AASHTO Journal, 12 April 2013
What new products coming from research conducted under the second Strategic Highway Research Program will offer the most value to states as they address key challenges in the years ahead? That was the question posed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials when it recently surveyed its committee membership, representing the state departments of transportation. The survey asked participants to rank 40 possible SHRP2 products, including those already in the third year of the current Implementation Plan, as well as new products emerging from SHRP2 research.
The top-ranked product was a suite of technologies to enhance quality control on asphalt pavements (R06C). Right behind it were two reliability products – an e-learning tool to expand training options for a new traffic incident management curriculum (L32B), and a tool and guide to designing, operating, and maintaining programs that monitor travel-time reliability (L02).
AASHTO is part of the team charged with implementing the products from SHRP2, alongside the Federal Highway Administration and the Transportation Research Board. This survey was used by AASHTO’s Implementation Task Force at its March 28-29 meeting in which its members reviewed, ranked, and recommended which products should be funded and implemented by AASHTO and the Federal Highway Administration in the next few years.
In a related video recently posted to AASHTO’s SHRP2 website, Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle, who is chairman of both the AASHTO Task Force and the SHRP2 Implementation Advisory Committee, said the Task Force is now working to develop an overall recommendation for products that should be included in the next phase of implementation.
“What the members of the Task Force are doing is putting together an AASHTO recommendation,” Steudle said. “We can then work very closely with the Federal Highway Administration to come up with a joint recommendation to take to the SHRP2 oversight committee in June.” Steudle also said the oversight committee provides the overall contracting authority for all of SHRP2 activities.
To ensure a successful program, Steudle stressed that it is important that those SHRP2 products with the highest potential for benefit to the states be prioritized for implementation first. The products in the survey were grouped by three focus areas – capacity, renewal, and reliability. The safety focus area was handled in a separate survey.
More details on the survey, how each committee voted on the products, and the total rankings can be found at SHRP2.transportation.org.