Project Spotlight Archive

July 2014
Software Improves Highway Construction Scheduling
In 2011, in response to a need by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) for more accurate highway construction schedules, researchers working on behalf of the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) developed a software tool, the Illinois Construction Scheduling Expert System (ICSES).
May 2014

Flashing Yellow Arrow Signals Prevent Crashes, Reduce Fatalities
During the past few years, drivers throughout Illinois may have noticed a fourth light on certain traffic signals—a flashing yellow arrow (FYA). The purpose of this arrow is to signal to motorists that a left turn is permissible, but they should enter the intersection with caution.

April 2014
ICT/IDOT Researchers Develop Approaches to Reduce Bridge Deck Cracking
It’s clear that there is a strong need for structurally sound and well-maintained bridges within the transportation system. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) maintains thousands of bridges throughout the state, but the concrete used in these bridges presents challenges to...
March 2014
ICT/IDOT Propose Economical, Practical Approaches to Control Erosion
Road construction projects affect more than just the flow of traffic—they also alter the flow of stormwater and the amount of sediment transported by this water, leading to pollution of our streams, lakes, wetlands, and reservoirs. One effective way to reduce stormwater...
February 2014
Winter Weather's Effect on Pavements Felt by Motorists, Agencies Alike
Slightly more than a month into 2014, extremely cold temperatures and heavy snowfalls have shattered records throughout most of Illinois. This "polar vortex," as it has been...
December 2013
Researchers Make Safety a Priority for Pedestrians at Urban Railroad Crossings
Approximately 40% of pedestrians and bicyclists in the Chicagoland area say they at least occasionally ignore railroad-crossing warning signs.
November 2013
TrafficTurk Takes on Farm Progress Show's Epic Traffic Jams
The throngs of visitors to the popular annual Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, typically bring equally sizeable traffic jams.
September 2013
Challenges and Opportunities in Using RAP and RAS in Illinois Pavements
Recent survey by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) indicates significant growth in the use of recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) and recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) in paving applications. The amount of RAP and RAS is estimated to be 67 and 1.2 million tons, respectively.
August 2013
Improved design provides thinner, safer, quieter, cost-effective, and more durable overlays
Constructing pavement that meets the required structural capacity with fewer materials may save construction costs and use fewer natural resources. However, any savings is lost if the pavement cannot meet durability and performance standards.
July 2013
Research Allows for Increased Use of Locally Sourced Aggregates
Unbound aggregate materials are a key component in constructing flexible pavement foundations. However, in many regions, these aggregates are becoming increasingly scarce and expensive. Shortages can stem from gravel mines and rock quarries being used for other purposes, lack of high-quality aggregates in a particular area, or land-use policies restricting access to...
June 2013
Projects Aim to Increase Rest Area Sustainability
Each year, over 40 million people visit Illinois rest areas. IDOT maintains 53 highly visible rest area buildings that provide restrooms, vending, and tourist information to the traveling public. Ranging in age from 10-50 years, many rest area facilities are in need of renovation and are being updated as budgets allow. The formation of the Green Governments Coordinating Council...
May 2013
Study Improves Safety in Moving Lane Closures
In Illinois alone, work zone accidents result in an average of 2,100 injuries and 27 fatalities per year. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is focused on identifying work zone improvements to ensure roads are as safe as possible for both workers and motorists. One area identified for research was moving lane closures, which are a commonly used when the work...
April 2013
Study improves safety of bridge timber piles and expands useful lifespans
Damaged timber piles are the number one cause of posting and closing of bridges in the state of Illinois. Despite their cost-effectiveness, wood pilings can decay, significantly reducing the capacity of the piles. The collapse of a bridge in DeKalb County, Illinois, on August 19, 2008, is a clear example that shows the vulnerability of damaged wood pilings to eccentric loading...
March 2013
Project Improves Design for Driven Piles in Pile Load Testing
A driven pile is a long, slender column used to form the foundation for bridges and is tupically inserted into the ground with a pile driver. Stronger piles support bridges that are more structurally sound and cost effective.
February 2013
Study Maximazes Tack Coat Effectiveness
Tack coat is a light layer of diluted asphalt, which is applied to hot mix asphalt (HMA) surfaces to ensure strong interface bonding between layers. Project R27-100 analyzed interface bonding between two HMA layers while certain variables in the tack, coat, pavement, and environment...
December 2012
Study Educates Truckers for Improved Traffic Flow
A recent South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA) freight study designated the I-80 East Logistics Corridor as a development opportunity to attract trucking-related industry. To support SSMMA’s efforts, ICT researchers Laurence Rohter and Peter Beltemacchi of the Illinois Institute of Technology designed a research project to encourage new business and meet the needs of truckers who provide pickups and deliveries to the area.
November 2012
Study Examines Effects of Flaggers and Spotters in Work Zones on Highways and Freeways
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), along with most other DOTs, often uses flaggers to control the flow of traffic in highway and freeway work zones. However, the Federal Highway Administration reports that, on average, each year 20 flaggers are killed on duty and numerous others are injured.
October 2012
Study Seeks More Efficient Roadway Lighting
Proper roadway lighting greatly improves highway safety. However, it is estimated that lighting roadways alone accounts for around three percent of the total electricity consumption in the United States. As the need to conserve energy increases, it is essential for researchers to develop more efficient roadway lighting.
Study Works Towards Improving Turf Establishment at IDOT Construction Sites
Proper roadway lighting greatly improves highway safety. However, it is estimated that lighting roadways alone accounts for around three percent of the total electricity consumption in the United States. As the need to conserve energy increases, it is essential for researchers to develop more efficient roadway lighting.
September 2012
Study Investigates Benefits of Fibrous Additives for Bridge Deck Overlays
There are many benefits of protective overlays on bridge decks. Overlays help prevent penetration of chloride into the decks resulting from heavy application of deicers and consequent corrosion and deterioration problems. Overlays also provide wear resistance and good riding qualities. However, concrete overlays on bridges are highly susceptible to cracking due to the large surface area that is exposed to drying, low water to cement ratio, environmental exposure and loading conditions , the reflected cracks underlying the bridge deck, and the small thickness of the of the overlay.
August 2012
Study Examines Self-Consolidating Concrete Bond Properties
Self-consolidating concrete (SCC) is a workable, yet stable, concrete which flows easily and consolidates under its own weight. Its unique properties can substantially reduce the labor required to pour complex or heavily-reinforced structural members. Over the past decade, the American precast industry has taken significant strides to adopt SCC in commercial projects, though concern about early-age bond behavior has limited the material’s application in prestressed members.
Study Determines Freight Tranpsortation Patterns in Illinois
The volume of freight that flows within the United States continues to rapidly increase. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau’s Commodity Flow Survey, over 13 billion tons of goods, valued at nearly $12 trillion, are moved in the U.S. each year. Knowledge of current patterns of freight activities and decision-making processes are fundamental for developing a model to...
July 2012
ICT Study Develops Specifications for Bicycle Trail Pavements in Illinois
Well-maintained bicycle trails have several benefits for communities, and Illinois maintains trails throughout the state to meet the needs of all levels of cyclists. However, there is a need for cohesive guidelines for the design and maintenance of these trails. In response to this need, ICT researchers Barry Dempsey and Bill Buttlar determined best practices for the state in...
ICT Creates Pavement Marking Selection Guide to Assist IDOT, Other Agencies
A variety of different pavement marking systems are used depending on pavement type, traffic volume, roadway type, and district preference. This results in a wide range of pavement marking performance. To optimize marking selection, ICT project R27-77 focuses on evaluating the performance of various marking types and developing a pavement marking selection guide.
ICT Study Determines Best Practices for Wetlands Mitigation Sites
Wetlands are low, poorly-drained areas in the landscape that serve many purposes in the landscape—such as water purification and flood prevention. They are protected under the Federal Clean Water Act and the Illinois Interagency Wetland Policy Act of 1989. To meet the goal of no net loss of wetlands, guidelines require 1.5 acres of wetland must be created for each acre lost...
June 2012
ICT Project Reduces Fatalities from Wrong-Way Driving
Wrong-way driving is a factor in 27 percent of fatal crashes in Illinois. To make the roads safer, ICT investigators Huagao Zhou, Ryan Fries, Brent Vaughn and Chiang Lin of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville are examining common contributing factors to wrong-way driving and determining what countermeasures to recommend for ICT research project R27-90.
ICT and IDOT Host Illinois Highway Safety Manual Workshop
As the culmination of ICT research project R27-89, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) sponsored and hosted the Illinois Highway Safety Management (HSM) Workshop at the IDOT District 1 Office in Schaumburg, Illinois. The peer-exchange workshop involved representatives from 13 states and experts familiar with...
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