CLOSE OVERLAY
Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

06/21/08

END DATE

06/21/08

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, CTRE, SWZDI
SPONSORS

Iowa

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Kelly Strong

Associate Director, Contracts and Project Management

About the research

Visualization is a relatively recent tool available to engineers for enhancing transportation project design through improved communication, decision making, and stakeholder feedback. Current visualization techniques include image composites, video composites, 2D drawings, drive-through or fly-through animations, 3D rendering models, virtual reality, and 4D CAD. These methods are used mainly to communicate within the design and construction team and between the team and external stakeholders. Use of visualization improves understanding of design intent and project concepts and facilitates effective decision making. However, visualization tools are typically used for presentation only in large-scale urban projects.

Visualization is not widely accepted due to a lack of demonstrated engineering benefits for typical agency projects, such as small- and medium-sized projects, rural projects, and projects where external stakeholder communication is not a major issue. Furthermore, there is a perceived high cost of investment of both financial and human capital in adopting visualization tools. The most advanced visualization technique of virtual reality has only been used in academic research settings, and 4D CAD has been used on a very limited basis for highly complicated specialty projects. However, there are a number of less intensive visualization methods available which may provide some benefit to many agency projects. In this paper, we present the results of a feasibility study examining the use of visualization and simulation applications for improving highway planning, design, construction, and safety and mobility.

Vendor: Iowa State University

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

08/11/11

END DATE

08/11/11

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, SWZDI
SPONSORS

Iowa

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Michelle Reyes

University of Iowa

Principal Investigator
Sameer A. Khan

University of Iowa

About the research

Construction zones pose a significant threat to both workers and drivers causing numerous injuries and deaths each year. Innovations in work zone safety could reduce these numbers. However, implementing work zone interventions before they are validated can undermine rather than enhance safety. The objective of this research is to demonstrate how driving simulators can be used to evaluate the effect of various work zone interventions on driver performance.

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

08/11/10

END DATE

08/11/10

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, SWZDI
SPONSORS

Iowa

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Tom McDonald

Safety Circuit Rider

About the research

Since the inception of this pooled fund study in 1999, the Board of Directors has concluded that periodic conferences to present results of research funded under the program would be desirable. A conference was conducted in 2001 and another in 2005, the latter a multi-day event with vendors also invited to participate. Both of these conferences were judged to be successful and it was planned to schedule another such conference in 2009. Due to travel restrictions imposed by many state agencies, it was decided to delay the conference a year. Travel restrictions for many Board of Director members continued in 2010 and rather than continue to delay a potentially valuable presentation of important research results, it was proposed that a webinar format be adopted in lieu of a conventional conference.

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

08/11/00

END DATE

08/11/00

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, SWZDI
SPONSORS

Iowa

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Tom Maze

Transportation Engineer

About the research

Types A and C solar-powered LED lights were compared with two brands of battery-powered lights (one with incandescent lights and one with LED lights) currently used by the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT). The purpose of the study was to examine whether solar-powered lights provide consistent illumination over an extended period of time (e.g., 14 weeks, which is as long or longer than most long-term work zone projects). The study also examined the life cycle of the solar-powered lights to determine if they could eliminate the costs associated with the maintenance of battery-powered lights.

Vendor: Interplex Solar

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

08/11/00

END DATE

08/11/00

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, SWZDI
SPONSORS

Iowa

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Tom Maze

Transportation Engineer

About the research

Removable orange rumble strips, manufactured by Advance Traffic Markings (ATM), are designed for placement at construction sites to alert motorists of upcoming roadway conditions. As a vehicle crosses over the strips, the sound and tactile (vibrating) sensation of driving over the strips heighten the driver’s attention.

The orange removable rumble strips were applied at three different locations in and around the city of Ames, Iowa. The purpose of this field test was to examine the rumbling sensation, durability and removability of the strips applied on different pavement types.

The performance of the removable rumble strips was quite satisfactory. Being designed for use at work zones, these rumble strips are relatively easy to apply and remove. Although, they did not reflect in the dark, their orange color made them visible from a 500-foot distance during daylight hours.

It was concluded the strip’s thickness of one-eighth of an inch does not provide an adequate rumbling sensation. However, the double layered strips were effective in providing adequate sound and rumbling sensation to passenger cars and pickup trucks. Having no effects on the Iowa DOT maintenance truck, it can be suggested the double-layered strips provide no rumbling sensation to commercial trucks.

Vendor: Advanced Traffic Markings

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

08/11/00

END DATE

08/11/00

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, SWZDI
SPONSORS

Iowa

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Tom Maze

Transportation Engineer

About the research

The Radio Association Defending Airwave Rights Inc. conceived and developed the concept of the Safety Warning System (SWS). This system consists of a transmitter and receiver (detector). MPH Industries Inc manufactures SWS transmitters.

The SWS holds promise as a means of warning drivers of upcoming hazardous conditions. However, its effectiveness is based directly upon the percentage of vehicles that are equipped with regular or enhanced SWS radar detectors. Therefore, until the number of radar detector users increases, the system is not likely to have a significant impact on the speed reductions at work zones.

Vendor: MPH Industries

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

04/11/00

END DATE

04/11/00

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, SWZDI
SPONSORS

Iowa

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Tom Maze

Transportation Engineer

About the research

The Wizard CB Alert System was quite effective at warning truck drivers about upcoming road conditions. Sixty-three percent of the truck drivers that had their CB tuned to channel 19 as they passed the paint crew heard the Wizard CB Alert message and 41 percent stated that the CB message was their first indication that they were approaching the paint crew. The system reached a large portion of the target audience and passed on information that was important to its listeners. Many drivers voiced their approval of the system, showed their support for its continued use in the future, and even suggested additional situations where the system’s use would be helpful.

Vendor: Highway Technologies, Inc.

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

08/08/00

END DATE

08/08/00

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, SWZDI
SPONSORS

Iowa

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Tom Maze

Transportation Engineer

About the research

The speed monitor display used in this study included a solar power panel, which was mounted atop the box. This panel supplied power to the unit, and excess power was stored in a solar car-type battery housed in the box. The K-band radar used in the system broadcasts a directional radar beam over approximately one mile.

In September 1999 the speed monitor display was deployed at a work zone on Interstate 35. The purpose of this field test was to evaluate the impact of the speed display on reducing vehicles’ speed and increasing speed uniformity at work zones.

Vendor: Speed Measurement Labs

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

07/09/07

END DATE

07/09/07

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, SWZDI
SPONSORS

Iowa

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Tom Maze

Transportation Engineer

About the research

Innovative contracting methods are being constantly refined to meet the challenges facing state departments of transportation (DOTs) in their efforts to rehabilitate the nation’s infrastructure. These contracting methods emphasize best value practices and attempt to minimize construction cost and service disruptions to the traveling public. The importance of innovative contracting methods stems from the flexibility they offer to state DOTs in the procurement and delivery of construction. One innovative contracting method that appears to be underutilized is flexible start date contracts which allow contractors to schedule their work during dates that optimize schedules and minimize the public impact of their projects. The present paper describes an exploratory investigation of flexible start/fixed duration contracting. The paper presents the current practices of a number of state DOTs along with a case study of the Paseo Bridge rehabilitation project in Kansas City, Missouri. The results of this investigation demonstrated the advantages of flexible start/fixed duration contracting and its potential benefits in large transportation projects in urban settings.

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