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State DOT Product Evaluation Processes (2024)

Chapter: Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - State of Practice Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. State DOT Product Evaluation Processes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27809.
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23   3.1 Introduction This chapter presents current practices used by state DOTs to evaluate product performance through established state DOT PEPs. To collect the most up-to-date information on the evaluation processes used by state DOTs, a web-based national survey was distributed to the members of the NTPEP Technical Service Program and the AASHTO COMP, which includes representatives from all 50 state DOTs and the Washington, DC, DOT. The findings presented in this chapter are based on 42 state DOT respondents. The analysis of relevant documents obtained from the survey is also included to support the findings. The chapter begins with reporting the general findings regard- ing the process management of PEPs. It then presents policies and current practices related to product evaluation. Next, the chapter discusses the categorizations of products for evaluation. Finally, the chapter presents product evaluation resources. It is important to note that the 42 state DOT respondents were not required to respond to all the survey questions. As a result, the number of respondents for each question varies. Appendix A provides the complete survey questionnaire, and Appendix B provides individual agency responses to each survey question. The following sections discuss the key findings from the survey. 3.2 Process Management of PEPs State DOTs have employed various types of process management for their PEPs. Figure 7 shows that more than 90% of the 42 DOT respondents have used the AASHTO NTPEP resources and have an established A/QPL. Twenty-seven state DOTs (64%) reported that they have a formal state DOT PEP, and 16 state DOTs (38%) indicated that they have an informal state DOT PEP. However, 15 out of the 42 state DOTs (36%) reported that they have relied on product evaluations from other transportation agencies. Iowa DOT indicated that it uses independent laboratories for product evaluations. The survey respondents were asked to identify the unit or individual who oversees their prod- uct evaluations. Figure 8 summarizes the results of this question. More than one-third of the 42 DOT respondents reported that they relied on SMEs (22 DOTs, 52%), materials engineers (17 DOTs, 40%), and an office of materials and testing (14 DOTs, 33%) to oversee their PEP. More than 10 DOT respondents also indicated that they have relied on the product evaluation administrator/coordinator (11 DOTs, 26%) and product evaluation board/committee (13 DOTs, 31%) to oversee their PEPs. Iowa DOT noted that it utilizes testing engineers to oversee its product evaluation. Oklahoma DOT indicated that it uses its Structural Materials Engineer, Chief Chemist, Bridge Engineer, and Storm Water Action Team to oversee its product evalua- tion process. C H A P T E R 3 State of Practice Survey

24 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes 2 15 16 27 38 39 0 10 20 30 40 50 Other Rely on evaluations from other transportation agencies Informal agency product evaluations Formal agency PEP Using A/QPL Use of AASHTO's National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP) Number of DOT responses Figure 7. Types of product evaluation processes (n 5 42). 7% 5% 10% 19% 26% 31% 33% 40% 52% 0 10 20 30 Other Office of Product Evaluation Product evaluation manager/director Product evaluation engineer Product evaluation administrator/coordinator Product evaluation board/committee Office of materials and testing Materials engineer Subject-matter experts Number of DOT responses Figure 8. Agency units and individuals to oversee product evaluation (n 5 42). Out of the 42 DOT responses, 16 state DOTs (38%) reported that they have dedicated full-time staff to operate and manage the state DOT PEP and associated A/QPLs (see Figure 9). Twenty-six DOTs mentioned that they have staff assigned to the PEP and associated A/QPLs, but these staff also have other responsibilities. State DOT survey respondents who indicated that they have dedicated full-time staff for their PEP were asked to identify the total number of their PEP staff. Figure 10 shows that 15 of the 16 state DOTs (94%) who acknowledged that they have dedicated PEP staffing noted having one to five dedicated full-time PEP staff members. Pennsylvania DOT has 11 to 15 full-time staff members to operate and manage its PEP and associated A/QPLs. Figure 11 shows that only nine DOTs (21%) allocate annual funding to their PEP. Caltrans indicated that it allocates funding equivalent to 1,000 hours annually to its PEP. The Idaho, South Dakota, and Tennessee DOTs allocate $25,000 annually to their PEPs. Maryland DOT allocates, on average, $80,000 annually to its PEP. Florida DOT mentioned that APL product evaluations use funding from the general budget. Some state DOTs use general materials budgets and product budgets to perform product evaluations, while other state DOTs that have limited funding place the burden of funding for testing and evaluation on the manufacturers or suppliers submitting the product for evaluation. This is a challenge that needs to be addressed.

State of Practice Survey 25   Yes, 38% No, 62% Figure 9. Dedicated full-time staff for PEPs (n 5 42). Yes, 21% No, 79% Figure 11. Annual funding for PEPs (n 5 42). 94% 0% 6% 0% 0% 0 4 8 12 16 1–5 staff 6–10 staff 11–15 staff 16–20 staff > 20 staff Number of DOT responses Figure 10. Number of dedicated full-time staff for state DOT PEPs (n 5 16).

26 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes The survey respondents were asked to identify the benefits of implementing a state DOT PEP. Figure 12 summarizes the results of this question. Approximately 80% of the 42 DOT responses indicated that implementing a state DOT PEP provides value to the agency’s operation (34 DOTs, 81%) and better consistency in evaluating products (33 DOTs, 79%). Two-thirds of the 42 DOT respondents reported that the main benefit of implementing a state DOT PEP is providing a more efficient process to evaluate products. Twenty-four DOTs (57%) also stated that reduced time needed to evaluate and approve products is a main benefit of implementing a PEP in their agencies. Approval of environmentally friendly products is also considered a benefit of implementing a state DOT PEP according to eight state DOTs (19%). Florida DOT reported other benefits of implementing its PEP, including utilizing the APL process for compliance with Buy America/Build America requirements. 3.3 Policies and Practices of Product Evaluation This section presents the current practices and policies for state DOT PEPs. Figure  13 shows the methods and tools used to evaluate products. Out of 42 DOT responses, 40 DOTs (95%) indicated that they review technical worksheets and submittal information to evalu- ate their products; 36 DOTs (86%) use laboratory testing; 32 DOTs (76%) use field testing; and 23 DOTs (55%) use pilot testing. Additionally, approximately 17 (40%) of the 42 DOT 4.8% 19.0% 57.1% 66.7% 78.6% 81.0% 0 10 20 30 40 Other Approval of environmentally friendly products Reduced time needed to evaluate and approve products More efficient evaluation process Better consistency in evaluating products Providing value to agency operations Number of DOT responses Figure 12. Benefits of implementing a PEP (n 5 42). 21.4% 40.5% 42.9% 45.2% 54.8% 76.2% 85.7% 95.2% 0 10 20 30 40 50 Proof-of-concept testing Demonstrations Rely on evaluations from other transportation agencies Rely on evaluations from third parties Pilot testing Field testing Laboratory testing Review technical worksheets and submittal information Number of DOT responses Figure 13. Methods and tools used in the product evaluation process (n 5 42).

State of Practice Survey 27   respondents stated that they have relied on product evaluation from third parties (19 DOTs, 45%), other transportation agencies (18 DOTs, 43%), and demonstrations (17 DOTs, 41%). Nine state DOTs (21%) also used proof-of-concept testing for their product evaluation. For laboratory testing performed outside the DOT, the laboratory and testing must be AASHTO- or state DOT-certified and approved for use in product evaluations by the state DOT. The survey respondents were asked to identify who is allowed to submit an application for a product evaluation. Figure 14 shows that most of the 42 DOT respondents allow the product manufacturers (39 DOTs, 93%) and product representatives (35 DOTs, 83%) to submit an application for a product to be evaluated in their agencies. Other personnel who are allowed to submit an application for a product evaluation include: • Third-party suppliers (14 DOTs, 33%), • Prime contractors (13 DOTs, 31%), • Subcontractors (10 DOTs, 24%), • Internal agency staff (nine DOTs, 21%), • Third-party consultants (six DOTs, 14%), and • Other government agency staff (five DOTs, 12%). Similarly, the survey respondents were asked to identify who is allowed to evaluate products. More than half of the 42 DOT responses indicated that this includes designated SMEs within the agency (36 or 86%), materials engineers (23 or 55%), and state DOT PEP staff (22 or 52%) (see Figure 15). The Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Pennsylvania DOTs have used 7.1% 11.9% 14.3% 21.4% 23.8% 31.0% 33.3% 83.3% 92.9% 0 10 20 30 40 50 Other Other government agency staff Third-party consultants Internal agency staff Subcontractors Prime contractors Third-party suppliers Product representatives Product manufacturers Number of DOT responses Figure 14. Personnel allowable for submitting a product application (n 5 42). 4.8% 4.8% 11.9% 14.3% 52.4% 54.8% 85.7% 0 10 20 30 40 Other Third-party subject-matter experts Inspection staff Any internal agency employee PEP staff Materials engineers Designated subject-matter experts within the agency Number of DOT responses Figure 15. Personnel allowed to evaluate a product (n 5 42).

28 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes inspection staff to evaluate their products. The Illinois and Maryland DOTs have used third-party SMEs to evaluate their products. South Carolina DOT indicated that it has included personnel from FHWA to evaluate its products. Figure 16 shows that 29 out of the 42 DOT respondents (71%) do not allow third parties to evalu- ate products. Eleven DOTs (27%) stated that third parties are allowed to evaluate some products (e.g., depending on the product). Arizona DOT allows third parties to evaluate its products. Montana DOT allows third parties to evaluate only products that are not their submission. The 13 state DOTs that allow third parties to evaluate their products were asked to identify how the product evaluator is selected and paid. Figure 17 illustrates that five DOTs stated that the third-party evaluator is selected and paid by the entity submitting the product. Three state DOTs indicated that their agency selects and pays the third-party evaluator. Wisconsin DOT mentioned that the third-party evaluator is selected and paid only through the NTPEP process. Figure 18 summarizes typical evaluation timelines once an application for a product is received. Twenty-nine of the 42 DOT responses (69%) indicated that the timeline of the product evalu- ation varies depending on the product. The Maryland, Oklahoma, and Oregon DOTs reported that the typical timelines to evaluate their products range from 1 to 3 months. The Arizona and North Carolina DOTs reported that the typical timelines to evaluate their products range from 4 to 6 months. The Montana and Rhode Island DOTs reported that the typical timelines to evaluate their products are 12 months or more. Caltrans stated that the initial assessment con- ducted through its PEP is 90 days, but further eval uation duration is unknown because PEP staff is not involved after the initial assessment. Utah DOT indicated that it has a worksheet designed to verify evaluations automatically, and the timeline of the review process typically ranges from 7 to 30 days. Vermont Agency of Transportation also mentioned that the typical time- line of the product evaluation ranges from 7 to 30 days. 7.7% 23.1% 30.8% 38.5% 0 5 10 Other Selected and paid by the agency Not sure Selected and paid by the entity submitting the product Number of DOT responses Figure 17. Selection and payment of third parties when evaluating a product (n 5 13). 2.4% 2.4% 26.8% 70.7% 0 10 20 30 40 Yes, any product Yes, but only products not submitted by the third party Depends on the product No Number of DOT responses Figure 16. Third parties allowed to evaluate a product (n 5 42).

State of Practice Survey 29   The survey respondents were asked to identify and explain whether their agencies have spe- cific product evaluation policies. Approximately three-fourths of the DOT respondents have policies in place to evaluate their products. For example, Alabama DOT has procedures for the evaluation and maintenance of product lists, including a workflow of six sections as follows: • Qualified sources, • Approved materials, • Qualified materials, • Approved traffic control devices and materials, • Qualified traffic control materials, and • Approved intelligent transportation system (ITS) devices and materials. Figure 19 shows an example of the PEP policy at Florida DOT. One of the responding state DOTs noted the following: Currently, there is no written policy or guideline for product evaluations. The products submitted to the [state] Product Evaluation List are first reviewed by the New Products Engineer for proper product sub mittal and supporting information. It is then sent to the Review Committee with subject-matter experts for that particular product for their review, feedback, or recommendations. The product could either be approved (based on Department specifications), placed on a trial (no Department specifications or the product is new or innovative), or it could be rejected (based on Department specifications or not a product used by the Department). Another responding state DOT stated the following: The Department will evaluate only those new products which have the potential to fulfill a real need, economically provide a satisfactory level of service, and are not covered by existing specifications. It is the burden of the vendor to demonstrate that a need for a new product exists and that his product has a good potential for satisfying this need. Vendor proposals that attempt to place the responsibility for developing the application for a product being offered with the Department will not be considered. Furthermore, the Department will consider for evaluation only those products which have been adequately developed, screened, and tested by the manufacturers. These evaluation procedures are intended to include only products used in the construction or maintenance of highways and bridges and will generally exclude requests for evaluation of 1) equipment; 2) test methods; 3) test equipment; 4) construction and main- tenance methods; and 5) products for which specifications exist or for which an independent evaluation procedure exists. Such requests will be referred to other appropriate persons. One final responding state DOT mentioned that a person fills out new product application and submits it to the Chair of New Products Committee, who distributes it to SME areas on a committee. The application must show who at [the Department] is interested in using it; if there is no [Department] interest, the product is rejected. If committee 11.9% 69.0% 4.8% 2.4% 4.8% 7.1% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Other Varies, depends on the product 12 months or more 7–9 months 4–6 months 1–3 months Number of DOT responses Figure 18. Typical timeline to evaluate a product (n 5 42).

30 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes members of interest feel it is potentially beneficial, it goes on the list with the name of the [Department] evaluator to be contacted when/if it is used. If not used after two years, it is removed from the list and a letter is sent to the manufacturer. Anything with chemicals in it goes to Env[ironmental] for review of toxicity. The survey respondents were then asked whether their agencies have an approach to evaluat- ing innovative products. Out of 42 DOT responses, 32 DOTs (76%) indicated that they have a method to evaluate new and innovative products even if they do not have an established evalu- ation process (see Figure 20). 3.4 Categorizations of Products for Evaluation Figure 21 summarizes the typical types of products submitted for evaluation. More than two- thirds of the 42 DOT respondents indicated that they had evaluated the following categories of products: • Sealants (38 DOTs, 91%), • Concrete materials (38 DOTs, 91%), • Erosion control (37 DOTs, 88%), • Paint/coatings (35 DOTs, 83%), • Waterproofing (34 DOTs, 81%), • Asphalt materials (32 DOTs, 76%), Florida DOT Approved Products List: This list provides assurance to Contractors, consultants, designers, and Department personnel that specific products and materials are approved for use on Department facilities. The Department will limit the Contractor’s use of products and materials that require use of APL items to those listed on the APL effective at the time of placement. Where the terms Qualified Products List (QPL) appear in the Contract Documents, they will be synonymous with Approved Product List (APL). Manufacturers seeking to have a product evaluated for the APL must submit a Request for Product Consideration application. Applications must include supporting documentation as required by the Specifications, Standard Plans, and APL approval process. Required test reports must be conducted by an independent laboratory or other independent testing facility and required drawings and calculations must be signed and sealed by a Professional Engineer licensed in the State of Florida unless defined otherwise in the Specifications, Standard Plans, and APL approval process requirements. Applications must be signed by a legally responsible person employed by the manufacturer of the product. Manufacturer name and material designation (product name, product model/part number/style number, etc.) submitted on the application must be as identified on the product, product packaging or product labels as required by the Specifications. Products that have successfully completed the Department’s evaluation process are eligible for inclusion on the APL. Unless defined otherwise in the Specifications, Standard Plans, or APL approval process requirements, products listed on the APL must have an associated photograph, drawing, or product label submitted by the product manufacturer before listing on the APL. Manufacturers are required to submit requests to the Department for approval of any modifications or alterations made to a product listed on the APL. This includes, but is not limited to, design, materials, fabrication methods or operational modifications. Modification or alteration requests must be submitted along with supporting documentation that the product continues to meet the Specification or Standard Plans requirements. A product sample and additional product testing may be required for the modification evaluation. Any marked variations from original test values, failure to notify the Department of any modifications or alterations, or any evidence of inadequate performance of a product as a result of product modification or alteration, may result in removal of the product from the APL. Manufacturers must submit supporting documentation to the Department for a periodic review and re-approval of their APL products on or before the product’s original approval anniversary. APL products that are not re-approved may be removed from the APL. Figure 19. Florida DOT policies for evaluation of products.

State of Practice Survey 31   Yes, 76% No, 24% Figure 20. Approaches to evaluating innovative products (n 5 42). 11.9% 33.3% 35.7% 38.1% 38.1% 40.5% 50.0% 54.8% 59.5% 59.5% 61.9% 64.3% 64.3% 64.3% 69.0% 73.8% 73.8% 76.2% 81.0% 83.3% 88.1% 90.5% 90.5% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 Other ROW structures Technologies Environmental ITS Bridge structures Steel Maintenance Pedestrian safety Soils/Geotechnical Piping Signage Traffic (workzone safety) Traffic (traffic control) Roadway safety Adhesives Drainage Asphalt materials Waterproofing Paint/coatings Erosion control Concrete materials Sealants Number of DOT responses Figure 21. Types of products evaluated by DOTs (n 5 42).

32 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes • Drainage (31 DOTs, 74%), • Adhesives (31 DOTs, 74%), and • Roadway safety (29 DOTs, 69%). More than half of the 42 DOT respondents indicated that they had evaluated the following categories of products: • Traffic control (27 DOTs, 64%), • Work zone safety (27 DOTs, 64%), • Signage (27 DOTs, 64%), • Piping (26 DOTs, 62%), • Soils/Geotechnical (25 DOTs, 60%), • Pedestrian safety (25 DOTs, 60%), • Maintenance (23 DOTs, 55%), and • Steel (21 DOTs, 50%). Figure 22 also shows that more than one-third of the 42 DOT respondents indicated that they had evaluated the following categories of products: • Bridge structures (17 DOTs, 41%), • ITS (16 DOTs, 38%), • Environmental (16 DOTs, 38%), • Technologies (15 DOTs, 36%), and • Right-of-way (ROW) structures (14 DOTs, 33%). Additionally, Florida DOT has evaluated products related to lighting systems, Oklahoma DOT has evaluated products related to geogrids and geotextiles, and Washington State DOT has evaluated products related to pavement markings and flexible guideposts. Out of the 42 DOT responses, 37 DOTs (88%) have categorized their products submitted for evaluation based on material types, such as asphalt, concrete, and sealants (see Figure 22). Twenty-four DOTs (57%) indicated that they have used suitability criteria with existing approved or qualified products for categorization. The less common uses for the categorization of products submitted for evaluation include agency divisions, such as construction, maintenance, and traffic (13 DOTs, 31%), and a new or innovative product (11 DOTs, 26%). Additionally, the Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, and Utah DOTs stated that they have catego- rized their products based on specifications. North Carolina DOT has categorized its submitted products by its functions. 11.9% 26.2% 31.0% 57.1% 88.1% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 Other Whether the product is new and innovative By agency division (e.g., construction, maintenance, traffic) Whether a product fits with an existing approved/qualified product By material type (e.g., asphalt, concrete, sealants) Number of DOT responses Figure 22. Categorizations of products (n 5 42).

State of Practice Survey 33   The survey respondents were asked whether their agencies have an APL or QPL, and 41 DOT respondents (98%) indicated that they do have an APL or QPL in place. Once a product is approved or qualified, it is added to the list. The timelines for keeping the products approved vary among state DOTs. Figure 23 shows that 25 state DOTs out of the 42 DOT respondents (60%) keep approved products until they are removed from the product list. Nine DOTs (21%) keep approved products in the APL for 4 to 6 years. Eight DOTs (19%) keep approved products in the APL for 1 to 3 years. Out of the 42 DOT responses, 16 DOTs (38%) stated that they have used a follow-up process to re-evaluate approved products (see Figure 24). Twenty-three DOTs (55%) indicated that they have used the same evaluation process for re-evaluation. For example, Delaware DOT stated that APL materials are only re-evaluated if there are issues with field performance. The Idaho Transportation Department has used a 5-year product recertification program. Manufacturers are required to certify that the product continues to be manufactured to the same specifications as originally evaluated or re-evaluated if changes have been made to the design or composition. Iowa DOT stated the following: “for products that are not accepted by NTPEP, we spell out the frequency of re-evaluation, and these products are treated like a new product.” Similarly, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet pointed out that “the re-evaluation process depends on the type of product. Most products on the Approved Materials List (AML) rely on current NTPEP reviews.” Louisiana DOTD stated that “the product manufacturer is sent a letter notifying him that the product is being re-evaluated and he is asked to submit an application and all other additional information listed in the ‘Qualification’ Procedures.” Michigan DOT indicated that the follow-up process of product evaluation varies—some products require full resubmittal, some require an abbreviated resubmittal, and others do not require a resubmittal. North Carolina DOT mentioned that “for products that we request a field trial as part of the evaluation, a report is submitted, and a post-installation inspection is performed if viewable/ beneficial.” Tennessee DOT stated the following: “Certain products such as geotextiles and geo- synthetics must be re-qualified through the NTPEP. Products that have been reformulated must also be re-qualified. However, for the most part, products remain on our QPL until removed.” 7.1% 38.1% 54.8% 0 5 10 15 20 25 Not sure Yes No, same evaluation process is used for re-evaluation Number of DOT responses Figure 24. Follow-up processes of approved products (n 5 42). 19.0% 21.4% 59.5% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 1–3 years 4–6 years Until removed from list Number of DOT responses Figure 23. Approved timelines of A/QPLs (n 5 42).

34 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes 3.5 Product Evaluation Resources Most state DOTs (41 out of 42 DOT responses, 98%) have used the AASHTO NTPEP (see Figure 25). While this figure points out that most state DOTs employ NTPEP for product evalu- ations, the level at which NTPEP is used varies. The Tennessee and New Hampshire DOTs noted their extensive use of NTPEP for product evaluations, while other state DOTs, such as Mississippi DOT, stated that they rarely use NTPEP in their product evaluations. Figure 26 shows the typical components of NTPEP used by approximately 80% (34) of the 42 DOT respondents: • Attending the NTPEP Annual Meeting (35 DOTs, 83%), • Product evaluation information for common products used by state DOTs (35 DOTs, 83%), • State DOT usage of the NTPEP product data on DataMine (34 DOTs, 81%), and • Facility auditing of quality management systems and on-site inspections of plants (33 DOTs, 79%). Figure 27 summarizes the benefits of using NTPEP. More than two-thirds of the 42 DOT responses indicated the following benefits of using NTPEP: • Increases efficiency in product evaluation (34 DOTs, 81%), • Prevents duplication of evaluation effort (32 DOTs, 76%), • Produces lower evaluation costs through shared information (31 DOTs, 74%), and • Reduces the time needed to evaluate and approve a product for use (29 DOTs, 69%). Additionally, 25 state DOTs (60%) mentioned that using NTPEP improves their streamlining of new product evaluation processes. Nineteen state DOTs (45%) noted the benefits of using NTPEP relate to using other transportation agencies’ product evaluations and approvals. Other benefits of using NTPEP include adding trust to test data and creating an unbiased source. For example, the Idaho Transportation Department stated that “NTPEP evaluation is unbiased, so it is considered a reliable source of test data.” North Carolina DOT indicated that using NTPEP improves trust in test data. Half of the 42 state DOT respondents have used the AASHTO UP3 (formally known as APEL) for their PEP. Figure 28 summarizes the components of UP3 that 21 state DOTs have used to evaluate their products. The top three components of UP3 are: • Links to state resources/agency product lists and procedures (17 DOTs, 81%), • State proprietary products (15 DOTs, 71%), and • State-patented products (10 DOTs, 48%). Yes, 98% No, 2% Figure 25. State DOT use of NTPEP (n 5 42).

State of Practice Survey 35   33.3% 38.1% 47.6% 71.4% 81.0% 0 5 10 15 20 AASHTO product evaluations DOT product evaluations State-patented products State proprietary products Links to state resources/agency product lists and/or procedures Number of DOT responses Figure 28. Components of AASHTO UP3 (n 5 21). 9.5% 16.7% 50.0% 78.6% 81.0% 83.3% 83.3% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 Other NTPEP YouTube channel UP3 DataMine Repository Facility auditing of quality management systems and on-site inspections of plants State DOT usage of the NTPEP product data on DataMine Product evaluations of common products used by DOTs Attend NTPEP Annual Meeting Number of DOT responses Figure 26. State DOT use of NTPEP resources (n 5 42). 9.5% 45.2% 59.5% 69.0% 73.8% 76.2% 81.0% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 Other Uses other transportation agencies’ product evaluations and approval Streamlines new product evaluation processes Reduces the time needed to evaluate and approve a product for use Produces lower evaluation costs through shared information Prevents duplication of evaluation effort Increases efficiency in product evaluation Number of DOT responses Figure 27. Benefits of using NTPEP (n 5 42).

36 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes Additionally, the UP3 components related to AASHTO product evaluations are used by seven DOTs (33%) out of 21 respondents, and the components related to state DOT product evalua- tions are used by eight DOTs (38%) out of 21 respondents. The survey respondents were asked to identify the benefits of using UP3. Figure 29 summa- rizes the results of this question. Out of 21 DOT responses, 18 state DOTs (86%) indicated that preventing duplicative effort is the main benefit of using UP3; 15 state DOTs (71%) indicated that increasing efficiency in product evaluation is the main benefit of using UP3; and 13 state DOTs (62%) indicated that reducing evaluation time and lowering evaluation costs are the main benefits of using UP3. Twelve state DOTs (57%) also mentioned that streamlining new product evaluation processes is the main benefit of using UP3. Additionally, Michigan DOT indicated that using UP3 “provides information on materials we otherwise might not evaluate.” 3.6 Survey Summary This chapter describes the current practices used by state DOTs to evaluate product potential and long-term performance. These current practices were collected by analyzing 42 state DOT responses from the survey distributed to all 50 state DOTs and the Washington, DC, DOT. More than 90% of the 42 DOT respondents use the AASHTO NTPEP and include an A/QPL in their product evaluation process. More than one-third of the 42 DOT respondents have relied on SMEs, materials engineers, and an office of materials and testing to oversee their PEPs. Sixteen state DOTs have dedicated full-time staff to operate and manage their PEP and associated A/QPLs. Fourteen of these 16 DOTs have one to five dedicated full-time staff members for their PEP. Only nine DOTs out of the 42 DOT respondents have allocated annual funding to their PEP. The amount of annual funding allocated to state DOT PEPs varies among these nine DOTs. According to the respondents, the main benefits of implementing state DOT PEPs include the following: • Adds value to agency operations (34 DOTs), • Enhances consistency in evaluating products (33 DOTs), • Provides a more efficient process to evaluate products (28 DOTs), and • Reduces the time needed to evaluate and approve products (24 DOTs). Regarding the methods and tools used in the product evaluation process, the survey results indicated that 40 DOTs have reviewed technical worksheets and submittal information to evaluate 9.5% 57.1% 61.9% 61.9% 71.4% 85.7% 0 5 10 15 20 Other Streamlines new product evaluation processes Produces lower evaluation costs through shared information Reduces the time needed to evaluate and approve a product for use Increases efficiency in product evaluation Prevents duplication of effort Number of DOT responses Figure 29. Benefits of using AASHTO UP3 (n 5 21).

State of Practice Survey 37   their products; 36 DOTs have used laboratory testing; 32 DOTs have used field testing; and 23 DOTs have used pilot testing. Most of the 42 DOT respondents allowed the product manu- facturers and representatives to submit an application for product evaluation. More than half of the 42 DOT respondents have used designated SMEs within the agency, materials engineers, and state DOT PEP staff to evaluate products. The survey results also indicated that the evaluation timeline varies depending on the types of products. Approximately three-fourths of the 42 DOT respondents have policies in place to evaluate their products. Regarding the categories of products submitted for evaluation, the survey results indicated that 37 DOTs have categorized the products submitted for evaluation based on material types (e.g., asphalt, concrete, and sealants), and 24 DOTs have categorized the products submitted for evaluation based on suitability with existing approved or qualified products. Forty-one DOTs out of the 42 DOT respondents (98%) indicated that they have an A/QPL in place. Once a product is approved or qualified, it is added to the product list. The timelines for keeping these products listed as approved vary among state DOTs. The survey results also indicated that 25 DOTs out of the 42 DOT respondents (60%) keep approved products until they are removed from the product list. Further, 16 DOTs out of the 42 DOT respondents have used a follow-up process to re-evaluate approved products, while 24 DOTs out of the 42 DOT respondents have used the same evaluation process for re-evaluation. Regarding product evaluation resources, the survey results showed that most state DOTs have used the AASHTO NTPEP. The typical components of NTPEP that state DOTs use in their agency for product evaluation are (1) attending the NTPEP Annual Meeting, (2) evaluation processes for common products, (3) NTPEP product data on DataMine, and (4) facility audit- ing of quality management systems and on-site inspections of plants. The main benefits of using NTPEP include the following: • Increases efficiency in product evaluation (34 DOTs), • Prevents duplication of evaluation effort (32 DOTs), • Produces lower evaluation costs through shared information (31 DOTs), and • Reduces the time needed to evaluate and approve a product for use (29 DOTs). Finally, the survey results showed that 21 DOTs of the 42 DOT respondents have used AASHTO UP3 (formally known as APEL) for their PEP. The top three components of UP3 are (1) links to state resources/agency product lists and/or procedures, (2) state proprietary products, and (3) state-patented products. The main benefits of using UP3 indicated in the survey are (1) pre- venting the duplication of effort, (2) increasing efficiency in product evaluation, (3) reducing evaluation time and producing lower evaluation costs, and (4) streamlining new product evalu- ation processes. Based on this collection of responses from the survey, several state DOTs were highlighted as having practices of interest. These states were contacted to collect additional details regarding their PEPs. Whereas the survey provided a breadth of information regarding state DOT PEPs, the case example interviews offer detailed insight into the selected state DOT PEPs. The fol- lowing chapter presents these detailed case examples.

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The construction, maintenance, and operation of transportation infrastructure requires immense amounts of products and materials. New products, materials, engineered systems, and innovative technologies are presented to state departments of transportation (DOTs) by suppliers and manufacturers, as well as sometimes by contractors and internal DOT staff.

NCHRP Synthesis 616: State DOT Product Evaluation Processes, from TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program, documents current state DOT practices, funding, policies, management techniques, tools, and workflows of product evaluation processes.

Supplemental to the report is a dataset of various administrative documents from different state DOTs.

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