FHWA Innovation Deployment

ARA's Bill Vavrik presenting at an FHWA technology transfer workshop

Challenge

For a number of reasons, the highway community’s adoption of innovation and new technology traditionally has been measured not merely in years, but in decades! An example is the adoption of the SuperPave asphalt binder specification which, although benefiting from Congressional sponsorship, took over a decade after development to be deployed in all 50 states. Even so, SuperPave has been cited as an example of accelerated technology innovation adoption.

Solution

For the past decade, ARA has been the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) leading support contractor for deploying new technologies and innovation to the highway community. In 2006, ARA began serving the FHWA on the widely acclaimed Highways for LIFE (HfL) program. The three overarching goals of HfL were to improve safety during and after construction, reduce congestion caused by construction, and improve the quality of the highway infrastructure. A key strategy of HfL was getting the word out on innovations and success stories that describe the benefits to highway users and owner agencies.

ARA provided the HfL program with project management support, producing technical reports, marketing plans, on-site support, production of communication tools such as videos and a bimonthly program newsletter, conference planning, and organization support.

ARA has also supported the FHWA’s Every Day Counts (EDC) initiative. EDC is designed to identify and deploy innovation aimed at shortening project delivery, enhancing the safety of roadways, and protecting the environment.

In 2012, ARA was awarded the FHWA Innovative Deployment Program (IDP) support contract. As part of this contract, ARA has continued to provide technical and marketing/outreach support to the FHWA’s many technology deployment activities. Innovations that ARA is helping communicate and deploy include 3-D engineered models, accelerated bridge construction (ABC), geosynthetic reinforced soil-integrated bridge systems (GRS-IBS), prefabricated bridge elements and systems (PBES), slide-in bridge construction (SIBC), alternative technical concepts (ATC), construction manager/general contractor (CM/GC) and design-build methods, geospatial data collaboration, high friction surface treatments (HFST), intelligent compaction, warm mix asphalt, Safety EdgeSM paving edge technique, e-construction, and data-driven safety analyses.

Impact

Through the integrated application of engineering expertise, innovative communication & outreach, and responsive program management, ARA has helped the FHWA accelerate the deployment of over two dozen innovations and new technologies. These advancements in technology have helped numerous highway agencies provide safer, longer lasting, and more reliable transportation systems to the traveling public.

Geotechnical & Structures

Geotechnical & Structures

ARA offers technologies and services to address several critical geotechnical and structures concerns. more

Highway

Highway R&D and Technology Deployment

ARA helps develop and deploy transportation innovations through innovative research and state-of-the-art communications, outreach, and training... more

Training

Innovative Training Solutions

Instructional design, interactive training programs, immersive learning simulations, serious games, and virtual worlds. more

Pavement Engineering

Pavement Engineering

Mechanistic pavement design, evaluation and testing, pavement management systems, performance modeling, life cycle cost analysis, accelerated... more