ADD40 at the 2019 TRB Annual Meeting

Please find below a list of the sessions and events sponsored or co-sponsored by the ADD40 Committee on Transportation and Sustainability during the 2019 TRB Annual Meeting. The ADD40 committee, subcommittee, and joint-subcommittee meetings are highlighted in orange.






Congratulations Marc Fialkoff!

Congratulations to Marc Fialkoff who successfully defended his PhD in Planning, Governance, and Globalization on Monday. Marc’s research focused on quantifying the effect of the Jones Act restriction on freight transportation networks in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. His research blended civil engineering, law, network science, and planning to analyze the impact of a law on critical infrastructure. Marc’s committee represented the interdisciplinary nature of transportation policy, with committee members from Urban Affairs and Planning, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Law, and Network Science. I served as co-chair Marc’s committee with Ralph Buehler, along with committee members Kathleen Hancock, Henning Mortveit, and Jonathan Gutoff.

In addition to being an interdisciplinary study of law, policy, and freight transportation, Marc’s research leveraged a collaborative partnership between the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). As part of his research, Marc spent a year with the Critical Infrastructure and Climate Change team at ORNL, under the supervision of Dr. Olufemi Omitaomu, collecting data and analyzing the impacts of the law on the highway and railway networks. Using tools developed by ORNL researchers, Marc connected his background in law and planning with technical expertise to evaluate law and policy decisions on freight transportation. Most recently, Marc was selected as an Eno Fellow by the Eno Center for Transportation in recognition of his interdisciplinary approach to studying problems in transportation research.

Marc’s research is timely in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to inform decision-makers as to the impact of relaxing the Jones Act and its implications on the freight transportation network. It is the first study to externalize the Jones Act as a legal lever for influencing recovery within the freight transportation system.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused massive disruption and destruction to the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The intensity of the storm forced the Port of New York and New Jersey to close, forcing cargo diversion to the Port of Norfolk in Virginia. Because of the Jones Act restriction on foreign vessels moving between U.S. ports, the restriction on short sea shipping was viewed as a barrier to recovery.

Much of the critical infrastructure resilience and security literature focuses on the “hardening” of physical infrastructure, but not the relationship between law, policy, and critical infrastructure. Traditional views of transportation systems do not adequately address questions of governance and emergent behaviors such as resilience. In contrast, recent development of a System of Systems framework provides a conceptual framework to study the relationship of law and policy systems to the transportation systems they govern.

Applying a System of Systems framework, this research analyzed the effect of relaxing the Jones Act on freight transportation networks experiencing a disruptive event. Using WebTRAGIS (Transportation Routing Analysis GIS), the results of the research demonstrate that relaxing the Jones Act had a marginal reduction on highway truck traffic and no change in rail traffic volume in the aftermath of a disruption. The research also analyzed the Jones Act waiver process and the barriers posed by the legal process involved in administration and review for Jones Act waivers. Recommendations on improving the waiver process include greater agency coordination and formal rulemaking to ensure certainty with the waiver process.

This research is the first in studying the impact of the Jones Act on a multimodal freight transportation network. Likewise, the use of the System of Systems framework to conceptualize the law and a critical infrastructure system such as transportation provides future opportunities for studying different sets of laws and policies on infrastructure. This can provide policymakers and planners with a more robust opportunity to understand the impact of law and policy on the infrastructure systems they govern.

VT Authors Event

The photos below were taken this afternoon at the 11th Annual VT Authors Recognition Event. In 2015, over 70 VT faculty published more than 80 books. I attended the event to talk with fellow authors about the book I co-authored with Henrik GudmundssonGreg Marsden, and Joe Zietsman entitled Sustainable Transportation: Indicators, Frameworks, and Performance Management.

TRB 2016 Annual Meeting Workshop

At the 2016 TRB Annual Meeting, I will be taking part in a workshop entitled Sustainability in Transportation – Making it Count. This workshop will introduce key concepts from our new book – Sustainable Transportation: Indicators, Frameworks and Performance Management – with the objective of empowering participants to critically review and analyze the challenges of using indicators to promote sustainability. The aim is to move beyond simple prescriptions and one-size-fits-all lists of performance measures, to explore how an understanding of frameworks and indicator applications can make sustainability count.


Thursday, January 14, 2016, 8:00AM – 12:00PM

Convention Center, 204B



New Sustainable Transportation Book

I’m pleased to announce the publication of our new book on “Sustainable Transportation: Indicators, Frameworks, and Performance Management.”

This book is the result of six years of collaboration between Dr. Henrik Gudmundsson (Technical University of Denmark), Dr. Greg Marsden (University of Leeds), Dr. Josias Zietsman (Texas A&M University), and I. It draws from decades of collective experience in the areas of sustainable development and sustainable transportation, focused on research, teaching, and practice.

The book is intended to provide students and practitioners with a deep understanding of the basic concepts of sustainability as well as a coherent framework for how to apply them consistently in the context of transportation planning, management, and decision making at different levels.

A version of the book will also be published by Samfundslitteratur for the nordic market.


In the coming weeks we will launch a book website that will contain additional information and updates.

Congratulations Joseph Arcella!

image002On Monday, March 4, Master’s Civil Engineering student, Joseph Arcella, successfully defended his thesis entitled “A Comparative Analysis of Current Performance-Based Maintenance Procurement Methods to Improve Virginia Highways.” Joseph’s research was conducted out of the Center for Highway Asset Management Programs (CHAMPS) at Virginia Tech. Funding was provided by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Maintenance Division in an effort to help improve their current performance-based “Turnkey Asset Maintenance Services” (TAMS) contracts used on the interstates.

Left to Right: Berk Uslu, Joe Arcella, Omidreza Shoghli, Joe Plummer, Dimitrios Sideris, Grant Howerton, Carlos Figueroa
CHAMPS Researchers. Left to Right: Berk Uslu, Joe Arcella, Omidreza Shoghli, Joe Plummer, Dimitrios Sideris, Grant Howerton, Carlos Figueroa

For his research, Joseph studied the current state-of-practice in performance-based highway maintenance both domestically and internationally. The research was completed in two phases. Phase one involved a mini-scan study of the highway maintenance industry to identify the current practices in performance-based maintenance contracting (PBMC). This phase gathered information on domestic and foreign agencies currently using performance-based maintenance on highways. Phase two used the mini-scan study information to build, compare, and analyze agency timelines (i.e., VDOT to others). Timelines included major milestones at each agency; milestones which enabled innovation in the field of performance-based contracting. The purpose of comparing VDOT to other agencies was to provide VDOT with industry best practices as well as recommendations for future contract evolutions. Timelines were constructed for Florida DOT, Main Roads of Western Australia, England’s Highways Agency, and New Zealand Transport Agency. Connection links were made between VDOT and the other four agencies based on similarities in procurement laws and maintenance milestones. The timeline linkages and collection of information on benefits associated with PBMC (compared to traditional method-based maintenance) were used to make five recommendations for VDOT’s future maintenance program. VDOT recommendations were: Use performance-based contracting on secondary roads, use area-wide contracts to cover addition facilities, shift VDOT TAMS focus from lowest-cost to a best-value approach similar to England’s Managing-Agent Contractor, devise a strategic network of highways to prioritize maintenance, and use key performance indicators to align the Maintenance Division’s and  VDOT’s objectives. Recommendations also considered the current restrictions imposed by Virginia procurement laws.

I served as a member of Joseph’s thesis committee, along with Jesus M. de la Garza (committee chair) and Michael Garvin.