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ATSSA Announces Traffic Control Device Challenge

National contest challenges transportation and engineering students to enhance roadway safety

Fredericksburg, Va. (August 1, 2017) – The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) has announced the second annual “Traffic Control Device Challenge,” which offers its winners cash prizes and national media recognition for their progressive ideas.

In partnership with the Transportation Research Board (TRB), ATSSA is asking engineering students to focus on how America’s roadway system can be made safer – through innovation – to accommodate road users of all types. 

During the first year of the contest, students from Pennsylvania State University, New Mexico State University and the University of Arizona also had the opportunity to display their ideas to the roadway safety industry during ATSSA’s Annual Convention and Traffic Expo in Phoenix, Arizona.

“For the second annual competition, we are seeking three new finalists to carry the torch to the next level of innovation and technology,” said Dr. Paul Carlson, senior research engineer at Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Eligible participants can be high school, community college, college, graduate students, or teams of students who have an interest in transportation infrastructure safety.

Click here to read more...

New app alerts drivers to construction zones

Work Zone App

The University of Minnesota (U of M) Center for Transportation Studies has developed an app that will pair directly with technology in construction areas to alert drivers approaching work zones. 

Click here to read the full article from Roads & Bridges

Trantex NEW 20HDFF does it again!

The 20HDFF was once again put to the test and was incredibly successful.  

This latest challenge involved the removal of 24” CROSSWALK TAPE.  Several attempts were made by various manufacturers with little to no success to date.  The most recent involved a drum style “Grinder” which also fell far short of expectations.  This heat generating Grinder design reactivated the glue which further complicated removal attempts.  It also removed too much asphalt as it attempted to break through the tape.    This customer all but gave up on finding an equipment removal choice.

Enter Trantex:  

20HDFF tape3       20HDFF tape2

The 20HD and the 20HDFF both have become incredible forces in the removal of thermoplastic due to the non-heat generating design.  The Trantex design is also minimally invasive, therefore the surface left behind is virtually unblemished.  Trantex felt the 20HDFF could handle this challenging application due to the innovative design which delivers the above mentioned benefits (no heat generation, fast removal, and non-invasive removal).  The decision was made to demonstrate the 20HDFF which features 48 pins on each of its three cutters.  At the same time, Trantex had no concern that the tape might not break apart, nor have the tape “wind up” into a ball on the underside as others had experienced.  This lack of concern proved out and the 20HDFF’s performance surprised everyone in attendance.  As the cutters rolled, the pins penetrated, and broke apart the tape into smaller manageable pieces.  As we removed we approached the tape from above and from both sides allowing the removed tape fragments to collect dust and aggregate taking the sticky nature away which led to the successful removal.  A drum style cutter does not have this capability.  The 20HDFF was also set to simply penetrate the tape and not the surface so the removal area remained intact and more than ready for the follow-up thermoplastic application.

The Customer:

The customer was having a hard time believing what they were seeing and wanted to personally remove a second and more difficult, tape removal area.  For this removal Trantex placed the 20HDFF in the customer’s hands so they could see how simple and easy it is to get complete removal, yet leave the surface blemish free.  A key benefit to the 20HDFF’s design is that the road surface is not “marked” with a repeated and consistent scarring.  The 20HDFF left no penetration or pattern behind and the removal area still resembled the surrounding road surface.  Once the second removal was completed, these “first time users” they were convinced they found the solution they had been looking for.  This customer was incredibly impressed as were all in attendance.  So much so that they HAD to see the condition of the machine’s underside to see WHAT design handled this application with ease.  They also wanted to see what “mess” had accumulated.  What they saw was NO ACCUMULATION and the underside was perfectly clean with NO build-up whatsoever.

Put the Trantex 20HD family to the test:
If you are unhappy with your current line removal results, rest assured, there is a better way!

    

 

Arlington Community Chosen

Arlington Among Texas Communities Chosen as Testing Grounds for Automated Vehicles

Arlington is among select Texas communities chosen as a national test site for the research and development of self-driving vehicles.

As a test site, Arlington will help the USDOT develop guidelines for automated vehicle technologies. Initial testing will take place on closed research proving grounds, such as the University of Texas at Arlington campus and the Interstate 30 managed lanes.

“Arlington has a history of innovation dating back decades when we first recruited General Motors to bring its assembly plant to our community,” said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams. “We now have a Transportation Committee made up of our residents to push the envelope on technology and innovation to take our City’s transportation plan into the future. That’s why we were so pleased to play a role in the research and testing of Autonomous Vehicles. Technology like this will be the future and signifies great opportunity for transportation.”

Participating in this transportation research aligns with the Arlington City Council Priority to Enhance Regional Mobility.

Arlington has numerous factors that make it an ideal testing site, which include the City’s state-of-the-art Traffic Management Center as well as its Entertainment District, which draws millions of visitors each year to its sports venues, theme parks and Convention Center.

“Arlington offers a comprehensive real-world AV test environment along I-30 in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Arlington’s population of 380,000 is socio-economically diverse and currently underserved by transportation mode choices, providing potential for AV Technologies to act as ladders of opportunity and improve mobility,” the Texas AV Proving Ground Partnership wrote in its bid for the national designation.

The Texas AV Proving Ground Partnership has proposed three testing grounds in Arlington:

UTA: The campus provided an opportunity for deployment of AVs in low-speed and somewhat closed environment. Given the large campus, there are many deployment opportunities, including on-road movement from remote parking areas and off-road movement within the campus.

Streets: Arlington has an extensive street system that can be utilized for AV testing at low to moderate speeds. UTA’s campus is directly adjacent to the downtown urban core, providing a test environment linking campus pathways to local streets. Two long-running shuttle services operate within the Entertainment District to connect area hotels and destinations. They could be readily adapted for AV testing. Streets within the Entertainment District are good candidates for testing during light traffic periods between events, as well as moving large numbers of people during events. As AV technologies are proven, deployment along more city streets offering a wider variety of conditions will be possible.

Highway: Interstate 30 between I-35 in Fort Worth to I-35 in Dallas is a modern multi-lane expressway. It includes a 10-mile, reversible, protected, managed lane facility operated by TxDOT, which can be closed during off-peak hours. Thus, AV testing on I-30 can start in the protected environment of the closed managed lanes, followed by testing in the relatively stable conditions of the managed lanes with regular traffic, and finally, testing in the general purpose lanes.

Automated vehicles aren’t the only type of transportation technology being explored in Arlington. Earlier this month the City of Arlington announced a data-sharing partnership with Waze, the free, real-time crowd-sourced traffic and navigation app powered by the world’s largest community of drivers. Designed as a free, two-way data share of publicly available traffic information, the Connected Citizens Program promotes greater efficiency, deeper insights and safer roads for citizens of Arlington along with more than 100 other partners around the world.

Texas Chosen as Testing Grounds for Automated Vehicles

U.S. Department of Transportation selects Texas as 1 of 10 testing locations for autonomous vehicle technology

AUSTIN – The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has named Texas a national Automated Vehicle (AV) Proving Ground for the testing of connected and automated vehicle technologies. The designation establishes Texas as a leader in the research and development of new transportation technologies that could make roads safer and less congested.

“With five of the nation’s 15 fastest-growing cities in Texas and our population expected to potentially double by the year 2050, Texas must be a leader in new technology that addresses transportation challenges,” said Texas Department of Transportation Deputy Executive Director Marc Williams. “This partnership puts Texas at the forefront of automated vehicle technologies that likely will shape the future of transportation around the world.”

Texas’ booming population and economy make it an ideal test site for automated and connected vehicle technology. This technology is increasingly being developed and tailored to address congestion and increase safety, by reducing human error. It also offers opportunities to improve how people and goods move throughout their communities and the nation at large. Testing it, in different environments and uses, is an important step in assuring these technologies will be safe and reliable.

Texas was one of 10 regions selected from an applicant pool of more than 60. Texas offers a unique statewide capability, starting with existing controlled environments on research campuses such as Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) Campus in San Antonio. Texas’ additional testing environments are available in several municipal and regional areas, and include unique settings such as barrier-separated lanes, medical districts, transit bus corridors and border crossings. These varied and unique test sites will help the USDOT develop guidelines for automated vehicle technologies.

The rapid rate at which this technology is progressing will ultimately require a formal testing plan to be developed and approved by the appropriate state and local agencies, including the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Until then, initial testing will take place on closed research proving grounds.

TxDOT joins the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Transportation Research (CTR), Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and 32 municipal and regional partners to form the Texas AV Proving Grounds Partnership.

Contacts:

Texas A&M Transportation Institute: Dr. Christopher Poe, P.E., Assistant Agency Director, Connected and Automated Vehicle Strategy, cpoe@tamu.edu, (972) 994-2206

The University of Texas at Austin Center for Transportation Research: Dr. Chandra Bhat, Director, Center for Transportation Research, The University of Texas at Austin, bhat@mail.utexas.edu, (512) 471-4535

Southwest Research Institute: Michael Brown, Engineer, Michael.brown@swri.org; (210) 522-3104

Texas Department of Transportation: Becky Ozuna, Media Relations, MediaRelations@txdot.gov or (512) 463-8700.

Bluetooth technology in-vehicle messages in work zones

bluetooth technology

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has released a report with information that examines the effectiveness of using in-vehicle messages to increase drivers' awareness of work zone information in their area.  Click here to read more!

U.S. DOT awards six states grants

The goals of the grants include reducing congestion, improving connections to mass transit and enhancing safety in six states.

Six states will have extra money to expand freight corridors and implement connected vehicle technologies with the help of $56.6 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation announced this week.

Officials in Denver will receive $6 million to enact efficiencies in their freight corridor.

In Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, $6 million will be provided for the deployment of an automated traffic alert system designed to reduce truck congestion, and a system to detect red light violators.

San Francisco will receive nearly $11 million for a connected dynamic tolling system on the Bay Bridge, while Pittsburgh is getting nearly $11 million to improve neighborhood connectivity.

The Texas Department of Transportation will receive nearly $9 million to expand options for commuters, while Marysville, Ohio, and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in New York will receive nearly $6 million and nearly $8 million, respectively, for connected vehicle programs. “These grants will enable cities and rural communities to harness new technologies to tackle hard problems like reducing congestion, connecting people to mass transit, and enhancing safety,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The 2015 highway law established the grants. Transportation leaders on Capitol Hill cheered the announcement on Oct. 13. “Our communities need the tools necessary to prepare for a future where connected infrastructure and autonomous vehicles alter and improve the flow of traffic on existing roadways,” said Reps. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman and ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.


NTSB Recommends Additions to MUTCD

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated an end-of-queue work-zone crash that occurred in Tennessee in June 2015. They conducted a hearing on October 4, 2016, to discuss their findings and will publish their final report sometime in November. 

NTSB did issue a synopsis of the report, entitled “Multivehicle Work Zone Crash on Interstate 75, Chattanooga, Tennessee, June 25, 2015."

On June 25, 2015, the driver of a truck and semi-trailer failed to respond to an end-of-queue traffic slow-down on Interstate 75N in Chattanooga. Traffic was slowing because of a work zone with a lane closure on I-75N near Mile Marker 11.7 just north of US 64. 

The truck driver apparently did not see the slowing traffic and building queue. He did not attempt to maneuver away from the queue, nor did he apply emergency brakes. NTSB reports that the lack of driver response was “likely associated with fatigue and methamphetamine use.” 

The driver had been on the road just under 14 hours with his destination, London, Ky., another 3 hours up the road. The report does not state whether the driver had planned to complete his trip. The report does add that the driver did not take required rest breaks and was likely fatigued, which reduced his driving performance. 

As damaging, if not more damaging, NTSB reports that “the truck driver had used methamphetamine prior to the crash, and its effects degraded his driving performance.” 

NTSB ruled out other factors that could contribute to a work-zone crash. They ruled out the mechanical condition of the vehicles, weather or visibility, use of alcohol or medical conditions, and driver distractions. 

The truck driver, his performance reduced by drugs and fatigue, nevertheless traveled at speeds of 78-82 mph through the work zone. Drugs, fatigue and speed were all factors that contributed to the moment when the truck driver hit the rear of a Toyota Prius “at high impact speed” at the end of the queue. 

Still moving, the truck driver hit 7 more vehicles. By the time he had stopped moving, he had killed 6 people, two of them children, while injuring four more. 

NTSB determined that the probable cause of the crash was “the driver’s failure to respond to the slow-moving traffic within a work zone because of performance decrements likely associated with his fatigue and methamphetamine use…[c]ontributing to the severity of the crash was the truck-tractor’s high-impact speed.” 

NTSB identified significant safety issues from this crash such as limitations in drug testing programs, inadequacies of driver license records and incomplete employment background checks. They then made new recommendations to address those issues. 

NTSB also mentioned another significant safety issue. They noted that while trucks are involved in 11.4% of all fatal crashes, they contribute to 30.1% of work-zone fatal crashes. NTSB cited speed, distraction and impairment as causes. 

In their conclusions, NTSB noted that the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) had followed the requirements of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) in setting up the I-75 work zone. 

As such, in this report, NTSB reiterated a previous recommendation that FHWA provide further guidance in the MUTCD:

“Amend the [MUTCD] “Guidance” for work zone projects on freeways and expressways to advise traffic engineers on the use of supplemental traffic control strategies and devices to mitigate crash events involving heavy commercial vehicles.” 

This is a repeat of a recommendation first made in Report HAR-15/02, dated August 11, 2015. That report, “Multivehicle Work Zone Crash on Interstate 95 Cranbury, New Jersey June 7, 2014,” contains the NTSB investigation of a similar, end-of-queue work-zone crash. This truck driver, diminished by fatigue, killed 1 and injured 9 more. 

In the New Jersey report, NTSB provided specific examples of the amended guidance that FHWA should consider adding to the MUTCD:

“(1) traffic conditions that call for supplemental devices in addition to the MUTCD “Standard;”

(2) the length of advance warning areas and the use of rumble strips in these areas;

(3) traffic control devices particular to speed control; and

(4) other proactive measures to monitor and warn motorists of traffic backing up within the work zone.”

 Specifying the use of rumble strips in the second item, NTSB refers to a Temporary Portable Rumble Strip (TPRS). NTSB mentions this type of rumble strip in footnote 82 on page 40 of the New Jersey Report. The footnote references the use of TPRS in end-of-queue warning systems in Texas. 

RoadQuake TPRS, is the only TPRS approved in Texas. RoadQuake rumble strips have been used as part of end-of-queue warning systems deployed by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). 

Results of the deployment of the warning system are impressive: rear-end crashes show a reduction from 18% to 45%, while savings in societal costs ranged from $6,600 to $10,000 for every night deployed. 

The end-of-queue accidents in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Cranbury, N.J., were especially egregious. From the NTSB investigations, it is reasonable to believe both could have been prevented. 


TXDOT END-OF-QUEUE WARNING SYSTEM FEATURES TWO RUMBLE STRIP ARRAYS


Centerline offers a wide variety of Traffic Calming Products
U.S. driving up 3.3% in first half of 2016

traffic light

FHWA's 'Traffic Volume Trends' report shows gains in nearly every state

New data released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that U.S. driving reached 1.58 trillion miles in the first six months of 2016, beating the previous record of 1.54 trillion miles set last year.

The new data, published in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report—a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel—show that more than 282.3 billion miles were driven in June 2016 alone, which is a slight increase over the previous June. The increase in driving highlights the growing demands facing the nation’s roads and reaffirms the importance of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which is investing $305 billion in America’s surface transportation infrastructure—including $226 billion for roads and bridges—until 2020.

In June, U.S. drivers increased total mileage among all five regions of the United States. At 4.1%, traffic in the West led the nation with the largest percentage increase in unadjusted vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and continued a streak of consecutive monthly increases that began in October 2013.

centerline logosupplies a wide variety of traffic and safety products.

With traffic volumes increasing steadily, Centerline can cover all your needs!

 

Smart Safety

ITS in work zones continues to grow

Intelligent tranITS Work Zonessportation systems, or ITS. It’s been around for years,   but only recently has it seen an upward surge in life-saving     applications all over the country. There’s still not much that can be done to warn a motorist of a crossing jackrabbit on a desert highway, but technology does exist today that can inform the motorist when he or she is approaching a hazard or a flagger, or when there is a backup of vehicles ahead that is merging down to one lane into a work zone. 

The beauty of these unattended systems is they’re providing motorists with vital information automatically, in real-time with no help from a human operator. It’s information based on vehicles present—or not present. No vehicles = no message. If a queue is developing, everyone approaching will know it by a warning flash on a portable message sign. As a result, motorists take the necessary precautions to proceed slowly, or slow to a safe stop.

ITS systems have shown they can reduce or completely eliminate rear-end collisions by reducing queuing, congestion and confusion by giving motorists information far upstream, away from the actual work. More advanced systems also can give motorists travel times to the minute and other information, which undoubtedly relieves frustration and uncertainty when traveling. They can even inform motorists to take an alternate ramp or route when there’s trouble or a delay ahead. 

Systemic application

In terms of performance measures, the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) website reports that state transportation officials have developed numerous methods to measure and monitor work-zone performance, and also have implemented web-based resources to inform the public about the performance of roadway projects and the transportation system as a whole. Several examples are posted on their website.

The FHWA Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program contains a checklist of five possible factors for assessing the feasibility of work-zone ITS. A score of 30 or greater on the checklist means, “ITS is likely to provide significant benefits relative to costs for procurement.” Federal funding for ITS projects also may be available through the FHWA’s State Transportation Innovation Councils (STIC) Incentive Program or through Accelerated Innovation Deployment grants under FHWA’s Every Day Counts program. 

Fixed or more permanent ITS systems also are in place at many locations across the country, saving lives and routinely helping to ease congestion and speed mobility through troubled areas. 

There is a system which uses a variety of devices that provide road conditions far enough “upstream” in the work zone to allow motorists to take action or make alternative travel decisions if the delay is going to be significant. 

The system utilizes multiple sensors that capture, by individual lane, vehicle speeds, volumes and classifications, then compile all of that information into a package that informs motorists of hazards or delays that lie ahead on the roadway. 

The system also can be deployed in small, short-term temporary projects, or installed as part of large permanent system in places such as Boston’s busy roadway and tunnel system.

A portable radar sensor is mounted on portable sign stands, utilizes software that analyzes traffic data and provides real-time information to the motoring public, DOT project managers, agencies, traffic management centers and public websites. 

The roadway safety industry has permanent or portable ITS systems that do so much, save so many lives, prevent collisions and now have the data to support their success. So one might ask, “Why isn’t ITS everywhere?” 

Thanks in large part to TTI’s recent report, and to the proven success of existing ITS applications across the country, if it hasn’t happened already, hopefully ITS will be coming soon to a roadway near you. 

The beauty of these unattended systems is they’re providing motorists with vital information automatically, in real-time with no help from a human operator. It’s information based on vehicles present—or not present. No vehicles = no message. If a queue is developing, everyone approaching will know it by a warning flash on a portable message sign. As a result, motorists take the necessary precautions to proceed slowly, or slow to a safe stop.

ITS systems have shown they can reduce or completely eliminate rear-end collisions by reducing queuing, congestion and confusion by giving motorists information far upstream, away from the actual work. More advanced systems also can give motorists travel times to the minute and other information, which undoubtedly relieves frustration and uncertainty when traveling. They can even inform motorists to take an alternate ramp or route when there’s trouble or a delay ahead. 

Centerline stocks several Variable Message Boards. Visit the traffic control section of our website.