National Academies Press: OpenBook

State DOT Product Evaluation Processes (2024)

Chapter: Chapter 4 - Case Examples

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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 4 - Case Examples." 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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38 Follow-up case examples were conducted to gather further details regarding state DOT PEPs. Seven state DOTs were willing to participate in the case example interviews. The case example selection was based on the following questions: • Did your agency complete the survey questionnaire? • Does your agency use a formal product evaluation process or program? • Does your agency have an approved or qualified product/materials list? • Is your agency willing to participate in a follow-up interview? Based on these qualifications, 12 state DOTs were identified and contacted to participate in a case example interview. Further, these states have geographic dispersion across the United States and represent each of the four AASHTO regions. The finalized list of state DOTs interviewed for the case examples included New Hampshire (AASHTO Region 1), Florida and Tennessee (AASHTO Region 2), Michigan and Ohio (AASHTO Region 3), and Arizona and California (AASHTO Region 4). Details of the individual interviews are outlined in the following sections. The interviews were conducted using a semi-structured approach, and the questions and talking points for the interviews can be found in Appendix C. Each state was invited to provide its narrative and additional documentation or website links along with the provided talking points. The case examples were summarized using the following sections: introduction; PEP; A/QPLs; evaluating products that do not align with an A/QPL; product evaluation timelines; benefits and challenges; evaluating proprietary, environmental, and Buy America/Build America products; and lessons learned. 4.1 Arizona DOT The Arizona DOT PEP unit operates under the Arizona DOT Research Center. The PEP unit develops and administers all aspects of the product evaluation process. The PEP unit coordinates the review and acceptance of highway construction and maintenance products for Arizona DOT’s use. On average, the PEP unit receives around 220 product evaluation applications annually that are then processed and evaluated by Arizona DOT staff. Products that are approved for use are then added to Arizona DOT’s APL. The APL includes all products that have been evaluated using specifications and associated criteria, and once a product is listed, it can be used for Arizona DOT highway construction and maintenance. The PEP unit works with two Arizona DOT committees for product evaluations: the Materials Product Evaluation Committee (MatPEC) and the Traffic Control Product Evaluation Committee (TCPEC). Each committee has no less than seven members (as of 2023, each committee has 15 members); the MatPEC is chaired by the State Materials Engineer, while the TCPEC is chaired by the State Traffic Engineer. Members of each committee are SMEs drawn from the following C H A P T E R 4 Case Examples

Case Examples 39   Arizona DOT groups: Materials, Pavement Management, Traffic, Construction, Roadway, and Bridge. FHWA is also represented on the committee, and Arizona DOT employees are the voting members who vote to approve products once the evaluation is complete. Arizona DOT MatPEC and TCPEC members are also involved with NTPEP committees. 4.1.1 PEP The product evaluation process includes the initial application process, the full evaluation process, and the product approval or denial process. For any manufacturer that would like their product considered for Arizona DOT use, a product evaluation application must be completed and submitted. Arizona DOT’s PEP includes an online submission portal system called AZPEP for all product evaluation applications. The manufacturer completes the electronic application and includes the required contact and product information, the applicable APL category, product documents and data, and SDSs. Once the manufacturer submits the application, the AZPEP automatically notifies the PEP unit that an application has been received and the initial review commences. The PEP unit then determines whether the application should proceed to full eval- uation by reviewing the application using the following criteria: • The product needs to align with an existing APL category, • The product’s use must be applicable to Arizona DOT’s needs and defined by the responsible Arizona DOT group, and • The application must be complete. After completing the application criteria review, the PEP unit notifies the manufacturer whether the application will proceed to full evaluation or be withdrawn. When an application is withdrawn, the PEP unit sends a letter stating its reasons for withdrawing the application. All withdrawn applications will require re-application and full evaluation for future consideration. Conversely, when an application criteria review is accepted, the product moves on to the second step: a full evaluation process. In the evaluation process, the PEP unit evaluates the majority of product applications and assigns the remainder to Arizona DOT SMEs and external consultants when needed. All evalu- ators, whether they are the PEP unit members, SMEs, or external consultants, are required to follow a standard process that ensures transparency, consistency, and objectivity. The evaluation process follows the steps outlined in Table 8. Once the evaluation is complete, the PEP unit distributes the evaluation report to the MatPEC or TCPEC and administers the voting process using the AZPEP system. The evaluation report includes a completed evaluation table that lists the criteria developed from Arizona DOT’s speci- fications or standard drawings relevant to a specific product type. An Arizona DOT example evaluation table is provided in Appendix I for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) drainage pipe liner products. Committee members review the evaluation report and vote whether to approve the product and add it to the APL. A quorum of five positive votes is required for approval. For an approval vote, the applicant is notified by an automated email that includes the decision, approval date, and expiration date. For a denial vote, the PEP unit notifies the applicant of the decision and reasons for denial. Products that are denied can be resubmitted for evaluation once the reasons for denial have been addressed. 4.1.2 APL The APL is a list of categorized products that meet Arizona DOT’s standard specifications and have been approved for potential use in highway projects. The APL is a resource for Arizona DOT

40 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes staff, local agencies, and the private industry. All products listed in the APL are categorized based on Arizona DOT’s specifications. Table 9 lists the specification number and main categories of the APL. Approved products on the APL remain on the list for 5 years. A full evaluation is required every 5 years in case specifications are modified, standard drawings are changed, or the product has changed in any way. The manufacturer is responsible for monitoring the approval expiration date, and if a product passes its expiration date without a new application, the PEP unit removes the product from the APL. Any expired products require a new application and re-evaluation. In addi- tion, Arizona DOT staff may from time to time determine that a product is unacceptable for use or that an APL category is no longer relevant and can request the product or category to be removed from the APL. Furthermore, manufacturers are required to inform the Arizona DOT PEP unit of any changes to the product’s formulation or name. When the formulation or name of a product is changed, the PEP unit typically requires the manufacturer to reapply for full product evaluation. In rare cases, Arizona DOT may review the testing information for products that another state DOT laboratory tested, but it does not use information from other state DOTs for its evaluation, approval, or APL. 4.1.3 Evaluating Products that Do Not Align with an APL In some cases, Arizona DOT receives product submittals for evaluation that do not align with a current specification or standard drawing associated with the APL. In these cases, and if Arizona DOT finds a need or interest in the product, the PEP unit works with the Standards Committee to notify them during their monthly meeting of any new products that have been received for evaluation. The Standards Committee and the PEP unit then work over the next few Step Process Description Step 1 Once a product application is received in AZPEP, the PEP unit uses the applications to identify the Arizona DOT specification or standard drawing associated with the product’s compatible APL category. Then, the PEP unit determines the types of test data required for the evaluation using the evaluation tables (see Appendix I for an example) set up for each specification category. Step 2 The PEP unit requests by email that the manufacturing applicant provide product performance data resulting from certified laboratory testing, a technical data sheet for the product, and SDSs for products with a chemical formulation. The testing had to have been performed by an Arizona DOT-approved and certified independent laboratory and had to have been completed within the previous five years, and the testing results had to have been signed by the laboratory manager or a professional engineer. Manufacturers can use the testing information from NTPEP evaluation and audit programs. Ten Arizona DOT specifications (e.g., paints, signage) require the use of NTPEP data and information. Step 3 All requested information from the manufacturer is submitted and uploaded to AZPEP. When a requested information submittal is complete and delivered by the deadline, the PEP unit moves forward with the evaluation. If a requested information submittal is incomplete or delivered late, the application is withdrawn and the PEP unit notifies the applicant. Step 4 All received product SDSs are provided to an industrial hygienist within the Safety and Risk Management Group for review before beginning the full evaluation. All chemical formulation products must adhere to state environmental requirements before being evaluated for use. Step 5 During the evaluation, the PEP unit and SMEs compare provided test data to the established evaluation table and criteria in the relevant Arizona DOT specification or standard drawing. If the test data meet the specifications, the PEP staff then prepare an evaluation report, including the completed evaluation table recommending the addition of the product to the APL. If the test data do not meet Arizona DOT’s specifications, PEP staff notify the applicant that the product is denied. Table 8. Arizona DOT product evaluation process.

Case Examples 41   months to develop a compatible specification with evaluation criteria that can be used to test the non-aligning products. Developing new specifications and evaluation criteria can be time- consuming, and non-aligning products tend to take longer to evaluate than products that align with existing specifications. For innovative products related to traffic control, safety, and systems, Arizona DOT set up a new innovative product system, which is handled by the Traffic System Maintenance Operations (TSMO) Group. However, the PEP unit is not involved in this evaluation process other than to notify the TSMO Group when an innovative traffic product has been received for evaluation. Arizona DOT’s TSMO Group then handles the development of specifications and evaluation criteria and conducts the evaluation. 4.1.4 Product Evaluation Timelines Arizona DOT’s AZPEP, an electronic online submission and automation system used for product evaluations, helps set up the timely review process. Once the information submittal is received and complete, the system sets a 60-day timeline for review, the development of the evaluation report, and a vote taken by the appropriate Arizona DOT committee (either MatPEC or TCPEP) for approval or denial. However, timelines can vary for product evaluations, from about 30 to 150 days. Product data received in a timely manner can be reviewed in a shorter amount of time. Those products that do not align with the APL, existing specifications, or are considered brand new to Arizona DOT tend to take more time to evaluate. In addition, when Arizona DOT requests a submittal for additional information, the applicant has 25 days to pro- vide the submittal or the application is withdrawn. Spec No. Product Category Spec No. Product Category 400 ARAs 735 Detectors 402 PCC Pavement Patching 736 Highway and Sign Lighting 404 Asphalt Crack Sealant 800 Landscape Architecture Materials 501 Pipe 904 Chain Link Cable Barrier 503 Culverts and Drainage Structures 905 Guardrail 601 Penetrating Deck Sealer 906 Cattle Guards Foundation 605 Structural Materials and Components 908 Detectable Warning Device 606 607 608 Signing 912 Structural Repair with Shotcrete, Dry Method 701 Maintenance and Protection of Traffic 928 Ground-In Rumble Strip Materials 702 Attenuation Devices 1002 Paints for Concrete and Masonry 703 Delineators and Markers 1003 Rust Passivators 704 Thermoplastic Pavement Markers 1006 PCC Admixtures 705 Preformed Pavement Marking 1007 Retroreflective Sheeting 706 Raise Pavement Markers 1008 Prismatic Reflectors 708 Waterborne Traffic Paint 1011 Joint Materials 709 Dual Component Pavement Marking 1014 Soil Reinforcement and GTX & REGEO 731 Traffic Signal and Light Poles 1014 Reflective Crack Controls 732 Electrical Underground Material 1015 Concrete Adhesives and Crack Sealers 733 Signal Indications and Mounting Assemblies 1016 Structural Concrete Patching 734 Traffic Controller Assembly 1017 Non-shrink Grout Table 9. Arizona DOT APL specification categories.

42 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes 4.1.5 Benefits and Challenges One of the benefits of using AZPEP mentioned by the Arizona DOT PEP unit was the use of the current electronic online submission and automation system. AZPEP provides a database of all submitted products, providing better tracking than past systems. Also, the automation of notifications and collecting information as well as an online system for product voting approvals provide Arizona DOT with a centralized electronic location for all product evaluations. Another benefit mentioned was that the APL provides a one-stop shop for contractors to con- sider certain products for projects. As one of Arizona DOT’s main customers, contractors know where to find specific products and what products they are allowed to use. In addition, the Construction Group within Arizona DOT also knows where to go when it needs to know about products submitted by contractors. Some of the challenges of using AZPEP mentioned by the PEP unit include receiving SME reviews in a timely manner; limited staffing, which takes a toll on the product evaluation pro- cesses; and using the Arizona DOT PEP, which tends to be an afterthought. For some of the product evaluations, SMEs are assigned to review the information provided due to their exper- tise with a particular product or product category. However, SMEs have other primary respon- sibilities, so receiving timely reviews from SMEs can be difficult due to their daily workloads. In the past, Arizona DOT has experienced staffing shortages in the PEP unit, which cause delays in the evaluation and approval process. While staffing is not an issue currently, it may become an issue in the future. Finally, in some cases, contractors and internal construction staff may want to use a product for a specific project, but the PEP unit is notified of this situation later than expected. In these cases, the product may need to be expedited in its evaluation, but the Arizona DOT PEP unit may not be prepared to handle such a product. One option then would be to conditionally approve the product for a specific project using special provisions; however, this product would not be listed on the APL. 4.1.6 Proprietary, Environmental, and Buy America/ Build America Products For proprietary products, Arizona DOT will consider a product, even if it is a sole-source product, as long as its performance provides value to Arizona DOT’s construction and mainte- nance operations. Currently, some electrical products (e.g., LED lighting) listed on the APL are sole-source and proprietary products that are available for use. Proprietary products are evalu- ated the same as any other product, and for those proprietary products that do not align with the APL or a current specification, the product is provided to the Standards Committee just like any other new product. For environmental products, Arizona DOT requires SDSs for any products that have a chemical formulation. All products with SDSs have to be reviewed by Arizona DOT’s industrial hygienist. However, environmental product declarations are currently not considered in the product evalu- ation process. The product evaluation application includes a section to collect certificates from manufacturers attesting that their product is compliant with Buy America/Build America. The PEP unit does not verify the certifications at this time because the Construction Group at Arizona DOT ensures during the contracting process that the products are eligible for Buy America/Build America. However, the PEP unit foresees that this task will be something the PEP unit handles in the future; for now, Arizona DOT’s Construction Group handles the verification of products. Additionally, supply chain shortages have impacted the Arizona DOT PEP in recent years. For example, Arizona DOT conditionally approved certain pavement marking paints (which were not added to the APL but were designated for use) that did not fully meet the specifications

Case Examples 43   when pigments were in short supply. However, pigments are no longer in short supply, and Arizona DOT uses the fully approved products on the APL. In addition, Arizona DOT has noticed an influx of product applications due to the funding coming to DOTs from the Infrastructure Invest- ment and Jobs Act (IIJA). 4.1.7 Experiences and Findings There are findings to share from the experiences of Arizona DOT in its evaluation of products for construction and maintenance and use of the APL to help others with their state DOT PEP. These findings include the following: • Having technical experts (e.g., SMEs) and internal staff engage with the PEP unit helps make the evaluation process more efficient. Using AZPEP, the online submission and automation system, allows Arizona DOT to automate the notifications sent out to the technical experts to review a product at their leisure. Involving the SMEs in specification development also helps engagement and allows the SMEs to become familiar with technical specifications and the layout and use of the APL. • Standardizing the product evaluation process is done to streamline the review of the product. Standardizing testing methods and using similar specifications would allow for easier evalu- ations for manufacturers who want their products to be used in more than one state DOT. Testing would also be more efficient, with testing only needing to be conducted at a minimum for multiple states. 4.2 Caltrans The Caltrans PEP seeks to provide objective, impartial, consistent, and timely evaluation of products for use in the construction, maintenance, and operation of the California state infra- structure system. The PEP staff manages the procedures for evaluating submitted products, the existing AMLs, and the potential addition of new products to the AMLs. Each product is evalu- ated for performance, need, departmental priority, and compliance with health, safety, and envi- ronmental laws, regulations, and policies. The Caltrans PEP is managed by the New Products Program Coordinator in the Division of Engineering Services. 4.2.1 PEP The Caltrans PEP evaluates products according to existing criteria for similar products on the AMLs or uses applicable specifications for products needing new criteria for evaluation. The Caltrans PEP and AML websites provide information on how to submit products for evalua- tion that align with current AML criteria. The AMLs are detailed and organized according to Caltrans’s specifications and are primarily a proactive measure used in conjunction with other acceptance activities as outlined in Caltrans’s standards and guidance documents. The AMLs include over 50 product types. Conversely, new products that do not meet an established AML and current specifications need to be fully developed, commercially available, not sole source, and ready for use in highway construction, maintenance, and operations before Caltrans will consider the product for evaluation. Manufacturers submit their products for consideration to Caltrans. Manufacturers can access the Caltrans and AML websites for additional information, such as the Caltrans PEP Vendor Submittal Guide shown in Figure 30. For a product to be added to Caltrans’s AMLs, a manufacturer would need to investigate the AML website for the applicable product type and review the evaluation criteria their product would be required to meet. The manufacturer can also follow the process given in the Caltrans PEP Vendor Submittal Guide. A useful resource within the Caltrans PEP Vendor Submittal Guide is the Vendor

44 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes Decision Process Map shown in Figure 31. This process map assists manufacturers in determining the appropriate approach to follow for the submission. There are two key pathways to submitting a product for evaluation, and the path depends on whether Caltrans has an existing specification for a submitted product. Either a product is evaluated and placed on the appropriate AML according to the authorization criteria and existing specifications, or the product is evaluated by a specification change and is considered a brand-new product that Caltrans has never used before. If the manufacturer determines that the product is applicable for an AML, they must complete the Caltrans TL-9502 Form (see Appendix F) and include any additional applicable information or data. The form is emailed to the New Products Program Coordinator, where it is recorded in a database for tracking and then sent to the AML Manager for review. The AML Manager reviews the application and data for acceptance onto the AML. This review is to conclude within 30 days but could take longer if the authorization criteria indicate that more time is necessary. If a product is not approved, a letter is sent to the applicant explaining why. The product appli- cant can ask for more clarification, address issues, and resubmit the application as necessary. This would entail assigning a new tracking number to the application and treating it as a new product submittal. There is no waiting period for a resubmittal, but it is considered a new submittal in its re-evaluation. If additional information is requested or missing for 15 days, the application is withdrawn and closed out, though it can be reopened if requested and the necessary manufacturer and product information is submitted. Otherwise, a product can be resubmitted at a later date. 4.2.2 AMLs Caltrans’s AMLs have listings for over 50 different material categories, along with authoriza- tion criteria and specification references. A sample of the AMLs can be seen in Figure 32. The Specification section listed indicates responsible staff or potential technical committee experts Figure 30. Front cover of Caltrans PEP Vendor Submittal Guide.

Case Examples 45   for that section. The Specification section also indicates whether testing is required for a specific AML in the authorization criteria, as some AMLs do not entail testing. Any use of APLs from other state DOTs would be up to the Development Business Unit to decide on. There are no set guidelines on whether to use outside agency approval lists. The pro- cesses used to develop AMLs are unique to the Caltrans unit and product; therefore, developing specific processes to use other state DOTs’ A/QPLs is difficult. 4.2.3 Evaluating Products that Do Not Align with AMLs For a new product that does not meet an established AML and does not meet current standard specifications, product applicants must complete the Caltrans TL-9501 Form (see Appendix F) and include applicable information, such as product data, testing information, material SDSs, and supporting documents. Supporting documents are needed from the manufacturer to determine what changes need to be made to existing specifications if the product is approved. This form is also submitted to the New Products Program Coordinator, who determines the Figure 31. Caltrans PEP vendor decision process map.

46 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes applicable expertise needed to evaluate the product (e.g., SME) and submits it to the Technical Committee Chair. The Technical Committee Chair reviews the submitted materials and evaluates it to determine whether the evaluation is of interest for a full evaluation. The initial product evalu- ation needs to be completed within 90 days for those products that do not align with Caltrans’s AMLs and standard specifications. The selection of the Technical Committee is based on the Specification section referenced on the submittal form. Identifying the committee to evaluate a non-aligned AML product is difficult because manufacturers will ask what is needed to approve their product and there may be little to no guidance and few to no templates or standards for evaluation and approval authorization. Specifically for innovative products, these product types are submitted to the Caltrans Innovative Program, which anyone can access, but this program is not managed by the Caltrans PEP. In addition, any product submitted as a non-aligning or innovative product takes more time to review and eval uate due to the lack of guidance available. Figure 32. Caltrans AML website.

Case Examples 47   Furthermore, Caltrans PEP staff stated that developing specifications and authorization criteria for a new product is a lengthy process. This process is handled by the business units that own the applicable specifications, outside the Caltrans PEP unit. Before AML specifications and authoriza- tion criteria are developed, research is conducted to determine whether more than one company produces the products. Caltrans tries to avoid sole-source products within AMLs. The business unit developing the AML specifications and authorization criteria defines the need for the products; develops authorization criteria; indicates requirements, such as compliance with Buy America/Build America; and determines whether testing is necessary. If testing is necessary, the business unit will work with the testing laboratory to determine the workload necessary for the testing. Once com- plete, the new AML would be added to the webpage and the applicable specifications would need to be revised to call out the AML for use. The timeline for this process is approximately 1 to 2 years. 4.2.4 Product Evaluation Timelines The workflows for the Caltrans product evaluation processes are defined by instructions to the manufacturers and as available on their website. Additional information is available on Caltrans’s internal website, providing instructions to Caltrans staff, the AML Manager, and the Technical Committee Chair. Another internal resource is a new products evaluation tracking database that monitors the evaluation process and timeline. As previously mentioned, the process for products under review for addition to an AML is 30 days, whereas the initial evaluation for non-aligning products is 90 days. This 90-day timeline is for the Technical Committee Chair to determine whether the product is of interest to Caltrans. The remainder of the product evaluation process can be lengthy, as it could lead to testing and piloting the use of the product or conducting demonstrations that could take much longer than 90 days. For a product to be added to an AML when there is no testing involved, the AML Manager should be able to evaluate the authorization criteria within 30 days. However, if testing is needed, Caltrans will adjust the necessary response time based on the time needed to complete the required testing. These process timelines are in place to help the PEP staff complete evaluations in a timely manner. 4.2.5 Benefits and Challenges Caltrans sees benefits in the defined authorization criteria for AMLs. The established criteria for different AML categories help manufacturers and Caltrans understand timelines and can be efficient in evaluating, approving, and adding products to the AML. Caltrans noted that non-aligning and innovative products are more challenging to evaluate due to no existing specifications or authorization criteria. These types of products have often never been seen by Caltrans before, so it can be difficult to evaluate with no previous process or criteria in place. The Technical Committee would need to define the criteria, which can be challenging and time-consuming (typically a 1-to-2-year time frame). However, if an employee, committee, or division within Caltrans can justify that a new product fills a need or provides value to Caltrans, the PEP staff will consider the product for evaluation. 4.2.6 Proprietary, Environmental, and Buy America/ Build America Products Most of the products within AMLs are proprietary or contain proprietary formulations. In some cases, manufacturers are hesitant to reveal material SDSs for fear they will divulge propri- etary information; however, they must comply with the authorization criteria and submit this information if they want their products to be approved. However, sole-source products are not evaluated or used by Caltrans.

48 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes For environmental considerations, products are submitted to the California Office of Employee Health and Safety (OEHS) for review of environmental compliance. The OEHS may also conduct additional testing to confirm compliance, but this is not a part of the Caltrans PEP review pro- cess. The OEHS reviews products outside of the Caltrans PEP for environmental impacts, but the environmental assessment, if part of the authorization criteria, is required for product approvals. Caltrans is in the process of implementing a process for environmental product declarations. For Buy America/Build America requirements, Caltrans is working to incorporate into the AMLs how to denote products that are eligible for Buy America/Build America. If a product is required to be eligible for Buy America/Build America, then that requirement becomes a part of the evaluation and authorization criteria. The Buy America/Build America requirements have typically had limited impact on product evaluations and have more of a project-level impact. 4.2.7 Experiences and Findings There are findings to share from the experiences of Caltrans in its evaluation of products for construction and maintenance and its use of the AML to help others with their state DOT PEP. These findings include the following: • Caltrans PEP staff have found working with groups responsible for AMLs and urging them to develop authorization criteria beneficial. Sometimes, groups responsible for AMLs do not have defined authorization criteria, and reviews for additional products can be difficult. Show- ing these groups that developed and detailed authorization criteria can build approval effi- ciency has been worthwhile. • Caltrans noted a challenge in product evaluation timelines. Since many of the responsible entities that perform the evaluations are not under the purview of the Caltrans PEP group, it is not easy to get them to reply to the manufacturers in a timely manner. There are many cases of groups taking more time than allotted, but the Caltrans PEP staff cannot direct them to expe- dite. These groups often state that they are slow in the evaluation due to a lack of resources. The number of submittals and the random nature of submitted products make this an ad hoc process for many groups, and the timelines can be discounted. • Another potential challenge at Caltrans is the lack of comprehensive guidance on how to deal with truly innovative products. There are currently no guidelines or templates for these types of products. Implementing a process for evaluating truly innovative products is needed because this task is difficult to do currently. 4.3 Florida DOT A State Product Evaluation Administrator, who works with a staff of two full-time employees, manages the Florida DOT PEP. These three staff members form the Product Evaluation Section (PES), which coordinates and provides guidance on introducing manufactured transportation products to Florida DOT. This group manages the APL and innovative products lists for new products that do not align with the APL or an existing specification. These lists are expanding into traffic operations equipment, tracking Buy America/Build America compliance, and any- thing that has to do with a manufactured product as it comes into the state. This office assists in determining whether a product conforms to an existing standard process or testing specification or whether it is a new product that needs a unique evaluation or needs to be further researched. The office also acts as a liaison to assist manufacturers in having their products introduced to and evaluated by Florida DOT since each state has its own evaluation processes and criteria on how it manages its state DOT PEP. Of note, the PES is not part of the Florida DOT materials office; it is within their project management office. In this way, the PES is called upon by every other office within Florida DOT, who considers these internal offices its customers.

Case Examples 49   4.3.1 PEP Product approvals at Florida DOT can occur in a variety of scenarios. The producers of products, such as concrete, aluminum, aggregates, and other structural materials, are evaluated and, if approved, are placed on the Product Facility Listing (PFL). The PFL is one way products can be accepted for a specific project. Minor manufactured items can be accepted by contractor self-certification. Another acceptance approach involves a small group of products that must be tested and accepted by lot. The remainder of the accepted products are those for which Florida DOT wishes to have some level of control; these products are evaluated for acceptance and place- ment on the APL. For evaluating products related to the APL, the PES establishes the process used for the initial submittal, introduction, review, and evaluation of products. Based on the initial infor- mation received from the manufacturer, the PES determines which process is appropriate for a particular product by acting as a liaison with Florida DOT technical experts. These technical experts (about 60 Florida DOT employees who are not dedicated PES staff but are experts in specific areas of construction and maintenance) help facilitate the product evaluation and make up the Technical Experts List. The APL covers over 750 categories and is expanding into more categories to accommodate new requirements, such as tracking Buy America/Build America product eligibility. The Florida DOT PEP is organized and managed through an electronic system called the Product and Application Tracking History (PATH). PATH is an in-house developed program, and by Florida Public Record Law, it is available for other states to use. The homepage of PATH is the APL, which is arranged by specification according to how the products are used. Figure 33 presents the PATH homepage. Transportation-related manufactured products may be introduced from a variety of sources, including manufacturers, suppliers, internal users, and so forth. To begin, an application is sub- mitted to an appropriate specification category from the APL. On the initial application screen, Figure 33. Florida DOT PATH homepage.

50 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes an entry is made for application type, specification, product type, product name, and model number, along with capturing manufacturer contact information. The Submittal tab in PATH designates what the manufacturer needs to provide to have their submitted product evaluated. These items (e.g., laboratory reports, labels, technical data sheets, product SDSs) are defined by the specification for that product category, and PATH automatically requests the required items. Applicants then have 30 days to provide the required items and complete the application. Next, the PES assigns a technical expert to the application based on a selection from the Technical Expert List; the PES can select these experts and notify them of a submitted product evaluation application using PATH. The technical experts can request additional information or product samples within PATH and then provide information and details on the evaluation. The system provides packing slips complete with technical expert contact information for ease in shipping samples and sending information to the correct Florida DOT technical expert loca- tions. PATH provides a status indicator based on these system actions on the application to indi- cate where the product is in the evaluation process. Additionally, these actions are tied to internal clocks in PATH to report on timelines, the number of reviews a technical expert has, and so forth to report on the PEP process and ensure evaluations are proceeding in a timely manner. PATH allows for commentary among technical experts or with the applying manufacturers to support the evaluation. Once complete, the technical expert can either approve the product or not. If the product is approved, it is automatically sent for a final quality assurance review. The PES reviews the application to ensure Florida DOT specifications were followed and that the manufacturers were treated similarly for similar products (i.e., a particular manufacturer was not asked to do or provide something more than others). The PES makes a determination regarding the completed review, and if approved, the product is automatically added to the APL and can be implemented into projects. PATH lays out and controls the process of product evaluations, while the specifications control the workflow. The testing, criteria, and metrics are found within the specifications and detail the evaluation workflow. The use of PATH started in 2008, with an update made in 2015; a current expansion to track Buy America/Build America compliance is required by the IIJA. Florida DOT investigated the most effective method to identify Buy America/Build America-eligible products. By doing so, the APL is growing from 750 products and may reach 1,500 in the near future due to Florida DOT assigning Buy America/Build America eligibility to products. As a final point of the process, all products are to be re-evaluated every 2 years based on the anniversary date of approval. A re-evaluation is also triggered if the manufacturer makes changes to the product. The re-evaluation approach begins with a manufacturer making a statement in PATH to indicate whether any product changes have occurred. If changes have occurred, they have to be detailed in PATH. Most products do not often change, but supply chain issues have recently led to changing formulations due to shortages of chemicals. Florida DOT noted it is more concerned with performance than chemical makeup. If, for whatever reason, a product is not accepted, the product can be resubmitted and re-evaluated. Florida DOT provides the specifics on why a product is not approved so that manu- facturers can make the adjustments and resubmit if desired. Manufacturers typically want to make adjustments to get their product on the APL. 4.3.2 APL As noted, the Florida DOT APL is a highly referenced resource. The APL is organized by specification, as seen in Figure 34. When multiple specifications may be applicable, Division III Materials Section 900, which contains the specifications relating to other materials, is used. The

Case Examples 51   intent is to provide an easy reference linkage between products and specifications so that con- tractors can easily determine acceptable products. In addition, as the APL expands to include Buy America/Build America, this will become even more relevant. The APL is driven by the specification for material requirements, testing, and approval criteria. The specification describes how the product must perform. As specifications change or develop- mental specifications are used, affected manufacturers are notified. The intent of the specifica- tions is to control the performance of materials but not result in sole-sourced products. Using formulation-based specifications created from sole-sourced products was an approach used in the past, but it was found not to be optimal for Florida DOT operations. With regard to using the specifications or APLs of other state DOTs, Florida DOT PES staff stated that their state’s climate is considerably different than most other states, thus making it difficult to use other states’ DOT A/QPL information. For example, Florida DOT does not have snowplows, which has an impact on products such as striping. Therefore, Florida DOT typically does not use A/QPLs from other state DOTs. In addition, Florida DOT has found that its speci- fications tend to be more restrictive than other state DOTs, and many other state DOTs do not, or did not in the past, have re-evaluation requirements for APL products. However, this is not an absolute rule in Florida; Florida DOT has shared some testing locations with Georgia DOT to build efficiency for applying manufacturers. Florida DOT uses the resources from NTPEP. It uses NTPEP as an independent laboratory that supplies testing results and has been active with NTPEP technical committees. While some products at Florida DOT are required to use NTPEP evaluation and testing information, NTPEP also provides information for products that Florida DOT does not use. Florida DOT uses aspects of NTPEP that align with its specifications and currently used products listed on the APL. Figure 34. Florida DOT APL by specification.

52 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes 4.3.3 Evaluating Products that Do Not Align with APL If there are no existing specifications for a particular product, Florida DOT looks at product performance expectations in the evaluation of these products. The specification notes that manufacturers can design the product in any approach they desire, but they will be evaluated based on performance aspects. When a non-aligning product application is received, the PES determines whether there is a benefit to using the product by sending out the product during the initial review to gauge interest and whether the product fills a need. Next, the PES determines whether there is a similar speci- fication and/or assigns it to a technical expert in the appropriate specification category. Overall, no one set process for approvals with new products exists because a product could be ready for the field or require significant testing. Florida DOT sees about 100–150 innovative product applications per year. Among the innovative products and applications for the APL, Florida DOT receives about 2,000 product applications each year, with about 10% of those open at any given time. Some are handled relatively quickly, and some (new and innovative products especially) may be in process for years. 4.3.4 Product Evaluation Timelines Florida DOT relies on PATH to help progress evaluations. The timeline for product evaluation can vary depending on the product. The initial review occurs for 30 days. During that window, samples and documentation are requested from the manufacturer. From there, the timeline largely depends on the manufacturer’s ability to provide the necessary information. If a submitted product demonstrates the desired performance and the testing is similar to an existing specification, then the timeline is typically about 6 months. However, if a submitted product does not have a performance or testing history, field testing is needed; if it does not match up with an existing specification, then the product evaluation may take years to complete. The lack of performance and testing information means Florida DOT must develop its performance criteria and testing plan before the product can be evaluated. The lack of alignment with an existing specification means that a new specification must be written if the product is to be approved. Writing new specifications is much more time-consuming than aligning a product to an existing specification. 4.3.5 Benefits and Challenges PEP users realize several benefits through Florida DOT’s PEP approach. The PATH system was developed to close process loopholes and extensive evaluation timelines. With PATH auto- mating much of the workflow, the APL at Florida DOT is managed by a very efficient process and can be managed by a small staff. Many Florida DOT PEP users like the APL and want to see more products on it. As such, Florida DOT’s APL grows about 10% each year, with some items dropping off based on performance and the state of the industry. Florida DOT specifications require contractors to select products from the APL, with no option for alternatives not on the APL. The contractors enjoy this approach because they do not have to provide certifications or samples when using products from the APL; they simply record the APL number or provide minimal paperwork as needed. When certifications are required for products not on the APL, there is a risk of the product not being accepted at the project level. The APL guarantees product acceptance for any project and eases the role of inspectors. Inspectors also enjoy the data provided by PATH because information, drawings, photos, and other data are available for review when accepting products. The main challenge that Florida DOT faces with its PEP is managing the size of the program. Certainly, the automation of PATH assists in handling the applications of over 2,000 products,

Case Examples 53   but the size of the program can seem daunting because it is managed by a limited staff of employees within the PES, meaning that other internal staff are needed to assist with evaluations. 4.3.6 Proprietary, Environmental, and Buy America/ Build America Products The evaluation of proprietary products at Florida DOT follows the same process for evaluating any submitted product, whether it is an APL product or a non-aligning product. When propri- etary products are shown on the APL, they are listed as sole-source items in a single line. In some cases, a second category of proprietary alternates may be listed. As part of the evaluation process, environmental requirements are considered as stated in the specifications. Manufacturers that can prove that their product is better for the environment than another manufacturer’s product can have that noted in the APL. The other manufacturer’s product can remain on the APL, assuming it still meets the specifications. Unless the specifications state that an environmental product declaration is necessary, manufacturers are not required to provide it. For Buy America/Build America products, the PES staff investigated various methods to find an effective way to identify products that meet the new Buy America/Build America require- ments. The PES staff has put Buy America/Build America eligibility on products listed on the APL. Currently, about 1,200 products have been assigned Buy America/Build America eligibility. 4.3.7 Experiences and Findings There are findings to share from the experiences of Florida DOT in its evaluation of products for construction and maintenance and use of the APL and PFL to help others with their state DOT PEP. These findings include the following: • Florida DOT noted that an office and full-time staff with a good understanding of manufac- turers and manufacturing processes as well as state DOT processes and needs are important to the success of Florida DOT’s PEP. The two are very different, and the technical experts of each product type may not understand the needs of the other. Therefore, the PES serves as a liaison in this regard. • A well-defined state DOT PEP, organized with detailed workflows, allows for the development of an easy-to-use, efficient, and automated system (e.g., PATH). This allows a small PES staff to function as efficiently as a large group. Garnering support and putting the necessary time into a system like PATH pays great dividends to the PEP in the long run. 4.4 Michigan DOT The Michigan DOT PEP is one element of Michigan DOT’s overall quality assurance proce- dures. Michigan DOT’s Materials Quality Assurance Procedures (MQAP) Manual describes the sampling, inspection, and testing procedures for products used in Michigan DOT projects in accordance with 23 CFR 637. The quality assurance program aims to design and implement the sampling and testing procedures needed to ensure materials are in close conformity with Michigan DOT’s project plans and specifications. The MQAP Manual describes acceptance sampling and testing, independent assurance testing, project materials certification, retention of sampling and testing records, verification of test procedures, calibration of testing apparatuses, and participation in the development and implementation of technical training for personnel involved in materials sampling and testing.

54 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes The MQAP Manual is managed by the Michigan DOT Construction Field Services Division and works in coordination with the Materials Source Guide (MSG), Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Production Manual, Procedures for Aggregate Inspection, Density Control Handbook, and the Michigan Construction Manual to standardize procedures and ensure adequate and uniform quality control. The MQAP and MSG work together to provide procedures for Michigan DOT’s PEP and to maintain Michigan DOT’s QPLs. 4.4.1 PEP Similar to other state DOTs, Michigan DOT’s PEP includes two main areas for product evalu- ations: new and qualified products. A product or product type that has not been adopted by Michigan DOT and has no current specification requirements or a defined basis for acceptance is considered a new product or material. For these materials to be considered, a New Materials Product Evaluation Request Form, as seen in Appendix F, must be submitted. Qualified products are materials that align with current construction specifications, have a current basis of acceptance, and are published in the MSG and with similar products on the QPL. These products must meet Michigan DOT’s current specifications and requirements according to the applicable qualification procedures in the MQAP Manual. The procedures in the MQAP Manual vary by product type and are detailed with information, including the documentation requirements, evaluation methods, testing procedures and limits, disqualification criteria, and recertification requirements. For materials to be considered as a qualified product, a Qualified Products Evaluation Request Form must be submitted, as seen in Appendix F. If a qualified product is evaluated and approved, it will be placed on the QPL found in the MSG and Chapter 5 of the MQAP Manual. Whether for new or qualified products, Michigan DOT only accepts submittals for evalua- tion from the product manufacturer or an authorized representative that has been designated in writing by the manufacturer. For some products, Michigan DOT has been using or accepting the NTPEP evaluation results. The NTPEP results documentation is required to be submitted as part of the evaluation process, and once it has been evaluated and approved by the QPL manager, it is then added to the appro- priate Michigan DOT QPL. 4.4.2 QPL In the past, Michigan DOT would approve products on a by-project basis. As Michigan DOT collected approved products over the years, some of the existing lists became formalized so that the products could be used on a regular basis. The approach of formalization became the QPLs. They include lists of manufacturers and products that have been tested by Michigan DOT, or by a certified third-party agency, and were found to meet the specifications and per- formance criteria. Each list in the QPLs entails its own evaluation procedure and requirements for remaining on the list. Once on a QPL, a product can be used on Michigan DOT projects with documentation certification and visual inspection approvals. The current specifications for construction and the MQAP/MSG determine the acceptance basis. The number of QPLs is quite extensive and aligns with the section numbering of the construction specifications. Each QPL is managed by at least one assigned SME within Michigan DOT. The QPLs are organized according to the standard specification sections. Although Michigan DOT does not use the APLs of other state DOTs, it does use NTPEP for products such as lane markings, bridge coat- ings, and temporary traffic control devices (TTCD). The QPLs listed in the MQAP Manual are presented in Table 10.

Case Examples 55   4.4.3 Evaluating Products that Do Not Align with QPLs For new product evaluations, the workflow and process are different. In this process, a steering committee provides guidance. This steering committee reviews applications for new products quarterly and assigns them to subcommittee chairs. The subcommittees represent different business functions of Michigan DOT, including fleet management, maintenance, construction, and bridges. These subcommittee chairs check for existing specifications, and if none are found, the application is assigned to an SME. This SME will conduct research for possible specifications to use (standard or provisional), and if none can be found, the SME will evaluate the product with the best knowledge available and write an evaluation procedure for future potential devel- opment into specifications and a QPL. New specifications must have buy-in from FHWA, and Manual Section Spec No. Description 5.01 General QPL 5.02 502.02.B Overband 5.03 603.03.B.2 Concrete Pavement Repair, Grout for Full-Depth Concrete Pavement Repairs 5.04 706.03.S Penetrating Water Repellent Treatment for Structure Concrete Surfaces 5.05 707.02 Bushings for Pins and Link Plates in Structural Steel Construction 5.06 712.03.J Adhesive Systems for Structural Anchors and Lane Ties 5.07 712.03.K Mechanical Expansion Anchors 5.08 712.03.L Mechanical Reinforcing Splicing 5.09 712.03.Y Embedded Galvanic Anodes 5.10 713.02.B Sealant for Perimeter of Beam Plates 5.11 715.02 Low Dust Abrasives 5.12 803.02.B Detectable Warning Surfaces 5.13 811.03.D Fluid PMM 5.14 811.03.D.4 Preformed Applied Pavement Marking Material 5.15 903 Admixtures for Concrete 5.16 905.03.C.1 Epoxy Coating for Steel Reinforcement 5.17 906.09 Shear Connector Studs 5.18 909.01 Recycled Rubber Adjusting Rings 5.19 909.03 Watertight Joint Systems for Sewers and Culverts 5.20 909.05.A.1 Polymer Coated Corrugated Steel Pipe 5.21 909.06 Class A, B and F Bury Plastic Pipe 5.22 910.04 Silt Fence Geotextile 5.23 912.08.Q Recycled Rubber/Plastic Offset Blocks for Guardrail with Steel Posts 5.24 914.03.B Recycled Rubber Joint Filler for Concrete Construction 5.25 914.04.A Hot-Poured, Extra Low Modulus, Joint and Crack Sealant 5.26 914.06 Epoxy Resin Adhesive 5.27 914.07.A.2 Epoxy Powder Coating for Dowel Bars 5.28 914.07.A.3 Bond Release Agent for Epoxy Coated Dowel Bars 5.29 914.11 Preformed Waterproofing Membranes for Vertical and Horizontal Applications 5.30 915.01 Bridge Coating Systems 5.31 917.11 Grass Seed Varieties 5.32 917.14.B Mulch Blankets 5.33 917.14.C Mulch Binders/Tackifiers 5.34 918.06.D Light Weight Composite Handhole 5.35 918.08.C Frangible Light Standard Transformer Base Assembly 5.36 919.02.B.1 Retroreflective Sheeting/Permanent Signing 5.37 919.03.D Flexible Plastic Delineator Posts 5.38 920.02.C Wet Reflective Optics 5.39 921.05.A Steel Clamps for Traffic Signal Strain Poles 5.40 922.06 Temporary PMM 5.41 1005.02.B Nonshrinking Mortar and Grout, Premixed, Type H-1 5.42 1006 Prepackaged Hydraulic Fast-Set Materials for Patching Structural Concrete Table 10. Michigan DOT QPL from the MQAP.

56 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes it is usually best to test and evaluate more than one product before looking into a new QPL. The specification could begin as a special provision for project-specific use before moving to a stan- dard specification and a QPL. 4.4.4 Product Evaluation Timelines Michigan DOT’s timelines for product evaluations can range from a few days to a few years. Some products with applicable QPLs that require little to no testing (e.g., tested by NTPEP) can be approved quickly. Some products that require laboratory testing or short durations of field testing could require a couple of months. Other products that require piloting or monitoring over a span of several months to 2 years (e.g., striping and so forth), with performance evaluated after use, could require a few years for a determination to be made. Additionally, time may be needed to identify a project that could be used for testing a product, and some products will only be evaluated at certain times of the year, which could also affect the length of the evaluation. Michigan DOT does not allow provisional product use; therefore, products cannot be used until testing is complete. More products are evaluated during winter months due to resource issues during the construction season. The workflow of the product evaluation process does not entail an initial review process. The use of automated replies progresses the status of the product record (e.g., received submittal, received information, piloting, starting, and so forth). The process for the approval itself, at least for the products considered for the QPLs, is self-contained in the MQAP. Once an application is received for a qualified product and applicable QPL, QPL managers are automatically assigned to evaluate the product. Michigan DOT aligns QPL managers to position titles so that employee turnover impacts are minimized. Following evaluation, the QPL manager will issue a letter to the product applicant of the results. These letters are stored in a Michigan DOT shared filing system and are open to the public. After 6 months, the file is removed and the product is added to the MSG. Michigan DOT stated that it does not have a tool for tracking evaluations, nor does it have a central repository. QPL managers are in charge of the evaluation, from application to determination. This workflow is initiated by the product submission, which can only come from a product manu- facturer or designated representative. This requirement is in place to allow for open competition of products and to limit issues created by DOT employee turnover. If a product is rejected, resubmis- sion is allowed. Feedback is provided to the manufacturer of rejected products and resubmission is allowed after the issues are addressed. Michigan DOT attempts to be explicit in its feedback to the manufacturer in order to relay whether it desires the product. Michigan DOT will often turn down manufacturers after three to four rejections. Some approved products are recertified, but others are recertified once in perpetuity or if product modifications occur. The steering committee tracks subcommittee and SME assignments and reports on the evaluation status quarterly. If there is no product evaluation progress for 2 years, the product is removed from the tracking. 4.4.5 Benefits and Challenges The benefit of Michigan DOT’s QPLs is that contractors, construction inspectors, and all stake- holders appreciate listings that make it easy for them to know what they can use and what documentation and inspections are required. The standardization builds uniformity and informs stakeholders. Michigan DOT did note several challenges, especially related to straying from its documented procedures. Michigan DOT has found that as employees change positions or as processes change,

Case Examples 57   downstream impacts occur that may result in unknown or unexpected consequences. Michigan DOT has found cases in which employees did not follow the MQAP process, resulting in nonuniform evaluation or product use. Because there is no self-contained QPL division, uniformity relies upon QPL managers and SMEs throughout Michigan DOT who have other primary roles in the department. As these positions change, adequate transition for the SME roles sometimes does not occur. Additionally, challenges to uniformity occur when areas of the department evaluate their own products outside of the MQAP and MSG approaches. This occurs in specialty areas, such as ITSs. Michigan DOT also noted challenges in dealing with products that are not a part of the stan- dard specifications. Some manufacturers seek the application of a product to a QPL that does not match the applicable specifications. Many manufacturers seek to avoid the new product approach, as timelines may be longer for approved use. This further illustrates the benefit of having QPLs. 4.4.6 Proprietary, Environmental, and Buy America/ Build America Products Michigan DOT determines each QPL to be an evaluation of proprietary products by definition. In this sense, Michigan DOT has 42 lists for proprietary products with few standard products evaluated. Proprietary products may only be evaluated once, while standard products are evalu- ated on a scheduled basis. Product environmental friendliness and environmental product decla- rations are areas in which Michigan DOT is conducting research and advancing. It currently does not have procedures for tracking the environmental evaluation aspects of products. The Buy America/Build America requirements have also not been a criterion within evalua- tions, but Michigan DOT is working to include them in the QPLs. Michigan DOT has not expe- rienced many supply chain issues related to its approved products, but when it has, it used limited short-term approvals to overcome issues for products such as pavement markings. 4.4.7 Experiences and Findings There are findings to share from the experiences of Michigan DOT in its evaluation of prod- ucts for construction and maintenance and use of QPLs to help others with their state DOT PEP. These findings include the following: • Michigan DOT requires product submittals to come directly from manufacturers or des- ignated representatives. It believes this requirement puts the burden on those standing to reap the benefits of the approval of their products. This requirement also helps in instances of employee turnover within Michigan DOT and provides unbiased opportunities for prod- ucts to be submitted that are fair to all manufacturers. Additionally, Michigan DOT believes schedules open to re-evaluations place the burden of improving the product and meeting the criteria on the manufacturer. Michigan DOT noted it is important when dealing with manu- facturers to communicate openly with the correct representation of the manufacturer. • Proper staffing of the evaluation process is important. Michigan DOT does not have dedicated PEP staffing, so using SMEs within the agency is the best approach. These roles should be tied to position titles and not specific people to avoid the pitfall of staff turnover. 4.5 New Hampshire DOT New Hampshire DOT’s Product Evaluation Unit (PEU) is responsible for reviewing and evaluating product submittals for listing on the QPL for use in roadway and bridge construc- tion projects. Performance data are a primary factor used to evaluate products, such as labora- tory testing, product data, field trials, or feedback from New Hampshire DOT personnel. As a

58 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes product category is identified and approved, the category is added to the QPL and acceptable products are listed by item number. A systematic process is followed by the Bureau of Materials and Research’s PEU to populate the product category. The process starts with the development of product qualification criteria. Products are then evaluated for a QPL listing based on the quali- fication criteria. Product categories derive from specification references in the New Hampshire DOT Standard Specifications for Roads and Bridge Construction. On average, the PEU handles about 275 product qualification and requalification evaluations and receives about 75 new product submittals annually. New Hampshire DOT created the Product Evaluation Subcommittee in 2015. The Product Evaluation Subcommittee consists of PEU staff and SMEs from various internal bureaus (e.g., Materials and Research, Bridge Design, Bridge Maintenance, Construction, Environment, Highway Design, Highway Maintenance, Specifications and Contracts, Traffic, and Turnpikes) as outlined in the subcommittee charter. The charter outlines the goals and objectives of the subcommittee, including developing and reviewing qualification criteria used to evaluate prod- ucts against standard specifications. The Product Evaluation Subcommittee meets as required to discuss the qualification criteria and the QPL. 4.5.1 PEP Manufacturers submitting products to New Hampshire DOT for evaluation must meet the requirements of a QPL category. All product evaluations submitted to the New Hampshire DOT Bureau of Materials and Research are performed by the PEU section. A transportation-related manufactured product is introduced to the New Hampshire DOT by manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, or private labelers through its product submittal system. The following items are given an online cursory review to assess submission completeness: • Online QPL product submittal form, • Product/Technical data sheet and specifications, • Product SDS, • Notarized letters, • Certifications, • NTPEP or certified laboratory test results, and • Other documentation, such as drawings, instructions, and other pertinent information rela- tive to a product qualification as required in the New Hampshire DOT standard specifications and/or qualification criteria. An electronic submittal system called NForm is used at New Hampshire DOT to submit product submittal packets. The NForm system is a statewide database that tracks the submission of product submittal packets and uses automated notifications to inform PEU staff of incoming product evaluation applications so they can perform reviews in a timely manner. The NForm also allows for updating the status of a product submittal packet that automatically notifies New Hampshire DOT staff and notifies the applying manufacturer of the review status. The NForm automatically contacts an applying manufacturer when additional information is required for the evaluation. In addition, the PEU has an internal QPL database system that maintains all product information, including archive information, because the NForm was not designed to be a repository of all product information. The NForm performs as a submission and tracking tool until the evaluation is complete. Upon receipt of the product submittal documentation, the PEU logs product information into the QPL database and a reference number unique to each QPL product category is assigned. The PEU reviews all the submitted documentation. Incomplete or missing information is requested from the manufacturer using the NForm’s automated email feature. The product review process will be delayed until all the information is made available to the PEU for evaluation.

Case Examples 59   The PEU determines whether a product aligns to an existing QPL category. The PEU reviews the documented information in the submittal packet and the qualification criteria document stating the specification requirements. For the product to be evaluated, qualification criteria doc- uments (as of 2023, more than 100 qualification criteria documents exist) have been developed to assist with evaluating each product type (see Appendix J for an example qualification criteria document from New Hampshire DOT). Qualification criteria documents define conformance requirements as described within New Hampshire DOT’s specifications. The product review focuses on comparing the testing results and documentation literature to the qualification criteria. For certain product types, the qualification criteria will state that the product must be submitted to an NTPEP evaluation program or require compliance to an NTPEP audit program. In some cases, New Hampshire DOT’s qualification criteria require the use of NTPEP data due to the systematic approach provided. For example, NTPEP laboratory contracts allow products to be tested consistently. In addition, the organization of the data results from NTPEP improves the evaluation process for the PEU. Then, if a product manufacturer is not currently compliant with the NTPEP audit program, the product submittal packet will be rejected. For other product types, the qualification criteria require the submission of laboratory testing results from an AASHTO-certified laboratory. If AASHTO-certified laboratory testing is required and not provided by the manufacturer, then the product will be rejected and not considered for further review. 4.5.2 QPL The QPL was developed over time and contains products available for use in construction and maintenance work that are considered off-the-shelf. QPL-listed products are evaluated using qualification criteria developed to ensure that products meet the requirements of a particular specification. All products within a QPL category are evaluated against the same criteria, thus making the product evaluation process fair and equitable to all manufacturer products. Table 11 lists the QPL product categories that are based on standard specification section numbers. Listing the QPL by specification number provides consistency and allows users to find information efficiently based on the specification. Products may be removed from the QPL at any time; typically, removal from the list is due to a product underperforming or no longer being produced. A yearly maintenance task of the manufacturer requires reviewing QPL product and manufacturer names to ensure they are cur- rent and correct. Any changes to a product or manufacturer name must be provided to the PEU and updated in the PEU database. If updates to the product and manufacturer information are not provided, the product may be removed from the QPL. Some products have an expiration date and require cyclical testing. Any of these types of products that have lapsed in the required testing, have not been submitted for testing, or do not have current NTPEP test results available are subject to removal from the QPL. All changes made to the QPL are documented and posted on the New Hampshire DOT website (https://www.dot.nh.gov/about-nh-dot/divisions-bureaus-districts/materials-research/qualified -product-information). The document includes a log of all the removed products and the date of removal and logs all changes for the past 5 years. Any products that have been removed can be resubmitted for full evaluation once any performance issues are addressed. 4.5.3 Evaluating Products that Do Not Align with QPLs When a product submittal packet is received that does not align with an existing QPL category, the PEU identifies an internal New Hampshire DOT bureau and associated SMEs. The identi- fied bureau reviews the packet for suitability. New Hampshire DOT encourages other bureaus to provide feedback on the QPL and the listed products. The Bureaus of Construction, Bridge

60 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes Maintenance, and Highway Maintenance may provide input on product performance, ease of use, cost-effectiveness, and so forth. The input and feedback are taken into consideration regard- ing whether to keep a product on the QPL. Upon completion of the evaluation, approved products are added to the QPL under the applicable product category. For products reviewed by an internal bureau, the bureau provides a recommendation to the PEU on whether to list the product on the QPL. If QPL interest is expressed, the Product Evaluation Subcommittee determines whether a new product type should be added to the QPL and coordinates the development of the evaluation qualification criteria. The qualification criteria are developed by the SME’s supporting internal bureaus to create product performance evaluation standards. Products that are considered innovative and not used on a common basis or that align with a QPL category or existing qualification criteria are typically not evaluated by the PEU. Typically, innovation is incorporated on a project-by-project basis. The QPL is meant for all projects and presents products with a high degree of confidence and reliability of performance. Innovation is also tackled through research. The PEU and QPL are not well suited for vetting innovation. Many times, innovative products will be allowed for use on a project-specific basis as called out in a special provision. 4.5.4 Product Evaluation Timelines Timelines for evaluating products vary based on product type, and AASHTO/ASTM test methods typically determine the actual evaluation timeline. For example, PEU staff mentioned that the evaluation for concrete admixtures can take up to 12 months to test for durability, while corrosion inhibitors may take years to test. However, crack sealants can be tested in a matter Spec No. Product Categories 401 Plant Mixed Pavements – General 403 Hot Bituminous Pavement 413 Hot-Poured Crack Sealant 510 Bearing Piles 520 PCC 526 Concrete Crack Sealers 528 Prestressed Concrete Bridge Deck 530 Waterproofing Concrete Surfaces 532 Anti-graffiti Coatings 534 Water Repellent 538 Barrier Membrane 541 Water Stops (polyvinyl chloride) 544 Reinforcement for Concrete 550 Structural Steel 559 Asphaltic Plug Expansion Joint, Asphaltic Plug Crack 560 Prefabricated Compression Seal Expansion Joint 561 Prefabricated Expansion Joint 562 Silicone Joint Sealant 593 Geotextiles 604 Catch Basins, Drop Inlets, and Manholes 606 Guardrail 609 Curbs 616 Traffic Signals 619 Maintenance of Traffic 632 Retroreflective Pavement Markings 645 Erosion Control 718 Retroreflective Sheeting Table 11. New Hampshire DOT QPL categories.

Case Examples 61   of weeks. Once the testing is complete, the evaluation begins. The evaluation timeline varies depending on the product type, but assuming the PEU has all the required documentation, the evaluation could take a matter of days to complete. 4.5.5 Benefits and Challenges A primary benefit of using the AASHTO NTPEP mentioned by the PEU staff was the con- sistent test results it provides for product evaluation on products used in highway construction. New Hampshire DOT welcomes any product for evaluation, and if it matches the qualifications criteria, it is added to the list. The QPL then provides a one-stop shop for internal bureaus to consider specific products in a project design and for construction and for contractors to pick and choose the products they want to use that match the project’s specifications. New Hampshire DOT’s specifications allow for the consistent use of approved products rather than searching out options independently. The main challenges discussed with the PEU staff were the difficulties of evaluating products that do not use NTPEP. When the PEU relies on an independent laboratory to provide manufac- turer product test results, it is incumbent upon the PEU to initiate and follow up on the process with the manufacturer. Because independently tested products may have expiration dates, this condition creates an even more sensitive timeline for test completion. In a recent example, New Hampshire DOT established a new QPL category for asphalt release agents (ARAs). To do this efficiently, New Hampshire DOT reviewed NTPEP product testing data, specification limits, and the qualification criteria documentation of other northeastern states for informational value. Although NTPEP does not designate product acceptance specifications, New Hampshire DOT relied on the similar nature of highway construction regionally; it is an acceptable practice for states to understand the specifications of their neighboring states. Once the specification requirements were established, New Hampshire DOT was able to select multiple products from NTPEP’s category listing to populate its QPL. 4.5.6 Proprietary, Environmental, and Buy America/ Build America Products Due to federal regulations, New Hampshire DOT cannot require the use of patented or propri- etary materials or project specifications except for certain situations. However, any proprietary or sole-source product submittal packet received is evaluated just like any other product; there is no special process in place for these types of products. In the interest of environmental compliance and product declarations, New Hampshire DOT standardized its language to conform to the requirements of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Typically, the New Hampshire DOT Construction Administrator receives a Certification of Compliance from the contractor stating that the product adheres to environmental regulations. In addition, PEU staff expects product manufacturers to be aware of the environmental requirements and to submit conforming products. The PEU reviews SDSs for specific product types to verify environ- mental conformance. For other product types, it is the responsibility of the contractor and the construction administrator to review SDSs on a project-by-project basis. In addition, SDSs are made available to the SMEs and health and safety staff participating in an evaluation. New Hampshire DOT is aware of the Buy America/Build America requirements. At this point in time, the PEU has not altered the QPL submission criteria based on Buy America/ Build America. However, New Hampshire DOT is considering the matter, with the Construction Bureau being the lead personnel in dealing with the Buy America/Build America requirements.

62 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes NTPEP plans to deploy an Industry Document Repository (IDR) module for industry partici- pants to submit and log Buy America/Build America-related documentation (the module will be available to participating state members in spring 2023). NTPEPs’ IDR module will benefit New Hampshire DOT because many of its QPL products are sourced from the NTPEP system. 4.5.7 Experiences and Findings There are findings to share from the experiences of New Hampshire DOT in its evaluation of products for construction and maintenance and use of the QPL to help others with their state DOT PEP. These findings include the following: • NTPEP provides consistent test results and data organization that are displayed for easy access and understanding. PEU staff stated that NTPEP allows the unit to focus more efficiently on product evaluations used on road and bridge construction. • NTPEP provides test results performed by contracted independent laboratories, providing a more consistent product-to-product test result comparison. Although independent testing laboratories are certified, the testing process may differ slightly, creating inconsistency. 4.6 Ohio DOT Ohio DOT defines a new product as one that the agency does not align with an existing specification. If a product is not found in the specification book for road construction, it will be evaluated for use. Ohio DOT looks for products that improve a current product or material and uses taxpayer funds more wisely than current setups. On average, Ohio DOT evaluates about 50 products annually. One person, the New Product Engineer (NPE), manages the Ohio DOT PEP and associated QPL. 4.6.1 PEP Ohio DOT has a formal PEP for new products and materials, which also includes the QPL for listing products for use in roadway construction. The NPE in the Office of Materials Manage- ment (OMM) manages the Ohio DOT PEP and works with internal SMEs, FHWA, and industry partners to help with the evaluations. The Ohio DOT PEP follows a standard procedure work- flow, 515-001(SP), which was originally developed in 2004 and updated in 2015. The standard Ohio DOT PEP workflow follows the outline in Table 12. Rejected products are all handled on a case-by-case basis. Typically, if the performance and need are not on par with Ohio DOT’s standards, then the product is rejected. However, rejected products can be re-evaluated once a manufacturer can demonstrate what changes were made to the product that would warrant a re-evaluation and consideration for use. While rare, Ohio DOT may use another DOT’s A/QPL information to reduce the repetitive effort. However, the information has to be reviewed and deemed acceptable to Ohio DOT’s operations. The product may be approved and used in another state, but it has to match the evaluation and performance criteria used by Ohio DOT to be approved for use. In one instance over the last 5 years, Ohio DOT used another state DOT’s QPL information to help approve a product. However, this is not common practice. Manufacturers need to follow the Ohio DOT PEP and QPL processes to have their product evaluated and approved for use. Ohio DOT uses a detailed spreadsheet to capture all pertinent information while conducting the evaluation. Table 13 shows the spreadsheet used and includes example product evaluation information. Although this product is not real, the evaluation would follow this spreadsheet for all new product evaluations.

Case Examples 63   Product Name Company Product Description Contact Sent Received Comments Letter Sent Comments (trial or testing details) FBN Reflector XYZ, Inc. Hinged RPM, made out of plastic, recessed into the pavement, reflector on a spring 7/26/22 8/2/22 8/12/22 8/16/22 9/2/22 Product tested w/ vertical load. Product failed 2nd drop of a X# weight. Will not withstand force of XX mph semi- truck tire. Product rejected based on test and comments from Roadway Engineering. Table 13. Example new product evaluation from Ohio DOT spreadsheet. Steps Description of Actions 1. Manufacturer Application Manufacturers are required to determine whether their product meets existing specifications. For a new product to be considered, the manufacturer must submit a New Product Application Form (see Appendix K for the Application Form). All communications are directed to the OMM and the NPE. 2. New Product Initial Review The NPE performs the initial review. The initial review may include literature searches, performance and application verification, and cost comparisons to current equivalent products. The NPE summarizes the findings from the initial review. The summary of findings is reviewed by internal offices, FHWA, and industry representatives for comments related to the need, practicality, use, potential challenges, and overall interest in the product. 3. New Product Initial Decision Point After summary review, if negative comments are received, Ohio DOT takes no further action, and a written response letter is provided to the manufacturer. If positive comments are received, the NPE forms a committee of key DOT personnel, FHWA, and industry representatives (when applicable) to develop the evaluation plan. 4. Develop Evaluation Plan The Specifications Committee develops the evaluation plan to document how the product will be evaluated (e.g., laboratory testing, field testing, piloting, demonstration, and so forth), evaluation timelines for evaluation, acceptance criteria the new product will be judged against, the individuals responsible for monitoring the new product ’s performance, and the proposed site location and layout for testing and application. The evaluation plan is provided to the Specifications Committee for approval. 5. Execute Evaluation Plan The evaluation process is tracked, and briefings are provided to the Specifications Committee. Evaluations are concluded if the performance of the product is not meeting expectations. The NPE keeps the manufacturer informed of the product’s status throughout the evaluation process and may request additional information from the manufacturer. The NPE summarizes the performance of the new product and reports to the Specifications Committee to make the final decision. 6. Product Evaluation Decision If a product does not meet the performance criteria or specifications, it is rejected, and a letter is sent to the manufacturer. If the new product meets or exceeds the performance criteria, the Specifications Committee approves the new product and creates a specification for the product, if needed. The NPE tracks the use and performance of the product under the supplemental specification. Once the specification is created and ready for use, the product is added to the QPL for construction and maintenance activities. Table 12. Ohio DOT PEP workflow.

64 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes 4.6.2 QPL Ohio DOT has a QPL that identifies products and manufacturers whose materials or products have been approved for use in Ohio DOT projects without further documentation or testing. The QPL has several functions, including the following: • Providing DOT personnel with an easy-to-use paperless process for determining whether a product or material is acceptable for incorporation into construction and maintenance tasks, • Serving as an electronic product documentation method that helps capture material and product data within project records, and • Eliminating the traditional product submission and documentation process requirements for selected manufacturer products. The QPL should be used as a method of acceptance for manufactured products that histori- cally show acceptable performance, are provided by producers that have historically furnished quality products, are small-cost products, or are products for which the DOT does not have laboratory equipment or capabilities to routinely test. The QPL categorizes products into the groups listed in Table 14. The QPL process consists of the following nine steps: Step 1 – Determining a QPL product: The process for evaluating a product varies depending on whether historical data are available. Products that do not have historical testing data follow additional steps and evaluation procedures since no performance or evaluation data are on hand. Products that do have historical testing data can be evaluated in a more streamlined manner. When determining the evaluation approach, the DOT considers the costs it will need to cover for the evaluation. Step 2 – Determining the acceptance requirements for QPL material approval: The criteria for material and product inclusion on the QPL include the following: the submittal of test data that QPL Products Admixtures, Grouts, Sealers Asphalt Miscellaneous Items Black and Galvanized Pipe Brick and Block Bridge Paint Clay Pipe Conduit Asphalt Miscellaneous Items Duct Iron Pipe Electrical and Lighting and Traffic Signal Fibers for Asphalt Items Fibers for Concrete Items Joint Gaskets and Filters Landscape Items Miscellaneous Items Plastic Pipe Pull and Junction Boxes, Transformer Bases Reflector Items Traffic Sign and Support Valves Sleeves and Various Items Water Tubing Table 14. Ohio DOT QPL categories.

Case Examples 65   demonstrate conformance to specifications, samples of products to determine typical markings and other identifying characteristics, samples for testing, and submittal requirements for other offices within the DOT if other offices are involved in the product acceptance process. Step 3 – Adding a product to the QPL: This follows two processes: initial QPL approval and annual recertification. The initial approval process includes a manufacturer requesting the inclu- sion of a material by completing a QPL submittal that meets the requirements set forth for that material. The OMM then evaluates the submittal for compliance with the requirements. If a product meets the requirements, it is added to the QPL. For the annual recertification process, each manufacturer has to recertify their products by January 1 each year through the QPL sub- mittal process. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to initiate the recertification process. Those products that are not recertified annually are removed from the list. Step 4 – Required project site documentation and inspection for a QPL product: Only the prod- ucts listed on the QPL are available for use at the time of delivery for a project. The documenta- tion and inspection requirements provide evidence that the material is from a currently approved QPL manufacturer. Engineers inspect products for quality assurance and verify that the material and manufacturer are listed on the current QPL website. Products are not accepted for use if they are not listed or if the manufacturer of a product or the actual product is unknown. Step 5 – Documenting project acceptance of QPL material: Once the engineer verifies and determines that the QPL product is identified and in an acceptable condition, the engineer will acknowledge the acceptance of the product and record the product type, description, quantity, reference number, and manufacturer. Step 6 – Random testing: Ohio DOT will periodically test QPL products by identifying which products will be randomly tested. Products will be tested in-house if the DOT has the equip- ment and capabilities. Products will be tested by a third-party source if the DOT does not have the equipment or capabilities. The manufacturer will provide samples for testing. Continued approval of the product is based on the quality assurance testing to make sure it complies with a project’s approved plans and specifications. Step 7 – Removal of products from the QPL: If the random testing shows failing results or a product exhibits field performance issues, the manufacturer is notified. The manufacturer then has 15 days to determine the cause, provide an explanation, and identify corrective actions. If this is not completed within 15 days, the product is removed from the QPL. Step 8 – QPL dispute resolution process: If a product is removed, the manufacturer may appeal the decision by submitting a written appeal. The manufacturer can appeal to dispute the validity of the testing or because they believe the testing was done erroneously; in either case, the DOT will review the equipment and calibration and determine whether resampling or retesting is needed. If testing is going to be redone, the manufacturer is invited to watch the testing in-person. The OMM then makes the decision. If the manufacturer disagrees with the OMM, they can appeal to the QPL Appeal Board. Once the Appeal Board reviews the information, they will make a final decision and a written decision will be provided to the manufacturer. Step 9 – Reinstatement of products to the QPL: Ohio DOT has a process in place for manufac- turers to have a product reinstated that was removed from the QPL due to missing recertifica- tion by following the initial QPL product approval process in Step 3. However, any material or product removed due to failed testing cannot be considered for reinstatement for a period of no less than 1 year. Additional testing may also be needed to demonstrate performance before the product or material can be reinstated.

66 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes 4.6.3 Evaluating Products that Do Not Align with QPLs For products submitted by manufacturers and suppliers that do not align with a QPL or an existing specification, Ohio DOT first determines whether the product is worth an evaluation, and if so, the NPE determines the evaluation criteria and helps to develop a new specification if the product is approved for use. Products are only added to the QPL when they align with a QPL and the associated existing specifications. Once the evaluation criteria are developed, the product evaluation proceeds just like any other product evaluation. 4.6.4 Product Evaluation Timelines The timeline for product evaluation can vary depending on the product. If a product dem- onstrates performance and testing that are aligned with an existing specification, then the timeline is within the 2-to-6-month range. However, if a product does not have a performance or testing history, does not align with an existing specification, and needs field testing, then the product evaluation may take a year or more to complete. The lack of performance and testing infor- mation means that the DOT has to develop its performance criteria and testing plan before the product can be evaluated. The lack of existing specifications means that a new specification must be written if the product is to be approved. Writing new specifications is much more time-consuming than when a product aligns with an existing specification. 4.6.5 Benefits and Challenges Ohio DOT pointed out benefits and challenges of its PEP. The primary benefit of the Ohio DOT PEP is when the DOT finds a new product that serves a purpose and the traveling public’s best interest. Products that are more efficient in application and cost help the DOT to be better stewards of taxpayer funds. Products that are found to be efficient and high performing tend to be approved and added to the QPL. A challenge mentioned by Ohio DOT deals with proper tracking and documentation of the evaluation. Instances with products have occurred in which trials, demonstrations, or testing has not been tracked or reported properly, leading to an increase in product evaluation time for performing tests again. While it is the NPE’s responsibility to not overlook the tracking process, the SMEs from internal offices at Ohio DOT need to help the NPE with tracking when the SME is involved with the trial, demonstration, or testing. Another challenge associated with the SMEs is that the NPE requires assistance from SMEs, who have other daily tasks. This need sometimes delays the evaluation process until they have available time. It is difficult to manage the Ohio DOT PEP as a staff of one, and leaning on other staff members within the department is a necessity; however, it becomes a burden when SMEs have other daily responsibilities to complete. 4.6.6 Proprietary, Environmental, and Buy America/ Build America Products Ohio DOT was asked to provide information on proprietary, environmental, and Buy America/ Build America product evaluations. In each case, the evaluation process is the same. Ohio DOT considers these types of products just like other products, as long as the product demonstrates a benefit to Ohio DOT, utilizes taxpayer funds wisely, and performs as required. Environmental friendliness and product declarations are not a part of the evaluation process, but Ohio DOT does consider the sustainability of products when necessary. However, products received for evaluation that do not meet the Buy America/Build America requirements are typically not considered or evaluated.

Case Examples 67   4.6.7 Experiences and Findings There are findings to share from the experiences of Ohio DOT in its evaluation of products for construction and maintenance and use of the QPL to help others with their state DOT PEP. These findings include the following: • Trust but verify all claims made about a product. While manufacturers will provide relevant information on a product or material with the application and upon request by the DOT, make sure the information provided is accurate with verification through a review of the perfor- mance information or with laboratory or field testing. • Document and file all information, including performance details, on new product evalua- tions accurately. This step proves useful when a product comes back for review years later. This happens if a product is sold to a new company, a new salesperson gets hired, or the company forgets it previously submitted the product to Ohio DOT for evaluation. 4.7 Tennessee DOT The Research and Product Evaluation Section at Tennessee DOT is responsible for evaluating and testing all new products submitted for use in highway construction and maintenance. Infor- mation from evaluations and testing are distributed to specific internal parties, and the evalua- tion information is also provided with products listed in Tennessee DOT’s QPL. Tennessee DOT also qualifies producers of specific materials, which are listed on the Producer List. Typically, Tennessee DOT receives around 100 product evaluation submittals annually. The Research and Product Evaluation Section also participates in NTPEP, with Tennessee DOT being the lead state DOT for the High Friction Surface Treatments and Traffic Control Devices PECs within NTPEP. 4.7.1 PEP The list of products evaluated at Tennessee DOT is extensive, shown in Table  15, which includes all product categories for the Tennessee DOT QPL. Each category is an individual QPL, which was developed chronologically and numbered as List 1 to 45. The product evaluation procedures and steps taken vary depending on the category of the product submitted for consideration and approval. The procedures used may include any of the following items: • In-house laboratory testing, • In-house field testing/Test decks/Pilot projects, • Certified third-party laboratory testing, • NTPEP testing results, • Evaluations through different Tennessee DOT committees (e.g., traffic control materials, pavement markings, roadside safety hardware, work zone control products), • Consultation with or an evaluation conducted by other Tennessee DOT staff (e.g., Mainte- nance and Traffic Field Operations or Geotechnical Section; Structures, Design, Maintenance, Construction, Safety, and Traffic Operations Divisions), • Approvals or information from other state DOTs, and • Self-certification that the product meets the requirements in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Tennessee DOT uses NTPEP PECs to evaluate products submitted for review. When Tennessee DOT accepts the NTPEP testing, DOT staff checks to ensure the testing data meet the thresholds of acceptability to determine whether the product passes or fails. The NTPEP technical com- mittees used for products on the QPL and producers on the Producer List are listed in Table 16.

68 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes NTPEP Product Evaluation Used with QPL Used for Producer List Asphalt binder systems AMA ARAs Composite concrete reinforcements Concrete admixtures and curing compounds Corrugated metal pipe DWS Elastomeric bridge bearing pads ERB Erosion control products GTX & REGEO Guardrail/Guiderail HFTO PMM PCC JS and HMA CS PCMS/Flashing arrow panels Pipe lining systems PBC Protective coatings RPM Rapid set concrete patch materials Reinforcing steel and wire SSM/Roll-up signs TTCD Thermoplastic pipe Table 16. NTPEP product evaluations used by Tennessee DOT. QPL Product Categories at Tennessee DOT (Each Category Is Called a “List”) 1 Traffic control materials 16 Prepackaged grout 31 High-friction surface treatments for roadways 2 Waterproofing membranes and materials 17 Erosion prevention and sediment control 32 Recycled plastic guardrail blockouts 3 SSC 18 Manhole accessories 33 Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) or NCHRP 350-approved signpost hardware 4 Air-entraining and chemical 19 Epoxy powder for 34 Approved roadside safety admixtures for concrete reinforcing steel hardware 5 Joint sealers and fillers 20 Stressed cable grouts 35 Pull boxes and junction boxes 6 Traffic control detection loop sealants 21 Release compounds for asphalt mixes 36 Geotextiles and GTX & REGEO 7 Preformed compressive joint seals with lubricant adhesives 22 Masonry anchors 37 ADA detectable warning truncated domes 8 Epoxy resin systems 23 Concrete waterproofing 38 Retaining wall systems 9 Elastomeric bridge joint and bridge joint systems 24 Concrete latex modifiers 39 Warm mix asphalt 10 Reflective sheeting 25 Pressure injected epoxy systems 40 Pavement sealers and treatments 11 Biodegradable asphalt solvents 26 Anti-graffiti products 41 Rockfall mitigation 12 Coatings for concrete 27 Rebar splices 42 Spray applied liner material 13 Patching materials 28 Pile accessories 43 Closure pour material 14 Anti-stripping additives 29 Flashing arrow panels/arrow boards 44 Work zone traffic control products 15 Prepackaged concrete mixtures 30 Portable changeable message signs 45 MASH-approved roadside safety hardware Table 15. Tennessee DOT QPL product categories.

Case Examples 69   All applications for product evaluation submittals are completed in an electronic form and then emailed to the Tennessee DOT PEP staff (TDOT.ProductSubmittals@tn.gov). Once a product is submitted, a Tennessee DOT PEP staff member moves it through the appropriate processes for the given QPL. Then, Tennessee DOT uses the AASHTO Site Manager as the database that houses all approved products listed on the QPL. Tennessee DOT uses its standard specifications, standard drawings, special provisions, and AASHTO or ASTM material specifications and test methods as tools for conducting product evaluations. In some cases, Tennessee DOT may also consider other state DOTs’ APLs in the evaluation, but that only occurs occasionally. Further- more, Tennessee DOT is in the process of migrating to the AASHTOWare Project to replace the current AASHTO Site Manager. 4.7.2 QPL The purpose of the Tennessee DOT QPL is to provide a list of available products and materials to construction and maintenance personnel that have shown satisfactory performance with regard to construction and maintenance specifications. All listed products have been evaluated and are acceptable for use as long as the testing and certification requirements have been met and the products are used in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and require- ments. Tennessee DOT stated that it does not have a QPL for every type of product, and products not associated with a QPL but that are found to perform satisfactorily may not be included in a QPL. However, as needs arise, new QPLs may be developed. For any product, Tennessee DOT may choose to reject it if the product does not demonstrate satisfactory performance in any evaluation procedure. Also, if a listed product does not perform satisfactorily in real-life conditions, then the product may be removed from the list until the performance can be addressed and improved by the manufacturer. In addition to the QPL, Tennessee DOT also has a Producer List, which contains information on qualified producers of the following products: • Aggregate, • Asphalt, • Bridge-bearing pads, • Cement, • Concrete, • Fly ash, • Grass seed, • Pipe, • Slag cement, and • Steel. Any producer of these product types must successfully fulfill the requirements spelled out in the approval procedure documents and be aligned with any related standard operating proce- dures (SOPs) or specifications to be included on the Producer List. An example Tennessee DOT approval procedure document for ready-mix concrete is shown in Figure 35, which outlines the general information for ready-mix producers that would like to be listed on the Producer List. The process for evaluating ready-mix concrete producers is found in SOP 4-3, which is provided in Appendix L. In instances when an existing Tennessee DOT specification is changed or modified, Tennessee DOT has several options. In the case of only minor changes to an existing specification, Tennessee DOT is able to use the following options for approved products on the QPL: • Grandfather in the previously approved products based on their field performance and update the requirements for new product submittals,

70 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes Figure 35. Approval procedures document for ready-mix concrete producers.

Case Examples 71   • Review the product file (i.e., test data and reports) to see whether the product meets the revised specification(s), or • Request additional information from the manufacturer based on the new specification. In the case of major changes or rewriting specifications, Tennessee DOT can use the following options for approved products on the QPL: • Tennessee DOT posts the new requirements and allows a grace period (usually 1 year) for manufacturers to submit data demonstrating compliance with the new specification. • When Tennessee DOT adopts a new NTPEP testing program, it requires the manufacturers, at a minimum, to submit their products to the appropriate NTPEP technical committee within the grace period. Tennessee DOT continues to list the approved products through that grace period and drops the products not submitted to NTPEP. For those submitted products, Tennessee DOT continues to list them on the QPL until the tests are completed. Any product that does not meet the specification based on the NTPEP test data is removed from the list. 4.7.3 Evaluating Products that Do Not Align with QPLs When a product is submitted that does not meet an existing specification or align with a QPL, a different evaluation process is used. The process is as follows: 1. Determine whether a QPL is needed for the product category. 2. Determine whether there are at least three products to populate a list for competitiveness. 3. Find the ASTM or AASHTO specifications and test methods that cover the product. If none exist, determine how to evaluate the product (e.g., pilot project for field evaluation, experi- ence of other DOTs or agencies). 4. Determine which specifications are the most important for product approval. 5. Establish the department acceptance thresholds for the results of each test method. 6. Determine whether tests can be conducted in-house or whether third-party testing is acceptable. 7. Write and publish the procedures outlining all the requirements for product submittal to the department. 8. Reach out to manufacturers of the product to see whether they are interested in submitting their product for the QPL (for the initial three products). For innovative products, Tennessee DOT determines whether the product requires in-house, field, or laboratory testing. If Tennessee DOT does not have the capabilities to perform the testing due to not having an appropriate project site available or does not possess the right laboratory equipment, it recommends that the manufacturer submit the product to the NTPEP UP3. 4.7.4 Product Evaluation Timelines The timeline for product evaluation and approval depends on the product and the complete- ness of the submitted information. When products are submitted with all documents and testing information that meet an existing specification, the product could be entered into the system on the same day the application is received. However, timelines are longer if information is missing, testing is required, or a product does not meet an existing specification. Also, evaluations take longer if an internal committee review is required. For example, any Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) products need to be reviewed by the Tennessee DOT MASH committee; however, the MASH committee only meets quarterly, and approvals may take several months to obtain. When field testing is required, such as patching materials that need to be tested seasonally during colder months, the product evaluation could take up to a year to complete and make an approval decision. Field testing of some specific products requires 3-, 6-, or 12-month evaluation periods or longer.

72 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes 4.7.5 Benefits and Challenges Tennessee DOT stated that the benefits of its PEP include that it helps them evaluate products that meet a specific need, is more cost-effective than existing materials, and provides overall value to the department’s operations. Challenges include finding projects to test or pilot the product. Tennessee DOT makes this task the manufacturers’ responsibility in the evaluation process, but it does assist the manufacturers in finding appropriate projects. Another challenge mentioned was dealing with products submitted for an active project whose approval is needed quickly. While requirements will not change for an expedited evalu- ation, products that do need a quicker review timeline may move up in the evaluation queue ahead of other products so that the evaluation can take place as soon as possible. However, this then delays the evaluation of products already in the queue. 4.7.6 Proprietary, Environmental, and Buy America/ Build America Products Evaluating products for environmental friendliness is typically not a part of the evaluation process. However, Tennessee DOT requires SDSs for all submitted products, and any products that contain asbestos will not be evaluated. In addition, environmental product declarations and life-cycle analyses are not required in the product evaluation and approval process. Tennessee DOT is working through the process of including the Buy America/Build America requirements in the product evaluation process. SOP 1-8 outlines the currently used Buy America/ Build America requirements. However, Tennessee DOT does not expect any changes to be made to the evaluation process due to Buy America/Build America. Products are still evaluated and listed as Buy America/Build America and are only required for federally funded projects. Since Tennessee DOT always has a non-federally funded project, which can use products that do not meet the Buy America/Build America requirements, all products are listed regardless. Based on recent and current material shortages, Tennessee DOT saw a shortage of glass beads due to supply chain issues. However, that situation lasted about a year and has improved since. In addition, Tennessee DOT is anticipating cost increases in hot-applied thermoplastic raw materials, such as glass beads, titanium dioxide (TiO2), and resins. The increases are due to labor shortages and hauling costs. However, these shortages and cost increases are not impacting the Tennessee DOT PEP or QPL. For unapproved and rejected products, all information is kept on file and maintained in case re-evaluation is warranted. Tennessee DOT stated that it has product information for unapproved products going back to the 1980s. When a product is rejected, a letter is issued to the manu- facturer explaining the reasons for non-approval. Non-approved products can be re-evaluated after any problems are addressed, and additional documentation and test data are received to re-evaluate the modified product. 4.7.7 Experiences and Findings There are findings to share from the experiences of Tennessee DOT in its evaluation of products for construction and maintenance and use of the QPL and Producer List to help others with their formal state DOT PEP. These findings include the following: • Develop working relationships with manufacturers so that they understand the needs of the agency and Tennessee DOT understands the potential value of their products. Tennessee DOT makes it clear to manufacturers that it is in the business of evaluating and approving products that meet the stated criteria.

Case Examples 73   • Develop personal relationships with other agency employees and divisions because their expertise helps to inform decision-making on a product. Participation in organizations helps as well, such as with the NTPEP, AASHTO COMP, and the Tennessee Quality Asphalt Initiative. • Stay informed about changing technologies. Knowing what is technologically possible can help one to anticipate emerging products or changes in existing products. • Keep the market in mind. Too few products on a list may lead to higher costs. • Keep an open mind. Just because a product may not seem useful does not mean it is not useful to Tennessee DOT staff on a specific project. 4.8 Case Examples Summary The seven case examples provide in-depth information about state DOT PEPs, including evaluating new and innovative products, evaluation timelines, information, and the structure of A/QPLs; noted benefits and challenges; evaluating proprietary, environmental, and Buy America/ Build America products; and lessons learned for other state DOTs to consider. Overall, the case example state DOTs relayed that additional resources in the form of staff, funding, and a com- prehensive electronic PEP system help to make the product evaluation process more efficient and allow for completing reviews in a timely manner. Regarding state DOT PEPs, the seven state DOTs revealed the differences between how state DOTs handle product evaluations, how they are approved, and how they are listed as approved products on a state DOT’s A/QPL. In each case, the product evaluation process begins when a manufacturer or supplier completes a product evaluation application and provides a product submittal to the state DOT to evaluate. The evaluation then includes using existing specifica- tions and criteria to evaluate products. Products that pass the criteria and meet performance requirements are accepted and listed on the A/QPL. Table 17 outlines a comparison of the case example state DOT PEPs. State DOT Annual Number of Product Applications Evaluation Criteria Used Who Performs Evaluations Use of Third- Party SMEs Electronic PEP System AZ 220 Evaluation Tables PEP Staff; Technical Experts Limited use AZPEP CA 200–300 Authorization Criteria Technical Committee No Evaluation Tracking Database FL 2,000 Product Requirements, Testing, and Approval Criteria PEP Staff; Technical Expert List No PATH MI 150 Specifications and Performance Criteria Designated SMEs No -- NH 75 Qualification Criteria Designated SMEs No NForm OH 50 Performance Criteria and Testing Plan Designated SMEs and FHWA Limited use -- TN 100 SOPs PEP Staff; Designated SMEs Limited use AASHTO Site Manager Table 17. Case example state DOT PEPs.

74 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes For evaluation timelines, most of the case example state DOTs use an initial review period, which is typically about 30 days. Typically, an initial review is conducted to determine whether the submitted product has any interest, fills a need, or aligns with an existing A/QPL; establish the evaluation process to use for the product; request samples and product documentation from manufacturers; and determine any required testing. The time to evaluate products varies depend- ing on the product as well as whether the submitted product aligns with an existing specification or A/QPL. Products that require limited to no testing and align with existing specifications are typically reviewed in a few days to a few months. However, products that require extensive field observations and testing or that do not align with an existing specification, meaning evaluation criteria will need to be created, may take a few years to evaluate. Table 18 shows the timelines that each of the case example state DOTs have in place. The A/QPL name, structure, categories, and expiration of approved products varied across the case example state DOTs, as illustrated in Table 19. The benefits realized from using a state DOT PEP collected from the case example state DOTs include the following: • Electronic PEP systems provide a database of all submitted products, providing a better track- ing system than past systems, and use automated notifications and timelines to help make product evaluations more efficient and ensure evaluations are completed in a timely manner. • A state DOT A/QPL provides a one-stop shop for contractors to consider certain products for projects. Contractors are able to easily find the products they are allowed to use. In addition, State DOT Initial Review Period Evaluation Timeline AZ 30 days 30 to 150 days CA 30–90 days 30 days to 2 years FL 30 days 6 months to a few years MI None Few days to a few years NH None Few days to a few years OH Varies 2 to 12 months TN None Few days to a few years Table 18. Initial review period times and total evaluation timelines. CA AMLs Material Type and AML Category 50 1–3 years Not used FL APL Florida DOT Specification Number 750 2 years Not used MI QPL Michigan DOT Specification Number 42 Until removed Not used NH QPL New Hampshire DOT Specification Number 27 1–3 years Rarely used OH QPL Alphabetically by Product Type 19 1 year Rarely used TN QPL Chronologically by Product Type 45 Until removed Rarely used State DOT A/QPL Name A/QPL Structure No. of A/QPL Categories Approved Products Expiration Use of Other State DOT A/QPLs AZ APL Arizona DOT Specification Number 40 5 years Rarely used Table 19. Comparison of A/QPLs from case example state DOTs.

Case Examples 75   internal state DOT staff also know how to use the A/QPL to collect information on products submitted and used by contractors. • The A/QPL guarantees product acceptance for any project and eases the role of the inspectors. • NTPEP provides consistent test results for product evaluation on products used in highway construction. • Products that are more efficient in application and cost help DOTs to be better stewards of taxpayer funds. Products that are found to be efficient and high performing tend to be approved and added to the A/QPL. • PEPs allow DOTs to evaluate products that meet a specific need, are more cost-effective than existing materials, and provide overall value to the department’s operations. The challenges the case example state DOTs have had in using their state DOT PEP include the following: • Receiving SME reviews in a timely manner. PEPs require assistance from internal DOT SMEs, who have other daily tasks. This need sometimes delays the evaluation process until they have available time. • New and innovative products that do not align with an A/QPL are more challenging to evaluate due to no existing specifications or evaluation criteria. More time and resources are then needed to create a new specification and associated evaluation criteria before the product can be evaluated. • The size of a PEP may seem difficult to manage with limited staff, meaning other internal staff members (e.g., SMEs) are needed to assist with the evaluations. • Proper tracking and documentation of the evaluation. State DOTs mentioned instances of the testing not being tracked or reported properly, which can lead to more time being taken to evaluate a product and the potential for the testing to be performed again. • Finding appropriate projects to test, pilot, or demonstrate a product can be difficult depending on the product. • A process is needed for products submitted for an active project whose approval is needed quickly. While requirements typically do not change for an expedited evaluation, products that do need a quicker review timeline may draw resources away from and delay the evaluation of other products. Each case example state DOT was asked to provide information on evaluating proprietary, environmental, and Buy America/Build America products in its state DOT PEP. Table 20 out- lines the findings from each of the seven case examples. State DOT Proprietary Products Considered Sole-Source Products Considered Environmental Product Declarations Used Buy America-/Build America-Compliant Products AZ Yes Yes No Future consideration CA Yes No Yes APL denotes eligible products FL Yes Yes When required by specification AML denotes eligible products MI Yes Yes Future consideration Future consideration NH Yes Yes Yes Future consideration OH Yes Yes No Noncompliant products are not evaluated TN Yes No No Part of evaluation process Table 20. Case example state DOTs and evaluating proprietary, environmental, and Buy America/Build America products.

76 State DOT Product Evaluation Processes Finally, each of the case example state DOTs provided lessons learned on state DOT PEPs, A/QPLs, timelines, staffing, and other pertinent components. The primary lessons learned have been compiled in the following list: • Having SMEs and internal staff engage with the PEP helps make the evaluation process more efficient. Involving the SMEs in specification development also helps engagement and allows the SMEs to become familiar with technical specifications and the layout and use of the APL. • Using an online submission system and electronic database allows a state DOT to automate the notifications sent out to the SMEs to review a product at their leisure. • Standardizing testing methods and using similar standards and specifications would allow for easier evaluations for manufacturers that want their product used in more than one state DOT. • A well-defined state DOT PEP, organized with detailed workflows, allows for the development of an easy-to-use, efficient, and automated system. It also allows a smaller PEP staff to function as efficiently as a large group. • Product applications and submittals should come directly from manufacturers or product representatives. • NTPEP provides consistent test results and data organization that are displayed for easy access and understanding. • NTPEP provides test results performed by contracted independent laboratories, providing a more consistent product-to-product test result comparison. • Trust but verify all claims made about a product. While manufacturers will provide infor- mation on a product or material with the application and upon the DOT’s request, ensure the information provided is accurate with verification through a review of the performance information and testing. • Document and file all information on new product evaluations. This step proves useful when a product comes back for review years later. • Develop working relationships with manufacturers so that they understand the needs of the DOT and the DOT understands the potential value of their products. • Stay informed about changing technologies. Knowing what is technologically possible can help one to anticipate emerging products or changes in existing products. • Keep the market in mind. Too few products on a list may lead to higher costs. • Keep an open mind. Just because a product may not seem useful does not mean it is not useful for a specific project.

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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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