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The National Academies

NCHRP 20-68A [Active]

US Domestic Scan Program
[ NCHRP 20-68 (US Domestic Scan Program -- Business Plan) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $3,223,839
Funds for Phase 1 only; see also NCHRP Project 20-68A(02). NCHRP funds may be supplemented by other sponsors.
Staff Responsibility: Andrew C. Lemer
Research Agency: Arora and Associates, P. C.
Principal Investigator: Harry A. Capers, Jr.
Effective Date: 12/27/2007
Completion Date: 12/26/2018
Comments: Completion date refers to 2nd phase program, NCHRP Project 20-68A(02). All scans are listed here.

Continuing innovation in the practices of U.S. transportation agencies has brought substantial benefits to the nation. Examples of beneficial innovation range from new materials used in pavements and structures, to new ways of collecting and analyzing information about transportation system users and the environment in which the system operates, to new ways of funding the investments needed to improve public safety and efficiency of travel.
 
Beneficial innovation occurs in any field when new ideas are disseminated and widely adopted by practitioners. Experience in many fields illustrates that expanding the extent of information exchange among practitioners and accelerating the rate of the exchange facilitate adoption of innovative practices.
 
Experience also shows that personal contact with new ideas and their application is a particularly valuable means for information exchange.  U.S. engineering professionals have visited their colleagues in other countries and returned with information that they have subsequently communicated to their domestic colleagues and seen applied to improving domestic practice. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and others have been active in technology transfers at the international level with their involvement in such activities as NCHRP Project 20-36 on “Highway Research and Technology---International Information Sharing.”
 
These experiences have shown that the “scan” approach is a productive means for encouraging the spread of information and innovative practices. Many international program participants and observers have noted that new ideas emerge in state and local transportation agencies around the United States, and that faster dissemination of many of these ideas could yield benefits similar to those associated with international information exchange. Domestic scans conducted by various FHWA offices as well as through the NCHRP illustrate the potential value of a domestic scan program.
 
A scan entails four key steps. First, knowledgeable people identify novel practices in their field of interest. Second, these people assess the likelihood that these new ideas might beneficially be applied in other settings. Third, new practices that offer the most promise are investigated further to identify pertinent development and application issues and assess appropriate technology transfer opportunities and methods. Finally, the results are documented for use by those who participated and for others to apply.
 
Effective scans both supplement and make use of other mechanisms for information exchange such as publications in trade and professional journals, conferences, and peer-to-peer forums. A scan program focuses on face-to-face discussion of current experience, providing opportunities for a uniquely rich exchange of information that is difficult or impossible to replicate through written materials, telephone conversations, and e-mail correspondence. The informal discussions among scan participants contribute to the extraction of useful information from the individual participant’s observations. Executing an effective scan program requires sound understanding of the topic areas to be considered, insightful selection of topics and new ideas to be observed, careful selection of participants who can provide useful insights from their observations, and thoughtful documentation and dissemination of each scan’s results. Managing the domestic scan program additionally requires that resources be conserved by not duplicating the information exchange activities of others.
 
As currently conceived, the domestic scan program is broad, considering any innovative practices of high-performing transportation agencies that could be beneficially adopted by other interested agencies. Each scan might entail site visits and peer exchanges, possibly at geographically dispersed locations. The program includes annual cycles of topic selection, scans, and documentation. A Draft Business Plan prepared by consultants for the NCHRP described some of the issues shaping the work in this project, and a Pilot Program that included two scans provided experience that helped to refine these issues. (Refer to http://www.trb.org/TRBNet/ProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=653 )
 
The purpose of each scan and of the program as a whole is to facilitate information sharing and technology exchange among the states and other transportation agencies, and to identify actionable items of common interest.  While scans have been shown to be an effective means for encouraging adoption of innovative practices, the overall program also includes activities to explore alternative methods of identifying emerging new practices and disseminating information about new practices to other practitioners. These latter activities may influence how the scan program is conducted.
 
The objective of NCHRP Project 20-68A is to plan and manage the execution of domestic technology scans, each addressing a single technical topic. The initial 3-year schedule of activities was intended to be the first stage of what NCHRP anticipates will be a continuing domestic scan program. NCHRP staff estimates that funds allocated to the program will typically be adequate to support planning and execution of three to five scans each year. The number of scans conducted each year will depend on the estimated costs of specific scans and the availability of funds from NCHRP and other sponsorship.  The ranges of total cost anticipated  when the program was initiated were $80,000 to $150,000, dependent on how the scan was conducted.  Costs for scans subsequently completed have reflected refinement and experimentation with scan procedures. 
  
AASHTO and NCHRP identify scan topics, based on suggestions submitted by state DOTs and FHWA.  Each scan is planned and conducted with a scan team chair (or co-chairs) and 8 to 10 scan-team members.  A subject-matter expert, working with the scan-team chair and members, is responsible for (a) conducting a desk scan; (b) defining the appropriate duration of the scan, its technical structure, and other factors likely to influence planning of the scan; (c) preparing scan technical materials; and (d) supporting the scan-team's reporting of their experience and findings.  AASHTO and NCHRP identify scan team chars and members.  The management team is responsible for receiving scan-topic descriptions from NCHRP; planning, executing and documenting scans, including securing NCHRP approvals of interim and final products; and preparing an annual report of the domestic scan program’s activities.  The management team works with scan-team chairs to select subject-matter experts.

Scans on the following topics have been completed or are currently being carried out under the domestic scan program. The priority and timing of each scan depends generally on availability of supplemental funding and advice of the management team, as well as the panel's priorities and conditions specific to each topic.  Products of completed scans are available from this web page.
 
07-01 Best Practices in Project Delivery Management considered particularly organizational factors (e.g., degree of centralization or decentralization in agency management) that influence agencies’ abilities to reliably deliver projects on time and within budget.  The final Scan Team Report is available by clicking here. (12 Mb PDF file)
 
07-02 Best Practices in Accelerated Construction Techniques focused on actual construction operations and management practices rather than contractual or other incentives to develop and apply such practices.  The final Scan Team Report is available by clicking here. (19 Mb PDF file)
 
07-03 Best Practices in Winter Maintenance  included operating methods, equipment and materials that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of snow and ice control operations, considering local government as well as state DOT experience.  The final Scan Team Report is available by clicking here. (20 Mb PDF file)
 
07-04 Best Practices in Regional, Multi-Agency Traffic Signal Operations Management will address particularly the interactions of agencies at local, regional, and state levels to ensure effective traffic operations and system maintenance. The final Scan Team Report is available by clicking here. (2 Mb PDF file)
 
07-05 Best Practices in Bridge Management Decision-Making addressed how decisions are being made about routine maintenance and major rehabilitations and reconstructions to minimize traffic disruptions and control agency life-cycle costs. The final Scan Team Report is available by clicking here. (3 Mb PDF file)
 
08-01 Best Practices in Managing STIPs, TIPs, and Metropolitan Transportation Plans (MTPs) in Response to Fiscal Constraints considered how state and metropolitan agencies address institutional and technical issues in identifying and applying fiscal constraints to modify their highways system plans. The final Scan Team Report is available by clicking here. (1.4 Mb PDF file)
 
08-02 Best Practices in Maximizing Traffic Flow on Existing Highway Facilities considered such techniques as applications of ITS technology, uses of shoulders and lane reversals, and pricing, that may be used to alleviate congestion.  The final Scan Team Report is available by clicking here. (2.4 Mb PDF file)
 
08-03 Best Practices in Addressing NPDES and Other Water Quality Issues in Highway System Management considered the perspectives of both environmental protection and transportation agencies in identifying effective practices for ensuring compliance with regulations and achievement of broader objectives.  The final Scan Team Report is available by clicking here. ( 4 Mb PDF file)
 
08-04 Best Practices in Work Zone Assessment, Data Collection and Performance Measurements addressed traffic monitoring and management practices in and around work zones to ensure safety and minimize congestion. The final Scan Team Report is available by clicking here. ( 4 Mb PDF file)
 
09-01 Best Practices in QC/QA of Design Plans examined policies and procedures used to ensure high quality highway and bridge designs.  The final Scan Team Report is available by  clicking here. (6 Mb PDF file)
 
09-02 Best Practices in Project Delivery Responding to Sudden Program Acceleration (cancelled) was proposed to examine how agencies select projects to be accelerated, how they deploy their personnel and other resources in developing these projects, and how they resolve the tensions and conflicts among accelerating activities and between accelerated activities overall and other components of the agency’s normal business.
 
09-03 Best Practices in Solutions for Lane Departure Avoidance and Traffic Calming reviewed innovative traffic-calming and speed-reducing measures deployed on non-freeway highways at or approaching locations and situations where lower speeds are critical to safety. The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 5 Mb PDF file) 
 
09-04 Best Practices In Successful Strategies for Motorcycle Safety examined infrastructure- and behavior-related countermeasures and program strategies that reduce motorcycle fatalities.  The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 4.4 Mb PDF file) 
 
09-05 Best Practices for Roadway Tunnel Design, Construction and Maintenance identified specialized technology and standards (such as NFPA 502 standards and others) used in monitoring or inspecting structural elements and operating equipment to ensure optimal performance and minimize downtime during maintenance or rehabilitation.  The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 3.3 Mb PDF file) 
 
10-01 Best Practices for Risk-Based Forecasts of Land Volatility for Corridor Management and Sustainable Communities identified information and analysis tools agency officials can use to identify corridors subject to risk of development and land-use volatility, assisting officials to take timely action to achieve livable communities and preserve transportation corridors.   The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 3.7 Mb PDF file) 
 
10-02 Best Practices for Addressing Access and Parking Needs of Non-Resident Users of Rail and Intermodal Transportation Stations in Transit-Oriented Developments will identify practices to accommodate growth in demand for access to rail and transit services while preserving the principles and benefits of transit-oriented developments.The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 2.3 Mb PDF file)
 
10-03 Best Practices in Performance Measuring for Highway Maintenance and Preservation identified effective performance measures and measurement and reporting systems supporting strategic decision making by officials responsible for highway maintenance and preservation.  The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 2.6 Mb PDF file) 
 
10-04 Best Practices Supporting Traffic Incident Management (TIM) through Integrated Communication Between Traffic Management Centers and Law Enforcement and Effective Performance-Measurement Data will examine TIM practices in regions that have integrated communication between traffic management centers and law enforcement and implemented effective performance-measurement data collection, with particular regard for adoption of CAD and related technology; and the perspectives of transportation, law enforcement, and other incident-response agencies on these practices.   The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 2.9 Mb PDF file)
 
11-01 Leading Practices Large-Scale Outsourcing and in Privatization of Maintenance Functions  focused on agencies’ experience with outsourcing of significant elements of their maintenance activities, considering contractual arrangements, actual maintenance operations and management practices employed, and consequences for resource utilization and system performance.  The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 2.9 Mb PDF file)
 
11-02 Best Practices Regarding Performance of ABC Connections in Bridges Subjected To Multi-Hazard and Extreme Events  identified domestically-used ABC connection details—Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) practices, used to reduce the time and sometimes costs—that perform well under extreme event loading such as those experienced by bridges subjected to waves and tidal or storm-surges, seismic events, and other large lateral forces. The scan was planned to augment results of the 2004 FHWA/AASHTO/NCHRP International Scan on Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems.  The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 3.2 Mb PDF file)
 
12-01 Advances in State DOT Superload Permit Processes and Practices investigated how states' permitting and bridge offices are responding to ever-increasing Superloads and, in particular, applying AASHTO Load and Resistance Factor Rating (LRFR) provisions for permits.  The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. (5.1 Mb PDF file)   
 
12-02 Advances in Strategies for Implementing Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) examined ICM implementation experience in DOTs, MPOs and other transportation organizations in states such as Florida, New York, Utah, Texas, and Washington, to understand how agencies are working to maximize traffic flow on existing facilities by using all available pavement and applying new technologies and better management techniques to reduce both recurring and non-recurring congestion. The scan will consider, for example, staffing policies and practices, interagency budgeting and cost distribution, investment project planning and funding procedures, incident response procedures, service outsourcing, and performance monitoring and reporting, as well as applications of technologies for monitoring traffic operations and supporting rapid and reliable incident detection and response. The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. (5.7 Mb PDF file) 
 
12-03 Advances in Safety Program Practices in “Zero-Fatalities” States examined practices in jurisdictions that have adopted “zero fatalities” highway safety goals to learn how the goal influences agency management philosophy and public attitudes and the practical consequences of the goal for Strategic Highway Safety Plans development, implementation, and performance monitoring. The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 4 Mb PDF file)
 
Scan 12-04 Advances in Transportation Agency Knowledge Management examined how agencies have begun to formalize their information sharing, coaching, and other knowledge management practices to ensure that their staffs continue to maintain proficiency in providing a high level of service within their jurisdiction. The scan examined such cases to learn what practices are particularly effective, what characteristics of the agency and workforce influence the effectiveness of various knowledge management practices, and useful strategies for selecting and implementing effective practice. The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. (3.7 Mb PDF file) 

Scan 13-01 Leading Management Practices For Developing A Cross-Trained Workforce investigated how agencies are using workforce cross-training as a strategy for enhancing agency efficiency and agility in adapting to changing missions, priorities and budgets; and the conditions under which cross-training strategies are applicable and appropriate. The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. (3 Mb PDF file) 

Scan 13-02 Advances in Civil Integrated Management (CIM) will explore how CIM technologies are being used in transportation projects; the partnering efforts among DOTs, consultants, contractors, and materials suppliers that may accompany CIM utilization; and project characteristics (for example, program size, degree of management centralization, use of outsourcing) that may influence CIM effectiveness. The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. (3.1 Mb PDF file)
 
Scan 13-03 Leading Practices in Use of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) Composites in Transportation Infrastructure will review leading-edge applications in transportation structures and other areas of practice adaptable to transportation, considering agencies' experiences with project development and facility performance.
 
Scan 14-01 Leading Management Practices in Determining Funding Levels for Maintenance and Preservation investigated funding allocation practices within transportation agencies that have successfully ensured reliably adequate funding to support delivery of efficient and effective maintenance programs. The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 3.6 Mb PDF file)

Scan 14-02 Successful Intermodal Corridor Management Practices for Sustainable System Performance will examine practices in DOTs, MPOs and other jurisdictions where corridor management has been taken beyond the concept of integrating technical operational capabilities to optimizing the potential contributions for a variety of modes within corridors. The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 4.5 Mb PDF file)
 
Scan 14-03 Successful Approaches for the Development of an Organization-wide Safety Culture in Transportation Agencies examined organizations that have designed and implemented strategic safety-culture transformation programs to consider experience applicable to enhance highway safety. The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 4 Mb PDF file)

Scan 15-01 Developing and Maintaining Construction Inspection Competence will investigate how transportation agencies are using training and other methods to develop and maintain their construction inspectors’ competence as construction materials and methods and the labor force evolve. 
 
Scan 15-02 Bridge Scour Risk Management will examine successful applications of vulnerability assessment, countermeasures, and monitoring systems to reduce bridge-scour risk. 
 
Scan 15-03 Preservation Practices for Steel Bridge Coatings will investigate leading practices for corrosion mitigation through coating management and recoating and associated management of environmentally hazardous materials. The scan team's final report is available by clicking here. ( 3 Mb PDF file)  
 
Scan 16-01 Leading Practices in the Use of the Highway Safety Manual for Planning, Design and Operations will evaluate the processes, job aids and tools, workforce training, and manner in which agencies have institutionalized the Highway Safety Manual as part of performance based and asset management processes in planning, design and operations.
 
Scan 16-02 Leading Landscape Design Practices for Cost-Effective Roadside Water Management will review recent experience with green infrastructure practices for roadside water management to identify planning and design criteria, management practices, and exemplary applications that may be broadly useful in transportation agencies nationwide.
 
Scan 17-01 Successful Approaches for the Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems by Surface Transportation Agencies will examine how agencies and their contractors are using UAS to facilitate for inspection, inventory, survey, and other operations and dealing with regulatory and other impediments to UAS deployment.
 
Scan 17-02 Successful Approaches to Accommodate Additional Modes and Services in Existing Right Of Way will explore how agencies are accommodating transit, high occupancy vehicles, bikes, freight or enhanced pedestrian access within existing highway rights of way.
 
Scan 17-03 Experiences in the Performance of Bridge Bearings And Expansion Joints Used For Highway Bridges will investigate leading practices for monitoring, inspection, testing, and remediation of bearings and expansion joints and implications of damage and repair experience for design.
 

  
STATUS:  (April 2017)  A prospectus describing the Domestic Scan program as a whole, the scope of programmed scans, and the recent status of each scan may be viewed by clicking here.  A second phase of the program was initiated in 2012; scan topics in the 12-00 series and higher are conducted under this second phase.  The 2nd-phase program-administration contract was awarded as NCHRP Project 20-68A(02).  However, all information on scan topics and progress is maintained on this web page.
 
New scan topics may be proposed at any time by state DOT and FHWA staff.  AASHTO administers the proposal process, typically issuing a call for proposal in late summer; that organization's web site explaining the process and providing links for proposing topics is available at this location: http://web.transportation.org/nchrp/20-68A/. Topic proposals must be received no later than mid-November of each year to be considered at the NCHRP project panel's primary topic-selection meeting in mid-December.   A web site has been established for use by scan teams and to present information on scans in progress, at domesticscan.org.   

The program includes research to understand to factors influencing scan effectiveness and to identify ways to enhance effectiveness. Initial activities in this research were administered as NCHRP Project 20-68B and Project 20-68C. Reports from these earlier research efforts are available for review through these links: CTC & Associates, LLC (Patrick Casey, PI); Lori Rosenkopf, Ph. D.  This research now continues as a part of the overall program.

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