The Federal Highway Administration initiated $8.4 million in Accelerated Innovation Deployment or AID demonstration awards to nine state departments of transportation on Sept. 7 to fund a variety of what the agency called “innovative” highway projects, focused on improving the safety and operational efficiency of roads and bridges using “cutting-edge” pavement materials, engineering techniques, and connected-vehicle technology.
The nine states involved are: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Utah.
Since the launch of the AID Demonstration program in 2014, FHWA said it has awarded more than $60 million to help federal, state, local, and tribal government agencies use a variety of “innovative” practices and noted that the AID program works in tandem with its Every Day Counts or EDC initiative that encourages the “delivery of innovation” in transportation projects.
For example, the agency is providing the Florida DOT with $1 million to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians near the University of Florida and throughout the City of Gainesville by improving access to real-time traffic information to them and enhancing the city’s existing “SmartTraffic” system.
Another $1 million grant is going to the Oklahoma DOT to help build that state’s first “diverging diamond interchange” or DDI, which is considered to be a “safer” design compared to more common four-leaf clover or other standard interchanges.
[Side note: Late last year, the Pennsylvania DOT provided a detailed synopsis of how a DDI design looks and functions differently from other interchanges where I-70 and U.S. Route 19 intersect.]
“These states are leading the way in implementing innovative solutions to improve safety and mobility on America’s roadways,” noted Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Brandye Hendrickson in a statement.
“Their creative approaches to delivering better quality and more cost-effective solutions in roadbuilding and operations are sure to inspire other states in using such methods,” she added.