UPDATE FROM THE CHAIR
Dr. Jodi L. Carson, Texas Transportation Institute
As we enter another calendar year, I can say without hesitation that 2006 was a success! Through the diligence of ITE volunteers and staff, the Transportation Education Council (TEC) was able to launch two new and significant products for its members:
- Practical Problems in Transportation: A Living Repository for Use by Faculty.
This product provides an ever-expanding library of topic-oriented practical transportation problems
for use as class exercises by faculty. Each repository entry is based upon an actual transportation project and contains: 1) a standardized problem description that details the project scope, available
data and deliverables (i.e., student tasks); 2) a complete data set to support any analysis or conclusions (as required); and 3) a final technical report detailing the project's actual outcome. This product can be accessed at
www.ite.org/councils/Education/index.asp. Contact Dr. Rhonda Young, University of Wyoming
(RKYoung@uwyo.edu), to contribute or for further information.
- Recruitment Toolbox for Transportation Professionals. Involvement of the professional community in recruitment efforts is largely precluded by the time, energy and creativity requirements to develop companion transportation-related activities and exercises. This product provides an easily
accessible electronic database of proven transportation-related activities and exercises intended to expose and recruit a variety of age groups (K-12) to the transportation profession. This product can be accessed at
www.ite.org/councils/Education/recruitment/. Contact Dr. Jodi Carson, Texas Transportation Institute
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Stephanie Ivey, University of Memphis
(email@example.com), for further
TEC volunteers contributed to a myriad of other activities in 2006, including the development of a goal-oriented success measurement
program; the provision of two
Spotlight on Student Chapter Best Practices Webinars; a review of an annual parking generation and trip generation data collection proposal developed by the ITE Parking Council; and the annual selection of recipients for the
Outstanding Student Chapter Award (congratulations Clemson University!), the
Daniel B. Fambro Student Paper Award (congratulations Ivana
Vladisavljevic!) and the Award for Innovation in Education (congratulations
Frankle, University of Maryland!). Well done!
We need your help to continue this success in 2007. In an effort to ensure that the activities and actions of the TEC reflect your desires and expectations, we are asking for your input in two ways:
- TEC Member Survey. The TEC is conducting a member survey to determine areas of interest and desired involvement. Please take the time to provide feedback regarding existing and desired products, services and level of involvement. Contact Dr. Rod
Turochy, Auburn University (firstname.lastname@example.org), for more information.
- Call for New Project Ideas. Do you have a good project idea for the TEC to tackle? Now’s the time to let us know. Please provide a brief summary of your project idea to me at
email@example.com. Be sure to include the following information: 1) scope/purpose of the proposed project; 2) benefit/importance to ITE; 3) estimated timeframe for completion (e.g., 6 months, one year, etc.); and 4) anticipated resource requirements (e.g., total voluntary effort, <$10,000, etc.). New project ideas will be discussed during the next TEC meeting held in conjunction with the Transportation Research Board
(TRB) Annual Meeting in January 2007 (see below). If you can’t attend this meeting, please don’t let that stop you from submitting your ideas.
You’re Invited! The next TEC meeting will be held on Tuesday, January
23, 2007 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Eisenhower Room at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington,
DC. This meeting will provide an opportunity for TEC project updates, International ITE updates and discussion of new items of interest and required actions. The meeting is open to all existing TEC
members as well as those interested in joining. Please plan to attend!
In addition, please plan to attend the following events during TRB week:
ITE Student Member Reception
Monday, January 22, 2007
6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
ITE Member Reception
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Both reception events will be held at ITE Headquarters, 1099 14th Street, NW, Suite 300 West, Washington, DC 20005-3438.
I look forward to seeing everyone in January. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me, any member of the Executive Committee, or any "activity leader" if you’d like to get involved, provide suggestions, or simply ask questions.
THE TRANSPORTATION ACADEMY AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS
By Dr. John Collura, Director of the Transportation Academy and
Professor of Civil and
The University of Massachusetts Transportation Center recently
established the Transportation Academy to assist in meeting the life-long
learning needs of transportation professionals in Massachusetts and
greater New England. The intent of this article is to share the Academy's
experiences and lessons learned to date and to provide guidance to other
universities interested in carrying out comprehensive transportation
education and training efforts in other regions of the United States.
The Academy's work plan over the past year has focused on meeting the
learning needs of entry, mid and upper level transportation professionals
employed in public sector transportation agencies and consulting firms.
While it is recognized that there are many types of professionals in such
agencies and firms, the Academy's initial target group includes engineers,
planners, analysts and managers.
The Transportation Academy at the University of Massachusetts was
created to respond to the pressing need and growing debate regarding ways
the United States should prepare to build its transportation professional capacity
to meet national, state and local transportation goals. A consensus has
emerged, suggesting that:
- Transportation professionals must be continually educated and
trained to meet the changing challenges and issues they encounter in
the dynamic environment in which they work and live.
- Key challenges and issues confronting transportation
professionals related to congestion, security, safety, the environment
- Addressing these challenges and issues effectively demands the use of
innovative strategies, concepts and techniques including intelligent
transportation systems (ITS) and other integrated approaches that require
transportation professionals to expand their knowledge base and
develop new core competencies and skill sets.
The Transportation Academy has been designed to initiate a
comprehensive effort to meet the transportation professional capacity
building needs in Massachusetts and, to the extent possible, in other states
in New England.
The Transportation Academy: An Overview
The Transportation Academy is housed in the University of Massachusetts
Transportation Center (UMTC), a five-campus entity headquartered on the
Amherst campus in the College of Engineering. The Academy is one of some
half-dozen units in the UMTC designed to conduct transportation research,
learning and technology transfer activities with a variety of resources
provided by government agencies and the transportation industry.
Being under the umbrella of UMTC, the Transportation Academy is able to
coordinate its education, training and other learning activities with the
activities of other UMTC units whose missions include research as well as
some education and training. Other UMTC units include the Bay State Roads
Program (the Local Technical Assistance Program), the MassHighway Training
Assistance Program and several research programs focusing on
transportation mobility and safety. Examples of ways the Academy has
interacted with each unit to promote education, training and other leaning
- In an attempt to address new issues and challenges facing local and
state transportation agencies, the Bay State Roads Program, in
collaboration with the Transportation Academy and the ITSA
Massachusetts Chapter, recently began to include ITS related articles
in its newsletter. Articles have focused on emergency response and
traffic signal preemption strategies that appear to be of keen
interest to local agencies. Future articles intend to cover global
positioning systems (GPS) for fleet management purposes including snow
plows, highway maintenance vehicles and transit buses. The newsletter
is an information dissemination tool used to provide local technical
assistance and knowledge to local transportation professionals.
Following the newsletter articles on a selective basis will be one-day
workshops to teach local officials what they need to know
about ITS and other new concepts and approaches to address local
- To respond to the changing needs of state transportation
professionals, the MTAP staff in coordination with the Academy and the
Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation offered a one-day
workshop in April 2006 on ITS awareness taught by NHI instructors.
Some 30 state and regional transportation engineers and planners
attended. The Academy also plans to offer ITE Webinars
for local professionals in 2007.
- The Academy is working directly with the principal investigators of
each research project to promote the dissemination of research project
results to ensure that such results, where appropriate, are integrated
into learning activities such as traditional workshops, seminars and
courses as well as distance learning offerings over the Internet and
other innovative delivery systems.
- While a great deal of UMTC research attention has been devoted
to physical infrastructure needs, the Academy is working diligently
with selected UMTC research groups to promote the conduct of research
to address management, operations and planning issues and the use of
ITS and other innovative technology
applications. Academy staff also intends to work with principal
investigators on such research projects to ensure that results are
disseminated via traditional and innovative distance learning methods.
The Academy is collaborating with the UMTC's Regional Traveler
Information Center on campus to design training workshops to teach
individuals what they need to know to operate a traveler information
center and dispatch activity.
- The Academy also hosted an NTI Rural ITS course on the Amherst
campus, in which some 18 individuals participated.
Needs Assessment Conducted by the Academy
Another major activity of the Academy has been to identify and
prioritize the educational and training needs, interests and preferences
of transportation professionals employed in public sector agencies and
consulting firms in Massachusetts and greater New England. To date, the
work on this activity has included:
- Personal interviews with key public officials at state agencies. This
included meetings with the Deputy Secretary of the Massachusetts
Executive Office, the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Highway and
their senior staff. Discussions with these individuals and other
public sector agencies in Massachusetts have revealed significant
interest and needs in the area of intelligent transportation planning,
deployment and operations.
- Professional needs survey distributed via the Internet. Initial
survey results based on 30 responses indicate that the following learning
areas are considered most important: ITS, Safety, Operations
and Transportation Planning. The following learning
characteristics were deemed most important: practical, real
life examples, interactive (ability to ask questions), good materials
and "handouts." The following learning
characteristics were deemed least important: 24 / 7 access,
credit granting, cost and proximity to home.
- Focus groups. The Academy has conducted two focus group
sessions (one in western Massachusetts and the other in Boston) with
public sector and private sector transportation professionals. The
focus groups provide an opportunity for transportation professionals
to provide direct input into the development of the Academy.
Participants were encouraged to discuss current learning needs and the
practical aspects of meeting these needs given today's dynamic
professional environment. A major result of the focus group sessions
is that ITS is a priority topic as are the traditional topics of
highway design and construction management
Future focus groups will consist of representatives from the State
Executive Office of Transportation, Massachusetts Highway Department,
Mass Bay Transportation Authority, Mass Turnpike Authority, Governor's
Highway Safety Bureau, regional planning agencies, regional transit
authorities, U.S. DOT regional and division offices in the Federal
Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Motor
Carrier Services Administration as well as the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration. Several consultants have also been selected to
participate in this task.
Gap Analysis Conducted by the Academy
The Academy has also identified gaps that exist between the desires and
interests reviewed in the needs assessment discussed above and the
available learning offerings through national institutes, universities,
private vendors and others. Based on the results of the gap analysis,
recommendations will be made to develop new educational and training
activities to fill these gaps. It is worth noting here that tools employed
by the Academy in the needs assessment and prioritization approach, the
inventory on available offerings and the gap analysis could assist in
guiding individuals in states in other U.S. regions in the
development of a plan to build the transportation professional capacity
required to meet the broader mission of state, regional and local agencies
and consulting firms.
An example of an activity underway to assist in meeting needs
includes the development of the Academy's certificate program. Certificate
programs are currently being developed for ITS, transportation safety, traffic simulation modeling and public
transportation management. Other subjects that will also be considered as
part of the certificate program are telecommunications system applications
in transportation; traffic signal systems and preferential treatments for
pedestrians, emergency vehicles and transit; traffic safety;
transportation and human factors; transportation and homeland security;
commercial vehicle operator (CVO) credentialing and enforcement; traffic
management and operations; transportation planning; public works
administration; and public transit management. Certificates may include
graduate credits, professional development hours (PDHs) and continuing
education units (CEUs).
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOTs) are often
associated with the establishment of a new program or organization such as
the Transportation Academy. If one understands and anticipates these SWOTs,
he or she is likely to be in a better position to administer and manage the
program, to create the proper organizational structure and design an
effective strategic plan to achieve programmatic goals and objectives. A
brief review is presented below of the strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats associated with the way in which the UMass
Transportation Academy has been established and its strategic plan has
been designed and implemented. This is not meant to be an exhaustive
treatment of all the Academy's SWOTs but simply some examples to guide
individuals at universities where there may be an interest in implementing
a comprehensive learning program similar to the Academy, a program
directed at meeting the professional capacity-building needs in the
- Access to multiple funding sources. By virtue of being
based at the University the Academy is eligible to apply for certain
funds available through federal and state transportation agencies
(e.g., U.S. DOT UTC and Massachusetts EOT research funds) and
university programs (e.g., outreach).
- Able to pool new funding sources with existing UMTC funds. Because
the Academy is housed in the UMTC with other research and training
units, coordination and pooling of funding and other resources between
the Academy and other UMTC units is more likely to occur than if these
other units were based in some other agency on or off campus.
- Positioned to develop curricula. Currently, faculty
from several academic departments are directly involved in UMTC
research and learning activities; these faculty are directly involved
in the development of new degree (M.S.) and non-degree (e.g.,
certificate) curricula and in modifying existing curricula. As the
need for changes in curricula are identified per the Academy's
periodic needs analysis, implementing such changes will be easier
because these faculty are directly involved in UMTC activities and
understand the UMTC's broader mission and goals. Examples cited
earlier are the initiation of a graduate certificate program and the
inclusion of courses in the undergraduate and graduate transportation
engineering curricula in ITS, traffic flow theory, highway safety and
- Interacts daily with ongoing UMTC training activities. Central
to the success of the Academy is its ability to work closely with
other UMTC units such as the LTAP and MTAP described earlier.
These units have the staff with the core competencies and other
resources to provide training and technical assistance at the grassroots level in state and local agencies. By working with these units,
the Academy is able to identify new areas for training and technical
assistance. Examples discussed earlier were the inclusion of ITS as an
area in which MTAP training has been offered in collaboration with the
Academy and the U.S. DOT's PCB Program and NHI; another example was
the creation of "ITS Corner," a column that appears in the
LTAP Center's periodic newsletter tailored to meet the information
needs of local public works directors, highway superintendents,
transit managers, planners, emergency response personnel, policy board
members and other city and town officials.
- Active with professional organizations and other groups. Key
UMTC and Academy faculty and/or staff are extremely active with major
professional organizations (e.g., ITSA Mass, ITE New England Section,
ACSE/BSCE) and other national and international groups (e.g., CITE, I
95 Coalition, CUTC); this proves to be important because such groups
all tend to agree that continuing education and training is central to
effective professional development and such groups are effective in
helping the Academy, LTAP and MTAP and others promote and
advertise workshops, training sessions,and other learning offerings.
In addition, some of these groups offer their own learning activities,
which in some cases may be appropriate to integrate into Academy
activities and offered jointly.
- Direct access to transportation professionals at all levels.
Academy faculty and extended staff have access to existing
professionals in the private sector and at state and local levels through
the LTAP and MTAP and the professional organizations. In
addition, the Academy faculty have direct contact with entry level
professionals through their involvement in undergraduate and degree
programs and curricula.
- Understand the elusive concept of "learning" and
differences between education, training and other learning activities.
Over the years, Academy faculty and staff have participated in
a variety of learning activities including degree, non-degree and
less formal technical assistance programs, all of which contribute in
varying ways to the development of important core competencies, skills
and abilities (KSAs).
- Relies on a champion and key staff. The Academy, as is
the case with many organizations and programs, depends on a prime mover-key staff; if such people leave, the future of the Academy may be
- Requires that different units within the UMTC work in concert.
The importance of the willingness of UMTC units working
together and, where appropriate, pooling resources cannot be
- Lacks a permanent funding source and other reliable revenue
streams. The success of many organizations is dependent on
fiscal stability and certainty; at present, the Academy is operating
with limited direct funding which supports minimal Academy staff who,
as described above, works in coordination with the other UMTC units.
- Demonstrate university's awareness and willingness to be
involved in PCB effort. The establishment of the Academy shows
that the UMTC is aware of the importance of being involved in the PCB
efforts among with government agencies, professional organizations and
- Ensure that available PCB activities are fully utilized.
As described in this case study, there are many PCB activities
underway through U.S. DOT, NHI, NTI and industry. A major aim of the
Academy is to make sure transportation professionals at the state and
local levels as well as in transportation consulting firms take full
advantage of these PCB activities.
- The mission of the Academy may concern the staff of existing
transportation education and training programs. An effort has
been made to ensure that staff in existing training programs do not
become concerned and get the impression that the Academy's intent is
to inappropriately duplicate, displace, or compete with their ongoing
training activities. On a positive note and, more importantly, the
Academy staff has successfully assisted staff in other programs in
expanding their reach and scope of coverage and as a result added
value to their programs. In addition, Academy staff has also initiated
discussions with faculty at other universities to explore
collaborative teaching arrangements where appropriate
Summary and Conclusions
This article briefly presents a review of the accomplishments and
lessons learned by the Transportation Academy at the University of
Massachusetts in Amherst. An underlying premise on which the Academy has
been established is that there are numerous ongoing learning activities
underway both on campus and off campus, including education, training and
other learning activities promoted and offered through government
agencies, national institutes, professional organizations and industry
and that the Academy will promote the use of these ongoing activities
fully to meet the urgent, immediate learning needs before developing new
learning activities. In addition, the Academy will, as necessary, create
new learning activities such as the certificate program and other
activities that are appropriately developed jointly by academic and
non-academic units on campus such as the College of Engineering and the
University Transportation Center Programs including the LTAP and other
technical assistance and research units. The intent of the article is to
share the Academy's experiences and lessons learned to date and to provide
guidance to other universities interested in establishing comprehensive
PCB efforts in other regions of the United States.
The preparation of this article was funded by U.S. Department of
Transportation Professional Capacity Building (PCB) Program under the
auspices of ITS America. Presentations on the Academy were delivered at
the ITS World Congresses in 2005 and 2006 and at the ITS America 2006
The author would like to thank the following individuals for their
support and assistance in the activities of the Transportation Academy:
- Ron Giguere, U.S. DOT, ITS Professional Capacity Building Program
- Larry Schulman, ITS America
- Suzanne Sloan, U.S. DOT Volpe Center
- Chris Ahmadjian, Director of the Massachusetts Local Technical
Assistance Center, University of Massachusetts Transportation Center
- Karen Dodge, Massachusetts Technical Assistance Program, University
of Massachusetts Transportation Center
- Micheal DiPasquale, Transportation Academy, University of
Massachusetts Transportation Center
- Noreen Hazelton, University of Massachusetts Transportation Center
STUDENT CHAPTER GRANT OPPORTUNITY
The ITE Coordinating Council and International Board of Direction has approved a
grant project to have ITE student chapters conduct focused trip generation
and parking generation studies. The grant program provides $5,000, which
will be allocated in five $1,000 grants, to the top rated ITE student
chapters that respond to a request for proposals (RFP). The program is aimed at
facilitating student chapter mentoring, providing a real-life experience
for participants, collecting needed data and providing funds for students
that can be used to offset Annual Meeting travel costs. This process
follows a similar program developed in the ITE Western District (www.westernite.org/datacollectionfund/data_collection.htm).
The data collected will be field counts of key land uses where limited
trip and parking generation exists today. An RFP will be issued in January
2007 to ITE student chapters through the listserv tools. Each student
chapter that is awarded a grant will complete a trip/parking generation
study for a selected land use. It is anticipated that about 80 person-hours will be needed to complete the survey work and data summary.
Look for more details through the ITE Faculty Advisor and Student
Leadership listservs in January 2007. The RFP will be due in February 2007
and awards made in March 2007 for completion in June 2007. If you have
questions, e-mail Randy McCourt at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 503-243-3500.
OPERATIONS ACADEMY SENIOR
In March 2007, 25 transportation professionals from
throughout the United States will be participating in a two-week total immersion
transportation management and operations senior management program.
As the emphasis on transportation management and operations increases,
the demand for personnel with skills in these areas is also increasing.
The Operations Academy is designed to address these needs. It is based on
the concept of total immersion in the subject of transportation management
and operations, using a mix of classroom instruction, workshops and
analysis of existing systems to ensure the retention of the principles
being presented. The academy will provide opportunities to practice and
internalize the principles learned which is not possible in traditional
classes and short courses. The program is offered by the University of
Maryland Center for Advanced Transportation Technology (CATT). Acceptance
for the March program was extremely competitive and required the
nomination of a local, state, or federal transportation agency. Once
admitted to the program, a commitment is required on the part of those
attending the program to satisfy the self-study requirements and to spend
two uninterrupted weeks participating in the program activities. The
rewards for participating include: national recognition of graduates,
certificates of accomplishment, Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and the
involvement of supervisors from the participant's home organization.
The Operations Academy senior management program is designed for mid to
high level managers whose existing or future responsibilities include
transportation management and operations. There are two offerings of the
Senior Management Program in 2007: March 12-23, 2007 and November 5-16,
The development of the Operations Academy has been funded by the I-95
Corridor Coalition. Other supporting organizations include the National
Transportation Operations Coalition (NTOC), the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) and ITE.
We will let you know the results of the first offering of the program.
If you want more information about the program, visit www.operationsacademy.org.