* Purdue Road School

March 2, 2007

Biofuels, other transportation issues highlight Purdue Road School

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Biofuels, alternative intersections, traffic congestion, highway safety, sidewalks, street design and bicycle routes are among the many transportation issues to be discussed at the 2007 Purdue Road School.

More than 1,500 people are expected for the three-day event that runs from Tuesday to Thursday (March 6-8) at Purdue's Stewart Center.

The conference, the oldest of its kind in the nation, will feature a number of state, federal, academic and industry transportation experts. All conference sessions are free and open to the public.

"In addition to providing more than 30 different sessions concerning many important transportation issues, we will be signing the Indiana Partnership for Transportation Quality Charter during the conference," said Kumares Sinha, Road School co-chairman and Purdue's Olson Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering. "The charter is a cooperative effort by the state's highway industry to focus on the continuous quality improvement of our roads and highways."

The quality charter will include projects to keep the roads and highways safe, improve long-term performance and durability of the state's transportation system, and create a program to recognize quality achievement.

The charter will be signed on Tuesday (March 6) during the Road School's opening session, which will take place from 9:30-11:30 a.m. in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse.

Those signing the charter include officials from the Federal Highway Administration, Indiana Department of Transportation, American Council of Engineering Companies, Purdue, Indiana Chapter of the American Concrete Pavement Association, Indiana Construction Association, Asphalt Pavement Association of Indiana, Indiana Mineral Aggregates Association Inc., Indiana Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Indiana Association of City Engineers, Indiana Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and the Indiana Association of County Engineers and Highway Supervisors.

The charter signing will follow the opening session keynote address by Douglas Rose, chief engineer for the Maryland Department of Transportation. Karl Browning, newly appointed commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation also will speak in the opening session.

The keynote speaker for the Road School luncheon is Joe Toole, the Federal Highway Administration's associate administrator for professional and corporate development, who will present "Don't Wait: The Future of Transportation is Now!"

A conference highlight will be the discussion of two issues relating to biofuels in the "Equipment Issues" session to be held from 8:30-10 a.m. Wednesday (March 7) in Stewart Center, Room 302. Zack Ellison, director of customer technical support for Cummins Inc., and Jon Lantz of Countrymark Co-op will provide information about biofuels and offer ideas on how to use biodiesel-blended fuels.

Addressing the high cost of poor traffic operations also will be presented at the conference from 1:30-3 p.m. Tuesday (March 6) in Stewart, Room 322. Paul Olson, technology engineer from the Federal Highway Administration in Denver, Colo.; Ryan Gallagher, director of the division of traffic control systems for the Indiana Department of Transportation; and Guy Boruff, director of public safety operations for the Indiana Department of Transportation, will speak. Olson will discuss the national cost of traffic congestion, Gallagher will focus his talk on the state's new traffic signal retiming program and Boruff will discuss traffic incident management.

Other highlights of this year's Road School include:

*  Tuesday (March 6) from 1:30-3 p.m. Room 306. "Hearings, Meetings, and the Media ... Oh My!" Shelly Haney, communications specialist for the Indiana Department of Transportation's Office of Public Information, will talk about communications and how to develop and implement a media relations strategy.

*  Tuesday (March 6) from 3:15-4:45 p.m. Room 320. "Meth Lab Roadside Disposal Hazards." Brett Cating, highway director for Montgomery County, and Paul Harrison, Indiana State Police trooper, will discuss the increase in dangerous meth lab roadside trash that many street and highway agencies much handle.

*  Tuesday (March 6) from 3:15-4:45 p.m. Room 306. "Context-Sensitive Solutions: Their Impact on Local Neighborhoods." Ways to create walkable communities will be offered by Norman Garrick, University of Connecticut professor of civil engineering; Kate Zale, project manager for the Schneider Corp.; and Nola Albrecht, landscape architect for the Schneider Corp.

*  Tuesday (March 6) from 3:15-4:45 p.m. Room 302. "Roundabouts: Exploding the Myth." Roundabout intersections, or traffic circles and alternative intersections, will be discussed by Fred Mannering, a Purdue professor of civil engineering, and Wes Butch, transportation planning manager for DLZ Inc. of Lansing, Mich. A multimedia presentation will include myths of modern roundabouts with examples of successful roundabout projects in Indiana and around the country.

*  Wednesday (March 7) from 8:30-10 a.m. Room 320. "Hoosiers Bike Everywhere." Connie Szabo Schmucker, bicycle consultant and league cycling instructor, and Jim Coryell, vice president of marketing for Marketing Infomatics in Vigo County, will provide ideas for bicycle transportation planners.

*  Wednesday (March 7) from 8:30-10 a.m. Room 218 A-C. "Safety Issues." Andrew Tarko, Purdue professor of civil engineering; Lance Meredith, safety circuit rider for the Kentucky Transportation Center; and John Nagle, safety management engineer for the planning division of the Indiana Department of Transportation, will speak. The presentation includes information on a computer tool for road safety audits.

*  Wednesday (March 7) from 10:15-11:45 a.m. Room 320. "Can You Hear Me Now?" Ben Lawrence, environmental policy administrator for the Indiana Department of Transportation, and Eugene Lamberson, a consulting structural engineer, will talk about the state's new traffic noise policy and the history of noise abatement walls in Indiana.

*  Wednesday (March 7) from 1:30-3 p.m. and 3:15-4:45 p.m. Room 214 A-B. "Indiana Freight Mobility Initiatives" and "Freight Data and Freight Mobility in Northeastern Illinois." Keith Bucklew, director of freight mobility for the Indiana Department of Transportation, and Gerald Rawling, director of operations analysis for the Chicago Area Transportation System, will talk about the transportation of freight across roads and highways.

Held annually at Purdue since 1914, the Road School brings together transportation-related professionals from the Federal Highway Administration to the smallest municipalities in the state, said Karen Hatke, program coordinator for the Joint Transportation Research Program.

The Road School is co-sponsored by Purdue's School of Civil Engineering and the Indiana Department of Transportation.

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, (765) 494-4192,

Sources: Kumares Sinha, (765)494-2211,

Karen S. Hatke, (765) 494-9310,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: Cynthia Sequin, Purdue News Service, (765) 494-4192,, can arrange interviews with Road School speakers.

To the News Service home page

Newsroom Search Newsroom home Newsroom Archive