SPR 19-575: Learning When to Apply Guidance and When to Leave it Behind

Grants and Contracts Details


This Research Program for the period July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020 is submitted in compliance with the provisions of Section 307 of Title 23, United States Code, and describes programs and operations for planning activities in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and the Kentucky Cooperative Transportation Research Program (KCTRP). This program modifies and updates such programs and is specifically intended to reflect the needs of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. It is fully expected that products from this program will also have national applications. The University of Kentucky Transportation Center is the main research group for the the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The SPR grant is the funding the is supplied each year for the many topics the Center is asked to research for KYTC The KCTRP is concerned with the development and conduct of a comprehensive research program in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). In addition to research developed in cooperation with FHWA, the KCTRP may perform other services for the KYTC on a nonparticipating basis. The scope of these services could include activities such as research studies and special investigations of various engineering and operation activities. The Research Program and Implementation Advisory Committee (RPIAC), headed by the State Highway Engineer and coordinated through the Research Coordinator, will give direction to the research program. PROBLEM STATEMENT KYTC Project Managers and design staff confront numerous design challenges when they develop plans for highway projects. Perhaps the most significant of challenge is deciding when to follow design guidance and when to rely instead on engineering judgment and practical experience. Designers often reference A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (i.e., the Green Book) as it contains recommendations on highway project design that balance user needs against the environmental context, but many state transportation agencies (ST As) treat the Green Book as a document whose standards are prescriptive and must be followed irrespective of project-specific contingencies. However, it is often judicious for designers to deviate from the Green Book's recommendations and apply their well-honed engineering judgment to solve project-specific challenges. Over the past 10 years STAs have found success with this approach by embracing practical design solutions that reduce costs while satisfying project needs. OBJECTIVES The objective of this project is to collaborate with KYTC's experienced highway designers to: • Collaborate with experienced KYTC designers to catalogue best practice case studies • Prepare guidance that helps Project Managers and designers determine the circumstances in which engineering judgment should take precedence over published design criteria. • Provide guidance ( e.g., reference document/training) on how to properly implement and document project-specific solutions.
Effective start/end date7/1/186/30/22


  • KY Transportation Cabinet


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