National Academies Press: OpenBook

Transportation Research Board 2016 Annual Report (2016)

Chapter: Studies and Special Programs

« Previous: Technical Activities
Page 27
Suggested Citation:"Studies and Special Programs." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Transportation Research Board 2016 Annual Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24663.
×
Page 27
Page 28
Suggested Citation:"Studies and Special Programs." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Transportation Research Board 2016 Annual Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24663.
×
Page 28
Page 29
Suggested Citation:"Studies and Special Programs." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Transportation Research Board 2016 Annual Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24663.
×
Page 29
Page 30
Suggested Citation:"Studies and Special Programs." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Transportation Research Board 2016 Annual Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24663.
×
Page 30
Page 31
Suggested Citation:"Studies and Special Programs." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Transportation Research Board 2016 Annual Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24663.
×
Page 31

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

TRB 2016 Annual Report | 27 the studies And Special Programs Divi-sion conducts policy studies at the request of the U.S. Congress, executive branch agencies, states, and other sponsors; produces syntheses of current practices in highway, transit, and airport operations; and manages Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) programs in high- ways, transit, and rail safety. policy studies With the guidance of committees drawn from the nation’s leading experts, the Policy Studies unit produces reports examining complex and controversial transportation issues. Studies ad- dress a variety of safety, economic, environmen- tal, and research policy issues affecting all modes of transportation. In addition, studies conducted through TRB’s Marine Board address offshore engineering and regulatory issues not directly related to transportation. TRB’s parent organization, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medi- cine, appoints the study committees to achieve a balance of expertise and perspectives. The U.S. Congress and the executive branch have adopted many recommendations from TRB policy reports, attesting to the substantive value of the findings. The TRB Executive Committee’s Subcommit- tee on Planning and Policy Review provides over- sight for TRB’s policy work, under the leadership of former Executive Committee Chair Daniel Sper- ling, University of California at Davis. Since 1998, all completed policy study reports are posted on the TRB website.1 1 www.trb.org/Publications/PubsPolicyStudiesSpecialReports. aspx. Completed Reports Several major studies were completed and re- leased during 2016, spanning a range of topics. ▪ Interregional Travel: A New Perspective for Policy Making Special Report 320 examines the demand for, and supply of, interregional transportation in the United States.2 Major additions to transportation infrastructure, including high-speed rail, are un- der consideration in some of the country’s most heavily traveled 100- to 500-mile corridors. The report reviews the availability and use of the au- tomobile, airplane, and train—as well as the re- juvenated intercity bus—for interregional travel. The study contrasts interregional corridors and transportation options in the United States with those in Japan and Europe, which are char- acterized by substantial investments in passen- 2 www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/173764.aspx. Daniel Sperling Chair Subcommittee on Planning and Policy Review Stephen R. Godwin Director Studies and Special Programs The Subcommittee on Planning and Policy Review, shown at its spring meeting, oversees TRB policy studies. studies And speciAl progrAms

28 | TRB 2016 Annual Report ▪ Strengthening the Safety Culture of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry Special Report 321 recommends ways for indus- try and regulators to strengthen and sustain the safety culture of the offshore oil and gas indus- try.4 The committee that prepared the report ad- dresses conceptual challenges in defining safety culture, empirical support for the definition of- fered by BSEE, methods for assessing company safety culture, barriers to improving safety cul- ture in the offshore industry, and strategies for overcoming the barriers. The committee’s report also identifies topics requiring further research. A settlement agree- ment between the Justice Department and an independent offshore drilling company funded the project. ▪ Impact of U.S. Coast Guard Regulations on U.S. Flag Registry Congress requested the TRB Marine Board to assess whether the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) regulatory process impedes the ability of U.S. flag–registered vessels to compete effectively in international commerce.5 The study committee finds that the costs related to USCG regulatory compliance, although increased, are relatively small compared with the operational costs asso- ciated with U.S. flag registry. The committee therefore concludes that USCG regulatory compliance is not a major impediment to the competitiveness of vessels registered under 4 www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/174395.aspx. 5 www.trb.org/main/blurbs/173981.aspx. ger rail. Public investments in new, long-lived transportation infrastructure can be risky because of uncertainty about future demand and the de- velopment of new technologies and competing transportation services. Decision makers in interregional corridors face the added challenge of coordinating invest- ments across multiple jurisdictions. The report recommends actions to reduce this uncertainty and to create stronger institutional means for de- veloping interregional corridors. ▪ Application of Remote Real-Time Monitoring to Offshore Oil and Gas Operations Special Report 322 provides advice to the Bu- reau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) of the U.S. Department of the Interior on the use of remote real-time monitoring (RRTM) to improve the safety and reduce the environ- mental risks of offshore oil and gas operations.3 The report also evaluates the role that RRTM could play in condition-based maintenance and how BSEE could leverage RRTM into its safety enforcement program. The report recommends ways to incorporate RRTM into BSEE’s regulatory scheme. The rec- ommendations also suggest that BSEE monitor the development of RRTM technologies in rela- tion to risk-based goals governing offshore oil and gas processes. BSEE funded the study. 3 www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/174214.aspx. The Vermonter on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. Special Report 320 contrasts interregion- al rail corridors in the United States with those in Europe and Japan. General cargo ship Ocean Giant is registered under the U.S. flag. The regulatory process for the U.S. flag registry was the subject of a congressionally requested study. (Photo: Bernard Spragg)

TRB 2016 Annual Report | 29 ▪ In-Service Performance of W-Beam Guardrail End Treatments, funded by the states through the National Cooperative Highway Research Pro- gram (NCHRP), is developing advice for evaluat- ing the in-service performance of guardrails and other roadside safety hardware. ▪ Evidentiary Protection of Transit Safety In- formation, a project requested by Congress, is examining whether information about public transportation safety should be protected from litigation in the same way that highway safety information is. ▪ Polar Icebreakers Cost Assessment is examin- ing, at the request of Congress, the costs of pro- curing and operating heavy-duty icebreakers. Other committees provide ongoing peer re- view of the research and technology programs of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administra- tion (FMCSA), FHWA, and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), as well as for major FHWA research activities, such as the Long-Term Pave- ment Performance Program and Long-Term Bridge Performance Program. The committees that review these programs and major projects is- sue letter reports, available on TRB’s website.6 Assistance in National Academies Studies In addition, the Policy Studies staff assisted the National Academies’ Board on Energy and En- 6 www.trb.org/Publications/PubsPolicyStudiesLetterReports. aspx. the U.S. flag. Nevertheless, the committee notes that improvements in the regulatory process could reduce costs without increasing safety risk. The report identifies and recommends actions that USCG can take in the short term to bring about additional improvements, as well as other actions that would require enabling legislation. USCG funded the project. Ongoing Studies ▪ Future Interstates, initiated at the request of Congress and funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), will provide advice on the future role of—and the options for fund- ing—the Interstate Highway System. ▪ Transportation of Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Ethanol, initiated by the TRB Executive Commit- tee, is examining policy and technical options to facilitate the most efficient and lowest-risk means of transporting liquid and gaseous do- mestic energy products. ▪ Performance-Based Safety Regulation, funded by the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Ad- ministration, is addressing the pros and cons of relying on a performance-based approach to safety that encourages the pipeline industry to exceed the minimum requirements of prescrip- tive regulations. ▪ Review of U.S. DOT Testing of Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) Brakes, requested by Congress, is reviewing U.S. DOT testing and analysis of ECP brakes for unit trains operated by freight railroads, for hauling crude oil, ethanol, and other flammable products. The Committee for a Study of Domestic Transportation Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Ethanol met in February. The Future Interstates policy study team (left to right): Amelia Mathis, Katherine Kortum, Monica Starnes, Velvet Fitzpatrick, Maina Tran, and Anusha Jayasinghe. The highly technical Special Report 321, Strengthening the Safety Culture of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry, was accompanied by Beyond Compliance: Strengthening the Safety Culture of the Offshore Oil and Gas Indus- try, a summary publication for a broader audience.

30 | TRB 2016 Annual Report 1,000 copies of each ACRP and NCHRP report are published in hard copy, with 600 to 700 dis- tributed to state DOTs, airport operators, and TRB topic-area subscribers. Starting in 2014, TCRP has published reports on the TRB website only; ACRP and NCHRP reports are also available on the website.7 TRB maintains an inventory of hard-copy synthesis reports for sale.8 ideA progrAms IDEA programs fund early-stage investigations of potential breakthroughs in transportation technology. Through small projects, researchers investigate the feasibility of innovative concepts that could advance transportation practice. IDEA programs sponsor high-risk research that is in- dependent of the immediate mission concerns of public agencies and of the short-term finan- cial imperatives of the private sector. Three IDEA programs were operating in 2016: ▪ NCHRP IDEA, collectively funded by the state DOTs, for highway-related research; ▪ Transit IDEA, funded by FTA through TCRP, for research on innovations applicable to transit practice; and ▪ Rail Safety IDEA, sponsored by the Federal Railroad Administration, for projects to improve the safety of railroad operations. 7 NCHRP Synthesis, www.trb.org/Publications/Pubs NCHRPSynthesisReports.aspx; TCRP Synthesis, www.trb.org/ Publications/PubsTCRPSynthesisReports.aspx; ACRP Synthesis, www.trb.org/Publications/PubsACRPSynthesisReports.aspx. 8 https://www.mytrb.org/store. vironmental Systems on projects evaluating fuel conservation technologies for light-duty vehicles and for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, both for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administra- tion; and a study of options for funding electric vehicle recharging stations, for the Department of Energy. TRB also is assisting the Committee on Na- tional Statistics in a study requested by Congress and funded by FMCSA to review FMCSA’s Com- pliance, Safety, and Accountability program. synthesis progrAms Under the sponsorship of the Cooperative Re- search Programs administered by TRB—specifi- cally the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP), NCHRP, and the Transit Cooperative Re- search Program (TCRP)—the Synthesis Programs unit prepares reports on current practice and knowledge on a range of key airport, highway, and transit topics. Practitioners and researchers make extensive use of the reports. An airport panel, a highway panel, and a tran- sit panel select the study topics each year. In 2016, 10 new airport, 15 new highway, and seven new transit studies started up. A consultant experi- enced in the topic area researches and writes each synthesis report, with guidance from an expert panel. A list of reports published in the past 12 months appears on pages 55–56. Approximately Stephen R. Godwin details the status of current Studies and Special Programs division projects to the Executive Committee. (Photo: Risdon Photography) Airport Cooperative Re- search Program syntheses addressed such topics as combining mixed-use flight operations at airports. (Photo: S. Quilty, SMQ Airport Services) An NCHRP IDEA project examined the use of available ve- hicle detection devices for automated counts of turning movements in shared lanes. (Photo: Kelvin R. Santiago)

TRB 2016 Annual Report | 31 Each IDEA program follows a similar ad- ministrative model, adapted for sponsorship ar- rangements and target audiences. Each program operates through a committee or panel of vol- unteer transportation experts who solicit, review, and select proposals that merit research con- tracts. Funds awarded for any one project range between $50,000 and $150,000. Frequently, how- ever, the funds are augmented through cost- share arrangements, nearly doubling the amount of research that can be supported through the IDEA programs. At the 2016 TRB Annual Meeting, the transit, highway, and safety programs conducted poster sessions highlighting 22 of the most promising current projects. Each session attracted a con- stant stream of interested visitors, who inter- acted directly with the inventors. The box at right lists recently completed IDEA projects. Each of the IDEA programs publishes an annual report that includes summaries of com- pleted and current projects. The summaries also are posted on the IDEA page of the TRB website, along with the IDEA program announcement, which contains forms and guidelines for sub- mitting proposals.9 Contractor final reports for completed IDEA projects are posted on the TRB website.10 9 www.trb.org/ideaprogram/ideaprogram.aspx. 10 www.trb.org/Publications/PubsIDEAPublications.aspx. Staff News Senior Program Officer Donna Vlasak retired after 23 years of service, largely with the transit synthe- sis program. She managed 122 projects for TCRP Synthesis of Transit Practice, producing the first report in the series, and contributed to many other projects and reports for ACRP and FMCSA. Monica A. Starnes, Senior Program Officer, trans- ferred to the Policy Studies group from the Technical Activities Division. Mariela Garcia-Colberg joined the Synthesis Stud- ies staff as a Senior Program Officer. Anusha Jayasinghe and Katherine Ingebretsen joined the Policy Studies group as Senior Program Assistants. Highway Project 173: Graphene Nanoplate- let (GNP) Reinforced Asphalt Mixtures: A Novel Multifunctional Pavement Material Highway Project 177: Automated Turning Movement Counts for Shared Lanes  Highway Project 180: Drained Timber Pile Ground Improvement for Liquefaction Mitigation Transit IDEA Project 81: Advanced Locomo- tive Exhaust Gas Simulator to Fine-Tune Energy Recovery and Conversion Systems  Rail Safety IDEA Project 24: Railroad Bridge Dynamics and Ratings Transit IDEA Project 81 expanded an earlier project (above) to develop advanced locomotive exhaust gas simulators. (Photo: Claudio Filippone, ThermaDynamics Rail) Recently Completed IDEA Projects

Next: Cooperative Research Programs »
Transportation Research Board 2016 Annual Report Get This Book
×
 Transportation Research Board 2016 Annual Report
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

The 2016 Annual Report provides a summary of the Transportation Research Board's (TRB's) programs and activities over the last year and an overview of the individual divisions within TRB. The mission of TRB is to provide leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. A

12-page overview

of the report accompanies the Annual Report.

READ FREE ONLINE

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!