MnDOT-Led Pooled Fund Programs/Studies
The Clear Roads research program brings together transportation professionals and researchers from around the country to drive innovation in the field of winter maintenance. By evaluating materials, equipment and methods in real-world conditions, the program identifies the most effective techniques and technologies to save agencies money, improve safety and increase efficiency.
It is well known that having adequate and uniform asphalt mixture compaction is critical for pavement life. Multiple studies have estimated that a 1% decrease in density can reduce pavement life by approximately 10%. Several state DOTs have evaluated a particular Ground Penetrating-Radar (GPR) DPS system, called the Rolling Density Meter (RDM) with overall, very promising results. A calibration method for the RDM system has been developed and recommended, additional research and improvements are still needed.
Intelligent construction data collection systems (i.e., geospatial systems such as intelligent compaction, paver-mounted thermal profiling [infrared radar technology], ground penetrating radar (GPR), and pavement smoothness/profile, etc.) gather large quantities of data each day of production activities. Near, ‘real-time’, integrated visualization and analysis systems are required so that materials and construction personnel can rapidly evaluate data and make decisions regarding acceptance.
In 2014, FHWA developed the Infrastructure Carbon Estimator, a spreadsheet tool that estimates the lifecycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions from the construction and maintenance of transportation facilities. This project intends to make the following improvements to the tool: Incorporate new research on infrastructure embodied energy and lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions; add analysis of new/additional project types; address GHG reductions from additional mitigation strategies; tailor outputs to better address the energy and GHG emissions from transportation project alternatives and transportation plans; make the interface more intuitive and easier to use.
This project has two main objectives. First, it will create a new, national Census block-level accessibility dataset that can be used by partners in local transportation system evaluation, performance management, planning, and research efforts. Second, it will produce and publish a series of annual reports describing accessibility to jobs by driving and by transit in metropolitan areas across America.
The National Road Research Alliance (NRRA) pooled fund will focus on solving problems that impact road owners with an emphasis on customer needs. This pooled fund will help direct and complement the use of the MnROAD test track for local, regional and national research, technology transfer and implementation needs.
The North/West Passage Corridor is Interstates 90 and 94 from Washington to Minnesota. It includes Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. The group established itself as a Transportation Pooled Fund in 2003 through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), because extreme winter weather conditions and the rural nature of the states pose significant operational and travel-related challenges. The vision of the North/West Passage Corridor is to focus on developing effective methods for sharing, coordinating, and integrating traveler information and operational activities across state and provincial borders. The vision provides a framework to guide the states' future projects in the corridor.
Full list of MnDOT TPF solicitations and studies
Other MnDOT Pooled Fund Programs
This pooled fund will form a coalition of transportation related groups with interest in autonomous maintenance technology research, and create a pooled fund to provide a single source of funding for unified research efforts that will benefit all contributing parties. This will allow for larger and more significant research projects to be undertaken and will lead to an overall cost savings by consolidating many different DOTs' research efforts in the same field.
The program’s mission is to support cooperative research, evaluation, and deployment of innovative technologies that advance road weather monitoring and forecasting in highway design, construction, maintenance and operations and to serve as an international advocate for expanded uses of these technologies.
The objective of this pooled fund research is to have multiple Mid-west DOTs pool resources and historic Mid-west DOT bridge data related to element level deterioration, operation practices, maintenance activities, and historic design/construction details. This data will provide the basis for research to determine deterioration curves. A select number of deterioration curves will provide needed utility for the time-dependent deterioration of bridge elements to be used in making estimates of future conditions and work actions. This effort will pool data and through the analysis and research processes create results that will improve accuracy of various bridge management and asset management applications that the member DOTs use (BrM, Agile Assets, and other).
This project supports the Steel Bridge Research, Inspection, Training, and Education Engineering Center (S-BRITE Engineering Center) at Purdue University. This national center provides education, training, research, and engineering expertise to member states. Although the center is focused on highway bridges, it also supports stakeholders of steel railroad bridges, as well as steel ancillary structures, such as lighting towers and sign supports. The center contributes to improved asset management decisions for DOTs, FHWA, and other partners relative to existing steel bridge inventory.
The purpose of this study is to implement new technologies in conjunction with low-cracking high-performance concrete bridge specifications to improve bridge deck life through reduction of cracking. The work involves cooperation between state departments of transportation (DOTs), material suppliers, contractors, and designers.
The focus of this pooled fund project will be to research and assess training and educational needs of contributing members, develop and deliver training, and to facilitate the sharing and retention of performance management best practices.
This pooled-fund study proposes to develop the standards, protocols, and testing requirements that a given UAS must meet and demonstrate for a particular application. The current industry is unregulated with regard to establishing the required level of performance for UAS in civil engineering applications. The results of this study will be the development of the performance measures and validation criteria that agencies can use when making decisions about deployment of UAS in the context of civil engineering.
To provide safe transportation to motorists, state transportation agencies in northern states must apply effective highway maintenance treatments appropriate to a wide range of winter and year-round conditions. Maintenance personnel must decide what treatments to apply, and when to apply them, based on their knowledge of current pavement conditions, current and forecast weather conditions, and available maintenance techniques and resources. In large part, the decisions are based upon prior experience of maintenance personnel and supervisors.
Historically, operators of traffic signals rely on public complaints to determine when signals aren't functioning efficiently. If the efficiency has degraded over time, the public may just accept the poor signal timing. Another option is to collect data and model the signals. This is costly and time consuming. Automated traffic signals performance measures collect data from the traffic signal and turns the data into useful measures. MnDOT Metro has implemented results of the previous pooled fund study and is using them on a daily basis. This pooled fund will explore new measures, incorporate "big data" as a data source and explore the possible measures that can be achieved for CAV.
MnDOT and other states are interested in using abutment piles behind mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls rather than a soil slope. This should result in a more economical, simpler, and faster method of bridge construction. Previous testing by other states and BYU shows a significant decrease in lateral resistance and increases in reinforcement force as piles are placed closer to the MSE wall. Placing piles further from the wall increases bridge cost. Additional field testing at mock MSE abutment with single and group piles is necessary to define performance to provide guidance to designers.
This project will evaluate the priority strategies from the NCHRP Report 500 Guidebooks, Guidance for Implementation of the AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan. The safety-effectiveness of many of the strategies in the guidebooks has not yet been rigorously evaluated. In order to achieve a national goal shared by the USDOT, AASHTO, and GHSA to reduce the fatality rate to 1.0 and save 9,000 lives annually by 2008, these strategies will need to be appropriately implemented. In this project, therefore, data will be collected and before-after safety effectiveness evaluations will be performed at sites where selected safety strategies are being implemented. A steering committee, comprised of pooled fund State DOT representatives, will provide guidance on the strategies selected for evaluation.
The objective of this pooled fund project is to develop and deploy methods and approaches to obtain vehicle volume and classification data with passively collected data. To develop non-traditional methods and approaches to collect and estimate AADT by vehicle type - all vehicles, trucks, and passenger vehicles - based on passively collected data. Passenger vehicles include FHWA vehicle classes 1-3, and trucks include classes 4-13. If possible, trucks could be further categorized into buses and single-unit trucks (classes 4-7) and combination trucks (classes 8-13). Other attributes such as hourly profiles, day of week and month of year factors along with k-Factors will also be produced.
The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)/ Managed Use Lane (MUL) Pooled Fund Study (PFS) is intended to serve as a forum and provide an opportunity for the participants to identify, address and collectively take on the key issues and challenges that are common among public agencies that are responsible for managing and operating HOV facilities. The HOV/MUL PFS focuses on the critical program, policy, technical, and other issues that arise throughout the life cycle of an HOV/HOT/MUL facility. The HOV/MUL PFS also provides an opportunity to facilitate the interaction, sharing of information, and successful practices with a broader audience to advance and improve upon the current state-of-the-practice related to the management, operation, and performance of HOV/HOT/MUL facilities.
The goal of the research is to produce improved specifications, and test methods; while, improving the understanding of the underlying mechanisms of frost damage. Specifically, this work will seek to develop new test procedures that may be faster and/or more reliable than the existing methods
The objective of this study is to assess the effect of truck traffic on bridge performance. This multi-year study will collect quality truck traffic and loads data (volumes, classifications, size, weights, and other relevant data) by installing, maintaining, calibrating, and utilizing instrumentation at selected bridge sites nationally, for the purpose of calibrating bridge specifications and quantifying load-induced deterioration of bridge elements and systems to establish bridge performance and serviceability criteria for improved long-term bridge performance, management and operations.
Evaluating New Technologies for Roads Program Initiatives in Safety and Efficiency ENTERPRISE main purpose is to develop and carry out a joint research program to develop, evaluation, and deploy ITS technologies. Each year, members contribute funds in support of ITS projects of mutual interest and develop and annual work plan. These projects typically involve private sector partners working with designated member agencies. Over time ENTERPRISE has grown into a multi-national consortium dedicated to the advancement of ITS. Its current partners include active ITS states from across the U.S., as well as Canadian and European agencies. ENTERPRISE provides a focus for coordinating ITS developments and for sharing results within and outside the program.
Specific research activities conducted by the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF) under this program include the design, analysis, testing, and evaluation of crashworthy structures, and the development of guidelines for the use, selection and placement of these structures. Sixteen states including Minnesota are currently participating in this program.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation's road research facility, MnROAD, has partnered with the National Center for Asphalt Technologies (NCAT) in Auburn, Alabama to improve coordination of experiments and expand evaluation of pavement performance in both northern and southern climates, providing cost-effective solutions that can be implemented nationwide. Currently a total of 17 states are sponsoring these projects; there are seven committed northern states including Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin. The Foundation for Pavement Preservation and the National Center for Pavement Preservation are also active members.
The goal of the proposed RMRC-4G is to provide the resources and activities needed to break down barriers and increase utilization of recycled materials and industrial byproducts. This will be done through carefully integrated and orchestrated activities that include applied research in key areas relevant to transportation applications combined with outreach programs that provide the educational and technical resources needed to maximize the rate at which recycled materials and industrial byproducts are used in transportation applications. RMRC-4G would be supported by a new pooled fund and focus specifically on issues of direct relevance to the contributing state DOTs
In 2005, a consortium of states joined together to pool resources to identify and address common roadside safety research needs. Research activities include the design, analysis, testing and evaluation of roadside safety hardware such as bridge rails, guardrails, transitions, median barriers, work zone traffic control devices, terminals, and break away support structures. Together, they have committed over $2.5 million in research funding over a 10 year period to fund over 35 projects.
The implementation of the AASHTO Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) by State DOTs will necessitate the examination and evaluation of roadside safety hardware currently being used by the State DOTs. It is already known that some currently used roadside safety hardware will not meet MASH requirements.
Fatigue cracks have been a major issue for steel bridges in the nation. State DOTs currently rely on a two-year inspection period to examine steel bridges for detecting fatigue crack activities. However, human inspection is time consuming, labor intensive, cost inefficient, and prone to error. Although Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) techniques can improve inspection accuracy, the lack of autonomy and continuity in the inspection process still limits its ability to capture critical crack development in a timely fashion. After all, these cracks may occur between scheduled inspection periods and therefore can lead to catastrophic failure of steel bridges. The main objective of this proposed research is to provide state DOTs a practical and cost-effective long-term fatigue crack monitoring methodology using a wireless elastomeric skin sensor network.
Spray applied pipe liners is a trenchless technology that provides a method to structurally rehabilitate concrete and metal gravity storm water conveyance conduits with minimal impact to the travelling public. The liner consists of a cementitious or resin based material that is applied in an existing host storm water conveyance conduit via a centrifugal remote applicator or by manual application. Sufficient soil support and stabilization of the host conduit is required prior to placement of the spray applied liner. The liner will provide the structural load carrying capacity without the requirement to adhere to the host conduit. The objective of this pooled fund is to recommend a design methodology for both cementitious and resin based spray applied pipe liners for structural rehabilitation of gravity storm water conveyance conduits and to recommend a laboratory test method to verify the proposed structural design.
With the responsibility of addressing urban mobility in the Twin Cities comes the need for transportation related expertise and ongoing professional development in this area. Participation in the MMUT pooled fund study provides the ideal venue for developing and maintaining this required knowledge. In the past five years, the Mobility Measurement in Urban Transportation (MMUT) pooled fund study has accomplished a number of valuable tasks that have directly benefited MnDOT The overall goal of this study was to use commercially available travel time data to develop arterial street (non-freeway roads) performance measures, and to document the supporting analytical processes for future Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) analysis and performance reporting.
The Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction and Habitat Connectivity pooled fund study will seek to identify cost-effective solutions that integrate highway safety and mobility with wildlife conservation and habitat connectivity. Therefore, evaluating new technologies and improvements to traditional measures, as well as corresponding costs. The results of this PFS are predicted to assist state and federal transportation, land management, and wildlife agencies in optimizing efforts to reduce WVCs.
Full list of MnDOT TPF solicitations and studies