Wyoming Department of Transportation

Current Research Projects

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ACTIVE RESEARCH PROJECTS 

 

TO BE COMPLETED IN 2017:

  • RS04216 - Traffic Thresholds in Deer Road Crossing Behavior

WYDOT Sponsor:             

Pete Hallsten, District Maintenance Engineer, District 5

Principal Investigator:   

Corinna Riginos
Research Associate
Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative
185 Center Street
Jackson WY 83001

Study Objective:  The overarching objective of this project is to provide transportation planners with information that will help them to evaluate the placement of wildlife-vehicle mitigation measures. Doing so will increase the cost-effectiveness of mitigation measures and will be vital to reducing the rising problem of wildlife-vehicle collisions while maintaining and enhancing landscape connectivity for wildlife in Wyoming.

Study Benefit:  The results from this research will help to a) reduce costs and increase success of WVC collision mitigation measures by providing guidelines about which mitigations are most effective and have benefits exceeding costs for specific geographic locations in Wyoming; and b) improve safety by reducing collisions with wildlife.

Completion Date:  February 29, 2017, extended to October 31, 2017.

Cost Estimates:  $36,960.

 

  • RS06215 - Historic Winter Weather Assessment for Snow Fence Design Using a Numerical Weather Model

WYDOT Sponsor

Kathy Ahlenius and Clifford Spoonemore, Field Operations and Maintenance Services

Principle Investigator

Dr. Noriaki Ohara, Assistant Professor

Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering

University of Wyoming

1000 E. University Avenue, Dept 3295

Laramie WY  82071

307-766-4366

Study Objectives:  The objectives of this study are to a) develop new wind and winter precipitation tables for snow fence design using the WRF model; b) compare the existing Tabler tables to the new data to see if there have been significant changes in what WYDOT has been using; and c) determine the appropriate timeframe and frequency for continuous data updating.  

Study Benefits:  The main benefit of this study will be the update of he existing manually-measured wind direction and annual snowfall data for snow fence design, using the contemporary WRF model.

Completion date:  May of 2016 - Extension granted to February 28, 2017.

Cost Estimate:  $19,178.

 

  • RS04212 - Evaluation of a Mitigation Site:  Amphibian Population

WYDOT Sponsor:             

Bob Bonds, Environmental Coordinator, WYDOT

Principal Investigator:   

Erin Muths

U.S. Geological Survey

2150 Centre Avenue, Bldg C

Fort Collins CO  80526

970-226-9474

Study Objective:  To quantify the success of the phase I mitigation site by a) estimating population parameters of two amphibian species; b) surveying invertebrate fauna; and c) assessing site characteristics relative to amphibian success and comparing results between the phase 1 wetland mitigation site, the nearby swan pond and 2 reference sites. 

Study Benefit:  Results from this project will provide information for future mitigation efforts in this and similar types of habitat and provide evidence of successful wetland mitigation efforts. 

Completion Date:  May 31, 2017. 

Cost Estimate:  $86,562

 

  • RS05215 - Developing Mitigation Strategies to Reduce Truck Crash Rates on Wyoming Highways

WYDOT Sponsor:             

Matt Carlson

Principal Investigator:   

Khaled Ksaibati

University of Wyoming

Laramie WY  82071

307-766-6230                  

Study Objective:  The objective of this study is to identify the primary factors behind the high truck crash rates in Wyoming and then develop mitigation strategies to reduce these high crash rates.

Study Benefit:  The study will provide specific conclusions, recommendations, and products at the following three levels:  a) provide the trucking industry with useful information about the hazards on the highways in Wyoming; b) by comparing crash types to citations, determine the best utilization and resources of the Wyoming Highway Patrol; and c) recommend systematic safety improvements.

Completion Date:  June 30, 2017

Cost Estimates:  $89,181

 

  • RS07212 - Jackson South Snow Supporting Structures Proposed Performance and Health Monitoring of WYDOT Project No. N104085, Teton County, Jackson, Wyoming

WYDOT Sponsor:             

John Eddins, P.E.

Principal Investigator:   

Josh Hewes

InterAlpine, Associates, LLC

83 El Camino Tesoros

Sedona AZ  86336

928-202-8156

Study Objective:  To provide valuable information on the active snow pressures and in-situ performance of the snow supporting structures at milepost 151 site near Jackson, Wyoming.

Study Benefit:  The results will be used to evaluate the performance of the milepost 151 installation, and will also provide an initial basis for development of design guidelines for future constructed defense measures at other locations within the western United States. 

Completion Date:  September 15, 2015 - Time Extension until September 30, 2017. 

Cost Estimates:  $104,566

 

  • RS06211 - Comprehensive Technology Assessment for Avalanche Hazard Management:  Developing and applying an avalanche hazard technology optimization process to a case study on US Route 189-191 in Hoback Canyon, Wyoming – RS06(211)

WYDOT Sponsor:             

John Eddins, P.E., DE, District 3

Principal Investigator:   

Rand Decker, P.E., Ph.D.

InterAlpine  Associates. LLC

83 El Camino Tesoros

Sedona, AZ 86336

Study Objective:  Develop a generic, broadly applicable, structured process to optimize the choice of avalanche hazard management methods and technology for a given roadway application, including an assessment of the state-of-the-art TAS OBELLX portable, remotely operable gas blaster for active avalanche control.

Study Benefit:  The development of a decision support metrics that will allow WYDOT and other state DOT transportation facility planners to make avalanche mitigation decisions in a structured and near optimal way.

Completion Date:  September 30, 2016 - Extension on project until September 30, 2017. 

Cost Estimates:  $344,428

 

  • RS10216 - Last Mile Commercial Package Delivery as a Revenue Generation Tool for Rural Public Transportation Systems in Wyoming

WYDOT Sponsor:             

Talbot Hauffe, Office of Local Government Coordination

Principal Investigator:   

Jaydeep Chaudhari, AICP Research Scientist
Western Transportation institute
Montana State University
PO BOX 174250
Bozeman MT  59717-4250
jaydeep@montana.edu

Study Objective:  The goal of this project is to access the feasibility of last mile package delivery as a revenue generation tool for rural public transportation in Wyoming.  

Study Benefit:  Public transportation systems have emerged as a viable solution for the last mile package delivery market.  These public transportation systems and state departments of transportation should research this opportunity to obtain new revenue.  This revenue could help rural transit systems obtain critically needed local match funds.  Package delivery through a transit system could help improve the efficiency, effectiveness, visibility of rural transit systems, and provide another venue to connect transit systems with the general public.

Completion Date:  October  31, 2017.

Cost Estimates:  $40,143 (WYDOT); $80,660 (WTI/UTC).

 

TO BE COMPLETED IN 2018:

  • RS02216 - Characteristics of Crushed Bases in Wyoming

WYDOT Sponsors:

Ryan Steinbrenner and Mike Farrar

Materials and Testing Program

Principle Investigators:

Dr. Kam Ng, P.E.

Dr. Khaled Ksaibati, P.E.

University of Wyoming

Laramie WY  82071

307-766-4388

Study Objective:  The proposed research serves as a complementary study to enhance the pavement design in Wyoming through the characterization of base materials.  This research project has the following objectives:  a) characterize the properties of local base materials; b) understand the effects of rock type, moisture content, fine content and gradation on base modulus; c) improve base modulus estimations; and d) facilitate the full MEPDG implementation in the state of Wyoming

Study Benefit:   A Master-degree student majoring in civil engineering has been enrolled in September 2015 to assist the Principal Investigators to complete this project. The MEPDG will be introduced in a required civil engineering course, CE3500: Transportation Engineering, and will be integrated as part of the curriculum for the civil engineering course CE 4510/5510: Pavement Design for Airports and Highways.

Completion Date:  January 31, 2018.

Cost Estimates:  $64,577

 

  • RS05216 - Wyoming Low Volume Roads Traffic Volume Estimation:  Phase II

WYDOT Sponsor:             

Martin Kidner, State Planning Engineer

Mark Wingate, Systems Planning Engineer

Principal Investigator:   

Khaled Ksaibati, Ph.D., P.E.
Director, Wyoming Technology Transfer Center
University of Wyoming, Laramie Wyoming

Study Objective:  There are three basic goals of this project. First, the travel demand model developed in phase I will be enhanced by including oil and gas impacts in the model and improving the transportation analysis zone (TAZ) delineation of the study location. The second goal will be to implement the model for the remaining 19 counties in Wyoming. The model will apply travel behavior parameters to network, demographic, and economic data in the four-step modeling process to estimate traffic volumes. Finally, an analysis will be carried out to determine the length of time over which estimates can be considered valid and when to update the model to improve accuracy of results to account for traffic variations in the future.

Study Benefit:  As part of the federally mandated Highway Performance Management System (HPMS), each state is required to provide summary data for their rural minor collector and local road networks. A primary element of this summary data is the total vehicle miles traveled on these roads.

Completion Date:  February 29, 2018.

Cost Estimates:  $119,100.

 

  • RS07216 - SHRP2 Implementation Assistance Program (IAP) - Round 4:  Concept to Countermeasures - Research to Deployment Using the SHRP2 Safety Data 

WYDOT Sponsors:

          Vince Garcia, GIS/ITS Program Manager

Principle Investigator:  

          Mohamed M. Ahmed

           University of Wyoming

          100 East University Avenue, Department 3295

           Laramie, WY  82071

Study Objective:  The main goal of this study was to enhance the understanding of how drivers respond to adverse weather and road conditions.

Completion Date:  March 31, 2018. 

Cost Estimate:  $292,674

 

  • RS04217 - Evaluation of the WYDOT Research Center and Research Program (Phase III)

WYDOT Sponsor:

Tim McDowell, P.E., State Programming Engineer

Principle Investigator:

Khaled Ksaibati, Ph.D., P.E.

University of Wyoming

Laramie, WY  82071

Study Objective:  Evaluate performance of the WYDOT Research Center based on the research studies that were conducted after Phase II of this study in 2010.  Further develop strategies that will implement real cost-to-benefit analysis on the performance measure currently used by the WYDOT Research Center.  

Study Benefit:  Provide specific conclusions, recommendations, and products at four levels to improve the economic sustainability of the WYDOT Research Center.  

Completion Date:  May 31, 2018

Cost Estimate:  $44,328

 

  • RS02215 - Evaluating the Effectiveness of Fly Ashes to Mitigate ASR and Using Recycled Concrete Aggregate in New Construction

WYDOT Sponsor:             

Chris Romo

Bob Rothwell

Greg Milburn

Principal Investigator:   

Jennifer Tanner

University of Wyoming

Laramie WY  82071

307-766-2073                   

Study Objective:  To conduct tests on fly ashes; evaluate moderately reactive, reactive, and very highly reactive aggregates; conduct concrete prism testing; demolish blocks and make recycled concrete aggregate; and continue monitoring field specimens. 

Study Benefit:  Developing more durable concrete will improve the effectiveness of the state highways and result in a cost benefit.  Using fly ash in an effective way and using recycled aggregate are both measures that have a positive on the environment.  Further, developing an ultra-rapid method by autoclaving prism specimens advances our engineering knowledge.

Completion Date:  September 30, 2018

Cost Estimates:  $65,975

 

  • RS06216 - Development of Load and Resistance Factor Design Procedures for Driven Piles on Soft Rocks in Wyoming

WYDOT Sponsor:

          Jim Coffin

Principle Investigator:

          Kam NG, Ph.D., P.E.

          University of Wyoming

          1000 East University

          Laramie, WY  82071

Study Objective:  The overall goal of the proposed research project is to develop locally calibrated LRFD procedures for driven piles on soft rocks in Wyoming.

Study Benefit:  The proposed research project will have several direct benefits to WYDOT, deep foundations industry and other relevant stakeholders.  

Completion Date:  December 31, 2018

Cost Estimates:  $160,372

 

TO BE COMPLETED IN 2019:

  • RS08216 - Updating and Implementing the Grade Severity Rating System (GSRS) for Wyoming Mountain Passes 

WYDOT Sponsor:             

James A. Eversen

James Meena

Matt Carlson

Principal Investigator:   

Khaled Ksaibati, Ph.D., P.E.
Director, Wyoming Technology Transfer Center
University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, 82071
307-766-6230
khaled@uwyo.edu

Study Objective:  The objectives are to update the GRSR model for current truck population characteristics; and to evaluate Wyoming mountain passes and their warning systems with regard to truck downgrade crashes.

Study Benefits:  Develop the "best" warning system to implement for reducing truck crashes.  Further, WYDOT will be able to review and update the FHWA GSRS model for estimating safe truck descent speeds.  

Completion Date:  January 31, 2019

Cost Estimates:  $157,004

 

  • RS11216 - Effectiveness of Nighttime Speed Limit Reduction in Reducing Wildlife-Vehicle collisions

WYDOT Sponsor:             

Keith Compton, District Engineer, District 3

Principal Investigator:   

Corinna Riginos, Research Ecologist
Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative
PO Box 2705
Jackson WY  83001
 
Marcel Huijser, Research Ecologist
Western Transportation Institute, MSU
PO Box 174250
Bozeman MT  59717
 

Study Objective:  Provide transportation planners with scientifically-defensible and robust information about whether reducing nighttime speed limits is an effective means of reducing vehicle collisions with wildlife.

Study Benefits:  The results of the study will help to a) increase the cost-effectiveness of wildlife vehicle collision mitigation measures by testing the effectiveness of one mitigation method under consideration for multiple parts of Wyoming; and b) improve safety by reducing collisions with wildlife.

Completion Date:  January 31, 2019

Cost Estimates:  $250,026

 

  • RS02217Structural Health Monitoring of Highway Bridges Subjected to Overweight Vehicles, Phase II - Field Deployment

WYDOT Sponsor:  

Paul G. Cortez, P.E., Assistant State Bridge Engineer, Operations

Principal Investigator:

Johnn P. Judd, Ph.D., S.E., Assistant Professor

Michael G. Barker, Ph.d., P.E., Professor

University of Wyoming

Study Objective:  Phase II of the research project is expected to make several direct contributions to the WYDOT goals of improving, enhancing, and preserving our State's transportation system, and to have a positive impact on the broader goals of preparing the next generation of bridge engineers as student participate in hands-on research and education.  

Study Benefits:  The proposed structural health monitor (SHM) system when completed is expected to improve the ability of bridge engineers to understand and predict traffic load behavior and bridge load capacity.  The SHM system is cost effective because the equipment and installation costs are relatively low compared to other sensor systems, and the cost of maintaining the system once installed is relatively low.  The SHM system is expected to lead to improved predictions of a bridges's longevity.  

Completion date:  January 31, 2019

Cost Estimates:  $220,374

 

  • RS05214 - Safety Effectiveness of Regulatory Headlights Signs in Wyoming (Phase I and II) 

WYDOT Sponsor:             

Joel Meena

Kent Ketterling

Principal Investigator:   

Dr. Mohamed Ahmed

Dr. Khaled Ksaibati

University of Wyoming

Laramie WY  82071

307-766-4388                   

Study Objective:  To conduct a synthesis of existing research studies of the dynamic message signs (DMS), safety benefits; identify and rank hotspot locations of lane departure crashes, head-on and opposite sideswipe crashes on Wyoming roadways; evaluate the safety effectiveness of daytime running lights using Wyoming crash data for DRL-equipped and non-DRL, and motorcycles; conduct a field study on current headlight signed hotspot locations to collect data about the compliance of DRL use and the newly 24-hour low beam lights in newer vehicles; develop a plan for state wide sign implementation; conduct a cost/benefit analysis; conduct a driving simulation experiment; field test the experiment; and finalize state wide implementation and cost/benefit analysis. 

Study Benefit:  The objective of this study is to evaluate the safety effectiveness of regulating the use of daytime running lights under certain scenarios and weather conditions on specific types of crashes. 

Completion Date:  June 30, 2019

Cost Estimates:  $194,197

 

  • RS09216 - Design and Performance Evaluation of a Semiflexible Snow Barrier for Avalanche Protection

WYDOT Sponsor:             

Jamie Yount

Principal Investigator:   

Joshua Hewes
InterAlpine Associates
83 El Camino Tesoros
Sedona AZ  86336

Study Objective:  The results of this project will provide the necessary background information that will describe the relative performance of SSU in their ability to effectively mitigate the risk of avalanche release from the starting zone.  

Completion Date:  December 31, 2019

Cost Estimates:  $138,781

 

TO BE COMPLETED IN 2020:

  • RS03217 - Development of an Ultra-Accelerated Test to Evaluate ASR Potential in Concrete

​WYDOT Sponsor:  

Chris Romo, P.E., Principle Materials Engineer

Bob Rothwell, P.E., Assistant State Materials Engineer

Greg Milburn, P.E., State Materials Engineer

Principle Investigator:

Jennifer Tanner, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor

University of Wyoming

Laramie, WY  

Study Objectives:  Alkali silica reaction (ASR) is a significant problem in Cheyenne and other towns because of the presence of reactive aggregates. WYDOT's only means of evaluating fly ash as a mitigating agent is utilizing ASTM C1567 along with the history of the fly ash and the aggregates.  The autoclave test would be extended to consider results of fly ashes combined with local aggregates.  The overall goal is to provide a single test that can combine aggregates, cement, and mitigating measure within a one week time frame.  

Study Benefits:  The cost of mitigation of fly ash can be significant.  The goal is a cost savings by producing durable concrete with an extended service life.  

Compeletion Date:  September 30, 2020.

Cost Estimates:  $142,880


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