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    From left to right: TRC graduate students Lizzy Duffy, Brittany Antończak, and Muriel Adams at the 2020 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.

The UVM Transportation Research Center is getting ready for the Transportation Research Board’s Annual Meeting (TRBAM), which is now only one month away. Every January, UVM TRC faculty, staff, and graduate students travel to Washington D.C. to attend the Meeting where they present their research, attend and lead lectures and workshops, and network with more than 14,000 transportation experts and professionals from all over the world. This year, the 100th TRB Annual Meeting will be held virtually over the entire month of January and is focused on the theme of “Launching a New Century of Mobility and Quality of Life”.

UVM has will be well represented at this year’s meeting, with 8 faculty and staff and 3 graduate students presenting research and leading or participating in workshops. A summary of TRB meeting events where UVM researchers and students will present their research or lead is provided below:

 

Poster Session 1074: Transportation Planning and Process Practices

Monday, January 25 11:30 AM- 1:00 PM

Title: Consideration of Automated Vehicle Benefits and Research Needs for Rural America

TRC Faculty: Gregory Rowangould, Lisa Aultman-Hall

TRC Staff: Jonathan Dowds

Abstract

Safety, mobility, accessibility challenges and dependence on personal vehicles have long plagued rural transportation systems. Benefits in these areas are widely touted by autonomous vehicles (AV) advocates. Seven mechanisms for AV-induced VMT increases are reviewed here and five of these mechanisms are expected to have a disproportionately larger impact on rural VMT. There is almost uniform expectation that AVrelated VMT increases must be managed through car-sharing and ridesharing systems. The landscape of origins and destinations and the total population of rural areas preclude reasonable sharing and there is a risk of unintended consequences from prosharing policies that will limit rural AV adoption or increase unit costs leading to a failure to attain the safety and mobility benefits. Designing policies for optimal AV deployment in rural areas requires modeling. This paper outlines five methods that have been used to study VMT change: travel demand equalization; travel demand elasticity; travel demand models; and stated and revealed preference survey. The first three suffer from lack of rural specific data. Revealed preference surveys are very expensive but may be worthwhile given the scope of the potential benefits to a large portion of the country and nearly 20% of its residents. Alternatively, the more cost-effective, albeit biased, stated preference survey might fill the rural AV data gap. Rural data are essential to inform policy design because rural areas will experience different AV benefits and impacts than are seen in urban areas

 

Poster Session 1215: Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program Posters, Part 2

Tuesday, January 26 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM ET

Title: Evaluating the Contribution of Paved Surfaces to Intra-Urban Heat in Small Communities

UVM Graduate Student: Brittany Antończak

Abstract

Summers are growing longer and hotter, and deadly heat waves are growing more frequent. Coupled with the urban heat island (UHI) effect, the implications of these trends become more intensified. The UHI effect describes the phenomenon that urban regions experience higher air temperatures than their surrounding rural and natural environments mainly due to the introduction of man-made materials that absorb solar radiation, trapping and subsequently slowly releasing heat. UHI intensity is typically defined as the urban-rural temperature difference. Mitigating UHI intensity, even in developments and microenvironments, may be important for addressing increasing temperatures. While it is known that paved surfaces contribute significantly to UHI in large cities, how their presence affects UHI in smaller cities, towns and villages, like those found throughout New England, is not well understood. This research will evaluate how paved surfaces affect surface and canopy layer air temperatures in smaller communities in Vermont and estimate population exposure to intra-urban heat caused by the presence of paved surfaces in each community type. This research attempts to better quantify the relationship between paved surfaces and UHI microenvironments to better understand UHI impacts on smaller communities and in microenvironments and identify mitigation opportunities. We will use a multimethod approach combining geospatial analysis and experimental field observations. Regression modeling with geospatial and site-specific characteristics will be performed to determine the contribution of paved surfaces to observed temperature variation. Resident exposure to intra-urban heat caused by the presence of paved surfaces will be estimated using spatial buffer analysis.

 

Poster Session 1227: Transportation Equity: Incorporating Equity into the Transportation Decision-Making Process

Tuesday, January 26 2:30 PM- 4:00 PM ET

Title: Practical Strategies for Achieving Transportation Justice: Seeing Beyond State-Sponsored Approaches

TRC Faculty: Dana Rowangould

Abstract

Transportation policies, plans, and projects all rely heavily on state institutions because of the substantial cost of infrastructure and the need to assess transportation system performance, including equity. But prior work on environmental justice critically assesses the state’s role in perpetuating injustice. Most research and planning practice related to transportation equity has relied upon state-sponsored analytical methods. We argue that transportation planners and scholars can benefit from critical assessments of these approaches and propose a shift in focus from transportation equity to transportation justice that is more closely aligned with models of social change promulgated in the environmental justice literature and related movements. This shift highlights multiple approaches that can be pursued to advance transportation justice

 

Poster Session 1308: High Value Research Supplemental Projects

Wednesday, January 27 2:30 PM- 4:00 PM ET

Title: Snow and Ice Control Performance Measurement: Comparing “Grip,” Traffic Speed Distributions and Safety Outcomes During Winter Storms

TRC Staff: James Sullivan, Jonathan Dowds

Abstract

Road surface conditions and vehicle speeds capture important factors that influence mobility and traveler safety during and after a winter storm event. Vaisala’s proprietary “Grip” measure provides an imputed measure of the condition of the road surface. The Average Distribution Deviation (ADD) measures changes in the distribution of vehicle speeds during and after winter weather events, capturing the traveling public’s response to their perception of road surface conditions. The objective of this project was to gain a better understanding of the relationship among Grip, speed and adverse safety outcomes. To identify high risk periods, the research team extracted events where the ADD was within the normal range and Grip was compromised. These cases indicate that speed distribution of the traffic stream did not differ from the typical speed distribution for clear days but that road conditions were degraded. High-risk days, corresponding to a day and a location when the ADD and the Grip readings were inconsistent with one another, were compared to crash and Vermont State Policy incident records. Highrisk days identified in this research, showed a strong co-occurrence with crashes and other snow and ice-related incidents, increasing the risk of one of these adverse outcomes by 3-4 times. However, this conclusion is based on a very limited set of data for the winters of 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, so more research is needed to support this conclusion as well as to determine whether a lower ADD threshold should be used to identify high-risk period. If the ADD-Grip discrepancies can be used to predict crashes, then this finding could be extremely useful for winter traffic safety in Vermont. For example, a programmable message board, linked to the real-time calculation of the ADD-Grip discrepancy, could communicate poor Grip situations with greater urgency added when the ADD indicates that current speeds are not safe.

 

Poster Session 1450: Selected Topics in Culverts, Buried Bridges, and Soil-Structure Interaction

Friday, January 29 1:00 PM- 2:30 PM ET

Title: An Updated Culvert Inspection Vehicle: HIVE-II

TRC Faculty: Tian Xia, Dryver Huston

UVM Graduate Students: Jonathan Burton, Daniel Orfeo

Abstract

Proper inspection of small culverts can prevent roadway failures, traffic disturbances, and save tens of thousands of dollars on costly repairs. The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) has adopted a policy which requires all culverts to be inspected every five years. Because of this, approximately 9,600 small culverts must be inspected annually. In this report, a lightweight inspection vehicle is designed to enable efficient and affordable small culvert inspection. This vehicle is designed, built, and tested to meet a list of requirements generated by the Vermont Agency of Transportation. Optimal settings for video transmission through small culverts are understood through theory and a series of field tests. Vehicle form factor is chosen for maneuverability through small, flooded culverts. Finally, performance for drop inlet inspection scenarios is characterized and discussed

 

Poster Session 1463: Strategies to Mitigate Mobile Source Emissions, Improve Air Quality and Address Climate Change

Friday, January 29 2:30 PM- 4:00 PM ET

Led by TRC Faculty: Gregory Rowangould

 

Workshop 1011: A Marriage of Convenience: Partnering Greenhouse Gas and Air Quality Management, Lessons Learned and Future Research Needs

Thursday, January 21 10:00 AM- 1:00 PM ET

TRC Faculty: Gregory Rowangould, presenting - Rural & Urban Challenges

TRC Staff: Peggy O’Neill-Vivanco, presenting - Evaluating Emissions from Vehicle Fleet Energy Efficiency and Alternative Fuel Programs in a Rural State

Workshop Description

Transportation agencies are increasingly connecting GHG mitigation and air quality (AQ) management. The topics have obvious synergies; yet GHG and AQ control programs, regulatory requirements, and analysis resources are not always in alignment. Join us for a discussion of practical analysis lessons, information gaps, and needed research. An expert panel will examine the similarities and differences in criteria air pollutants, air toxics, and GHG emissions. Workshop participants will be able to share ideas and help prioritize future research needs. Topics covered will range from the assessment and management of project-level emissions to emissions associated with transportation systems at the regional, state and national scales.

 

Workshop 1010: Identifying Systemic Transportation-related Health Effects of COVID-19 to inform Interdisciplinary Research

Thursday, January 21 10:00 AM- 1:00 PM ET

TRC Faculty: Gregory Rowangould, presenting – Pollution

Workshop Description

Shifts in transportation during COVID-19 have broad-reaching health impacts including access to essential goods and services; changes in transportation demand, behavior and safety; the spread of infectious disease and variations in air pollution. These impacts are particularly prominent for under-served and under-resourced communities as they disproportionately experience adverse health outcomes related to transportation access and exposures. This session will provide a transportation and health overview with short presentations on topics such as access, equity, active transportation, injury, pollution and infectious disease. The session will conclude with a panel discussion and audience input on transportation equity

PUBLISHED: 12-3-2020