CTDOT Research Bulletin Fall/Winter 2016-2017

The Bureau of Policy and Planning’s Research Section looks forward to working with the different offices to achieve the Department's goals of encouraging transportation research on all levels through a positive problem-solving approach.

New Research Webpage

CTDOT Research moved to the Bureau of Policy and Planning just over a year ago and has undergone inviting changes. Noteworthy is the continuously updated Research Webpage that now contains the latest news, highlights, and updates in the What’s New section. The Active Research Projects section of the webpage lists the current projects on the Transportation Research Board’s Research-in-Progress and Transportation Pooled Fund websites pre-filtered for CTDOT. The Completed Research Projects section lists all the Reports for completed research studies. Most importantly, you can easily access the necessary forms and documents listed under Information and Documents. You can develop a research proposal using the updated Research Proposal Development Guide, review the CTDOT Qualified Product List (QPL) or submit your research ideas using the Research Project Suggestion Form! In addition, you can easily access the websites for any of our research affiliations. Check out the new Research Webpage!

Resource Room

Take advantage of the AASHTO TC3 trainings made available by the Research Section!

TC3 on-line training courses are available in the categories of construction, materials, maintenance, traffic and safety, pavement preservation and employee development. CTDOT personnel can access the training 24/7, start and stop sessions to fit their schedules, as well as print personalized certificates. The registration process is easy to follow.

New projects
  1. Impacts of CTfastrak on Real Estate and Urban Economic Development: Phase 1. “Phase 1” of this research project will develop an extensive geocoded, longitudinal database on property values near CTfastrak stations, which will allow for and assist with the analysis of the real estate impacts in “Phase 2” study that will be initiated few years later.
  2. Sustainability Strategies to Minimize the Carbon Footprint for Connecticut Bus Operations. This research study will identify strategies to minimize the carbon footprint for CTDOT-contracted bus operations in Connecticut. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, CTDOT has the opportunity to align its public transit services and future investment decisions with emerging customer preferences, as well as achieve broader goals related to the State’s climate change initiatives.
  3. Development of a Simplified Design Method and Reinforcement Detail for the Acute Corner of Skewed Bridge Decks. The skewed bridges have several advantages but the structural design and construction of the acute corners of skewed concrete slabs present several challenges due to the congested reinforcement details. This research study will enable the development of an optimized design method to reduce the cost and time of construction, while also increasing the safety of the design and longevity of the bridge deck.
  4. Development of a Specification for Porous Asphalt Pavements. Porous asphalt pavements have been used as a means to reduce or eliminate storm water runoff. The objective of this study is the development of a production and placement specification for porous asphalt pavement, including the stone reservoir, as well as providing design guidelines regarding what conditions are appropriate for this type of pavement for CTDOT and other agencies such as municipalities, to use this material.
  5. Enhancing Connecticut's Crash Data Collection for Serious Injury and Fatal Motor Vehicle Collision. This research study will augment the capability of the Connecticut Law Enforcement community to access data from Event Data Recorders (EDRs) for fatal motor vehicle collisions or serious injury cases and enhance the State of Connecticut’s crash data collection program and Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data quality and accuracy.
  6. Development of a Pavement Design Handbook and an Interactive Pavement Preservation Guide for the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Connecticut DOT’S continuing decline in workforce has created a need to have a single document that clearly defines expectations for designers. The objectives of this study are to: 1) Develop a pavement design handbook that combines relevant standards and CTDOT best practices into a single source that can be referenced in bid specifications and contracts; and, 2) Develop an interactive Pavement Preservation Guide as a cell phone app or a computer program.
Student perspective
Kevin McMullen

I am a Structural Engineering Ph.D. student at the University of Connecticut (UConn), working on project SPR-2295, “Repair of Steel Beam/Girder Ends with Ultra High-Strength Concrete – Phase II,” a novel repair method for corroded steel girder bridges. The research team at UConn is working to incorporate Ultra High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) into bridge repair designs to improve constructability, performance and durability. UHPC is used to encase the corroded section of steel to restore the capacity of the beam as well as prevent future corrosion. This project offered me with the opportunity to perform large-scale experimental testing on the UHPC repair method. Full-scale plate girders with simulated corrosion will be repaired by UHPC encasement and the performance of the repair will be tested under low and high-speed dynamic loads. It has been an invaluable experience to work with CTDOT on the development of a new and unique repair method, which has the potential to improve Connecticut’s infrastructure, while gaining advanced knowledge on large-scale experimental testing.

Xuan Li

I am pursuing my Ph.D. degree in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Connecticut, with a specialty in Structural Engineering. My research background is ocean engineering and fluid-structure interactions focusing on coastal infrastructures. The CTDOT sponsored research project SPR-2299, “Resiliency Analysis to Storm Surge for I-95 Right-of-Way at Long Wharf/New Haven, CT,” provided me with the opportunity to perform literature review on the coastal infrastructure resiliency and possible resiliency options throughout the nation. This project helped me gain an in-depth understanding of how extreme weather events affect coastal regions and the current state-of-the-art resiliency options that help protect coastal regions from severe weather-induced damage. The things I learned during this project led me to an interesting idea: investigating the 3D effects of breakwaters on the protection of coastal infrastructures. Currently, I am working on the 3D effects of breakwaters in coastal regions on wave propagation and energy transportation and the wave-wind-structure interactions.

Sergio Lobo-Aguilar

I am pursuing my Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut. After receiving my bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Costa Rica in 2005, I worked in Costa Rica as a Civil Engineer accumulating industry experience on structural analysis, design and inspection of a variety of structures, including precast concrete structures, steel industrial facilities and reinforced concrete buildings. The CTDOT funded research project SPR-2290, “Advancing Bridge Weigh-in-Motion,” diversified my research experience spanning from field data collection, to investigating ways to improve the Bridge Weigh-in-Motion (BWIM) algorithms. This provided me with the opportunities to interact and network with external professors and professionals. For example, during the October 2015 Workshop on BWIM held here in Connecticut, I met various people from CTDOT, universities and other institutions. I have enjoyed my experiences, working together with other students, professors and professionals in both field and office activities.

Jingyue Zhang

I am a first year Ph.D. student in the Transportation and Urban Engineering Department at the University of Connecticut, working on the CTDOT funded project SPR-2296, “The Development and Execution of a Statewide Household Travel Survey.” The first task that I worked on was data cleaning. We performed a series of checks to identify inconsistent and/or incorrect records in the dataset. For example, we checked if the purpose matched the description of the activity location. Further, we cleaned the dataset to address the identified inconsistencies and inaccuracies. We want to provide a quality dataset that researchers and practitioners can utilize to analyze the travel characteristics of residents in Connecticut. The second task that I completed was to append aggregate spatial location information (county, town and census block group ID) for various types of location data that was collected including household, work, school, and trip origin and destination locations. By working on the two tasks, I realized the importance of data cleaning and data processing in survey studies. I have gained invaluable hands-on experience by participating in this study.

Innovation corner

“Necessity is the mother of invention” and sometimes it can be in the form of a simple but ingenious idea of a ‘Portable Tape Cutting Board’.

The Traffic Monitoring personnel have to put down pneumatic road tubes for traffic count purposes. The road tubes have to be nailed and taped to the pavement. Cutting the marmac or tar tape, while kneeling in the middle of the road, is not only difficult but dangerous as well. Hence, was born the ‘Portable Tape Cutting Board’. Invented by Virgilio Aparicio, it gets the job done faster and in a safer environment.

Portable Tape Cutting Board
The portable tape cutting board makes it easier to cut the tape at the back of the pick-up truck in a safe work zone.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for future CTDOT Research Bulletin's, please feel free to e-mail Flavia Pereira at Flavia.Pereira@ct.gov

Connecticut Department of Transportation, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, P. O. Box 317546, Newington, CT 06131

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