Beyond Traffic Innovation Center (BTIC)

SPONSOR:  US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (USDOT)

PI:  Pasi Lautala

The close partnerships between diverse entities on MTU’s campus allow Michigan Tech to serve the transportation field across many areas. Innovations and research conducted under entities such as the Michigan Tech Research Institute, Advanced Power Systems Research Center, and numerous laboratories can be integrated into our academic programs by departments, but also disseminated to practitioners and public stakeholders through our Center for Technology and Training (CTT), Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) and Center for Science and Environmental Outreach (CSEO).

Michigan Tech has a strong and versatile academic program in transportation. Our Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers BS, MS, and PhD concentrations in transportation. In addition, we house one of the few Rail Transportation Programs in the nation and perhaps the only Minor in Rail Transportation available today. There also are certificate programs in Hybrid Electric Drive Vehicle Engineering, Advanced Electric Power Engineering and a graduate certificate in Automotive Systems, plus numerous opportunities for undergraduate and graduate level transportation research in various disciplines. These include our innovative Enterprise Programs for undergraduate research in areas, such as alternative energy, hybrid electric vehicles and wireless communications.

In addition to our academic programs, we offer professional training and outreach in transportation topics through a variety of centers. CTT is a transportation training and outreach center focusing on practitioner training, technical assistance, and best practices that enhance business and technical practices for state and local agencies. Their training typically reaches 5,000 participants annually with over 24,000 contact hours. TTAP offers similar services to American Indian governments and communities in the 31 states bordering and east of the Mississippi River (Federal Lands Eastern Region), reaching 1,100 annual participants and 4,200 contact hours. Finally, the Michigan Tech Mobile Lab is a fully outfitted mobile laboratory that partners with government, industry, and nonprofit organizations to deliver HEV (hybrid-electric vehicle) education, outreach, and research across the nation.

Michigan Tech has been instrumental in organizing regional and national conferences and workshops, such as the annual Michigan Rail Conference founded by Michigan Tech in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the National Tribal Transportation Conference. Michigan Tech also collaborated in a workshop funded by FHWA with participants from state DOTs like Caltrans, city government, European representatives, and industry to “Address Infrastructure Life Cycle Inventory Data Needs: Supporting Sustainable Decision-Making for Civil Infrastructure Using EPDs.” Dr. John Harvey from the University of California Pavement Research Consortium (UCPRC) was a close collaborator on the effort. In 2016, we also initiated the Exploring Next Generation IN-vehicle INterfaces Consortium (ENGIN) and related speaker series.

Michigan Tech educates and encourages K-12 students to advance in the transportation field through several youth events and summer programs. These include the National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI), Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth Program (SYP), Women in Automotive Engineering, and Human Factors Engineering programs. We also host the annual Clean Snowmobile Challenge at Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center.

Michigan Tech is engaged in national and regional decision making through participation in and leadership of committees. Some examples include the Chairmanship of the TRB AR040 Freight Rail Committee and involvement in AASHTO Subcommittee on Materials and FHWA Sustainable Pavements Technical Working Group. Michigan Tech is also represented in the seven-member State of Michigan Commission for Supply Chain and Logistics Collaboration, and our faculty/staff has obtained national and regional awards, such as the Wootan Award received by Timothy Colling and the 2015 WisDOT Tribal Excellence Award from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation received by John Velat.

While not located in one of the 11 megaregions identified in the Beyond Traffic 2045, our location in rural Michigan makes us ideal in addressing trends and challenges faced by rural transportation, and we have worked closely with Michigan Department of Transportation and local governments in these issues. However, Michigan Tech’s leadership is not restricted to rural aspects. Many of our activities have broader impacts, such as the RoadSoft asset management software developed at Michigan Tech and used in the Michigan and several others states by rural and urban counties alike.

Michigan Tech is directly involved in addressing several trends/challenges identified in the Beyond Traffic document. We have conducted numerous studies related to the challenges faced in freight transportation in our region, conducted Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA) to evaluate environmental impacts of different transportation materials and related solutions, are actively involved in emissions research for various engines, are one of the leaders in advancing open source 3D printing, have on-going projects related to V2V and automated vehicle research, and have had various projects related to alternative energies for transportation, especially in the biomass supply chains for biofuel development. Michigan Tech researchers and educators accomplish this innovative work through collaborative thinking and working across departments and disciplines, which allows us to tackle large-scale projects that require a diverse skill set.

 

Pasi Lautala
Pasi Lautala

MIRE Upgrades in Roadsoft

SPONSOR:  MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (MDOT)

PI:  Tim Colling

The Model Inventory Roadway Elements (MIRE) Fundamental Data Elements (FDE) are federally required by the MAP-21/FAST-Act transportation legislation and will aid in crash analysis.  Currently, Michigan does not have a method for collection all MIRE FDEs from the over 600 local transportation agencies and then making data available for local use.

The Center for Technology & Training at Michigan Tech has assisted MDOT since the 1980s and has developed and supported the Roadsoft Asset Management system for local agencies to manage their road and bridge assets efficiently.

While many of the data elements necessary to meet MIRE FDE requirements are present in Roadsoft, the software does not collect and store all MIRE or MIRE FDE elements in a format that meets national reporting requirements.  The proposed work will generate a number of pre-generated reporting tools necessary for reviewing and finalizing the collection and delivery of data.

Tasks included in this project are:

  1. Add new and modified fields MIRE Road Segment Fields of; direction of inventory, access control, median type and one/two way operations to the Road Module and Laptop Data Collector.  This task will also modify the following; type of government ownership and surface type.
  2. Addition of new MIRE intersection field Approach Identifier and modify existing fields; new traffic control field and intersection geometry.
  3. Create a roadway intersection export/report of the following fields for paved federal-aid roads owned by local agencies including; segment identifier, route number, route/street name, federal aid/route type and rural/urban designation.
Tim Colling
Tim Colling
Gary Schlaff
Gary Schlaff
Nick Koszykowski
Nick Koszykowski

 

Michigan Local Bridge Load Rating Support & Technology Transfer

SPONSOR:  MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (MDOT)

Photo: State of Michigan

PI:  Tim Colling

This project provides Michigan local agencies and the consultants that serve them with the support and training necessary to ensure that they can be successful in meeting the new bridge load rating and requirements.  Through this program, MDOT plans to maximize the chance of success for local agencies meeting the load rating requirements by providing support in three areas; training, software technical support and engineering technical assistance.

The desired result of the work plan is successful completion of load rating for Tier 1, 2 and 3 local agency owned bridges within their designated time limits as agreed upon by MDOT and FHWA.

The work plan consists of six major tasks:

  1. Bridge load rating training development and delivery
  2. Software technical support
  3. Engineering technical assistance
  4. Research/development assistance
  5. Internal staff training
  6. Project management, reporting and project meetings

 

Tim Colling
Tim Colling
Chris Gilbertson
Chris Gilbertson

Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP)

Sponsor:  Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

PI:  Tim Colling

Project Period: 10.01.17-09.30.18

The Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) serves as the Technology Transfer (T2) effort of the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Professional Development. The LTAP network consists of 57 T2 Centers and serves state, county and local highway and transportation personnel.

The LTAP mission is to bridge the gap between research and practice by conducting training sessions and demonstrations and by serving as a clearinghouse for information related to state-of-the-art technology in the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges.

LTAP is funded by FHWA, with matching funds from State governments, universities, state highway agencies and other organizations.

http://michiganltap.org/

Tim Colling
Tim Colling

Tuning Transatlantic Cooperation in Railway Higher Education

Sponsor:  Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)

PI:  Pasi Lautala

TUNRail was a policy-oriented research grant to “tune” and intensify the railway higher education knowledge exchange and collaboration between the European Union and the United States. The project used comparisons and benchmarking analyses to define the extent, contents, structure, and objectives of current programs, and to identify how well they address the key aspects of modern railway systems. In addition to Michigan Tech, the participating institutions included the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Portugal and Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany in the European Union. All funding for this two-year federal grant came from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) in the U.S. Department of Education.

Pasi Lautala
Pasi Lautala
William J. Sproule
William J. Sproule

Transportation Asset Management Council Education Program Work Plan

Sponsor:  Michigan Department of Transportation

PI:  Tim Colling

Michigan Technological University has assisted the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council (TMAC) by delivering its education program and providing technical services since its inception in 2004.  One of the prime challenges of effectively working with the over 600 local agencies in Michigan is keeping accurate contact information.  The Michigan Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) center maintains a state of the art contact and event management database that make advertising and participation registration for local agency training events a simple, cost effective process.

As it has since its inception, the TAMC training program will be a co-sponsored training event with the Michigan LTAP.

Work tasks include:

  • Conduct two, one day Michigan Transportation Asset Management Workshops
  • Conduct five Introduction to Transportation Asset Management for Elected Officials Training Workshops
  • Assist Coordinating the Michigan Transportation Asset Management one day conference
  • Conduct TAMC PASER Training
  • Conduct three Michigan Transportation Asset Management Bridge Asset Management Workshops
  • Project Management and Reporting
Tim Colling
Tim Colling
Chris Gilbertson
Chris Gilbertson
Pete Torola
Pete Torola

Update and Modernization of the TRAC Program

Sponsor:  Michigan Department of Transportation

PI:  Chris Gilbertson

TRAC™ (Transportation and Civil Engineering) is a hands-on, educational outreach program of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO).  TRAC is a free program that provides teachers with curriculum enhancing, hands-on tools designed for integration into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

The original TRAC modules were last revised in 2002 and with updated classroom technologies, upgrades to the eight modules are a necessity.  The Center for Technology & Training recently completed a pilot program to reorganize and edit the Bridge Builder manual in close collaboration with the MDOT project manager.  This pilot provides a template for establishing an appropriate design and layout for updating the remaining TRAC modules.

The work plan for this project includes:

  • Reorganize and edit remaining TRAC modules using the Bridge Builder manual as a template (Highway Development and the Environment, Highway Safety, Magnetic Levitation, Motion and the Transportation Engineer, Roadway Design & Construction, and Traffic Technology)
  • Technology updates to the TRAC PAC 2 modules
  • Provide on-going technical support
Chris Gilbertson
Chris Gilbertson

 

Tools, Training & Technical Assistance for Local Rural and Tribal Roads Practitioners

Sponsor:  Cambridge Systematics, Inc.

PI:  Tim Colling

 

The Center for Technology & Training (CTT), sub consultant to Cambridge Systematics on a project to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), will provide assistance to the project by:

  • Attendance at kickoff meeting with FHWA
  • Assistance in producing a refined toolkit outline which includes a literature review to collect appropriate resources
  • Identification of potential Technical Oversight Working Group (TOWG) and participation in first TOWG meeting
  • Preparation of full text for toolkit with user’s guide including graphics and editing
  • Development of marketing plan
  • Deliverance of webinars
Tim Colling
Tim Colling