GEOG 497C
GIS for Transportation: Principles, Data and Applications

6.2 Getting to Know a Transportation Organization

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This week, you’ll take some time to get to know the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). AASHTO is an association comprised of representatives from the state transportation agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. AASHTO seeks to promote transportation excellence and integration across the U.S. and to foster effective communication and cooperation between the state DOTs and the federal government. Founded over a century ago, it was originally named the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO). As with state DOTs, its focus has broadened over the years, and in 1973 it was renamed the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to reflect the fact that its scope of activities spans all modes of transportation.

AASHTO administers a variety of technical programs. A few of their more significant areas of activity are briefly discussed below.

Standards and Publications

AASHTO establishes technical standards and guidelines which are generally adhered to by the state DOTs in addition to many organizations outside the U.S. It has published many highly respected and widely used reference documents spanning a variety of transportation disciplines including the following:

  • A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (also known as “The Green Book”)
  • The Highway Safety Manual (HSM)
  • Standard Specifications for Transportation Materials and Methods of Sampling and Testing
  • AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications.
  • Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH)

AASHTOWare

AASHTO manages a program aimed at providing exceptional enterprise level software to transportation agencies. These products incorporate the experience and expertise of its member organizations and have been developed using pooled funds from state DOTs and the FHWA. The suite of software developed in this program is collectively known as AASHTOWare and its products span 5 core business areas:

  • Project
  • Bridge
  • Safety
  • Pavement
  • Right of Way

An overview of the AASHTOWare program is provided in this 7-minute video. AASHTO also publishes a catalog of AASHTOWare products. Many of the AASHTOWare software products incorporate varying levels of spatial technology. For example, the bridge products use the Google Maps API for spatial analysis and visualization.

Research

AASHTO is very active in the area of transportation research. A substantial portion of the research AASHTO promotes is carried out by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP).

AASHTO Materials Reference Laboratory

The AASHTO Materials Reference Laboratory (AMRL) develops protocols for testing construction materials and accredits laboratories who test these materials. Many state DOTs require laboratories to be AMRL accredited before they will do business with them.

Centers of Excellence

AASHTO also operates the following three centers of excellence, each of which is designed to provide information and expertise in a specific area of transportation:

  • Center for Environmental Excellence
    This center focuses on environmental considerations associated with transportation.
  • National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE)
    This center focusing on topics relevant to transportation operations.
  • Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC) Institute
    This center focuses on funding and financing transportation projects.

Assignment 6-3

Spend some time exploring one of AASHTO’s specific programs or activities. It can be one of the areas I touched upon in the lesson or another area that catches your interest. Submit a 300-500 word summary of what you learned (as an M.S. Word document) to Assignment 6-3 in Canvas.

Review and Respond (15 points)
Criteria Ratings Pts
Followed Instructions Excellent: Student carefully followed all instructions for the assignment.
4.0 pts
Satisfactory: Student's submission exhibited some minor deviations from the instructions for the assignment.
2.5 pts
Poor: Student's submission exhibited major deviations from the instructions for the assignment.
1.0 pts
4.0 pts
Content Quality Excellent: Student's submittal fully addressed the topics of the assignment and demonstrated insight and thoughtful reflection on the part of the student.
7.0 pts
Satisfactory: Student's submittal partially addressed the topics of the assignment and demonstrated some insight and thoughtful reflection on the part of the student.
5.0 pts
Poor: Student's submittal did not address the topics of the assignment and demonstrated little or no insight or thoughtful reflection on the part of the student.
1.0 pts
7.0 pts
Writing Quality Excellent: Student’s writing was organized, clear, and concise and was free from spelling and grammatical errors.
4.0 pts
Satisfactory: Student’s writing exhibited some deficiencies in the area of organization, clarity, and conciseness and/or contained a few spelling or grammatical errors.
2.5 pts
Poor: Student’s writing exhibited major deficiencies in the area of organization, clarity, and conciseness and/or contained many spelling or grammatical errors.
1.0 pts
4.0 pts
Total Points: 15.0