Every Innovation Starts With A Conversation
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Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced the latest round of transportation innovations through the Every Day Counts (EDC) Program (EDC-7). EDC is a state-based program that helps identify and implement proven, yet underutilized, innovations at the state, local and Tribal levels. These advancements improve safety and sustainability, as well as promote greater efficiency in project delivery.  

The Department of Transportation, in accordance with the White House’s Action Plan for Accelerating Infrastructure, is committed to the expansion of the EDC model to include additional modes of transportation.   

“Americans get the best value out of innovations in transportation when they are broadly shared among communities so that good ideas spread across the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With today’s announcement, these innovations will be more rapidly deployed to save lives, protect taxpayer dollars, reduce carbon emissions, and ensure more families, workers, and businesses benefit from the Biden-Harris Administration’s generational investments in our nation’s infrastructure.”  

EDC-7 innovations, promoted by FHWA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), will enhance the project delivery process across highway, rail and transit agencies, improve road safety, grow an inclusive workforce and build a sustainable infrastructure for the future.   

EDC Round 7 Innovations:  

Nighttime Visibility for Safety:   

By enhancing visibility along corridors, intersections, and pedestrian crossings, this EDC-7 initiative can help reduce nighttime crash fatalities, which are three times the daytime rate. Nighttime Visibility for Safety innovations, such as traffic control devices and properly designed lighting, improve road safety for all users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and users of public transportation and passenger rail services.  


Next-Generation Traffic Incident Management:  

Next-Generation Traffic Incident Management programs enhance emerging technologies like emergency vehicle lighting and queue warning solutions. With over six million road collisions each year in the U.S., this approach helps keep crash responders safe and lessens traffic congestion after a crash.   


Integrating Greenhouse Gas Assessment and Reduction Targets in Transportation Planning:  

Transportation is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the U.S. This initiative provides resources to help agencies, regardless of transportation mode, quantify greenhouse gases. As a result, organizations are able to set goals to decrease motor vehicle, construction, and life-cycle emissions through planning and project development.  


Integrating Greenhouse Gas Assessment and Reduction Targets in Transportation Planning:  

This initiative provides agencies, regardless of transportation mode, with resources to help quantify greenhouse gases and establish goals to mitigate motor vehicles, construction, and life-cycle emissions throughout planning and project development.    


Enhancing Performance with Internally Cured Concrete (EPIC):   

As concrete begins to wither and crack, it becomes a limiting factor in achieving long-term concrete performance. As a solution to this problem, internal curing decreases shrinkage cracking and significantly extends the service life of concrete bridge decks. Moreover, it enhances the performance of pavements and repairs, which in turn ultimately improves the public’s travel experience.  


Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for Sustainable Project Delivery:   

EPDs document the environmental impacts of construction materials, such as concrete and asphalt, during their life cycle. These tools help states support procurement decisions and quantify embodied carbon reductions through life cycle passements for sustainable pavements.   

Rethinking Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) in Design-Build:   

Design-build contracts do not sufficiently provide the necessary accommodations or opportunities for disadvantaged businesses. To help small, disadvantaged businesses compete for design-build contracts for highway and transit projects, new and innovative practices are now available to support the integration of program requirements.   

Strategic Workforce Development:  

With the renewed investment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the demand for highway workers continues to grow and emerging technologies require a new set of skills. This innovation will improve stakeholders’ ability to identify, train, and place highway construction workers.  

According to FHWA,   

“Innovative approaches will be informed by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Department of Labor to foster a diverse and skilled workforce to support infrastructure projects. The focus will expand to rural and Tribal communities to increase career opportunities.”  


“Many of the innovations announced today as part of this forward-thinking program will help make the nation’s transit systems safer, greener, and more equitable,” said Federal Transit Administrator Nuria Fernandez last week. “We look forward to promoting the findings from these initiatives — from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to leveling the playing field for small businesses to compete for design-build contracts — throughout the transit industry.”  

Since 2011, this program’s success has been largely accredited to FHWA’s collaboration with states and local partners. Through this program, states select the innovations they wish to pursue, and then identify performance goals for the level of implementation and adoption over the next two-year cycle. After innovations are selected and performance goals are established, they work together to implement the innovations with the help of diverse technical deployment teams including federal, state, and local experts.