Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

Cambridge, MA, United States

Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

Cambridge, MA, United States

Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center or simply Volpe in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a center of transportation and logistics expertise, operating under the United States Department of Transportation .The Volpe Center is named after Massachusetts Governor and U.S. Secretary of Transportation John Volpe, and its work includes a broad mix of projects that cut across traditional transportation modes and technical disciplines including the Federal Aviation Administration's Enhanced Traffic Management System and Safety Performance Analysis System , and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's SafeStat Online.The Center assists federal, state, and local governments, industry, and academia in a number of areas of consultation including human factors research, system design, implementation and assessment, global tracking, strategic investment and resource allocation, environmental preservation, and organizational effectiveness.Volpe is part of the U.S. DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration. However, it differs from most federal organizations in that it receives no direct appropriation from Congress. Instead, it is funded 100% through a fee-for-service structure in which all costs are covered by sponsored project work . Wikipedia.

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News Article | May 16, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

Demonstrated on a Boeing 737-800NG simulator at the U.S. Department of Transportation's John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, ALIAS showcased its ability to utilize the existing 737 auto-landing system to autonomously land the aircraft safely in the event of pilot incapacitation. Aurora has also demonstrated ALIAS numerous times on aircraft in flight, most recently on the DA42. In the demonstration, ALIAS actualized DA42 cockpit procedures in real time and, overseen by an onboard safety pilot, conducted a fully automated landing at a simulated site at 3,000 ft. in altitude. "Having successfully demonstrated on a variety of aircraft, ALIAS has proven its versatile automated flight capabilities," said John Wissler, Aurora's Vice President of Research and Development. "As we move towards fully automated flight from take-off to landing, we can reliably say that we have developed an automation system that enables significant reduction of crew workload." Aurora's ALIAS solution includes the use of in-cockpit machine vision, robotic components to actuate the flight controls, an advanced tablet-based user interface, speech recognition and synthesis, and a knowledge acquisition process that facilitates transition of the automation system to another aircraft within a 30-day period. Aurora is also working on a version of the system without robotic actuation that instead aims to support the pilot by tracking aircraft physical, procedural, and mission states, increasing safety by actively updating pilot situational awareness. To learn more about Aurora and the ALIAS program, visit www.aurora.aero. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/robotic-co-pilot-autonomously-flies-and-lands-a-simulated-boeing-737-300458514.html

News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.gizmag.com

A robot has successfully landed a Boeing 737 simulator ... and it did it one handed. Built and operated by Aurora Flight Science as part of DARPA's Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program, the robot's touchdown was one of a series of flight maneuvers carried out by the system as part of the development of an automated co-pilot that can be quickly and cheaply installed in existing aircraft. With its single, ungainly arm operating the jet simulator's controls, it may seem like an ill-conceived replacement for a human pilot. Far from it. ALIAS is a sophisticated system aimed at addressing the very real problem of the growing complexity of modern aircraft. Not only is it very difficult for pilots to qualify on an unfamiliar airplane without lengthy instruction and practice, but operating such craft can be highly distracting – especially when executive decisions are required in a hurry. Automatic flight systems can help alleviate these problems by acting as an onboard trainer as well as a co-pilot, but current engineering procedures require either redesigning an aircraft from scratch to incorporate them, or undertaking lengthy and expensive refits that are a custom job for each mark and mod of airframe. ALIAS is being developed to get around this. It's designed as a drop-in avionics and mechanics package that can be quickly and cheaply fitted to a wide variety of fixed and rotor aircraft, from a Cessna to a B-52. Once installed, ALIAS is able to analyze the aircraft and adapt itself to the job of second-pilot. Along with the robotic arm, the ALIAS system incorporates an advanced tablet-based user interface, speech recognition and machine learning. Alternative versions will drop the robotic arm and provide support to the pilot by tracking the aircraft's physical, procedural, and mission state. The idea is that, once ALIAS is fully developed it will be able to familiarize itself the aircraft within a month and take over many of the pilot's functions, allowing them to concentrate on higher level decisions and not be distracted during emergencies. In addition, it will allow for smaller crews with a subsequent drop in operating costs. The ALIAS test was carried out in a Boeing 737-800NG simulator at the US Department of Transportation's John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. So far, ALIAS has been demonstrated in a Cessna 208 Caravan, UH-1 Iroquois, DHC-2 Beaver aircraft, and Diamond DA42 twin-engine prop plane. The latter included a demonstration of the system's ability to initiate cockpit procedures in real time as it brought the aircraft in from a simulated landing from 3,000 ft (915 m). "Having successfully demonstrated on a variety of aircraft, ALIAS has proven its versatile automated flight capabilities," says John Wissler, Aurora's Vice President of Research and Development. "As we move towards fully automated flight from take-off to landing, we can reliably say that we have developed an automation system that enables significant reduction of crew workload." The video below shows ALIAS' impressive dexterity at the controls.

PRINCETON JUNCTION, N.J., April 06, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The 10th Annual Payments Summit, a Secure Technology Alliance event, took place last week with sessions featuring payments solutions, payments technology and transportation payments, and explored hot topics impacting the payments market today and in the future. The Payments Summit, until recently, has been associated with the Smart Card Alliance. The organization recently announced it has expanded its mission to move beyond smart cards, and re-branded the organization as the Secure Technology Alliance. The event was co-located for the second year with the International Card Manufacturers Association’s 27th annual EXPO in Orlando, Florida. The overarching theme of the 2017 conference was around embracing the wave of change rushing throughout payments. The main takeaway: all of the different sectors of the payments industry are crafting new visions for the future of payments and diving in to make those visions a reality. Marc Keller, head of FI strategy and partnerships for Samsung Pay, drove this point home in his first-day keynote, sharing his perspective on how innovative new technologies can become mainstream in payments. The key drivers, according to Keller, are convenience, value and usability. “You need to provide clear value to the merchant and the consumer, or [innovations] won’t be adopted,” Keller said. Senior Vice President of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships for Visa, Shiv Singh, shared a similar vision, citing the need for invisible transactions, frictionless consumer experience and equal support for brand awareness, product development and innovation as keys to success. In addition to this common theme of mobile and digital commerce, sessions across all three tracks touched on some of the hottest topics in the industry, including EMV chip technology, card-not-present (CNP) fraud, contactless and mobile payments, the importance of the consumer payments experience, and emerging transit payments innovations. Below are some of the highlights from the sessions. EMV Chip Migration Is Progressing, with Work to Do The migration to EMV chip technology in the U.S. is making continued progress. Jared Drieling, business intelligence manager at The Strawhecker Group, reported new data at the event that 52 percent of merchants today are enabled to accept chip payments. George Peabody, partner at Glenbrook Partners, also shared an update, stating that 81 percent of credit cards, 46 percent of debit cards, and 63 percent of all cards in the market are chip cards. Peabody predicted that by 2020, 90 percent of transactions would be chip-on-chip (transactions using a chip card at a chip-enabled terminal). In a discussion on the chip migration journey in the U.S., an all-star panel of U.S. Payments Forum members representing the issuer, acquirer, merchant acquiring, card services and terminal vendor groups reflected on technical, business and regulatory challenges they overcame since the rollout began, and the support they are providing to the remaining financial institutions, merchants, and software providers with their chip adoption. A few of the Forum’s ongoing priorities around the chip migration include enablement at the ATM and fuel pumps, small merchant implementations, and pay-at-the-table acceptance experiences. Understanding and Mitigating Online Fraud With online fraud a global concern, many sessions focused on causes and ways to mitigate this type of fraud in the U.S. To better understand the rise of CNP fraud in the U.S., Susan Pandy, director of payment strategies at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, said that, while many do, it isn’t accurate to place all of the blame on the chip migration. She also pointed to a number of other factors, such as the rapid growth in e- and m-commerce transaction volume and dollar amount as significant contributing factors. Christopher Justice, CEO of CenPOS, looked to learn from experiences in other countries such as Canada, where he said CNP fraud rose 233 percent within five years of the country’s chip migration. Some of the tools and methods to mitigate CNP fraud discussed by speakers throughout the event included tokenization, biometrics, risk-based authentication and multi-factor authentication. Frictionless Transaction Experience in Mobile and Contactless Payments Melissa Fox, senior manager of payments strategy and innovation at First Annapolis, shared research based on a study of 1,514 U.S. consumers that shows mobile payments are on an upward trajectory, with adoption up to 75 percent in January 2017 from 40 percent in May 2015. She also noted that frequency of use was increasing, with one in three Apple Pay users using it weekly or daily. Additionally, 36 percent of merchants are equipped with a contactless-capable terminal, and of those, 28 percent have activated them, according to Strawhecker’s Drieling. Transparent transactions and a frictionless consumer experience are two key factors identified by Deborah Baxley, partner at PayGility Advisors, that are needed to move payments innovations like contactless payments forward. In the case of mobile payments, Marianne Johnson, senior vice president of Network and Security Solutions Products and Innovation for First Data, said there has to be a strongly apparent value for both the merchant to be willing to accept the mobile payment, and for the consumer to be willing to use it. Most experts agreed that merchant acceptance is critical for adoption success, with First Annapolis’s Fox noting that mobile and contactless technologies create a customer experience advantage for transaction speed. Philip Andreae, vice president of field marketing of Oberthur Technologies, came to a similar conclusion through reviewing how the rest of the world moved to contactless payments after migrating to chip technology. Andreae predicted that the U.S. would follow suit with transit as the driver. Speakers concluded that there’s still work to be done within the industry to overcome the barriers of adoption, but Fox believes “changes in the payments industry take time to take hold,” and says, “the mobile payment industry is poised for growth.” Payments: The Key to Seamless Transit In a keynote roundtable session, speakers outlined a vision for a seamless, easy and convenient experience for riders, and said making this a reality requires an unobtrusive payments experience. “Transportation providers are trying to offer an easy, convenient experience for their customers,” said Mike Dinning, director of multimodal programs and partnerships for the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. “But they’re challenged with linking together all of these services, and ideally the payments for these services, to really make the experience easy.” While the speakers acknowledged there is work ahead, they see multimodal payments convergence, or the integration of payment services for any type of transportation, as the solution to common problems like traffic congestion, limited parking and unsafe walking or biking environments. As a start, Dinning pointed to a recent Secure Technology Alliance white paper that explores real-world implementations of this model in practice today that can provide a foundation for transit agencies considering support for these new models. With so much change and innovation impacting the payments industry, the Payments Summit has become the event payments stakeholders look forward to every year because it brings together like-minded individuals looking to find new ways to overcome challenges impacting the adoption, security and usability of emerging and developing payments technologies. For continuing updates on the Secure Technology Alliance, visit www.securetechalliance.org, follow @SecureTechOrg on Twitter. About the Secure Technology Alliance The Secure Technology Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption and widespread application of secure solutions, including smart cards, embedded chip technology, and related hardware and software across a variety of markets including authentication, commerce and Internet of Things (IoT). The Secure Technology Alliance, formerly known as the Smart Card Alliance, invests heavily in education on the appropriate uses of secure technologies to enable privacy and data protection. The Secure Technology Alliance delivers on its mission through training, research, publications, industry outreach and open forums for end users and industry stakeholders in payments, mobile, healthcare, identity and access, transportation, and the IoT in the U.S. and Latin America. For more information, please visit www.securetechalliance.org.

Yu H.,Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
2017 Joint Rail Conference, JRC 2017 | Year: 2017

This paper employs the finite element (FE) modeling method to investigate the contributing factors to the "horizontal" splitting cracks observed in the upper strand plane in some concrete crossties made with seven-wire strands. The concrete tie is modeled as a concrete matrix embedded with prestressing steel strands. A damaged plasticity model that can predict the onset and propagation of tensile degradation is applied to the concrete material. An elasto-plastic bond model developed inhouse is applied to the steel-concrete interface to account for the interface bond-slip mechanisms and particularly the dilatational effects that can produce the splitting forces. The pretension release process is simulated statically, followed by the dynamic simulations of cyclic rail seat loading. The concrete compressive strength at which the pretension in the strands is released, or release strength, affects both the concrete behavior and the bond characteristics. Three concrete release strengths, 3500, 4500 and 6000 psi, are considered in the simulations. Concrete tie models without and with a fastening system are developed and simulated to examine the effect of embedded fastener shoulders and fastener installation. The fastener shoulders are seated relatively deeply reaching between the two rows of strands. There is instant concrete material degradation adjacent to the strand interfaces near the tie ends upon pretension release. Without the fastening system in the model, the 3500 psi release strength leads to a high degree of degradation that is coalesced and continuous in the upper and lower strand planes, respectively. The damage profiles with the higher release strengths are more discrete and disconnected. Dynamic loading appears to increase the degree of degradation over time. In all cases, the upper strand plane is not dominant in the degree or the extent of material degradation, in contrast to the field observations that the horizontal splitting occurred in the upper strand plane only. Further simulations with the fastener model at 3500 psi concrete release strength indicate that the fastener installation process does not worsen the damage profile. However, the presence of fastener shoulders in the concrete matrix changes the stress distribution and redirects more concrete damages to the upper strand plane, while leaving disconnected damages in the lower strand plane. Under repeated dynamic rail loading, this potentially reproduces the exact upper strand plane, horizontal cracking pattern observed in the field. Subjected to further experimental verification, the FE analyses identify three contributing factors to the horizontal macro-cracks occurring at the specific upper strand level: (1) relatively low concrete release strength during production, (2) embedded fastener shoulders that redistribute concrete damages to the upper strand plane, and (3) a sufficiently large number of dynamic rail loading cycles for the microscopic damages to develop into macro-cracks. The number of dynamic loading cycles needed to produce macro-cracks should increase with the increased concrete release strength. © Copyright 2017 ASME.

Yu H.L.,MacroSys Research and Technology LLC | Jeong D.Y.,Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Theoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics | Year: 2010

Nonlinear dynamic finite element analysis (FEA) is conducted to simulate the fracture of unnotched Charpy specimens of steel under pendulum impact loading by a dedicated, oversized and nonstandard Bulk Fracture Charpy Machine (BFCM). The impact energy needed to fracture an unnotched Charpy specimen in a BFCM test can be two orders of magnitude higher than the typical impact energy of a Charpy V-notch specimen. To predict material failure, a phenomenological, stress triaxiality dependent fracture initiation criterion and a fracture evolution law in the form of strain softening are incorporated in the constitutive relations. The BFCM impact energy results obtained from the FEA simulations compare favorably with the corresponding experimental data. In particular, the FEA predicts accurately the correlations of the BFCM impact energy with such factors as specimen geometry, impactor tup width and material type. The analyses show that a specimen's progressive deterioration through the thickness dimension displays a range of shear to ductile fracture modes, demonstrating the necessity of applying a stress state dependent fracture initiation criterion. Modeling the strain softening behavior helps to capture the residual load carrying capability of a ductile metal or alloy beyond the onset of damage. The total impact energy can be significantly under predicted if a softening branch is not included in the stress-strain curve. This research supports a study of the puncture failure of railroad tank cars under dynamic impact loading. Applications of the presented fracture model in failure analyses of other structures are further discussed. © 2010.

Lewis K.C.,Volpe National Transportation Systems Center | Porter R.D.,Environmental Law Institute
Ecological Monographs | Year: 2014

Biofuels are being pursued for their potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions benefits, among other reasons. In order to maximize productivity, avoid food-fuel conflicts, and minimize GHG emissions, many advanced biofuel feedstock crops, such as those desired by the aviation community, are under consideration based on traits, such as high biomass and/ or seed production, tolerance of marginal cultivation conditions, and short generation times, that may also be predictors of potential invasiveness risk. Biofuel-related invasion risks can be mitigated through careful feedstock crop selection and cultivation techniques developed from the invasion science literature. Existing voluntary best practices and some state and federal regulatory requirements in the United States recommend and/or require the use of such risk mitigation strategies. However, other policies and programs allow or provide incentives for biofuel production without conditions requiring the use of these strategies. We have synthesized information on the scientific knowledge of invasive species predictors and their use (or absence) in voluntary codes and U.S. regulatory frameworks and incentive programs. We highlight the existing tools and approaches for assessing invasion risk and avoiding the introduction and spread of invasive species as a result of biofuel feedstock cultivation. A wellcoordinated combination of species restrictions, biosecurity requirements, and incentives for selection of less risky biofuel crops may effectively balance the desire for increased biofuel production while minimizing invasion risk. © 2014 by the Ecological Society of America.

Noel G.J.,Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Proceedings of the Air and Waste Management Association's Annual Conference and Exhibition, AWMA | Year: 2015

The methodology for modeling ground based mobile sources at airports using the Federal Aviation Administration's Aviation Environmental Design Tool Version 2b and the EPA's Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) is presented. Ground based mobile sources include roadways and parking facilities on or in the vicinity of an airport property. The MOVES runs for airport analyses must include all the vehicle and types fuel types, e.g., gasoline, diesel, CNG, that the analyst wants to model in the project area. Pollutant and emissions processes for roadway links, including HC, VOC, SO2, and PM, are also presented. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the 108th AWMA Annual Conference and Exhibition (Raleigh, NC 6/22-25/2015).

Smith S.,Volpe National Transportation Systems Center | Razo M.,Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems: Technology, Planning, and Operations | Year: 2016

The Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment is a major test of safety applications that are based on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) dedicated short range communications (DSRC). Approximately 3000 vehicles in a mid-sized city (Ann Arbor, MI) will be equipped with devices in order to assess safety benefits in a naturalistic environment. To ensure that sufficient data are collected, participants will be chosen so that their vehicles will interact frequently with each other and with the roadside equipment. Since the 3000 vehicles are a small fraction of all vehicles in the city, choosing a deployment strategy requires careful analysis of the network and traffic flows. This research describes the development of a regional traffic microsimulation model that was used to estimate the number and spatial/temporal locations of V2V interactions under various deployment strategies. Steps taken to develop the model included the following: (a) converted the existing network planning model for the Ann Arbor area to a regional microsimulation model, (b) developed a method to identify the numbers, origins, and destinations of trips using equipped vehicles, and (c) developed postprocessing code to track all equipped vehicles from the second-by-second microsimulation vehicle snapshot data and to identify interactions between equipped vehicles. This interaction information was integrated with available Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems (IVBSS) data to estimate the potential number of conflicts among equipped vehicles. The resulting model was used to assess various safety deployment scenarios in a field operational test. © This article not subject to U.S. copyright law.

Yu H.,Volpe National Transportation Systems Center | Jeong D.Y.,Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Structures Congress 2014 - Proceedings of the 2014 Structures Congress | Year: 2014

Pretensioned concrete ties are increasingly employed in railroad high speed and heavy haul applications. The bond between prestressing wires or strands and concrete plays an important role in determining the transfer length of pretensioned concrete members, but little research was done to characterize the transfer length in terms of steel reinforcement and concrete factors for railroad concrete ties. The Federal Railroad Administration is sponsoring a comprehensive test program at Kansas State University (KSU) aimed at quantitatively correlating prestressing steel and concrete variables with the transfer length of pretensioned concrete crossties. The Volpe Center has been applying the data obtained in the KSU test program to develop bond models that can be used in transfer length prediction and failure analysis of concrete ties. This paper describes finite element (FE) model development related to the smooth prestressing wire whose dominant bonding mechanisms with concrete are chemical adhesion and friction. The commercial FE software, Abaqus, is employed, and the steel-concrete interface is discretized with cohesive elements. A user bond model is developed within the elastoplastic framework and implemented for axisymmetric and 3D cohesive elements. The bond model defines constitutive relations in terms of normal and shear stresses vs. interfacial dilation and slips. The bond behavior is initially linear elastic, followed by adhesion and friction that are governed by a yield function and a plastic flow rule specific for the smooth wire-concrete interface. The main bond material parameters are normal and shear elastic stiffness, initial adhesive strength, plastic slip at which adhesion first breaks completely, and coefficient of friction. Except for the coefficient of friction, which is determined with reference to the open literature, the bond parameters are calibrated from untensioned pullout tests and pretensioned prism tests conducted at KSU. The calibrated bond parameters exhibit a dependence on the nominal compressive strength of concrete at the time of pretension release. Because considerable concrete creeping has been observed in the periods between pretension release and concrete strain measurement in the test program, an additional concrete material parameter, basic creep compliance, can be calculated and applied to adjust the concrete surface strain data. The user bond model is then validated with transfer length data measured on actual concrete crossties made with a smooth prestressing wire in a tie manufacturing plant. © 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.

Van Eikema Hommes Q.,Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
SAE Technical Papers | Year: 2012

ISO 26262 is the first comprehensive automotive safety standard that addresses the safety of the growing number of electric/electronic and software intensive features in today's road vehicles. This paper assesses the standard's ability to provide safety assurance. The strengths of the standard are: (1) emphasizing safety management and safety culture; (2) prescribing a system engineering development process; (3) setting up a framework for hazard elimination early in the design process; (4) disassociating system safety risk assessment from component probabilistic failure rate. The third and fourth strengths are noteworthy departure from the philosophy of IEC61508. This standard has taken much-needed and very positive steps towards ensuring the functional safety of the modern road vehicles. SAE publications from industry show a lot of enthusiasm towards this standard. This paper suggested a number of items to be considered further strengthen the standard's ability to provide safety assurance. First, the Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL) assessment may want to consider only the severity level, so that the subjectivity involved in likelihood assessment is eliminated. The ASIL assessment also needs to be standardized across manufacturers in order to address the tension between safety and business competitiveness. Government, industry consortium, and research institutions may want to work together on ASIL standardization efforts. Second, this standard provides little guidance on how to eliminate hazards in the design, but rather provides details on how to design and evaluate the effectiveness of component failure detection and control mechanisms. This paper identifies research that could be conducted on how to adapt the System Theoretic Accident Modeling and Process model during the design phase. Third, this standard gives detailed guidance on reliability engineering methods for component failures, but little on system safety design methods. Reliability and safety are different attributes of the system. This standard can be improved by further research on adapting system safety engineering methods to this standard. Fourth, the standard also substitutes good software systems engineering practices for software safety, although this is on par with other industry standards. Further research is needed to address software safety assurance. Fifth, the need for more detail in the safety assurance process and plan for product and operation phases of the product are discussed. Last, the needs for better design methods and safety assurance plan concerning driver/vehicle interaction design are also presented.

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