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En Route


Stories and News July 2016 to June 2017

Shauna Hallmark, above


InTrans En Route is published by the Publications Department at Iowa State University’s Institute for Transportation. EDITOR BRANDY HAENLEIN • WRITERS BRANDY HAENLEIN, STEVE JONES, RACHEL MURDOCK • DESIGNER STEPHEN POST COVER DESIGN BRANDY HAENLEIN WE ARE INNOVATIVE. Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual WE ARE orientation, gender identity, IMPACTFUL. genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran. Inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies may be directed to Office of Equal Opportunity, 3350 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa 50011, Tel. 515 294-7612, email WE ARE THE INSTITUTE FOR TRANSPORTATION.

During a time of great progress, I think it is beneficial to take a moment to remember the past and the Institute for Transportation’s modest beginnings. In 1983, we were supported by a Federal Highway Administration grant, which was aimed at providing training and technical assistance to Iowa’s city and county road agencies. Then in 1988, that initial program—Iowa’s Local Technical Assistance Program —was joined by one of the first ever U.S. DOT-funded University Transportation Center regional programs, which greatly expanded Iowa State’s focus on, and the national impact of, programmatic transportation-based research and education. Through the years, several additional funded centers and programs have joined a synergistic collection of regional and national initiatives housed and administered under the banner of InTrans. Today, we remain thankful for these partnerships. From an initial budget of $100,000, our total InTrans annual expenditures have grown to a

record $18.6 million operation in fiscal year 2017, a 6 percent increase over the previous year. Together, we provide nationally renowned research, education, outreach, and training programs that every day make a difference in areas as diverse as transportation infrastructure, traffic engineering, and policy. In fact, InTrans currently supports 370 research projects under 56 principal investigators. This research is sponsored by a variety of state and national organizations, including the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2), Federal Highway Administration, industry partners, other state agencies, and our primary sponsor the Iowa Department of Transportation. This publication highlights a few of the many completed and ongoing efforts of our centers and programs and how their great work is impacting the transportation community. Onward and upward. Please enjoy the following stories.

Shauna Hallmark

Director, Institute for Transportation Professor, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering Iowa State University


INSTITUTE FOR TRANSPORTATION 2711 South Loop Drive, Suite 4700 Ames, IA 50010-8664 515-294-8103 515-294-0467 (fax)

Shauna Hallmark, Director 515-294-5249



Neal Hawkins, Associate Director 515-294-7733

ASPHALT MATERIALS AND PAVEMENTS PROGRAM (AMPP) BRIDGE ENGINEERING CENTER (BEC) Improving asphalt pavements through research and education Conducting research to solve real-world structural problems Chris Williams, Manager Brent Phares, Director 515-294-4419 515-294-8103 CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY (CMAT) CENTER FOR EARTHWORKS ENGINEERING RESEARCH (CEER) Researching innovative construction technologies and processes Solving critical geotechnical engineering and earthworks for the transportation industry construction challenges through research and technology Jennifer Shane, Director Vernon Schaefer, Interim Director 515-294-1703 515-294-9540 CENTER FOR TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH AND EDUCATION (CTRE) IOWA LOCAL TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LTAP) Exploring safety, infrastructure management systems, and sustainability Helping Iowa’s local governments keep up with growing transportation demands in transportation Keith Knapp, Director • Iowa Pavement Management Program • Iowa Traffic Safety Data Service 515-294-8817 • Roadway Infrastructure Management and Operations Systems Omar Smadi, Director PROGRAM FOR SUSTAINABLE PAVEMENT ENGINEERING AND RESEARCH (PROSPER) 515-294-7710 Investigating and integrating innovative, sustainable pavement CENTER FOR WEATHER IMPACTS ON MOBILITY AND SAFETY (CWIMS) materials and technologies Halil Ceylan, Director Facilitating better and safer ways to travel when weather impacts transportation systems 515-294-8051 Zach Hans, Director STATEWIDE URBAN DESIGN AND SPECIFICATIONS (SUDAS) 515-294-7733 Providing uniform design guidelines and construction specifications for Iowa’s urban public improvement projects MIDWEST TRANSPORTATION CENTER (MTC) Paul Wiegand, Director Employing data-driven performance measures for enhanced infrastructure condition, safety, and project delivery 515-294-7082 Shauna Hallmark, Director REACTOR (REALTIME ANALYTICS OF TRANSPORTATION DATA) 515-294-5249 LABORATORY Completing traffic calculations within seconds to enable the NATIONAL CENTER FOR WOOD TRANSPORTATION STRUCTURES delivery of near real-time solutions (NCWTS) Neal Hawkins, Co-Director Integrating research, demonstration, and education to improve wood transportation structures 515-294-7733 Travis Hosteng, Director 515-294-7197 NATIONAL CONCRETE PAVEMENT TECHNOLOGY (CP TECH) CENTER Serving as the national hub for concrete pavement research and technology transfer Peter Taylor, Director 515-294-9333

NEWS Nightingale, Thompson earn Eisenhower Fellowships for second year Good things always come in twos. In 2016, then graduate students Ellen Nightingale and Patricia Thompson found out their applications earned them Eisenhower Fellowships from the Federal Highway Administration— the same fellowship they both also earned in 2015. The fellowship included a $11,500 stipend and the opportunity to continue their research in transportation engineering at Iowa State University’s Institute for Transportation. Nightingale worked with the Iowa Department of Transportation analyzing the safety and cost-effectiveness of highway cable median barriers while Thompson conducted research for the Michigan Department of Transportation analyzing large amounts of data to develop crash prediction models and cost/benefit rations for safety measures. They went on to present their research at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, in January 2017.

Morgan State University is first HBCU with a Chi Epsilon Chapter, thanks to current ISU-InTrans students “We set the trend, so hopefully other HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) will follow suit. It’s amazing to leave a legacy like that,” said Willine Richardson, a current transportation engineering master’s student at Iowa State University’s Institute for Transportation.

With the help of other executive board members, including fellow master’s student Jevan James, Richardson submitted a petition package in the hopes of transitioning their Civil Engineering Honor Society into a Chi Epsilon Chapter. Because of their efforts, the Morgan State Chapter of Chi Epsilon, located in Maryland, was officially initiated in April 2017, and Richardson and James will be chronicled as two of its founding members. But for these students, their engineering careers have only begun, as they are both now knee-deep in their studies at Iowa State University, conducting research under InTrans Director Shauna Hallmark.

“We set the trend, so hopefully other HBCUs will follow suit. It’s amazing to leave a legacy like that.”

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Ellen Nightingale, 2016–2017 Trinect Fellow, learns true meaning of education “You expect their answers to fit into a box, but sometimes it just doesn’t work like that,” said Nightingale. “For the amount of time and work put into this program, I doubted the impact I was making. But after really reviewing the drawings, it was eye-opening. The students were actually gaining a deeper level of understanding, which is even better than reciting a textbook definition.”

“After really reviewing the drawings, it was eye-opening.”

Jeff Wenke’s classroom at Studebaker Elementary in Des Moines was Nightingale’s first classroom placement as a Trinect Fellow, an ongoing Iowa State fellowship program funded by the National Science Foundation’s STEM-C Partnerships. In her second placement, Nightingale taught in Erika Buckner’s classroom in the Downtown School, also in Des Moines. Serving as “resident engineer,” she taught students one full day every week, which allotted time to develop what she called “essential skills.” Nightingale graduated from Iowa State University with a master’s degree from the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering in May 2017 and plans to eventually work for a private engineering firm.

ISU pavement center, West Des Moines testing a modified concrete mixture

In recent years, especially in cold weather states, some joints in concrete pavements have begun deteriorating relatively soon—5 to 10 years—after pavement construction.

Through studies conducted by the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center and its partners across the country, premature joint distress has been associated with two primary phenomena: (1) expansive pressures in pavements treated with certain salts and (2) freeze-thaw pressures in saturated pavements. Laboratory testing continues as CP Tech Center staff utilize the then new industrial development in Des Moines, Iowa (originally constructed in fall of 2015), to test a modified concrete mixture that hopefully is robust and consistent enough to mitigate these two problems.

BEC awarded $2.1 million grant as partner in US DOT UTC

The Bridge Engineering Center at Iowa State University has again received a major U.S. Department of Transportation grant as a partner in a Tier I University Transportation Center that will address an important infrastructure challenge facing the nation. The $2.1 million, five-year grant will be used to conduct research and participate in technology transfer and workforce development activities in accelerated bridge construction. “The grant allows us to expand our team of staff and students who can now do even more transformative scholarly work in accelerated bridge construction,” says Brent Phares, BEC director. “It also will allow us to get new, state-of-the-art bridge technologies into practice much more quickly.”

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE INNOVATIONS IN TRANSPORTATION CONFERENCE AUGUST 16, 2016 IN AMES, IOWA In coming years, new and emerging technologies will dramatically change the face of transportation. These changes and challenges will impact everyone in the field, from state and federal agency personnel to university researchers and from consultants to private business people. The key is learning what agencies can do today to prepare for tomorrow. And the Innovations in Transportation Conference sought to accomplish just that, with presentations on topics like autonomous and connected vehicles, various societal changes, three-dimensional printing and robotics, and the ever-present challenges in leading successful transportation agencies. With a total of 230 attendees from the Midwest and across the country, including as far east as New York and south as Texas, there was plenty of time between presentations to mingle and continue the conversation. (Carlton Reeves, left)

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The Big Aha! Keynote Jack Uldrich, a global futurist and speaker and author, spoke “big”—literally—with his presentation “The Big Aha! How to Future-Proof against Tomorrow’s Transformational Transportation Trends.” His presentation hit on some extremely current topics like virtual reality, additive manufacturing and 3D printing, robotics, the “Internet of Everything,” big data, and more. Uldrich discussed how “fast” the world is updating, and that has to do with companies implementing more and more sophisticated technology. For example, 3D printing is becoming a go-to for not only toys and gadgets but bigger things related to transportation like cars and bridges. And that’s not all, other trends like virtual reality are moving into other fields besides entertainment. In fact, many universities already use driving simulators for research to see how people interact with the physical world. If anything can be gleamed from Uldrich’s presentation it is that the future of transportation is indeed changing, and the best way to think about it is by taking a look at its rich history.

Federal initiatives with connected automation Federal Highway Administration’s Taylor Lochrane, a research civil engineer working in the Office of Operations Research and Development, offered up some information on how the FHWA is working on strategies to keep the nation moving in the right direction while addressing issues related to traffic congestion and system inefficiency. His presentation “Shaping the Future of American Mobility: Federal Initiatives with Connected Automation” introduces some FHWA innovations like merge and cooperative adaptive cruise control technologies like the GlidePath prototype, which is the first of its kind.

The GlidePath was a joint effort between the Office of Operations Research and Development and the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office. It leverages vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to enable an equipped vehicle to communicate wirelessly with a traffic signal to control a vehicle’s speed in an optimal, eco-friendly manner. Lochrane also discussed a movement toward smart cities, in which connected vehicles play an important role in improving overall safety and mobility while reducing cost and environmental impacts.

Energy in transportation The future of mobility is changing, according to Carlton Reeves, a technology-to-market advisor for the U.S. Department of Energy. His presentation “Energy in Transportation: The Future of Mobility” looked at how technologies are becoming so affordable to easily implement that the transportation industry is beginning to adopt them, so, in a word, it’s “changing.” He explained that travel patterns are shifting in modern-day America, and with it an increased peak-period of congestion on the nation’s highway system. The adoption of technology and use of connected vehicles is one thing, but the complexity of those systems is another, according to Reeves, who discussed the use of radio signals, platoons, cameras, LIDAR, ultrasound, infrared lights, and more. He explained that the future of mobility will be built on a system of vehicle ownership verses control, where shared autonomy is the optimal option over private autonomy. One of Reeves’ main points was how investing in transformative energy technologies is beneficial to transportation as an ever-evolving, essential system.

America is changing. Freight is changing. Technology is changing. Nature is changing. Policy is changing. page 7

CP TECH CENTER TRAINS, EDUCATES AGENCIES NATIONWIDE ON NEW PEM SPECIFICATIONS The Director of the National Concrete Pavement Technology (CP Tech) Center, Peter Taylor, and his team of researchers and consultants will be taking their knowledge on the road to impact performance engineered mixtures (PEM) in concrete roads near you. Outfitted with a mobile concrete trailer, they will visit states around the country and assist transportation agencies with the implementation of new American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) PEM PP 84-17 specifications, demonstrating new test methods and training staff on how to ensure that their mixtures are complying with the spec while remaining sustainable. Their work will help transportation agencies implement modern concrete technologies through in-depth training, by constructing shadow projects, providing instruction on testing, offering information on appropriate mixtures for particular geographic regions, and demonstrating how to monitor compliance with the new specifications. “This program allows us to help individual states and individual contractors make the best possible concrete for their specific situation,” says Taylor. “By the time we leave a site, they know and we know that they are making great concrete.” This effort is an outgrowth of the work done in developing the AASHTO specifications guided by an FHWA Expert Task Group, of which Taylor was a leader. The group was formed in 2014 in response to a growing problem in concrete road construction: rapidly advancing concrete technology coupled with rapidly aging concrete specifications. Concrete mixtures for road construction are growing ever more technical and complex, but traditional concrete specifications, based on strength, slump, and air content, date back to 1922 when the slump cone was introduced. Other specifications were added in 1949. Those old specifications don’t work for current concrete mixtures, which contain chemical admixtures and supplementary cementitious materials that didn’t exist when those traditional concrete specifications were developed.

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For example, Taylor says that new properties that need to be evaluated in PEMs include fluid transport properties, strength, cold weather resistance, shrinkage, aggregate stability, and workability. Additionally, the amount of traffic driving on concrete roads is increasing, and aggressive winter maintenance practices that can have damaging consequences for concrete roads are now the norm. The lack of updated specifications also leads to problems with safety and durability. For example, a recent review of a limited set of pavements showed that about 8 percent of them experienced premature distresses or failures, despite meeting all the concrete specifications in place at the time. Additionally, there has been an increasing demand for transportation systems that last longer, cost less, and are faster to build, and those are going to require new concrete technologies. Overall, it was clear that updated concrete specifications were needed. It is anticipated that the updated specifications will have a significant impact on concrete roads by producing more durable pavements that will not just minimize failures such as potholes, cracks, and deterioration, but will also reduce maintenance costs for transportation agencies and improve ride quality for motorists. “Road construction is a major inconvenience for motorists and a major expense for transportation agencies,” says Taylor. “If we can develop a pavement that will last for 40 years instead of 20 years, then motorists are happier, transportation agencies are happier, and everyone is safer.” The specifications were deliberately developed to be provisional, meaning they can evolve to best meet the needs of agencies and contractors. In fact, the CP Tech Center is part of a partnership that includes the Federal Highway Administration, Oklahoma State University, and Oregon State University and is tasked with continuing to develop better tests to relate fresh concrete properties to performance.


Introducing changes to the normal driving experience presents a variety of safety risks, and work zones are no exception to this rule. While work zone fatalities have been trending down since reaching a high of 1,186 in 2002, a recent plateau has motivated the need for efforts to further address this issue. Safety is a major focus area for the Federal Highway Administration, thus the creation of the Work Zone Safety Grant Program in 2006, which initially funded four cooperative agreements to public and private agencies engaged in improving work zone safety. Today, the Work Zone Safety Grants Program has reached its fourth iteration with grants during the current cycle totaling $8.7 million. Among other recipients, a grant totaling $1.5 million and covering five years of research was awarded in early 2017 to Iowa State University’s Institute for Transportation. They will be partnering with other Midwest institutions with work zone safety expertise, including the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michigan State University, and the University of Kansas. Peter Savolainen, an associate professor in ISU’s Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering and InTrans safety engineer, will led this effort as the project manager. With nearly 15 years of experience working in the area of traffic safety, he is eager to continue efforts aimed at improving work zones, as he was involved in the first three iterations of the Work Zone Safety Grant Program while a faculty member at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. “Work zones continue to be a big issue nationally, as well as here in Iowa. Whenever you change the normal driving environment, safety becomes a major concern,” says Savolainen.

The grant is tackling a series of five tasks (with a sixth to be decided later based on emerging research themes), which will highlight the following topic areas: 1. Post-project construction evaluation 2. Work conducted near signalized/signalized intersections 3. Safety during winter construction and severe weather 4. Creating low-cost work zone management strategies 5. Developing and applying work zone crash modification factors (CMFs) The end goal, according to Savolainen, is to develop a series of guidelines, procedures, and decision support tools that will help transportation agencies to more safely and efficiently implement construction, maintenance, and utility operations on or near the roadway. But, the difficulty lies in finding those work zone best practices that can be relevant to all states. “Gaining a better understanding of what is being done elsewhere and communicating those best practices on a large-scale basis is extremely important when trying to increase safety and efficiency nationwide.” Although the grant primarily aims to tackle the issue of safety, it really is about making work zones better all-around by making better, informed decisions. Reducing traffic delays (efficiency) and the number of work zone- related crashes (safety) are the key in doing just that. “Given the nature of transportation engineering and how we’re moving towards better maintaining our system, our research is more important now than ever, and our team—who brings both transportation engineering and construction to the forefront—is ready to take that next step.”

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According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the average bridge in the United States is 43 years old. With an intended design service life of 50 years, a large number of the nation’s bridges are already considered to be structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

In his newest study, he involved a material supplier to formulate a new UHPC mix to accommodate road crowning and sloping deck surfaces and tested its applicability in the laboratory. Using this new mix, the thin UHPC overlay concept was successfully implemented on the Mud Creek Bridge in Buchanan County, Iowa.

And Iowa is no exception. Of its approximate 25,000 bridges, 20 percent are considered deficient or posted with a weight restriction. In short, Iowa is one of the top three states in “The bridge overlay is periodically monitored, and, so far, the nation with the most deficient bridges. there has been no issues found with regards to the UHPC overlay or the interface between the UHPC and the old deck “And that’s why the work we are doing with the Iowa DOT surface,” says Sritharan. and FHWA is so important,” says Sri Sritharan, the principal investigator on a $127,500 research project looking at the In addition to the field implementation, three concrete slabs, use of ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) for bridge with and without the UHPC overlay, were also tested in the deck overlay. laboratory. The results showed that UHPC overlay can be designed to increase the deck’s stiffness and strength if According to Sritharan, the problem isn’t just the aging desired. infrastructure, but also the continuous increase in both traffic volume and heavy traffic vehicles, which requires a So, how does this study impact future research using UHPC critical look at the nation’s bridge stock. overlay and bridge construction? “Right now, there is an urgent need to develop technologies that are not only economical and durable, but can also be safely and rapidly implemented in practice.” And his project, which ended September 2017, is doing just that. Most bridge deterioration starts with deck cracking that in turn causes more severe and extensive damage to the superstructure. That’s where UHPC comes in. In a UHPC study by Sritharan in 2014, he tested a concept of using UHPC as a thin layer on top of a normal concrete bridge deck. “Since UHPC has a higher tensile strength and low permeability, cracking, as well as water and chloride ingression, can be prevented or considerably minimalized, which in turn will elongate the lifespan of the bridge. Moreover, UHPC is also deemed to have a higher fatigue resistance as compared to normal concrete.”

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According to Sritharan, the use of a thin UHPC layer as a deck overlay has been shown to be a viable solution to prolong the lifespan of bridge decks. While its long-term performance in the field needs to be verified, technologies have to be developed to place the UHPC swiftly and uniformly on the bridge deck. Development of such technologies and further refinement to the UHPC mix will enable widespread application of UHPC overlay on our nation’s bridges.

On May 4, the Institute for Transportation hosted a workshop and laboratory visit on the topic of UHPC for bridge applications. This outreach opportunity brought together over 50 city and county engineers, contractors, and researchers for discussion and observation.

TESTING OF HEATED PAVEMENT TECHNOLOGY AT DES MOINES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT Halil Ceylan picked up his smartphone, opened up an app, and called up the remote controls for the first full-scale test slabs of electrically conductive concrete installed at an American airport. When a winter storm approaches, Ceylan can use that app to turn on the heated pavement system and, thanks to realtime video capability, watch as snow and ice melts away. In fall of 2016, Ceylan and his research team from Iowa State University’s Program for Sustainable Pavement Engineering and Research (PROSPER) installed two, 15 by 13.5 ft. test slabs of electrically conductive concrete into the apron at the southwest corner of the Elliott Aviation hangar on the north side of the Des Moines International Airport. The hangar is in the middle of the general aviation apron devoted to smaller aircraft. Ceylan called up pictures of the slabs during one of last winter’s rare snowfalls. The apron all around the test slabs was covered with an inch or two of white snow; the two slabs, marked by diagonally painted red stripes, were clear and drying. “We have proven this technology does work,” says Ceylan. “Our goal is to keep airports open, safe, and accessible. We don’t want any slips or falls, or any aircraft skidding off runways. Our technologies can contribute to providing a safe environment and fewer delays.”

The cost of heating pavement It’s the first thing Ceylan brings up after noting the success of the test slabs: “People wonder how much this costs.” And they’ve run the numbers: Using 333 watts per square meter (about the energy used by three light bulbs) for seven hours, the operating cost is about 19 cents per sq. meter. Seven hours “is way more than enough to melt an inch of ice or snow,” says Ceylan. While the installation costs would be higher than regular pavements, the heated pavement technology also saves on the cost of plows, de-icing chemicals, and wastewater treatment of chemical runoff.

How it works Ceylan, calling up video of the test slabs the day after a light snowfall, noted how dry they were. “It’s not snowing right now, but it’s still cold with snow and ice on the ground. It’s really neat how it works.” The test slabs of electrically conductive concrete are made up of one percent carbon fiber and a special mix of cement, sand, and rocks. The carbon fiber allows the concrete to conduct electricity, but there is some resistance to the

moving electrons, which creates heat. Alireza Sassani, a PhD candidate from ISU’s Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, led studies on the concrete mix with help from staff at the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center. Together, they prepared hundreds of concrete samples in the lab to find just the right combination of compressive strength, tensile strength, workability, durability, and electrical conductivity. The test slabs at the Des Moines airport are 7.5 in. thick in two layers: the bottom 4 in. are regular concrete, the top 3.5 in. are electrically-conductive concrete. Between the layers are 12 metal electrodes, 6 per slab, running the width of each slab. The electrodes are wired to the nearby hangar’s power supply. The slabs are also wired with various sensors: temperature probes, strain gauges, humidity sensors, and more.

PEGASAS Ceylan’s heated pavement research is part of the Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility, and Sustainability (PEGASAS), a Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence. The partnership was established in 2012 and is led by researchers at Purdue University. Other core members are from Iowa State University, Ohio State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Florida Institute of Technology, and Texas A&M University. FAA’s Centers of Excellence establish cost-sharing research partnerships with the federal government, universities, and industry. PEGASAS researchers are studying a variety of general aviation issues, including airport technology, flight safety, and adverse weather operations. The program is providing about $2.2 million to ISU’s full-scale demonstration of snow- and ice-free airfield pavements and other studies of heated pavements, with the university matching those funds. In addition to collecting more data on the electrically conductive concrete, Ceylan said his team will soon be adding a hydrophobic coating to one of the test slabs. The water-repelling coating is designed to keep snow and ice from sticking to the pavement, making it much easier to keep clear and dry. “We’re looking at hybrid heated pavements systems,” says Ceylan. “We think we can take advantage of multiple technologies to keep airports open and safe during the winter.” Adapted from a story by Mike Krapfl, Iowa State University News Service.

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The Transportation Student Association had a stellar year. Besides celebrating its 20th anniversary, 2016 was topped off by winning the Best Student Chapter Award from the Missouri Valley Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (MOVITE) for the fifth year in a row and Outstanding Student Chapter in the ITE Midwestern District competition for the second year in a row. The district win put them in the running for the international ITE Student Chapter Award, something Ellen Nightingale, the TSA president from 2016–2017, says the group was working toward. Nightingale credits the TSA’s ongoing strength to the strong transportation program at Iowa State University and the Institute for Transportation and to the group’s consistent history of providing quality activities for its members.

“Faculty support plays a major role in our success by helping to build a culture that recognizes that our education is found outside classroom walls. They understand and teach that engineering relies on a network of professionals. When we recruit speakers for our biweekly meetings, TSA alumni are excited to return.” Nightingale says one of the keys to their group’s success is the focus they place on fostering professional relationships while providing opportunities to advance the transportation field through community outreach. In September 2016, TSA developed and hosted their first ITE Midwest Student Leadership Summit. With 82 students from eight different states representing 13 different universities in attendance, the summit featured networking and social gatherings, technical presentations, mock interviews,

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leadership talks, and other events designed for students in the transportation field. Because of extensive fundraising efforts by the chapter and generous donations from sponsors, the cost for attendees was only $35 for non-residents, hotel and meals included, and $20 for ISU students. Nightingale, along with her executive board, set goals to not only host the leadership summit, but to increase networking opportunities with transportation professionals, including those who are not engineers, and to increase membership in the chapter. To accomplish this, the group participated in a recruitment program that increased its membership by over 35 percent and sponsored several events, including field trips and study abroad programs, that brought students together with transportation professionals. The group also adopted a highway and engaged in outreach with K–12 students as part of their community involvement efforts. Jing Dong, TSA’s primary faculty advisor, says the group is self-motivated and enthusiastic, needing little encouragement as they accomplish great things each year. “They are well-organized and hardworking. I am very proud of our TSA.” In addition to best chapter recognitions, members of ISU’s TSA took home awards in the ITE Student Paper Competition (Tingting Huang, MOVITE and Midwestern District honors) as well as an ITE scholarship (Niloo Parvin, MOVITE scholarship).

ENGINEERING STUDENTS TAKE GREAT BRITAIN BY PLANE, TRAIN, BUS OR BUST! “Civil engineering is an increasing global profession, and what better way to understand that than by seeing it firsthand,” says Shauna Hallmark, director of Iowa State University’s Institute for Transportation and Midwest Transportation Center. In coordination with ISU’s Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, the MTC took a group of 25 students during mid-May to Scotland and England for the course “Great Britain: Global Perspectives in Transportation.” “This is our third time taking students around the world, and each time, I feel they have returned with a better understanding of transportation engineering history. And that’s important, because as engineers we rely a lot on past research,” says Hallmark. In 2015 it was Turkey and in 2016 it was Rome. And just like in study abroads past, the 2017 trip across Great Britain provided students with an international understanding of the impact different historical, cultural, environmental, and political factors have on transportation and infrastructure projects. How could a medieval castle hold up to a siege? Or, how does London, one of the busiest cities in the world, keep their roadways running smoothly? These questions and more were asked over the course of the two-week study abroad. Students had the opportunity to even tour London’s traffic operations center. “It’s all about perspective,” says Keith Knapp, another study abroad leader and director of Iowa’s Local Technical Assistance Program, which works with local governments to keep up with the growing demands of the state’s roads, streets, bridges, and public transportation. “Roads in Iowa are much different than in England or Scotland, but the essential problems remain the same—like safety.” The course covered topics like data analytics and image processing as well as transportation issues like safety, asset management, and transit and logistics. “We try to visit as many places as we can on our study abroad opportunities, and cover a wide range of topics, too, so our students can better see for themselves the variety of opportunities the field of engineering has to offer,” says Hallmark. In addition to Hallmark and Knapp, additional study abroad leaders included ISU CCEE faculty members Chris Williams, Jing Dong, Vern Schaefer, and Anuj Sharma.

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At a dozen locations around Iowa, people are meeting in the Iowa’s local MDST teams, some of which were formed name of traffic safety. That’s good news for Theresa Litteral, to deal with a specific traffic problem, are independent tasked with helping keep the local meetings relevant and organizations, although they generally have similar goals: the participants talking. • Improve traffic safety “So far, so good,” says the facilitator for Iowa’s Statewide • Develop interagency cooperation MDST Program. MDST is Multidisciplinary Safety Team, • Help resolve local safety issues and Iowa’s 12 local teams consist of various traffic • Identify and mitigate crash causes safety-related personnel. They meet regularly to discuss • Improve crash response practices local safety issues, specific projects such as work zones, and ideas for highway safety improvements. Litteral, who grew up in Great Britain and came to the U.S. for graduate school, plays several roles with the “MDST participants come from several agencies that all teams. “My job is to support them as they need it.” She have their own missions and ways to conduct business,” makes presentations, contributes agenda topics, provides says Litteral. “It is important to have a platform like the resources and training opportunities, and most of all, keeps MDSTs for these diverse professionals to come together to teams motivated. She says, however, MDST team members improve local roadway safety collaboratively.” do a good job of that themselves. Participants vary from team to team, but may include law “The teams are made up of people passionate about traffic enforcement officers, first responders including fire and safety. They give a lot of themselves to their local areas.” emergency medical personnel, Iowa Department of Transportation staff, traffic planners, city and county officials, and others such as tow truck service operators. The Statewide MDST Program is the first of its kind in the U.S. It is a joint effort of the Iowa DOT, Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, and Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program, which is administered by Iowa State University’s Institute for Transportation, where Litteral is housed. She also is an InTrans research scientist who works on other traffic safety projects. As the statewide MDST facilitator, Litteral assists current teams and helps form new ones. In the past year, she played a role in adding teams in Linn County (Cedar Rapids) and Ottumwa. These teams joined existing ones in Ames, Clinton County, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fort Dodge, Iowa City, North Iowa (Mason City), and Sioux City. Additional MDSTs are in the works. Through collaboration, Litteral says participants “gain a wider perspective on safety issues and learn from others outside their areas of expertise.” The result can be novel solutions that save lives. One of her jobs is to encourage teams to follow similar procedures. She promotes, for example, participation in the Federal Highway Administration’s National Traffic Incident Management Response Training Program, which instructs emergency personnel how to efficiently respond to vehicle crashes.

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MDST SUCCESS STORY: ADDRESSING WRONG WAY DRIVERS More than 80 times in a five-year span, drivers were reported going the wrong way on U.S. Highway 30 in Story and Boone counties. The potentially deadly situations prompted Iowa DOT, local law enforcement, and InTrans personnel to form an MDST to address the problem to improve safety. The collaborative efforts led to enhanced signing, painting, and lighting on U.S. 30 in addition to the use of intelligent transportation systems to detect and alert drivers and 911 centers.


TO DEVELOP BETTER SYSTEM TO MANAGE TRAFFIC INCIDENTS The traffic data hits the REACTOR lab in continuous streams from across the state—video, traffic volume, speed, backups, weather, and more.

So, why hasn’t some kind of automated system been developed to help monitor all that traffic data and quickly find problems?

Iowa State University researchers can call up all that data on the six big screens arranged around the Realtime Analytics of Transportation data lab, or REACTOR. The lab is part of the Center for Transportation Research and Education within ISU’s Institute for Transportation. It features a fiber optic connection to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Network.

“The technology was not there yet,” says Sharma. “In the last five years there has been so much progress in big data analytics. We can now process huge amounts of data and learn from it.”

“There is more data than you could ever imagine coming out of this system,” says Neal Hawkins, InTrans associate director. “We’re getting data every 20 seconds from all over the state, we’re getting high-definition camera feeds, and we’re getting sensor information every minute.” University engineers are helping the Iowa DOT by taking the data, analyzing it, and finding ways to support improved decision-making. One example of putting the data to use is development of a smart system for managing traffic when there’s a crash, a stalled vehicle, or bad weather. ISU researchers are calling this system TIMELI, or Traffic Incident Management Enabled by Large-Data Innovations. The goal and outcome, according to them, is to use emerging large-scale data analytics to reduce the number of road incidents through proactive traffic control and to minimize the impact of individual incidents that do occur through early detection, response and traffic management, and control. Anuj Sharma, an InTrans research scientist and leader of the TIMELI project, pulled out his laptop and called up an example of the problems the new system is designed to solve.

Sharma means that literally, as advancements in machine learning will allow the TIMELI system to learn from experience and find ways to do a better job analyzing the Iowa DOT’s data streams, finding incidents and maybe even predicting problems. To make the TIMELI system work, the team is working to develop new traffic models, computer algorithms, userfriendly computer displays, and information visualizations that will help operators make decisions and take action. They’re also using big data technologies to design new systems for data handling, archiving, analysis, and output. The researchers’ work to develop TIMELI is supported by a three-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Their goal is to develop a prototype of the system using the REACTOR lab as a test bed. The prototype would also be tested and evaluated within the Iowa DOT’s Traffic Management Center. They hope the system will improve incident detection and support operator decision-making and ultimately improve safety and mobility for Iowa’s transportation system. After all, says Hawkins, “When there’s a crash, every second is critical.” Adapted from a story by Mike Krapfl, Iowa State University News Service.

His computer showed Iowa DOT video of Interstate 235 in Des Moines, Iowa, near Polk Boulevard looking east toward Roosevelt High School. There is heavy traffic, but it’s moving. Then there’s a crash in the right lanes of the westbound interstate. It’s hard to see the crash at first, but then traffic starts backing up. After a few minutes, an operator at the Iowa DOT’s Traffic Incident Management Center in Ankeny spots the growing traffic problem, calls for help, and posts warnings on overhead traffic message signs. Although the Center is staffed 24 hours, every day, they are responsible for identifying traffic problems across the entire state. “There’s no reason something like that couldn’t happen at five places across the state all at once,” says Hawkins. “It’s an overwhelming task. These operators can only monitor so many things at once.”

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Jennifer Shane is looking forward to a future full of “movement.” People are always moving, sometimes just down the road or sometimes across the state, and that means that transportation construction plays a key role in how they’ll get there. As Director of the Construction Management and Technology (CMAT) Program at Iowa State University’s Institute for Transportation, Shane is dedicated to helping disadvantaged businesses, small cities and counties, and project planning teams make a powerful impact on the future developments in transportation construction. A disadvantaged business enterprise or DBE may be classified as a for-profit small business that is owned and operated by someone socially and economically disadvantaged, but to CMAT, there is no “little guy.” And to government sponsors of transportation projects, the same is true, as they are deliberating, encouraging, and supporting DBEs whose strong economic force can provide

jobs for diverse community members later on. “We provide training and support on the technical, construction, and marketing ends to help these companies compete for contracts and work with larger businesses,” says Shane. In the past year, the CMAT Program has provided a workshop on accounting to help DBEs with bookkeeping and another workshop on using cost estimation to help them make better bids for government contracts. And when it comes to marketing, the CMAT Program often contracts with ISU design and programming students to provide DBEs with graphic design services for logos, cards, letterheads, and basic web services. Shane says this partnership gives students real-world experience and gives DBEs “the benefits of professionally-designed materials they can use when interacting with other businesses.” But the CMAT Program’s outreach efforts are only part of Shane’s vision of the future. Their current research efforts include a $172,590 study funded by the Iowa Department of Transportation looking at the long-term costs that small cities and counties incur for large, expensive pieces of construction equipment. The research builds on and expands the scope of a 2017 study done by Kevin Scheibe and Sree Nilakanta, both ISU associate professors of information systems, who were looking at ways to optimize the life of equipment such as snow plows, fire trucks, and street sweepers. While the original study only looked at two different snow plows, the CMAT Program’s research study includes a wide range of different vehicles. “We’ll be looking at the type of equipment, equipment records, and systems used,” says Shane. The benefits could be significant to small cities with tight budgets. “Through our evaluation, we’ll be able to recommend optimal service schedules for each piece of equipment, determine when repairs will not be cost-effective so equipment replacement should be considered, and help gauge when they’ll need to buy new equipment, so they can put these big-ticket items into their long-term budgets.” Helping small businesses grow stronger and small cities and counties plan for a more productive future are just two ways the CMAT Program is moving transportation construction forward.

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According to the most recent National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) listing, there are approximately 25,000 bridges across the State of Iowa, and about 10% of them are timber bridges. “And of those approximately 2,500 timber bridges, a significant portion are either in disrepair or don’t meet current standards. Furthermore, there are an additional 46,000 timber bridges nationwide, many that are over 60 years old,” says Travis Hosteng, director of the National Center for Wood Transportation Structures (NCWTS). Meeting the needs of aging and deteriorating bridges is one of the primary research focal points of the NCWTS. In fact, its work in developing wood—a naturally sustainable forest resource—as an efficient bridge material can be traced back to 1988, when Congress first passed the Timber Bridge Initiative.

“But, ask a county engineer the same question, and deteriorating timber piles will likely be one of their biggest issues. These perceptions—that timber is outdated, rots over time, and is stick built—don’t accurately describe current timber products and timber bridges being built today in 2017.” With many high-profile state projects across the nation already using ABC technology, Hosteng sees it as only a matter of time before obsolete bridges are not only replaced with timber, but local agencies begin regularly adopting ABC as a cost-effective alternative to traditional bridge construction. This type of sustainable research will remain an emphasis in work conducted by the NCWTS now and into the future.

Since then, they conduct approximately $200,000 to $300,000 worth of research annually, often in cooperation with government agencies, universities, and private industry. With the Federal Highway Administration, Forest Products Laboratory, and the National Park Service as partners, their work impacts bridges both in Iowa and across the country. Their research includes an emphasis on the development of smart timber bridge systems and standardized plans and resources for timber bridge designers and engineers. During the summer of 2016, a smart timber demonstration bridge was built in Buchanan County, Iowa, consisting of a glulam girder superstructure supported on geosynthetic- reinforced soil foundations with an extensive structural health monitoring system. According to Hosteng, monitoring systems are especially important, since they continuously monitor both the substructure and superstructure remotely. “The sensor array has somewhere around 80 to 100 sensors. It collects a range of data—from strain, tilt, and moisture content to temperature and bearing loads.” Data is sent a NCWTS server, where it is processed and analyzed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Demonstration projects like this one have helped bring to light the potential success of glued-laminated timber bridge technologies. In fact, combined with accelerated bridge construction (ABC) techniques, NCWTS research speaks to the sustainability of timber bridges. “Ask anyone about timber bridges, and they’ll either describe the bridges of Madison County, Iowa, or a solid-sawn structure they once drove across,” says Hosteng.

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InTrans performs transportation research for public and private agencies and companies, InTrans manages its own education program for transportation students and provides K-12 resources, and InTrans conducts local, regional, and national transportation services and continuing education programs.

InTrans En Route: July 2016 to June 2017  

An annual publication from the Institute for Transportation at Iowa State University