Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration - Momentum Newsletter
September 2018

Administrator's Message: Pedestrian Safety - Protecting EVERYONE on the Roads

This month marked the return of thousands of students to schools across the state. The back to school season is always associated with higher traffic on the sidewalks and crosswalks. My daughter went back to school along with our youngest commuters. So did many of your sons and daughters.

One of my biggest concerns as Administrator is the number of pedestrian incidents on the network. These incidents are often fatal. The contest between a person and a vehicle is no contest. And while school kids are back out there in droves, the victims in these incidents are often adults and not just during back to school time. Pedestrian fatalities in the first two quarters of 2018 have increased over the previous year's number. One is truly one too many.

Greg Slater

Greg Slater

The busiest fatality season for pedestrians is now upon us. If we want a better outlook on 2018, drivers and pedestrians need to significantly change their historical behavior over the next couple of months. And we need to keep working this challenge hard. We will. I take every fatality out there on our roads personally. They break my heart. They keep me up at night. We need to do something. And we will leverage our innovation and work ethic to get this done. Thank you.

Stay Alert. Stop for Pedestrians.

UPDATE - the Office of Materials Technology (OMT) Earns National Recognition for GIS-Based Subsurface Exploration System

Modernization - UPDATE - the Office of Materials Technology (OMT) Earns National Recognition for GIS-Based Subsurface Exploration System

A screenshot of the OMT Field Explorations Queue.

In an effort to better track, record, analyze, share and visualize geotechnical subsurface data, OMT implemented a GIS-Based Subsurface Exploration System in June 2017. Prior to this new technology, boring requests were managed through a laborious paper process that led to significant delays associated with manual data input and data accessibility.

Fast forward to 2018, all new field exploration and all historic data from 2008 onward are now accessible via the boring request tool. Within this tool, there are GIS-based flags that notify requesters if borings are located on private property, wetlands, or near historic drilling which significantly help to avoid duplication. Additionally, starting this month, lab requests and data delivery are now integrated into the boring request process. MDOT SHA also has committed to adding automated project schedule tracking giving customers immediate access to their project status, eliminating the need to prepare weekly progress reports.

So far, we estimate that the GIS-Based Subsurface Exploration System is saving the State approximately $1 million annually and AASHTO recently gave the new technology a Sweet Sixteen award which will be recognized later this month!

New GIS-Based Application Can Predict Storm Surge Effects on Maryland Roads

Innovation - New GIS-Based Application Can Predict Storm Surge Effects on Maryland Roads

A snapshot of the application's home screen, data for which was developed by the
Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative at Salisbury University.

This year produced one of the wettest summers in Maryland history, resulting in heavy rains and high water that damaged bridges and culverts. Recognizing the need to track areas most likely to flood, the MDOT SHA's Data Services Division has developed a GIS-based map that can accurately predict areas that will flood during a 50 and 100-year storm. The app, which uses GIS layers of geographical data, will help MDOT SHA employees better plan and design future road construction and assist highway maintenance shops allocate resources during major storm events.

A 50-year storm has a 2-percent chance of occurring in any given year. A 100-year storm has a 1-percent chance. The data is being rolled out and will be used by Planning, Highway Development, Structures, OMT Pavements, CHART, and district planning and maintenance. MDOT SHA created the app as a data source for county and local governments as well.

Extreme storm events and flooding are significant safety issues for the traveling public and are quite disruptive. MDOT SHA also requested the Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative (ESRGC) to develop sea level rise and storm models for tidally influenced locations. Using this data and models, MDOT SHA created mapping that can easily be viewed and utilized for anything from planning to storm preparation.

Jay Schmick Awarded Governor's Citation for 45 Years of Excellent Service

Customer Service Experience - Jay Schmick Awarded Governor's Citation for 45 Years of Excellent Service

Jay Schmick (left) shakes the hand of Secretary Pete Rahn, who presented the Governor's Citation.

Jay Schmick, Resident Maintenance Engineer (RME) with the Denton Shop, recently received a Governor's Citation for exemplifying MDOT SHA's Customer Service Promise. With over 45 years of service, Jay was promoted to RME and still holds the position 28 years later. Throughout his many years with MDOT SHA, Jay has remained an advocate for succession planning - he's mentored several team members to help them become knowledgeable, effective employees.

His supervisor, Kenny Fender writes, "[Jay] has always been there to share his knowledge and experience with anyone who seeks guidance."

Jay has mentored Scott Cole (RME, Easton Shop), Dennis North (RME, Chestertown Shop), Noble Holland (ARME, Denton Shop) and James Gill (Facility Maintenance Supervisor, Denton Shop). He has also received high praise from former state Senator Richard F. Colburn for his work to promote pedestrian safety in his community. Not to mention, Jay previously received a Governor's Citation for his outstanding services to the citizens of Maryland. His dedication to every customer's needs positions him as a strong example of the customer service experience at its finest.


Photo of the Month

DaVeda Johnson, Social Media Coordinator in the Office of Communications, mans MDOT SHA’s booth at the 140th Annual Maryland State Fair where she spread the word about pedestrian, bicycle and work zone safety, and litter prevention!

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