Funded External Research Projects

Performance Evaluation of Snow & Ice Plows

Principal Investigators: Dr. Souhail Elhouar and Dr. Enad Mahmoud
Sponsor: Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT)
Contract Period: 9/01/11 to 8/30/13
Amount: $250,000
Number of BU Students Impacted: 2 graduate students

The objective of this project is to develop a) a performance evaluation procedure and b) a comprehensive performance database for snowplows. The database will be established by a) field tests on the blades recommended by IDOT with critical data (e.g., scraping force, shock acceleration, plow angle, and speed) recorded and b) finite element simulations on the plowing processes whose controlling parameters are not covered in field tests. The availability of such a database will enable IDOT to make informed decisions on selection of snow blades in consideration of performance, cost, and safety.

Effects of Intersection Right-Turn Island Design and Skew on Safety & Operations

Principal Investigators: Dr. Kerrie Schattler and Dr. Mohammad Yamin
Sponsor: Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT)
Contract Period: 9/01/11 to 8/30/13
Amount: $115,000
Number of BU Students Impacted: 2 graduate students and undergraduate students

At intersections on state routes in Illinois, raised channelized islands with exclusive right-turn lanes are commonly used.  Some islands are designed for larger trucks and as a result may incorporate low angle of approach. The purpose of this study to determine if there is a right-turn approach angle and volume of traffic for which caution needs to be used in the design. An effectiveness evaluation will be conducted

for six intersection locations in the Peoria area that were reconfigured by the Illinois Department of Transportation. This study will quantify the safety, operational, and economic benefits of various right-turn lane treatments to determine their effectiveness and to help guide their implementation and design features in Illinois.   

Best Practices for Implementation of Tack Coat (ICT R27- 100)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Enad Mahmoud (subcontract)
Sponsor: Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT)/University of Illinois
Contract Period: 08/11 to 01/13, 30-month duration
Amount: $500,000 (BU’s share = $50,000)
Number of BU Students Impacted: 1 graduate student

The objective of this study is to identify the best methods of constructing and measuring an optimal tack coat in order to optimize tack coat material, placement, and pavement cleaning equipment. Proposed research includes laboratory testing of straight AC and rapid-set products, as well as whether unbroken emulsion and/or straight AC can be paved on immediately. The ideal residual rate for priming a new lift of HMA binder, new HMA leveling binder, smooth PCC, and milled PCC surfaces will be determined. Field study will focus on pavement cleaning equipment, including air-blasting equipment and determining the best way to apply the ideal prime coat material(s). A search will be done for such existing equipment as jet blowers, vacuum trucks, shielded broom trucks, spray pavers, etc.

Maintenance of Pavement Management System for the Peoria County Highway Department

Principal Investigators: Dr. Enad Mahmoud and Dr. Kerrie Schattler
Sponsor: Peoria County Highway Department 
Contract Period: 06/02/11 to 06/01/12, 12-month duration
Amount: $25,000
Number of BU Students Impacted: 4 undergraduate students

The objective of this study is to update and maintain the pavement management system (PMS) for Peoria County roads. The PMS system was developed by Bradley faculty and students (Dr. Schattler) in 2008. In this study a detailed inspections of pavement condition for 19 distress types and three levels of severity for both concrete and asphalt roads will be conducted for half of Peoria County roads.

Evaluation of Flashing Yellow Arrows for Protected/ Permissive Left Turn Control

Principal Investigator: Dr. Kerrie Schattler
Sponsor: Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT)
Contract Period: 11/01/10 to 11/30/12, 25-month duration
Amount: $243,854
Number of BU Students Impacted: 3 graduate students and 2 undergraduate students (to date)

IDOT is upgrading the left turn signal control at 105 signalized intersections in the greater Peoria area to facilitate the conversion of the left turn signal displays operating with protected/permissive left turn (PPLT) control from the circular green display to the flashing yellow arrow (FYA) display. The purpose of the proposed research is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of upgrading the circular green to flashing yellow arrow indications for PPLT control by performing comprehensive area-wide traffic crash analyses, conducting field studies of traffic operations and traffic conflicts, and administering a survey to assess driver understanding of the new traffic control. The use of flashing yellow arrows (FYAs) is considered to be a promising mode of operation to inform drivers of the permissive phase at a left turn signal. The objective of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of FYAs installed in the Peoria area in terms of safety and operations. The results of this study, if proven effective in reducing traffic crashes and injuries, will be extremely helpful to IDOT in terms of improving intersection safety and promoting the use of FYA for PPLT control as policy. These efforts may assist in the adoption of FYA as an area-wide policy throughout the state thereby improving intersection safety for Illinois motorists.

Implementing Pavement Management Systems for Local Agencies (ICT R27-87)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Kerrie Schattler (subcontract)
Sponsor: Illinois Center for Transportation /AP Tech., Inc. 
Contract Period: 05/01/10 to 10/30/11, 18-month duration
Amount: $99,851 (BU’s share = $26,643)
Number of BU Students Impacted: 1 graduate student

Pavement management systems have proven to be an effective tool for management of large state and metropolitan pavement networks. Although smaller agencies no doubt have similar operational and organizational needs and face the same general challenges as larger agencies, there are still many county and municipal agencies in Illinois that have not implemented pavement management systems. Regardless of whether this is due to the lack of adequate resources to establish the initial database and set up the system, or whether there is a general lack of technical expertise to implement the program, local agencies are in need of a methodology for effectively managing the various components of their pavement network. The objective of this project is to establish meaningful guidelines and recommendations that can be used by local agencies in implementing appropriately tailored pavement management systems so that better-performing pavements can be achieved. The research team anticipates that the research results will provide a document that will guide local agencies in two areas: 1) selecting a pavement management system that is suitable for their requirements, and 2) successfully implementing that pavement management system so that its full benefits can be realized. The document will feature illustrative case study examples of in-state local agencies that have successfully implemented pavement management systems and overcome various obstacles. In short, the results of this research will provide the information necessary for agencies to select the right type of system to match their needs and to successfully implement it at the local level.