Strategic Issues Facing Transportation, Volume 7: Preservation, Maintenance, and Renewal of Highway Infrastructure

The transportation industry faces a wide range of plausible future drivers and scenarios that could affect standard practices over the next 30 to 50 years. Because the range of plausible futures over such a long-term period is very broad, making a focused prediction of the implications for highway infrastructure preservation, maintenance, and renewal (PMR) is quite challenging.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program’s NCHRP Report 750: Strategic Issues Facing Transportation, Volume 7: Preservation, Maintenance, and Renewal of Highway Infrastructure focuses on the issues affecting the PMR of highway infrastructure. The study places emphasis on preparing for plausible future scenarios and develops a pathway to guide transportation agencies in advancing the implementation of emerging PMR practices through a process involving awareness, advocacy, assessment, adoption, and action planning.

The appendices to Parts A and B of this report are available as part of NCHRP Web-Only Document 272: Existing and Emerging Highway Infrastructure Preservation, Maintenance, and Renewal Definitions, Practices, and Scenarios.

In addition, there are two guides included within the report that help with the understanding, identification, application, and implementation of emerging PMR practices. They are also available as standalone guides:

• Practitioner’s Guide to Emerging Highway Preservation, Maintenance, and Renewal Practices
• Leadership’s Guide to Emerging Highway Preservation, Maintenance, and Renewal Practices

Pavement Preservation Research Problem Statements

A workshop was held in Sacramento on June 2 1 -22,2001, to develop research problem statements related to pavement preservation. The workshop was a ioint effort among the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and the Foundation for Pavement Preservation (FPP). The California Department of Transportation hosted the 2-day meeting.
Participants at the workshop included FHWA, AASHTO members, FPP members, and academia. Dr. Jon Epps of Granite Construction, Inc., facilitated the meeting.

The purpose of the workshop was to gather practitioners from various maintenance disciplines around the United States to discuss research needs in the pavement preservation arena. The outcome was to be a series of problem statements that the partners could promote for funding and study.

A total of 50 research problem statements were initially identified and grouped in the following areas:
1 . Construction practices,
2. Materials selection and design,
3. Treatment strategies and selection,
4. Performance evaluation,
5. Training, and
6. Policy.

The participants prioritized the proiects and the number of proiects was then reduced to a total of 22. Project statements were prepared for each of these topics.

This report was prepared documenting the findings of the workshop and the resulting research proiect statements. The report is available from FHWA or FPP.

Highways of the Future – A Strategic Plan for Highway Infrastructure Research and Development

Highways are the backbone of the American transportation system, moving the vast majority of the Nation?s products and goods, and providing the vital link between all modes of transportation. As the foundation of the Nation?s economy, highways have made it possible for the American people to enjoy, benefit from, and essentially take for granted, the ability to safely and efficiently travel wherever and whenever they wish.

As the Nation moves into the heart of the 21st century, the highway system is largely a victim of its own success. The economic growth made possible by the highway system has fueled tremendous increases in the demands placed on it. At the same time, the Nation?s investment in highway infrastructure has not kept pace with these growing demands. These circumstances present highway agencies with many critical challenges, including:
?The need to extend the service life of existing highway infrastructure.
?The need to build, rehabilitate, and rebuild infrastructure in ways that:
?Minimizes the impact of construction activities on already congested highways.
?Optimizes the overall cost/benefit for the improved infrastructure.
?Facilitates future adaptation to accommodate changing demands.
?The need to effectively address the mobility challenges posed by natural or man-made extreme events and hazards?including earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, collisions, and acts of terrorism?by designing and constructing less vulnerable infrastructure to minimize loss, and employing rapid restoration techniques to restore functionality after a disaster occurs.

Effectively addressing these challenges will require a multifaceted, multidisciplinary, and collaborative approach. Success will require active involvement on the part of highway stakeholders from all levels of government; the highway design, materials, and construction communities; and academia. Success also will require work spanning the full technology continuum?from fundamental sciences and advanced research to create new knowledge, materials, and systems; through applied R&D; to effective technology transfer and deployment?as well as policy and program management initiatives.

This strategic plan addresses one facet of the required approach?the work that needs to be pursued by the FHWA Office of Infrastructure R&D. In addition to guiding FHWA?s infrastructure R&D, it will serve as a foundation for collaboration with other FHWA units and offices, and stakeholders throughout the highway community.

The approach articulated in this plan is founded on the ideal that FHWA?s emphasis should be on a collaborative, interdisciplinary, and crosscutting approach to highway infrastructure research. This approach recognizes the following principles.
?Pavements and bridges function as an integrated system, instead of independent elements within a highway
? Although the fundamental structure and components of pavements and bridges are quite distinct, some R&D needs are common to both.
? Only by using all facilities and assets available within FHWA?s Office of Infrastructure R&D, and working collaboratively with counterparts in other FHWA offices and stakeholders throughout the highway community, will we be able to leverage our resources with the other resources required to address the wide range of needs and issues in the near and long terms

Grand Challenges: A Research Plan for Winter Maintenance

The impacts of winter weather on both safety and mobility are substantial and well known. Accordingly, the need to perform winter maintenance activities on roadways is readily apparent. However, changing social needs, combined with often increasing environmental awareness mean that the methods used to perform winter maintenance are and have been changing. A number of obvious factors, such as climate change, sustainability, environmental stewardship, and changes in how goods are delivered by way of the surface transportation system, are all impacting how winter operations are conducted. These changes are also creating novel constraints on the methods that are available for winter maintenance–the ?tools in the toolbox.? There is thus a need to identify the grand challenges that face winter highway maintenance operations, and to determine the research needed to address these challenges.

This study was requested by AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) and specifically by the Standing Committee on Highways (SCOH) on behalf of Subcommittee on Maintenance. The members of the task group that guided this study are listed in the Acknowledgements. The study took as a starting point the various research that has been conducted in the field of winter maintenance, together with various research needs statements developed by certain pooled fund groups (e.g., Clear Roads, Aurora, and the Peer Exchange meetings). Appendix B includes a bibliography of reports and other technical documents that helped to inform the discussions in the workshop. The objective of the study was to identify the grand challenges which must be met to allow winter maintenance operations to successfully adapt to the changing constraints that these operations face. The order in which the research areas within the grand challenges should be addressed has not been considered in great detail, primarily because such ordering will depend on the availability of research funds going forward. Some research areas must obviously be addressed before others, simply because those other areas build upon the work that will be done.

The method used to develop the grand challenges and their respective components follows that used in similar projects for the AASHTO Highway Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures and the AASHTO Joint Technical Committee on Pavements. A workshop was convened to review the recent research findings and to develop and refine the grand challenges in winter maintenance. The workshop was conducted on August 2-3, 2010 at the National Academies? Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, California. Participants included members from the AASHTO Highway Subcommittee on Maintenance (SCOM), i.e., individuals from state departments of transportation), personnel from public agencies that conduct winter maintenance, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), academia, and consultants. A list of participants is provided in Appendix A. The information resulting from the workshop is a set of critical issues in winter maintenance (termed ?grand challenges?) that would, if solved, lead to significant advances in winter highway maintenance operations. The grand challenges will provide guidance to SCOM and others in identifying, evaluating, and prioritizing research problem suggestions to ensure that the various research efforts being undertaken in the field of winter maintenance are focused in such a way as to provide a quality-based research program that will not only be closely aligned with the needs of the winter maintenance community but will also be as efficient as possible in developing new methods to meet those needs.