www.cmfclearinghouse.org. Individually, if we see that a particular countermeasure has a CMF of, say, 0.80, then if we implement the countermeasure for a particular crash problem, we can expect that after implementation we will see only 80% of the crashes we have been having (or injuries, or fatalities, depending on the details of the CMF).

Taken as a whole, the CMFs scream to us this truth: We can do things to the road system that will reduce fatalities, injuries, and crashes. The driver may not get better at his or her task, but our improvements can work with the driver to improve road safety. This concept should not be taken lightly. We can make a difference. (At this point, I usually will state how we are like superheroes, saving people from serious injury or death, but I will let you make that deduction on your own.)

Some Encouragement

The rate of fatalities in terms of deaths per miles traveled has been dropping since the mid-1960’s. Deaths per miles driven back then as five times what it is today. We have made a lot of progress. How did our society produce this amazing reduction in fatal crash rate over that past 40 to 50 years? Again, there is no one cause or effort. Let us consider the three factors above: the road, the vehicle, and the driver.

THE ROAD: Efforts to fix “hot spots” or high crash locations (intersections, curves, etc.), broader adherence to standards, better design of roadside devices, more breakaway obstacles, traffic signal improvements, retroreflectivity standards, and the introduction of systemic improvements such as shoulder rumble strips, median cable guardrail, and more recently - SafetyEdge, roundabouts and centerline rumble strips.

THE VEHICLE: Body designed to absorb energy in a crash, air bags, anti-lock brakes, Electronic Stability
Control (ESC) , seat belt warning reminders, and more recently and in the future - interconnected vehicles that drive themselves, vehicles that can brake for us or warn us about people in our blind spots when backing up or changing lanes.

THE DRIVER: Increased seat belt usage (not just driver, but passengers, too), drinking age raised and less acceptance of drunk driving, recently - stricter laws for teens getting licensed.

All of the countermeasures do one of two things: prevent a crash from occurring or reduce the severity of a crash if it does occur. All lead to a lower number of fatalities and injuries. Most people would likely agree
that the driver has made the least improvements (Can we make a better driver?) and that the hardware side and vehicles have greatly improved in safety. However, all have had a role in improving safety in the past and in improving highway safety as we move forward.

What to Do?

With respect to “hardware” side personnel, or overseers of the road system, I have arrived at this conclusion regarding our part in motor vehicle safety: Our job is to save people from their own stupidity. Yes, the driver is a factor in the vast majority of crashes. Some crashes may be the result of extremely bad actions - such as drunk driving - and some may be the result of what is considered less egregious activities - such as missing a vehicle in a blind spot, or simply not paying attention. However, the way we keep up the roads, as well as the methods we use to design and improve them, does have influence in steering drivers toward decisions that reduce both the occurrence and severity of crashes. In other words, our job, in part, is to save people from their own stupidity, from their own bad judgment. 

There will be crashes we can do nothing about. We will still hear about the guy who had a 0.25 alcohol
content and was speeding when he drove off the roadway and hit a tree 50 feet away. However, we should not allow anecdotal stories to mask the statistics that show infrastructure enhancements do make roadways safer. There are many stories of people having dinner with their families this evening because of safety improvements of our roads. We typically don’t hear those stories, but they are there, and they are seen in statistics of crash reductions or crash severity reductions after we implement a countermeasure on our roads.

Until we all have cars that drive themselves through interconnected, wireless communications - eliminating the human factor in accidents (yes, we may end up there eventually), we on the hardware side of the equation of highway safety have a lot to do in order to keep the numbers going down. We need to improve our road systems to be able to communicate better with drivers, to give him or her cues to drive safely, and to reduce the consequences when they do err. A death toll of 33,000 on our nation’s roads every year is far too much. Those stupid drivers need all the help they can get. Just sayin’.

Rick Drumm, Safety Engineer for FHWA Indiana Division, may be contacted at Rick.Drumm@dot.gov.

1 K. Rumar. “The Role of Perceptual and Cognitive Filters in Observed Behavior,” Human Behavior in Traffic Safety, eds. L. Evans and R. Schwing, Plenum Press, 1985.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2013 edition of the Indiana LTAP newsletter. Reprinted by permission.

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Everyone Plays a Role in Keeping Work Zones Safe

Investments in transportation contribute to safer roads, as well as to a healthier economy. Over the last decade in Oregon, we have repaired or replaced hundreds of bridges; paved and maintained city and county roads; improved and expanded interchanges; added new capacity to Oregon's transportation system and removed freight bottlenecks statewide. Based on recent estimates, about 10.5 family-wage jobs are sustained for every $1 million spent on transportation construction in Oregon.

These investments pour money into local communities through contracts, services and other purchases. That's great news for the economy, but it brings home the point that we've got to plan ahead, prepare for work zones, and be patient when traveling.

As road construction signs, cones and barrels start popping up along Oregon's streets and highways and
we move into a busy summer construction season, the transportation community is coming together to take a fresh look at work zone safety. The construction industry, freight community, law enforcement, public works agencies, the Oregon Department of Transportation and others are examining current practices and looking for new ways to keep workers and travelers safe.

Defining the problem

Nationally there is an upward trend in work zone crashes. In 2010 there were 586 work zone fatalities, 590 in 2011 and 609 in 2012. In Oregon, however, despite a high volume of road and bridgework, the numbers show a decrease in work zone incidents: 11 fatalities in 2011, six in 2012 and four in 2013 (preliminary). But, even one death is one too many.

The situation is serious for both workers and travelers.  Both nationally and in Oregon there are more drivers and their passengers killed and injured in work zone crashes than workers. Four out of five work zone fatalities are drivers and their passengers. However, roadway construction is still one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S. The risk of death is seven times higher for road workers than for an average worker.

The single biggest factor in crashes is driver inattention; that's why orange cones, variable message signs and other tools are used to alert motorists. The other major contributing factor is speed. If drivers obey posted speeds in work zones, safety increases for everyone.

What is ODOT doing?

"Our message to Oregonians has always been when you drive dangerously through a work zone you're not just putting the lives of highway workers at risk – you're risking your own life, and the lives of your loved ones," said Matt Garrett, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation.  "Continued diligence on the part of the drivers, the construction and transportation industry and law enforcement contributed to increased safety in the work zones over the last decade, but we cannot become complacent. We need to look for new ways to increase safety through education, engineering, enforcement and emergency medical services."

Current actions include–

  • Administering approximately $3.8 million in federal funds for special work zone traffic patrols.  Part of these funds are also used for public information and education.
  • Using rigid barrier systems in work zones, when practical, to separate work areas from traffic.
  • Closing road segments to traffic to reduce exposure to workers and drivers, and expedite project
  • New safety devices added to ODOT's Traffic Control Plan "Toolbox" including:
    • Portable transverse rumble strips as a tactile alternative to warn drivers.
    • Radar speed feedback trailers to help control traffic speeds.
    • Real-time "smart work zone" traffic management systems to warn drivers of constantly changing work zone conditions.
    • Pedestrian channelizing devices to keep pedestrians out of work areas.
    • Increased reflectivity standards for worker personal protective equipment.
  • Communicating with Oregonians using memorable campaigns, such as "Give 'Em a Brake," "Respect the Cone Zone, Better Roads Ahead" and "Fines Double 24/7 Workers or Not" and include print, Internet, radio and television spots in the campaign.
  • Continually reviewing projects, policies, procedures, training, contract specifications and evaluations, as well as legislative and educational efforts, and developing new measures to improve safety.

"This year we're also asking our external and internal project teams to look for opportunities to try some different types of safety enhancements on ODOT projects," said Troy E. Costales, ODOT Transportation Safety Division administrator. "We'll evaluate the effectiveness of these solutions and share lessons learned and best practices."

How can you get involved?

Over the next several months, we'll examine different aspects of work zone safety taking a fresh look at issues and solutions through a series of articles. You are welcome to share these articles with a wider
audience through newsletters, email blasts or other means. The articles will be posted on the ODOT website and sent out via an electronic mailing list. If you aren't already subscribed, you can subscribe using this link.

We all travel through work zones. The simplest things drivers can do to improve safety is to obey posted
speeds and to "be alert." Ask your family, friends and coworkers to show their support for work zone
safety by traveling carefully and slowly through work zones. Find tips and resources to share on
ODOT's Work Zone Safety web page.

We appreciate your support and partnership and look forward to working with you. Together, we are making a difference. You are a huge part of our success.

Reprinted with permission

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Signs and Pavement Markings that Meet the Needs of the Driver

Paul Carlson, Ph.D., P.E.,
Research Engineer, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas;
Cathy Satterfield, P.E.,
Safety Engineer, Office of Safety, FHWA, Matteson, Il; presenters, 2013 APWA Congress 

Nighttime driving is statistically more risky than daytime driving-the nighttime crash rate is about three times higher than the daytime crash rate. While many factors are at play during nighttime conditions, drivers generally acknowledge that their nighttime visibility of the roadway and roadside is significantly reduced compared to their daytime visibility. Traffic signs and pavement markings are made with  retroreflective materials to help increase their visibility during nighttime conditions. Retroreflective materials are unique in that they shine headlamp light back toward the driver.

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) requires most signs and pavement markings to be Retroreflective but until recently, it did not provide guidance or define how retroreflective signs and pavement markings should appear to meet the needs of the nighttime driver. As a way to increase nighttime safety, the MUTCD was revised in January 2008 to include minimum retroreflectivity maintenance levels for traffic signs to help ensure that nighttime drivers can see and read the signs in time to react safely. Agencies had until June 13, 2014 to identify and use one of the sign retroreflectivity management methods listed in the MUTCD to maintain regulatory and warning sign retroreflectivity at or above the minimum retroreflectivity levels in Table 2A-3 of the MUTCD. Agencies are expected to add signs other than regulatory or warning to their method as resources allow.

The new MUTCD minimum sign retroreflectivity levels were based on the nighttime needs of older drivers to see and read traffic signs. As a result, the minimum criteria provide guidance for agencies to ensure  that their signs are adequately bright enough for all drivers at night. In addition, Table 2A-3 restricts the use of some retroreflective sheeting materials for signs because even when new and un-weathered, those materials do not meet the nighttime needs of older drivers.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is now working on developing minimum retroreflectivity levels for pavement markings. As the FHWA moves forward on their pavement marking efforts, their supporting research has produced new safety- related findings regarding pavement markings.

In January 2013, research was presented at the Transportation Research Board's Annual Meeting that included statistical correlations between pavement marking retroreflectivity and safety. Previous research on this topic had provided mixed results and sometimes counterintuitive findings. Using data from Michigan, the researchers evaluated relationships between crashes and longitudinal pavement marking retroreflectivity.

The retroreflectivity data consisted of pavement markings measurements representing white edge lines, white lane lines, yellow edge lines, and yellow center lines.

The data included crashes and retroreflectivity measurements from 2002 to 2008. Only nighttime crashes that occurred at non-intersection and non-interchange segments during the non-winter months (between April and October) were considered (wet crashes were also excluded).  While statistically significant findings were identified for both rural two-lane highways and freeways, a specific example of the findings for edge lines on rural two-lane highways demonstrates that nighttime and single vehicle nighttime  crashes can be reduced by 9.5 percent when the edge line retroreflectivity is increased by 100 mcd/m2/lx. The findings for centerline pavement marking retroreflectivity showed that as the retroreflectivity  decreases to 150 mcd/m2/lx and less, the effects in terms of nighttime crashes become statistically significant.

Not only does the retroreflectivity of the pavement markings appear to be linked to safety, but so does the width of the pavement markings.

Recent research results from an FHWA-funded study performed by TTl show that wider edge lines on rural two-lane highways are a cost-effective, statistically-sound approach to reducing run-off-the-road crashes and fatalities. Overall, the findings demonstrated that wider edge lines on rural two-lane highways can reduce non-winter, non-intersection/non-interchange runoff-the-road crashes 15%-30%. Interestingly, findings from these analysis do not support the use of wider-edge line pavement markings for multilane highways.

Wider edge lines are an effective countermeasure in their own right and can also be considered in  combination with other countermeasures such as rumble strips. Ongoing research at TTl is starting to identify how wider edge lines and rumble strips mitigate different crash types. While rumble strips address crashes where the driver is distracted, drowsy, or otherwise inattentive and can be effective even when obscured by snow or rain, wider edge lines seem to be most effective where the driver is looking at the roadway/striping, or where the driver's peripheral vision is picking up the marking.

Traffic safety professionals continue to improve the signs and pavement markings on our nation's highway to provide a safer and more comfortable driving experience. As research findings continue
to better define the relationships between nighttime visibility and roadway safety, agencies can develop specifications and practices to ensure adequate visibility for nighttime drivers.

This article originally was seen in the Missouri LTAP Fall 2013 newsletter. Reprinted with permission.

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Can You Spot What's Wrong with this Picture?




See Answer to What's Wrong with This Picture to find out!

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Every Day Counts Innovations

A series of fall summits gave more than 1,000 professionals at the front lines of highway project delivery the opportunity to mull over the latest round of Every Day Counts innovations to shorten project delivery. Each day-and-a-half event—held in California, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island and Texas—featured sessions on the innovative project delivery strategies the Federal Highway Administration announced last summer. Four are new:

  • Strategies for locally administered Federal-Aid projects are designed to help local public agencies navigate the complexities of the Federal-Aid Highway Program.
  • Three-dimensional modeling technology allows for faster, more accurate and more efficient planning and construction.
  • Intelligent compaction uses special vibratory rollers and GPS technology to improve the quality, uniformity and performance of pavements.
  • The use of alternative technical concepts enables contractors to propose innovative options on projects that are equal to or better than the state’s criteria.

Other strategies are continued from the first round of Every Day Counts that began in 2010, including programmatic agreements, design-build and construction manager-general contractor project delivery methods, and accelerated bridge construction techniques. Sessions also covered environmental provisions of the new Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.

Some innovations in the second round of Every Day Counts—including high-friction surface treatments, geometric intersection and interchange designs, and geospatial data collaboration—will be covered in a series of virtual summits in spring 2013.

Tailored to State Needs

At the fall summits, FHWA sought feedback from participants on proposed strategies to implement the Every Day Counts innovations so the expert teams the agency has formed to spearhead deployment could adapt their strategies to state needs. Participants also met in state caucuses to come up with preliminary recommendations on which innovations to incorporate into their highway programs over the next two years. They took those suggestions back to their state agency colleagues to develop their own plans.

The state-based approach is at the heart of Every Day Counts, FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez told summit participants in Baltimore, Md. "This is about tailoring Every Day Counts to the needs, laws and regulations of each state," he said.

The summits are an important part of the process because they foster ownership of the goal to improve project delivery, Mendez said, but the ultimate goal goes beyond deploying new technologies.

"We have a much more ambitious goal, which is to change the culture of the transportation community to one that embraces innovation as the standard way of doing business," he said.

"We’ve committed ourselves to a course that will benefit the American taxpayer. Every Day Counts is about fulfilling our mission in a better, smarter, faster way."

First-Round Results

FHWA launched Every Day Counts in 2010 to deploy innovations that shorten project delivery, enhance roadway safety and improve environmental sustainability. Every state has applied one or more of the 16 first round initiatives, and many are now widely used, FHWA Deputy Administrator Gregory Nadeau told Baltimore summit participants.

One is the Safety EdgeSM, a paving technique that tapers the roadway edge to allow drivers who drift off highways to return safely. Since October 2010, more than 40 states have used the technique on more than 774 projects. The Virginia Department of Transportation has completed two pilot projects and developed a draft specification, said Dr. Jose Gomez, director of the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research.

Other initiatives have also generated significant results:

  • Forty-five states now have specifications or contractual language that allows the use of warm-mix asphalt, which can be produced and placed on the road at lower temperatures than conventional hot-mix asphalt, reducing fuel use and extending the paving season. The Delaware Department of Transportation plans to use it on all asphalt paving jobs by 2015, Rusty Lee, director of the Delaware Local Technical Assistance Program, reported at the Baltimore summit.
  • Eighty-five bridges have been built using the geosynthetic reinforced soil integrated bridge system. GRS-IBS technology not only accelerates bridge construction, it can lower costs and improve durability.
  • Forty-four transportation agencies are in various stages of implementing adaptive signal control technology at 64 locations. This technology automatically adjusts when green lights start and end, promoting smooth traffic flow and easing congestion. In West Virginia, a system was installed in Morgantown to ease congestion in the West Virginia University area, said Marvin Murphy, state highway engineer.
  • Prefabricated bridge elements and systems— which reduce onsite construction time, minimize traffic  disruption and improve work zone safety— have been used on 675 bridges.
  • Thirty-eight states have at least two active programmatic agreements, which establish streamlined approaches to handling environmental requirements on projects. A total of 103 agreements have been updated and 55 have been initiated under Every Day Counts. The District Department of Transportation uses them on 50 projects a year, said Ronaldo Nicholson, the agency’s chief engineer.
  • Twenty-six states have active agreements for stream and wetland mitigation banking programs, which provide an efficient way to minimize resource requirements and expedite project delivery.
  • Design-build contracting, an accelerated project delivery method that combines the design and  construction phases in one contract, has been used on 196 projects. The North Carolina Department of Transportation used it to replace seven bridges in 74 days on Ocracoke Island, said Debbie Barbour, the agency’s director of preconstruction.
  • Twenty projects have used the construction manager-general contractor process over the past  three years, and 25 projects are planned over the next two years. CM-GC accelerates project delivery by involving the contractor early in the project.


As FHWA works with state agencies to implement the second round of initiatives, it will continue to monitor deployment of the first-round innovations and measure them for long-term effectiveness, Nadeau said. "We’ll build on those achievements in our round two initiatives to continue creating a culture of innovation," he said.

For more information on Every Day Counts, go to www.fhwa.dot.gov/everydaycounts/index.cfm. To view a summit video, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is_21-8rTEg&feature=youtu.be or scan the QR code with your mobile device.

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Roads Scholar Graduates





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Circuit Rider Corner

By Bob Raths

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, distracted driving is “… a specific type of inattention that occurs when drivers divert  their attention away from the driving task to focus on another activity.” It’s not just texting or making calls on a cell phone; it is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention and puts that driver, and their passengers, and everyone else sharing the road at serious risk.

A partial list of what counts as a distraction would include things such as using a cell phone or smart phone, including texting, eating and drinking, smoking, attending to or disciplining child passengers, grooming, reading, including maps, using a navigation system, watching a video, adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player or adjusting temperature controls.

Traffic safety experts classify distractions into three main types: Visual, manual and cognitive.

Visual distraction: Tasks that require the driver to look away from the roadway to visually obtain information. Checking on a child in the back seat is an example of a visual distraction.

Manual distraction: Tasks that require the driver to take a hand off of the steering wheel and
manipulate a device. Reaching for your coffee or adjusting your music are both examples of manual

Cognitive distraction: Tasks that require the driver to avert their mental attention away from the driving task. Daydreaming or thinking about what you are going to say or what you just talked about are examples of cognitive distraction.

Driver distraction has been shown to be a contributing factor for many crashes. Most crashes involve a relatively unique set of circumstances that make it difficult to determine the exact risk of engaging in different behaviors and thus available research does not provide a definitive answer to the degree of risk of engaging in common activities.  All reliable studies do, however, show an elevated risk and poor driving performance when the driver is distracted and any distraction increases your chance of a crash.

Federal guidelines recently published by NHTSA include the following diagram that gives some idea of the relative crash risk involved with some common distracting activities:

The sources of the data are a NHTSA funded research study pertaining to passenger cars and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) funded research involving commercial trucks. The data from  these studies and subsequent analysis of the studies shows that most distracted driving activities  increase your crash risk above that of normal non-distracted driving. Driver inattention is a key  contributing factor in crashes for both trucks and light vehicles and the largest single contributing factor is looking away from the roadway just prior to an unexpected event or condition. The tasks with the highest crash risk are those that require multiple glances away from the road. One in particular, text messaging, is at the upper end of the risk scale. Texting is especially dangerous since it involves all three types of distraction at the same time.

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Extend Your Roadway Network with Asphalt Pavement In-Place Recycling Techniques

Learn about a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional asphalt pavement rehabilitation practices with a new course available from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) National Highway Institute (NHI), Asphalt Pavement In-Place Recycling Techniques (Course No. FHWA-NHI-131050).

“FHWA supports in-place recycling as a viable option for extending the Nation’s transportation network,” said Lee Gallivan of FHWA.

Developed in partnership with the Asphalt Recycling and Reclaiming Association, the course examines three principal recycling techniques: hot in-place, cold in-place, and full depth reclamation. Participants will learn how to select the appropriate technique for a given set of conditions, including different traffic levels, pavement conditions, and environments; choose project materials; develop suitable specifications; and construct projects effectively, including how to address issues that may impact a project’s constructability.

The course combines two Web-based training modules with 2 days of classroom training. The Web-based lessons introduce pavement evaluation techniques and the three potential recycling techniques, along with the types of equipment commonly used for each. Classroom sessions focus on project and technique selection and justification, materials consideration and mix design, construction specifications, and project control considerations during construction.

The target audience is State and local transportation agency engineers, particularly those staff responsible for selecting and designing asphalt in-place recycling projects, writing effective specifications,  for inspecting in-place recycling projects during construction. Contractors, consulting engineers, and  industry representatives can also benefit from the course.

For additional information or to schedule the course in your State, visit www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov. There are many free options for NHI trainings. The cost for this on-site course is $400 per participant, with a minimum class size of 20 and a maximum of 30. To learn more about the course content, contact Lee Gallivan at FHWA, 317-226-7493 (email: victor.gallivan@dot.gov). For information on FHWA’s Recycling Policy, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/policy/recmatpolicy.htm.

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Calendar of Events and Trainings

ODOT        http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TECHSERV/upcomingengtrng.shtml
June 5
2014 Understanding Bridge Inspection Reports
Oregon State University (OSU)                        http://cce.oregonstate.edu/node/216
June 10-12
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
June 17-18
Highway Safety Manual
Oregon American Public Works Association (APWA) http://www.oregonapwa.org/training/index.htm
Oct 14-17
Fall Chapter Conference
Oct 28-30
Fall Street Maintenance & Collection System School
Nov 18-21
NWPWI Public Works Leadership
Cannon Beach
Dec 9-12
NWPWI Public Works Essentials
American Public Works Association (APWA)              http://www2.apwa.net/events/
June 12
Fluoride in Your Drinking Water
Free Webinar
Aug 7
Project Delivery for the 21st Century
Free Webinar
Oregon T2 Center                                     http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TP_T2/
Oct 28
RS-7 Effective Communication Skills
Oct 30
RS-8 Environmental BMPs 2
A full list of training classes offered by the T2 Center is available on-line at the above website under the "Training Programs" heading. To schedule any of the "Circuit Rider" classes, please contact Tasha Martinez at 503-986-2855. Additional information on training sponsored by the T2 Center is available at our website under the "Training Programs" and "Training Calendar" headings.
Roads Scholar Level 1 Classes

The Spring Roads Scholar schedule of RS-9 Maintenance Mathematics and RS-10 Introduction to Survey and Grade Checking have been offered at host locations on the west side of the state.  Class locations and registration is available at http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TP_T2/pages/roadsscholarclassschedule.aspx. 
Watch for Central and East offerings of RS-9 and RS-10 coming this fall!
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Answer to What's Wrong with This Picture

To be effective, the flagger needs to be visible, with out surrounding distractions.

  • This flagger is standing near another worker.
  • The flagger is too close to the vehicle and to the shift sign. The flashing lights could be a distraction, also.
  • The pickup should be moved off the road in the wide area just behind it.
  • The flagger should move to a spot at least 100’ from the pickup.
  • The flagger should stand alone, not with other workers to improve visibility and have a good escape route, if needed. 
  • If a drive through inspection determines that the sign and lights are a distraction, then steps should be taken to cover the sign and turn off the lights.

The 2011 Oregon Temporary Traffic Control Handbook has a list of flagger station practices listed on page 25. They would make a good safety meeting topic.

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Upcoming Event

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Oregon T2 Center Steering Committee

The Technology Transfer Center Steering Committee members listed below help guide and direct the policies and activities of the Oregon Technology Transfer (T2) Center. You are invited to contact any of them to comment, make suggestions or ask questions about any aspect of the T2 Program.

​​Bruce Hildebrandt, Chair
Street Supervisor
City of Salem

​Evelyn Pech, Vice Chair
Operations Supervisor
Marion County

​Jim Buisman
Public Works Director
Lincoln County

​Larry Beskow
City Engineer
City of Medford

​Gerald Russell
Staff Engineer
Bureau of Land Mgmt, Portland

Garry Black
Operations Supervisor
City of Philomath

​Terry Learfield
Road Maintenance Supervisor
Clackamas County

City or Tribal Committee Member

​Liane Welch
Public Works Director
Tillamook County

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T2 Statement of Purpose

The center is jointly sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the counties and cities of Oregon, and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). FHWA funds are provided through the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP).

The purpose of the Oregon T2 Center is to help local transportation agencies obtain information and training on transportation technology relating to roads, bridges and public transportation. To accomplish this purpose, we:

  • provide low-cost seminars, training classes and workshops;
  • publish a quarterly newsletter;
  • provide a “Circuit Rider” service, taking video programs and informational materials to local agencies;
  • provide a lending library service of audio/visual programs on a variety of transportation topics;
  • provide copies of technical bulletins or reports upon request; and
  • respond to telephone and mail inquires relating to transportation technology or make a referral to a specialist.
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About Oregon Roads Newsletter

Oregon Roads is a quarterly publication of the Oregon Technology Transfer (T2)Center, furnishing information on transportation technology to local agencies. It is distributed free of charge to cities, counties, tribal governments, road districts, and others having transportation responsibilities. The opinions, findings or recommendations expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Oregon Department of Transportation or Federal Highway Administration. We do not endorse products or manufacturers. Where names of either appear, it is only to lend clarity or completeness to the article. Space limitations and other considerations prohibit us from providing an advertising service to our readership.

Rebekah Jacobson, T2 Director
Tasha Martinez, T2 Program Coordinator
Bob Raths, T2 Trainer
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