Every Day Counts: FHWA Launches New Round of Innovation Deployment

AASHTO Journal, 29 August 2014

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The Federal Highway Administration this week unveiled the latest round of Every Day Counts technologies that it hopes will accelerate mainstream use of innovations that will benefit the nation’s transportation system.

“These are market-ready technologies and practices that can help the transportation community shorten the project delivery process, enhance roadway safety and improve environmental sustainability,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau in a statement. “They align with our priority of maximizing efficiency to further stretch transportation dollars.”

Over the next two years, FHWA will work with transportation agencies and their partners to deploy the 11 Every Day Counts innovations that range from efficient electronic tools and easy-to-build bridges to time-saving planning techniques and congestion-cutting work zones.

“State departments of transportation look forward to working with FHWA to put the latest round of EDC technologies to work around the country,” said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. “AASHTO’s members fully embrace the expectation that transportation agencies need to streamline and innovate to make the most out of the public’s investment in our local, state and national transportation systems.”

Six innovations focus on shortening project delivery:

  • Regional models of cooperation help state agencies and regional groups coordinate transportation planning across jurisdictional boundaries to cut project delivery times and traffic congestion.
  • Stakeholder partnering committees bring local, state and federal agency representatives together to streamline processes for administering local projects under the Federal-Aid Highway Program.
  • Agencies can expand their use of 3-D engineered models by adding schedule and cost information to 3-D models and using data to optimize roadway inventory and asset management processes.
  • Improving transportation department and railroad coordination, a Strategic Highway Research Program 2 priority, offers tools to help agencies and railroads streamline development of highway projects involving railroad rights-of-way.
  • Geosynthetic reinforced soil integrated bridge systems, which use layers of compacted granular fill and sheets of geotextile reinforcement to provide support for a bridge, are cost-effective and easy to build.
  • An electronic project document management system—or e-construction—replaces paper with technology tools to improve workflow and save time and money.

Five innovations enhance mobility, safety, quality and environmental sustainability:

  • The smarter work zone effort focuses on construction project planning and traffic control techniques to minimize travel delays, ensure safety and save time.
  • Data-driven safety analysis uses new approaches to making safety investment decisions: predictive to estimate a road’s safety performance and systemic to find and fix crash-related features throughout a roadway system.
  • Roadway reconfiguration, or a road diet, cuts crashes and improves mobility by converting a four-lane undivided highway to a three-lane road with two through lanes and a left-turn lane in the middle.
  • Ultra-high-performance concrete connections—much stronger and more durable than traditional concrete—offer a simple, robust solution to assembling prefabricated bridge components at a construction site.
  • The e-NEPA online tool allows agencies to share project documents required under the National Environmental Policy Act, reducing workloads while saving time and money.

Since 2010, Every Day Counts has been FHWA’s vehicle to work with transportation stakeholders to spread innovation use. As a result, innovations such as accelerated bridge construction methods and energy-saving warm-mix asphalt are now mainstream practices in many states.

For more information on Every Day Counts, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/everydaycounts.

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