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Quantification of System Sensitivity and Probability of Detection (POD)

Track and Structures - FRA


Determine the sensitivity (probability of detection) of various inspection methods and technologies

ID: 9436

Integration of Innovative Sensing Technology and Data Analytics in Transportation Asset Management

University Transportation Centers - OST

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute - USD300,000.00


Transportation asset management is an important tool to maintaining good physical status, quality service and trustworthy safety of infrastructure. Timely repair, rehabilitation, and preventive maintenance are critically important to maintaining such quality status and service, and prolonging service life at reduced costs. Infrastructure (bridges and pavements) degradation is a non-linear process and critical points where degradation rates change are important in decision making on rehabilitation. Nevertheless, it is challenging to predict the time of occurrence of such critical points. A number of modeling methods or models have been developed and yet the accuracy is very limited. Without reliable performance models, maintenance scheduling and life cycle cost assessments are not reliable and essentially just a mathematics manipulation. The limitations of such models are 1) models mainly based on mixture property testing in laboratories; 2) without considering the complicated loading and environmental conditions; 3) no integration of mix design lab test results and as constructed pavement properties; 4) having only relatively simple methods based on cause effect analysis of single or few causes. Recently a number of sensing techniques such as self-powered sensing, vibration sensor arrays and data analytics methods such as deep learning approaches have emerged and shown some promising features but not yet solidly developed to warrant implementation and realistic applications in asset management.

ID: 15200

Control of Rail Temperature

Track and Structures - FRA


Control of rail temperature in order to prevent extreme compression and tension and thereby reduce the chances of track buckles and rail breaks.

ID: 9443

K-12 STEM Program: Exploring the Science of Retroreflectivity

University Transportation Centers - OST

Texas Transportation Institute - USD19,000.00


According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations are growing faster than other occupations. However, U.S. students� math and science scores are lagging behind other developing countries. In addition, in-class academic concepts can seem abstract with little relevance to a student�s life. There is a need for in-class curriculum that links academic concepts with real-world STEM applications. Over the past 10 years, Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) researchers have developed many educational activities for elementary and middle school students (K-8) that provide an opportunity to gain hands-on experience and insight into what transportation engineering and other STEM careers have to offer. In 2011, a TTI researcher taught approximately 300 fifth graders about the scientific principles behind reflection, refraction, and retroreflectivity through a brief history of sign sheeting, hands-on activities, and a laboratory exercise. This educational development project will take these initial in-class activities that show real-world applications, link them to academic concepts and standards, and create curriculum and associated materials that can be used by teachers and other professionals across the nation. To get the students thinking about the future of transportation, the relationship between traffic control devices (e.g., signs and pavement markings) and automated vehicles will also be included in the curriculum.

ID: 15353

Operations of Connected and Autonomous Freight Trucks under Congestion and Infrastructure Cost Considerations

University Transportation Centers - OST

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign - USD232,060.00


This proposal aims at developing an integrated connected and autonomous truck routing model that simultaneously considers interdependency between traffic lane/track use, platooning, and pavement deterioration and rehabilitation, such that the total life-cycle societal costs due to infrastructure investment, traffic delay, and pavement life-cycle costs are minimized. The outcome of the study will be a recommendation about how to implement active sensors such as radio frequency identification (RFID) and multi-functional piezoelectric sensors into existing roadways and to assess long-term durability. The outcome of the study will help achieve near-zero maintenance during service life and resilience over a range of extreme weather conditions during day and night. Successful implementation would optimize lane use of heavy trucks over the planning horizon, such that the deterioration process of pavements can be decelerated. In addition, the investigation of the wheel wander of trucks following each other in way that damage accumulation is uniformly distributed over a lane will allow healing of the pavement and alternate compression/tension of loaded points and, therefore, excessive damage accumulation on a specific point(s) over a lane will be better controlled and pavement service life will be prolonged. When implemented, the research would result in guiding vehicles in a way that their tires would pass over existing cracks at the pavement surface, so that while crack development at the pavement surface is controlled by minimizing the tension strain/stresses applied on the cracks, transverse compressive strains/stresses can potentially minimize the width of the cracks.

ID: 14726

Crash Risks by Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Driver Schedules, Phase II

Safer Drivers - FMCSA

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute - USD1,498,969.00


This study will collect additional data to answer important questions related to driver schedules and how these factors impact overall driver performance and fatigue. This study is being completed in phases. In Phase I, the research team collected HOS and crash data. In Phase II, the research team will use the data collected in Phase I to analyze crash risk as it relates to various aspects of the HOS provisions. This study will analyze: �Relative crash risk by hour of driving. �Relative crash risk by hour of driving per week. �Relative crash risk of driving breaks. �Relative crash risk as a function of recovery periods. �How each of the HOS provisions is being used. In addition, the study will design, develop, and deliver a database so that the data collected in this study can be used for future research efforts.

ID: 10698

Mitigation of Differential Settlement at Highway Bridge Approaches

University Transportation Centers - OST

University of Utah - USD144,368.00


Differential settlement in the transition zone between the bridge structure and the approach embankment often creates a "bump" which is a potential safety hazard and comfort issue for drivers. Studies conducted by DOTs around the country suggest that about 25 percent of the 600,000 bridges in the US are affected by bridge approach settlement or the "bump at the end of the bridge." The settlements can result in unsafe driving conditions, rider discomfort, structural deterioration of bridges and long-term maintenance costs. Identifying additional geotechnical or structural means to mitigate this issue, which might be employed in conjunction with preloading, is of benefit to many State DOTs. These benefits might be achieved by providing the project team with the advantages and detriments of supplemental options in terms of their efficacy, cost, schedule, and ease-of-construction. This research focuses on identifying innovative means to mitigate this issue during design and construction, whether through initial cost savings or by providing superior long-term performance, will provide value. This might be gained either through savings from initial capital investment or through life-cycle cost reductions, hence assisting in the preservation of key infrastructure.

ID: 15281

Integrated Strategic and Operational Planning for a Fast-Charging Battery Electric Bus System

University Transportation Centers - OST

Utah State University - USD100,000.00


As an integral part of a multimodal transportation ecosystem, the public bus system provides an economical and sustainable travel mode that plays a key role in reducing traffic congestion and exhaust emissions. Conventional bus fleets, however, are mainly powered by diesel engines characterized by low energy efficiency, exhaust emissions, and oil dependence. Compared to diesel buses, battery electric buses (BEBs) have several advantages, including higher energy efficiency, zero tailpipe emissions, improved reliability, a lower maintenance burden, and the capability for using renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and water energies. Moreover, BEBs are easier to deploy and more flexible in their operation than trolley buses. Although BEBs have many advantages and have been adopted by a number of transit agencies, due to limitations in battery technology, they are disadvantaged by cumbersome and costly on-board batteries. Moreover, it takes very long time to recharge BEBs using either standard or slow-charging methods. The emerging fast-charging technology promises the potential to offset these drawbacks. With fast-charging technology, a BEB with a modest battery capacity can utilize the dwelling times between trips to quickly recharge its battery and maintain continuous operation. Fast-charging technology has been adopted by many BEB demonstration projects, and promising results have been report. In this project, the research team simultaneously considers and optimizes the battery and charger configurations of a fast-charging BEB system, as well as its recharging scheduling during operation. The team also explicitly consider the demand charges of high-power recharging activities of BEBs.

ID: 15335

Sustainable Alternative to Structurally Deficient Bridges

University Transportation Centers - OST

South Dakota State University, Brookings - USD137,496.00


Structurally deficient bridges in the United States may be replaced with a viable alternative made with Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). The alternative promotes environmental sustainability, diversified wood production opportunities, and increased public safety and construction efficiency. CLT products' superior strength, durability and sustainability have led to commercialization for building applications, but CLT has never been applied to bridge systems. The ultimate goal of this project is to improve bridge sustainability and performance using CLT products. To achieve this goal, researchers will pursue the following research objectives: 1) conceptualize a new CLT girder bridge system; 2) design and manufacture the full-scale specimen; and 3) investigate structural performance of the bridge system. To succeed, one CLT fabricator, who serves as an industrial collaborator on this project, will provide practical input for the production of the specimen. Further, one graduate student will gain hands-on research experience and real-world solutions. The PI will integrate the findings into SDSU engineering courses, including CEE 792: Bridge Engineering, to introduce students to CLT bridge performance.

ID: 15403

Characterization of the Plant-Based Bio-Asphalt Binder and Bio-Additives

University Transportation Centers - OST

South Dakota State University, Brookings - USD214,875.00


It is estimated that more than 27 million tons of asphalt binder with a value of over 12 billion dollars are annually used in the construction of U.S. highways. Asphalt binder used for pavement construction is obtained mainly by the distillation of crude oil in refineries. The scarcity of natural resources, environmental concerns, and emerging needs for sustainable materials have spurred development and use of materials and processes that are renewable and environmentally friendly. In response to this need, initiatives have been taken to develop a new generation of bio-based construction materials, as a result of continuous innovation in the use of agricultural products, byproducts and biomass as a material feedstock. Development of plant-based bio-asphalt binder to replace the petroleum-based binder is a major element of these initiatives. Therefore, development and evaluation of innovative plant-based asphalt binders and additives, such as cellulose and lignin will help to increase use of bio-materials to maximize the sustainability of ground transportation system. The proposed study aims at evaluating bio-asphalt binders and additives derived from agricultural products and byproducts prevailing in North Central Region (e.g., corn and soybean) as the primary feedstock. This will be achieved through a laboratory testing program to evaluate the performance of asphalt mixes containing plant-based bio-asphalt binder and cellulose Nano-fibers. The results of this research will allow the research team collect the necessary data to assess the feasibility of using these materials in construction of asphalt pavements in South Dakota and elsewhere.

ID: 15404