Don't miss this opportunity to learn about the latest innovations in transportation. The Innovation webinar series covers a range of topics related to technology and other innovations, including cross-agency collaborations and partnerships.
INNOVATION SERIES WEBINARS - 2024
Using Traffic Signals to Reduce Speeding Opportunities
March 14, 2024 • 2:00pm • Register here
A new concept in speed management for arterial roads is the Safe Waves approach to traffic signal timing, which aims to minimize the number of speeding opportunities while still providing good progression. A speeding opportunity is a vehicle arriving at a signalized intersection on a stale green and with no vehicle ahead of it for 5 seconds. With conventional coordinated signal timing, a large proportion of arriving vehicles can be speeding opportunities. Safe Waves techniques include short coordination zones with short cycles, avoiding large clusters of intersections with simultaneous green offsets, and pedestrian recall. A field test on Route 114 in Danvers, MA found that with Safe Waves signal timing, the number of speeding vehicles fell by 75% as the number of speeding opportunities fell by 46%; meanwhile, arterial traffic delay increased by only 3 seconds per intersection. A simulation test on Route 16 in Everett and Chelsea, MA found that speeding opportunities fell by 55% while average delay rose by 3 seconds per intersection. A new app, the Safe Waves Analysis Tool (SWAT) enables designers to visualize and quantify the speeding opportunities that arise from an existing or proposed signal timing plan.
Panelists: Peter Furth, Northeastern University, James Danila, MassDOT
Construction and Materials Best Practices for Concrete Sidewalks: Long-Term Performance, and Hot-Weather and Cold-Weather Placement Effects
February 15, 2024 • Link to presentation slides • Link to webinar recording
Link to Final Report from Phase I of the research study, focused on Cold-Weather Placement Effects
Link to Final Report from Phase II of the research study, focused on Hot-Weather Placement Effects
This webinar summarized a recent research study investigating construction practices and materials to promote durable concrete sidewalks that can resist scaling damage in cold-weather and hot-weather conditions. This research combined field studies and laboratory testing to identify factors that affect the performance and durability of sidewalks. The variables considered for the study were concrete mix design, placement and finishing practices, curing methods, and deicer application. The results of this study indicate that mixture design formulation, curing method, de-icing method, and temperature based concreting practices impact the performance of scaling in concrete sidewalks. Recommendations incorporating these variables are presented in this webinar and the final report with accompanying testing standards and procedures.
Panelists: Dr. Kara Peterman & Dr. Sergio Breña, UMass Amherst; and Richard Mulcahy, MassDOT
INNOVATION SERIES WEBINARS - 2023
Use of UAS For Surface Transportation Emergency Response
This research project examined the potential of developing a network of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for highway incident response in Massachusetts. The project first conducted a thorough analysis of incidents from 2013 to 2019 and the impacts of COVID-19. Based on that, the project identified fire, environment/hazmat, and roadway/traffic incidents which could benefit most from a UAS network. The project then reviewed the typical types of UAS for a UAS network, with a focus on “drone-in-a-box.” Thereafter, the project identified three incident scenarios most likely to benefit from a UAS network and evaluated the effectiveness of typical UAS types and conducted tabletop simulation of pilot flights was to assess how a drone could help if available. Three state agencies were interviewed on their UAS usage and gave their feedback on future UAS development. Finally, the project provided recommendations for MassDOT on developing UAS for incident response.
Panelists: Dr. Danjue Chen, Associate Professor, NC State, and Christopher Bailey, Chief of Advanced Aviation Programs, MassDOT
Massachusetts Depth to Bedrock Project
October 17, 2023 • Link to webinar recording
This webinar discussed a recent research study, the Massachusetts Depth to Bedrock Project. Depth to bedrock is perhaps one of the most important surfaces that is fundamental to many practical engineering and geological problems. Yet it is not well understood everywhere. Knowing the depth to bedrock for transportation projects not only influences cost but may also affect selection of the appropriate foundation system for a particular structure. Accordingly, there is some level of uncertainty in planning subsurface investigations for any transportation project when depth to bedrock information is lacking. This project was an attempt to reduce the uncertainty in highway project planning by providing interpolated statewide data layers of the depth to bedrock and bedrock altitude at 100-meter resolution based on currently available subsurface data. In addition, maps depicting the level of confidence in the estimate of the bedrock altitude and depth were developed.
Panelists: Dr. Stephen Mabee, Dept of Earth, Geographic and Climate Sciences, UMass Amherst; Jennifer Rauch, Assistant State Geotechnical Engineer, MassDOT
Measuring Food Access to Improve Public Health
September 28, 2023 • Link to webinar recording • Link to presentation slides
Link to Final Report from the research study
Food access is important due to its impact on public health outcomes. This webinar will discuss a recent MassDOT study on measuring food access to improve public health. The study used a metric for food access which was based on the square footage of supermarkets that can be reached within 10 minutes travel time walking, biking, or driving, and within 30 minutes travel time by walk/transit. An equity analysis using Lorenz curves showed that food access is most equitable by driving, and there are significant inequities for people that do not have access to a car. A regression analysis using the gradient boosted model, a machine learning method, found gaps in food access for each transportation mode while controlling for community characteristics. The residuals of the model revealed which communities have the lowest food access relative to other similar communities within the state, and found food access gaps in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Finally, focus groups with representatives of community organizations revealed the complex ways that transportation and socioeconomic factors interact to affect food accessibility. This research provides a quantitative method to identify gaps in food access and insights for where policy interventions would be valuable for improving food access.
Panelists: Dr. Eleni Christofa & Dr. Eric Gonzales, UMass Amherst; Derek Krevat, MassDOT
Using Mycofiltration Treatment for Stormwater Management
June 15, 2023 • Link to webinar recording
Post-Fire Damage Inspection of Concrete Structures
May 18, 2023 • Link to webinar recording
Link to Final Report from Phase I of the research study
Link to the Research Summary from Phase II of the study
Panelists: Dr. Simos Gerasimidis, Associate Professor, UMass Amherst; James Viglas, UMass Amherst; John Czach - Director of Tunnels, MassDOT
Effectiveness of Bike Boxes in Massachusetts
April 27, 2023 • Link to webinar recording
Link to the Final Report from the research study
This informative webinar delved into the world of bike boxes and their effectiveness in Massachusetts. Bike boxes provide a designated space for bicyclists at the front of traffic queues, improving visibility and predictability for both motorists and cyclists. However, despite the widespread implementation of bike boxes over the past decade, the impact of their design on motorist and bicyclist behavior remains unclear. In this webinar, the presenters shared the results of a comprehensive study that investigated motorist and bicyclist behaviors as well as the effects of bike box design in Massachusetts. The study included an inventory of 91 bike boxes with varying design characteristics, an analysis of historic crashes, and field studies at 11 bike box locations in Boston and Somerville. The webinar discussed the key findings from this study, including the majority of crashes being attributed to noncompliance with control devices, lower motorist compliance rates, and inconclusive results regarding the impact of design features on user behavior. Additionally, the presenters examined the need for further research to understand user behavior at bike boxes, relate behavior to safety outcomes, and develop outreach and education efforts to support bike box effectiveness.
Panelists: Dr. Eleni Christofa - Associate Professor, UMass Amherst; and Violet Wilkins - Transit Coordinator, MassDOT Highway Design
Uncovering the Root Causes of Truck Rollover Crashes on Highway Ramps
Thursday, March 23, 2023 • Link to webinar recording Link to presentation
Link to Final Report from the research study
Highway ramps are hotspots of truck rollover crashes. Such crashes often block the entire ramp and cause severe congestion. Understanding the major causes of ramp truck rollovers is critical for developing effective countermeasures. This webinar highlighted research which utilized drones to collect ramp traffic videos at seven high-risk ramps and developed a model for vehicle detection and several other algorithms for tracking vehicles, extracting vehicle trajectories, and identifying high-risk events such as unsafe and last-minute lane changes. A thorough review of literature and best practices on reducing ramp truck rollovers was conducted and crash narratives of all ramp truck rollovers between January 2015 and February 2022 in Massachusetts were reviewed. The locations and types of traffic signs, slopes, and curve radii of seven identified highway ramps were also obtained and carefully investigated together with the trajectory analysis results. It was found that over 95% of ramp truck rollovers are single-vehicle crashes and speeding is the predominant cause. Based on the analysis, some practical and specific safety improvement recommendations are provided. During the webinar, the presenters provided an overview of the study and discuss some of the preliminary findings, followed by Q&A as time allows.
Panelists: Dr. Yuanchang Xie, Professor, UMass Lowell; and Bonnie Polin, State Safety Engineer, MassDOT
Understanding Asset Management Systems Utilized by Municipalities in Massachusetts
February 16, 2023 Link to webinar recording
Link to Final Report from the research study
This Innovation Series webinar discussed the findings of a recent study on the current state of pavement management systems (PMS) in Massachusetts. This study's comprehensive literature review and internet-based survey of local and regional agencies have provided valuable insights into the various PMS software programs currently being used in the state. The webinar explored the potential of using a unified PMS software for Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Regional Planning Agencies (RPAs) in Massachusetts, and discussed the obstacles identified in achieving MassDOT’s goal of having an overall idea of the pavement condition for both state and local roads in the state.
Panelists: Dr. Walaa Mogawer, Professor, UMass Dartmouth; and Derek Krevat, Manager of MPO Activities, MassDOT
A Pavement Marking Inventory and Retroreflectivity Condition Assessment Method Using Mobile LiDAR
February 2, 2023. Link to webinar recording Link to presentation
Link to Final Report from the research study
Pavement markings are a vital transportation asset and traffic control device that facilitates safe and predictable driver behaviors. Pavement markings’ effectiveness depends on their condition, particularly during nighttime and adverse weather. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has recently released Revision 3 of 2009 Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which includes new provisions for maintaining minimum levels of retroreflectivity for pavement marking. Regulatory compliance poses a challenge, as conventional visual inspection methods are labor-intensive, and the results can be subjective. There is a pressing need for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to develop and implement an effective, efficient inventory and reliable retroreflectivity condition assessment method for pavement marking. MassDOT has been actively pursuing new and more durable marking materials with reliable nighttime visibility. It has recently completed a research study achieving two goals: 1) to utilize emerging mobile light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data and develop an automated method for the localization, classification, and retroreflectivity condition assessment for pavement markings and 2) to investigate the feasibility of identifying deterioration trend of retroreflectivity conditions. The outcomes of this study have demonstrated the developed automated, LiDAR-based methods were able to accurately and efficiently inventory pavement marking and accurately and repeatably assess the corresponding retroreflectivity condition, and surface material completeness. This webinar will present the technical details of the research study and discuss future research and implementation plans for innovative pavement marking management.
Panelists: Dr. Chengbo Ai, Assistant Professor, UMass Amherst; and Neil Boudreau, Assistant Administrator of Traffic and Safety, MassDOT
INNOVATION SERIES WEBINARS - 2022
Impact of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) on Road Safety and Implications for Education, Licensing, Registration, and Enforcement
Learn about the research that was undertaken to investigate the impact of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). ADAS are rapidly being developed and deployed, with an increasing number of new passenger vehicles equipped with advanced ADAS. These systems promise to improve safety by assisting drivers. However, there exists a critical gap in our understanding of the potential impacts associated with driver over-reliance and disengagement in vehicles equipped with ADAS.
This research involved the development and evaluation of approaches to improve drivers’ understanding of ADAS functionalities and the role and responsibilities of the driver. This included an experimental driving simulator study to examine the impact of training on drivers’ mental models. The outcome of this research includes an understanding of manufacturer offerings of common ADAS technologies in late-model vehicles, an examination of drivers’ understanding and perceptions of ADAS technologies, and evidence that targeted training may increase drivers’ understanding of these systems.
Panelists: Dr. Anuj Pradhan, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Sara Lavoie, Deputy Chief of Staff of Strategic Projects & Initiatives, MassDOT
Detecting Subsurface Voids in Roadways using UAS with Infrared Thermal Imaging
This webinar presented new research which validated an innovative method to detect roadway subsurface voids based on infrared (IR) imaging combined with unmanned aerial system surveying. The ability to detect voids before pavement collapse occurs is crucial for maintenance and replacement purposes. The failure of culverts and drainage piping underneath roadways creates sinkholes that represent a safety hazard to the traveling public and result in costly repairs and traffic inconveniences. Routine inspections of culverts are hard to perform and require expensive and time-consuming techniques such as drain cameras or ground penetrating radar. As part of this validation, laboratory and field tests were necessary to develop mission critical information that marked IR imaging’s current performance and solved issues that characterized this technique. Advanced image post-processing techniques were also developed to improve the detection accuracy of IR imaging, showing that thermal photogrammetry can detect roadway subsurface voids that are representative of failing culverts and drainage pipes. This research developed a more accurate nondestructive evaluation approach for assessing the conditions of real-world underground structures that are crucial for their inspection, maintenance, and management.
Panelists: Dr. Alessandro Sabato, Assistant Professor, UMass Lowell; Dr. TzuYang Yu, Professor, UMass Lowell; and Jason Benoit, Special Project Engineer, MassDOT Highway Division District 3
Evaluating the Safety Impacts of Flashing Yellow Permissive Left-Turn Indications in Massachusetts
The 2009 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) introduced the flashing yellow arrow (FYA) as a permissive left-turn indication. In the past decade, Massachusetts has begun implementing this traffic control device through a statewide retrofitting project at over 350 traditional protected-permissive left-turn traffic signals. This webinar presented a before/after implementation safety impact analysis, including a thorough benefit-to-cost analysis. The analysis evaluated the economic benefits of installing FYA signals, yielding a range of benefit-to-cost ratios across the three typical FYA treatment intersections (3-way with one FYA, 4-way with one FYA, and 4-way with two-or-more FYAs). The economic benefits suggest that the FYA signal retrofits should be widely implemented, regardless of intersection type. Overall, results provided overwhelming evidence that the FYA reduced the average annual number of injury-related crashes and led to a lower economic cost of injuries in all three of the treatment types of intersections investigated. This webinar also highlighted ongoing work investigating the impact of specific infrastructure elements at FYA intersections.
Panelists: Francis Tainter, Research Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Jim Danila, Assistant State Traffic Engineer, MassDOT
Tools for Crash Data Analyses and Developing the Massachusetts Strategic Highway Safety Plan
This Innovation webinar session gave an overview of the ongoing work of developing the Massachusetts Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). A Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) is a statewide-coordinated safety plan that provides a comprehensive framework for reducing highway fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. The SHSP identifies a State's key safety needs and guides investment decisions towards the strategies and countermeasures possessing the greatest potential to save lives and prevent injuries. For Massachusetts Strategic Highway Safety Plan, 14 emphasis areas have been identified, such as Lane Departure, Intersections, Pedestrian, Bicyclists, Speeding and Aggressive Driving and Safety of Workers on Roadways. Subject matter experts from across the state have been convening to develop action plans to reduce fatalities and serious injuries in these 14 emphasis areas. In addition to discussing the SHSP, this webinar also provided a live demo of the IMPACT data tool developed by MassDOT. This tool, which is being used heavily in the SHSP data analysis, is a great one-stop resource for accessing and analyzing all motor vehicle crashes in the Commonwealth.
Panelist: Bonnie Polin, State Safety Engineer, MassDOT
INNOVATION SERIES WEBINARS - Fall 2021
Developing Improved Load Rating Procedures for Deteriorated Steel Bridge Beam Ends
November 19, 2021. Link to webinar recording
This Innovation webinar session discussed a study which provide improved evaluation procedures for structurally deficient bridges where corrosion is the common cause for steel bridge deterioration. The research methodology was organized in three phases that each employed real corrosion data. This work included an experimental program, extensive computational simulations, and parametric analyses and analytical work to develop a new proposed set of equations for the assessment of the remaining capacity of corroded beam ends. The experimental program was conducted in the Brack Lab at UMass Amherst.
Panelists: Alex Bardow, PE, State Bridge Engineer; and Matthew J Weidele, PE, MassDOT, Bridge Load Rating and Overload Engineer.
From UMass Amherst: George Tzortzinis, Researcher; Simos Gerasimidis, Assistant Professor; and Sergio Brena, Professor.
INNOVATION SERIES WEBINARS - Fall 2020
Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) for Wetlands & Storm Control Monitoring
This session included presentations on two pilot studies that were conducted by the MassDOT Highway Division in collaboration with the MassDOT Aeronautics Division, on the use of sUAS for environmental monitoring. The first study investigated the use of sUAS with multi-spectral sensors to assist with wetland construction compliance and long-term monitoring. The second study evaluated the effectiveness of using sUAS for inspecting Stormwater Control Measures (SCMs). The presentations discussed the type of data collected in these studies, the data collection processes and protocols, and the integration of these data with information from other sources for documenting current conditions and changes over time. The session will also cover the benefits and strengths of these new technologies, as well as potential challenges.
Panelists: Dr. Scott Uebelhart & Robin Grace, MassDOT Aeronautics Division, Drone Program; Melissa Riley, MassDOT Highway Division, Environmental Compliance; Henry Barbaro, MassDOT Highway Division, Stormwater Management; & Matt Lundsted, Comprehensive Environmental Inc.
Capital Improvement Initiative - Cross-Functional Collaboration for Project Delivery
This webinar discussed the steps MassDOT has taken to streamline project delivery from Procurement to Contractor Notice to Proceed (NTP), with the creation of four workstreams in partnership with MassDOT shared services divisions. The presentations and discussion focused on the Agile process, workstream operational structure, findings and accomplishments to date.
Panelists: from MassDOT: Patricia Leavenworth, Chief Engineer; Joseph Foti, Deputy Administrator & Chief of Operations; Michael McGrath, Assistant Administrator of Construction Engineering; Bryan Pounds, Manager, MPO Activities; Esther Nganga, Data Analytics and Process Improvement Analyst – OPMI; Meghan Haggerty, Highway Chief of Staff; & Tracy Osimboni, Highway Process Improvement Engineer
Universities Exploring Community Transportation
This session highlighted three recent collaborative efforts between academia and transportation that focus on how access to transportation affects the health and quality of life of older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income individuals.
Panelists: Aniko Laszlo, MBTA; Dr. Nina Silverstein, UMass Boston; Cheryl Kiser, Babson College; Dr. Sarah McAdoo & Nathan Taber, UMass Medical School
MassDOT's New Design Criteria & Design Justification Process
This session will review the new Engineering Directive E-20-001 - Controlling Criteria and Design Justification Process – released in January 2020 that applies to all projects led and reviewed by MassDOT. Criteria for Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities expand on MassDOT’s previous guidance to help build a network of high quality, high comfort facilities for users of all ages and abilities.
Panelists: from MassDOT: Jackie deWolfe, Office of the Secretary; Andy Paul & Andrew Wilkins, Highway Division
New Tools to Characterize Geotechnical Site Conditions
This session discussed the FHWA’s Every Day Counts (EDC)-5 effort known as the “A-GaME”, which is establishing a new standard for enhanced site characterization. Site characterization plans are required for all MassDOT construction projects, regardless of design status, project type, or project scope. Effective site characterization is critical for recognizing potential problems that may affect design and construction and for ensuring safe, well-performing and cost effective projects.
Panelists: Jennifer Rauch & Pete Connors, MassDOT Highway Division; Mary Nodine, GEI Consultants
Standards & Design for Stream Crossings & Geomorphic Compatibility
This session focused on the latest technical developments in the MassDOT Highway Division's approach to stream crossings and resilient design using the principles of fluvial geomorphology. It also shared experiences that are expected to guide future innovations for providing resilient, cost-effective, habitat-friendly stream crossings in Massachusetts.
Panelists: Tim Dexter & John Pierce, MassDOT Highway Division; Roy Schiff, Milone & MacBroom; Matthew Lundsted, Comprehensive Environmental Inc.
Managing, Analyzing, & Tracking Materials through LIMMS
The Laboratory Information Materials Management System (LIMMS) is a highly efficient software ecosystem, which uses a system of computers, electronic identification tags, and cloud servers to track, manage, analyze materials. LIMMS allows MassDOT to perform data analysis on its construction materials like never before, for the purpose of discovering and modeling useful test data, making informed conclusions, and supporting decision-making. The presentation provided an overview of the LIMMS project timeline from conception to implementation. Global and project functionality were also reviewed including how materials inspection, sampling, and testing is performed in the system. Finally, the LIMMS data analytics capabilities were also discussed.
Panelists: Richard Mulcahy, Megi Martini, & Alana Geary from the MassDOT Research & Materials Laboratory
MassDOT, MassWildlife, & MassDER: Partnering for Resilient Infrastructure & Ecosystems
This session highlighted MassDOT's partnerships with the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (MassWildlife) and the Division of Ecological Restroration (DER) and showcased recent innovative examples of how disparate agencies can work together towards common goals and the furthering of each other's missions.
Panelists: Tim Dexter, MassDOT Highway Division; David Paulson, MA Dept of Fish & Game, Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (MassWildlife); Carrie Banks, MA Dept of Fish & Game; Division of Ecological Restoration (DER)