Federal Transportation official s AU asphault test track

AUBURN – The nation’s top transportation technology official visited Auburn University Wednesday to see firsthand a research program that results in better, safer highways and talk about federal initiatives to solve road and traffic problems around the nation.

John Bobo from the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C., toured AU’s transportation research laboratories and 1.7-mile test track. Bobo oversees all federal transportation research and technology programs. He traveled to Alabama to hear from AU researchers about testing that helps road builders across the nation enhance the quality of new and reconstructed highways.

“As the Bush administration works to improve our nation’s transportation system, we are looking to state and local partners like Auburn’s National Center for Asphalt Technology to provide innovative ideas and solutions,” said Bobo, who is acting administrator of U.S. DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration.

“A better transportation system improves our personal lives, our economy and our environment and lessens our dependence on foreign oil.”

AU’s National Center for Asphalt Technology combines research from a full-scale laboratory with actual performance on its test track to identify the best mixes of asphalt. Researchers can compress the life span of a road surface into two years, allowing them to speed development of smoother, quieter and longer-lasting roads. Recent testing resulted in identification of new pavement surfaces that eliminate highway spray in wet conditions and reduce road noise by as much as 30 percent in metropolitan areas.

“Our test track breeds innovation in road design,” said Buzz Powell, NCAT test track manager. “Drivers benefit from better performing and less congested roads that save taxpayers millions of dollars in highway construction costs.”

Contact: Brian Keeter, (334) 844-4650 (bkeeter@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)