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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for Comments for a New Information Collection, Titled: Reports, Forms and Recordkeeping Requirements

Action

Request For Comments.

Summary

The FHWA invites public comments about our intention to request the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval for a new information collection, which is summarized below under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. We published a Federal Register Notice with a 60-day public comment period on this information collection on February 26, 2009. We are required to publish this notice in the Federal Register by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

Please submit comments by January 28, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

You may submit comments identified by Docket ID Number FHWA-2009-0054 by any of the following methods:

Web Site: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

Fax: 1-202-493-2251.

Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

Hand Delivery or Courier: U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Ray Krammes, Ph.D, PE, Acting Director, Office of Safety Research and Development, HRDS-07, Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, Federal Highway Administration, 6300 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22101, tel. 202-493-3365 between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, or Paul J. Tremont, PhD (same address) at 202-493-3338.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

Title: Reports, Forms and Recordkeeping Requirements.

The FHWA invites public comments on our intention to request the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve a total of 30 field and laboratory research studies that will include collections of information from the general public. These studies will be conducted over a period not to exceed 3 years with an annual burden of approximately 2000 hours and a grand total burden of approximately 6000 hours. These collections are integral to the performance of various analytical, field, and laboratory human factors research projects that FHWA intends to conduct in support of its mission of improving safety and increasing mobility on our Nation's highways through National Leadership, Innovation, and Program Delivery. The laboratory and field research FHWA conducts usually involves observations of driver behavior in controlled experimental settings. In the field and laboratory, these studies are non-intrusive, as most data are driver performance data and are automatically acquired.

Research Areas and Associated Collections Back to Top

The FHWA Office of Safety Research and Development intends to conduct analytical, field, and laboratory research projects focused on highway safety that will require acquisition of human performance data from small samples of the driving public. This research is directed at human factors issues within the following broad program areas: (A) Infrastructure design including innovative intersection configurations and signage and roadway markings; (B) highway operations; (C) older and younger driver issues; and (D) pedestrian and bicyclist concerns. Given that the focus of the research in the above areas is on human factors issues, it will require that data be collected on a few key demographic variables such as age, gender, and driving experience, however such data will not be linked to personal identifying information. Before any study is conducted under this approval request, a thorough review will be undertaken to ensure such data is not currently available, and that the proposed study does not duplicate other work.

Situations That Require Collections of Information—Examples From Each Category Back to Top

Category A (Infrastructure Design). An example from Category A would be a study designed to test an innovative intersection design such as a Double Crossover Diamond Interchange (DCD). This is a highly efficient intersection design, but if not properly implemented, it could potentially cause confusion. In a DCD, drivers cross over to the left side of the highway, with the result that opposing traffic is placed on their right side. When testing DCD implementations, FHWA needs to know whether drivers perceive any ambiguity in the signage, and if they have any orientation problems seeing opposing traffic on their right side. Other innovative intersection designs would also benefit from similar information acquired from drivers. Roadway departure is another problem area that could benefit from individual driver data. For example, it would be helpful to observe drivers' interactions with roadway geometry and signage so that such information can be applied to design decisions that can lead to reductions in roadway departures.

Category B (Highway Operations). One of the many challenges confronting highway engineers is designing a signal system that maximizes throughput and minimizes delay. Excess delay can have the unintended consequence of encouraging drivers to run red lights. This problem can be examined by observing drivers' behavior under differing signaling conditions. However, direct verbal reports of drivers are often needed to determine why drivers are making their decisions. For example FHWA may learn from questioning drivers that they would be less likely to speed up when approaching a signal if they knew the signal system would recognize this behavior and respond accordingly. One way this might happen is by advising the motorist earlier of the impending signal change. Driver interviews performed under this study area can provide information on many key issues including behavioral adaptation, decision making, and reaction times to signal phases and changes. This kind of information could lead to improvements to signal controllers that increase mobility and improve safety. Speed management is another area that could benefit from interview data. For example, lower speed limits in construction zones are difficult to enforce, and interview data with drivers can provide information on better methods of restraining driver speeds in these hazardous situations.

Category C (Older and Younger Drivers). The driving behaviors of these two high risk groups are of interest for almost all FHWA safety related studies. For example, older driver's performance as they negotiate new designs informs the engineer of those aspects of the design that present potential safety problems, and may be in need of modification. In contrast, young drivers present a separate set of challenges for highway engineers. Their ability to negotiate a new design may be less of a concern, however; it is necessary to understand how these drivers perform as they drive through these new designs. This is important as some younger drivers may be willing to take extra risks in situations where ambiguity exists. Such information from younger drivers will help engineers determine areas of potential ambiguity in design and modify these areas as necessary to ensure they are not introducing safety hazards.

Category D (Pedestrians and Bicyclists). Research related to pedestrians and bicyclists arises from the need to determine the most effective ways to accommodate these infrastructure users. While overt pedestrian and bicyclist behavior needs to be directly observed to enable engineers to determine potential safety hazards to these user groups. For example, when a new intersection design is being introduced (e.g., a triple lane roundabout) it is especially advantageous to acquire data that shows how pedestrians and bicyclists negotiate such a new design. The needs of disabled pedestrians are also considered when researching new intersection treatments, and in these efforts FHWA works closely with the U.S. Access Board to ensure that novel intersection treatments accommodate their needs. Another example of research in this area is determining bicyclists' reactions to such treatments as separately marked bicycle lanes, signage, and overall roadway configuration.

Description of How Field and Laboratory Study Participants Will Be Acquired Back to Top

Participants for research studies will be acquired by advertisement in local papers, by the distribution of flyers, or by postings to the internet. Typically, interested parties contact FHWA and they are asked a few questions to determine whether they qualify for the study. These questions involve such issues as age, driver familiarity with the location or scenario being used, number of miles driven per year, and gender.

Estimate of the Total Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping Burden Resulting From These Information Collections and Requests for Comments Back to Top

Experimental Participants: Approximately 6,000 roadway users drawn from the general driving population.

Frequency: This approval request is for 30 studies over a 3 year period.

Estimated Average Burden per respondent: FHWA estimates data acquisition from persons participating in research will require on average about 1 hour per person.

Estimated Total and Annual Burden Hours: Assuming 20 studies will be Laboratory based (Simulator), and 10 will be Field based (Field Research Vehicle), the burden is calculated as follows:

Laboratory Experiments: 20 Simulator * 210 participants * 1 hour = 4200

Field Experiments: 10 studies * 180 participants * 1 hour = 1800 hours

Estimated Total Burden Hours:= 6000 hours

Estimated Annual Burden Hours (over 3 years) = 2000 hours

Public Comments Invited: You are asked to comment on any aspect of these information collections, including: (1) Whether the proposed collections are necessary for FHWA's performance; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways for FHWA to enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the collected information; and (4) ways that the burden could be minimized, including the use of electronic technology, without reducing the quality of the collected information. FHWA will respond to your comments and summarize or include them when requesting clearance from OMB for these information data collections.

Authority: Back to Top

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995; 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended; and 49 CFR 1.48.

Issued on December 18, 2009.

Tina Campbell,

Acting Chief, Management Programs and Analysis Division.

[FR Doc. E9-30568 Filed 12-28-09; 8:45 am]

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