Through the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, AASHTO is conducting research on the future of the Interstate Highway System.
NCHRP Project 20-24(52) will provide Future Options for the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways was planned more than 75 years ago, and the system has many sections that are more than 50 years old. The mechanism for funding the system was enacted 49 years ago. Early policy papers in the 1930s and 1940s assessed options on such issues as system size and extent, purpose, interstate travel versus intercity travel, and funding mechanisms (e.g., tolls, pay-as-you-go gas taxes, and use of federal eminent domain with excess right-of-way acquisition to gain value capture versus state-by-state processes).
Since the Interstate System was laid out, the population and vehicle travel demands in the nation have increased far beyond any forecasts, and the demographics in terms of ethnicity, age, population, and geographic distribution have changed significantly as well. Freight movement has exploded, and international trade is far different from 75 years ago and will be significantly different 50 years from now.
The recently enacted SAFETEA-LU includes a provision (Section 1909(b)) that establishes a National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission (the Commission) to explore a range of legislative and policy approaches for the Interstate for the next 15, 30, and 50 years. A report to Congress is due by July 1, 2007.
An analysis is needed for use by AASHTO and its member departments in developing a strong, clear vision for the nation's future highway needs and options. The analysis will assist AASHTO and its member departments of transportation (DOTs) in interactions with the Commission and in preparation for the next reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs. In addition, the research results will support an AASHTO/TRB-sponsored conference on the future of the Interstate System in the second half of 2006. The analysis should identify options with the greatest potential for improving highway operations and capacity, including intermodal passenger and freight connectors and access to military bases, strategic ocean ports, and airfields.
The objective of this project is to develop options for the future of the U.S. Interstate Highway System that will assist AASHTO and its member DOTs in decision making.
Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.
Task descriptions are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research. The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective.
Task 1. Document the process for designating and funding the existing Interstate Highway System. Examine the criteria for the current Interstate System and National Highway System (NHS) designations and suggest how the Interstate System designation might be broadened to include selected NHS segments.
Task 2. Summarize existing research on the economic impact of the Interstate Highway System, including the effects on U.S. economic productivity, the rate of return on investment in the system, and user benefits (including reductions in fatalities and serious injuries). Structure a framework for assessing the economic benefits to accrue from expanding the current system and adding facilities to the system as developed in subsequent tasks.
Task 3. Review the range of policy issues and scenarios that could be assessed in the study. Prepare alternative visions for the system [e.g., ensuring that all cities of a certain size are linked and that all major military installations, water ports (including those designated as strategic by the U.S. Department of Defense), airports, and rail heads—as well as all state capitals—are linked with full access-controlled facilities]. (Although the existing Interstate Highway System will have a strong influence on the development of future issues and scenarios, this should not be an undue restriction.)
Task 4. Estimate travel demand for the envisioned systems using high and low economic growth assumptions for 15-, 30-, and 50-year time periods. (These estimates should distinguish between large trucks and automobiles and assume at least two nationwide truck size and weight scenarios: for example, the status quo and nationwide use of longer combination/higher gross weights trucks pervasive in many western states and in selected corridors in the east.)
Task 5. Submit an interim report, within 4 months, to document Tasks 1 through 4 and provide recommendations for completing the remaining tasks for review by the NCHRP. The contractor will be expected to meet with the NCHRP approximately 1 month later. The contractor should be prepared to make several presentations at a policy conference on the future of the Interstate at the end of June 2006.
Task 6. Estimate the restoration, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and resurfacing needs of the current Interstate Highway System in 15-, 30-, 50-year increments. Such estimates should include careful examination of safety and security needs as well as mobility needs and should consider innovative materials, design and construction techniques, and contracting practices to facilitate restoration, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and resurfacing and to minimize total lifecycle costs to government, users, and society.
Task 7. Estimate the need for lane additions to the system in both rural and urban areas. Such new lanes should be separated into exclusive truck lanes, general capacity needs, and HOV/HOT lanes. All new lane additions should be considered both as toll lanes and non-toll lane additions.
Task 8. Estimate the investment requirements for new corridors to be added to the current system and new intermodal connections to key public, commercial, and defense rail, transit, air, and water terminals and ports and critical military installations. These corridor and intermodal connections should include both upgrading existing roadways and building new facilities.
Task 9. Determine the operational improvements and range of costs that should be included in the estimates in Tasks 6, 7, and 8. These include special safety features; motorist information (511) systems; CCTVs; ramp and freeway management systems; truck size and weight and safety regulatory ITS activities (e.g., border crossings, hazmat tracking and routing, size and weight administration); and other innovative technologies or possibilities.
Task 10. Considering the investment requirements developed in Tasks 6 through 9, develop alternative strategies for addressing them. Such strategies should include a major new federal Interstate program where every state and virtually every congressional district would be affected. An option could be based on the original cost to complete concept for new additions to the system and the cost to complete the full reconstruction of the system over the next 50 years; adjustments could be made based on state of the repair and design of the current system. Note to proposers: This task will be qualitative in nature and should have a small level of effort devoted to it. Future federal revenue sources will be addressed in other NCHRP projects.
Task 11. Prepare a final report that includes an executive summary and documents the entire effort in one deliverable. The deliverable will document the results of Tasks 1 through 10 to include the current state of affairs, scenarios for alternative futures, and physical options and procedures for Interstate/National Highway Systems to address those futures in 15-, 30-, and 50-year increments.
A. AASHTO will appoint expert technical advisory groups that will work with the contractor in ways determined by the NCHRP panel. The members will be drawn from relevant AASHTO committees. Three probable groups will be named, one drawing heavily from the planning related committees for Tasks 3, 4, 7, and 8; one from the engineering committees for Tasks 6, 7, and 8; and one from the safety, traffic and operations related committees for Task 9.
B. A technical memo/report will be submitted to NCHRP immediately following the completion of each task. The technical memos/reports will be a primary mechanism for interactions with the NCHRP panel and AASHTO advisory groups and to allow AASHTO to provide input to the Policy Study Commission required by Section 1909 of SAFETEA-LU.
C. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 5 in the brochure, "Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals" (http://trb.org/nchrp under "Current RFPs [Requests for Proposals]"). Proposals also should include a breakdown of all costs (e.g., wages, indirect costs, travel, materials, and total) for each task.
D. NCHRP projects are intended to produce results that will be applied in practice, and proposals and the project final report must contain implementation plans for moving the results of the research into practice. Item 4(c), "Anticipated Research Results," in each proposal must include an Implementation Plan that describes activities to promote application of the product of this research. It is expected that the implementation plan will evolve during the project; however, proposals must describe, as a minimum, the following: (a) the "product" expected from the research, (b) the audience or "market" for this product, (c) a realistic assessment of impediments to successful implementation, (d) the institutions and individuals who might take leadership in applying the research product, (e) the activities necessary for successful implementation, and (f) the criteria for judging the progress and consequences of implementation.
E. Item 5 in the proposal, "Qualifications of the Research Team," must include a section labeled "Disclosure." Information relevant to the NCHRP's need to ensure objectivity and to be aware of possible sources of significant financial or organizational conflict of interest in conducting the research must be presented in this section of the proposal. For example, under certain conditions, ownership of the proposing agency, other organizational relationships, or proprietary rights and interests could be perceived as jeopardizing an objective approach to the research effort, and proposers are asked to disclose any such circumstances and to explain how they will be accounted for in this study. If there are no issues related to objectivity, this should be stated.
F. Proposals are evaluated by the NCHRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively very knowledgeable in the problem area. Selection of an agency is made by the project panel considering the following factors: (1) the proposer's demonstrated understanding of the problem; (2) the merit of the proposed research approach and experiment design; (3) the experience, qualifications, and objectivity of the research team in the same or closely related problem area; (4) the plan for ensuring application of results; (5) the proposer's plan for participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises—small firms owned and controlled by minorities or women; and (6) the adequacy of the facilities.
For additional information, contact Tony Kane, AASHTO director of Engineering and Technical Services phone: (202) 624-5800, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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