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111 5 Federal Highway Research and Development on Nationally Significant Issues In order to help gauge whether the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Of- ficeâs (ITS JPOâs) research, development, and technology (RD&T) transfer focus on issues of national significance, this chapter provides a high-level comparison of the federal portfolio with the issues identified by the Trans- portation Research Boardâs (TRBâs) Executive Committee in Critical Is- sues in Transportation 2019.1 FHWA and ITS JPOâs RD&T on nationally significant issues is considered in reference to coverage of some of these same topics in the State Planning and Research (SP&R) and the University Transportation Centers (UTC) programs described in the previous chapter. This chapter also provides examples of other important issues that may warrant continuing and additional public-sector research and development (R&D) investment, perhaps by FHWA and ITS JPO. This chapter is organized by the 12 critical issue topic areas identified in Critical Issues in Transportation 2019: â¢ Transformational Technologies and Services â¢ Serving a Growing and Shifting Population â¢ Energy and Sustainability â¢ Resilience and Security â¢ Safety and Public Health 1 Transportation Research Board Executive Committee. 2019. Critical Issues in Transpor- tation 2019. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. https://www.nap. edu/catalog/25314.
112 VITAL FEDERAL ROLE IN HIGHWAY INNOVATION â¢ Equity â¢ Governance â¢ System Performance and Asset Management â¢ Funding and Finance â¢ Goods Movement â¢ Institutional and Workforce Capacity â¢ Research and Innovation These topic areas are not listed in any particular priority order and many are interrelated. For example, technology, safety, equity, governance, funding, and innovation cut across many other topics. The topics, however, are discussed separately for ease of exposition. In the sections that follow, the committee considers FHWAâs current R&D portfolio with respect to each of these topics, and identifies several that are promising candidates for future investment. The intent of the latter is to illustrate nationally significant topics that FHWA and ITS JPO could undertake if resources were available. TRANSFORMATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES AND SERVICES The disruptions and benefits of shared mobility services to urban trans- portation are already upon us, as are inklings of the vast potential for connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) to enhance safety and mobility. This section provides a brief summary of key issues in shared mobility and CAVs. The implications of CAVs for safety are discussed in the Safety sec- tion below. Urban Passenger Travel in a New Era Shared mobility options include ride-hailing transportation network com- panies such as Uber and Lyft, as well as bike, car, and scooter rental options being made available by these and other companies. Shared mobility op- tions offered through the private sector have provided the most substantial innovations in urban travel in a generation. It is fair to say, though, that whether and how these services will play out in the future remains uncer- tain. The two largest private providers have acknowledged their substantial current and expected economic losses and unprofitability in documents shared with investors as they have gone public in early 2019. Entry and exit by firms providing shared servicesâdockless bikes and scooters in particularâhas been frequent and volatile. It is simply unknown at this point whether these services will persist and settle into niche markets or evolve and grow to a point where they could transform automobile owner- ship. In this context, and with regard for their potentially transformative
FEDERAL HIGHWAY R&D 113 effects, efforts to monitor and understand the evolution and use of these services and their implications on transportation infrastructure planning, design, and safe and efficient operations would provide a useful service to the local governments responsible for regulating them and planning for infrastructure, and the broader public as well. FHWA RD&T has funded a report containing high-level planning guidance to help jurisdictions manage shared mobility services for public benefit;2 however, this, along with data collection described below, is the main extent of the agencyâs R&D activity in this area. Longer-range ques- tions that will seemingly deserve more attention as these services spread concern the impact on single-occupant automobile trips and the implica- tions for the future capacity of urban highway networks. While roughly 5 percent of UTC research is addressing such questions, the impact of shared mobility services is likely to remain a fertile area for R&D for years to come, including fundamental research on how consumer preferences for modes and types of travel are changing. One important gap in answering such questions is data on the scale of shared mobility trips at the national level and how consumer travel choices are changing over time.3 A major challenge in measuring shared mobility travel is that most shared-mobility providers do not readily supply non- proprietary, privacy-protected information about the scale and types of trips unless local jurisdictions have had the savvy and leverage to negotiate for such information as a condition for allowing such operations within their jurisdictions.4 FHWA RD&T supports the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), which adopted questions about shared-mobility trips for the most recent (2017) survey.5 So far, the NHTS data suggest that the national scale of shared-mobility trips is small, but it is also growing fast. The NHTS, funded by FHWA and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2 See Shaheen, S., et al. 2016. Shared Mobility: Current Practices and Guiding Principles. FHWA-HOP-16-022. https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/fhwahop16022/fhwahop16022. pdf. McCoy, K., et al. 2018. Integrating Shared Mobility into Multimodal Transportation Planning: Improving Regional Performance to Meet Public Goals. FHWA-HEP-18-033. https://www.planning.dot.gov/documents/SharedMobility_Whitepaper_02-2018.pdf. 3 Clewlow, R. 2019. Disruptive Transportation: The Adoption, Utilization, and Impacts of Ride Hailing in the United States. Transfers, Issue 3, Spring. https://transfersmagazine.org/ issue3. 4 TRB. 2016. Special Report 319: Between Public and Private Mobility: Examining the Rise of Technology-Enabled Transportation Services. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. https://www.nap.edu/catalog/21875. Note that the Carnegie Mellon UTC has established a relationship with Uber that gives Ph.D. student interns access to Uberâs enormous trove of trip data for analysis of system performance. See https:// ppms.cit.cmu.edu/projects/detail/180. 5 TRB. 2018. National Household Travel Survey 2018. Transportation Research Circular E-C238, Chapter 9. https://nhts.ornl.gov/assets/2018_NHTS_Workshop_E-Circular_238.pdf.
114 VITAL FEDERAL ROLE IN HIGHWAY INNOVATION is the only national survey of its kind, but has been conducted on an ir- regular basis (5â8-year intervals) due to funding shortages. The resulting survey schedule does not align with the fast pace of change in the shared mobility landscape.6 FHWA has embarked on a pooled-fund initiative, âNext-Generation Travel Data Collection and Processing,â to improve on and expand the NHTS by incorporating private data from jurisdictions in which such data are made available.7 Whereas the NHTS is an important, though chroni- cally underfunded initiative worthy of more sustained FHWA RD&T in- vestment, it does not capture freight trips, and therefore the emergence of traditional and non-traditional providers of âlast-mileâ consumer freight trips for goods ordered electronically. This remains an important data gap. Unanswered questions include the extent to which such deliveries are replacing or adding to total trips and the consequences for urban network capacity. Ideas for bridging the data gaps expressed at a 2018 TRB NHTS workshop are worthy of greater FHWA RD&T investment to improve data collection.8 Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) The pace of vehicle automation may be highly uncertainâCAVs may be introduced into the vehicle fleet much more slowly than many people antici- pate (over decades)âbut the integration of advanced telecommunications and automation technologies into highway transportation seems certain. Partial automation (driver safety warnings and automated braking through forward collision avoidance systems) is already providing significant private and social net benefits in the form of better fuel economy and less frequent and severe crashes.9 The ITS R&D program shifted its focus to connected 6 See Jenkins, D., and W. Pu. Introduction of the NextGen NHTS, Chapter 14 in TRB. 2018. National Household Travel Survey 2018. Transportation Research Circular E-C238. https://nhts.ornl.gov/assets/2018_NHTS_Workshop_E-Circular_238.pdf, as well as TRB. 2011. Special Report 304: How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., p. 12. https:// www.nap.edu/catalog/13125. 7 See https://pooledfund.org/Details/Solicitation/1466. 8 TRB. 2018. National Household Travel Survey 2018. p. 106. 9 See Harper, C. D., C. T. Hendrickson, and C. Samaras. 2016. Cost and benefit estimates of partially automated vehicle collision avoidance technologies. Accident Analysis & Preven- tion, Vol. 95, pp. 104â115; Khan, A., C. D. Harper, C. T. Hendrickson, and C. Samaras. 2019. Net-societal and net-private benefits of some existing vehicle crash avoidance technologies. Accident Analysis & Prevention, Vol. 125, pp. 207â216, or Vasebi, S., Y. M. Hayeri, C. Samaras, and C. Hendrickson. 2018. Low-level automated light-duty vehicle technologies provide opportunities to reduce fuel consumption. Transportation Research Record 2672, No. 24, pp. 60â74.
FEDERAL HIGHWAY R&D 115 vehicles (through programs under different names) some 15 years ago. Au- tomation, as distinct from connected vehicles, is a growing area of interest for the ITS RD&T program.10 A centrally important and continuing area of ITS RD&T investment addresses the need for interoperability of CAVs and highway ITS for both mobility and safety. Interoperability ensures that devices from different manufacturers communicate and interact seamlessly, which is vital for en- suring the safety of connected systems. The development of standards and international harmonization of standards to ensure interoperability have long been a prime focus of the ITS program.11 As described in Chapter 3, the ITS program is also devoting substantial R&D resources to large-scale pilot tests of connected vehicles to begin to understand the technical, legal, and policy issues associated with deployment, possible benefits derived from connected vehicles, consumer readiness and acceptance, state and local agency capacity to introduce and manage connected vehicle systems and technologies, and the cybersecurity of safety messages.12 It is also important to monitor and understand how people will adapt to the availability and capabilities of increasing vehicle automation, which will influence when, how, and how much people travel, and the highway capacity that is needed to support this demand. The Next Generation data collection initiative referenced above will help policy makers, practitioners, and researchers understand consumer demand for CAVs as these technolo- gies evolve and grow. FHWA RD&T could inform national, state, and local infrastructure planning and investment by monitoring the penetration of CAVs into the automotive fleet and its implications for highway operational performance and capacity.13 Through its support for traffic simulation and travel de- mand modeling, particularly for congested Interstate highways, FHWA can help address questions such as whether the ability of CAVs to avoid crashes would allow for greater operational throughput in congested corridors by enabling narrower lanes and/or shorter headways. Also important will be estimating the extent to which CAVs are likely to add to overall travel and 10 OMB. 2019. Presidentâs Budget Request for 2020: FHWA 2020 Budget. pp. IIIâ65. 11 TRB. 2004. Special Report 280: Development and Deployment of Standards for Intel- ligent Transportation Systems (ITS): Review of the Federal Program. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. https://www.nap.edu/catalog/10897. 12 Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program. https://www.its.dot.gov/factsheets/pdf/ JPO_CVPilot.pdf. 13 See Shladover, S. 2019. Connected and Automated Vehicle Technology Impacts on the Future Interstate Highway System, in TRB. 2019. Special Report 329: Renewing the National Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future. Appendix F. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. https://www. nap.edu/catalog/25334.
116 VITAL FEDERAL ROLE IN HIGHWAY INNOVATION congestion by inducing more travel demand. Because the answers to these questions will depend in part on the complicating factor of CAVs operating alongside vehicles with and without automation for a long time, answers will not be forthcoming for some time. Even so, modest support for theo- retical analysis, supplemented with information from experience as CAVs become more common, will inform planning and infrastructure investment choices for years to come. As mentioned in the previous chapter, ongoing UTC research projects are exploring various issues associated with CAVs, including those associ- ated with truck platooning, but not with a focus on Interstate highway capacity and performance that would be of interest to many state depart- ments of transportation (DOTs). Several state DOTs are using SP&R funds for a pooled-fund CAV study designed to assist the states in technology transfer through documenting and sharing best practices in deployment; participation in standards development; and coordinating with automak- ers on vehicle-infrastructure testing and development of applications and standards.14 The states have also devoted substantial National Coopera- tive Highway Research Program (NCHRP) R&D resources ($6.5 million) to help state DOTs anticipate, plan, and prepare for a vehicle fleet that is both connected and automated. A specific task is addressing the question of how states would fund or finance the deployment and maintenance of infrastructure sensors, software, and hardware for communicating safety messages to vehicles.15 As reliance on automated and connected vehicles grows, so does con- cern about cybersecurity. The ITS RD&T program addresses cybersecurity in vehicles, infrastructure, communications, and standards.16 Funding for cybersecurity R&D is featured as an ITS priority in FHWAâs 2020 budget request.17 Real-Time Traffic Management Transformational technologies include a whole range of data analytics applications for traveler information systems to help travelers avoid con- gestion, inform them about parking availability or curbside reservations, and real-time traffic management, such as adaptive traffic signals with connectivity and rapid incident response. Novel traffic management that is informed by ongoing analysis of real-time traffic data, in particular, has 14 Connected Vehicle Pooled-Fund Study. https://pooledfund.org/Details/Study/642. 15 Impacts of Connected and Automated Vehicles on State and Local Transportation Agen- cies. https://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=3824. 16 See https://www.its.dot.gov/factsheets/cybersecurity.htm. 17 OMB. 2019. Presidentâs Budget Request for 2020: FHWA 2020 Budget. pp. IIIâ66.
FEDERAL HIGHWAY R&D 117 strong potential. These are current areas of FHWA, ITS JPO, and UTC RD&T and will remain promising areas in the future. SERVING A GROWING AND SHIFTING POPULATION Broad demographic trends are affecting where the U.S. economy and popu- lation are growing and where and how much passengers and freight are traveling.18 TRBâs Critical Issues in Transportation report focuses on the growth and importance of megaregions and depopulating regions of rural America. Megaregions Of particular note for highway transportation is the growth of megacities and megaregions and the implications this has for the highway and other modal capacity required to sustain this important and growing source of U.S. prosperity.19 FHWAâs Planning and Environment and Policy offices have supported modest levels of exploratory research in this topic area and a Tier 1 UTC is devoted to this topic. FHWA RD&T could profitably continue to pursue megaregion research to make progress in addressing the following question noted in TRBâs Critical Issues in Transportation document: âWhat are the most cost-effective transportation policies for improving internal megaregion travel and ensuring that megaregions are well connected to the rest of the nation and the world?â20 An array of multimodal R&D projects would be necessary to address this complex question, spanning economics, consumer demand, multimodal infrastructure capacity and investment topics, cross-jurisdictional planning capability, geography, and other areas. Thus, an important first step would be the development of a research roadmap that lays out a plan for address- ing this question and to identify studies that would provide the foundation for developing guidance for policy makers. 18 For a good overview of how regional population gains and losses are affecting demand for highway capacity, see Chi, G. 2019. Demographic Forecasting and Future Interstate Highway System Demands, in Special Report 329: Renewing the National Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future. Appendix E. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25334. 19 Nelson, A. 2017. Megaregion Projections 2015-2045 with Transportation Policy Implica- tions. Transportation Research Record, Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2645. 20 TRB. 2019. Critical Issues in Transportation. p. 9.
118 VITAL FEDERAL ROLE IN HIGHWAY INNOVATION Rural Depopulation Many rural counties across broad swaths of the United States have lost pop- ulation and are forecast to continue to do so.21 A significant issue in rural areas with declining populations is paying for upkeep of rural roads, many of which are important for the movement of agricultural commodities, as the tax base erodes. Rural highway access becomes of national interest when highways through rural areas serve as important links for passengers and freight in the intercity highway network, even if they carry light traffic. As states in rural areas with declining populations seek alternative taxes and user fees to replace or supplement motor fuel taxes, finding funding that is adequate and equitable for preserving rural roads and highways is of considerable interest and concern. Interstate Highway Connectivity and Capacity Population growth in metropolitan areas has outpaced the rest of the country, as has congestion on urban Interstate and other National High- way System (NHS) routes. In addition, nearly 40 fast-growing urban areas, particularly in California and Texas, are 25 or more miles from the nearest Interstate highway.22 Criteria are needed to ârightsizeâ future investments in the Interstate Highway System as a result of population and travel growth,23 which FHWA could develop through R&D and consultation with state and local officials. In addition to informing state and local de- cision makers, development of such criteria to better understand future investment requirements would also improve the biennial âConditions and Performanceâ report that FHWA prepares for Congress, which estimates future federal highway investment required to sustain the condition and performance of the NHS. Estimating and Simulating Demand and Investment Requirements FHWA RD&T has long supported the development of travel demand mod- els for use at the metropolitan level and, more recently, at the state level, 21 For an analysis of nearly 750 depopulating rural counties, see Johnson, K., and D. Lichter. 2019. Rural Population: Growth and Decline Processes over the Past Century. Rural Sociology, Vol. 84, No. 1, pp. 3â27 and Johnson, K., and D. Lichter, Rural Depopula- tion in a Rapidly Urbanizing America. https://carsey.unh.edu/publication/rural-depopulation. 22 TRB. 2019. Special Report 329: Renewing the National Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25334. 23 Recommendation 2, in TRB. 2019. Special Report 329: Renewing the National Commit- ment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25334.
FEDERAL HIGHWAY R&D 119 and FHWA also provides extensive guidance to practitioners on modeling issues and practice.24 A handful of UTC research projects address some dimension of metropolitan area travel demand models. A small number of SP&R studies are investigating enhancements to state travel demand models. The committee that prepared TRBâs 2019 report on the future of the Interstate Highway System concludes, however, that we lack data and multi-state and national tools for understanding current demand, predict- ing future demand, and estimating the cost of expanding and maintaining the Interstates and other intercity highways.25 The United States lacks good high-level simulation models at the state and multi-state level necessary for analyzing how travel might shift to different times, locations, corridors, and modes in response to changes in highway capacity or travel costs and lacks highway travel demand models at the multi-state scale. We even lack data on the scale and extent of intercity passenger and freight flows by mode. We also lack data on the condition of important elements of the NHS, includ- ing interchanges and pavement foundations. The high degree of uncertainty limits the ability to plan effectively for future system investment. Investment in an R&D roadmap to address these issues is warranted. ENERGY AND SUSTAINABILITY Transportation energy use accounts for the largest share of U.S. green- house gas (GHG) emissions, about 28 percent, and highway transporta- tion accounts for 85 percent of that share.26 U.S. fuel economy and GHG standards have been the principal source of energy and GHG emission reductions from highway transportation, but setting such standards is the province of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rather than FHWA. Even so, there are many policy issues within FHWAâs domain that influence the future sustainability of highway transportation. FHWA Operations and ITS RD&T are examining a range of technologies and practices that might reduce congestion and thereby improve traffic flow and reduce emissions and FHWA provides technical assistance to states and local governments on this issue.27 In addition, as directed by Congress, FHWA is identifying 24 Travel Model Improvement Program. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/tmip/about. 25 Recommendation 7, in TRB. 2019. Special Report 329: Renewing the National Commit- ment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25334. 26 USDOT. Pocket Guide to Transportation, Table 7-5, Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Transportation Mode: 2014. https://www.bts.gov/archive/publications/pocket_guide_to_ transportation/2017/7_Environment/table7_5. 27 Sustainable Transportation. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/sustainability.
120 VITAL FEDERAL ROLE IN HIGHWAY INNOVATION alternative fuel corridors and providing guidance to states and local govern- ments in their designation.28 Answers to more fundamental questions posed in TRBâs Critical Issues in Transportation, however, would be needed by policy makers if they were committed to influencing more sustainable fuel choices for highway transportation, including ones appropriate for FHWA RD&T: What is the most appropriate public role in facilitating the distribution and adequate coverage of hydrogen refueling and battery recharging infrastruc- ture? What policies will work and be most cost effective? The Research and Technology Coordinating Committee (RTCC) finds limited evidence of FHWA R&D on these questions, although there is some UTC research on strategies to support zero emission vehicle and fuel technologies and a few examples of SP&R and NCHRP research projects to help states anticipate the implications of growing zero emission and alternative-fuel vehicles for highway infrastructure and state emissions modeling. Energy issues in transportation, of course, are more of a respon- sibility of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) than USDOT. Although most of DOEâs R&D addresses propulsion systems and fuels, DOE R&D also supports modeling of consumer choices and travel behavior as they affect energy consumption.29 Exploration of the public role in supporting provision of alternate fueled recharging infrastructure would be a useful area for FHWA-DOE R&D collaboration. RESILIENCE AND SECURITY As noted in Critical Issues in Transportation, the frequency, severity, and cost of extreme weather events have been growing, thus creating challenges for the nationâs highway infrastructure. The consequences of climate change expand beyond sea-level rise and coastal flooding to include extreme rain- fall, hurricanes, tornadoes, and droughts (contributing to wildfires) that are affecting the entire country. The strengthening of existing highway infrastructure in response to sea-level rise, increased wind loadings, and flooding is within FHWAâs highway infrastructure policy domain. Accord- ingly, FHWA RD&T has addressed the vulnerability of coastal highways 28 Alternative Fuel Corridors. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/alternative_fuel_ corridors/resources. 29 Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. https://www. energy.gov/eere/about-office-energy-efficiency-and-renewable-energy.
FEDERAL HIGHWAY R&D 121 and bridges to sea-level rise and ground subsidence,30 developed improved tools and guidance for assessing bridge foundation vulnerability from more intense flooding wherever it might occur,31 and provided guidance to states and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in responding to congres- sional requirements for highway plans to incorporate resilience.32 FHWA RD&T regarding resilience to climate-related severe weather builds on its many years addressing designs to protect against natural and man-made hazards.33 (UTC researchers are also working on resilience; about 9 per- cent of the Fixing Americaâs Surface Transportation Act [FAST Act] UTC research projects consider elements of climate change or resilience.) The RTCC believes even greater FHWA RD&T in this area could address key questions asked by TRBâs Executive Committee: â¢ What kinds of decision-making tools can best help transportation agencies make appropriate decisions about climate change and ter- rorism in a risk-management framework? â¢ How can results from climate models be translated into changes in design standards for severe weather events? â¢ Which policies, programs, research topics, and investments can and should be undertaken to adapt existing transportation facilities and systems to rising sea levels, stronger storm surges, more frequent flooding, and other powerful and damaging weather extremes? â¢ In light of the inability to be precise about the scale and timing of future impacts, how can funding policies, designs, and standards be modified to build in flexibility to allow for needed adaptation, including the rebuilding of more resilient infrastructure after it is damaged or destroyed? FHWA could collaborate with other federal agencies also working on these issues, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technol- ogy, because of its extensive R&D in seismic resilience for concrete struc- tures, and with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Federal Emergency 30 Savonis, M., et al. 2009. The Impact of Climate Change on Transportation in the Gulf Coast. Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Conference 2009. ASCE. https:// ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/41050(357)64. 31 Kilgore, R., et al. 2016. Highways in the River EnvironmentâFloodplains, Ex- treme Events, Risk, and Resilience. Hydraulic Engineering Circular No. 17, 2nd Edition. FHWA-HIF-16-018. 32 See FHWA website: Resilience and Transportation Planning. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ environment/sustainability/resilience/publications/ratp/index.cfm. 33 Duwadi, S., and E. Munley. 2011. Hazard Mitigation R&D Series: Article 5âSecuring the Nationâs Bridges. Public Roads, Vol. 74, No. 6. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/ publicroads/11mayjun/04.cfm.
122 VITAL FEDERAL ROLE IN HIGHWAY INNOVATION Management Agency, because of their extensive work in protecting against, and responding, to flooding. SAFETY AND PUBLIC HEALTH FHWA RD&T has long addressed highway safety from multiple angles and has added addressing public health consequences of transportation emis- sions to its portfolio. Included among the multiple angles that FHWA and ITS JPO RD&T have pursued to improve safety are â¢ development of FHWAâs strategic safety plan;34 â¢ connected vehicle pilot programs and research and guidance on automation; â¢ assessment of the effectiveness of crash minimization and protec- tion and crash avoidance designs, countermeasures, and systems, as well as developing guidance on them for state and local decision makers;35 â¢ R&D on advanced technologies and countermeasures to help avoid crashes;36 and â¢ guidance to states and local governments for developing safety plans and programs.37 Agency R&D has also supported the development of guidance on ad- dressing and mitigating public health issues associated with highway infra- structure and vehicle emissions throughout the planning process.38 As noted in the previous chapter, considerable UTC and SP&R research is devoted to a wide variety of safety and public health topics. Identifying any one area for future FHWA safety emphasis is challeng- ing given its wide array of ongoing, important, and valuable safety R&D activity. However, given the federal governmentâs central role in ITS and that CAV technologies have the potential for transformational improve- ments in safety, three considerations are worth bearing in mind for setting future FHWA and ITS JPO safety RD&T priorities: 34 Safe Roads for a Safer Future: A Joint Safety Strategic Plan. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ ssp/jssp.cfm#es. 35 Proven Safety Countermeasures. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures. 36 For automated and connected vehicles, see https://www.its.dot.gov/research_areas/auto- mation.htm and https://www.its.dot.gov/research_areas/connected_vehicle.htm. 37 Transportation Safety Planning. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/tsp. 38 Success in Stewardship: FHWA Promotes Health in Transportation. https://www. environment.fhwa.dot.gov/Pubs_resources_tools/publications/newsletters/feb14nl.pdf.
FEDERAL HIGHWAY R&D 123 1. Vehicle CAV technology development is evolving so rapidly in the private sector that itâs difficult and risky for the public sector to fix on any particular technology or application; 2. Regardless of the technologies that prevail in the private market, system integration, cybersecurity, and interoperability (standards, specifications, certification requirements) will continue to be an essential responsibility that the public sector will share with the private sector; and 3. Public ownership of highway systems and infrastructure vests public agencies with responsibility for developing and integrating infrastructure sensors and communication with vehicles (vehicle- to-infrastructure [V2I] communication) and vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists or vehicle-to-everything [V2X] communi- cation). In this context, future ITS RD&T focused on interoper- ability, V2I,39 V2X,40 and continually updated guidance to states and local governments on V2I and V2X development and deploy- ment seem most important.41 EQUITY Transportation equity has many dimensions, including access to facilities across income, race, disability, age, and geography. Also important is deter- mining the appropriate allocation of cost responsibility for infrastructure across classes of users and charging equitable user fees and taxes to pay for it. Illustrative examples of equity issues in highway transportation are discussed in this section. Access The suburbanization of poverty and economic decline and population loss in some rural areas raise important access policy issues that are difficult and expensive to address, but automobile transport on public roads is likely to be central to any strategy to improve access in these settings. FHWA RD&T has addressed dimensions of these issues42 and developed guidance 39 Chang, J. 2017. An Overview of USDOT Connected Vehicle Roadside Unit Re- search Activities. FHWA-JPO-17-433. https://connectedautomateddriving.eu/wp-content/ uploads/2017/08/USDOT.pdf. 40 Connected Vehicles: Vehicle to Pedestrian Communications. https://www.its.dot.gov/ factsheets/pdf/CV_V2Pcomms.pdf. 41 Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) Resources. https://www.its.dot.gov/v2i. 42 See, for example, Shaheen, S., et al. 2018. Travel Behavior: Shared Mobility and Trans- portation Equity. FHWA-PL-17-007. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/otps/shared_use_ mobility_equity_final.pdf.
124 VITAL FEDERAL ROLE IN HIGHWAY INNOVATION on conformance with federal environmental justice requirements.43 The ITS JPO has a major RD&T initiative to harness advanced technologies to improve transportation services for the disabled through its Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative.44 Roughly 8 percent of UTC research is addressing some dimension of equity. Equity is not a focus of SP&R or NCHRP research. Equitable Taxes and Fees FHWA RD&T on vehicle cost responsibility for infrastructure damage has long served as a cornerstone for setting fair federal user charges across classes of vehicles and has supported development of tools for use by state DOTs in setting their user fees.45 The most recent comprehensive cost al- location study, however, is now more than 20 years old. Given changes in truck travel and loadings and growth of alternatively fueled vehicles, development of a research roadmap for a new cost allocation study, and conduct of such a study, would be timely and valuable for policy makers. The equity dimensions of alternative funding mechanisms for high- ways are poorly understood.46 Studies have examined the incidence of taxes across age, income, and classes of highway users, but rarely is this analysis combined with how the funds raised are expended. Tolls charged on managed lanes, for example, are often used to subsidize transit options in the same corridor, although the net impact on equity of such strategies has received little detailed analysis. This would be a fruitful area of FHWA R&D investment. GOVERNANCE In our federalist system of government, development of efficient highway networks for inter- and intra-state travel is a shared responsibility between the federal government and the states. The arrangements are complexâthe federal government provides funds, and attaches many requirements on the receipt of these fundsâbut the states, and increasingly MPOs, make the decisions about when and where to invest, and states provide most of 43 Twaddel, H., et al. 2019. Environmental Justice in Transportation Planning and Program- ming: State of the Practice. FHWA-HEP-19-022. 44 Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative. https://www.its.dot.gov/ research_areas/attri/index.htm. 45 Highway Cost Allocation Study. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/otps/costallocation. cfm. 46 TRB. 2011. Special Report 303: Equity of Evolving Transportation Finance Mechanisms. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. https://www. nap.edu/catalog/13240.
FEDERAL HIGHWAY R&D 125 the funding for highways as well as build, own, and operate them. From a federal perspective, an efficient and well-functioning network of Interstate highways is essential for continued economic prosperity. (As described pre- viously, the governance issues of coordinating investments across jurisdic- tions within megaregions is being explored in FHWA policy and planning research.) The U.S. federalâstate shared governance system has worked remark- ably well in the creation of the Interstates and the NHS, but the future viability of the Interstates is being tested as the federal share of funding has declined and major elements of the system require rebuilding from the ground up.47 FHWA policy research about the future federal role and fed- eral funding responsibility for Interstate highway transportation would be valuable for federal policy makers as they address the vision and purpose of the federal-aid highway program. Such questions are not currently being explored in UTC or SP&R research. SYSTEM PERFORMANCE AND ASSET MANAGEMENT Congress, in both the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act and the FAST Act, has required states to set performance goals for safety, infrastructure condition, congestion reduction, system reliability, freight op- erations, environmental protection, and reduced delays in project delivery. Congress has also required states and MPOs to develop plans to achieve these goals and performance metrics to measure progress. As described in Chapter 3, FHWAâs RD&T is assisting FHWA, states, and MPOs in this area in a wide variety of ways, including finalizing the necessary rulemak- ing, developing travel data necessary for establishing operational and safety performance metrics, collecting infrastructure condition performance data necessary for asset management planning, guidance in accelerating project delivery, and training and technical assistance for state and local officials.48 Related FHWA RD&T is also contributing across multiple FHWA and ITS JPO program areas. SP&R and NCHRP projects are also addressing many aspects of performance, such as â¢ developing operational standards for highway infrastructure; â¢ state DOT practice in setting performance targets and monitoring performance; â¢ incorporation of accessibility into performance metrics; 47 TRB. 2019. Special Report 329: Renewing the National Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25334. 48 USDOT. 2016. FHWA Annual Modal Research Plan 2017â2018. pp. 10, 36â37.
126 VITAL FEDERAL ROLE IN HIGHWAY INNOVATION â¢ incorporation of life-cycle costs into asset management; and â¢ benchmarking state DOT performance management. TRBâs committee for reviewing FHWAâs Long-Term Infrastructure Pro- gram (which includes the Long-Term Pavement Performance [LTPP] and Long-Term Bridge Performance [LTBP] programs) has noted that states need much better asset condition predictive models that account for a wide range of designs and materials and under a variety of traffic loading and environmental conditions for asset management planning and resource allocation.49 Whereas FHWAâs LTPP has already made available substantial pavement data for such models, the nascent state of bridge element data collection beyond visual inspection through the LTBP is limiting the calibration of models for decks, superstructures, and other elements. Continued and additional FHWA RD&T to accelerate data collection, including through accelerated laboratory testing, could help fill this gap. Focus on developing data for bridge component de- terioration models could also serve as a sharper focus for the LTBP program. The recent TRB report on the future of the Interstate Highway System50 noted that asset management for the Interstate Highway System is signifi- cantly hampered by a lack of knowledge about the structural condition of aged Interstate pavement foundations and their reconstruction history as well as about the extent, condition, and performance of Interstate inter- changes. These knowledge gaps are undermining effective asset manage- ment and resource allocation for the nationâs premier highway system. FUNDING AND FINANCE As described in Critical Issues in Transportation, polls show majority pub- lic support for motor fuel taxes to fund highways, but political consensus about raising federal user fees has been lacking for more than two decades, despite the actions by most states to raise their own fuel taxes since the federal tax was last increased in 1993. Motor fuel taxes at the federal and state levels are the principal sources of the more than $220 billion in annual revenues that are reinvested in highways, but the adequacy of such revenue is steadily falling because of inflation and growing fuel economy, which is resulting is less revenue per mile traveled. The Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) pi- lot programs authorized in 2015 by Congress and funded through FHWA 49 Committee for the Review of the FHWA Long-Term Infrastructure Program. 2019. Letter Report. http://www.trb.org/main/blurbs/178691.aspx. 50 TRB. 2019. Special Report 329: Renewing the National Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25334.
FEDERAL HIGHWAY R&D 127 RD&Tâs Highway Research and Development program, described in Chap- ter 3, is serving as the most important initiative in this area and should produce valuable insights about a range of important issues, including feasibility of various technologies, administrative costs, privacy, public acceptance, and equity. Research to date in this area reveals a broad lack of understanding in the public about how highway infrastructure is paid for and the most appropriate options for doing so. States involved in the pilot projects are already beginning to recommend that Congress authorize a larger-scale pilot demonstration at the national level, which could serve to raise national awareness and understanding about how highways are funded, the need for alternatives, and the potential for road user charges. Contracting for and managing a large-scale national pilot could be an im- portant role for FHWA to fill. FHWA RD&T is also supporting practitioner understanding about the potential for project-level financing to provide funding for congested, mostly urban highways through the Center for Innovative Financing Sup- port within the Innovative Program Delivery (IPD) initiative.51 In addition to researching case examples, the Center is providing guidance, supporting capacity building at the state and local level, and providing technical assis- tance. The modest level of funding for IPD ($2.5 million annually) implies that the funding for the Center for Innovative Financing Support is even smaller and perhaps inadequate. Neither the UTC program nor the states through their SP&R projects address funding and finance topics to any substantial extent, although there are a few NCHRP projects addressing such issues as the financing role of publicâprivate partnerships and how states are addressing the challenges associated with tolling managed lanes. States, of course, must match the $20 million in annual federal funding provided for the STSFA pilot program discussed above, which reflects their keen interest in the subject. GOODS MOVEMENT Congress recognized the importance of freight transportation in the FAST Act by stating a national policy of improving the national multimodal freight network, requiring designation of such a network; requiring FHWA to develop a National Freight Strategic Plan for the ITS JPO program to incorporate RD&T on freight; development of tools and data to evaluate freight system performance; and has placed new requirements on states to begin assessing freight system performance and developing freight plans.52 51 See https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ipd. 52 FAST Act Freight Planning and Policy Provisions. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/fastact/ factsheets/fpppfs.cfm.
128 VITAL FEDERAL ROLE IN HIGHWAY INNOVATION This growing area of FHWA RD&T is focusing on assessing the condi- tion of key freight infrastructure corridors and improving data and mod- eling on freight flows (such as through the Freight Analysis Framework [FAF]). Examples of information sharing and recent reporting include webi- nars in early 2019 to share information with states about vehicle probe data that can be used for freight performance measurement and the new freight section to the highway system Condition and Performance report.53 The FAF and mapping of the most congested freight corridors and performance data for the top 25 freight highway corridors in the most recent update to the Condition and Performance report are contributing to understand- ing freight system performance. FHWA is also embarking on developing a research roadmap to better address the important and complex issues associated with proposed changes to truck size and weight regulations.54 FHWAâs RD&T investment in freight performance (less than $15 million annually), however, seems out of scale with its importance to the economy and the consequences of growing truck travel on highway condition, safety, emissions, and performance. About 8 percent of UTC research projects address some aspects of freight transportation, usually dealing with truck emissions and alternative fuels, truck platooning and automation, truck parking, and safety, along with a few also addressing freight planning and freight flows at the regional or megaregion scale. About 4 percent of current SP&R studies are address- ing freight or truck issues, primarily regarding assessing and mitigating truck impacts on pavements and structures, truck platooning, safety, and parking and measures of truck flows. As discussed in Critical Issues in Transportation 2019, most freight moves by highway, but some freight can shift between modes, particularly between highway and rail. Rail can move freight with fewer emissions and crashes per ton-mile and has the potential to mitigate highway congestion, hence FHWAâs current focus on the performance of highways to move freight should not lose sight of the benefits of shifting freight from high- way to other modes. Such a mode shift has important implications when considering options to maximize public welfare when addressing Interstate highway capacity constraints. The public policy trade-offs associated with freight mode shifts, however, are complex and difficult to incorporate in state highway planning and investment strategies and their national impli- cations are rarely addressed. The development of demand and simulation 53 Status of the Nationâs Highways, Bridges, and Transit Conditions and Performance: 23rd Edition: Part III Highway Freight TransportationâReport to Congress. https://ops.fhwa.dot. gov/freight/infrastructure/nfn/rptc/cp23hwyfreight/index.htm. 54 TRB. 2018. Special Report 328: Research to Evaluate Truck Size and Weight Regulations. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. https://www. nap.edu/catalog/25321.
FEDERAL HIGHWAY R&D 129 models at the multi-state and national scale, as discussed in the âServing and Growing and Shifting Populationâ section, would also be useful in this context. INSTITUTIONAL AND WORKFORCE CAPACITY Critical Issues in Transportation 2019 argues that the ability of state and local government officials to deliver innovations developed by FHWA and others depends on the capability of their workforces. These capabilities are challenged for a number of reasons: â¢ Revenue shortfalls from highway user fees leading to a shrinking highway agency work force; â¢ Increasingly sophisticated technical systems to install and manage; â¢ Increased reliance on private contractors accompanied by more complex contracting and greater public-sector technical skill for effective design and oversight of these contracts; â¢ Public-sector salaries that are not competitive with the private sector; â¢ A large wave of retirements of the most senior, experienced DOT staffs who were hired in the heyday of highway construction de- cades ago; and â¢ Increased requirements for technical training in order to implement the latest innovations. As described in Chapter 3, FHWA RD&T is responding to these chal- lenges in myriad ways: training through the National Highway Institute; professional capacity building in ITS,55 planning,56 and advanced financ- ing approaches;57 guidance to states on workforce development strategies through the Center on Workforce Development;58 funding for five regional centers to provide training and technical assistance;59 guidebooks across the spectrum of highway innovations; and ongoing, in-person technical assistance in all of these areas. Congress has also given states discretion in 55 ITS Professional Capacity Building Program. https://www.pcb.its.dot.gov. 56 Transportation Planning Capacity Building. https://www.planning.dot.gov/about.asp. 57 Innovative Finance Capacity Building. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ipd/how_business/ capacity_building.aspx. 58 Center for Workforce Development. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovativeprograms/ centers/workforce_dev. 59 FHWA Region Transportation Workforce Centers. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovative- programs/centers/workforce_dev/professionals.aspx.
130 VITAL FEDERAL ROLE IN HIGHWAY INNOVATION 23 USC 504(e) to use the federal aid authorized in their core funding areas for training and professional development.60 Workforce recruitment, development, and retention is also an active area of applied research in NCHRP, which is funding research on workforce strategies for (a) Design, Construction, and Maintenance61 and (b) Trans- portation System Management and Operations,62 and has completed re- ports on strategies to attract and retain a capable workforce,63 a toolkit for attracting and retaining staff, including knowledge management to address loss of knowledge from retirements,64 and development of transportation agency leadership.65 Training and education of transportation professionals is a core component of the UTC program, which is preparing thousands and graduating hundreds of students each year. RESEARCH AND INNOVATION A Culture of Innovation in the Public Sector In Critical Issues in Transportation 2019, the TRB Executive Committee asks how to âbuild and sustain a culture of innovationâ in public-sector transportation agencies to respond to the many complex economic, techni- cal, funding, and environmental issues such agencies face. FHWA, SP&R, NCHRP, and UTC RD&T collectively represent almost $600 million annu- ally in activities that support the innovation process, albeit this represents but 0.3 percent of annual expenditures to maintain the road and highway network. As noted in Chapter 2, there are many barriers, including institu- tional barriers, to innovation, but implementation of innovation depends on the capability of state and local organizations. Important questions to answer are 60 Guidance for Use of Federal-Aid Core Program Funds for Training, Education, and Work- force Development. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovativeprograms/pdfs/504e_state_core_ programs_guidance_0318.pdf. 61 Workforce 2030âAttracting, Retaining, and Developing the Transportation Workforce: Design, Construction and Maintenance. https://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay. asp?ProjectID=4544. 62 Transportation System Management and Operations Workforce: Skills, Recruitment, Retention, and Career Development. https://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay. asp?ProjectID=4326. 63 Strategies to Attract and Retain a Capable Transportation Workforce. http://www.trb. org/Publications/Blurbs/164747.aspx. 64 Tools to Aid State DOTs in Responding to Workforce Challenges. http://www.trb.org/ Main/Public/Blurbs/161795.aspx. 65 Developing Transportation Agency Leaders. http://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/ 156267.aspx.
FEDERAL HIGHWAY R&D 131 â¢ What is the culture of innovation in state DOTs and local agencies and how would this culture be determined? There are exemplary examples of innovative DOTs, but how typical is this? â¢ Are FHWA technology transfer programs successful at fostering a culture of innovation in state DOTs and local agencies? What are the gaps and what are the most promising RD&T strategies that might overcome them? Expanding Private-Sector Innovation An important way to expand the amount and pace of innovation in the highway sector is through increasing the opportunities and roles of the private sector in design, construction, operations, and maintenance, but do- ing so is constrained by the dominant forms of contracting for service. The Design-Bid-Build method, the most common contracting method in use, limits opportunities for the private sector to innovate. Alternative contract- ing methods (ACMs) provide contractors with opportunities to propose alternative approaches, suggest different materials or processes, or, in the case of publicâprivate partnerships, to use a variety of innovations, includ- ing pricing and proprietary products. As described in Chapter 3, FHWA has long been encouraging use of ACMs and conducting research on their costs and benefits. The ITS JPO has been collaborating with private-sector de- velopers of CAVs through sharing data, software platforms, and standards development. These will continue to be valuable areas of R&D investment, particularly because of the potential benefits of expanding private-sector opportunities to innovate in all aspects of highway transportation. CONCLUSIONS 5.1 FHWA RD&T is addressing nationally significant topics identified in Critical Issues in Transportation, particularly regarding â¢ Transformational technologies; â¢ Resilience and security; â¢ Safety; â¢ Equity; â¢ System performance and asset management; â¢ Funding and finance; â¢ Institutional and workforce capacity; and â¢ Research and innovation. 5.2 FHWA RD&T is expanding its work in Goods Movement in re- sponse to congressional direction, but appears to lack the resources needed to make more substantive progress in this important and complex area.
132 VITAL FEDERAL ROLE IN HIGHWAY INNOVATION 5.3 There are compelling policy and operational issues that could jus- tify even greater levels of RD&T investment by FHWA and the ITS JPO in the future: â¢ Transformational Technologiesâby (a) continuing to foster interoperability of rapidly evolving connected and automated vehicle technologies, as well as technologies and systems to con- nect infrastructure to CAVs; (b) monitoring and forecasting how CAVs will affect highway performance and capacity; and (c) by collecting data about shared mobility travel and sponsoring research on the broad implications of this fast-growing trend. â¢ Energy and Sustainabilityâby collaborating with DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency R&D on how to foster the recharging infrastructure needed for electric drive and low GHG emission fuels for highway transportation. â¢ Serving a Growing and Shifting Populationâby addressing (a) how to ensure that megaregions are well connected internally and with the rest of the nation and the world; (b) analyze fund- ing options for Interstate highways in rural areas with declin- ing populations; and (c) improve the ability to estimate future Interstate highway travel at the network level. â¢ Resilienceâby collaborating with other federal agencies con- ducting R&D addressing infrastructure vulnerability to natu- ral and man-made disasters by developing tools to help state and local asset owners assess and manage resilience in a risk- management framework; incorporate results from climate re- search into standards for resilient design; through analysis of funding policies, designs, and standards to build in flexibility to allow for needed adaptation; and development of policies regarding the rebuilding of more resilient infrastructure after it is damaged or destroyed. â¢ Safetyâby focusing ITS RD&T on systems integration, inter- operability, V2I roadside equipment, vulnerable road users, and continually updated guidance on V2I development and deploy- ment as private-sector CAV technologies evolve and find market acceptance. â¢ Equityâby supporting R&D to (a) improve access of disad- vantaged populations and (b) develop improved models and data for an updated study of highway cost allocation to assess whether classes of vehicles are being charged for their fair share of highway costs. â¢ Governanceâthrough more expansive and in-depth policy re- search on the appropriate federal policy and funding role in Interstate highway transportation.
FEDERAL HIGHWAY R&D 133 â¢ System Performance and Asset Managementâby continuing to assist state DOTs and MPOs in responding to congressional directives in performance planning, performance measurement, and asset management while also filling gaps in knowledge about the condition of Interstate highway pavement founda- tions and the extent, condition, and performance of Interstate interchanges. â¢ Funding and Financeâby supporting and managing a large- scale national pilot program in mileage-based user fees. â¢ Goods Movementâresearch and model development to under- stand the national policy trade-offs of shifting freight to other modes when considering expansion of Interstate and other in- tercity highways. â¢ Research and Innovationâto foster and support a culture of innovation by states, MPOs, and local highway agencies and by conducting RD&T on ways to create more opportunity for private-sector innovation to occur in highway transportation. 5.4 As important as the above topics are, resource constraints limit FHWA and ITS JPO RD&T programsâ ability to engage sufficiently in all of them.