CTRE  en route
Summer 2005

CTRE en route is published twice a year to inform readers about CTRE's projects and programs.


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Phone: 515-294-8103
FAX: 515-294-0467

Website: www.ctre.iastate.edu/

CTRE Communications:
Marcia Brink
CTRE en route editor:
Michele Regenold

CTRE is an Iowa State University center.

Iowa State University: Becoming the best

Sharing results: The Mid-Continent Transportation Research Symposium

by Steve Andrle, CTRE Director

Iowa held its fifth biennial Mid-Continent Transportation Research Symposium August 18–19, 2005, in Ames. The symposium is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Center for Transportation Research and Education at Iowa State University. We were pleased to receive 106 papers and presentations from 14 universities in 11 states. Representatives of nine private sector firms presented papers as well as engineers and planners from the Iowa, Minnesota, and Kansas DOTs and the Nebraska Department of Roads.

Keynote speakers

Sandra Larson, Iowa DOT, and Neil Hawks, TRB

Sandra Larson, Iowa DOT, and keynote speaker Neil Hawks, TRB, chat during the symposium

Neil Hawks from the Transportation Research Board and Wes Lum from the California Department of Transportation were keynote speakers.

Mr. Hawks, the TRB director of special programs, reminded us of our Iowa transportation history and its national importance. Anson Marston, the ISU Dean of the College of Engineering in the early 20th Century, created the Iowa Highway Commission and became the first commissioner. He was instrumental in creating the Highway Research Board (now TRB) in 1920 and was professor and mentor to Tom McDonald, who became the director of the Bureau of Public Roads in 1919, serving until 1953. During his 34-year tenure, Mr. McDonald was instrumental in creating the cooperative research approach among states, the guiding principle for TRB research, and was truly the father of the interstate highway system. Mr. Hawks challenged us to live up to our history.

Mr. Lum, the national liaison for the California Department of Transportation, hit some of the highlights of the recently passed SAFETEA-LU such as the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP-2), Highways for Life, road weather research, and increased funding for transportation research universities. He talked about the role of universities in conducting transportation research, the importance of partnerships, and how universities can successfully partner with DOTs.

He featured the Concrete Pavement Research Road Map, which was prepared for the Federal Highway Administration by a team led by the Center for Portland Cement Concrete Pavement Technology at ISU. Mr. Lum used the roadmap as an illustration of collaborative research and a good model for strategic and tactical thinking. The roadmap defines a “destination” and maps the steps needed to get there. The process is similar to the planning process used by TRB for planning strategic research under the SHRP-2 program. As research is completed he emphasized the importance of implementation to gain the benefits.

Nationally prominent researchers

We were honored by the participation of nationally prominent researchers like William Mahoney from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Robert Hallowell from MIT’s Lincoln Labs, who discussed aspects of road weather research. Stephan Parker from the Transportation Research Board leads TRB’s security research. Mr. Parker shared some of the salient findings with the symposium. Joe DeLorenzo from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration discussed the benefits of technology in securing hazardous materials in transport.

Transportation research in the Midwest

The symposium’s theme was "practical solutions to real problems." There was no topical theme. Abstracts were reviewed by a planning committee and the accepted papers grouped into tracks. The response from researchers constitutes an informal survey of the type of transportation research being performed in the Midwest. The symposium’s 12 tracks and the number of presentations in each is shown below:

Track No. of Presentations
Concrete Pavements
Bridges and Structures
Design and Construction
Asphalt Pavements
Road Weather
Geotechnical engineering
Asset Management

Symposium proceedings

The symposium proceedings is available online.

Next symposium

The Mid-Continent Transportation Research Symposium has been a biennial event since its inception in 1996. The Wisconsin DOT and the Midwest Regional University Transportation Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison would like to make the symposium an annual event. So next year the symposium will be in Madison with a "research pays off" theme. The plan is for the symposium to alternate between Ames and Madison each year.

Welcome, Badgers.