Japanese Engineers And Executives Meet With Illinois Tollway To Exchange Insights On Roadway Maintenance Innovations And Best Practices

Japanese Engineers And Executives Meet With Illinois Tollway To Exchange Insights On Roadway Maintenance Innovations And Best Practices

A delegation of about 20 engineers and executive from the Express Highway Research Foundation of Japan recently visited the Illinois Tollway in Downers Grove to learn about Tollway roadway maintenance and incident management operations and to share details about how they are tackling challenges in Japan. 

“Exchanging knowledge through meetings like this is a great way for both our agencies to learn from one another so we can continue to grow, innovate and improve,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Cassaundra Rouse. “This meeting marked an important step in our ongoing commitment to collaboration and sharing knowledge with our peers in the global transportation community.” 

Transportation agencies around the world face similar challenges. From Tokyo to Chicago, top priorities include keeping roadways safe and well-maintained in the face of extreme weather conditions and making investments in rebuilding aging infrastructure to meet current and future demands of the motoring public. 

Tollway Roadway Maintenance staff shared an overview of day-to-day maintenance operations – pavement, sign and guardrail repairs; right-of-way mowing; pavement sweeping; Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (HELP) trucks and winter weather operations – as part of its focus on safety for Tollway customers, workers and first responders alike. 

Tollway staff also showcased innovative safety measures such as the 83-foot-long portable steel safety barrier, which is used to shield roadway and emergency workers from fast-moving traffic during a variety of tasks, including pavement repairs, rolling lane closures, roadway lighting work and assisting contractors with maintenance of traffic in work zones. 

The group also visited the Tollway’s Traffic Operations Center to see how the agency detects, confirms and responds to incidents and then went to the Tollway maintenance facility in Downers Grove to get a close-up look at the trucks and equipment used to maintain the roadways. 

The day wasn’t just about Tollway practices. The delegation from Japan also shared their experiences and challenges, particularly their investments in transportation infrastructure and winter operations.

The Tokyo-based Express Highway Research Foundation is an independent research institution that conducts research pertaining to expressways including economic impacts, engineering, and traffic control. Its governing principle is "to contribute to sustainable development of society by enhancing the values and benefits of the expressways.”