Winter 2020


FHWA's cooperative driving automation program is transforming transportation.

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U.S. Department Recovering From Hurricane Maria

Rela Scenes Also in this issue: | Advancing TSMO Strategies ig=to(=1ce]Mallelahixehy

Administration FHWA Puts Focus on Technology







Reaching New Heights by Hoda Azari, Dennis 0’Shea, and Derek Constable During a 2-year study, FHWA took a closer look at the state of practice for unmanned aircraft systems use in bridge inspections.

Coming Back from Disaster by Fernando ortiz After the most devastating hurticane to hit Puerto Rico in recent history, FHWA helped the island recover.

Mainstreaming Transportation Systems Management and Operations by Tracy Scriba, Aaron Jette, and Pepper Santalucia The current (and future) traveler demands improved reliability and efficiency. Is your TSMO program ready to deliver?

Showcasing Highway Research by Kelley McKinley FHWA recently put its work on display at an inaugural event to highlight innovative technologies.

What Does the Changing Face of Electricity Production Mean for Concrete? by Saif Al-Shmaisani and Maria Juenger With coal production on the decline, the concrete industry is looking for alternatives to the use of coal fly ash in concrete mixtures.

CARMA”: Driving Innovation by Taylor Lochrane, Laura Dailey, and Corrina Tucker FHWA’s cooperative driving automation program is transforming transportation.

Saluting 50 Years of Transportation Training

by Stan Woronick and Christine Kemker FHWA’s National Highway Institute celebrates its golden anniversary in 2020.

CARMA™: Driving Innovation | pace 28

| oO) \ |) Ss Winter 2020 | Vol. 83, No. 4

@ Ryan DeBerardinis /


GUOStIEGItOniC rece cacsiscsescsecrssveotecssestrsss 1 Innovation Corner

Along the Road .

TCU WOO ie, ssscccstsesonrsrcssssurescrsorevsosones 40 Communication Product Updates ............. 42

COVERS—Some of FHWA’s vehicles are equipped with Cooperative Automation Research Mobility Applications, or CARMA. Passenger vehicles, like the ones shown, are designed to communicate with each other, roadways, infrastructure, and other vehicles to enable cooperative driving automation. The vehicles pictured are equipped with the latest version, CARMA3, which is now called CARMA™. See “CARMA™: Driving Innovation” on page 28 of this issue of Public Roads.

Source: FHWA,


U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration U.S. Department of Transportation

Elaine L. Chao, Secretary

Federal Highway Administration

Nicole R. Nason, Administrator

Office of Research, Development, and Technology David Winter, Acting Associate Administrator

Shana Baker, Director, Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management

Maria Romstedt, Editor-in-Chief Lisa A. Shuler, Distribution Manager

Editorial Board:

T. Everett, T. Hess, H. Kalla, M. Knopp,

A. Lucero, G. Shepherd, C. Walker, D. Winter Editorial Contractor:

Arch Street Communications (ASC),

Publication Management N. Madonick, A. Jacobi, A. Martinez,

Collaborating for the

Future of Transportation

utomated vehicle technology holds the A promise of improving safety and has the potential to transform the Nation’s roadways. A key driver for its success is collaboration. Automation provides an opportunity for the US. Department of Transportation, State and local leaders, and industry stakeholders to partner in new ways to prepare communities and toad users for the future of transportation. While the industry explores and tests the benefits of automated vehicle technology, the Federal Highway Administration is helping to facilitate collaboration and equip the owners and operators of roadways with information to make


K. Vangani, C. Ibarra decisions that will improve safety and mobility for all road users. FHWA is well Editorial Subcontractor: positioned to serve the highway community in this capacity because it works closely ICF, Editorial with transportation agencies in every State, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. C. Boris, A. Sindlinger, J. Sullivan FHWA plays a key role in providing technical expertise and funding opportunities. In

Design Contractor: addition. Schatz Strategy Group, Layout and Design R. Nemec, L. Sohl, C. Williams

the agency promotes the exchange of noteworthy practices and data to enhance knowledge on adopting and implementing automated vehicle technologies. In 2018, FHWA launched a series of listening sessions with key transportation Public Roads (ISSN 0033-3735; USPS 516-690) stakeholders and innovators in six cities to gather information and to have a better ESipub is ied varied bythe oulice atineseatey understanding of the technologies’ implications for the transportation system. The Development, and Technology, Federal Highway ape Sere e . , . oe Administration (FHWA), 6300 Georgetown Pike, goals of this National Dialogue on Highway Automation were to encourage collabora- McLean, VA 22101-2296. The business and editorial tion and information-sharing and to receive input to inform FHWA actions. The office of Public Roads is located at the McLean address ee s A G Pere Te i sions a a ! a s ata a - Aiea Ukigyts AACE) EEN, eve URLECS SS sessions focused on planning and policy, digital infrastructure and data, freight, opera Email: Periodicals postage tions, and infrastructure design and safety. Using input from the National Dialogue, pag aD VA, and additional mailing offices FHWA is developing tesources to support the safe and efficient integration of auto- Male 2 mated driving systems. For more information, see “Mainstreaming Transportation POSTMASTER: Send address changes to M: 5 i tand O : : 11 in this i f P, blie Roads Public Roads, HRTM-20, FHWA, ystems Management and Operations” on page 11 in this issue of Public Roads. 6300 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22101-2296 FHWA is also facilitating collaboration in research among diverse stakeholders Public Roads is sold by the Superintendent interested in cooperative driving automation applications. Cooperative Automation of Pociments) U5 Government banting Research Mobility Applications, or CARMA, is an open-source software platform that Office, Washington, DC 20402. Requests for bs : if 7 a . ¢ F a subscriptions should be sent directly to New is available to help advance and refine the communications technology used with Orders, Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box automated vehicles. CARMA aims to accelerate an understanding of the safety and SHA oie) i eats IGEN este 2Ieleo Sleeter tos operational benefits of cooperative driving automation by testing new automation are available for 1-year periods. Paid subscribers Bes eg etn ve . foie oy ace : should send change of address notices to the features. This initiative is providing the research community opportunities to cultivate U.S. Government Printing Office, Claims Office, relationships, share expertise, pilot transportation technologies, implement cooperative Washington, DC 20402. 8 A . 4 i driving automation, and strengthen the transportation industry for public benefit. For The electronic version of Public Roads can be accessed fe nk ti «C ARMAS”: Driving I vation” ees 28 ae nen arriertca ane ante iRsenenGan more information, see “CARMA™: Driving Innovation” on page 28. home page ( Important to these efforts is the multimodal approach USDOT takes under The Secretary of Transportation has determined that Secretary Elaine L. Chao’s leadership. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety tie publica tiomotithis periodical shecessalyinitie Administration is a close partner in FHWA’s research to advance truck platooning transaction of the public business required by law of lications. ‘Thés licadionssexpl c d k freight deli its this department. applications. } hese app: ications explore safe, automated truck freight delivery and its implications for traffic patterns. Another example is FHWA’s collaboration with the Federal Transit Administration to improve safety, access, and mobility for underserved populations, including rural communities and people with disabilities, through research coordination and the development of the Complete Trips Deployment Program. This program enables communities to plan and showcase deployments that apply technology and emerging mobility services to expand access and mobility for all. To fulfill the promise that automated vehicle technology holds for the future state of transportation, it is incumbent upon transportation leaders and innovators to work together at all levels. FHWA stands ready to do our part.


All articles are advisory or informational in nature and should not be construed as having regulatory effect. Articles written by private individuals contain the personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FHWA.

All photographs are provided by FHWA unless otherwise credited.

Contents of this publication may be reprinted, provided credit is given to Public Roads and the authors.

For more information, representatives of the news media should contact FHWA's Office of Public Affairs at 202-366-0660.

Mala Parker NOTICE Deputy Administrator The United States Government does not Federal Highway Administration endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or 8 2 aha manufacturers’ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the article.



From the Center for Transportation Workforce Development: A VISION TO MEET WORKFORCE DEMANDS by MARIA ROMSTEDT

he number of projected job openings in transportation fields

continues to outpace the number of people completing transportation-telated education and training programs, and a shortage of skilled workers presents a growing concern for the industry. When Karen Bobo became the director of the Center for Transportation Workforce Development (CTWD) within the Fed- eral Highway Administration’s Office of Innovative Program Deli- very (OIPD) in May 2019, she knew the workforce challenges she would be facing. Over her 29-year career with FHWA, Bobo has been involved in recruitment and mentoring. “As a participant in the Highway Engineer Training Program and then as the program coordinator, I was coaching and mentoring from the very begin- ning of my career,” says Bobo. Bobo has held positions in several FHWA division offices, the Office of Federal Lands Highway, and the Office of Human Resources. “Every job I’ve had, I have stayed involved in recruit- ment, coaching peers and students, and talking to the industry,” she says. Bobo and her team are defining CTWD’s plans to deliver initiatives that build awareness of transportation careers and improve the development, capability, and diversity of the Nation’s transportation workforce. From primary school to professional development, the center provides program support, technical assistance, and workforce development activities in partnership with Federal, State, and local partners; industry organizations; and education providers.


Women, African Americans, and Native Americans have been historically underrepresented in the U.S. transportation industry. Because of the potential for growth, many CTWD programs emphasize teaching these groups.

One example is the Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Trans- portation Education Program. CTWD aims to transform the pro- gram, which provides grants to State and local education agencies to develop and deliver K—12 transportation-related curricula with an emphasis on underrepresented groups.

“We're doing a lot of planning and looking at how we can inte- grate the Garrett Morgan program into other workforce develop- ment efforts,” Bobo says. “Our goal is to reinvigorate it and ensure it is doing what it is designed to do.”

Bobo’s vision is to integrate workforce development into edu- cation, especially middle school through adult practitioners. That means educating students as well as school professionals on trans- portation career opportunities. CTWD will also work with the U.S. Department of Education to identify collaboration opportunities.


Partnerships are a cornerstone for reaching CTWD’s goals. The center’s approach to partnerships includes improving col- laboration with the other centers in OIPD, State departments of


Karen Bobo, director of the Center for Transportation Workforce Development, is inside a historic toll plaza office during a visit to the I-74 Mississippi River Bridge project.

Source: FHWA.

transportation, national transportation organizations, and other Federal agencies.

One of the center’s goals is to expand the Highway Con- struction Workforce Pilot, which included 12 partners. The program will now be called the Highway Construction Workforce Partnership. The partnership program aims to establish relation- ships between highway construction contractors in need of key skill sets (the demand) and the workforce system that identifies qualified applicants (the supply).

“We're working to make sure the partnership program meets the needs of all organizations through webinars, educational pieces, and peer exchanges,” says Bobo. “We're aiming to expand from the 12 pilot partners to having a partnership in all States.”

“If we don’t have workers, infrastructure projects won’t get completed,” she says. “Infrastructure will fail to meet the demands of travelers, and our transportation network will no longer serve the public. We’re working hard to make sure that possibility does not become a reality.”

MARIA ROMSTEDT is the Publication Manager at FHWA\'s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Public Roads.

A special thematic issue of



Coming in Spring 2020

The face of transportation is changing, and the Spring 2020 issue of Public Roads will highlight examples of significant contributions by women to the industry.

+ Meet women who are using their talents to further FHWA’s mission.

* Discover the ways women are contributing to FHWA's initiatives and technologies.

* Be inspired by how FHWA and its partners are encouraging the next generation of young women

to pursue careers in transportation.

DON'T MISS THIS ISSUE! Sign up for the electronic version of Public Roads at /publications/publicroads.




~ alla Source: iStock -

Seeking Innovative Solutions to the Nation's Transportation Challenges

The U.S. Department of Transportation's highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program awards contracts to domestic small businesses to address research challenges from across the Department's modal agencies. The fiscal year 2020 solicitation provides new opportunities to conduct research and capitalize on potential for commercialization while supporting topics in safety,

HTahigcKsidabroidl asym gate] clare) cem-lUicolaat-id(elame-latemantelacy

Visit the Department's SBIR website at to:

* Learn more about the solicitation and research topics.

* Engage with the Department through public meetings and online forums. * Learn about 2020's new solicitation format and schedule.

* Sign up to receive notifications about the program.


U.S. Department

POWERED BY DOT of Transportation


During a 2-year study, FHWA took a closer look at the state of the practice

for using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for bridge inspections.

Bie inspectors may need to use several access methods and tools to adequately meet the objectives of a bridge inspection in accordance with governing National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS). How- ever, some of these access methods, such as an under-bridge inspection truck (UBIT), can be costly to operate because the equip- ment is expensive to maintain and run and disruptive to traffic because it requires lane closures. Using an unmanned aircraft sys- tem (UAS) can be a cost-effective solution to obtaining stand-alone, high-quality visual inspection data, or to supplement standard inspection methods and equipment. Some UASs can also improve inspector safety and enable examination of areas that are difficult to access.

UASs can produce live streaming video, providing opportunity for the inspector to inspect while remaining on the ground. If inspectors identify deterioration in UAS images, they can then decide wheth- er to perform a physical inspection to determine the severity and extent of the deterioration. Using UAS in this manner can provide more efficient use of standard access equipment and physical inspection techniques for assessing deterioration, in addition to increasing safety.

In an ongoing study, the Federal High- way Administration is conducting research to identify types of sensors used in UASs; quantity and quality level of data needed to perform satisfactory inspection using UASs; best practice guidelines for efficient and reliable use of the sensors; and guid- ance on how the collected data should be assessed, presented, and stored to provide reliable and actionable information to ownets to support data-driven deci- sions. This research study also identifies the minimum requirements of sensors to provide comparable information as other visual inspection techniques.

“We felt it was very important to take a closer look at how State de- partments of transportation are using unmanned aircraft systems for bridge inspections because of the potential benefits of this technology,” says FHWA Executive Director Thom- as Everett. “UASs are proving to be incredibly useful to bridge inspection staff to supplement inspection prac- tices.”

FHWA expects to conclude the research project in March 2020, What follows ate key findings of the research to date.

‘he condition of bridges ©

Components of a UAS

A UAS for bridge inspection includes

the unmanned aircraft, control station, sensors, and pilot. A certified pilot is

the most important piece of the system, controlling and flying the aircraft in a safe and professional manner. While not always a requirement, a visual observer can aid in


‘Communication and Navigation Links

| Ground Control Station

The major components of an unmanned aircraft system are the unmanned aerial vehicle, the pilot and observer, the sensor, the ground control station, and the communication and navigation links.

@ Futron Aviation.



Inspectors can see irregularities on the bridge deck in this optical image taken by a UAS. The photo quality is sufficient to enlarge areas of interest, as shown on the right-hand side of the photo.

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This infrared thermography image shows possible bridge deck delamination. The yellow and orange areas shown above in the IR map (labeled with circles), indicate possible delaminations.

@ Minnesota Department of Transportation.

scanning the sky to ensure safe flight while the pilot concentrates on the operation of the aircraft. As required by Federal law for all bridge inspections, an inspec- tion team leader must be on site during the inspection.

Optical cameras, infrared cameras, and LiDAR (light detection and ranging) systems are the most common types of sensors used. Depending on the tasks, an



inspector can determine the appropria types of UAS platform and sensor types. Optical sensors capture the imagery data (video as well as still images), which enable inspectors to see deficiencies in an up-close ot magnified manner without having to physically access the specific area on the bridge. UAS-captured high-resolution images may reveal defects missed using distant visual inspection techniques.

Example of a LiDAR point cloud of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge in California.

Source: Jason §

High-resolution imagery can also serve other purposes, from providing a record of surface defects to measuring and tracking some types of defects over time.

Infrared thermography (IR) sensors can detect areas of deterioration in concrete by identifying and viewing temperature gradients. Demonstrations have shown the areas of bridge deck delamination iden- tified using IR sensors correspond well to the areas discovered using traditional sounding techniques. LiDAR sensors actively emit pulses of light—up to hundreds of thousand of returns per second—to accurately measure the distance between the sensor


and a target object. The main advantages of LiDAR over photogrammetry are the ability to penetrate vegetation with multiple returns, faster imagery processing times, and improved capabilities to resolve fine features. Inspectors can use a LiDAR point cloud to create a three-dimensional (3D) model of the bridge.

Employing a UAS sensor is beyond simply manipulating the aircraft controls and pointing the sensor at a location.

To adequately capture the quality v information required, personnel must also understand the basics as well as some of the more advanced principals of photog- raphy. An understanding of the individual camera’s available settings helps to maxi- mize effectiveness.

What UAS Can Do

Typically, bridges that present challenges to gaining access to all parts of the structure for a comprehensive inspection are good candidates for UAS augmentation. For example, on a bridge with an excessively wide sidewalk or tall pedestrian barrier,

a UBIT would be limited to access from one side only. A more typical case is a wide bridge where the center is not accessible


from a UBIT even when used from both sides. In this case, a UAS could provide imagery from both sides of the bridge. Some State DOTs have conducted research studies or implemented programs employing UASs for bridge inspections to detect certain types of bridge defects. Their efforts have successfully identified bridge defects and collected information important to the bridge planning pro- cess. Bridge engineers also have used the imagery captured during bridge inspections to create accurate two-dimensional and 3D models of a bridge for analytical and planning purposes. State DOT efforts have shown that UASs can enhance traffic safety

Michigan Oregon x x x Xx Xx x x x x? x x Xx x x x X x x

Concrete cracks x Missing fasteners x Rust x Peeling paint Delamination (using IR sensor) x Spalling x Stress cracks (wood) x Vegetation/debris x Efflorescence x Corrosion x "Concrete wear x Fatigue crack (weld) Paint condition x Galvanizing condition _ Previous repairs x | 1, This column lists the results of two studies conducted in Florida in 2015 and in 2018.

2. The Minnesota results are from a three-phase study that was conducted from 2015 to 2018. | 3. The delamination the Idaho team identified was simulated in lab conditions.

for the public and safety for the inspection team in many cases. For example, during a 2018 study performed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), contractors flying a collision-tolerant UAS captured imagery inside an enclosed steel atch. Using this type of UAS inside the bridge structure eliminated the need for personnel to enter the potentially danger- ous confined space. (Entering a confined space requires specific training for mem- bers of the inspection team, and requires the receipt of entry permits in accordance with current safety regulations and prac- tices.) MnDOT reported a potential 66 percent cost savings using UAS com- pared to traditional methods in 2017 and an average cost savings of 40 percent for the case studies reviewed in 2018. Identifying which aspects of a bridge inspection are best suited for a UAS according to the needs of State DOTs is useful in determining efficient use.

For more information on UAS appli- cation in transportation, see “Ready for Takeoff” in the Winter 2018 issue of Public Roads.

Limitations of UASs

UASs can provide many advantages to a bridge inspector. However, they currently cannot replace a person where tactile or other contact inspection methods are necessary or required. For example, inspec- tors cannot employ only UAS for fracture critical member inspections because of

the FHWA requirement for using hands-

Inventory Condition rating

Geometric Data 4 Deck

Structure Type and Inventory


Structural Evaluation

Deck Geometry 4

on inspection techniques. The reason is because today’s cameras and sensors still have limited capability to see through dirt, debris, and corrosion that may hide critical defects.

“Tn no way should a UAS be considered a complete solution that will solve all user needs,” says Cheryl Richter, director of the Office of Infrastructure Research and Development at FHWA. “Tt is a tool that may bring efficiencies in time, cost, and safety [of the] bridge inspection process when successfully employed.”

UAS operators in both the public and private sectors must adhere to the statu- tory and regulatory requirements issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Public aircraft operations (including UAS operations) are governed under the statutory requirements for public aircraft established in 49 United States Code (US.C,) § 40102 and § 40125. In addition, both public and civil UAS operators may operate under the regulations promulgated by the FAA, The provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 107 apply to most operations of UAS weigh- ing less than 55 pounds (24.9 kilograms). Operators of UASs weighing greater than 55 pounds may request exemptions to the airworthiness requirements of 14 CFR part 91 pursuant to 49 U.S.C. §44807. UAS operators should also be aware of the requirements of the airspace in which they wish to fly. The FAA provides extensive resources and information to help guide UAS operators in determining which laws, rules, and regulations apply to a UAS operation. For more information, visit


Appraisal Items



5 Navigation Data 3 Substructure Under-Clearances 4 Damage The Oregon Department of Transpor- 9 ws n 9 tation (ODOT) identifies major bridge Age and Service 2 coe and Channel Spero Ramey 4 In-depth

: : 4 rotectio! men reporting categories and applies a scale EISREeE m 9 F of 1 to 4 to rate the usefulness of a UAS improvements 2 Culvert Waterway Adequacy 3 Fracture Critical 2 iz for providing inspection information, Traffic Safety Identification 1 3. Underwater if

ODOT also evaluates how useful a UAS Features a

is in conducting various types of inspec- tions. They identified a monetary savings of around $10,000 per bridge and a

10 percent savings in personnel time per project compared to inspections done without UAS.

Classification 1 Scour Critical Bridges

Load Rating and Posting



Analyzing and Storing Data When employing a UAS during bridge inspections, inspectors capture large amounts of data that requite stor-

age, post-processing, analysis, and dissemination. For most UASs, the imagery and data captured during

a flight is stored on a removable media storage device, such as a secure digital (SD) memory card, integrated into the aircraft platform. The files stored on the SD card are a variety of common file types that are accessible by media-viewing and post-processing software.

Inspectors process the captured and stored data into different products to supplement inspection documentation, better inform decisionmakers regarding the structures, and improve future inspection planning, Common information products include images, video, 3D models, and sur- face models. Bridge engineers can use UAS imagery of the entire structure to create bridge “plans” for bridges that do not have records of the original structural draw- ings. Also, inspectors can use this visual information, and the associated geographic position information related to the images, to update the structure inspection records, identify and assess new deficiencies, track the extent of specific defects over several inspections, and update bridge repair recommendations.

In general, an inspector will use the standard inspection report format that complies with the NBIS, supports report- ing data to the National Bridge Inventory, and satisfies State DOT policies and standards. When using a UAS to supple- ment an inspection, the inspector will select the imagery captured by the UAS sensor to include in the report. Thus, using a UAS for inspection purposes should not generate additional paperwork but the information and defects found in the images should be documented in the inspection notes and element condition data, as applicable.

“Data management can be the most challenging aspect of using a UAS,” says Joey Hartmann, director of the Office of Bridges and Structures with FHWA. “The substantial amount of data collected requires an appropriate data management plan to ensure the inspectors capturing the data have (1) a standard approach for collecting and transferring the data, (2) a known and secure location and structure for storing and retrieving the data, and (3) a well understood process for sharing the data and inspection products generated


ollected wi

© Minnesota Department of Transportation.

by the UAS.”

Cataloguing is the process of creat-

ing a directory of stored imagery files.

It includes identifying where the data

are located, identifying the types of data stored, establishing a process for version control, and instituting file naming conven- tions to which all users will adhere. A more advanced method of cataloging images is using a photogrammetric 3D model of the bridge, which requires creating a photo- grammetric point cloud. This method is an alternative that enables all the inspection images for the bridge to be stored as a 3D model. Inspectors can select the bridge section of interest on the model (that is, where a defect exists) to view the image for analysis.

MnDOT tested this 3D modeling method to catalogue images. It enabled MnDOT inspectors to click on a point in the model and view images at that point to view defects. This can reduce the need for a manual photolog because the photogram- metry software will locate the image on the structure.

Future Advancements

As more bridge owners and inspectors incorporate UASs into their processes, the technologies available to improve inspections will continue to advance. For example, first-person view (FPV) devices or goggles are a relatively recent entry to the bridge inspection process. FPV gives the user a unique perspective from which to wirelessly view imagery and contro! the camera. Some FPV systems provide high-definition 1080p video and enable the user to control the sensor in real time with head movements. The image presented equates to looking at an 18-foot (5.5-meter) high-definition television from about 9 feet (3 meters) away. Some FPV systems also provide inspectors with the ability to dig- itally magnify the image, making it appear significantly closer and allowing a bridge

inspector to see hairline cracks in the structure. For more information on FPV goggles for bridge inspec- tors, see “A New View for Bridge Inspectors” in the Summer 2018 issue of Public Roads.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is another technological advancement that inspectors may choose to incorporate into the UAS. AI can enable the system to navigate independently without human input throughout the structure (other than instructing the aircraft when and where it is supposed to fly and overriding the system in the event of a malfunction or signal loss). Flying the UAS in the same flight paths using AI can enhance the identifi- cation and tracking of defects over time. Inspectors could also use AI to collect and analyze many infrastructure images.

The speed of technological advances and improvements in the integration of new technologies is impacting bridge inspection. More and more bridge owners are employing UAS and exploring new ways to integrate UAS within established guidelines. FHWA is moving forward in partnership with those in the field to find efficiencies in inspection methods, reduce the cost of conducting inspections, enhance the comprehensiveness and quality of collected data, and improve the safety of inspection teams by using UAS, all while assuring the Nation’s bridges are safe for travelers.

HODA AZARI is the manager of the Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Research Program and NDE Laboratory at FHWA‘s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. She holds a Ph.D. in civil engi- neering from the University of Texas at El Paso.

DENNIS 0’SHEA is FHWA's senior bridge safety engineer for the North region. He serves as a technical resource for the National Bridge Inven- tory and National Tunnel Inventory programs for 13 FHWA division offices in the Northeast. He has aBS. in civil engineering from the University of South Alabama and is a licensed professional engineer in Delaware and Pennsylvania.

DEREK CONSTABLE is a bridge management engineer with the FHWA Office of Bridges and Structures. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

For more information, contact Hoda Azati at 202-493-3064 or

tlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 each year and lasts

through November 30, In 2017, a historic series of hurticanes tore through the Caribbean, including two that made direct hits on US. territories that are home to approximately 3.3 million US. citizens.

On September 6, Hurricane Irma struck the U.S. Virgin Islands with recorded winds of 105 miles per hour (170 kilometers per hour). And on September 17—although landfall for the slowly moving storm would not occur until September 20—Hurricane Maria began to pummel Puerto Rico with winds that would reach up to an estimated 155 miles per hour (250 kilometers per hour). Meteorologists have no land-based records of Maria’s maximum winds on Puerto Rico because the storm damaged the island’s wind sensors, designed to withstand winds of 135 miles per hour (220 kilometers per hour), before making landfall.

“After surviving two Category 5 hurricanes within 2 weeks, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were changed forever,” says Michael Avery, the associate division administrator of FHWA’s Puerto Rico and US. Virgin Islands Division.

To an area still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria caused about $90 billion in damages, making it

“0 way

po TAN a be . ys

by FERDINAND ORTIZ After the most devastating hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in recent history, FHWA helped the island recover.

the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history behind Harvey and Katrina. The total included more than $575 million in damage to federally eligible roads and bridges in Puerto Rico. The island suffered a total loss of power, and in some places, electricity was not restored for a year.

The damage literally hit home for the Federal Highway Admin- istration. With power and communications down across the terri- tory, buildings and bridges destroyed, and roads impassable, some employees of FHWA’s local division office could not be located for more than a week following landfall. Those that could began reporting to their workplace the day after the disaster, beginning the agency’s immediate emergency response.

ASSESSING THE DAMAGE The day after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Puerto Rico was a different island. The storm destroyed the communication system, including cellphone towers, making contact among families as well as emergency responders nearly impossible. The damage to the power grid seriously curtailed the operation of gas stations, and in the days following, waiting lines of 8 hours to get gas were normal. Officials reported more than 6,000 separate incidents on heavily damaged transportation infrastructure, including 388 on bridges and 400 related to landslides caused by the extreme rainfall. Nearly 20 percent of Puerto Rico’s bridges were damaged, including 26 that collapsed completely, Despite destruction, damage, injury, and death, residents rallied to help one another. Michael Figueroa, a transportation finance manager with FHWA’s Puerto Rico and US. Virgin Islands Divi- sion, was one of the first employees to arrive at the Division’s San Juan office.

INSET: Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico when it hit the island in September 2017, destroying many bridges and roads. High winds and heavy rain caused major damage to this bridge on PR-111 in Moca, Puerto Rico.

BACKGROUND: Emergency relief work included reconstruction of the PR-111 bridge, shown here after completed repairs. Sources: FHWA. | we (a

Hurricane Maria destroyed roads such as this one near Naguabo, Puerto Rico. Source: FHWA.

“Soon I could make out the sound of heavy equipment and chainsaws,” Figueroa says, describing the scene in his neighbor- hood. “[It was] the rush of volunteers scrambling to move debris from the roads to clear a path to the highway. The community was taking a stand.”

Along with Figueroa, several employees managed to get to the division office in San Juan the day after the hurricane to assess the destruction, which included extensive water damage to files and computers. It took more than a week to locate and account for every FHWA employee—thankfully, all were safe.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE While dealing with its own recovery efforts, FHWA responded quickly to the island’s catastrophe.

“We provided the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority with immediate guidance on emergency-related topics and worked side by side throughout the first critical days,” says Avery, the division’s associate administrator.

One of the immediate needs of the Puerto Rico government was funding, and FHWA provided more than $40 million in quick release Emergency Relief funds within 10 days of the event. The agency released additional Emergency Relief funds in the months following the hurricane as recovery efforts continued.

On September 18, before the hurricane even made landfall on Puerto Rico, President Donald J. Trump declared a state of emergency in the territory already suffering from the approaching storm. The declaration enabled the Federal Emergency Manage- ment Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security to mobilize and coordinate disaster relief efforts. Within days, thousands of FEMA and other U.S. Government personnel began to arrive.

FHWA employees served as key partners in emergency support duties and coordinated with multiple Federal, Puerto Rico, and US. Virgin Islands agencies. The active involvement in the initial response and then recovery phases of the emergency requited significant resources and additional help. FHWA provided satellite phones and equipped backpacks for engineers. Mainland FHWA division staff provided food and other essentials to the Puerto Rico and US. Virgin Islands Division to ensure it could serve local residents and emergency responders.

More than 40 FHWA volunteers from 15 States came to Puerto Rico between October 2017 and December 2018 to help supple- ment the division office’s emergency response and recovery ef- forts. The volunteers conducted field assessments and inspections, prepared detailed damage inspection reports, and provided essen- tial onsite guidance to all stakeholders. This help ftom FHWA had a direct impact on how effectively Puerto Rico recovered from the


Alandslide blocks PR-191 near Naguabo, Puerto Rico. The residents in the area wrote on the rocks to warn of the road closure.

Source: FHWA.

emergency, reinforcing the capacity of the agency to execute tasks necessary for a quick and efficient response.

Government executives, including President Trump and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, also visited the island to see firsthand the damages caused by the hurricanes.


At of the end of 2017, nearly half of Puerto Rico’s residents were still without power, and by the end of January 2018, recovery efforts had restored electricity to only about 65 percent of the island, Full restoration of power and water took a year after the hurricane hit.

FHWA’ involvement continues long after the initial emergency response. The Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division (EFL) has been a fundamental partner in the recovery of Puerto Rico and the US. Virgin Islands, as it is performing the majority of the long- term recovery work in Puerto Rico. EFL is designing projects and preparing environment; right-of-way; and plan, specification, and estimate documents for construction projects. The EFL division is also advertising, awarding, and administering contracts for road construction, bridges, traffic signage, safety improvements, and landslide repairs. In all, EFL provides design, procurement, and construction management services valued at close to $1 billion.

The response to Hurricane Maria was unprecedented. It was the largest and longest Federal response to a domestic disaster in the history of the United States. Although much work remains to be done over the next 3 to 5 years, progress is being made in getting Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands back to normal. Recovery efforts successfully restored power, communications systems, water, fuel, and other essential services to both territories. As a result, tourism is on the rise. Many construction projects are still underway, providing jobs to local workers and growing the economy—the Association of General Contractors estimated that hurricane reconstruction would require an additional 50,000 employees over 3 years.

“Trma and Maria hit us hard,” says Andres Alvarez, the divi- sion’s engineering team leader, “but both territories have bounced back and are ready to receive visitors from all over the world.”

FERDINAND ORTIZ is a financial specialist in FHWA’s Puerto Rico and USS. Vir- gin Islands Division Office. He holds a B.A. in accounting from the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao and an MBA in finance and accounting from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico.

For more information, contact Ferdinand Ortiz at 787-771-2538 ot

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