April 2014

The US Department of Transportation has released a fact sheet with an overview of the freight initiatives in the Obama Administration’s proposed Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America (GROW AMERICA) Act.

The freight-focused portion of this legislation aims to “make critical investments to help improve the safe and efficient movement of freight across all modes of transportation–highway, rail, port, and pipeline” by concentrating on three key points:

  • Targeted investment of $10 billion over four years to improve the movement of freight.
  • Inclusion of shippers, transportation providers, and freight workers in the freight investment decision-making process.
  • Better alignment of freight planning among the Federal government, states, ports, and local communities to improve decision-making.

The GROW AMERICA Act will help improve the U.S.’s long-term competitiveness by taking steps to achieve President Obama’s call to reduce the time it takes to break ground on a new transportation project.  In many cases, it can take years to break ground on planned projects that improve infrastructure critical to advancing our nation’s competitive edge.  These projects are essential to sustaining a lasting economy built in part by having fast and reliable movements of freight.

For more information, consult the GROW AMERICA freight fact sheet and the GROW AMERICA pages.

Ice continues to be one of the costliest hazards of winter driving. Commercially, the delays felt by trucking companies from weather effects, like ice buildup, cost between 2.2 and 3.5 billion dollars annually. Worse, icy roads cause hundreds of fatalities across the United States.

The Anti-Icing and De-Icing Superhydrophobic Concrete to Improve the Safety on Critical Elements of Roadway Pavements and Bridges (CFIRE 07-03) project, led by CFIRE affiliate researcher Konstantin Sobolev, studied the effects of hydrophobic coatings on concrete samples. Much research already exists showing the benefits of hydrophobic coatings on other materials, including textiles, metals and ceramics, but research with concrete is limited.

The results show promise for a water-repellant material called polymethyl-hydrogen-siloxane. Although none of the samples prevented ice from forming and adhering to the concrete, the shear strength required to detach the ice from the surface was reduced from 330,000 psi to as low as 30,000 psi. The existing high shear strength is the result of concrete’s absorption of water on its surface, creating a very secure connection. Hydrophobic coatings reduce the tendency for this to happen, lowering the adhesion by a factor of 10 or more.

Ice Fracture Patterns

The ice fracture patterns of uncoated (left) and coated (right) specimens

The benefits of this research are vast. Coatings can not only be applied to the road surface, but to important mechanical junctions on road structure like bridges and ramps where ice accumulation decreases the life-span of the components. In addition, the large amount of salts and other chemicals used for de-icing can be reduced, which lowers the costs of highway maintenance and reduces ecological impact. The replacement or reduction of salts also increases the lifespan of the roadway by reducing corrosion.

Follow up research, however, must address the lifespan of the coating itself, which will face abrasion, precipitation, and many other environmental variables which would determine how often it must be applied.

For more information about this project and to read the final report, visit the CFIRE 07-03 project page. For additional information about other projects on which this research is based, visit the CFIRE 04-09 and CFIRE 05-10 project pages.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Use Added to Congestion Analysis

April 21, 2014

One of the most important data sources for urban traffic congestion is the Texas Transportation Institute’s Urban Mobility Report (UMR). Despite incorporating data from over 22 years of research, the UMR data lacks information on the greenhouse gasses emitted by the congestion. This is especially concerning given that transportation is responsible for 33 percent of […]

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FDOT Freight Coordinator

April 16, 2014

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) The Florida Department of Transportation has recently added seven new, full-time District Freight Coordinator positions. These coordinators as the primary contacts for their regional district office. These coordinators will also be collaborating on statewide multimodal freight mobility, including— highways, air, marine, spaceports and rail, and involving multiple public agencies and […]

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