From the Director
With summer officially underway, June is the perfect time to remind ourselves about the importance of emergency preparedness. June 1st marked the beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane season, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted a hurricane season that is more active than usual. This suggests a possibility of 11-17 storms, with 2-4 likely to be hurricane strength.
While the number and strength of the hurricanes is out of our hands, how we prepare for them is not. Check out the State of New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management website for a step by step guide on how to prepare your own emergency kit for your family and your business. Also, Ready.gov provides a guide what to do on an hourly basis before a hurricane arrives. Both of these resources will help you remain safe and vigilant in during the summer season.
On another note, we’d like to remind you that our LTAP/TTAP centers exist to help local agencies improve their roads and bridges by supplying them with a variety of training programs, new technology updates, personalized technical assistance, and newsletters. Through these core services, NJ LTAP strives to provide access to much needed, easily accessible training and information that is also comprehensive and of-the-moment.
In August our 2017 Customer Needs Survey will be posted. This aids us in identifying the professional development needs of our program stakeholders, and allows our customers to provide us information we need to improve our services. We have responded to past surveys by administering new courses and and changing our communications strategy based on the preferences of our course attendees.
We value your feedback; thank you for your time and keep an eye out for the survey later this summer.
Janet Leli, Director
FHWA Updates Process for Issuing Federal-aid Eligibility Letters
An open letter to all in the highway safety hardware and roadside design community:
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is improving its process for issuing Federal-aid eligibility letters for roadside safety hardware systems. The FHWA’s Federal-aid eligibility letters are provided as a service to the states and are not a requirement for roadside safety hardware to be eligible for Federal-aid reimbursement. This change will help the FHWA focus on analyzing the materials submitted for review, rather than addressing the types of crash tests that should be submitted, as the latter are determined by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Manual for Assessing Roadside Safety Hardware (MASH).
Effective immediately, FHWA is implementing the following changes on how requests for Federal-aid eligibility letters for roadside safety hardware systems are accepted:
1. Moving forward, in order for manufacturers and states to qualify for a FHWA Federal-aid eligibility letter, all roadside hardware devices must complete the full suite of recommended tests as described in AASHTO MASH. This applies to:
- all devices currently in the FHWA queue that have not received an eligibility letter by the effective date of this letter and,
- retroactively to requests received after January 1, 2016.
Manufacturers and states that received an eligibility letter under AASHTO ‘s MASH standards and did not run the full suite of tests will be required to run the remaining tests in order to retain the Federal-aid eligibility letter. The FHWA has contacted the affected manufacturers. These affected parties have up to one year, from the date of this letter, to run the balance of crash tests and re-submit their request for an eligibility letter. A written request, including crash test results from an accredited laboratory, must be submitted to FHWA within one year.
The retroactive date of January 1, 2016, corresponds to the official implementation date balloted by AASHTO and the date FHWA began issuing Federal-aid eligibility letters using standards from AASHTO ‘s MASH only, i.e., when FHWA ceased issuing eligibility letters using National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 350 guidance.
2. FHWA will no longer provide Federal-aid eligibility letters for modifications made to an AASHTO MASH-crash tested device. Manufacturers who have submitted requests for eligibility letters based on modifications have been notified .These changes are based on several important factors. The transition from guidance in the NCHRP Report 350 to standards in the AASHTO MASH continues per the FHWA-AASHTO Implementation Agreement balloted by AASHTO. Since its official launch, questions about the AASHTO MASH criteria have been identified by a range of stakeholders. Until such time these questions are answered and the transportation community has more experience with AASHTO MASH requirements, FHWA will require manufacturers and states to run all AASHTO MASH recommended crash tests in order to qualify for a FHWA Federal-aid eligibility letter.This is a prudent action to support highway safety for the traveling public. This opportunity for improvement and consistency was noted in the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) final report dated June 2016, “Highway Safety: More Robust DOT Oversight of Guardrails and Other Roadside Hardware Could Further Enhance Safety, ” GA0-16-575 and Evaluation of the Roadside Safety Hardware Process–prepared for the FHWA’s Office of Policy by the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center.The changes promote efficiency of Federal resources while advancing our Federal role to support public safety and ensuring that decision-making is at the state and local level.The FHWA will address the initial “entry” of a device into the possibility for Federal-aid reimbursement, through examining crash testing, but the final decisions on selection and modifications to devices will be at the State and local level.
States and manufacturers will now have an outstanding opportunity to collaborate and deploy manufacturers’ innovative modifications in a timely manner and/or respond to state-specific needs requiring significant and non-significant modifications – without the need of another Federal-aid eligibility letter from FHWA.
The change helps emphasize that understanding the performance of roadside safety hardware begins in a controlled, sterile laboratory environment using crash test scenarios and standards set and maintained via AASHTO’s MASH. However, laboratory tests cannot account for all the variables and situations drivers may encounter. Therefore, FHWA continues to encourage states to perform in-service performance evaluations to identify real world performance of hardware so all stakeholders have a more comprehensive understanding of these devices’ performance.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation in helping FHWA to implement these improvements to enhance the safety of roadside hardware. We will notify you of any future improvements to the eligibility letter process. For more information, please visit our website at https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_dept/countermeasures/reduce_crash_severity/elig_process.cfm.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Brian Fouch at (202) 366-0744.
Read the whole letter at safety.fhwa.dot.gov
NACE Conference Presentations Available for Download
A special “thank you” to all presenters for dedicating their time and providing their presentations for distribution. Let’s face it: safety is not always something people want to talk about. It’s one of those topics that everyone knows is important, yet somehow seems to get glossed over on a daily basis.
Vision Zero Gains Momentum Around the Country
From the Washington Post to Fortune magazine to Fox News, media outlets across the spectrum have reported similarly on one startling, new statistic—U.S. traffic fatalities are at the highest level in a decade. These reports, based on National Safety Council statistics, estimate that as many as 40,000 people died in traffic crashes last year, a 14 percent increase over the past 2 years and the largest increase in more than half a century.
Amidst this distressing news, there is also reason for hope as a growing number of federal, state and local efforts step up their commitment and urgency toward a common goal to ensure safe mobility for all. In addition to the national Road to Zero effort launched last year by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the establishment of Toward Zero Deaths goals in more than 40 States, there is also strong and growing leadership for roadway safety developing in diverse, local communities across the nation.
Vision Zero is gaining momentum not only in the U.S. but also around the world. It was started in Sweden 20 years ago, where it successfully halved the number of traffic deaths even as trips increased, and is being embraced in nations as far away as Australia.
Vision Zero differs from a traditional approach to traffic safety in several key ways. First, it holds that traffic deaths and severe injuries are preventable, and that society has an ethical responsibility to anticipate and prevent these tragedies. Second, Vision Zero holds that system designers (including engineers, policymakers, and police) share responsibility with individuals for safety on our roadways. And finally, Vision Zero acknowledges that people will always make mistakes, so it is the role of facility designers to devise systems that ensure that mistakes do not result in fatalities or severe injuries.
Vision Zero is, at its core, a safe systems approach. It elevates the importance of systems—particularly the built environment and policies determining speeds—in encouraging safe behaviors.
Vision Zero relies on data-driven decision making to make the most of limited resources. It also compels a multi-sectoral and collaborative approach, enabling diverse stakeholders to work together toward the common goal of zero, and sets transparent milestones. As history has shown with initiatives to reduce drunk driving and to increase recycling, transparency is essential for ensuring political accountability and changing cultural norms.
New Jersey Adopts Federal Regulations for Intrastate Commercial Motor Vehicles
On February 5, 2015, New Jersey adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations through N.J.S.A 13:60 for intrastate (within the state) commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) with a gross vehicle weight rating(GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 10,001 pounds or greater. Prior to 2015, the FMCSA regulations applied to CMVs with a GVWR or GCWR of 10,001 or greater that engaged in interstate commerce (between states). Although most commercial vehicles will not be impacted by these new regulations, there are many small businesses, such as landscaping companies and delivery services, operating within New Jersey that will now have to apply for a USDOT number and comply with both state and federal regulations. This adoption will also require passenger vehicles with compensated drivers of eight or more passengers (including the driver) to obtain a USDOT number.
Intrastate CMVs that meet the above criteria are now subject to following requirements:
- Must display their USDOT number, legal trade name, municipality of principal place of business and GVWR on both sides of the CMV; contrasting colors; three inch letter height; and visible up to 50 feet (49 CFR 390.21 and N.J.S.A. 39:4-46)
- Carriers must maintain a driver file for each qualified driver they employ (49 CFR 391.51) and drivers must obtain a medical examiner’s certificate from a certified medical examiner(49 CFR 391.41)
- Adhere to Hours of Service requirements if applicable (49 Section 395 of the CFR)
- Meet all inspection, repair and maintenance requirements (49 CFR 396.17)
For more information on obtaining a USDOT number, please go to: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration.
For more information on New Jersey’s adoption of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, please go to: http://njsp.org/njadoption.
TRB Webinar: Pavement Management Practices in the U.S. and Canada
TRB will conduct a webinar on Monday, July 17, 2017 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM ET that features research from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP)’s Synthesis 501: Pavement Management Systems: Putting Data to Work.
This webinar will examine current pavement management practices, focusing primarily on the types of systems, data analysis and performance modeling, and how data is being used to influence agency decisions. The presenters will provide several case studies to illustrate how pavement management data can be used to improve data quality, conduct a safety analysis, improve agency performance measures, and monitor contractor performance.
- Katie Zimmerman, Applied Pavement Technology, Inc.
- Nathan Moore, Maryland Department of Transportation
- Magdy Mikhail, Texas Department of Transportation
- Moderated by: Edgardo Block, Connecticut Department of Transportation
Professional Development Hour Information
A certificate for 1.5 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) will be provided to Professional Engineers (PEs) who register and attend the webinar as an individual. For groups, only the person that registers and attends the session will receive a PDH certificate. Certificates of Completion will be issued only to individuals who register for and attend the entire webinar session.
Individuals registered as Florida PEs are no longer required to email TRB with your license number to report your attendance. Instead, please use your certificate that TRB provides through RCEP.net as verification of your attendance to the Florida Board of Professional Engineers.
Please check with your licensing board to ensure that TRB webinar PDHs are approved by your board.
This webinar was developed in October 2016. TRB has met the standards and requirements of the Registered Continuing Education Program (RCEP). Credit earned on completion of this program will be reported to RCEP by TRB. Complaints about registered providers may be sent to RCEP, 1015 15th Street, NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Website: www.RCEP.net.
FHWA Launches Roadway Safety Hardware Microsite
WASHINGTON –The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has launched a “microsite” on the agency’s website to provide a central resource for information about guardrails and other roadside safety hardware.
The new site is the latest in an ongoing effort to emphasize the importance of, and improve accessibility to, state guardrail data—including preliminary data from an In-Service Performance Evaluation (ISPE) pilot program.
“Safety is our top priority and enhanced data will improve road safety,” said Acting Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Butch Waidelich. “Our goal is to provide state DOTs with information they can use to make the right decisions for their states.”
Notably, the site will make it possible for state DOTs to share data about in-service performance of roadside hardware by hosting an ever-expanding collection of findings from the states in response to interest about performance guardrail terminals.
The site will highlight FHWA’s ISPE pilot—which began in 2015 and will continue through 2019—being conducted jointly with California, Massachusetts, Missouri and Pennsylvania to find better ways to collect in-service performance data of roadside hardware. The site will also serve as the foundation of a publicly accessible database about guardrails used along America’s highways.
Waidelich said federal officials recognize the lack of state-based information on roadside hardware, and that the ISPE will improve roadway safety by making it easier for states to uniformly collect performance data on guardrails.
Traffic Incident Management Course Available Online
Many of the best practices taught in traffic incident management training, such as lane +1 and diagonal blocking, can be challenging or impossible to implement on rural roads. Yet, roads that are not limited access highways or interstates are the majority of road miles in the US; of 4.09 million miles of road in the US, only 47,432 of those miles are interstates (1%) and only another 175,514 miles of major roads are in the National Highway System. Local governments are responsible for maintaining 3.17 million miles of road (77.5%). One-third of all road miles are unpaved gravel or dirt. These statistics show that traffic incident management training should be expanded to specifically address situations commonly found on the millions of miles of rural roads in the U.S.
This program applies traffic incident management principles directly to the rural roads context using a two lane road as the example. The program highlights how fundamental TIM principles can be implemented on rural roads, including preplanning, communications, PPE, scene assessment, communications, advance warning, blocking and safe parking, traffic control, and termination.
This program presents information on how to tailor some roadway response best practices to the characteristics of rural roads. Prior to viewing this program, ensure that you have a strong understanding of these basic best practices by reviewing the following Responder Safety Learning Network programs first:
- Advance Warning
- Blocking Procedures at Roadway Incidents
- Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
- Safe Fire Service Traffic Control Practices
- Traffic Incident Management: Model Practices & Procedures
- Traffic Incident Management: TIM Training & Resources for Emergency Responders
Christie Administration Announces 79 Million in Municipal Aid Grants
Trenton, 2017 – The Christie Administration has an”nounced 373 Local Aid grants totaling $78.75 million to help municipalities advance a variety of transportation projects without burdening local property taxpayers.
“Most of the Municipal Aid grants will support road resurfacing or preservation projects, and will help towns make much needed repairs,” NJDOT Commissioner Richard T. Hammer said. “These grants will help keep local roads in a state of good repair without burdening local property taxes.”
The competitive Municipal Aid grant program attracted 628 applications worth $287.3 million in work. A total 373 applicants were awarded grants, which are funded through the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund.
Under the Municipal Aid grant program, each county is apportioned a share of the total funding based on population and the number of local centerline miles. Municipalities compete for portions of their county’s share. Past performance in connection with timely award of projects and construction close-out factor into the evaluation of the Municipal Aid grant proposals. Of the $78.75 million, there is $5 million allotted for municipalities qualifying for Urban Aid under state law, with the awards determined by the Department of Community Affairs.
When evaluating municipal aid grant applications, NJDOT gives an additional point to municipalities that have adopted Complete Streets policies. At the time municipal aid applications were due there were 122 municipalities with complete streets policies, and all but eleven submitted applications. Of them, 99 were recommended for grants totaling $21.4 million.
A total of 134 municipalities and eight counties now have adopted Complete Streets policies, which establishes guidelines that require consideration be given to pedestrians and bicyclists when local transportation projects are being planned, designed, and built. NJDOT adopted its award-winning policy in December, 2009.
NJDOT provides 75 percent of a municipal aid grant when a town awards a contract and the remaining 25 percent upon completion of the project.