Cornell Local Roads Program

FHWA’s “Every Day Counts” Innovation Initiative

Reprinted from the FWHA EDC website

Message from the FHWA Administrator

Our society and our industry face an unprecedented list of challenges. Because of our economy, we need to work more efficiently. The public wants greater accountability in how we spend their money. We need to find ways to make our roads safer. And we have an obligation to help preserve our planet for future generations.

But it’s not enough to simply address those challenges. We need to do it with a new sense of urgency. It’s that quality, urgency, that I’ve tried to capture in our initiative, Every Day Counts (EDC).

EDC is designed to identify and deploy innovation aimed at shortening project delivery, enhancing the safety of our roadways, and protecting the environment.

These goals are worth pursuing for their own sake. But in challenging times, it’s imperative we pursue better, faster, and smarter ways of doing business.

EDC is designed to focus on a finite set of initiatives. Teams from the Federal Highway Administration will work with our state, local, and industry partners to deploy the initiatives and will develop performance measures to gauge their success.

Victor Mendez, FHWA Administrator

The EDC initiative is organized around two concepts directly related to the work of LTAP/TTAP:

Accelerating Technology and Innovation Deployment - FHWA will work with the transportation community to leverage the following 21st century technologies and solutions to improve safety, reduce congestion, and keep America moving and competitive in the world market:

Adaptive Signal Control

Poor traffic signal timing contributes to traffic congestion and delay. Conventional signal systems use pre–programmed, daily signal timing schedules. Adaptive signal control technology adjusts the timing of red, yellow and green lights to accommodate changing traffic patterns and ease traffic congestion. The main benefits of adaptive signal control over conventional signal systems are that it can:

Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Integrated Bridge

Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Integrated Bridge

Instead of conventional bridge support technology, Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil (GRS) Integrated Bridge System (IBS) technology uses alternating layers of compacted granular fill material and fabric sheets of geotextile reinforcement to provide support for the bridge. GRS also provides a smooth transition from the bridge onto the roadway, and alleviates the “bump at the bridge” problem caused by uneven settlement between the bridge and approaching roadway.

The technology offers unique advantages in the construction of small bridges, including:

Prefabricated Bridge

With Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems (PBES), many time–consuming construction tasks no longer need to be done sequentially in work zones. An old bridge can be demolished while the new bridge elements are built at the same time off–site, then brought to the project location ready to erect. Because PBES are usually fabricated under controlled climate conditions, weather has less impact on the quality, safety, and duration of the project.

The use of PBES also offers cost savings in both small and large projects. The ability to rapidly install PBES onsite can reduce the environmental impact of bridge construction in environmentally sensitive areas.

Safety EdgeSM

The Safety EdgeSM is a simple but extremely effective solution that can help save lives by allowing drivers who drift off highways to return to the road safely. Instead of a vertical drop-off, the Safety EdgeSM consolidates the edge of the pavement at 30 degrees. Research has shown this “transition from on-roadway surface to shoulder and back is so smooth it defies assignment of any degree of severity”.

Laying pavement with a Safety Edge

The Safety EdgeSM provides a strong, durable transition for all vehicles. Even at higher speeds, vehicles can return to the paved road smoothly and easily. By including the Safety EdgeSM detail while paving, this countermeasure can be implemented system-wide at a very low cost.

The Safety EdgeSM provides a more durable pavement edge that prevents edge raveling. FHWA's goal is to accelerate the use of the Safety EdgeSM technology, working with States to develop specifications and adopt this pavement edge treatment as a standard practice on all new and resurfacing pavement projects.

Warm Mix Asphalt

Warm–Mix Asphalt (WMA) is the generic term for a variety of technologies that allow asphalt to be produced and then placed on the road of at lower temperatures than the conventional hot–mix method. WMA production is at temperatures ranging from 30 to 120 degrees lower than hot mix.

In most cases, the lower temperatures result in significant cost savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions because less fuel is required. WMA also has the potential to extend the construction season, allowing projects to be delivered faster. By 2009, more than 40 States constructed WMA projects, with 14 adopting specifications to accommodate WMA.

WMA is a proven a technology that can:

"Every Day Counts" logo

For more details about the “Every Day Counts Initiative and to read the “Message from the Administrator” in it’s entirety, visit:

Summer 2011

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This work by the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLRP) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.