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The Every Day Counts Regional Summit: Spreading Improvement One State at a Time

Geneva Hooten, Innovation and Improvement Lead
December 4, 2018

EDC-5 Summit

Utah Department of Transportation’s Paul Wheeler provided a lively and informative overview of Unmanned Aerial Systems. Photo courtesy of Eileen Barron.

Continuous improvement and innovation are the cornerstones to better transportation services across the United States. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) believes this and has worked over the past decade to spread specific innovations across America, one state at a time.

The Every Day Counts (EDC) program is FHWA’s state-based model that identifies and rapidly deploys proven, yet underused, innovations to shorten the project delivery process, enhance roadway safety, reduce vehicular traffic congestion, and improve environmental sustainability. Starting in January 2019 and for the next two years, FHWA will be supporting the following ten innovations as part of the EDC’s fifth deployment, colloquially known as EDC-5.

From safety-based improvements like Reducing Rural Roadway Departures to a suite of countermeasures to improve pedestrian safety; to benefiting from economies of scale with Project Bundling to Collaborative Hydraulics, these strategies will improve how public agencies deliver transportation services to the public.  

Integral to the EDC model are biannual Regional Summits, held the fall prior to the next deployment of the ten innovations. These Summits serve as idea exchanges for public agency transportation professionals, thereby providing a unique opportunity to learn from other experts and share best practices, and for FHWA to collect feedback on the support and resources needed to adopt the innovations.

In November 2018, ten staff from the Colorado Department of Transportation and representatives from 21 other states came together at the EDC-5 Regional Summit in Portland, Oregon. Between keynote speakers and networking, the Summit included three breakout sessions that highlighted the ten innovations. This format “provided an invaluable forum for transportation personnel to come together and share ideas with their peers from other states,” says CDOT’s Patrick Chavez, Interstate-70 Mountain Corridor Operations Manager.

"The Every Day Counts experience brings insight to current industry best practices in a format that is fun, educational, and collaborative,” says Jamie Yount, CDOT’s Avalanche Program Manager. Jamie plans to implement crowdsourcing and weather-responsive management strategies to improve avalanche safety and winter operations.  

For Professional Land Surveyor Kathi Lyon, the Summit was “an enlightening experience to learn how ideas in transportation are used nationally.” Kathi found value in learning how other states are implementing Unmanned Aerial System technology (UAS), more commonly known as drones. Contacts made during the Summit will help her use UAS within CDOT for “avalanche control, rockfall mitigation, asset management, construction inspection, and beyond.”

At the end of the Summit, the team of CDOT staff decided to advance nine of the ten innovations at CDOT. With support from FHWA, these innovations will improve how CDOT plans, designs, builds, operates, and maintains our transportation system to deliver better customer service to the public.