MassDOT Implements New Healthy Transportation Policy DirectiveDirective Builds on GreenDOT Plan, Healthy Transportation Compact
In September, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey announced a forward-thinking  shift in MassDOT’s approach to project development. MassDOT’s Healthy Transportation Policy Directive will require all state transportation projects to increase bicycling, transit and walking options. This new directive is intended to promote multimodal access for our transportation customers.    “This policy directive is the next step in putting into daily practice our commitment to build a healthy, sustainable transportation system that meets all our customers’ needs,” said MassDOT Secretary Davey.    “This exciting transportation policy will play an important role in offering opportunities for healthy living through walking, biking and increased use of public transit,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett, R.N. “We applaud MassDOT and Secretary Davey for taking a leadership role in creating healthier communities.”    The directive builds on the goals established in the GreenDOT Implementation Plan and MassDOT’s mode shift goal.  The mode shift goal announced by Secretary Davey in October 2012 calls for tripling the share of travel in Massachusetts by bicycling, transit and walking by 2030.  Together, these initiatives seek to improve service to our customers while improving the health of our public and natural environment.    “This is a vital next-step in taking mode shift from policy to reality,” said David Watson, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike). “Secretary Davey and his team are making it clear that we must give everyone in Massachusetts the opportunity to bike, walk, or take transit instead of driving.”    As part of policy directive implementation, all MassDOT Divisions will review all projects currently in design to ensure they are consistent with Directive goals.“WalkBoston is very pleased to see MassDOT’s growing commitment to walking, and the role that walking will play in meeting the state’s mode shift goal. Since at WalkBoston we think of transit as ‘the middle leg of a walking trip,’ it is especially heartening that the new Healthy Transportation Policy Directive mandates attention to those critical walking-transit connections,” said Wendy Landman, WalkBoston Executive Director.    Other elements of the Directive include:All MassDOT facilities will consider adjacent land uses and be designed to include wider sidewalks, landscaping, crossing opportunities and other features to enhance healthy transportation options.Reviews will be conducted of cluster sites where incidents have occurred with healthy transportation users.MassDOT will develop a guide to assist communities proposing Shared Use Paths on or along rail beds in order to accelerate the path design process.    The Healthy Transportation Policy Directive and MassDOT’s GreenDOT, a comprehensive environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative, may be viewed on the GreenDOT web page: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/GreenDOT.aspx.
Mass Interchange, Fall 2013 

MassDOT Implements New Healthy Transportation Policy Directive
Directive Builds on GreenDOT Plan, Healthy Transportation Compact

In September, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey announced a forward-thinking  shift in MassDOT’s approach to project development. MassDOT’s Healthy Transportation Policy Directive will require all state transportation projects to increase bicycling, transit and walking options. This new directive is intended to promote multimodal access for our transportation customers.
    “This policy directive is the next step in putting into daily practice our commitment to build a healthy, sustainable transportation system that meets all our customers’ needs,” said MassDOT Secretary Davey.
    “This exciting transportation policy will play an important role in offering opportunities for healthy living through walking, biking and increased use of public transit,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett, R.N. “We applaud MassDOT and Secretary Davey for taking a leadership role in creating healthier communities.”
    The directive builds on the goals established in the GreenDOT Implementation Plan and MassDOT’s mode shift goal.  The mode shift goal announced by Secretary Davey in October 2012 calls for tripling the share of travel in Massachusetts by bicycling, transit and walking by 2030.  Together, these initiatives seek to improve service to our customers while improving the health of our public and natural environment.
    “This is a vital next-step in taking mode shift from policy to reality,” said David Watson, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike). “Secretary Davey and his team are making it clear that we must give everyone in Massachusetts the opportunity to bike, walk, or take transit instead of driving.”
    As part of policy directive implementation, all MassDOT Divisions will review all projects currently in design to ensure they are consistent with Directive goals.
“WalkBoston is very pleased to see MassDOT’s growing commitment to walking, and the role that walking will play in meeting the state’s mode shift goal. Since at WalkBoston we think of transit as ‘the middle leg of a walking trip,’ it is especially heartening that the new Healthy Transportation Policy Directive mandates attention to those critical walking-transit connections,” said Wendy Landman, WalkBoston Executive Director.
    Other elements of the Directive include:
All MassDOT facilities will consider adjacent land uses and be designed to include wider sidewalks, landscaping, crossing opportunities and other features to enhance healthy transportation options.
Reviews will be conducted of cluster sites where incidents have occurred with healthy transportation users.
MassDOT will develop a guide to assist communities proposing Shared Use Paths on or along rail beds in order to accelerate the path design process.
    The Healthy Transportation Policy Directive and MassDOT’s GreenDOT, a comprehensive environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative, may be viewed on the GreenDOT web page: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/GreenDOT.aspx.

Mass Interchange, Fall 2013 

The Emergency Relief (ER) Program for Federal-Aid Highways and Road
    The purpose of the Emergency Relief Program is to provide funds for emergency repairs and permanent repairs on Federal-aid highways and roads on Federal lands that the USDOT Secretary finds have suffered serious damage as a result of natural disasters or catastrophic failure from an external cause.Statutory citation(s): MAP-21 §§1107 and 1508; 23 USC 120(e) and 125; SAFETEA-LU §1112Funding features    Funded by a permanent authorization of $100 million per year in contract authority from the Highway Account of the Transportation Trust Fund, monies are available until expended and exempt from the Federal-aid highway obligation limitation. [23 USC 125]    In addition to the permanent authorization, SAFETEA-LU authorized from the General Fund of the Treasury such sums as may be necessary to supplement the permanent authorization in years when Emergency Relief allocations exceed $100 million. Appropriation legislation would be necessary to make the additional funds available. [SAFETEA-LU §1112]    Funds are allocated to states based on an assessment of repair costs following a disaster.    Up to 5% of ER funds may be used by the Secretary for projects to protect public safety or maintain or protect roadways included within the scope of an emergency declaration.Federal share    Federal cost share is in accordance with 23 USC 120. It includes a sliding scale adjustment for states with high percentages of Federally-owned public lands.•    For emergency repair work to restore essential travel, minimize the extent of damage, or protect the remaining facilities accomplished in the first 180 days after the disaster occurs, costs may be reimbursed at 100% Federal share and the eligible time period may be extended for delays in the ability to access damaged areas.•    For eligible permanent repairs to restore damaged facilities, up to a 90% Federal share is allowed if the total eligible expenses incurred by the State, due to natural disasters or catastrophic failures in a Federal fiscal year, exceeds the State’s apportionments under 23 USC 104 for the fiscal year in which the event occurred.•    The Federal cost share for repair work on Federal land, Federal land access, and tribal transportation facilities is 100%.Eligible activities    MAP-21 includes some changes to ER eligibilities: •    The actual and necessary costs of maintenance and operation of transit service are added as eligible an activity to provide a temporary substitute for highway traffic service.•    Debris removal is eligible if the President does not declare the event a major disaster or if the event is declared a major disaster by the President, but the debris removal is not eligible for assistance under the Stafford Act (http://www.fema.gov/pdf/emergency/nrf/nrf-stafford.pdf).•    ER funds may be used to repair or reconstruct a comparable facility, which is defined as a facility that meets the current geometric and construction standards required for the types and volume of traffic that the facility will carry over its design life.•    No funds may be used for repair or reconstruction of a bridge if the construction phase of a replacement structure is included in a State’s approved transportation improvement program at the time of the event.Other changes    Other changes to the ER program include the following:•    The State’s application for ER funds must include a comprehensive list of all eligible project sites and repair costs within 2 years after the event.•    The $100 million cap on obligations in a State for a single event is removed.•    Tribal transportation facilities, Federal lands transportation facilities, and other Federally-owned roads open to public travel are eligible for ER funding. Article from FHWA Map-21 Fact Sheets, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/factsheets.cfm
Mass Interchange, Fall 2013

The Emergency Relief (ER) Program for Federal-Aid Highways and Road

    The purpose of the Emergency Relief Program is to provide funds for emergency repairs and permanent repairs on Federal-aid highways and roads on Federal lands that the USDOT Secretary finds have suffered serious damage as a result of natural disasters or catastrophic failure from an external cause.
Statutory citation(s): MAP-21 §§1107 and 1508; 23 USC 120(e) and 125; SAFETEA-LU §1112

Funding features
    Funded by a permanent authorization of $100 million per year in contract authority from the Highway Account of the Transportation Trust Fund, monies are available until expended and exempt from the Federal-aid highway obligation limitation. [23 USC 125]
    In addition to the permanent authorization, SAFETEA-LU authorized from the General Fund of the Treasury such sums as may be necessary to supplement the permanent authorization in years when Emergency Relief allocations exceed $100 million. Appropriation legislation would be necessary to make the additional funds available. [SAFETEA-LU §1112]
    Funds are allocated to states based on an assessment of repair costs following a disaster.
    Up to 5% of ER funds may be used by the Secretary for projects to protect public safety or maintain or protect roadways included within the scope of an emergency declaration.

Federal share
    Federal cost share is in accordance with 23 USC 120. It includes a sliding scale adjustment for states with high percentages of Federally-owned public lands.
•    For emergency repair work to restore essential travel, minimize the extent of damage, or protect the remaining facilities accomplished in the first 180 days after the disaster occurs, costs may be reimbursed at 100% Federal share and the eligible time period may be extended for delays in the ability to access damaged areas.
•    For eligible permanent repairs to restore damaged facilities, up to a 90% Federal share is allowed if the total eligible expenses incurred by the State, due to natural disasters or catastrophic failures in a Federal fiscal year, exceeds the State’s apportionments under 23 USC 104 for the fiscal year in which the event occurred.
•    The Federal cost share for repair work on Federal land, Federal land access, and tribal transportation facilities is 100%.

Eligible activities
    MAP-21 includes some changes to ER eligibilities:
•    The actual and necessary costs of maintenance and operation of transit service are added as eligible an activity to provide a temporary substitute for highway traffic service.
•    Debris removal is eligible if the President does not declare the event a major disaster or if the event is declared a major disaster by the President, but the debris removal is not eligible for assistance under the Stafford Act (http://www.fema.gov/pdf/emergency/nrf/nrf-stafford.pdf).
•    ER funds may be used to repair or reconstruct a comparable facility, which is defined as a facility that meets the current geometric and construction standards required for the types and volume of traffic that the facility will carry over its design life.
•    No funds may be used for repair or reconstruction of a bridge if the construction phase of a replacement structure is included in a State’s approved transportation improvement program at the time of the event.

Other changes
    Other changes to the ER program include the following:
•    The State’s application for ER funds must include a comprehensive list of all eligible project sites and repair costs within 2 years after the event.
•    The $100 million cap on obligations in a State for a single event is removed.
•    Tribal transportation facilities, Federal lands transportation facilities, and other Federally-owned roads open to public travel are eligible for ER funding.

Article from FHWA Map-21 Fact Sheets, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/factsheets.cfm

Mass Interchange, Fall 2013

Frequently Asked Questions on Emergency Relief

Question 1: Has the amount of the annual authorization for ER changed?

Answer 1: No. The annual ER authorization has not changed and is authorized at not more than $100 million. These funds are available until expended and are exempt from obligation limitation. (MAP-21 § 1107; 23 U.S.C. 125(c))

Question 2: What restrictions are applied to ER participation in the repair or reconstruction of deficient bridges scheduled for replacement?

Answer 2: Section 1007 of MAP-21 incorporates into 23 U.S.C. 125 a restriction that ER funds may not be used to repair or reconstruct a bridge if the construction phase of a replacement structure is included in the approved statewide transportation improvement program at the time of an eligible event. A similar provision already exists in 23 CFR 668.109(c)(7).

Question 3: Are ER funds limited to repairing a facility to its pre-disaster condition?

Answer 3: No. Section 1107 of MAP-21 provides that the total cost of a project funded under 23 U.S.C. 125 may not exceed the cost of repair or reconstruction of a comparable facility. A “comparable facility” is a facility that meets the current geometric and construction standards required for the types and volume of traffic that the facility will carry over its design life. Additional guidance will be included in the next revision of the Emergency Relief Manual.

Question 4: Can ER funds be used to incorporate considerations of the risks associated with climate change in designing the replacement of a damaged bridge or other facility?

Answer 4: Yes. FHWA will be issuing separate guidance dealing with the eligibility of activities to adapt to climate change and extreme weather events.

Question 5: Has the application process for ER changed?

Answer 5: Yes. As provided in 23 U.S.C. 125(d)(1)(B), States are required to submit an application for ER funding to FHWA within two calendar years of the date of disaster. The application must include a comprehensive list of all eligible project sites and repair costs. (MAP-21 § 1107).

Complementing this statutory change, 23 CFR 668 contains guidance on expeditious construction of ER projects.

  1. 23 CFR 668.105(h) provides that ER projects shall be promptly constructed and that projects that have not advanced to the construction obligation stage by the end of the second fiscal year following the disaster occurrence will not be advanced unless suitable justification to warrant retention is furnished to the FHWA.

  2. 23CFR 668.111(b)(2) provides that unless very unusual circumstances prevail, the damage survey summary report should be prepared within 6 weeks following the applicant’s notification.

  3. 23 CFR 668.113(a) provides that the State should submit to the FHWA Division Administrator a program of projects which defines the work needed to restore or replace the damaged facilities within 3 months of the receipt of the initial disaster notification.

Question 6: Does 23 U.S.C. 125(d)(1)(B) apply to ER events declared before October 1, 2012, for which application has not yet been received by the FHWA?

Answer 6: Yes. The requirement that States submit an application for ER funding to FHWA within two years of the disaster applies to any event for which an application has not been submitted. States and FHWA Division Offices should review the status of their pending ER applications to ensure that they comply with this provision. The FHWA will accept applications for any event for which two or more years have passed until September 30, 2012, at 11:59 pm of the time zone in which the event is located.

Question 7: What changes were made to the eligibility of the costs of debris removal?

Answer 7: Section 1107 of MAP-21 placed limits on the ER eligibility for debris removal. As a result, under 23 U.S.C. 125(d)(3), in certain instances, debris removal previously eligible for ER funding will only be eligible for FEMA funding. Four scenarios regarding debris removal eligibility following a natural disaster or catastrophic failure from an external cause may include, but are not limited to:

  1. The event is declared to be an emergency by the Governor, but there is no Presidential declaration of a major disaster under the Stafford Act. The Secretary concurs with the Governor’s emergency declaration.

    If the Secretary concurs with the Governor’s emergency declaration, ER funds may participate in debris removal on eligible sites on Federal-aid highways in the same manner as before MAP-21. ER funds will only be available in those counties included in the Governor’s emergency declaration and any amendments for the same event.

  2. The event is declared to be an emergency or a major disaster by the President under the Stafford Act and debris removal is eligible for assistance under sections 403, 407, or 502 of the Act. There may or may not be a Governor’s emergency declaration.

    FEMA will fund debris removal on affected highways, including Federal-aid highways, in accordance with FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. FHWA will not participate in debris removal costs, including any excess costs not covered by FEMA.

  3. The event is declared to be an emergency or major disaster by the President, but FEMA has determined that debris removal is not eligible for its assistance.

    The ER funds can participate in debris removal costs on eligible sites on Federal-aid highways for sites that FEMA has determined to be ineligible under its program. FHWA division offices should request documentation of FEMA’s determination that the debris removal is not eligible under the Stafford Act. Care should be taken to ensure that the reason for FEMA’s decision of ineligibility is not also a reason for ER ineligibility.

  4. The event is declared to be an emergency or major disaster by the President and debris removal is eligible for assistance from FEMA. There is also a Governor’s emergency declaration. However, the Governor’s declaration covers more counties than the President’s declaration. The Secretary has concurred with the Governor’s declaration.

    ER may participate in debris removal costs on eligible sites on Federal-aid highways in the same manner as before MAP-21 for those sites subject to the Governor’s declaration but not the President’s declaration.

When Stafford Act funds are used for debris removal, the requirements of 44 CFR 206.224 will apply. These requirements are elaborated further in the FEMA Public Assistance Policy Digest which can be found at http://www.fema.gov/pdf/government/grant/pa/pdigest08.pdf.

When Title 23 funds are used for debris removal, the requirements of 23 CFR 668 will apply. These requirements are elaborated further in the Emergency Relief Manual which can be found at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/reports/erm/.

Question 8: What types of debris are included in the term “debris removal”?

Answer 8: Debris typically includes trees, tree limbs, other woody materials, sand, mud, silt, gravel, rocks, etc.

Question 9: When will the change in the eligibility of debris removal be effective?

Answer 9: This change will apply to all new events that are eligible under the Stafford Act occurring after October 1, 2012.

Question 10: Are substitute traffic costs eligible for ER participation?

Answer 10: Section 1107 of MAP-21 added “additional transit service” as an eligible ER expense when providing substitute traffic service around a damaged facility. Now, under 23 U.S.C. 125(d)(5), the actual and necessary costs of operation and maintenance of ferryboats and additional transit service providing temporary substitute highway traffic service, less the amount of fares charged, are eligible for ER participation.

Question 11: Are there other expansions of ER eligibility provided by MAP-21?

Answer 11: Section 1107 of MAP-21 allows up to five percent of the ER authorization to be used for projects that the Secretary determines are necessary to protect the public safety or to maintain or protect roadways that are included within the scope of an emergency declaration and the Governor deems to be an ongoing concern in order to maintain vehicular traffic on the roadway. (23 U.S.C. 125(g)). Guidance will be included in the next revision of the Emergency Relief Manual.

Question 12: Does MAP-21 allow for the extension of the 180 day time period for 100 percent eligibility of emergency repairs?

Answer 12: Yes, the revised 23 U.S.C. 120(e)(3) provides that the 180 day time period for 100 percent eligibility of emergency repairs will be extended if a State cannot access a site to evaluate damages and the cost of repair. (MAP-21 § 1508)

Since the ability to access facilities to evaluate damages and the cost of repair is location specific, it will be necessary for a State to request, and the FHWA Division Office to approve and document, extensions on a case-by-case basis for specific locations that cannot be accessed. Such extensions should not be extended for all sites in the disaster area unless all sites are not accessible.

This extension is for situations where the site cannot be physically accessed. It should not be granted for sites that can be physically accessed but where the assessment is not made in a timely manner for other reasons.

Question 13: May a State receive an increased Federal share up to 90% for ER projects?

Answer 13: Yes, provided threshold criteria are met, the revised 23 U.S.C. 120(e)(4) permits an increase in the Federal share to 90 percent for permanent repairs funded by 23 U.S.C. 125 if eligible ER expenses resulting from a disaster(s) or failure(s) exceed the State’s combined annual Federal-aid apportionments under 23 U.S.C. 104 for the fiscal year when the disaster(s) or failure(s) occurred.

To determine eligibility for the increased Federal share under section 120(e)(4), the following procedural steps are necessary:

  • For all events that occur in a fiscal year, sum up all eligible expenditures during that and any subsequent years.
  • Compare the total to the State’s apportionments under 23 U.S.C. 104 for the fiscal year in which the disaster(s) occurred.
  • If the cumulative eligible expenditures associated with a disaster(s) are greater than the State’s apportionments under 23 U.S.C. 104, new project agreements for permanent repairs may record obligations reflecting a 90 percent Federal share. Other permanent repair projects originally funded at a lower Federal share may be modified to a 90 percent Federal share, and a resulting credit will be due to the State.

This provision does not apply to the Federal share for emergency repairs.

This provision cannot be combined with other provisions such as the sliding scale provisions in 23 U.S.C. 120 to further increase the Federal share when the State’s applicable sliding scale rate is above 90 percent.

The Federal share under 23 USC 120(e)(4) has no effect on the 100 percent Federal share for ER projects on qualifying Federal Lands Access Transportation Facilities.

The Federal share under 23 U.S.C. 120(e)(4) has no effect on ER permanent repair projects on the Interstate, which are currently eligible for a 90 percent Federal share.

Question 14: What is the effect of 23 U.S.C. 125(g), Protecting Public Safety and Maintaining Roadways, which was added by section 1107 of MAP-21?

Answer 14: 23 U.S.C. 125(g) provides that the Secretary may use up to 5 percent of ER funds for projects that the Secretary determines necessary to protect the public safety or to maintain or protect roadways that are included within the scope of an emergency declaration by the Governor or the President and that the Governor deems to be an ongoing concern in order to maintain vehicular traffic on the roadway. These projects would occur on roadways within the disaster area that have not failed, but have the potential to fail in the future. As this is a discretionary authority and because the ER program is heavily oversubscribed, we anticipate this optional use of funds will be used infrequently and that it will be administered by FHWA Headquarters.

Question 15: Section 1107 of MAP-21 eliminated the $100,000,000 per State per event cap that was previously contained in 23 U.SC 125. Does the elimination of the cap apply to events that occurred before October 1, 2012?

Answer 15: No. The elimination of the $100 million per State per event cap by section 1107 of MAP-21 applies only to events that occur after the MAP-21 effective date of October 1, 2012.

Supplemental Appropriations Provided in 2013 under the Disaster Relief Assistance Act, 2013 (“Hurricane Sandy Appropriations Act”)

Question 16: If an event occurred prior to October 1, 2012, and a State had already exceeded the $100 million cap for that event under 23 U.S.C. 125, is that State eligible to receive any funds provided in the Hurricane Sandy Appropriations Act?

Answer 16: No, such a State would not be eligible to receive any supplemental funds because the Hurricane Sandy Appropriations Act does not eliminate the $100 million cap applicable to the pre-October 1, 2012 event.

Question 17: If an event occurred prior to October 1, 2012, and a State had already exceeded the $100 million cap for that event under 23 U.S.C. 125, but such event received a statutory waiver of the $100 million cap, is that State eligible to receive supplemental funds provided under the Hurricane Sandy Appropriations Act?

Answer 17: Yes, the State would be eligible to receive up to $100 million in supplemental funds for the event. For example, Hurricane Irene received a waiver from the cap requirement under 23 U.S.C. 125, prior to the enactment of MAP-21.[1] The Hurricane Irene waiver remains in effect and would enable Vermont to be eligible to receive supplemental funds related to Hurricane Irene provided under the Hurricane Sandy Appropriations Act up to $100 million, regardless of the amount the State may have already received under the ER program.

Question 18: If a non-Hurricane Sandy event occurs on or after October 1, 2012, is a State in which such an event occurred eligible to receive supplemental funds provided under the Hurricane Sandy Appropriations Act?

Answer 18: Yes, the State would be eligible to receive supplemental funds under the Hurricane Sandy Appropriations Act up to $100 million, regardless of the amount the State may have already received under the ER program. As of October 1, 2012, there is no overall cap for an event in a State under the ER program.

Question 19: If a State has ER-eligible damage related to Hurricane Sandy, would it be eligible to receive supplemental funds provided under the Hurricane Sandy Appropriations Act, regardless of the amount such State may have already received under the ER program?

Answer 19: Yes, such a State would be eligible to receive up to $500 million in supplemental funds under the Hurricane Sandy Appropriations Act. Although the amount that may be used from this Act is capped at $500 million, there is no per State cap that applies to Hurricane Sandy, since it occurred after October 1, 2012.

Guidance on Eligibility for Funding Under the ER Program at 100 Percent Federal Share as a Federal Lands Access Transportation Facility

Question 20: What Federal-aid facilities are eligible for 100% Federal share for repair or reconstruction under the emergency relief (ER) program as provided in 23 U.S.C. 120(e)(2)? (added 5/29/2013)

Answer 20: Federal-aid highways that are also eligible for funding as a “Federal Lands Access Transportation Facility” (FLATF) are eligible for the increased Federal share under 23 U.S.C. 120(e)(2). To receive the increased Federal share, the facility to be repaired or reconstructed as a result of an eligible disaster needs to qualify for funding as a Federal-aid highway and a FLATF.

The Federal-aid Division office should consult with the FLH Division office that has jurisdiction to establish whether the highway segment that requires repair or reconstruction is eligible as a FLATF under the Federal Lands Access program (FLAP). Federal-aid Division offices and FLH Divisions should pay particular attention to the termini of the highway that provides access to the Federal lands.

To determine if a highway meets the definition of a facility that provides “access to” Federal lands, the proximity to Federal lands should be considered. The terminus of a highway “providing access to” Federal lands should be the point at which it intersects (outside the Federal boundary) with a highway functionally classified as a major collector or higher in both urban and rural areas. In the case of Federal lands without a regular defined boundary, the same definition from the point where the road crosses the property line separating Federal land from non-Federal land should apply.

Generally, FHWA expects most FLATFs to be within Federal lands or within 10 miles or less from the boundary. There may be unique situations, especially in the western United States, where access roads are greater in length because of their remote nature, and the terminus with a major collector highway is more than 10 miles away. The FLH Division office should use discretion, but the definition of a FLATF should be applied uniformly across the country.

Mass Interchange, Fall 2013

Less Telling, More Asking
By Dr. Rockie Blunt
I want to take a moment to congratulate several individuals who have completed the just concluded four-session “Succeeding as a Foreman” series. Hundreds of participants enrolled in the series, which was held in five locations around the state during the past two years. However, a select few were able to attend all four sessions, and they should be recognized:    Jim Oberg (Holden)    Dave French (Holden)    Dennis Griffin (Holden)    Doug Jaspersen (Ayer)    Cory Lima (Swansea)    Art Graves (Marblehead)Well done, gentlemen.    One of the most important topics to come up in the Foreman series was communication, specifically when dealing with difficult crew members. Most of the time, we think communicating means making statements, telling or showing someone what to do. Telling is often necessary, especially when assigning a task to someone who has never done it before. The more management training I do, the more I come to believe that managers should make fewer statements and ask more questions. Less telling, more asking.    Why? Because making a statement is merely a one-way communication. The sender sends a message, but if that’s the end of the conversation, the sender never truly knows whether the receiver understood it.    Questions, on the other hand, invite a two-way communication. The receiver responds to what has been said, and in doing so, shares the responsibility for making sure the message is understood. The word “communicating,” in fact, does not mean one person merely making a statement, but rather both persons understanding that statement the same way. This distinction has many applications in the workplace, as when dealing with someone who’s not doing what he is told to do.    Picture this scenario: You assign a task to a member of your crew and although the member knows how to do it, the individual balks, complains or outright refuses. Sound familiar? Why is that? What’s causing the problem?    It is tempting to assume that the person is lazy, has a bad attitude or is a worthless pain in the neck. You can insist the crew member do what they are told (and that will work in the short term), but chances are that person will do the job poorly. The next time you ask the individual to do the same task, you’ll have the same battle on your hands. Situations like this are frustrating because you have to divert your time, attention and energy away from your own responsibilities—and your other crew members—to deal with the person.    But what might happen if, instead of assuming you know what the problem is, you ask the crew member why he/she didn’t want to do the job? A number of reasons may be causing his unwillingness and his bad mood:•    Maybe the person has been doing  this task for so many years that    the  individual is burned out, and would like to do something new.•    Maybe the person has never been confident in the ability to do it well.•    Maybe the individual doesn’t understand why the task is         important.•    Maybe you haven’t allowed the person to do it differently, even         though they may know a better way of doing it.•    Maybe the person is having personal difficulties that are             affecting the individuals mood and concentration.•    Maybe the person is a lazy good-for-nothing.    It could be any one of these reasons, or maybe one not mentioned here, but you won’t know until you ask. Perhaps the person will open up right away and give you the answer you’re looking for or perhaps it will take more time. By asking the question, however, you have let the individual know that you’re interested in what’s on their mind. You have given them the opportunity to explain, and you might even learn that the person has a valid reason for the way he/she is acting. Now you are communicating with the individual.    Remember, you can’t solve a problem unless you first identify the root causes and circumstances around the problem. And you won’t know those things until you ask. There’s no question about that.       Dr. Rockie Blunt, president of West Boylston, MA-based Blunt Consulting Group, has worked with municipal and state agencies for many years.
Mass Interchange, Fall 2013

Less Telling, More Asking

By Dr. Rockie Blunt

I want to take a moment to congratulate several individuals who have completed the just concluded four-session “Succeeding as a Foreman” series. Hundreds of participants enrolled in the series, which was held in five locations around the state during the past two years. However, a select few were able to attend all four sessions, and they should be recognized:
    Jim Oberg (Holden)
    Dave French (Holden)
    Dennis Griffin (Holden)
    Doug Jaspersen (Ayer)
    Cory Lima (Swansea)
    Art Graves (Marblehead)
Well done, gentlemen.

    One of the most important topics to come up in the Foreman series was communication, specifically when dealing with difficult crew members. Most of the time, we think communicating means making statements, telling or showing someone what to do. Telling is often necessary, especially when assigning a task to someone who has never done it before. The more management training I do, the more I come to believe that managers should make fewer statements and ask more questions. Less telling, more asking.
    Why? Because making a statement is merely a one-way communication. The sender sends a message, but if that’s the end of the conversation, the sender never truly knows whether the receiver understood it.
    Questions, on the other hand, invite a two-way communication. The receiver responds to what has been said, and in doing so, shares the responsibility for making sure the message is understood. The word “communicating,” in fact, does not mean one person merely making a statement, but rather both persons understanding that statement the same way. This distinction has many applications in the workplace, as when dealing with someone who’s not doing what he is told to do.
    Picture this scenario: You assign a task to a member of your crew and although the member knows how to do it, the individual balks, complains or outright refuses. Sound familiar? Why is that? What’s causing the problem?
    It is tempting to assume that the person is lazy, has a bad attitude or is a worthless pain in the neck. You can insist the crew member do what they are told (and that will work in the short term), but chances are that person will do the job poorly. The next time you ask the individual to do the same task, you’ll have the same battle on your hands. Situations like this are frustrating because you have to divert your time, attention and energy away from your own responsibilities—and your other crew members—to deal with the person.
    But what might happen if, instead of assuming you know what the problem is, you ask the crew member why he/she didn’t want to do the job? A number of reasons may be causing his unwillingness and his bad mood:
•    Maybe the person has been doing  this task for so many years that    the  individual is burned out, and would like to do something new.
•    Maybe the person has never been confident in the ability to do it well.
•    Maybe the individual doesn’t understand why the task is         important.
•    Maybe you haven’t allowed the person to do it differently, even         though they may know a better way of doing it.
•    Maybe the person is having personal difficulties that are             affecting the individuals mood and concentration.
•    Maybe the person is a lazy good-for-nothing.
    It could be any one of these reasons, or maybe one not mentioned here, but you won’t know until you ask. Perhaps the person will open up right away and give you the answer you’re looking for or perhaps it will take more time. By asking the question, however, you have let the individual know that you’re interested in what’s on their mind. You have given them the opportunity to explain, and you might even learn that the person has a valid reason for the way he/she is acting. Now you are communicating with the individual.
    Remember, you can’t solve a problem unless you first identify the root causes and circumstances around the problem. And you won’t know those things until you ask. There’s no question about that.   
    Dr. Rockie Blunt, president of West Boylston, MA-based Blunt Consulting Group, has worked with municipal and state agencies for many years.

Mass Interchange, Fall 2013

Tech Note #65 - Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon:A FHWA Proven Safety Countermeasure
The pedestrian hybrid beacon (also known as the High intensity Activated crossWalK or HAWK) is a pedestrian-activated warning device located on the roadside or on mast arms over midblock pedestrian crossings. The beacon head consists of two red lenses above a single yellow lens.    The beacon head is “dark” until the pedestrian desires to cross the street. At this point, the pedestrian will push an easy-to-reach button that activates the beacon. After displaying brief flashing and steady yellow intervals, the device displays a steady red indication to drivers and a “WALK” indication to pedestrians, allowing them to cross a major roadway while traffic is stopped. After the pedestrian phase ends, the “WALK” indication changes to a flashing orange hand to notify pedestrians that their clearance time is ending. The hybrid beacon displays alternating flashing red lights to drivers while pedestrians finish their crossings before, once again, going dark at the conclusion of the cycle.Background    Midblock locations account for more than 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities. Vehicle travel speeds are usually higher at midblock locations, contributing to the higher injury and fatality rates at these locations. More than 80 percent of pedestrians die when hit by vehicles traveling at 40 mph or faster while less than 10 percent die when hit at 20 mph or less.    The pedestrian hybrid beacon is a great intermediate option between the operational requirements and effects of a rectangular rapid flash beacon and a full pedestrian signal because it provides a positive stop control in areas without the high pedestrian traffic volumes that typically warrant the installation of a signal. In addition, the alternating red signal heads allow vehicles to proceed once the pedestrian has cleared their side of the travel lane, thus improving vehicle traffic flow.    Installation of the pedestrian hybrid beacon has been shown to provide the following safety benefits:Up to a 69 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes; andUp to a 29 percent reduction in total roadway crashes.Guidance    Pedestrian hybrid beacons should only be used in conjunction with a marked crosswalk. In general, they should be used if gaps in traffic are not adequate to permit pedestrians to cross, if vehicle speeds on the major street are too high to permit pedestrians to cross, or if pedestrian delay is excessive. Transit and school locations may be good places to consider using the pedestrian hybrid beacon. Chapter 4F of the Manual on Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) contains a chapter on the pedestrian hybrid beacon and when and where it should be installed. Practitioners should follow the MUTCD guidelines, which are referenced below. Since the pedestrian hybrid beacon is a traffic control device many people are not yet familiar with, effort should be made to perform outreach to the public before implementation so there is no confusion about how the beacon operates and what drivers and pedestrians should do when encountering it.
Mass Interchange, Fall 2013

Tech Note #65 - Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon:
A FHWA Proven Safety Countermeasure

The pedestrian hybrid beacon (also known as the High intensity Activated crossWalK or HAWK) is a pedestrian-activated warning device located on the roadside or on mast arms over midblock pedestrian crossings. The beacon head consists of two red lenses above a single yellow lens.
    The beacon head is “dark” until the pedestrian desires to cross the street. At this point, the pedestrian will push an easy-to-reach button that activates the beacon. After displaying brief flashing and steady yellow intervals, the device displays a steady red indication to drivers and a “WALK” indication to pedestrians, allowing them to cross a major roadway while traffic is stopped. After the pedestrian phase ends, the “WALK” indication changes to a flashing orange hand to notify pedestrians that their clearance time is ending. The hybrid beacon displays alternating flashing red lights to drivers while pedestrians finish their crossings before, once again, going dark at the conclusion of the cycle.

Background
    Midblock locations account for more than 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities. Vehicle travel speeds are usually higher at midblock locations, contributing to the higher injury and fatality rates at these locations. More than 80 percent of pedestrians die when hit by vehicles traveling at 40 mph or faster while less than 10 percent die when hit at 20 mph or less.
    The pedestrian hybrid beacon is a great intermediate option between the operational requirements and effects of a rectangular rapid flash beacon and a full pedestrian signal because it provides a positive stop control in areas without the high pedestrian traffic volumes that typically warrant the installation of a signal. In addition, the alternating red signal heads allow vehicles to proceed once the pedestrian has cleared their side of the travel lane, thus improving vehicle traffic flow.
    Installation of the pedestrian hybrid beacon has been shown to provide the following safety benefits:

Up to a 69 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes; and

Up to a 29 percent reduction in total roadway crashes.
Guidance
    Pedestrian hybrid beacons should only be used in conjunction with a marked crosswalk. In general, they should be used if gaps in traffic are not adequate to permit pedestrians to cross, if vehicle speeds on the major street are too high to permit pedestrians to cross, or if pedestrian delay is excessive. Transit and school locations may be good places to consider using the pedestrian hybrid beacon. Chapter 4F of the Manual on Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) contains a chapter on the pedestrian hybrid beacon and when and where it should be installed. Practitioners should follow the MUTCD guidelines, which are referenced below. Since the pedestrian hybrid beacon is a traffic control device many people are not yet familiar with, effort should be made to perform outreach to the public before implementation so there is no confusion about how the beacon operates and what drivers and pedestrians should do when encountering it.

Mass Interchange, Fall 2013

MUTCD requirements for Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons
The following text is from Section 4F, December 2009. MUTCD 2009 Edition

Section 4F.01 Application of Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons
Support:
01 A pedestrian hybrid beacon is a special type of hybrid beacon used to warn and control traffic at an unsignalized location to assist pedestrians in crossing a street or highway at a marked crosswalk.

Option:
02 A pedestrian hybrid beacon may be considered for installation to facilitate pedestrian crossings at a location that does not meet traffic signal warrants (see Chapter 4C), or at a location that meets traffic signal warrants under Sections 4C.05 and/or 4C.06 but a decision is made to not install a traffic control signal.

Standard:
03 If used, pedestrian hybrid beacons shall be used in conjunction with signs and pavement markings to warn and control traffic at locations where pedestrians enter or cross a street or highway. A pedestrian hybrid beacon shall only be installed at a marked crosswalk.

Guidance:
04 If one of the signal warrants of Chapter 4C is met and a traffic control signal is justified by an engineering study, and if a decision is made to install a traffic control signal, it should be installed based upon the provisions of Chapters 4D and 4E.
05 If a traffic control signal is not justified under the signal warrants of Chapter 4C and if gaps in traffic are not adequate to permit pedestrians to cross, or if the speed for vehicles approaching on the major street is too high to permit pedestrians to cross, or if pedestrian delay is excessive, the need for a pedestrian hybrid beacon should be considered on the basis of an engineering study that considers major-street volumes, speeds, widths, and gaps in conjunction with pedestrian volumes, walking speeds, and delay.
06 For a major street where the posted or statutory speed limit or the 85th-percentile speed is 35 mph or less, the need for a pedestrian hybrid beacon should be considered if the engineering study finds that the plotted point representing the vehicles per hour on the major street (total of both approaches) and the corresponding total of all pedestrians crossing the major street for 1 hour (any four consecutive 15-minute periods) of an average day falls above the applicable curve in Figure 4F-1 for the length of the crosswalk.
07 For a major street where the posted or statutory speed limit or the 85th-percentile speed exceeds 35 mph, the need for a pedestrian hybrid beacon should be considered if the engineering study finds that the plotted point representing the vehicles per hour on the major street (total of both approaches) and the corresponding total of all pedestrians crossing the major street for 1 hour (any four consecutive 15-minute periods) of an average day falls above the applicable curve in Figure 4F-2 for the length of the crosswalk.
08 For crosswalks that have lengths other than the four that are specifically shown in Figures 4F-1 and 4F-2, the values should be interpolated between the curves.

Section 4F.02 Design of Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons
Standard:
01 Except as otherwise provided in this Section, a pedestrian hybrid beacon shall meet the provisions of Chapters 4D and 4E.
02 A pedestrian hybrid beacon face shall consist of three signal sections, with a CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication centered below two horizontally aligned CIRCULAR RED signal indications (see Figure 4F-3 on page 11).
03 When an engineering study finds that installation of a pedestrian hybrid beacon is justified, then:
At least two pedestrian hybrid beacon faces shall be installed for each approach of the major street,
A stop line shall be installed for each approach to the crosswalk,
A pedestrian signal head conforming to the provisions set forth in Chapter 4E shall be installed at each end of the marked crosswalk, and
The pedestrian hybrid beacon shall be pedestrian actuated.

Guidance:
04 When an engineering study finds that installation of a pedestrian hybrid beacon is justified, then:
The pedestrian hybrid beacon should be installed at least 100 feet from side streets or driveways that are controlled by STOP or YIELD signs,
Parking and other sight obstructions should be prohibited for at least 100 feet in advance of and at least 20 feet beyond the marked crosswalk, or site accommodations should be made through curb extensions or other techniques to provide adequate sight distance,
The installation should include suitable standard signs and pavement markings, and
If installed within a signal system, the pedestrian hybrid beacon should be coordinated.
05 On approaches having posted or statutory speed limits or 85th-percentile speeds in excess of 35 mph and on approaches having traffic or operating conditions that would tend to obscure visibility of roadside hybrid beacon face locations, both of the minimum of two pedestrian hybrid beacon faces should be installed over the roadway.
06 On multi-lane approaches having a posted or statutory speed limits or 85th-percentile speeds of 35 mph or less, either a pedestrian hybrid beacon face should be installed on each side of the approach (if a median of sufficient width exists) or at least one of the pedestrian hybrid beacon faces should be installed over the roadway.
07 A pedestrian hybrid beacon should comply with the signal face location provisions described in Sections 4D.11 through 4D.16.

Standard:
08 A CROSSWALK STOP ON RED (symbolic circular red) (R10-23) sign (see Section 2B.53) shall be mounted adjacent to a pedestrian hybrid beacon face on each major street approach. If an overhead pedestrian hybrid beacon face is provided, the sign shall be mounted adjacent to the overhead signal face.
Option:
09 A Pedestrian (W11-2) warning sign (see Section 2C.50) with an AHEAD (W16-9P) supplemental plaque may be placed in advance of a pedestrian hybrid beacon. A warning beacon may be installed to supplement the W11-2 sign.

Guidance:
10 If a warning beacon supplements a W11-2 sign in advance of a pedestrian hybrid beacon, it should be programmed to flash only when the pedestrian hybrid beacon is not in the dark mode.


Standard:
11 If a warning beacon is installed to supplement the W11-2 sign, the design and location of the warning beacon shall comply with the provisions of Sections 4L.01 and 4L.03.

Section 4F.03 Operation of Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons
Standard:
01 Pedestrian hybrid beacon indications shall be dark (not illuminated) during periods between actuations.
02 Upon actuation by a pedestrian, a pedestrian hybrid beacon face shall display a flashing CIRCULAR yellow signal indication, followed by a steady CIRCULAR yellow signal indication, followed by both steady CIRCULAR RED signal indications during the pedestrian walk interval, followed by alternating flashing CIRCULAR RED signal indications during the pedestrian clearance interval (see Figure 4F-3 on page 11). Upon termination of the pedestrian clearance interval, the pedestrian hybrid beacon faces shall revert to a dark (not illuminated) condition.
03 Except as provided in Paragraph 4, the pedestrian signal heads shall continue to display a steady UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal indication when the pedestrian hybrid beacon faces are either dark or displaying flashing or steady CIRCULAR yellow signal indications. The pedestrian signal heads shall display a WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK) signal indication when the pedestrian hybrid beacon faces are displaying steady CIRCULAR RED signal indications. The pedestrian signal heads shall display a flashing UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal indication when the pedestrian hybrid beacon faces are displaying alternating flashing CIRCULAR RED signal indications. Upon termination of the pedestrian clearance interval, the pedestrian signal heads shall revert to a steady UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal indication.

Option:
04 Where the pedestrian hybrid beacon is installed adjacent to a roundabout to facilitate crossings by pedestrians with visual disabilities and an engineering study determines that pedestrians without visual disabilities can be allowed to cross the roadway without actuating the pedestrian hybrid beacon, the pedestrian signal heads may be dark (not illuminated) when the pedestrian hybrid beacon faces are dark.

Guidance:
05 The duration of the flashing yellow interval should be determined by engineering judgment.

Standard:
06 The duration of the steady yellow change interval shall be determined using engineering practices.

Guidance:
07 The steady yellow interval should have a minimum duration of 3 seconds and a maximum duration of 6 seconds (see Section 4D.26). The longer intervals should be reserved for use on approaches with higher speeds.  

Mass Interchange, Fall 2013

Congratulations to John DePriest, Master Road Scholar
John DePriest, AICP, has been working for the City of Chelsea since 1994. He started as a staff transportation planner and was responsible for developing and managing streetscape improvement projects. He worked with State transportation agencies to guide transportation projects through the funding and permitting process. John was appointed by the City Manager to the Director of Planning and Development position six years ago.  He is also the City’s TIP Coordinator and serves on the Traffic and Parking Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals.     Prior to working for the City, he worked for a small land use planning firm located in Boston.  John sits on the Community Development Board in Medford where he currently resides.  He holds a BA in Regional and Urban Planning from Boston State College and an MA in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University. 
Mass Interchange, Fall 2013

Congratulations to John DePriest, Master Road Scholar

John DePriest, AICP, has been working for the City of Chelsea since 1994. He started as a staff transportation planner and was responsible for developing and managing streetscape improvement projects. He worked with State transportation agencies to guide transportation projects through the funding and permitting process. John was appointed by the City Manager to the Director of Planning and Development position six years ago.  He is also the City’s TIP Coordinator and serves on the Traffic and Parking Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
    Prior to working for the City, he worked for a small land use planning firm located in Boston.  John sits on the Community Development Board in Medford where he currently resides.  He holds a BA in Regional and Urban Planning from Boston State College and an MA in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University. 

Mass Interchange, Fall 2013

The Baystate Roads Program is now accepting major credit cards online

The Baystate Roads Program is pleased to announce the addition of an online credit card payment feature that allows you to pay by credit card after registering for a workshop. Just look for the “PAY BY CREDIT CARD HERE” link after you register. Click on the link and you will be guided through a secure process to make your payment. We hope you will find this new feature both convenient and easy to use.
     If you have any questions about paying by credit card, please call the Baystate Roads Program at 413-577-2762.

Mass Interchange, Fall 2013

“Moving Together” adds prominent new partner for 2013 conference
The transit community has been invited to Moving Together 2013, MassDOT’s annual statewide healthy transportation conference. This prominent new partner completes the equation Transit + Walking + Bicycling = Mobility. All three modes comprise Healthy Transportation, and support MassDOT’s Mode Shift and GreenDOT Policies. The conference will feature a Plenary session where participants will have an opportunity to prioritize Mode Shift strategies for MassDOT’s consideration. Add your voice to the growing chorus of support for transit, walking and bicycling by attending this year’s conference.  Registration for the conference is through the Baystate Roads Program.
People can register on-line at mass.gov/baystateroads or can call the Baystate Roads program at (413) 577-2762 for more information. 
Mass Interchange, Summer 2013

“Moving Together” adds prominent new partner for 2013 conference

The transit community has been invited to Moving Together 2013, MassDOT’s annual statewide healthy transportation conference. This prominent new partner completes the equation Transit + Walking + Bicycling = Mobility. All three modes comprise Healthy Transportation, and support MassDOT’s Mode Shift and GreenDOT Policies. The conference will feature a Plenary session where participants will have an opportunity to prioritize Mode Shift strategies for MassDOT’s consideration. Add your voice to the growing chorus of support for transit, walking and bicycling by attending this year’s conference. Registration for the conference is through the Baystate Roads Program.

People can register on-line at mass.gov/baystateroads or can call the Baystate Roads program at (413) 577-2762 for more information. 

Mass Interchange, Summer 2013

New rainwater collection system increases job efficiency while reducing demand on public water supply
 Last year, MassDOT-District 3 personnel in Area B developed a rainwater collection system.  This system, located at the Upton depot, supplies Area B with water needed for street sweeping, drainage cleaning, and other maintenance activities.  The collected water provides most of the water needed for the area’s street sweeping and drainage cleaning operations. The Upton system will re-use approximately 40,000 gallons of rainwater per year.
 The following materials are used to construct a rainwater collection system. Liquid de-icer storage tanks that are at the end of their life are reused as the water tanks. The tank is placed on crushed stone to distribute water overflow and help prevent erosion. A gutter system is constructed along the roof edge of the building using 4-inch pvc piping to collect the water and direct it into the water tank. A pump is used for moving water from tank to tank, whether it be the storage tank to a transporting tank or the transporting tank to a street sweeper/jet truck tank.
 Maintenance on the system is simple. The water in the tank circulates naturally with rain events, which prevents algae growth. Partially draining a full tank is recommended prior to a significant rain event.  Disconnecting the gutter system and draining the tank during cold weather will prevent damage caused by below freezing temperatures. 
 Benefits include:
Instant access to water
Less time spent filling tanks
More-continuous operations
Less wear & tear on equipment.
Lower demand on public water supply
 The system has resulted in more efficient operations and also contributed to MassDOT’s GreenDOT initiative.
 The two main uses for the non-potable water are street sweeping and drainage cleaning operations. Other uses include washing equipment (snow & ice, lawn mowers, etc.) and miscellaneous uses such as filling water bags.
 There are likely opportunities for rainwater collection systems at many municipal snow & ice depots. Salt sheds often provide large catchment areas for rainwater. Old liquid tanks that would otherwise be discarded provide an opportunity for recycling and reuse.  
Article compiled from MassDOT’s Rainwater Collection System, Upton Depot, Theodore Fior and Erica Grygorcewicz, District 3 Office, Worcester, MA. Originally presented at the 2013 MassDOT Innovation Conference.

Mass Interchange, Summer 2013

New rainwater collection system increases job efficiency while reducing demand on public water supply


Last year, MassDOT-District 3 personnel in Area B developed a rainwater collection system.  This system, located at the Upton depot, supplies Area B with water needed for street sweeping, drainage cleaning, and other maintenance activities.  The collected water provides most of the water needed for the area’s street sweeping and drainage cleaning operations. The Upton system will re-use approximately 40,000 gallons of rainwater per year.

The following materials are used to construct a rainwater collection system. Liquid de-icer storage tanks that are at the end of their life are reused as the water tanks. The tank is placed on crushed stone to distribute water overflow and help prevent erosion. A gutter system is constructed along the roof edge of the building using 4-inch pvc piping to collect the water and direct it into the water tank. A pump is used for moving water from tank to tank, whether it be the storage tank to a transporting tank or the transporting tank to a street sweeper/jet truck tank.

Maintenance on the system is simple. The water in the tank circulates naturally with rain events, which prevents algae growth. Partially draining a full tank is recommended prior to a significant rain event. Disconnecting the gutter system and draining the tank during cold weather will prevent damage caused by below freezing temperatures. 

Benefits include:

Instant access to water

Less time spent filling tanks

More-continuous operations

Less wear & tear on equipment.

Lower demand on public water supply

The system has resulted in more efficient operations and also contributed to MassDOT’s GreenDOT initiative.

The two main uses for the non-potable water are street sweeping and drainage cleaning operations. Other uses include washing equipment (snow & ice, lawn mowers, etc.) and miscellaneous uses such as filling water bags.

There are likely opportunities for rainwater collection systems at many municipal snow & ice depots. Salt sheds often provide large catchment areas for rainwater. Old liquid tanks that would otherwise be discarded provide an opportunity for recycling and reuse.  

Article compiled from MassDOT’s Rainwater Collection System, Upton Depot, Theodore Fior and Erica Grygorcewicz, District 3 Office, Worcester, MA. Originally presented at the 2013 MassDOT Innovation Conference.

Mass Interchange, Summer 2013