AASHTO Journal, 21 November 2012
Various products emerging from the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) are proving beneficial to state transportation departments, concluded a panel of speakers at a SHRP2 track session at the AASHTO Annual Meeting Sunday.
The session, “SHRP2 is Your New BFF: Better, Faster, Finally!,” highlighted three piloted SHRP2 products and the benefits they brought to their corresponding states. Moderated by AASHTO SHRP2 Implementation Manager Pam Hutton, the session allowed attendees to see why each product was chosen and the results each had on their pilot states.
James Nelson of Iowa Department of Transportation discussed his state’s use of an accelerated bridge construction method to complete its U.S. 6 Keg Creek Bridge replacement project. The Bridge Designs for Rapid Construction SHRP2 product was attractive to Iowa DOT for this particular bridge due to the long detour that existed for commuters while the bridge was being replaced, the small size of the bridge, and the window of construction time. Due to this innovative method, Iowa DOT was able to complete the bridge in just weeks, or a tenth of the time typical for that size bridge replacement.
“This was a great opportunity for us to test this type of replacement,” Nelson said. “We were very happy with the results and it was a great overall experience for Iowa DOT.”
John Philpot, Captain of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, discussed a training program aimed at helping incident responders minimize secondary traffic collisions. This SHRP2 product, which includes a variety of new training options to advance National Traffic Incident Management, focuses on quickly removing traffic accidents from roadways in order to cut down on secondary collisions, which become more problematic the longer the primary accident vehicles remain on the roadway.
“Due to the pilot program, we are seeing major decreases in the number of secondary accidents,” Philpot said. “While there are other factors contributing to this drop, such as the introduction of some move over laws, this program has been very beneficial to us.”
The last presenter was Kristin Schuster, operations environmental engineer at the Michigan Department of Transportation, who spoke of the success of SHRP2’s Integrating Ecological Framework, a program to help planners integrate ecological priorities and make timely decisions about transportation capacity enhancements and other system investments at the pre-NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) planning stage.
“The program is easy, more practical, and a management priority, which means it can be widely implemented,” Schuster said.
These products are just three of 19 SHRP2 solutions that will be available to state and local transportation agencies in the next few years. A series of webinars will be held to describe the SHRP2 products in more detail. The AASHTO Journal will be sure to announce those webinars once additional information is available.
More information on SHRP2 is available at SHRP2.transportation.org.