Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration - Momentum Newsletter
December 2017

Administrator's Message: Communicating with Partners and Customers: Where Can MDOT SHA Take You?

We like to say, "Where can MDOT SHA take you?" Our charter, our responsibility, our mission every day is to provide a safe, well-maintained, reliable highway system that enables mobility choices for all customers, and to connect those customers to life’s opportunities. And it is so much more. That’s why we no longer deliver customer service. We deliver a CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE that must be on our minds in all that we do each and every day.

Our customers – the millions who travel our roads every day – are trusting us. They are trusting us to deliver change with every new traffic signal, every new pavement surface, every new bridge, new road or interchange. They are trusting us to take them where they need to go in a reliable, safe, timely fashion. This is their customer experience.

Greg Slater

Greg Slater

We are building a new direction and momentum at MDOT SHA. A new culture. An environment where the bar is set high, the standards are exceeded and we maintain our status as a NATIONAL LEADER in transportation. A culture where we think about that customer experience and reward innovation and creativity in solutions that deliver it.

That is why our recently announced Traffic Relief Plan and pursuit of the largest Public-Private Partnership (P3) in North America is particularly exciting. Earlier this month, we hosted our private partners at the P3 International Industry Forum to seek proposals for the Traffic Relief Plan. This historic and transformative effort will significantly improve the customer experience on some of Maryland's most heavily traveled and congested highways, including I-495 and I-270. Overall the P3 will mean acceleration, providing faster improvements, innovation and the flexibility to encourage transformation while minimizing impacts. In short, we are looking to GO BIG with this project. And that is what Governor Hogan and MDOT SHA have promised the people of Maryland – provocative and transformative solutions to the traffic issues that plague this state.

In doing so, we are communicating in a new way with our private sector partners to encourage early and continuous involvement in project development. In the quest to seek the best and brightest and usher innovation, we are asking our industry partners: where can MDOT SHA take you? And where can they take us? Where can you take us?

This effort is an example of our collective mission to harness change and provide positive, real and impactful results for our customers. We will honor our charter and deliver our customers to their jobs, to schools, vacation spots and homes now and in the future.

Faster. Better. This is a NEW SHA. We're delivering.

New Pavement Sensor Technology Saves $11.7 Million

Innovation - New Pavement Sensor Technology Saves $11.7 Million

(Left) New MDOT SHA Infrared Pavement Sensor featured as part of WBAL TV News 11 story. (Right) Older pavement sensors called “Hockey Pucks.” These sensors were among the first and cutting-edge of their time; they required significant maintenance.

Pavement sensors are a proven game changer in cost savings and effective winter operations, often a tricky business. More than active plowing and salt applications, winter weather responses demand pre-and post- storm planning, especially when considering the hazardous refreezing and potential redeployment of crews. In addition to reduced maintenance costs, the infrared pavement technology provides for smarter deployments, reducing staging labor and fuel costs, saving the State $11.7 million last season.

MDOT SHA has been installing non-invasive, infrared pavement sensors on Maryland interstates. Currently, 62 infrared sensors are up and running.

Infrared sensors measure, in real-time, what kind of precipitation is on the highway (wet, icy or snow covered), as well as the pavement temperature. They can also determine the percentage of chemical saturation present, especially critical when patrolling for refreeze.

Infrared pavement sensors replace first generation pavement sensors, deemed invasive because crews would install these "hockey pucks" into the pavement and require lane closures. In addition to annual upkeep costs, every few years crews would need to replace these sensors due to wear and tear. This winter, MDOT SHA will use the data to better inform drivers real-time by automatically posting pavement conditions to overhead digital message boards. MDOT SHA's goal is to have additional sensors installed by next November.

First HAWK Signal Comes to MDOT SHA Roadway

Modernization - First HAWK Signal Comes to MDOT SHA Roadway

Bethesda Chevy Chase High School students, with tip cards in hand, use the crosswalk at the new HAWK signal along MD 410.

This fall MDOT SHA installed the first High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) pedestrian signal on a Maryland State roadway – expanding and modernizing available tools in the tool box to enhance the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. The HAWK signal is different from other signals: it remains dark until activated. Once a pedestrian presses the "walk" button, the signal cycles flashing yellow, solid yellow, then solid red to stop motorists and allow pedestrians to cross.

The day signal technicians activated the new device along MD 410 at Bethesda Chevy Chase High School, the day after National Walk to School Day, safety ambassadors patrolled MD 410 handing out education tip cards and advising students and pedestrians to press the "walk" button. OOTS Deputy Director Anyesha Mookherjee monitored the crossing patterns on the first day of activation, adjusting signal times for optimal pedestrian crossing time and traffic flow.

"I'm one of the parents who advocated for the light – thank you SO MUCH for helping to make that happen! We are so thrilled!" said PTA member and parent Andrea Taylor.

A Focus on Marlboro Shop’s Keith Thomas

Customer Service Experience - A Focus on Marlboro Shop's Keith Thomas

Before and After: The service road adjacent to MD 210 in Ft. Howard became an illegal dumping ground until Keith Thomas and his team from the Marlboro Shop offered a lasting solution.

Trash. Old carpets. Debris and other odds and ends. A blight that diminished the community's pride and sense of wellbeing. For years, drivers in trucks would illegally back along a service road next to MD 210 (Indian Head Highway), using the area as an illegal dumping ground. But no longer – thanks to Keith Thomas, Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) Marlboro Maintenance Shop Facility Maintenance Supervisor (FMS).

Meeting at the site with community members, Keith promised to help remove the eyesore for good. Responding immediately, he and his team removed the latest accumulation of garbage and placed concrete barriers to prevent trucks from stealthily returning. Then, he arranged for MDOT SHA to construct a sturdy guardrail before the barrier to completely block what had become an illegal dumping area. The dumpers have not returned.

Michael Leventhal, the Conservancy Board of Trustees' president, wrote enthusiastically, "I cannot praise enough the work by Keith Thomas. He is a man of his word, and puts his words into action. I don't believe I have ever dealt with a more honest, forthright and action oriented government employee."

Congratulations to Keith Thomas and his team for providing a positive customer service experience, that looked beyond the immediate, reactive response for an active, lasting resolution.


Photo of the Month

More than 18 months ahead of schedule, Governor Hogan joined Secretary Rahn and members of the MDOT SHA team to cut the ribbon on the four lanes of traffic along MD 404 – the number one priority for Queen Anne's, Talbot and Caroline counties – just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday!

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