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Predicting the incremental effects on transit ridership due to Bus-On-Shoulder operations

Description: "Bus-On-Shoulder (BOS) operations are an extremely effective method for increasing the quality of a bus service; allowing for a bus to use a freeway shoulder as a bypass lane not only decreases bus travel time but also increases the bus service's overall performance. BOS has also been found to increase bus ridership. The modern BOS system began in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area almost 20 years ago. Using the extensive data available from Minneapolis-Saint Paul, ridership changes due to BOS operations were explored. The data showed that with 90% confidence, ridership will increase by at least 4.5% and as much as 14.3%. This paper also explores how the citizens of Austin, Texas would respond to a BOS operation on local freeways. A stated preference survey was administered to a sample of Austin commuters. It was determined that potential riders would desire a time savings of 7 or more minutes. Typically it is challenging for persons to accurately predict time savings, therefore it was concluded that for a BOS operation to be successful it was necessary for a there to be a perceived time savings."
Date: August 2010
Creator: Machemehl, Randy B. & Pappas, Elani

Use of Micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for roadside condition assessment

Description: "Micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (MUAVs) that are equipped with digital imaging systems and global positioning systems provide a potential opportunity for improving the effectiveness and safety of roadside condition and inventory surveys. This study provides an assessment of the effectiveness of MUAVs as a tool for collecting condition data for roadside infrastructure assets using three field experiments."
Date: December 2010
Creator: Gharaibeh, Nasir G. & Hart, William Scott

The light-duty-vehicle fleet's evolution: anticipating Plug-In-Electric-Vehicle adoption and greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. fleet

Description: "The first part of this report relies on stated and revealed preference survey results across a sample of U.S. households to first ascertain vehicle acquisition, disposal, and use patterns, and then simulate these for a synthetic population over time. The second part of this report relies on data from the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX) to estimate the welfare impacts of carbon taxes and household-level capping of emission (with carbon-credit trading allowed)."
Date: May 2011
Creator: Kockelman, Kara; Musti, Sashank & Paul, Binny

Compendium of student papers: 2010 undergraduate transportation scholars program

Description: "This report is a compilation of research papers written by students participating in the 2010 Undergraduate Transportation Scholars Program. The 10-week summer program, now in its 20th year, provides undergraduate students in Civil Engineering the opportunity to learn about transportation engineering through participating in sponsored transportation research projects. The program design allows students to interact directly with a Texas A&M University faculty member or Texas Transportation Institute researcher in developing a research proposal, conducting valid research, and documenting the research results through oral presentations and research papers. The papers in this compendium report on the following topics, respectively: 1) estimating carriers/truckers value of time due to congestion; 2) evaluating retroreflectivity measurement techniques for profiled and rumble stripe pavement markings; 3) analyzing retroreflectivity and color degradation in sign sheeting; 4) evaluating the effectiveness of LED enhanced stop paddles for school crossing guard use; 5) incorporating freight value into the Urban Mobility Report; 6) evaluating ASTM Standard Test Method E2177, retroreflectivity of pavement markings in a condition of wetness; 7) calibrating pavement performance prediction models; and 8) evaluating the effects of concrete curing compounds on hydration."
Date: June 2011
Creator: Hawkins, H. Gene; Almy, Isaac; Ballard, Lance; Brimley, Bradford; Huff, William; Larson, Gregory et al.

Designing Fine Aggregate Mixtures to evaluate fatigue crack growth in asphalt mixtures

Description: "Fatigue cracking is a significant form of pavement distress in flexible pavements. The properties of the sand-asphalt mortars or fine aggregate matrix (FAM) can be used to characterize the evolution of fatigue crack growth and self-healing in asphalt mixtures. This study compares the internal microstructure of the mortar within a full asphalt mixture to the internal microstructure of the FAM specimen. This study also conducts a limited evaluation of the influence of mixture properties and methods of compaction on the engineering properties of the FAM specimens. The results from this study, although limited in number, indicate that in most cases the SGC compacted FAM specimen had a microstructure that most closely resembled the microstructure of the mortar within a full asphalt mixture. Another finding from this study was that, at a given level of damage, the healing characteristic of the three different types of FAM mixes was not significantly different. This indicates that the healing rate is mostly dictated by the type of binder and not significantly influenced by the gradation or binder content, as long as the volumetric distribution of the mastic was the same. In other words, the inherent healing characteristics of the asphalt binder play a more significant role relative to other properties (e.g. volumetrics) in the overall fatigue cracking resistance of the asphalt mixture."
Date: April 2001
Creator: Bhasin, Amit; Motamed, Arash & Izadi, Anoosha

How fast is a fast train? : comparing attitudes and preferences for improved passenger rail service among urban areas in the South Central high-speed rail corridor

Description: "Using data from an Internet-based survey of residents in three communities in Central Texas-Waco, Temple, and Hillsboro-this research project examined the potential impacts of new intercity passenger rail service on small-or medium-sized communities located in the intermediate area between two larger urban areas that form the endpoints of a federally designated intercity high-speed rail corridor."
Date: December 2011
Creator: Morgan, Curtis Alan & Sperry, Benjamin R.

Investigate existing Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) technologies for port cargo inspections

Description: "The goal of this research was to identify the most effective and efficient combination of NII technologies for inspecting cargo arriving at U.S. ports. For this purpose, a discrete-event simulation model was developed to simulate the cargo inspection procedure. By simulating the operations of different combinations of NII technologies, the effectiveness and efficiency of the various combinations were evaluated."
Date: September 2011
Creator: Salehi, Yasamin & Wang, Yubian

Developing infrastructure for interconnecting transportation network and electric grid

Description: "This report is primarily focused on the development of mathematical models that can be used to support decisions regarding a charging station location and installation problem. The major parts of developing the models included identification of the problem, development of mathematical models in the form of bi-level and stochastic programming problems, and development of a solution approach using a meta-heuristic method."
Date: September 2011
Creator: Damnjanovic, Ivan & Kim, Seok

Managing commodity risks in highway contracts: quantifying premiums, accounting for correlations among risk factors, and designing optimal price-adjustment contracts

Description: "The main goal of this report is to investigate the impact of commodity price risk on construction cost and the optimal risk hedging of such risks using price adjustment clauses. More specifically, the objective of the report is to develop models that can help highway agencies manage commodity price risks. In this report, weighted least square regression model is used to estimate the risk premium; both univariate and vector time series models are estimated and applied to simulate changes in commodity prices over time, including the effect of correlation; while genetic algorithm is used as a solution approach to a multi-objective optimization formulation. The data set used in this report consists of TxDot bidding data, market-based data including New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) future options data, and Engineering New-Record (ENR) material cost index data. The results of this report suggest that the optimal risk mitigation actions are conditional on owners' risk preferences, correlation among the prices of commodities, and volatility of the market."
Date: September 2011
Creator: Damnjanovic, Ivan & Zhou, Xue

An alternative transportation fuels update : a case study of the developing E85 industry

Description: "As the United States imports more than half of its oil and overall consumption continues to climb, the 1992 Energy Policy Act established the goal of having "alternative fuels" replace at least ten percent of petroleum fuels used in the transportation sector by 2000, and at least thirty percent by 2010. Currently, alternative fuels consumed in Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFVs) account for less than one percent of total consumption of gasoline. This paper examines how alternative fuel E85 can be used to reverse that trend. In addition, this research paper will take a look at some of the ongoing government decisions concerning the use of the alternative fuel E85, and will discuss what policy makers might hold for the future in terms of the supply and demand of alternative fuels in the United States. This case study will be useful to all stakeholders involved in the transportation industry, including, but not limited to the government, policy makers, automakers, motorists, and researchers, eager to find a just balance with both a better transportation system and a healthy and clean environment."
Date: October 2011
Creator: Travare, Papa S. & Lewis, Sharon

Transportation for humanity: meeting the needs in the colonias

Description: "The goal of the research was to access the current transportation challenges facing residents of the colonias and determine the feasibility of vehicle procurement through donations or at-cost purchases from a variety of entities and/or individuals to support the program, and recommendations for alternative funding mechanisms to support the local community centers in their efforts to provide transportation to the colonias population."
Date: September 2010
Creator: Storey, Beverly B. & Jasek, Debbie

Testing information to improve communication with communities and decision makers

Description: "This work focuses on important concepts in making information available to decision makers and the public, specifically focused on the Transportation Industry. The emphasis is on the PowerPoint presentation and enhancing the message through this medium. Critical elements include adhering to the assigned time limit, incorporating animation, font size, including images, techniques, and preparation. While much information is available on-line about presentations, audiences at too many transportation meetings view substandard presentations, which likely negatively affect understanding and decision-making. Blending available information, focus group feedback and observations yield a foundation for transportation planners in improving presentations to constituents."
Date: September 2011
Creator: Lewis, Carol Abek & Hall, Kadijah

The potential for improving rail international intermodal services in Texas and the Southwest region of the United States

Description: "The report covers a period of great significance for railroading in the U.S as it contains a number of milestones now shaping the future performance of the industry. The specific subject is improving inter-modal service so that it can support state and regional highway planning, now facing severe financial cut-backs as revenue sources become fully committed to bond servicing, user taxes, loose purchasing power and fuel consumption begins to fall."
Date: June 2011
Creator: Blaze, James R. & Harrison, Robert

High speed rail : a study of international best practices and identification of opportunities in the United States

Description: "In the United States, passenger rail has always been less competitive than in other parts of the world due to a number of factors. Many argue that in order for a passenger rail network to be successful major changes in service improvement have to be implemented to make it more desirable to the user. High-speed rail can offer such service improvement. With the current administration's allocation of $$8 billion in its stimulus package for the development of high-speed rail corridors and a number of regions being interested in venturing into such projects it is important that we understand the factors and regulatory structure that needs to exist in order for passenger railroad to be successful. This study aims to review how foreign countries have developed and their railroad systems to identify key factors that have contributed to its successful implementation. An evaluation of the factors, such as organization structure, operation, administration, development and type of funding, that are common to each of these projects will used as performance measures to identify potential locations and opportunities for high speed rail projects in the U.S. Southwest region."
Date: August 2011
Creator: Walton, C. Michael & Ruutzen, Beatriz

Megaregion freight movements : a case study of the Texas triangle

Description: "U.S. population growth is predicted to substantially increase over the next 40 years, particularly in areas with large regional economies forecasted to contain over two-thirds of the national economic activity. In Texas, population growth from 200 to 2040 is predicted to increase around 72% and produce a diverse population of some 36 million. This will comprise 12% rural and 88% urban, much of it in the 26 metropolitan areas. These population and economic estimates stimulated the exploration of appropriate planning strategies to address the needs of serving such growth, including a macro approach encapsulated in the term mega-regions. Although some planners are skeptical about whether this concept enhances traditional planning, it does merit examination in the freight transportation sector, which tends to get less emphasis in community and regional planning. Texas has at least one mega-region, and the largest-The Texas Triangle, comprising Dallas/Fort Worth-San Antonio-Houston-generates over 60% of the gross stat product. The project will consider the Texas Triangle with an emphasis on maintaining efficient future freight movement and will offer multimodel solutions to moving freight to , between, and within the metropolitan economies of the mega-region to 2050."
Date: September 2011
Creator: Harrison, Robert & Seedah, Dan

U.S. and Texas international trade and transportation

Description: "This report examines various aspects of international trade, transportation, and foreign practices implemented to facilitate and fund transport-related infrastructure. The report is composed of six chapters. The first chapter provides an overview of the U.S. international trade outlook. The second chapter describes the roles played by air cargo transport, ports and ocean carriers, railroads, and the motor carrier industry in U.S. international trade. The third and fourth chapters focus on Texas-specific international trade and modal gateways. The fifth chapter reviews various transport funding mechanisms, Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) applications, and forms of public-private partnerships adopted in various foreign countries. The final chapter describes the expansion of the Panama Canal and its likely Texas impacts."
Date: July 2011
Creator: Anazia, Larry K. & Boske, Leigh B.

Hybrid distribution trucks: costs and benefits

Description: "This project evaluated a package delivery truck, beverage delivery truck, and a refuse ruck. The research determined that the additional cost (with current prices) of the hybrid refuse truck was justified, but not for the other two trucks. The social cost of emissions was also estimated to help justify hybrids' implementation. With this information, the rate of hybrid truck adoption was estimated for various policy scenarios. The results indicated that a correctly designed incentive program can greatly increase the rate of hybrid adoption and could be justified by the additional social benefits of emission reduction."
Date: June 2011
Creator: Harrison, Robert & Anderson, Garrett

Impacts of pending federal greenhouse gas legislation on the Texas transportation sector

Description: "This 2010 study, funded by the Southwest Region University Transportation Center, assesses current regulatory attempts to mitigate climate change and how such proposed action would impact the Texas transportation sector economically. Social and political trends suggest the United States may soon join other United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) countries in drafting substantive, national climate change policy. After providing a brief overview of past and present climate efforts taken both nationally and internationally, this paper explores different economic solutions to address the externalities of fossil fuel emissions. Alternatives include command-and-control regulation, a carbon tax, and a cap-and-trade program. Several factors, including the difficulty of quantifying and constraining greenhouse gas emissions downstream at the vehicle tailpipe, suggest a carbon tax levied upon upstream refiners is the most promising market-based alternative to reduce carbon emissions within the United States's transportation sector. Texas business leaders and lawmakers have repeatedly voiced their disapproval of mandatory national carbon controls over the past decade. A crucial factor why much of the Lone Star State's populace remains opposed to climate change action is Texas leads the nation's energy industry, which is decidedly fossil-fuel based and therefore carbon intensive. Prevailing thought is a carbon tax would only elevate fuel prices increasing the cost of residential and commercial activity heavily dependent on motor vehicles. This paper articulates how greenhouse gas legislation may financially impact transportation within the Lone Star State and concludes with ways energy and environmental policymakers can build consensus within Texas to address the carbon externality."
Date: May 2010
Creator: Woodward, James T. & Boske, Leigh B.