Research Foundation News

August 21, 2019

Celebrate 60: Technology transportation program marks milestone of advancing safer drives

Indiana LTAP helps local agencies maintain roads, bridges to prevent deadly failures

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Transportation incidents like poor bridge or highway performance often leave drivers wondering if their local roads and bridges are adequate. A nationwide effort that began in Indiana and New York – and is now celebrating its 60th anniversary – aims to ensure the safety of local drivers.

The Indiana Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) helps street departments, county highway departments and local elected officials to better meet the needs of the public by acting as a resource for training, technical assistance and technology transfer.

crack-seal Attendees of a recent Indiana LTAP workshop watch a crack seal demo. Along with in-person workshops and conferences, Indiana LTAP provides training online, in print and through a micro-learning smartphone app. (Image provided) Download image

Indiana LTAP, which started 60 years ago at Purdue University just after New York launched a similar program, is part of a nationwide system of technology transfer centers, established by the Federal Highway Administration, that is designed to improve transportation department performance.

“We use the analogy that what we are doing is like the smart driver who does not wait until the engine blows to check the oil levels and perform basic maintenance on their car,” said John Haddock, a civil engineering professor in Purdue’s College of Engineering and director of Indiana LTAP. “Our mission is to help local road agencies maintain their streets, bridges and other assets to make sure they are safe now and in the years to come. There isn’t enough money to fix everything so it’s an ongoing struggle to keep up with the deterioration that takes place each year.” 

joe-mcguinness Joe McGuinness, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation, shows his support at Indiana LTAP’s 60th anniversary event in August at the Eiteljorg Museum. (Image provided) Download image

Indiana LTAP is a hub for research and projects that are then shared with local agencies across the state and the country. The information is shared through workshops, videos, case studies and telephone conversations directly with local agencies.

“We like to say our focus is on the last mile of your journey,” said Richard Domonkos, program manager for Indiana LTAP. “A driver is going to use local roads at some point on just about every journey. We focus on everything from best flagging practices in construction zones for workers and drivers to technology advances to keep roads safe and not continually under construction.”

Indiana LTAP and Purdue are hosting a yearlong series of events to celebrate the 60 years of achievements since the program began. The program was known as the Highway Extension and Research Project for Indiana Counties (HERPIC) when it launched in 1959 at Purdue with a stated goal to “lend guidance and assistance to county highway officials in their problems with management, planning, and operation of county highway departments throughout the state.” Local highway and street departments currently oversee more than 80,000 miles of Indiana roadway.

Haddock and his team have worked to patent some of their technology through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.

Part of the Indiana LTAP work aligns with Purdue's Giant Leaps celebration of the university’s global advancements in sustainability as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. It is one of the four themes of the yearlong celebration’s Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.

About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization           

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities through commercializing, licensing and protecting Purdue intellectual property. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Innovation from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University.     

Writer: Chris Adam, 765-588-3341, cladam@prf.org 

Sources:
John Haddock, jhaddock@purdue.edu

Richard Domonkos, rdomonko@purdue.edu


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