[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 101 (Thursday, May 25, 2006)]
[Pages 30221-30227]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-7954]



Federal Highway Administration

[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2005-23328]

Implementation of the Highways for LIFE Pilot Program

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The FHWA is issuing this notice to announce the implementation 
plan for the Highways for LIFE (HfL) Pilot Program outlined in Section 
1502 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation 
Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). LIFE is an acronym for 
``Long-lasting, Innovative, Fast construction of Efficient and safe 
pavements and bridges.'' The purpose of the HfL Pilot Program is to 
accelerate the rate of adoption of innovations and technologies, 
thereby improving safety and highway quality while reducing congestion 
caused by construction. This will be accomplished through technology 
transfer, technology partnerships, information dissemination, incentive 
funding of up to 20 percent, but not more than $5 million on Federal-
aid highway projects (eligible for assistance under Chapter 1 of title 
23, United States Code) and HfL Program accountability.

DATES: May 25, 2006.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Byron Lord, Office of Infrastructure, 
HIHL-1, (202) 366-0131; Mr. Michael Harkins, Office of the Chief 
Counsel, HCC-30, (202) 366-4928; Federal Highway Administration, 400 
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Office hours are from 
7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal 


Electronic Access and Filing

    Internet users may access all comments received by the U.S. DOT 
Dockets, Room PL-401, by using the universal resource locator (URL) for 
the Document Management system (DMS) at http://dms.dot.gov. The DMS is 
available 24-hours each day, 365 days each year. An electronic copy of 
this document may be downloaded by using the Internet to reach the 
Office of the Federal Register's home page at http://www.archives.gov 
and the Government Printing Office's Web site at http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara.

I. Background

    The FHWA published a notice on December 30, 2005 (70 FR 77446), 
that proposed an implementation plan for the HfL Pilot Program, as 
outlined in Sections 1101 and 1502 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, 
Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) 
(Pub. L. 109-59, August 10, 2005). The notice requested comments on the 
FHWA's proposed plan to implement the program and to develop the final 
implementation document for the program.
    The purpose of the HfL Pilot Program is to accelerate the rate of 
adoption of innovations and technologies, thereby improving safety and 
highway quality while reducing congestion caused by construction.

II. Discussion of Comments and Responses

A. Summary of Comments

    In response to the December 30, 2005, notice, the FHWA received 
eight sets of comments. These comments were submitted by eight State 
Transportation Agencies (STA), three highway-related associations; and 
one private company. The comments were supportive of the proposed HfL 
Program but offered suggestions of how it could be better implemented.
    The following discussion summarizes the comments submitted to the 
docket by the commenters on the proposed implementation plan for the 
HfL Pilot Program and FHWA's responses to the comments.

B. Significant Comments and Changes to the Implementation Plan

1. Funding
a. Amount of Incentives
    An industry association recommended that the FHWA consider 
providing more HfL funds to fewer projects. We acknowledge that 
$500,000 to $1,000,000 is a small incentive for a STA to implement new 
innovations. The purpose of the HfL Program is not to simply fund 
construction projects. It is to create within the highway community new 
business practices that seek innovation and new technology for building 
safer, better, less congested highways. The projects are platforms to 
showcase innovation and deliver technology transfer. The goal of an HfL 
project in each State is to provide a base across the nation for 
innovation. It is possible that funding may be lower or higher than 
$500,000 to $1,000,000. This amount is offered as guidance and reflects 
available funds. In describing the projects phase of the program, the 
legislation stipulated that ``the Secretary, to the maximum extent 
possible, shall approve at least 1 project

[[Page 30222]]

in each State for participation in the pilot program and for financial 
b. Funding for Projects Already Underway
    An industry association suggested that the FHWA reward States that 
already have projects underway that are meeting HfL Program goals. 
Highways for LIFE has already taken steps to recognize States that have 
sought innovative solutions to improve safety, quality and reduce 
construction congestion through our Success Stories on the HfL Web 
site.\1\ The purpose of the projects portion of HfL is to stimulate new 
innovations and accelerate implementation. Using the limited funding to 
``reward'' States for their innovation initiative would deplete an 
already limited resource and not provide the platforms for 
demonstrations and peer-to-peer exchange.

    \1\ The Highways for LIFE Web site is available at the following 
URL: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hfl.

c. Match Waiver
    An industry association suggested that the FHWA should allow a 
match waiver not only for the grant itself but also for the use of 
other Federal-aid in the project. The program does indeed allow for the 
State match to be funded by other Federal-aid. For projects carried out 
using funds apportioned to the State under section 104(b)(1)-(4) of 
title 23, United States Code, (i.e., National Highway System, 
Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, Surface 
Transportation Program, and Interstate Maintenance funds), the State 
may request the Federal share be adjusted up to 100 percent. The 
funding category proposed in the nomination must meet the program 
funding eligibility requirements. However, not more than 10 percent of 
the total of any one particular apportioned Federal-aid fund can be 
applied to the HfL project.
d. Spending Plan
    After considering the comment offered by several stakeholders, the 
FHWA has decided to increase the funding provided for Projects from 60 
to approximately 70 percent of the available HfL funding. The goal of 
Highways for LIFE is to accelerate the adoption of innovations and 
technologies and to create new practices in developing and delivering 
highways and bridges. It is not intended solely to create additional 
funds for Federal-aid projects. We acknowledge that with a $75 million 
program, the amount designated for projects would not be significant 
enough to change the culture at a STA to adopt the HfL philosophy. 
Therefore, appropriate funding for the marketing and communication 
tools such as technology transfer, information dissemination, and 
technology partnership is essential to accomplish the intent of the HfL 
2. Performance Goals
    a. Whether a project is bound to program performance measures or 
may States propose their own performance measures
    Several stakeholders commented that the STAs should be allowed to 
propose performance goal targets for their projects to reflect a range 
of project scenarios and that those should be measured as percent 
improvements. The HfL Project application will allow the STA to propose 
their performance goal targets within Safety, Construction Congestion, 
Quality, and User Satisfaction. However, the STA must explain why it is 
not accepting the HfL performance goal and justify their proposed goal.
    Industry associations and STA suggested that the FHWA not narrow 
project selections based on meeting all of the Performance Goals. 
Rather, the FHWA should consider project proposals that may do an 
extraordinary job accomplishing one or more of the Performance Goals. 
Project proposals that only meet one or two of the Performance Goals 
will be reviewed and may be selected. However, project proposals that 
meet all Performance Goals will be given preference.
b. User Satisfaction Surveys
    There were a number of comments concerned with the effort, cost, 
value, and reporting of user satisfaction. One comment states that ``a 
user satisfaction survey could eat up a large portion of the funding 
(for a project), and that past experience with user satisfaction 
surveys is that they are expensive to conduct, receive poor response 
rates, and are generally inconclusive.''
    The proposed implementation plan published in the Federal Register 
in December outlined a feedback mechanism, which lists two questions, 
``How satisfied the user is with the new facility;'' and (2)'' How 
satisfied the user is with the approach used to construct the new 
facility in terms of minimizing disruption?'' A five-point Likert scale 
(1 = Not at all; 2 = Somewhat; 3 = Neutral; 4 = Somewhat positive; 5 = 
Very positive) is to be used, with a 4 + score being the level of 
success sought.
    While scientifically based ``omnibus'' surveys (which cover a wide 
range of topics) can be costly, the type of feedback sought here does 
not need to be. It may be specific to the project itself and nothing 
else, and contain nothing but the two key questions stipulated, if the 
agency so desires. Agency public affairs offices have come up with 
creative ways of surveying affected publics. They have, for example, 
worked with the local newspaper's editorial board or transportation 
writer, and had the survey featured as a piece in the neighborhood 
edition that covers the project's area. In other cases, public affairs 
offices have set up newsletters distributed to businesses and residents 
in the project locale, and these could be used to carry the survey 
    Historically, the American Association of State Highway and 
Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has recognized the vital role 
customer satisfaction plays in the quality of a highway project or 
program. In 2000, AASHTO's Standing Committee on Quality issued a 
Knowledge Sharing Database, which listed responses from 22 of 31 states 
surveyed on how they obtain feedback from highway users and other 
customers.\2\ Such case studies, as well as shared experiences will be 
helpful in determining how an agency wishes to respond to this 
requirement. Also, the FHWA will develop a toolbox of techniques and 
instruments, which can be used. The toolbox will be available on the 
HfL Web site by June 2006.

    \2\ The user satisfaction toolbox is available at the following 
URL: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hfl.

    There is an implied sense that, as long as an agency maintains high 
performance goals for the areas of safety, construction congestion, and 
quality, then user satisfaction will be taken care of; however, that is 
not always the case. There are a number of cases where agencies wished 
to use a particular approach in developing a project that supported 
those three key goals, yet found that the neighborhood community 
impacted by the project was set against the particular approach. The 
overarching goal of the Highways for LIFE Program is to dramatically 
enhance the driving experience of the American public. Having a method 
for direct feedback from the public is the only way to ensure that the 
goal is attained.
    The two questions posed to the highway users as an integral aspect 
of the project often means a need for some level of user education on 
the need the project and the approaches taken will fill. While some 
might feel that the work speaks for itself, all too often, such is not 
the case. For example, where an agency goes to great trouble and 

[[Page 30223]]

to remove an old bridge structure and replace it overnight, many 
members of the driving public will not even know that the effort 
occurred. On the other hand, if the agency had used conventional 
approaches of using extensive work zones for months on end, the public 
would certainly be aware of the work, although the resulting customer 
satisfaction level may not be ideal. What is often needed is an 
educational effort to make customers aware of the work the agency is 
doing, so that, once the work is completed and surveys are taken, 
highway users can make informed decisions in their survey question 
responses. The FHWA will focus extra attention on the media and other 
interested parties on Highways for LIFE projects, making all aware of 
the importance and the benefits they have for the public.
c. Quality
    An industry association recommended additional emphasis on 
longevity and durability. The FHWA recognizes the importance of 
longevity and durability; these characteristics are very much a part of 
the HfL Program. However, the ability to identify reliable metrics to 
provide sufficient reliability in the prediction of performance has 
remained elusive. Performance measures are intended to provide an 
achievable, measurable level of outcome that defines the desired 
outcome without directing how to achieve it. We will continue to work 
with stakeholders to maintain the importance of durability and 
    An industry association suggested the use of the new Mechanistic-
Empirical Pavement Design Guide as an index for longevity. The new 
Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide is a tool currently in 
development and refinement by FHWA and AASHTO. Its suitability for this 
purpose has not been demonstrated. If projects are submitted that use 
the new Guide in the pavement design as an innovative practice, it will 
be taken under consideration in the evaluation.
    We received several comments concerning the improvement of material 
quality by specifying uniformity (low variability). While low 
variability of material tests may be an indication of more uniformity 
in material, there are many factors that are necessary to obtain a 
quality project with an extended life. The FHWA is willing to work with 
STAs' efforts to quantify quality using uniformity of materials as a 
measure and encourages other innovative measures that indicate a 
quality product and extended life.
    An industry association suggested that the FHWA should consider 
allowing the measurement of smoothness and noise as part of user 
satisfaction. Smoothness and noise are related to the users and will 
effect user satisfaction. Many factors, along with smoothness and 
noise, are involved in user satisfaction, which is much more difficult 
and complex to quantify. The FHWA will consider smoothness and noise in 
determination of user satisfaction, and will still consider smoothness 
and noise measurements as measures of quality.
    An industry association suggested including pavement friction and 
light reflectivity as a quality measurement. Friction or the ability of 
the surface of the pavement or bridge to provide a safe platform for 
steering and stopping is an important safety component of the system. 
The FHWA will accept innovative practices to assure safety along with 
performance measures to determine it has been achieved. The FHWA will 
work with the States to identify appropriate performance levels for 
pavement friction as a quality measurement. Light reflectivity is an 
important performance measure for striping, signs and delineators. How 
to do this for pavement surfaces to set safety performance measures 
remains to be identified. The HfL Program only considers proven 
technology. We are not aware of any light reflectivity requirements on 
pavement surfaces at this time. We will work with the States that 
desire to identify appropriate performance levels for reflectivity as a 
quality measurement.
3. Proprietary Products and Processes
    A private company supported the implementation of Super-Slab 
System[reg], and proprietary products. Super-Slab System[reg] 
(prefabricated pavement) is eligible to be considered as innovative 
practices to speed construction and minimize construction caused 
congestion. Proprietary products frequently offer benefits in safety, 
quality and speed of construction. The FHWA is open to their use and 
will work with States to allow the flexibility to incorporate all forms 
of innovation into the HfL Program.
    Contracting agencies are subject to the FHWA regulations at 23 CFR 
635.411 concerning the use of patented and proprietary products and 
processes. For more guidance of the application of these regulations, 
please refer to http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/contracts/011106.cfm. However, contractors are free to select their own products, 
including proprietary products, as long as they meet contract 
specifications. In order to encourage contractors to be innovative and 
use products that further the objectives of the HfL Program, STAs 
should consider performance-based specifications.


    As a result of stakeholder feedbacks, the following are the major 
changes that have been made to the proposed implementation plan that 
was published in December 2005:
     Revised the performance goals in the areas of Work Zone 
Safety During Construction, Worker Safety During Construction, and 
Construction Congestion.
     Allow the STA to propose their performance goal targets 
within Safety, Construction Congestion, Quality and User Satisfaction 
with justification.
     Established a goal to solicit the project nominations for 
FY06 and FY07 simultaneously.
     All candidate project applications are to be submitted 
electronically through the following Web site: http://www.Grants.gov.
     Clarified the HfL Project funding options.
     Revised the HfL spending plan.

III. Highways for LIFE Implementation Plan

HfL Pilot Program

    Reflecting on the condition of existing highways and the 
traditional processes used for building new ones, the American public 
has expressed, through national and local surveys, public meetings, and 
other means, a need for an improved driving experience. Elements such 
as reducing congestion in construction work zones, reducing 
construction time, a need for improved levels of safety and quality, 
and more cost effective approaches have become the subject of much 
    Congress intended the HfL Pilot Program to incentivize the use of 
innovative technologies and practices with the expectation that safe, 
efficient highways and bridges can be built faster, and with greater 
durability. The legislation reflects an understanding that the best 
approach to improving the quality of the highway system is made by 
working through the individuals and organizations charged with 
designing, building, and operating it. The FHWA intends to create an 
atmosphere that encourages and enables the rapid adoption of 
innovations in the design, construction and operation of highways.
    The HfL Program has six program elements, which are discussed in 
detail below. These program elements are as follows: Technology 

[[Page 30224]]

technology partnerships, information dissemination, projects, funding, 
and accountability.

Technology Transfer

    The key approach for improving the quality of the highway system is 
the application of existing but under-utilized, high payoff highway 
innovations, such as, equipment, techniques, processes, materials and 
management processes. The key to using these innovations is a 
knowledgeable workforce that is aware of the benefits and committed to 
improving the driving experience of all Americans.
    The purpose of the technology transfer initiative is to train, 
inform, motivate, enable and equip the highway community workforce to 
more efficiently deliver projects that meet the HfL Pilot Program 
performance goals using the above-mentioned innovations. Components of 
the technology transfer program may include technology training for 
public and private sector personnel, a knowledge exchange Web site 
where practitioners can log on and share ideas, technology workshops, 
and HfL project showcases demonstrating the actual use of the 
technology. The phrase, ``technology transfer'' has long been used to 
describe the process for taking such infrequently used innovations and 
making them standard approaches that a transportation agency is 
comfortable using on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, it has 
traditionally taken years or even decades to bring about such 
adoptions. This delay is not merely a factor of limited resources, 
workload, lack of awareness, and conservatism on the part of agency 
staffs, but also a lack of a standard concentrated approach for rolling 
out innovations. As part of the HfL Program, a major effort will be 
undertaken to develop an improved technology transfer process to 
significantly speed the adoption of innovations. This improved 
technology transfer process will be piloted focusing on a few 
    Specifically, the FHWA is proposing an innovation in each of the 
areas of safety, congestion and quality. These innovations need to be 
national in scope and have the potential for adding significant 
benefits to the highway community and highway users. The FHWA has 
already proposed three innovations that meet the HfL criteria: 
Prefabricated Bridge Systems and Elements \3\; Road Safety Audits \4\; 
and ``Making Work Zones Work Better \5\.'' Focusing on these three 
innovations does not mean that they are requirements for any proposed 
HfL-funded project. On the contrary, as outlined later in this 
document, any innovation that addresses the HfL performance goals may 
be used in an HfL-funded project.

    \3\ For more information on Prefabricated Bridge Elements and 
systems go to: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/prefab/.
    \4\ For more information on Road Safety Audits go to: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/index.htm.
    \5\ For more information on ``Making Work Zones Work Better'' go 
to: http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/index.asp.

    Additional technology transfer efforts would be provided by the HfL 
Program through an innovations workshop for each HfL-funded project. 
The workshop may be similar in scope and structure to the Accelerated 
Construction Technology Transfer \6\ workshops sponsored by the 
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 

    \6\ For more information on ACTT go to: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/accelerated.

Technology Partnerships

    Within the HfL Pilot Program, Technology Partnerships are intended 
to foster the development, improvement and creation of innovative 
technologies and facilities, including the use of proprietary products, 
technologies or methodologies. Due to limited resources, the FHWA 
intends to focus this element of the HfL Program on refining and 
improving existing innovations for application on highway construction. 
The FHWA would enter into either a grant or cooperative agreement with 
public or private organizations to jointly fund or otherwise 
participate in adapting and/or making market-ready innovations to 
support the HfL Pilot Program. These agreements may be with traditional 
partners in the highway construction business or other organizations 
outside of the highway industry, which have promising innovations that 
can be made ready for timely implementation.
    The HfL Technology Partnerships have a two-fold purpose: First, 
they are intended to foster the implementation of under-utilized 
innovations that will improve the safety, speed of highway 
construction, quality, cost effectiveness, and durability of pavements 
and bridges. Second, they provide an opportunity for those not involved 
in construction of the HfL projects aspect of the program to 
participate in, contribute to, and benefit from the Program.
    The HfL Technology Partnerships would provide financial impetus 
needed to move some of the many proven but underutilized innovations 
and methods into routine practice in the highway industry. Innovations 
brought forward through the technology partnerships may be used in the 
HfL Projects and promoted through HfL technology transfer and 
information dissemination.
    To be considered for participation, the innovation must have been 
used successfully in highway, transportation, or in some related venue 
which has a clear potential for successful use in the United States 
highway industry.
    A detailed approach to technology partnerships has not yet been 
developed because this is an area where stakeholder and industry input 
is needed. Due to the desire to obtain input, as well as the lower 
level of funding in the first year of the HfL Program, it is proposed 
that funding for Technology Partnerships would begin in fiscal year 
2007. However some deviations may be necessary, since the HfL 
technology partnerships effort focuses on proven technologies, rather 
than research.

Information Dissemination

    An essential component of transferring technology is information 
dissemination, including the communication of the HfL goals, concepts 
and services. Communicating the HfL story is critical for several 
reasons: First, without a high level of communication, there would be 
no ``technology transfer;'' innovative approaches would remain with 
those people who initially employed them. Secondly, recounting others' 
successes tends to instill within organizations a higher level of 
competition and peer-pressure to keep up with the rest of the 
    Although Information Dissemination is a major element of Technology 
Transfer, the importance of this communication element within the 
overall HfL Pilot Program is sufficient to create a separate category 
of activities. One key reason is that others, outside the primary 
audience of individuals and organizations who design, build, and 
operate the nation's highways, need to be informed as well about safer, 
less congested and improved quality highways and bridges. The driving 
public, for example, needs to be a key recipient because they are the 
ultimate beneficiaries of the overall effort. Providing the information 
starts the dialog to ensure that activities undertaken within the 
program really are pertinent to improving the public's driving 
experience. Finally, the public needs to be informed because public 
opinion can be a major motivator to getting individuals and 
organizations who are slow to adopt innovations to move faster. Telling 
the public about the

[[Page 30225]]

highway community's push for better roads and the HfL projects builds 
goodwill and shows an appropriate level of responsiveness to the 
public's need. It demonstrates that the highway community is being a 
good steward of the public trust. It also has the potential to show 
highway builders the benefits of using HfL approaches on more of their 
    A key tool for information dissemination would be the publicizing 
of HfL success stories, showing how innovation can improve safety, 
reduce construction-related congestion, and improve quality, and why it 
is beneficial to pursue non-traditional approaches and innovations.
    Communication tools such as publications, videos, special events, 
media relations, the Internet, and a web-based Community of Practice 
can be employed in getting information on the various elements of the 
HfL Program to different audiences. Specifically, those audiences may 
include the highway community, academia, associated industries and 
private sector groups, schools, elected officials, media, and the 
public in general.
    Another facet of information dissemination will be publicizing the 
success of each of the HfL demonstration projects. This will be 
accomplished at the local, regional and national levels and will be 
done during and after construction. The focus in publicizing the HfL 
project success stories will be on the innovations, the resulting 
benefits and the people in the State DOT, Industry and Division Office 
that made it happen. One technique may be the establishment of an 
annual awards program and celebration for the HfL projects. Another 
technique would be a ribbon cutting ceremony for the HfL project. 
Additionally, HfL can work with other organizations such as the 
national Partnership on Highway Quality, industry associations, 
American Automobile Association, American Trucking Associations, State 
DOT Public Affairs offices in publicizing HfL projects and the people 
involved in constructing the projects. Positive information 
dissemination coupled with recognition will be used as a means to 
perpetuate the behavior and outcomes achieved on the HfL projects.


    While training such as that outlined previously in the technology 
transfer section is important, the challenge is to get the 
transportation professional to put that training to use on an actual 
project. Such on-the-job experience will be provided through the 
Projects activity of the HfL Program. State transportation agencies 
will be asked to work with the FHWA Division Offices to identify 
candidate projects for HfL incentives where it intends to employ 
innovations that it was not used or rarely used in its State.
    Funding construction projects within the HfL Program will allow for 
detailed documentation of the potential improvements in safety, 
construction-related congestion and quality that can be achieved 
through the application of innovations on actual projects. It may also 
serve as a new business model for how a State manages its highway 
project delivery process. The demonstration will involve showing the 
highway community and the public how the HfL projects are designed, 
built, and perform. Widespread demonstration of successes will, in 
turn, provide the impetus for more widespread application of the 
performance goals and innovations in the future.
Performance Goals
    Paragraphs (a)(3) and (b)(4)(A) of Section 1502 of SAFETEA-LU makes 
reference to ``performance standards.'' In the HfL Program, the term 
``performance standards'' are also synonymous with ``performance 
goals,'' which define the desired end result to be achieved on the 
projects. The FHWA has selected performance goals to put the emphasis 
on the highway motorist needs, to foster the acceptance and adoption of 
innovations, and to reinforce the need to address all goals--safety, 
congestion, user satisfaction, and quality--in every project. The 
individual HfL performance goals would be set at levels representing 
the best the highway community has and is able to produce.
    In proposing performance goals for HfL projects, the FHWA 
considered whether a candidate goal has a highway community accepted 
definition, metric, measure, method, procedure, process and/or 
equipment. Candidate goals were evaluated with these considerations 
since it is expected that the State and its contractor(s) will be 
monitoring the goals for the design and/or construction of HfL 
    It is FHWA's intention that the approved HfL projects would include 
the Performance Goals in each of the goal areas. The performance goals 
for HfL projects include:
     Work Zone Safety During Construction--work zone crash rate 
equal to or less than the pre-construction rate at the project 
     Worker Safety During Construction--an incident rate for 
worker injuries to be less than 4.0 based on the OSHA 300 rate;
     Facility Safety After Construction--20 percent reduction 
in fatalities and injuries as reflected in 3-year average crash rates, 
using pre-construction rates as the baseline.
Construction Congestion
     Faster Construction--50 percent reduction, compared to 
traditional methods, in the duration that highway users are impacted;
     Trip Time During Construction--less than 10 percent 
increase in trip time during construction as compared to the average 
pre-construction speed using 100 percent sampling; or
     Queue Length During Construction--a moving queue length 
less than \1/2\ mile (travel speed 20 percent less than posted speed) 
in a rural area OR a moving queue length less than 1\1/2\ mile (travel 
speed 20 percent less than posted speed) in an urban area.
     Smoothness--an inertial Profile, International Roughness 
Index (IRI) of less than 48 inches/mile.
     Noise--a close Proximity (CPX) noise measurement of less 
than 96.0 decibels.
User Satisfaction
     User satisfaction--project construction surveys will be 
used to determine user satisfaction in two areas: (1) How satisfied the 
user is with the new facility, compared with its previous condition, 
and (2) how satisfied the user is with the approach used to construct 
the new facility in terms of minimizing disruption. A five-point Likert 
scale \7\ will be used for measurement, and the goal for each area will 
be 4+.\8\

    \7\ For more information on the Likert scale go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liker_scale.
    \8\ A typical question using a Likert scale poses a statement 
and asks the respondents whether he strongly agrees--agrees--is 
undecided--disagrees or strongly disagrees.

    The HfL Project application will allow the STA to propose their 
performance goal targets within Safety, Construction Congestion, 
Quality and User Satisfaction. However, the STA must explain why they 
are not accepting the HfL performance goal and justify their proposed 
    The FHWA has established a goal to solicit the project nominations 
for fiscal year (FY) 2006 and FY07 simultaneously and proceed with the

[[Page 30226]]

award of the FY06 projects in October 2006 and award FY07 projects in 
January 2007. All subsequent solicitations and awards will occur in 
March and August, respectively, beginning with the solicitation of FY08 
projects in March 2007.
    The FHWA has been notified that, in the very near future (beginning 
in FY 2007), all Federal agencies will be required to use http://www.grants.gov/, an electronic format for receiving applications. 
Therefore, the HfL Program will use it from the beginning to avoid any 
confusion in the future. Grants.gov was developed as part of the 
President's Management Agenda and related E-Government Strategy, which 
charged Federal grant-making agencies with developing a single 
electronic system to find and apply for Federal grant opportunities.
    The annual solicitation for HfL Projects will be posted in 
Grants.gov. Additionally, the announcement would be publicized through 
various other means, including posting on the World Wide Web, providing 
facilitation by the FHWA Division Offices, and through other outreach 
to the States.
    All candidate project applications are to be submitted 
electronically through Grants.gov. The STA should submit the draft 
candidate project application form to the FHWA Division Office for 
review prior to official submittal to Grants.gov. The Division Offices 
shall rrrreview the project(s) application to ensure that they are 
complete and meet the submission requirements. Once the application has 
been determined to be acceptable, the Division Office shall notify STA, 
with a cc: to the FHWA HfL Team that the candidate project has been 
reviewed and that it meets the submission requirements.
Eligibility Criteria
    Section 1502(b)(2) of SAFETEA-LU establishes the eligibility 
criteria for a project's participation in the HfL Pilot Program. The 
eligibility criteria includes:
     The project must construct, reconstruct, or rehabilitate a 
route or connection on a Federal-aid highway eligible for assistance 
under chapter 1 of title 23, United States Code; and
     The project must use innovative technologies, 
manufacturing processes, financing, or contracting methods that improve 
safety, reduce congestion due to construction, and improve quality.
Application Requirements
    Section 1502(b)(1) of SAFETEA-LU requires States to submit an 
application to the Secretary in order for a project to participate in 
the HfL Pilot Program. This application must contain the following 
     An identification and description of the project, 
including when the project will be ready for construction;
     An identification and description of the specific 
performance goals that are proposed for the project;
     A description of the innovative technologies, 
manufacturing processes, financing, and contracting methods that will 
be used for the proposed projects;
     A description of how the project will result in improved 
safety, reduced congestion due to construction, improved quality and 
user satisfaction; and
     Whether the State is willing to (a) participate in 
subsequent technology transfer and information dissemination activities 
associated with the project(s) (examples of such activities include 
conducting an ``open house'' for highway practitioners on the project, 
providing information to the FHWA for success stories, and providing 
briefings to the FHWA and general public on the success of the 
technology and process used); (b) provide information needed by HfL to 
evaluate the project and innovations (costs incurred as a result of 
supplying this information to FHWA would be an eligible project 
expense); and (c) accept FHWA Division Office oversight if the project 
is approved by HfL.
Project Selection and Evaluation
    Section 1502(b)(4) of SAFETEA-LU establishes the selection criteria 
for approving projects for participation in the HfL Pilot Program. This 
criteria requires the Secretary to give priority to projects that:
     Address achieving the HfL performance goals for safety, 
construction congestion, quality and user satisfaction;
     Deliver and deploy innovative technologies, manufacturing 
processes, financing, contracting practices, and performance measures 
that will demonstrate substantial improvements in safety, congestion, 
quality, and cost-effectiveness;
     Include innovation that will lead to change in the 
administration of the State's transportation program to more quickly 
construct long-lasting, high-quality, cost-effective projects that 
improve safety and reduce congestion; and
     Are or will be ready for construction within one year of 
approval of the project application. For purposes of the HfL Program, 
the FHWA considers a project to be ``ready for construction'' when the 
FHWA Division Office authorizes the construction project.
    In addition, the Secretary will also give priority to projects 
where the State demonstrates a willingness to participate in subsequent 
technology transfer and information dissemination activities associated 
with the project(s).
    The evaluation committee will be composed of FHWA staff who will 
evaluate project applications based on the priorities noted above.
Number of Projects
    Section 1502 establishes a maximum of 15 projects per year that may 
receive HfL funding. In considering such factors as the purpose and 
scope of the program available funding and the various associated costs 
and activities needed for each HfL construction project to contribute 
to the desired outcome, it is proposed that the total number of HfL 
projects be kept at 15 per year, with the understanding that FHWA may 
consider adding projects to take advantage of unique opportunities. 
Only 15 projects may receive HfL funding each year, there is no limit 
on the number of projects that may receive a waiver of the matching 
share requirements. However, because of required program support, HfL 
is limiting the number of waiver match projects it can approve.
    Section 1101(a)(20) of SAFETEA-LU established total program funding 
at $75,000,000 through 2009, including $15,000,000 for fiscal year 
2006, and $20,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2007 through 2009. This 
funding includes incentive grants of up to 20 percent, but not more 
than $5 million of the total cost of qualifying demonstration projects. 
A maximum of 15 projects may receive incentive funds in any fiscal 
year. Up to 100 percent Federal share is also allowed on HfL 
demonstration projects. There is a goal of providing funds for at least 
one project in each State by 2009. Based on the level of incentive 
funding provided in SAFETEA-LU, it is anticipated that individual 
project funding levels will be in the $500,000 to $1,000,000 range per 
project. Project funding options are:
    Option 1: The State may request HfL funding of up to 20 percent of 
the total cost of a construction project as outlined in SAFETEA-LU. The 
maximum HfL funding available for any one project is $5 million. The 
HfL funds may be applied to the non-Federal share of the cost of 
construction. Based on funding limitations it is unlikely any project 
will be given the maximum amount. It is anticipated that individual 
project funding levels will be in the range of

[[Page 30227]]

$500,000 to $1,000,000 per project. This HfL funding would be in 
addition to the State apportionment.
    Option 2: For projects carried out using funds apportioned to the 
State under section 104(b)(1)-(4) of title 23, United States Code, 
(i.e., NHS, CMAQ, STP, and IM funds), the State may request the Federal 
share be adjusted up to 100 percent. The funding category proposed in 
the nomination must meet the program funding eligibility requirements. 
However, not more than 10 percent of the total of any one particular 
apportioned Federal Aid fund can be applied to the HfL project.
    Option 3: The State may request a combination of both Option 1 and 
Option 2.
Spending Plan
    The majority of the HfL funding, in the order of 70 percent, is 
planned to be used for projects; a significant portion of the funds, 
approximately 20 percent, is planned to be used for technology transfer 
and the remainder of the funds would be expended on technology 
partnerships, information dissemination and stakeholder input and 
involvement. This approximate distribution of funds includes the costs 
for monitoring and evaluation for each element.
    As a means of ensuring appropriate stewardship of public funds, the 
HfL Program will include several monitoring and evaluation efforts to 
measure the effectiveness of the program and projects, as well as 
stakeholder input and involvement procedures. Although the individual 
activities within the HfL Program will require extensive effort and 
funding, there will need to be measurements beyond the basic levels of 
success or failure of those activities taken individually. The higher 
level of evaluation should reflect the primary objective of the program 
as a whole: to accelerate the adoption of innovations and technologies 
thereby improving safety and highway quality while reducing congestion 
caused by congestion.
Monitor and Evaluation
    The FHWA has the lead for monitoring and evaluation of HfL 
projects, and would be responsible for data collection, data storage 
and access, analysis, and reporting. FHWA personnel and private 
contractors will be used for this function. The owners of HfL-funded 
projects would supply or provide access to data and information. Costs 
associated with these activities are an eligible project expense. The 
FHWA Division Offices would serve as points of contact and coordination 
between the FHWA's contractor(s) and the State. While the FHWA will be 
taking the lead in the monitoring and evaluation of HfL Projects, the 
FHWA regards the project owner as a partner and looks forward to 
working with them in all aspects of the Highways for LIFE Program.
    The monitoring and evaluation effort will be used to fully describe 
and quantify the outputs, results, and outcomes in the goal areas and 
to provide an assessment of the benefits derived from the overall 
investment. A cost effective economic analysis on HfL projects will be 
conducted by the FHWA HfL Team using economic techniques for measuring 
and valuing user cost; this might include but not be limited to Event-
Only Analysis, Life Cycle Cost Analysis or Benefit-Cost Analysis. The 
resulting information would serve as a resource to highway program 
decision makers on the value of the innovations demonstrated in the HfL 
projects, help maintain the momentum needed to achieve the HfL goals, 
demonstrate the value of the entire pilot program, and provide the 
basis for projecting the benefits gained from expanding such an 
approach in the future.
    The monitoring and evaluation element would encompass the entire 
HfL Program. For the HfL projects, information collected prior to, 
during, and immediately after construction would include a full array 
of highway condition, financing, design, contracting, construction, 
operations, and safety data, as well as user statistics and opinions. 
The costs, outcomes, impacts, and benefits of the technology 
partnerships would also be fully documented. To the extent possible, 
information collected for the technology transfer and information 
dissemination aspects would include objective measures of the 
effectiveness and impact of the individual activities that are 
undertaken, in addition to information on the costs of those 
activities. The information gathered on the HfL projects, technology 
transfer and technology partnerships will also be used in research and 
development for the next generation of technologies and innovations and 
future technology transfer initiatives.
Stakeholder Input
    The HfL stakeholders include highway owners, builders, suppliers, 
consultants, academicians, users (commercial motor carriers, motorists, 
bicyclist, and pedestrians), and those impacted secondarily by highways 
(neighbors and adjacent landowners, receivers of goods shipped over 
highways). Through stakeholder input and involvement, the FHWA desires 
to refine the approach and implementation of the HfL Program as well as 
to build ownership for the program. Stakeholder input and involvement 
will be an ongoing element of the HfL Program in order to evaluate the 
progress of the program, consider appropriate redirection in light of 
progress, and assess the overall program results. Stakeholders had 
opportunities to provide input on both the HfL Implementation plan, and 
the conduct of the program itself, including:
     The HfL performance goals;
     Applicable technologies and practices;
     Technology partnerships approaches; and
     Evaluation of HfL outcomes and benefits including 
demonstration projects, technology partnerships, technology transfer 
and information dissemination.
    The FHWA is considering several additional stakeholder input and 
involvement approaches for the HfL Program. Providing information and 
soliciting feedback would happen routinely through notices published in 
the Federal Register, presentations at highway town hall meetings or 
regional forums, and the establishment of a Web-based communications 
interchange site, or ``Community of Practice'' on the HfL Internet Web 
site http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hfl/.
    (Authority: Pub. L. 109-59, Sec. 1502, 23 U.S.C. 502 and 23 U.S.C. 

    Issued on: May 19, 2006.
J. Richard Capka,
Acting Federal Highway Administrator.
[FR Doc. E6-7954 Filed 5-23-06; 8:45 am]