Crowdsourcing for Advancing Operations

Potholes pose a safety risk for all road users and, in 2021, cost Americans over $26.5 Billion in vehicle damage. They are a frequent basis for motorist complaints, and their timely repair are central to cost-effective pavement preservation.

However, detecting potholes is an ongoing, costly effort for every agency charged with maintaining roadways. One Missouri Department of Transportation (DOT) official notes that when customers call to report a pothole, the location information is frequently imprecise, causing the crew to spend significant time and fuel searching for the pothole. Often, customer service operators must reconnect with the customer by phone for additional location-clarifying information to help crews find the pothole, resulting in days of delay.

Kansas City (KC) Scout, a bi-state traffic management system spanning Missouri and Kansas, began exploring Waze® pothole reports in the summer of 2021 as a means for more timely and accurate pothole identification. KC Scout worked with three Missouri DOT and two Kansas DOT maintenance crews to evaluate the Waze-reported pothole data over a two-month period. The crews confirmed a pothole or other issue was present on the road within 90 feet for 45 of the 46 reports made by Waze users, a 98 percent accuracy rate. Given this success rate, KC Scout deployed the Pothole Customer Proactive Reporting (CPR) tool to all maintenance teams within the KC region, sending daily summaries (spreadsheet and map) which integrates Waze reports with those reported by phone.

By using the more location-precise crowdsourced pothole data, Missouri and Kansas DOTs are now able to repair potholes more quickly and efficiently, making pavements safer for all road users in the KC region. KC Scout is also exploring further enhancements to the Pothole CPR tool to spatially aggregate reports and support analytics that can inform long-term maintenance strategies.

To learn more about how State and local agencies are using crowdsourcing to maintain roadways, contact James ColyarGreg Jones, or Ralph Volpe, EDC-6 team co-leads, or visit the innovation’s EDC website.

Get Ready for Every Day Counts Round Seven!

For over 10 years the Federal Highway Administration’s Every Day Counts (EDC) program has accelerated the adoption of proven, yet underutilized innovations.  In partnership with the states and other transportation stakeholders, EDC has resulted in many significant accomplishments – bringing new ideas to the forefront faster, using these innovative technologies and practices to more quickly deliver projects across the United States, and building the foundation for a culture of innovation within the highway community.

This year, EDC round 7 (2023-2024) highlights innovations to improve safety for all users, build a sustainable infrastructure for the future and grow an inclusive workforce.

On December 2, FHWA will host an executive-level virtual rollout of the EDC round 7 innovations.   These innovations will build upon the already significant legacy of EDC and support our efforts to drive innovation around three core priorities:

  • Improving safety for all road users
  • Building sustainable infrastructure for the future
  • Growing an inclusive workforce

Because the innovations to be promoted in EDC-7 can provide benefits that extend beyond the traditional surface transportation setting and reach into other transportation modes, FHWA is looking forward to working with our State transportation departments and industry organizations to help new audiences learn how the EDC-7 innovations may enhance other transportation programs and projects with other modes.

Please stay tuned for more information on upcoming activities to learn more about the EDC-7 innovations, including the virtual roll-out in December and the virtual summit in mid-February.

Statewide Roadway Action Plan Leads to Crash Analysis at District Level

In their Statewide Roadway Departure (RwD) Action Plan, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) recommended the installation of rumble strips and high friction surface treatment (HFST) on primarily State roads with functional class “collector” or higher. The State evaluated these countermeasures and determined a benefit-cost (B/C) ratio for center line and edge line rumble strips up to 65:1 and up to 44:1 for HFST. These findings led KYTC to systematically integrate rumble strips into the State’s resurfacing schedule.

KYTC then developed a suite of safety performance functions (SPFs) used in network screenings for proven countermeasures, such as HFST and cable median barrier. This tailored network screening uses crash types and facility types that correlate with where these countermeasures are most effective, such as wet weather curve crashes for HFST. This allows KYTC to eliminate non-RwD crash types to focus on locations with the most potential for safety improvement.

KYTC is building on the success of its Statewide RwD Action Plan with an ongoing crash analysis at the district level. These studies will investigate each District’s RwD safety challenges using a systemic approach and the State-specific SPFs to identify potential projects. KYTC has a goal to allocate Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds 50/50 for systemic and site-specific projects across the State.  A systemic approach is a proactive, cost-effective means of addressing where crashes are expected in the future.  The systemic approach doesn’t replace, but complements, the need for site-specific projects.

To learn more about reducing rural roadway departures in your State, please contact Cate Satterfield, FHWA Office of Safety or Dick Albin, FHWA Resource Center.

Nov 14-18 is Crash Responder Safety Week

Traffic incident responders put their lives at risk when clearing each of the nearly 7 million annual motor vehicle crashes or the broader range of incidents such as stalled vehicles or roadway debris. Crash Responder Safety Week (CRSW) is an FHWA-sponsored initiative that communicates simple steps everyone can take to help keep roadway responders and the public safe around traffic incidents.

CRSW offers an opportunity to promote road user awareness and adherence to Move Over laws and Traffic Incident Management (TIM) training for all traffic incident responders. Register now for the CRSW National Kickoff webinar, scheduled for Nov. 14, 2022, which will include U.S. DOT and national association executive leadership messages, proclamation signing, and responder struck-by testimonials.

The CRSW kickoff webinar takes the place of the November Talking TIM webinar hosted by Jim AustrichPaul Jodoin, and Joe Tebo, FHWA Office of Operations, and the National Operations Center of Excellence. To view previous topics in the Talking TIM webinar series, visit the Talking TIM webinar site.

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