MTC research briefs

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December 31, 2015

The Midwest Transportation Center (MTC) sponsors a competitive research program to fund projects focused on State of Good Repair in infrastructure with attention to safety and Data Driven Performance Measures for Enhanced Infrastructure Condition.

The following are some projects led by MTC university collaborators. Stay up to date on research conducted by the MTC here.

University of Missouri—Columbia

Improving Striping Operations through System Optimization

Project PI: Ronald G. McGarvey

Striping operations generate a significant workload for state department of transportation (DOT) maintenance operations, including Missouri’s (MoDOT), which co-sponsored this project. The requirement for each striping crew to replenish its stock of paint and other consumable items from a bulk storage facility, along with the necessity to make several passes on most of the routes to stripe all of the lines on each road, can lead to deadhead miles that striping crew vehicles must travel while not actively applying pavement markings. These deadhead miles generate extra travel, wasted time, and vehicle wear.

For this project, striping operation considerations included the following activities:

  • Obliteration of pavement markings (removing existing or temporary pavement markings that are conflicting or might mislead traffic)
  • Application of permanent pavement markings after construction or maintenance of roads
  • Removal of permanent markings
  • Line-striping for all major and minor roads that require it
  • Symbol markings, turn markings, etc.
  • Maintenance of striped lines (keeping track of line conditions and making a decision about which roads should be striped immediately and this year)

The focus with this project was on how increasing efficiency in striping operations represents a substantial opportunity for MoDOT and other state DOTs to reduce their annual expenses.

University of Missouri—St. Louis

Modeling Airside Operations at Major Airports for Strategic Decision Support

Project PI: L. Douglas Smith

Tens of billions of dollars are spent each year worldwide on airport infrastructure to promote safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly operations. Airport layouts, allocations of gates to carriers, and the manner of deploying ground equipment or personnel can dramatically affect passenger delays, fuel consumption, and air and noise pollution.

Airport planners require reliable information about how different spheres of airport activity interact and how system performance would change with alterations to physical infrastructure or operating practices.

Strategic decision support is needed to provide ways of better utilizing existing assets in some environments, intelligently expanding them in others, and selectively removing assets from service where costly excess capacity exists.

For this project, the research team developed and calibrated a discrete-event simulation model that captures essential interactions of “airside” activity at commercial airports.

Our model, calibrated with detailed flight and gate data for an entire year’s activity at Lambert - St. Louis International Airport, represents the interaction of key system components with sufficient granularity to study the effects of different planning scenarios and operating rules.

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