The Role of Highway Engineering Standards in the U.S.


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An overview of what AASHTO does, the highway standards development process, and a discussion of key roadway guides and standards.

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The Role of Highway Engineering Standards in the U.S.

  1. 1. The Role of Highway EngineeringStandards in the United States of America by Dr. Anthony KaneAASHTO Director of Engineering and Technical Services at The Middle-East Regional Congress Abu Dhabi UAE November 29, 2010
  2. 2. Presentation Overview• Explanation of AASHTO and the role of states in the USA vis-à-vis the federal government• The standards development process• Discussion of the importance of standards• Discussion of key roadway guides and standards• Follow-up contacts–email addresses• Q&A
  3. 3. What is AASHTO?• The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials is a nonprofit association founded in 1914• Members include: – Highway and transportation departments of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – 35 Associate Members from Federal, State, and Local agencies and other countries• Covers all five modes: – Highways - Air – Transit - Rail – Water
  4. 4. Role of AASHTO• AASHTO is a forum for good road practices; and a technical standards-setting organization ; and a policy making organization• Similar to: – Nordic Road Association (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland) – Austroads (Australia and New Zealand) – TAC (Canadian Provinces plus the private sector)
  5. 5. Variety in the USA• Governance of the highway functions in the 50 states; for example with regard to highway safety (only two state DOTs have the state highway patrol police function; half the state DOTs have the behavioral programs ; and only a third have the motor vehicle and driver licensing function)• Diversity of the states – Geography – Climate – Road systems’ ownership—on average 19% of the public roads are owned by the states
  6. 6. A CORE Mission of AASHTOTo Provide Technical Services – Develop Technical Guidance – Develop and License Software – Publications – Centers of Excellence – Laboratory and Product Assessments
  7. 7. Technical Activities Development of Technical Guidance2,000 volunteer committeemembers – Over 200 committeesGuidelines and Standardsapproved by balloting theState DOTsOver 200 titlesUsed worldwide
  8. 8. Standards and GuidesDesign Standards; standard specifications ;and guides• Importance of them (way for the diverse USA states to be united)• 20th century – pavements, structures, geometric design, construction and maintenance• 21st century – same plus roadway operations, safety, and ITS• Legal aspects vis-à-vis the federal government; some required by regulation; e.g.: – the MUTCD on all roads (4 million miles) – the geometric design guide (the NHS—national highway system—about 160,000 miles) – the bridge codes on all federal-aid projects
  9. 9. Process for developing and refreshing standards and guides• The appropriate AASHTO technical subcommittee reviews relevant research and other findings and prepares new or updated standards (note :associate members of AASHTO partake in this process –foreign members; and toll authorities and large cities and counties)• Ballot voted on by the Standing Committee on Highways ( the top highway official in each state)—2/3rd required positive votes
  10. 10. Types of Standards/Guides• Bridges• Traffic Engineering• Geometric Design• Safety• Pavements• Construction• Materials• Data• Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
  11. 11. Bridge Standards – ExamplesNew Editions in 2010• LRFD Guide Specifications for the Design of Pedestrian Bridges• LRFD Design• LRFD Construction• Technical Manual for Design and Construction of Road TunnelsNew Editions in 2011• Manual for Bridge Evaluation, 2nd Edition• Manual on Bridge Element Inspection, 1st Edition• Guide Specification for Design of Externally Bonded FRP Systems for Strengthening Concrete, 1st Edition• Bridge Aesthetics Sourcebook—Practical Ideas for Short- and Medium-Span Bridges, 1st Edition
  12. 12. Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)• Standards and guidance for designing highway signs, traffic signals, pavement markings• Power of law—federal regulation—all roadways regardless of federal funding• Exceptions—engineering judgment
  13. 13. “Green Book” – Geometric Design• Geometric design criteria for new roads and highways• Required on all projects using federal- aid on the National Highway System• Updated every 4-6 years based on new research• Current issues: – Context-sensitive design – Exceptions – “Complete streets”• Companion volume on flexibility in highway design
  14. 14. Safety Guides – Examples• Roadside Design Guide – Safety treatments for minimizing consequences of leaving the roadway – Synthesis of common practices, rather than a standard or policy• Highway Safety Manual – Quantitative analysis of design decisions on safety – Manual of new methodologies for evaluating safety
  15. 15. Pavement Guides• Multiple documents covering various aspects of pavement, including – Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide – Friction Guide – Local Calibration Guide
  16. 16. Construction Standards/Guides• AASHTO Guide Specifications for Highway Construction – Used by the states in developing their own highway construction specifications – allows for flexibility within the states (state law, procurement methods, typical practices) – FHWA maintains web site with state specs:
  17. 17. Materials Specifications• Materials Book (Red Book), 30th Edition – Four Volumes, contains over 400 specifications – Materials covered include • Concrete • Asphalt • Aggregate • Pipe • Traffic Paint • Reinforcing Steel • Many more…
  18. 18. TransXML A New Data Exchange Standard• Electronic data format standards for transportation engineering data – similar to HTML• The goal: to provide for the uninhibited exchange of electronic data between various software applications and data customers – “Vendor-neutral” format – Inter-operability – all software and machines talking to each other – Reduce costs, save time, and improve quality of the resulting product•
  19. 19. Laboratory Accreditation and Services- AASHTO Accreditation available to member agencies and private laboratories.– Laboratory Services include distribution of proficiency samples to laboratories in 22 countries outside of the USA • Participants in Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia
  20. 20. Software Developed Cooperatively by the DOTsAASHTOWare (• Software solutions developed through a technical service program at AASHTO• Allows member agencies to pool resources to develop, support, and maintain software at substantially lower costs than custom/individual development• Many applications based on AASHTO Standards• All 50 states license one or more AASHTOWare products.
  21. 21. AASHTOWare Products (examples)Construction Project Lifecycle: AASHTO Trns•port® – Modular suite of products – AASHTO BRIDGEWare ® • Pontis ® – Bridge Management System • Virtis ® – Bridge Analysis and Load Rating – In accordance with AASHTO LRFR requirements • Opis ® – Bridge Design and Analysis – In accordance with AASHTO LRFD specification
  22. 22. AASHTOWare Products (cont’d.)– Roadway: DARWin-ME™ • Based on the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide– Right-of-Way: Turbo Relocation™– Safety: SafetyAnalyst™ • Based on Highway Safety Manual
  23. 23. Follow-Up• General: Jim McDonnell, and Tony Kane• Bridges/Structures: Kelley Rehm• Geometric Design: Keith Platte• Pavement Design: Keith Platte• Construction: Greta Smith• Safety: Kelly Hardy• Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD): Jim McDonnell• Publications: Erin Grady:• Software (AASHTOWare) Jan Edwards• ITS: Bill Brownlow:• Membership applications: Monica Russell
  24. 24. Questions???????????
  25. 25. AASHTO444 North Capitol Street NW, Suite 249 Washington, DC 20001 202-624-5800