Presidents Message -Imad L Al-Qadi, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE
Two weeks ago, President Obama unveiled a $302 four-year transportation plan, which is expected to inject a much-needed $150 billion in one-time funding into projects aimed at tackling the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure and, consequently, sparking job opportunities. Although only a few observers believe that reform will make it through Congress in mid-term election year, which leaves the fate of President Obama’s transportation initiative in doubt, I would like to emphasize the need for modernizing the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure as a step in the right direction despite surrounding skepticism. Is the proposed plan destined to see the light of day? Now, that’s the tough question...
This month’s newsletter brings great news from several ASCE T&DI chapters. In a recent conference call with the chairs of local chapters, various perspectives, ideas, suggestions, and goings-on were shared. I was truly impressed with the level of involvement demonstrated by several chairs in multiple endeavors undertaken to promote the vision and mission of the Institute and to increase each chapter’s engagement on the local and national levels.
Kelvin Wang is Official Nominee for T&DI Board of Governors
Kelvin C.P. Wang, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE has been selected by T&DI’s Board of Governors as the Official Candidate for the 4-year position on the Board of Governors commencing October 1, 2014. Dr. Wang is a Professor and the Gilbert, Cooper and W&W Steel Chair of Civil Engineering at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Wang’s complete biography can be found here.
Additional nominees for the 4-year position on T&DI’s Board of Governors may be submitted through a petition process.
T&DI Florida West Coast Chapter
On February 20, 2014 we had a well-attended seminar on Diverging Diamond Interchanges. The Florida Department of Transportation with assistance from HDR, Inc. provided an interesting presentation on the benefits, uses and challenges of designing Diverging Diamond Interchanges.
For the next luncheon, 03/20/2014, the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority presented on the use of Tampa, Florida as a testing ground for Autonomous Vehicles. Florida is one of four states that have passed legislation to allow autonomous vehicles drive through its roadways.
The Florida Department of Transportation will present on 04/30/2014 their current District 7 Transportation Safety Programs and Initiatives. One of the main focus of roadway design is to improve the safety of all transportation modes. Mr. Peter Hsu, P.E. (Asst. District Traffic Ops Engineer) will present on the different innovative safety initiatives that are being undertaken by the FDOT.
More Florida West Coast Chapter Events
London Tests Out Smart, Sensor-Laden Crosswalks
Pedestrians in London may have an easier time when walking around London as the city trials "smart" crosswalks designed to improve efficiency and safety.
The city is so congested thanks to both people and vehicles, it can take far longer than you would think simply to cross the road -- and this is where the Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT) system comes in.
T&DI Colorado Section
The T&DI Colorado Section meets in Denver in the evening on the third Thursday of the month from October through May. Monthly meetings are coordinated with the ASCE Colorado Section and include networking, dinner and a technical presentation. ASCE/T&DI are helping host the 2014 Transportation Symposium which will be held on April 4, 2014 at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. Symposium presentations will include a message from Don Hunt, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Transportation, officials from the RTD and CCD regarding transportation funding and officials from CDOT, FEMA and local agencies from northern Colorado providing a lunch presentation regarding flood recovery efforts in northern Colorado. Please see the ASCE Colorado Section website for more information and to register for the upcoming Transportation Symposium.
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices Update
The Federal Highway Administration is targeting the release of a new update to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) in 2016. In addition to new and updated content, the next version of the MUTCD will be restructured to make the content easier to understand and apply.
The National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD) serves in an advisory role to the Federal Highway Administration on the content and other matters related to the MUTCD. As one of the Sponsoring Organizations of the NCUTCD, changes proposed to the MUTCD by the various NCUTCD Technical Committees are referred to T&DI for review, comment and formal recommendation on approval, modification or rejection.
At the present time, material referred to T&DI is reviewed and responses are prepared for formal action by the T&DI Board of Governors through the efforts of T&DI’s Street and Highway Operations Committee and the Transportation Safety Committee, with additional help provided by several dedicated volunteers. With the upcoming development of a new version of the MUTCD and a large amount of material anticipated to require formal review by T&DI, we are looking for additional people to assist in the review and development of proposed changes to the Manual, either of all material or items in specific areas of individual interest or expertise.
If you are interested in participating in the review of proposed changes to the MUTCD, please contact Bob Bryson.
To Join in the many activities of the Street and Highway Operation Committee or the Transportation Safety Committee please fill out an application form.
T&DI Louisiana Chapter
T&DI-LA continues to plan continuing education seminars. Our March 2014 seminar is jointly sponsored with LCOPRI about the Panama Canal expansion. This past winter, we awarded $500.00 student scholarships to Ms. Alyse Aldridge of Louisiana State University and Mr. Vernell Banks of Southern University. We are providing judges to the Louisiana State Science Fair and are coordinating with ASCE-LA on its initiatives including centennial activities and a Louisiana State legislative drive-in.
T&DI Wisconsin Chapter
The ASCE Wisconsin Section is happy to announce the formation of its Transportation & Development Institute Chapter. The Wisconsin Section T&DI Chapter will be co-chaired by Will Kratt, P.E. and Ken Swanson, P.E. Other committee members include Carolynn Gellings, P.E. and Paul Sponholz, P.E. The Chapter is currently in the process of establishing Chapter Bylaws and defining the 2014 goals and objectives. We are looking forward to serving the Wisconsin Section and coordinating with existing T&DI Chapters
DOT: Addressing U.S. "Infrastructure Deficit" Would Require Spending Nearly $146B Annually
U.S. needs to spend more to help address its "infrastructure deficit," according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The federal government would need to spend "between $123.7 billion and $145.9 billion" annually to simply maintain or upgrade the state of the country's roads and bridges, the report revealed. "Just the status quo is not going to work," said Casey Dinges, senior managing director at the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Joint Rail Conference, April 2-4,2014, Colorado Springs, CO
TDI Congress 2014, June 8-11, 2014, Orlando, FL
Awards & Contests
LTPP International Data Analysis Contest Deadline to Submit Papers, July 31,2014
The 2014 guidelines for the LTPP Data Analysis Contest are now available.
For ASCE Members, Avis Offers Discounts up to a Free Day
ASCE members receive discounts on car rentals whether traveling for business or pleasure. Currently, Avis is offering a free day for a future rental if you rent a midsize or larger in the U.S. or Canada. Enroll in Avis Preferred -- free for ASCE members -- and start earning free rental days. Get the details.