Submitted by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation
The final session at the 2012 Mid-continent Transportation Research Forum featured a Town Hall discussion on research implementation opportunities for the Mid-Continent region. The facilitated session addressed four specific questions:
- What have you seen or heard at the conference that you found promising or exciting?
- What ideas presented do you think would benefit the region most if applied (or applied more broadly)?
- Which ideas will you consider applying in the next year?
- Did you hear about any organizational structures or practices that could be helpful in making it easier to apply ideas in the regional transportation community?
A review of the answers to the four questions showed several recurring themes:
- Forum attendees found promising ideas related to weather effects on infrastructure and how to optimize material composition.
- Considering congestion in the context of costs and economic growth also sparked discussion.
- The Wisconsin Crash Calendar was highlighted as an effective way to visualize data.
- Realigning multi-modal freight networks may have applications in several areas relating to economic development.
- One of the ideas considered for application in the near future related to dynamic feedback on curve signs.
- Implementation of the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) is generating attention.
- Recognizing that organizational structures are driven by politics, there is a need to have a transportation management mindset that allows for risk-taking.
- Another organizational idea that resonated with many attendees was locating university-based researchers with state DOTs.
Conference sponsors appreciated the open discussion and will examine ideas to see how they can improve agency practices.