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An OTREC report from Oregon State University looked at various center median and bicycle lane configurations, and how they affect traffic at road access points.

In the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) publication A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, commonly known as the Green Book, access points include the intersections of public roads as well as driveway locations. In the Green Book, most of the supporting research for the spacing of driveways is based on standard highway design procedures. They include simple human factors and geometric principles, and have not been thoroughly evaluated based on a variety of road cross section configurations.

Principal investigator Karen Dixon of Oregon State University sought to close this research gap by evaluating the influences of select cross-sectional-related design elements, specifically median configurations and bicycle lanes, on driveways.

Dixon's research team evaluated eight physical sites and four simulated scenarios with different driveway spacing and roadway cross section designs. The primary research goal...

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OTREC research is helping change the face of transportation education.
Across the country, at the undergraduate level, universities typically offer an introductory transportation engineering course as part of a civil engineering program.
David Hurwitz of Oregon State University is one of several educators interested in renovating this intro course. In this OTREC research project, Hurwitz helped develop some activity-based learning modules to introduce students to transportation concepts. He points out it is the first time many undergraduate engineering students are exposed to transportation, and therefore, the perfect time to get their attention.
Hurwitz is a founding member of the National Transportation Curriculum Project (NTCP), an organization of approximately ten faculty members, at different universities around the country, that have been collaborating since 2009. The NTCP helped Hurwitz write a National Science Foundation grant to help fund this research project.
“This project stemmed from the recognition that we wanted to try and facilitate change in the way that we teach transportation engineering at the collegiate level, across the country,” Hurwitz said.
The main focus of the course renovation is to move toward activity-based learning, rather than a traditional...
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An OTREC research project recently took a look at gusset plate connections, the riveted plates of sheet metal that hold steel truss bridges together.

These connective plates have come to the attention of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), because in 2007 the collapse of the Interstate-35W Bridge in Minneapolis was the result of a failed gusset plate.

After the collapse, which killed 13 people and injured 145, the FHWA issued a set of guidelines for load rating — or determining the weight-bearing capacity — of gusset plates.

Historically, only bridge truss members were considered for load rating during safety inspections. Gusset plates were thought to be reliable based on conservative assumptions employed during their design.

For more details, click here to download the final report or visit the project page.

Roughly 20,000 steel bridges in the United States are classified as non-load-path-redundant, or fracture critical, bridges. This means that the failure of a single truss member or connection could lead to collapse.

The problem, says the project's lead investigator Christopher Higgins, happens when a plate goes out of plane. It’s supposed to be perfectly flat, but with too much load put on...

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During Hurricanes Ivan in 2004 and Katrina in 2005, at least 11 highway and railroad bridges along the U.S. Gulf Coast were damaged. When the water rose during the storms, wave forces slammed into the bridges’ supporting substructures, and when it rose high enough, the water’s buoyancy had enough power to lift off sections of a bridge’s superstructure and lay them aside like giant Legos.

To build bridges that can withstand the force of hurricane waves, engineers must be able to estimate the effects those waves will have on bridge structures. An OTREC project led by Oregon State University professor Daniel Cox examined the effects of wave loading on highway bridge superstructures.

Cox and co-investigator Solomon C. Yim, also of Oregon State University, conducted experiments in the Large Wave Flume at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory at Oregon State University. They used a 1:5 scale, reinforced concrete model of a section of the Interstate 10 Bridge over Escambia Bay, Fla, which failed during Hurricane Ivan.

To see more details about the project, “Hurricane Wave Forces on Highway Bridge Superstructure,” click here, or download the final report.

The problem addressed by this project is that, while...

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OTREC has announced eight winners of the “Small Starts” grant program, which launched last December. These grants, made available through a new OTREC initiative, were intended to fund small projects related to transportation and community development. Any eligible professor at Portland State University, Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, or the Oregon Institute of Technology was invited to apply for a grant.

Priority was given to tenure-track faculty who are untenured, and faculty who have not received an OTREC grant in the past. The Small Starts program was conceived for the benefit of researchers who want the chance to undertake a small project that supports innovations in sustainable transportation through advanced technology, integration of land use and transportation, and healthy communities.

A total of $60,000 was available to be awarded; with no individual award larger than $10,000.

Interested faculty turned in their proposals by January 31, 2013. Here are the winners:

  • Burkan Isgor, Oregon State University:

“Cracking Susceptibility of Concrete Made with Recycled Concrete Aggregates”

  • Donald Truxillo, Portland State University, partnered with ODOT:

“Evaluation of ODOT's Ecodriving Program”

  • Bob Bass, Portland State University, partnered with Drive Oregon:

“Impacts of Electric Vehicle Charging on Electric Power Distribution Systems “

  • Nancy Cheng,...
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