The Innovations, Developments, Enhancement and Advancements (IDEA) Program

The program provides a protocol for technical evaluation of earth retention systems. The framework is the first step in developing a technical review program, that will replace the current HITEC program.

Download IDEA framework developed by the FHWA

The Highway Innovative Technology Evaluation Center (HITEC) program was initiated over 20 years ago. This evaluation program was used by state agencies to improve their transportation infrastructures and by manufacturers to improve their products. Earth retention is now a mature technology. Over the last two decades techniques to retain earth have evolved, particularly those that are based on mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) concepts. The viability of MSE structures in state transportation applications is no longer in question and other ERS methods have been developed.

The goal of the IDEA program is to

  • foster further innovation with proven ERS technology;
  • encourage the development of new technologies, and;
  • improve the methods by which the technologies are delivered to projects on the ground.

The IDEA program is intended to provide a consistent framework to propose changes to standard practice that owners may take advantage of by expanding ERS innovations in their projects. Towards this goal, the IDEA Program has been developed to provide guidance for three tasks:

  1. the technical evaluation of earth retaining systems;
  2. the use of reports of evaluations by transportation agencies; and
  3. archiving and maintenance of reports of evaluations.

Visit Geo-Institute’s IDEA Program page

Dr. Collin has performed IDEA evaluations for MSE systems. He has also performed IDEA like evaluation for various state departments of transportation (Idaho, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and West Virginia.

Licensed Professional Engineer:  AL, AK, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, KS, MA, MD, MN, MS, MT, NC, ND, NJ, NY, NH, OH, PA, TN, UT, VA, WV, WI