The US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced the latest round of transportation innovations through the Every Day Counts (EDC) Program (EDC-7).
EDC is a successful state-based program that helps identify and rapidly deploy proven, yet underutilized, innovations that facilitate greater efficiency in project delivery at the state, local and Tribal levels, saving time, money, and other resources to ensure our infrastructure is built better, faster, smarter, and more equitably.
As part of the White House's Action Plan for Accelerating Infrastructure, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) recently committed to expanding the EDC model to more modes of transportation. This year's innovations are being promoted by FHWA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and will improve project delivery across highway, rail, and transit agencies at the state and local level.
EDC-7 innovations will improve safety for all road users, build a sustainable infrastructure for the future and grow an inclusive workforce. Notably, some of the EDC-7 innovations were chosen with multimodal state transportation agencies in mind and are of interest to transit and rail agencies.
EDC Round 7 Innovations:
Nighttime Visibility for Safety
The nighttime crash fatality rate is three times the daytime rate. Enhancing visibility along corridors, intersections, and pedestrian crossings can help reduce fatalities. This initiative promotes traffic control devices and properly designed lighting to improve safety for all users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and people who use public transportation and passenger rail services.
Next-Generation Traffic Incident Management
Technology for Saving Lives: Over six million crashes a year in the US put responders and other vulnerable road users at risk. Next-Generation Traffic Incident Management programs promote emerging technologies such as emergency vehicle lighting and queue warning solutions. These and other tools can advance safety and operations to help keep crash responders safe and mitigate traffic impacts after a crash.
Integrating Greenhouse Gas Assessment and Reduction Targets in Transportation Planning
Transportation is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the US This initiative provides resources to help agencies, regardless of transportation mode, quantify greenhouse gases, and set goals to decrease motor vehicle, construction, and life-cycle emissions through planning and project development.
Enhancing Performance with Internally Cured Concrete (EPIC)
Cracking in concrete is a limiting factor in achieving long-term concrete performance. Internal curing mitigates shrinkage cracking and has the potential to substantially extend the service life of concrete bridge decks, benefiting travel by motor vehicle and public transit, as well as enhancing the performance of pavements and repairs.
Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for Sustainable Project Delivery
Construction materials such as concrete and asphalt have environmental impacts during their life cycle, whether the transportation facility supports passenger vehicles, transit vehicles, or railroad cars. EPDs document those impacts. This tool helps States support procurement decisions and quantify embodied carbon reductions using life cycle assessments for sustainable pavements.
Rethinking Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) in Design-Build
Many design-build contracts do not adequately provide opportunities for disadvantaged businesses. New practices are available to support the effective integration of program requirements to help small, disadvantaged businesses compete for design-build contracts for highway and transit projects.
Strategic Workforce Development
The demand for highway workers is growing under the new investment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and emerging technologies require new skills. This innovation is being implemented by 32 states, with six of those states having institutionalized Strategic Workforce Development as the way to promote career opportunities in transportation. A continued focus on taking this nationwide will help stakeholders across the country improve their ability to identify, train, and place highway construction workers. Innovative approaches will be informed by the USDOT's Memorandum of Understanding with the US Department of Labor to foster a diverse and skilled workforce to support infrastructure projects. The focus will expand to rural and Tribal communities to increase career opportunities.
Every two years since 2011 FHWA has worked with state transportation departments, local governments, Tribes, private industry, and other stakeholders to identify a new set of innovations to champion that merit accelerated deployment. The first six rounds of EDC have yielded several innovative project delivery technologies, including prefabricated bridge systems, design-build contracting, project bundling, e-construction (paperless contracting), safety initiatives and more.
The program's success is based largely on FHWA's close collaboration with states and local partners through a process whereby states select innovations they want to pursue, then establish performance goals for the level of implementation and adoption they want to reach over the upcoming two-year cycle. Once the selection and performance goals are finalized, they then begin to implement the innovations with the support and assistance of diverse technical deployment teams established for each innovation, including federal, state, and local experts.
Accelerated Innovation Demonstration and State Transportation Innovation Council Incentive programs administered by FHWA complement EDC by providing additional funding and resources to help the surface transportation community accelerate the adoption and standardization of innovative technologies in their programs.