U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
The FHWA Office of International Programs, in cooperation with Australia’s National Transport Commission (NTC), organizes regular webinars and teleconferences on topics of mutual interest. Primarily, the focus of the webinars has been on freight-related issues. In 2014, an Implementing Agreement between FHWA and NTC was signed and extended the umbrella of topic areas to be considered. Most recently, the Australians presented on Driver Alertness Monitoring and Management during a December 2014 webinar.
In June 2014, FHWA’s Office of International Programs hosted officials from FHWA’s Office of Infrastructure and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in a webinar with Brazil’s National Transport Infrastructure Department (DNIT), on the U.S. protocol for commercial vehicle drivers’ service hours, enforcement procedures, and rest areas. The DNIT is constructing new virtual weigh stations and rest areas and plans to implement virtual enforcement procedures for commercial vehicle violations through its traffic-control centers at weigh stations. The webinar led to a better understanding of U.S. protocols and enforcement procedures, in addition to the design and management of rest areas in the United States.
Brazil’s Ministry of Transport reports that the country is currently investing heavily in transportation infrastructure. Demand for improvements in highway infrastructure has increased sharply due to Brazil’s emergence as an economic power and reliance on highways as means for freight transport. With the increase in highway construction work-zone crashes, fatalities, and injuries have increased sharply. A recent study indicates that the work-zone crash rate is almost twice that of the overall crash rate. This has resulted in an increased focus on work-zone safety.
The DNIT requested a workshop on work-zone management to learn about U.S. regulations, policies, and best practices related to work-zone safety and mobility. FHWA worked with DNIT to arrange this workshop and a visit to a construction site to review its work-zone traffic control practices. This workshop was held in August 2014 and attended by participants from DNIT and other transportation agencies, contractors, highway safety organizations, universities, and vendors. At the workshop, FHWA gave two presentations. The first one discussed in detail work-zone challenges in the United States, FHWA work-zone management programs, regulations, policies, and resources. The second presentation covered work-zone strategies and best practices, such as Transportation Management Plans (TMPs), project coordination and use of technology applications, traffic impact assessment, inspection and safety audits, training, law enforcement, public outreach and awareness activities, to name some of the themes. Interpreters provided simultaneous translation of the material covered. Toward the end of the workshop, participants asked questions from a panel that also included agency officials, staff from a supporting research organization, and representatives from other highway safety organizations.
On the second day, DNIT arranged a site visit to a major interchange construction project. Issues related to traffic management, worker safety, temporary traffic control, speeding, and driver compliance were discussed.
Brazil has already begun implementing some of the ideas presented in the workshop.
The Office of International Programs and the FHWA’s District of Columbia Division facilitated a visit for the Director of Intelligent Transport Systems at the Israeli Transport Infrastructure Company (NETIVEI) to the District of Columbia Department of Transportation’s Traffic Management Center, during the week of the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in January 2015. A five-person delegation headed by Ms. Ofra Rahav, recently appointed NETIVEI deputy general manager for development, met with staff from FHWA’s Office of International Programs and the Georgia Department of Transportation to discuss opportunities to advance inter-agency collaboration. NETIVEI is the government-owned entity responsible for managing Israel’s road network. Some of the activities to be pursued in the immediate future include a series of quarterly webinars to discuss common areas of interest. It recently established a Traffic Incident Management Center near Tel Aviv that relies on advanced ITS to monitor and manage over 7,000 kilometers of roads and 1,200 bridges and tunnels.
In June 2014, FHWA released a synthesis report on asset management exchanges between the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and NETIVEI. The report summarizes the information exchanges conducted between GDOT and NETIVEI, with a focus on asset management, and identifying recommendations regarding possible topics for future exchanges. FHWA and the predecessor of NETIVEI signed a memorandum of cooperation in 2007. As part of the memorandum, the parties exchange information and technologies, including where possible the establishment of connections with State departments of transportation that possess expertise related to areas of interest to Israel. Under the auspices of FHWA, NETIVEI signed a similar agreement with GDOT to strengthen core competences and to provide a framework to facilitate and conduct international knowledge exchange as mutually agreed.
FHWA and its Dutch counterpart, Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) are working on a joint report on the topic of infrastructure resilience and adaptation, which is scheduled for completion in June 2015. Representatives from the Office of International Programs, and the Office of Natural Environment met with RWS officials during the 2015 Transportation Research Board annual meeting to discuss the status and next steps. In addition, the Netherlands expressed an interest in emergency and crisis management as a formal topic under the memorandum of cooperation.
In September 2014, a team of transportation experts from RWS traveled to Washington D.C. and met with FHWA technical experts to discuss transportation and emergency management. The purpose of the trip was to gain more insight in this topic through best practices and foreign experiences. The team had initial discussions about collaboration and responsibilities of all emergency parties involved, approaches used, and joint operations. Further discussions are expected to follow in the near future.
FHWA’s efforts with Sweden focus on exchanging transportation information to enhance livability in both countries. As one of the U.S-Sweden Livability Working Group's 2014 work plan activities, officials from the FHWA Office of Planning, Environment and Realty, FHWA Office of International Programs, the Office of the Secretary, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Economic Resilience hosted a webinar to demonstrate livability-related tools such as the U.S. DOT – Department of Housing and Urban Development, Location Affordable Portal (LAP). The LAP was developed to help the public understand the combined cost of housing and transportation.
FHWA’s Associate Administrator for Planning, Environment and Realty traveled to Sweden in June 2014 for a series of discussions with officials from the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communication (MEEC), the Swedish Transport Administration (STA), and the Stockholm City Administration. This was a technical activity under the aegis of a memorandum of cooperation between DOT and the Swedish MEEC. The information exchange on livability issues supports implementation of MAP-21 performance measures and changes in U.S. planning regulations, as well as U.S. DOT efforts to enhance FHWA programs that provide “ladders of opportunity” to the public through transportation improvements.
Every four years, the World Road Association (WRA) sponsors two types of congresses: the World Road Congress and the International Winter Road Congress. Both meet in a member country to enable members to share techniques and experiences in the field of road transportation and to showcase the key accomplishments and findings of its technical committees. The 2015 World Congress was held November 2-6, 2015, in Seoul, South Korea. The next International Winter Road Congress will take place in Gdansk, Poland, in February 2018. For full programming details, please visit http://aipcrgdansk2018.org/
In September 2016, FHWA’s Executive Director, Walter “Butch” Waidelich, was elected to the WRA’s Executive Committee at the Association’s annual Council meeting held in Cape Town, South Africa. As an elected member of the Executive Committee, the Executive Director will be part of the group leading the Association’s policy direction for 4 years beginning in January 2017. As the FHWA Executive Director, Mr. Waidelich is also the U.S. First Delegate to the WRA, and in this capacity he has the final authority to determine U.S. policy positions within the Association and on how to cast the votes on any given issue.
Over the last few years, FHWA has made a deliberate effort to provide leadership at the technical and corporate levels of the WRA. With Mr. Waidelich’s direct involvement at both the Council and Executive Committee, FHWA will continue to provide deliberate, consistent, and active leadership that has defined the U.S. participation over the last two working cycles. This leadership afforded FHWA the ability to ensure that topics of importance to the U.S. would be considered in the Association’s 2016-2019 Strategic Plan. Some examples are performance management including the use of system information and data collection; major considerations in the development of V2I and V2V communication in road design and operations; and asset management including the production of a comprehensive guide to support road administrations in the implementation of these programs.