Monthly Archives: July 2013

Truck Smart and Drive To Stay Alive

Drive to Stay Alive and Truck Smart are brought to you by UDOT’s Motor Carrier Division. These two programs have the same goal of addressing drivers safety but to two different audiences. The Truck Smart program focuses on helping drivers develop a healthy respect for  large trucks and buses while the Drive to Stay Alive program encourages good safety habits among truck drivers. Both campaigns were started almost five years ago but were recently revitalized with a new website containing pamphlets and program information on safe driving.


Truck Smart is a program that serves to remind the motoring public of the importance of driving safely around large trucks. Jim Phillips, Utah’s Motor Carrier Training Coordinator said, “Statistically 75% of drivers and big rigs that are involved in an accident, the driver of the automobile is to blame.” 

The newly revitalized Truck Smart website contains driver education information including a student workbook where new drivers can learn how to safely drive with trucks on the road.  The site emphasizes four different aspects of driving with trucks that are important to remember while driving:

1. Know the “No Zone”

  • It’s important for drivers to remember that the front, back and sides of trucks are all “no Zones,” or blindspots,  for truck drivers. When a person is “Camping out” in these zones the driver cannot see you.

2.  Don’t Cut Off Trucks

  • Always give trucks enough room and never cut them off because their stopping distance is not the same as a smaller vehicle.

3. Stopping Distances

  • Trucks always need more time to stop than cars. Be careful when passing and make sure to never cut them off.

4. Wide Turns

  • Trucks have a higher center of gravity and therefore need more room to make turns.  Never try to squeeze past a truck in order to turn because you might just get hit as well.

Drive to stay alive is a program centered around truck drivers, and their passengers to remind all parties of safe driving habits while on the road. The program was primarily for truck drivers but the rules and safety tips apply to all.DTSA_Logo

Safe driving tips include:

Drowsy Driving: 

You are drowsy driving if:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelid
  • Trouble remembering the last few miles driven
  • Repeated yawning
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting, tailgating, or hitting shoulder rumble strip
  • Restlessness and irritability

Slowing down, don’t speed

  • Driving too fast can put your life at risk as well as the lives of those around you. Slowing down can make all the difference between a major or a minor accident.

Seat Belt Safety

  • Always buckle up. Period.

The Truck Smart team makes presentations to schools around the state. A presentation was recently given at Westlake High School where 70 student drivers were instructed on the importance of being “Truck Smart” while driving and how to “Drive to Stay Alive.”

Truck Smart and Drive To Stay Alive giving a presentation at Westlake High School.

Truck Smart and Drive To Stay Alive giving a presentation at Westlake High School.

Phillips summarized the education approach as following the same example of the “Buckle Up” program. Children were encouraged in grade schools to buckle up while driving. It’s the same idea with the “No Zone”, kids go home and tell their parents to buckle up or be Truck Smart and less accidents happen.

The division of Motor Carriers will be at the The Great Salt Lake Truck Show August 16-17 at Thanksgiving point. A booth about Truck Smart and Drive to Stay Alive will be on display with pamphlets and further information.


Drive To Stay Alive:

Innovative Contracting

In recent years UDOT has been able to implement innovative bridge building techniques but do you know what the impetus for this was? It started with innovative contracting. By utilizing these types of contracts we are able to involve the construction industry earlier for more efficient delivery of our projects.

Colorado River Bridge

The Colorado River Bridge project was completed using DBB. A specialty designer was hired and then also contracted to assist with inspection during construction.

We use three basic contract types: design-bid-build (DBB), design-build (DB) and construction manager/general contractor (CMGC). Each has its own benefits and risks and UDOT project managers, in coordination with UDOT senior leaders, determine early on what type of contract will meet the needs of their project and ultimately provide the best product (aka road, bridge, etc.).


DBB is our traditional method of contracting and is the most familiar to everyone. With these contracts a designer completes their part of the process before a construction contractor is involved. Basically, the name explains it all: first the design is completed, then it is put out for bid and finally a contractor is selected to build the project. The majority of our projects use this type of contract.

Geneva Road

It was determined that we could get a better price using DB on the Geneva Road project by allowing the contractor to propose the most efficient design while maximizing the available funding.


DB came about as a result of the 2002 Winter Olympics. The executive director at the time was Tom Warne and I-15 needed to be improved through Salt Lake County to meet the increased demands the Olympics would put on the highway. To meet the tight timeline Mr. Warne worked with legislators to allow UDOT to use a new method of contracting, design-build.

DB contracts allow for the design and construction to be completed under one contract. The contractor actually manages the design and construction, and is involved from the beginning. This means the company that will be building the project is part of the discussion as elements of the project are designed. Because of this early contractor involvement, the time frame for a project is greatly reduced. Contractor involvement is also what has brought about innovations such as bridge moves; who better to bring new ideas to the table than the one who will be putting them into practice.

S.R. 14 Equipment

A landslide took out S.R. 14 and made it impassable. In order to have the most innovative design, and to get construction started right away, CMGC was selected. This also allowed us to develop a design utilizing equipment the contractor proposed.

Construction Manager/General Contractor

CMGC is somewhat similar to DB in that it also shortens the timeline between design and construction and allows for innovation since the contractor is involved from the beginning. The difference is that the contractor is involved during the design process as part of a team managed by UDOT, working alongside a design consultant. Another difference is that while the contractor may continue on past design into construction, if they meet all of the requirements, we also reserve the right to sever the contract once the design is complete making it a design-bid-build.

CMGC allows us to use some of the positive elements from both DBB and DB. The idea for this came from the building industry and we saw it used on a transportation project by the city of Phoenix, Arizona in 2004. Following the success of DB we wanted to include another innovative contracting method.

In the end our goal is to provide our project managers with options so that they can build the best project possible. These innovative contracting methods allow them to select a delivery process that keeps low bid in the forefront, but that also allows for new ideas and practices to emerge.

Note from author: Special thanks to Michelle Page, Project Controls and Innovative Contracting Engineer, and Michael Butler, Contract Administrator, for their help with this post.

UDOT Traffic App Tutorial

Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to all of Utah’s weather, traffic information, major construction and road delays? Fortunately the Utah Department of Transportation has made this possible through a smart phone application called “UDOT Traffic”.

The traffic app has several different features which include a detailed map, alerts, road weather and mountain pass information. All of this data comes from the UDOT Traffic Operations Center (TOC) which provides 24/7 monitoring for roads around the state.

Here is a step by step tutorial of how to utilize the app’s features and information.

The map contains several different options that include: cameras, incidents/planned events, construction, overhead freeway signs otherwise know as Variable Message Signs (VMS) and traffic congestion. With your smart phone you can zoom to common locations, search a certain address or use your current location.

Areas of Utah can be selected based on common locations as well as being searched.

Areas of Utah can be selected based on common locations and searched as well.

Specific symbols can be selected or deselected to find a specific camera, construction zone, sign or alert.

Specific symbols can be selected or deselected to change what is visible on your map.

This map of Utah contains symbols representing cameras, construction sites, alerts, and VMS signs.

This map of Utah contains symbols representing cameras, construction sites, alerts, and VMS.

Map with just construction.

Here is a map with all the construction sites listed in Utah. By selecting a specific barrel, details can be found about the place, duration and lane closure information.

A camera view from US-6.

This is a camera view from U.S. 6 but other highways are available on the UDOT Traffic map. Camera images are updated regularly and include a time stamp so you know how recent the image is.


VMS can also be viewed from the app. These show current travel times between the sign and certain locations.
































Alerts are the second feature available from the main menu across the bottom and contain advice and warning information regarding emergencies, TravelWise, road conditions, incidents, special events, construction and seasonal roads.

An example of an alert with information on the locations and nature of the incident

Details on each alert can be accessed from a list or viewed on the map.

An example of an alert with information on the locations and nature of the incident

This is an example of an incident alert on the map. It contains information on the location, nature of the incident and impact.
















The third main feature of the app is all about weather. This section contains travel advisories, available during the winter months, as well as road forecasts and reports directly from our weather stations. Road forecasts and weather station data are available all year.


Travel advisories, weather stations and road forecasts are available in the Weather section of UDOT Traffic App.

This is an example of a Road Forecast that will update every 3 hours with current weather.

Road Forecasts are created by TOC meteorologists and have details broken down in 3 hours increments up to 24 hours in advance.

The Weather Stations display graphs and data for what to expect concerning temperature, wind, dew point etc.

The Weather Stations option displays graphs and data directly from RWIS around the state. This includes temperature, wind, dew point, etc.

















The final portion of the app includes Mountain Passes. Mountain Passes are often impacted first by incoming weather. To help travelers understand what they will encounter in these areas we have consolidated them into one part of the app.

 A list of all the mountain passes in Utah are available in this section of the app.

A list of all the mountain passes in Utah are available in this section of the app.

Once a mountain pass is selected information with cameras and weather is available.

Once a mountain pass is selected information specific to that area, including cameras and weather forecasts, are available.

A camera view of Sardine Summit mountain pass.

A camera view of Sardine Summit mountain pass.

















These are some tips and tricks to navigating UDOT ‘s Traffic App. The application is available for iPhone and Android devices and can be downloaded for free through your smart phone’s app store.  For more information on how UDOT receives data and traffic information check out this blog written about UDOT’s  Traffic Operations Center.