USDOT Region V Regional University Transportation Center

Research in Progress

2015-2016 Projects

  • Driving Simulator Based Interactive Experiments: Understanding Driver Behavior, Cognition and Technology Uptake under Information and Communication Technologies 143

  • A Novel Decision-Support Tool to Develop Link-Driving Schedules for MOVES 153

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database: https://rip.trb.org/view/2015/P/1358299

    Research Summary

    EPA-MOVES is a modal-based emissions estimator that accounts for vehicle operating modes defined by factors like speed, acceleration, road grade, curvature, and so on. MOVES has the ability to include alternative types of fuel and different type of vehicles as well. Analyses at different scales including regional, state, and project level (e.g., small road network at county level) can be done with MOVES. Integration of MOVES with a microscopic traffic simulator can be outlined as an input-output process. The second-by-second vehicular activities from traffic simulation serves as input for MOVES and the emissions inventory for a transportation network can be estimated. The input from traffic simulators can be any of the following formats: (a) average speeds for the links in the network, (b) Link Driving Schedule (LDS) for each link of the network. LDS is time dependent speed profile of a link (generally done for a representative vehicle typically by sampling), and (c) Operating mode distribution of vehicles on the link. While average speed is commonly used in practice, operating mode distribution and LDS can take the advantages regarding vehicular activity data and dynamic capability of MOVES to report time dependent emissions.

    In this project, we propose a novel decision-support tool to find the representative vehicle trajectories and accordingly the LDS for links on transportation networks. The technique will use the similarity measure such as the dynamic time warping distance and/or longest-common-subsequence measures in clustering that are more appropriate for curve alignment as compared with the Euclidean distances and its variants.

  • Estimation of Stochastic Network Vehicular Origin-Destination Demands Using Multi-Sensor Information Fusion Approaches - Phase II 158

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database link: https://rip.trb.org/view/2015/P/1358298

    Research Summary

    The main objective of this Phase II study is to estimate a set of stochastic network O-D demands using a multi-sensor information fusion method. Taking advantage of multi-sensor information, the information fusion model to be developed will formulate the O-D demand estimation problem as a stochastic mathematical program using the concept of fuzzy logic to track network uncertainties. The study will comprehensively explore the issues of network uncertainties and multi-sensor information on the estimation of network O-D demands. The corresponding solution algorithms will be developed and tested using a real road network in Taiwan to generate insights and policy implications for the developed model framework. Finally, sensitivity analysis on the budget constraint and network topology issues will be systematically evaluated for a cost-effective implementation in the field.

  • Information and Transportation choice, Long- and Short-Term, that Link Sustainability and Livability - Phase II 159

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database link: https://rip.trb.org/view/2015/P/1358297

    Research Summary

    Travelers' decisions regarding transportation can be conceived of along a long-term to short-term spectrum. Decisions of residential locations, vehicle ownership, and work destination are usually established over the scale of years. Over a shorter time period of perhaps months, people make decisions regarding parking purchase and non-work destinations. Despite this broad range of time frames, current strategies for the dissemination of transportation information concentrate at the short-term end of the spectrum.

    To foster more sustainable transportation choice behavior, an effective information strategy should be ideally designed to work along the full time-scale range, particularly since longer-term decisions frequently constrain the shorter-term options. However, the insights on the sensitivity of choices at varying time scales to information interventions, or the impact of long-term choices on those made over the shorter terms are limited.

    This project will develop practical approaches to the delivery of accessibility related information and new decision-making models in the full time-scale range that are informed by multiple disciplines including cognitive science, behavioral economics, marketing, transportation, and urban planning. It will design information interventions intended for the full range of transportation-relevant decisions and test their impacts on people moving to the Greater Lafayette area, Indiana. The research is designed to test the sensitivity of: (i) long-term decision of residential location choice to information, and (ii) the sensitivity of short-term travel characteristics to long-term residential location choice.

  • Effects of Heterogeneous Information Characteristics and Sources on Evacuation Behavior 160

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database link: https://rip.trb.org/view/2015/P/1358366

    Research Summary

    Under disasters and emergency situations, a successful implementation of the evacuation plans depends on the provision of reliable information in a timely manner, especially so in the context of short- and no-notice evacuation. With the increasing usage of portable personal devices (e.g., smart phones) as sources of information dissemination and acquisition, there is a need to understand the role of heterogeneity of information characteristics across different dissemination sources on the travel evacuation behavior of individuals

    This study proposes a systematic framework to address the potential effects of heterogeneity in information in a travel evacuation context. We will seek to understand the characteristics of information propagation from different dissemination sources and the impact of heterogeneous information on the evacuee behavior in terms of travel-related decision-making. The study will also analyze how heterogeneous decisions affect the system performance under evacuation. It will aid multiple nodal agencies associated with disaster response in developing evacuation plans, and coordinate information dissemination through multiple sources by factoring the potential for asymmetric (non-uniform) distribution of information across individuals. Thereby, the proposed study seeks to understand the role and significance of emerging social media in evacuation situations.

  • Intermodal Infrastructure Investment Decisions and Linkage to Economic Competitiveness 161

  • Synthesis of Best Practices for Agency-wide Freight Data and Information Management

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database link: https://rip.trb.org/view/2015/P/1359038

    Research Summary

    While states have data and information systems for managing spatially related data to support decision making, those systems are not populated to support freight-related planning and operations decisions. For example, at least one agency has constructed roundabouts on designated truck routes and then endured the extreme dismay of trucking companies. To address coordination issues, some agencies establish new offices for freight but the comprehensive scope of business activities and issues do not fit neatly into the organizational structures of typical transportation agencies. Another approach is to enhance access to the agency-wide data and information necessary to support development of transportation infrastructure that balances the needs of both passenger and freight users.

    This research will build on the investigators' expertise in asset management and relationships with the DOTs in the Mid America Freight Coalition. This project will review existing data sources, identify new data sources and create a catalog of business processes, data and information items necessary to support consistency, and quality in decision making and asset management of freight infrastructure and operations. The results will support implementation of the MAP-21 requirements for freight performance.

    This project deals with strategies for managing and integrating spatially related freight transportation data both intra- and inter-agency from the perspective of a state transportation agency. The scope of data is freight data, defined as data about freight for making decisions regarding the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure. Some of the freight data items include truck routes, ESAL charts, truck traffic, variable speed limits, intermodal connectors, spring-thaw restrictions, bridge clearances, posted bridges, steep grades, rail crossings, port entries, foreign trade zones, longer combination vehicles rules, OS/OW routes, weight stations, and road uses agreements.

  • Region V Transportation Workforce Assessment and Summit

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database link: https://rip.trb.org/view/2015/P/1359175

    Research Summary

    Nationwide, as the Baby Boom generation moves to retirement, the transportation workforce will lose many well-trained and experienced people. Furthermore the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed in the remaining and new transportation workers will be much broader, reflecting changes in technologies, processes and the expectations of the public. At the same time these challenges are unfolding, the demographics of our region and the nation are also undergoing change. The future workforce will be made up more heavily of members of minority groups that traditionally have had much lower rates of educational attainment and of non-traditional workers seeking second careers or more flexible working environments. In April of 2012, a number of national agencies and groups came together to hold a National Transportation Workforce Summit. The product of the summit was fourteen specific recommendations for actions on the part of educators, transportation agencies and employers. Those recommendations can be found in the National Transportation Workforce Summit Reportout.

    The purpose of this project is to lay the groundwork for addressing the transportation workforce challenges in the region either by taking steps toward implementing the national recommendations regionally or by identifying the challenges and developing the solutions that may be unique to this region.

    This project involves two phases: Phase I is a regional assessment of the transportation workforce demand and supply. Phase II is a summit of transportation workforce stakeholders within the region.

  • Measures for Environmental Sustainability Outcomes of Transportation Agencies

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database link: https://rip.trb.org/view/2015/P/1359176

    Research Summary

    In recent years, the US Department of Transportation has identified less traditional goals for transportation performance centered on environmental sustainability. This project will assess the adoption of non-traditional measures of transportation success that the federal government has identified as a strategic goal. To what extent is the goal of environmental sustainability measured at the federal level? Has the federal government provided reporting requirements to the states in regards to environmental sustainability? How is it measured? Are there some measures that could provide models for states to follow? What are the sources of resistance to these alternative measures of transportation?

    The USDOT is an anticipated user of the results from this proposed project. In recent years, the USDOT has identified less traditional measures of transportation performance centered on livable communities and environmental sustainability. To what extent are these goals measured at the state level? How are they measured? Are there some measures that could provide models for states to follow? What are the sources of resistance to these alternative measures of transportation? Answers to these questions would inform the USDOT as to the success of its efforts in shifting state transportation departments to direct attention to its more novel measures of transportation performance.

  • Workforce Needs Assessment for Mid-America's Marine Highways

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database link: https://rip.trb.org/view/2015/P/1373251

    Research Summary

    The objective of this project is to assess the workforce development needs to build and operate container on vessel, and expanded traditional service on the Marine Highways in the Upper Midwest Region. The scope includes workers to build and operate vessels and ports on the designated marine highways M35, M55 and M70. The analysis will build upon previous work to propose and assess the economic impacts of the Marine Highways. The project will determine a baseline set of occupations. For each occupation, we will determine the baseline employment levels, training requirements and resources for incumbent workers, skill requirements, and wages. The project will estimate workforce needs for three future scenarios for increased capacity usage on the marine highways of: 33%, 50% and 100%. The project will identify the need for workforce efforts to build career awareness, develop training and education programs, and industry participation. The projects incorporates workforce data, industry interviews and sector specific surveys, along with geospatial and industry trend analysis to provide a full look at workforce needs for the marine freight sector. The research findings are then presented as a strategic development agenda that supports the workforce needs and trajectory of the marine freight industry today and into the future.

  • Bayesian Updating Procedure for Prediction of Corrosion-Induced Cracking in Prestressed Concrete Bridges using Visual Inspection Data

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database link: https://rip.trb.org/view/2015/P/1373280

    Research Summary

    Bridges are key components of transportation infrastructure systems that are exposed to various uncertain environmental stressors and loading conditions. The proper functionality of these structures is critical for local and regional economic prosperity along with the assurance of public safety. Aging and deterioration are primary concerns regarding the performance bridges degrading to deficient or obsolete states. According to a recent ASCE infrastructure report (ASCE 2013b), it is estimated that every day more than 200 million trips in 102 largest metropolitan regions in the US are taken across deficient bridges. As the demands on public funds increase, it is becoming even more critical to determine and implement optimal decisions aimed at maintaining and improving public infrastructure. Bridge deck deterioration forecasts provide the necessary inputs in support of such decisions. More accurate forecasts are expected to lead to more effective decision. The ability to use bridge inspection data to update the parameters of bridge deck deterioration models on an ongoing basis following each inspection season will lead to more accurate forecasts. The enhanced accuracy of predictions of future states of bridges will lead to more effective maintenance decisions that results in increased reliability of assets, enhanced ride comfort, and less interruptions and time delays for passing traffic. Moreover, the quantification of the value of such updates with respect to the state-of-the practice will allow researchers and state agencies to better allocate the research efforts and investments vis-à-vis the various aspects of deterioration modeling and parameter estimation efforts.

  • Advancing Traffic Flow Theory Using Empirical Microscopic Data

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database link: https://rip.trb.org/view/2015/P/1373296

    Research Summary

    Most traffic flow theory is based on macroscopic data collected from conventional vehicle detectors (e.g., 30 sec average speed, flow, and occupancy). Traffic flow theory has come to a point where these low-resolution data are now limiting our insight into important phenomena such as bottleneck formation and operation. Recent theoretical work has provided a new understanding of bottleneck processes using microscopic vehicle dynamics (e.g., individual vehicle passages and trajectories). These works indicate that the conventional macroscopic data are too coarse to observe the critical dynamics of the bottleneck process. The coarse granularity of conventional data has led to several misconceptions. For example, based on macroscopic data the conventional understanding of the capacity drop phenomena finds that bottleneck throughput seemingly drops below capacity once the bottleneck becomes active. Yet the recent theoretical microscopic work finds that this so-called "capacity drop" appears to be due to an unsustainable transient increase in flow AFTER the bottleneck has become active, but before the delays are apparent in the macroscopic data. Then as activation progresses, the throughput finally drops back down to the true capacity and the conventional macroscopic studies erroneously take this instant as the onset of bottleneck activation, thus, also erroneously taking the unsustainable, supersaturated flows prior to the drop as capacity. Meanwhile, far downstream of the assumed bottleneck the throughput never exceeds the true capacity, clearly indicating that the transient surge is above capacity and is not sustainable. This proposal seeks to use high resolution traffic data collected from individual vehicle passages from loop detectors and/or instrumented probe vehicles to empirically support the microscopic theories and lead to further traffic flow theory developments based on the new insights from the high resolution data.

  • A study of the Usage Potential of a Proposed Expanded Commuter Rail Station at Chicago State University

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database link: https://rip.trb.org/view/2013/P/1373356

    Research Summary

    Chicago State University, through the Fred Blum Neighborhood Assistance Center, will perform outreach for the NEXTRANS Center to community organizations needing assistance with transportation and accessibility related GIS projects on the South Side of Chicago and southern suburbs. The specific research project CSU will work on will be a study of the potential effects of the expansion of a commuter rail station that is adjacent to campus. The station is currently underutilized. Trains only stop at the station once every one to two hours. If expanded, the station would become an express stop, with much more frequent service and would better link Chicago State to Chicago’s growing southern suburbs. The station also currently has security issues. A new station, located in closer proximity to the center of campus, with adequate security, is likely to increase public transportation usage to and from campus, and hypothetically could boost enrollment. CSU is currently working to gain funding for the station from the USDOT. The CSU NEXTRANS team would work with the CSU administrative group working on this issue to perform a GIS analysis of current and potential CSU students, to model commute times by car and public transportation currently and with the opening of the station. In addition, the CSU RA team will work to develop a survey of current students focusing on how the building of the station might affect their transportation to and from CSU, as well as whether the new station might affect the enrollment decisions of potential students in areas served by the rail line.

  • Tracking bicyclists route choices, case study: The Ohio State University

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database link: https://rip.trb.org/view/2015/P/1373604

    Research Summary

    This study will generate data on bicycling patterns to, from and on a large university campus as well as data on bicyclists’ perceptions and preferences. The results will help transportation planners make informed infrastructure investments. The methodology developed will be applicable elsewhere for other studies. Bicycles have low access costs and moderate travel speeds, they help protect the environment, reduce congestion and bring many health benefits (Clifton & Akar, 2009). Within these considerations, several researchers have explored the factors associated with bicycling choice to understand the needs of bicyclists and increase bicycle mode share. Existing literature identified socio-demographics, built environment, road conditions and land-use patterns as factors associated with bicycling choice in general (Pucher et al., 2011; Dill and Carr, 2003). Among these, presence of bicycle facilities, motor vehicle traffic characteristics, surface quality, neighboring land-uses are cited as factors affecting bicycling route choices (Broach et al. 2012). There is increasing interest among colleges and universities in ways to reduce local congestion, contributions to greenhouse gases, and provide leadership in sustainable transportation. This study brings these two emerging areas together: analyzing campus transportation patterns and identifying the factors associated with bicycle trip generation and bicycle route choices using state-of-the-art data collection techniques at a large university campus, The Ohio State University (OSU). The origins, destinations and routes of bicycle trips will be collected through a cell phone app: CycleTracks. This study includes 4 major tasks: (i) collect data on bicycle trips (origin, destination, purpose, time and route); (ii) conduct an online survey to capture bicyclists’ perceptions toward several street attributes; (iii) develop maps illustrating the collected data; (iv) develop models to understand the determinants of bicycle trip generation and route choices;

  • Roadway Traffic Data Collection from Mobile Platforms

  • Integrating Multiple Sources of Data for the Estimation of Transit Origin-Destination Flows

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database link: https://rip.trb.org/view/2015/P/1373778

    Research Summary

    This study will take advantage of large datasets the NEXTRANS investigators have amassed on two transit systems: OSU’s Campus Area Bus Service (CABS) as part of OSU’s Campus Transit Lab (CTL) and the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) as a result of completed and ongoing projects. On CABS, extensive APC, onboard survey, and mobile device tracking data are available. On COTA, extensive APC, onboard survey, and AFC data are available. Thus, each system has three separate sources of data the integration of which will be considered as part of this study. More reliable transit OD flow information has the potential to enhance the quality of transit planning and operations control functions that rely on such information. Moreover, the more accurate route-level estimates are expected to improve the quality of the network-level OD flow estimates, where several methods rely on route-level OD flows as inputs.

    In addition to supporting practical service planning and design applications, the developed integration methods are expected to establish new foundations for researchers to build on in addressing questions related to integrating transit data from multiple sources, whether for the purpose of OD flow estimation or other uses of the data. In light of the data quality analyses and their implication on OD flow estimation, the results of this study could inform the design refinements of the next generation of transit data collection and fare collection services such that the overall quality of the data is improved, whether in the context of the primary use of the data or its secondary use, for example for OD flow estimation.

  • Campus Transit Laboratory: Infrastructure for Research, Education, and Outreach

    UTC Project Information

    RIP Database link: https://rip.trb.org/view/2013/P/1258397

    Research Summary

    The Ohio State University (OSU) Campus Transit Laboratory (CTL) is a living laboratory that provides the infrastructure for integrated transit-related research investigations, educational activities, and applied studies. The CTL benefits from advanced automatic data collection and information technologies deployed on the OSU Campus Area Bus Service (CABS), accessibility of the CABS system and the OSU community to researchers, instructors, and students for data collection and in situ observations, and regular interaction between CTL investigators and CABS operators and decision makers. This NEXTRANS project would continue to: Sustain, develop, and showcase the CTL; Collect, process, and archive CTL data; Exploit the CTL for research, education, and outreach activities; and Develop collaborations with transit agencies and investigators.

    This project is expected to have impacts related to transit planning and operations on each of the research, education, and outreach dimensions. Improvements in transit planning and operations should lead to a more efficient, sustainable, and environmentally responsive balance in the use of urban transportation modes. It is also hoped that publicizing a set of integrated activities centered on the use of a living lab would result in the expanded development and use of such labs in multiple transportation areas.

  • Mobile air quality monitoring for local high-resolution characterization of vehicle-sourced criteria pollutants

  • A Study of Potential Community and Faculty/Staff Use of an Improved 95th Street Metra Stop

2013-2014 Projects

  • Segmenting, Grouping and Tracking Vehicles in LIDAR Data

    UTC Project Information

    RiP database: https://rip.trb.org/view/2013/P/1324050

    Summary of Research

    Roadway congestion impacts almost all aspects of our lives in the US, from safety, to the environment, to the quality of life, to the cost of goods and services. A comprehensive understanding of the traffic conditions over space that give rise to congestion remains elusive. To date, these issues have been studied predominantly with macroscopic data from point detectors (e.g., loop detectors) aggregated over fixed time periods ranging from 20 sec to 15 min. Many new theories have emerged in recent years to explain several on-going anomalies in traditional traffic flow theory. At the core of these new theories is the presence of non-trivial disturbances that last far less than the fixed time aggregation periods commonly used to study traffic, and thus, these micro-disturbances have not been empirically observed. If these theories are proven empirically, they should lead to better congestion management and control.

    The proposed research seeks to develop the tools to measure traffic flow at a resolution sufficiently precise to measure the micro-disturbances and prove or disprove the traffic flow theories that depend on their presence. Under support from NSF and FTA, OSU has developed an instrumented probe vehicle that includes positioning sensors (DGPS and inertial navigation) and ranging sensors (six LIDAR, one radar). The focus of the RNS is the one forward facing and one rear facing LIDAR sensors. These LIDAR collect a rich, 180° scan out to 80 m, in a plane approximately 0.5 m above the roadway, at 40 Hz. Although hundreds of hours of data have been collected, the tools to automatically reduce this vast quantity of data to useful information still need to be developed. The proposed research would undertake the task of segmenting the vehicle returns from the non-vehicle objects in the LIDAR data, grouping the vehicle returns into discrete vehicles, and tracking the resulting vehicle groups across scans. Once these tools are developed, they would be used to mine hundreds of hours of existing instrumented probe vehicle data.

  • Integration of ground access to airports in measures of inter-urban accessibility

    UTC Project Information

    RiP database entry: https://rip.trb.org/view/2013/P/1324051

    Summary of Research

    Recent research by the author has focused on the levels of accessibility on the basis of actual air passenger demand and travel patterns across particular origin and destination pairs.

    http://www.geography.osu.edu/aviation/

    The feedback we have received from this study strongly suggests that the additional factor of surface transport access to airports, particularly in more remote and rural regions, is very important in any measurement of accessibility and service quality. In fact, as is well known in transportation systems models, there are some complex trade-offs. The proposal is to develop a more comprehensive quality indicator of interaction between urban places. The study examines service in conjunction with the ground transport accessibility and travel time to these airports from their probable catchment area. The project would attempt to develop a more comprehensive estimate of door to door travel time from origin to destination. The air side component, via direct or multistep trips is already quite well covered, and this project would add a term for the ground location origin to the estimated destination. Such considerations are quite important to the economic development and employment retention of communities that rely on extensive travel by employees to deliver technical, sales, or other support to dispersed markets.

  • Developing Operational and Policy Insights into Next Generation Vehicle Needs Based on an Integrated Understanding of the Transportation and Energy System of Systems

    Research Information (pdf)

    RiP Database

    Status: Active

    Summary of Research

    Rapidly evolving transportation and energy technology is opening up a tremendous number of possibilities for simultaneously achieving environmental sustainability, economic development, and energy security, but the many possibilities for their interaction greatly complicate analysis to understand the best policy options and strategies for individuals and companies to take to maximize opportunities.

    This project proposes to explore the effects of various vehicle design options and more detailed vehicle behavior on the integrated transportation and energy system, with particular interest in studying the effect of vehicle design options on traffic system behavior and fuel and electricity use. The study proposes augmenting the use of MPO data to incorporate the detailed behavior of drivers, new vehicle capabilities, and advanced information systems. The resulting agent based model will be suitable for investigating transportation system behavior under next generation systems and its interaction with the energy system.

  • Field Data Based Data Fusion Methodologies to Estimate Dynamic Origin-Destination Demand Matrices from Multiple Sensing and Tracking Technologies

    UTC Project Information (pdf)

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    Recent advances in real-time traffic sensing, including GPS data from probe vehicles, automatic vehicle identification using RFID and Bluetooth sensors, and automatic number plate recognition, provide richer data when combined with traditional O-D estimation techniques. However, the data obtained from these different sensors do not convey similar information on the traffic conditions of the network. This project seeks to develop and test a systematic methodology to integrate the different data sources, also labeled data fusion, to address the O-D estimation problem, leveraging the availability of different types of data with disparate characteristics.

    The study will involve collecting data from ITS test-bed corridors in Chennai (Madras), India. The data collected will also serve as a benchmark data archive for O-D estimation techniques and will augment ongoing research to develop dynamic O-D demand matrices based on partial observability of the field network.

  • Estimation of Time-Dependent Intersection Turning Proportions for Adaptive Traffic Signal Controls -or- Estimation of Time-Dependent Intersection Turning Proportions for Adaptive Traffic Signal Control under Limited Link Traffic Counts from Heterogeneous Sensors

  • LIDAR Based Vehicle Classification

  • Using Naturalistic Driving Performance Data to Develop an Empirically Defined Model of Distracted Driving

  • Driving Simulator Laboratory: Traveler Behavior Modeling and Interactive Experiments to Address Mobility and Safety Needs

  • Campus Transit Laboratory: Infrastructure for Research, Education, and Outreach

    Research Information pdf

    RiP Database
    Status: Active
    Summary of Research

    The Ohio State University (OSU) Campus Transit Laboratory (CTL) is a living laboratory that provides the infrastructure for integrated transit-related research investigations, educational activities, and applied studies. The CTL benefits from advanced automatic data collection and information technologies deployed on the OSU Campus Area Bus Service (CABS), accessibility of the CABS system and the OSU community to researchers, instructors, and students for data collection and in situ observations, and regular interaction between CTL investigators and CABS operators and decision makers. This NEXTRANS project would continue to: -Sustain, develop, and showcase the CTL -Collect, process, and archive CTL data -Exploit the CTL for research, education, and outreach activities -Develop collaborations with transit agencies and investigators.


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