Friday, October 25, 2013

ARTBA Rolls Out Traffic Control Manual For Mobile Devices

One of the transportation industry’s most heavily used publications — the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) — is available for the first time on Apple mobile devices through the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). 

Published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the MUTCD defines the standards by which public and private transportation professionals install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets, highways and bikeways, providing guidance on the types of shapes, colors, and fonts, and installation methods that should be used in road markings and signs, as well as standards by which all U.S. traffic control devices must conform. 

Steve McGough, chairman of ARTBA’s Transportation Design Construction & Management Innovation Council, and the chief operating officer of Sugarland, Texas-based HCSS, says the e-book will allow road managers nationwide to access critical safety information via their smart phones or tablets right on the job site, or in the office. “This is the latest in an ongoing series of ARTBA innovations that are designed to help industry firms and public agencies operate more efficiently,” McGough explained in a press release.

Read the rest of the story here.

Integrating Roadside Vegetation and Erosion Control

Integrated roadside management programs are being adopted at state and county road agencies because they combine the multiple missions of vegetation management, roadside beautification, motorist safety, erosion control and roadway appurtenance maintenance into one package. 

By combining these missions, economies of scale are achieved and long-term results can be achieved. Like pavement and bridge preservation programs, or other asset management programs, roadside management programs can help administrators decide what outcomes will be best for a particular stretch of highway, and following a timeline, help the agency work toward that outcome over a period of years. 

Gone are the days when roadside management meant just periodic mowing and spraying of weeds, biannual regrading of shoulders, and sporadic visits to sedimented drainage ditches with a wheel excavator. Today’s integrated plans incorporate these elements into a “tool box” of additional treatments or actions that are programmed over time for the best impact on the system and expenses.

Read the rest of the story here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Kafka On Operating An Excavator While Drunk

Franz Kafka was without doubt one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. He was also a bureaucrat who wrote about “the perils of excavating in quarries while drunk.” 

The writer of The Metamorphosis, The Trial and The Castle dealt with some seriously disturbing stuff in the human mind. The bureaucrat worked in worker’s compensation. 

In Franz Kafka: The Office Writings, we look into his at-the-office mind, one, you would have to think, that was a little more humdrum than the other one. Kafka, who died in 1924, was a  lawyer with the Workmen’s Accident Insurance Institute in the Czech department  of the sprawling Austro-Hungarian empire. 

Enjoy the rest of the story at Better Roads.

Tennessee DOT Launches SmartWay Mobile App

Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has launched the TDOT SmartWay Mobile App, which helps drivers navigate Tennessee highways and provides up-to-the-minute customized traffic information. The TDOT SmartWay App is free and available for download in the Apple App Store and Play Store for Android. 

“We are excited to be able to provide this tool for motorists, especially on the eve of one of the busiest travel days of the year,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “The features we’re providing can help travelers avoid congestion and have a safer drive to their holiday destinations.” 

The home screen for the TDOT SmartWay App is a map, which will locate your current position. Users will see icons on the left hand side of the map for traffic speeds, incidents, cameras, road construction, road conditions, and dynamic message signs. Map views can be customized by simply clicking on those icons.

Read the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Distressed Toll Roads: Opportunities And Challenges For Restructuring

What do the Pocahontas Parkway (Richmond, Va., vicinity), South Bay Expressway (San Diego, Calif.) and Indiana Toll Road have in common? 

All are toll road projects that are currently undergoing or have been through a restructuring – or even bankruptcy.  While traditional restructuring tools are certainly available in restructuring toll road deals, toll road restructurings also present unique considerations that warrant special attention. 

Toll road revenues have been adversely affected by the economic recession and  rising gas prices, which drove down traffic overall.  The availability of alternative, free public roads has also dissuaded drivers from using toll roads.  In some instances, toll roads have not achieved revenue projections because they were built in anticipation of new housing and commercial developments that never materialized.

Read the rest of the story here.

How Distracted Is Your Driving? New Simulation Lab Can Tell

Researchers at The Ohio State University (OSU) are trying to figure out how much eating, entertainment and navigation systems in cars distract drivers, and the university’s new $1.3 million Driving Simulation Laboratory could help.

This new 5,800-square-foot research facility is a partnership between Ohio State, Honda R&D Americas, Inc., and the Ohio Supercomputer Center.

The new $1.3 million Ohio State University Driving Simulation Laboratory will be the most technologically-sophisticated lab of its kind in Ohio and will help researchers learn more about distracted drivers and how to prevent distractions.

Read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ohio DOT To Save Big On Road Salt This Winter

The Ohio Department of Transportation and municipalities across the state can expect to save about $5 million on road salt costs this winter. 

That’s because, according to a Columbus Dispatch report, the cost of road salt dropped this year to an average of $35.83 per ton — down from $40.91 per ton last year and $54.02 per ton in 2011. 

The Dispatch reports that ODOT will likely need  to purchase about 1.1 million tons of road salt this season. The agency is expected to save more than $5 million compared to last year and more than $20 million compared to costs in 2011.

Read the rest of the story at Better Roads.

How One Firm Successfully Expanded Its Paving Operations

Until a few years ago, TC Construction Company Inc. was primarily an underground utility contractor that mixed in a little bit of everything else. Its offerings included wet and dry utilities; water and wastewater pumping stations; and small grading work. The firm even did some paving — mostly trench patching. 

In 2006, TC turned its occasional paving efforts into a full-fledged offering: It moved into the production paving business. The Southern California firm most certainly did so with its eyes wide open. 

“Paving is a completely different animal,” says Austin Cameron, vice president of the Santee, California-based contractor. “We knew that going in.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

New Nevada Law: It's OK To Run A Red Light

Tired of waiting for a red light to turn green? Now, if you’re a motorcyclist in Nevada, a new law makes it legal to run red lights. 

The law allows those on lightweight two- and three-wheeled vehicles to go on red if a traffic light doesn’t change within two cycles, according to an MSN Autos online report. 

However, there are some stipulations. (There always are, aren’t there?) 

The rider must first come to a complete stop. The rider also must sit at an intersection for at least two light cycles and there can be no other vehicles around at the time, according to the MSN report. 

Behind the law is the reasoning that motorcycles don’t always have the needed weight to trigger traffic light sensors in pavement. 

About a dozen other states already allow two- and three-wheeled vehicles to go through red lights, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Nebraska, according to the report.

Doosan DX63-3 and DX85R-3 excavators feature blade float for excavating, filling

Doosan has launched its Tier 4 compliant DX63-3 and DX85R-3 excavators, our sister site, Equipment World, reports. 

The 6.3-metric-ton DX63-3 compact excavator features a conventional tail swing and has a 13-foot, 6-inch dig depth; an operating weight of 13,779 pounds; an 11.6-inch tail swing overhang; 5,767 foot-pounds of arm force; and 9,731 foot-pounds of bucket force.

The 8.5-metric-ton DX85R-3 features a reduced tail swing and has an operating weight of 18,960 pounds; an overhang width of 91 inches; a tail overhang of 5.8 inches; 14,509 foot-pounds of breakout force; 8,069 foot-pounds of arm force; and a 15-foot 6-inch dig depth. 

Read the rest of the story here.