Transportation Research Topics for a New Decade
Advanced Technologies and Systems
Current and Recent Research Projects
Best Management Practices for the Invasive Polygonum Cuspidatum (Japanese Knotweed) Along Transportation Corridors
New England Transportation Consortium (NETC) 08-3
K. Wayne Lee, PI
RESEARCH PROBLEM STATEMENT:
Korean Institute of Construction Technology
Asphalt pavement is one of the many things that go over looked throughout one’s day. Take a moment to think of how much pavement there is just in RI, then beyond as well, what about the whole nation? There is a lot of asphalt pavement that runs throughout the nation in its many different forms, as highways, rural road, and parking lots just to name a few examples. This study is being done to see what else all of this pavement do, other than just blanket the ground for travel. The heat island effect has been studied greatly over the past few years, due to a notable higher temperature in ambient air in urban cities. This is by the pavement absorbing solar radiation during the day, and then releasing it as the night cools. This is a great similarity to what solar panels seem to do in sunlight; they absorb light. With this similarity seen, can it be possible that there is enough energy transferred to the pavement from the sun, that it can be used as a solar panel. If so, then the nation as a whole has a completely untapped renewable source of energy. The objectives behind this study are to find a feasible way to harvest solar energy. To do this there are a few novel methods. One would be the integrated use of flexible solar panels within a roadway to power traffic fixtures. Another method that will be tested is the use of highly conductive pipes in a reverse radiant heating method to extract thermal energy from the pavement itself. Also it is possible to generate electricity from this system from the differentiating temperatures between the asphalt and the air. The technology is still being researched for this method, but in the near future it has the possibility of becoming more than a conceptual design.
Winter Performance and Enhancement of Pollutants Removal
Vinka Craver, Co-PI
The construction of permeable parking lots, local or low-volume roads, and bike paths as an alternative to impermeable surfaces has been shown to be an effective method of stormwater source control. The main design criterion for infiltration systems has usually been the reduction of peak discharge through the retention of stormwater flow. To date although some effort has been directed towards the use of such systems for the treatment of retained pollutants, there has been little thought put into gaining a fundamental understanding of the chemical and microbiological processes taking place. In addition, winter maintenance practices have hindered the promotion of pervious concrete pavement.
Previous research has demonstrated the ability of a permeable pavement to retain suspended solids. Limited research has been conducted concerning water-purification properties of pervious concrete. Few studies examined the growth of microorganisms within pervious concrete by observing the consumption of the dissolved oxygen, however these studies have not been systematically and long term performed. Additionally, no study has been performed using different type of soil amendments such as organically modified soils and nanomaterials-soil composites.
The proposed work will contribute with new information regarding the enhancement of the attenuation of the pollutant load in stormwater runoff in parking lots and local roads which require winter maintenance practices, e.g., sand-salting. This information has an important significance in coastal state, such as Rhode Island, since coastal systems are sensitive to this type of contamination.
This project has also a strong educational and outreach component. Two research/educational facilities will be implemented to determine the potentially beneficial environmental implications of pervious concrete.
Pavement Managment System for the University of Rhode Island Campus
K. Wayne Lee, PI
A Pavement Management System (PMS) is a tool that assists highway agencies in finding optimum strategies to achieve the best possible pavement network using the minimum amount of resources. MicroPAVER is a computer program for PMS that incorporates Pavement Condition Index (PCI) concepts, and it was selected as the most appropriate PMS software for this study. PCI is a score of zero to 100, with 100 being excellent. It is determined based on type, severity, and density of pavement distresses. In this study a comprehensive network level PMS analysis will be performed on the University of Rhode Island.
The problem of maintaining roadways in a systematic and orderly fashion is nothing new to public works officials; pavement deterioration and rehabilitation has been an issue throughout the history of paved roadways. The rising costs, increased traffic, and reduced budget, the need to obtain the best value in terms of road rehabilitation is crucial for both the public roadways users and the struggling local government. The primary purpose of a PMS is to aid decision makers who are faces with the problem of deteriorating roadways and limited budgets, in using their the best possible value for the available funds while providing long lasting, smooth, safe and economical pavement. A PMS can provide benefits to the transportation agencies in a number of ways: to develop physical inventories, prioritize sections for maintenance and rehabilitation (M&R), develop M&R strategies, and budget analysis, etc. Additionally a PMS will improve the efficiency of decision making, provides feedback on the consequences of decisions and facilitates the coordination of activities within the agency.
Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT)
The main objective of the research project was to formulate a guideline to select an appropriate binder to produce high performance asphalt mixtures in Rhode Island. The study evaluated various types of asphalt mixtures, which are being used in Rhode Island roadway. Experimental design included dense grade asphalt mixtures and surface treatment mixtures, e.g., dense friction mixes and paver placed elastomeric surface treatment (PPEST). Dense grade mixtures studied were Class I-1, Superpave, and Bailey gradation.
Transit Study for the Narragansett Indian Tribe
Fred Ihenacho, PI
The main purpose of the study was to provide a professional measurement of the transit needs of the Narragansett Indian Tribe (NIT) and to recommend a cost effective Tribal Transit Program to meet those needs, with a focus on the needs of Tribal members without vehicles or with limited access to them especially low-income, teenagers, senior citizens, disabled, and families with young children.
Currently the NIT provides many medical and social services to Native American Tribal members, who live near the Reservation and throughout Washington County, including demand-response transportation service to and from the NIT Health Center. This service is provided using one full-time driver and one 4-passenger sedan which is inadequate to meet all the service requests. There are other limited transportation services provided by other tribal programs at the reservation, however, there is no comprehensive transit system. The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is the only public transit agency in the area. RIPTA and other public service organizations do no provide direct transportation to the reservation. The NIT Department of Natural Resources and Tribal Planning has recognized these deficiencies and the need for public transportation in the community to access employment, schools, job training, medical care, recreation, and other services.
In order to develop a scope of work for the study the, NIT Department of Natural Resources and Tribal Planning identified several key issues as follows:
Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT)
Kathleen Wilson, Co-PI
Route 165 is slated for rehabilitation in 2010/2011. The work will encompass another reclamation with four different types of materials to be added to the subbase in 1-1/2 mile test sections. Emulsion, emulsion-cement, cement and geo-grids will be used for the test sections. In the subbase will be installed time-domain reflectometry (TDR) probes to monitor the volumetric moisture content; stress strain gauges; and weight-in motion (WIM) to track heavy vehicles. The TDR probes, stress strain gauges, and WIM will be connected to microprocessor and the wireless data sent to the Department of Transportation for review.
United States Department of Transportation (USDOT)
A Pilot Study on Smart Highway (Construction Technology Innovation)
Korea Institute of Construction & Technology Evaluation and Planning (KICTEP)
Construction and transportation technologies have been one of the major engines for Korean economic and social growth over the past several decades. The Korea Institute of Construction & Transportation Technology Evaluation and Planning (KICTEP) has developed an R&D project portfolio and included the Smart Highway as one of its major projects. It is an intelligent road whereby a safe and pleasant high-speed ride is possible, and road efficiency is maximized through network management.
Since technology is continually advancing, we should take advantage of these new technologies and utilize them in our land transportation activities. Thus, exploratory advanced research should be promoted, and highway agencies should entertain innovative and creative ideas. Although these may be long-term and/or higher-risk, they will provide the potential for dramatic breakthroughs. To that end, this pilot study reviewed characteristics and performances of different smart and/or intelligent highways built in the United States and other countries to assist KICTEP and its research contractor to establish a roadmap for a comprehensive research program in this endeavor. When any highway and smart highway is developed, geometric design is the first step in adapting to geographical features and any constraints. The preferred configuration at the node for the Smart Highway is a directional entrance/exit system similar to ones at the interchanges where two high-volume freeways intersect. The importance of an effective drainage structure also cannot be overemphasized for Smart Highway development. The pavement should have little or no distresses, e.g., rutting, fatigue cracking, thermal cracking and moisture damage, etc. It should be noted that frequent maintenance and/or rehabilitation will not be safe and economical, and will invite undesirable traffic congestion. Thus, where single-point failures are possible, the system should significantly overdesigned for effective overall system operation.
Although this pilot study has been performed with limited time and scope, the findings and results will be good guidelines for developing a Smart highway in Korea. For further cooperation, a follow-up study could be considered with new and expanded scopes as the project progresses.
Rhode Island Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)