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Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has prioritized their roads and travelers when it comes to being ahead of the curve in implementing innovative infrastructure policies. Two of their initiatives include: the use of Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) countermeasures, and GDOTs early adoption of Stone Matrix Asphalt.

Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP)

Utilizing the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Every Day Counts (EDC) strategies, value capture and Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP), a midtown area of Atlanta, Georgia is prioritizing the enhancement of its community and quality of life. The Midtown Improvement District (MID) is a neighborhood in central Atlanta that functions as a self-taxing district to increase public resources and generate economic growth. Created by commercial property owners, the area is a high-density commercial and residential area. Through special assessment on property owners, MID generates funds for projects aimed at improving the midtown area.   

To increase and integrate pedestrian safety into street design, specifically focusing on the STEP countermeasures, Georgia DOT updated its Pedestrian and Streetscape Guide in April 2019. The guide’s Pedestrian Crossing Evaluation Process assists engineers and city planners in considering crosswalk placement and additional safety counter measures. To help decision makers collect relevant data, the agency uses crossing evaluation processes that provide screening questions. Since 2014, more than 275 locations have received upgrades and repairs in crosswalk infrastructure and pedestrian lighting due to the MID-funded efforts of improving safety and mobility efforts for pedestrians, as outlined and promoted in STEP. Over $1 million has been devoted to these upgrades. At one intersection in MID at Deering Road and Peachtree Street, the completed intersection included new sidewalks and Americans with Disabilities Act compliant ramps, lighting, landscaping and crosswalk visibility enhancements.  

Read more from the FHWA on GDOTs State Innovation Accomplishments.  

Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA)

FHWA recently recognized Georgia DOT for its use of Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA). While at least 40 states have used SMA, only 18 state DOTs use it routinely. And Georgia has been using it for three decades. The FHWA promoted SMA as one of the 12 Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS) under the EDC-6 Innovation. The Georgia DOT was one of the first in the nation to take advantage of SMA as a more beneficial solution for pavement overlays due to the increased safety of its use, overall performance, and cost-saving benefits.  

Taking insight from a European Asphalt Study Tour, GDOT first designed and placed SMA test sections in 1991. After review of the European practices, evaluation of early project performance, and several years of research, GDOT found SMA to have longer fatigue lives and longer service lives than conventional mixtures, and more rut resistant. Since then, GDOT has expanded the use of SMA to all interstate projects and state routes with an average daily traffic volume of 50,000 or more. 

In 1994, SMA was used in one of its first full-scale construction projects on I-95 near Georgia’s coastline. This stretch of interstate carries an approximate 72,000 vehicles per day, with more than 28 percent being truck traffic. While the surface layer of this highway has been replaced, the SMA underlayer is still performing well over 25 years later. 

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Sources: FHWA, GDOT