All posts by trac

WSDOT Toll Tag Failed Validation Errors

WSDOT Toll Division has discovered an issue with toll tags of all types (sticker, license plate, motorcycle, and FlexPass) in which environmental factors cause bits in the tag memory to flip from zero to one or vice-versa. The result of this error is that the tag fails the validation check when lane-side equipment reads it. If this error occurs within certain areas of the tag memory, then the tag’s serial number may be affected, with the result that the transaction is applied to the wrong account. Preliminary investigations have shown that the error occurs in the serial number in approximately 0.15 percent of trips, meaning that 150 out of every 100,000 trips may potentially be assigned to the incorrect account. This research is collecting and analyzing tag data to determine the scope of the failed validation problems and to provide WSDOT Toll Division with recommendations for mitigation, including replacement of affected transponder tags. Because the analytical methods used to match failed tags are highly complex, the researchers will also clearly document the problem and the methods implemented to analyze the data.

Principal Investigator: Ryan Avery, Washington State Transportation Center, UW
Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Michael Severance
WSDOT Project Manager: Doug Brodin
Scheduled completion: September 2024

I-90 Digital Twin Bridge Proof of Technology Evaluation

Agencies that own transportation infrastructure such as bridges, dams, and marine terminals need validated, science-based tools to inform crucial decisions regarding the maintenance, repair, and operation of that infrastructure. This proof-of-technology project is evaluating the benefits, limitations, and tradeoffs that an agency can expect when using digital twin technologies for asset management. A digital twin is a virtual representation of an object or system designed to accurately reflect a physical object, including its functionality, features, and behavior. Real-time embedded, Internet-of-things (IoT) sensing technologies that feed a digital twin model have the potential to monitor conditions over time. This capability can lead to a database covering all seasons of the year, and thus a rich understanding of past and present operational conditions on which to base maintenance and repair decisions. For this project researchers are positioning sensors on the I-90 Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge between Mercer Island and Seattle, one of the most complex bridges in the world. Their analyses should provide insights into the realistic capabilities of digital twins and how the technology may be helpful to transportation agencies in stretching preservation dollars and staff resources.

Principal Investigators:
Bart Treece, Mobility Innovations Center, UW
Travis Thonstad, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW

Sponsors:
WSDOT/Washington State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC)
Challenge Seattle

WSDOT Technical Monitor: Nick Rodda
WSDOT Project Manager: Mustafa Mohamedali
Scheduled completion: September 2025

Development of Rapid, Cement-Based Repair Materials for Washington Concrete Pavement Panels

When replacement of concrete pavement panels is necessary in congested, urban areas, speedy construction that quickly opens the roadway to traffic is paramount. This project focuses on evaluating potential materials, mixture proportions, and placement techniques for rapid concrete panel repair in Washington state. The research team will evaluate the key technical characteristics that govern rapid and durable repairs for concrete pavement panels through both a comprehensive laboratory-based program and a field component. On the basis of the findings, they will provide recommendations on the most efficient, economical, and durable rapid concrete repair materials and methodologies, and they will develop specifications and training materials for WSDOT. The results should allow WSDOT to maximize the lifespan of its concrete pavements while limiting construction costs and traffic impacts by avoiding full-lane rehabilitation.

Principal Investigators:
Fred Aguayo, Construction Management, UW
Travis Thonstad, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW

Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Karen Carlie
WSDOT Project Manager: Mustafa Mohamedali
Scheduled completion:  September 2025

Assessment of Electric Utility Capacity to Deliver Electricity for Electric Aviation at Paine Field and Grant County International Airport

When electric aircraft become more widely used, will regional airports in Washington state have the electrical capacity to support them? This study developed a method to estimate the plausible future energy and power demands of electric aircraft operating at regional airports in Washington to determine whether the electricity grid near those airports will have the capacity to serve the aircrafts’ energy needs over the next one to two decades.

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WSDOT/UW Intern Program, TMC

The WSDOT’s Northwest Region operates a Traffic Management Center (TMC) in its regional headquarters in north Seattle. This center manages the freeway systems in the central Puget Sound by controlling ramp meters, identifying incidents with closed-circuit televisions cameras, and informing the traveling public in real time. With this effort, the Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium (PacTrans) and WSDOT are cooperatively providing professional experience, training, and research opportunities to students from the UW’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at WSDOT’s TMC. Under the supervision of WSDOT engineers, students operate the region’s intelligent transportation system and perform various tasks such as identifying congestion and other problems that affect the operation of the Seattle area freeway system, operating high profile systems such as the I-405 Express Toll Lanes and SR 167 HOT Lanes, and managing centralized traffic signal control, variable messages signs, and ramp meter optimization. This arrangement helps WSDOT reliably staff the TMC without increasing costs while also helping UW students prepare for a future in transportation engineering.

Principal Investigator: Yinhai Wang, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Sayuri Koyamatsu
WSDOT Project Manager: Doug Brodin
Scheduled completion: June 2025

WSDOT/UW Intern Program, Toll Division

For over a decade the University of Washington (UW) and WSDOT have worked cooperatively to provide professional experience, training, and research opportunities to UW Civil and Environmental Transportation Program students at WSDOT’s Toll Division. Under the supervision of WSDOT engineers, these students assist in collecting, storing, and processing data related to the operation of WSDOT’s toll facilities, as well as in speed studies, data analysis, report writing, field work, and other tasks as assigned. This arrangement helps WSDOT further staff the Toll Division office in Seattle at a reasonable cost while also helping UW students gain valuable experience and prepare for a future in transportation engineering.

Principal Investigator: Yinhai Wang, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Tyler Patterson
WSDOT Project Manager: Doug Brodin
Scheduled completion: June 2025

Improving Mobility for Disadvantaged Communities through Innovative Transit Approaches: a Comparative Cost Evaluation

Transportation planners and policymakers need an effective and flexible method for estimating and comparing the costs of increasing transit access to more people, especially those living in disadvantaged communities located in urban peripheries or rural areas.  To increase mobility, public transportation agencies typically add a transit line, normally with a fixed route and fixed schedule. However, this approach is not economically efficient for communities outside of high-density urban areas. An alternative is to partner with private providers of mobility services, especially ride-hailing companies, a practice known as transit incorporating mobility on demand (TIMOD). This research will compare the costs of three alternative approaches to improving mobility and accessibility for residents of several representative disadvantaged communities located outside of a major metropolitan area or in a rural area. Those alternatives will be driving a car, taking a bus on a fixed route connecting directly to a destination, and using TIMOD service provided through partnership between local transit agencies and ride-hailing companies. To conduct this comparison, the research team will develop a standardized method for the state, transit agencies, cities, counties, and non-profits to use in comparing the costs and benefits of traditional and innovative public transportation solutions. This will allow them to more effectively make decisions about allocating limited funding for different transit operations challenges anywhere in the state and beyond.

Project Investigator: Qing Shen, Urban Design and Planning, UW
Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor:  Justin Nawrocki
WSDOT Project Manager: Jon Peterson
Scheduled completion: June 2025

Maintenance Practices for Complete Streets

In Washington, the state’s Complete Streets directive requires that certain projects be built, operated, and maintained to enable safe and convenient access to destinations for all people, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders. In response, the state is filling in the transportation network with construction of shared-use paths, sidewalks, and protected bicycle lanes. Lateral separation from motor vehicle traffic may be necessary and supplemented with vegetation, raised curb buffers, traffic barriers, or other features.  These types of facilities have maintenance needs that may differ from those of motor vehicle lanes, such as specific needs for debris removal, snow clearing, or maintenance of vegetation. To help WSDOT in most effectively designing and building Complete Street facilities, this project is determining the most critical active transportation facility issues that WSDOT maintenance staff will face. Such issues may include how maintenance considerations affect the selection of design and materials, which active transportation facility design best practices can simplify maintenance, and the equipment and labor needs for active transportation facility maintenance. To find answers the researchers will interview WSDOT maintenance staff as well as national complete street experts who have experience with different kinds of settings, environments, and active transportation. The result will be recommendations on best practices for the maintenance of complete streets.

Principal Investigator: Don MacKenzie, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Ursula Sandstrom
WSDOT Project Manager: Jon Peterson
Scheduled completion: September 2024