Welcome to the August 2019 edition of the UFTI T2 Center Newsletter. Feel free to call (352-273-1670) or email (email@example.com) with any ideas, questions, or concerns. Thanks for reading!
In This Newsletter:
- Director’s Message
- Upcoming Courses and Training
- Center News
- Safe Routes to School
- Florida Occupant Protection Resource Center (OPRC) Update
- Florida’s Pedestrian and Bicycling Safety Resource Center (SRC) Update
- Other Opportunities
- Center Resources
- Searching for Safety or Technical Training?
The T2 Center has had a productive year, presenting 94 training courses to nearly 1,350 participants. The Center continues to serve as the Florida’s Occupant Protection and Pedestrian & Bicycling Safety Resource Centers and provides training with car seats and bicycle helmets to hundreds of users. The Transportation Safety Center (TSC) received continued funding to provide technical assistance and develop Local Roads Safety Plans for Columbia and Jackson Counties. The T2 Center was also successful in receiving three FHWA ASAP awards to provide training to local agencies on local road safety plans, intersection control evaluations, and roundabout operations.
The T2 Center is involved in multiple research activities with different University of Florida departments and UFTI projects. The T2 Center has completed a study with the Electrical Engineering Department to deploy custom sensors on bike racks for RTS buses. We also collaborated with McTrans to build an app that tells students the real-time status of bike rack availability on buses. A T2 Center collaboration with the Department of Occupational Therapy to produce an online course that aims to reduce distracted driving among teens is nearing completion. The T2 Center is also working on a research project to evaluate the benefits of advanced driving assistance systems in transit vehicles in Gainesville.
Dr. Nithin Agarwal has served on two National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) project panels and serves as the Chair for the Transportation Research Board’s Traffic Signal Timing Subcommittee.
Upcoming Courses and Training
Registration for upcoming UFTI T2 training courses is online! Get your PDHs before biannual renewal.
Pilot Escort/ Flagging Training CoursesRequest Exclusive On-Site Training
If you don’t see a class that fits your needs and have a group of interested students, please contact Jasper Masciocchi at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 273-1685 to discuss the opportunity to bring a class to your location. T2 has a pool of qualified, experienced, professional instructors capable of traveling to your location.
Safe Routes to School
The T2 Center has partnered with the UF College of Design, Construction, and Planning’s Center for the Urban Built Environment to provide technical assistance to Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) counties and communities to complete the infrastructure funding application to provide Safe Routes to School. Safe Routes to School is a national program the promotes collaboration among school officials, teachers, students, parents, law enforcement, and local city and county officials to create a cohesive team to promote safe walking and biking to school. According to Florida School District 2017-18 Transportation Profiles, a report published by the Florida Department of Education in April 2019, over one billion dollars were expended throughout Florida for the fiscal year of 2017-18. The expenditures include salary and benefits for 12,740 bus drivers who drove over 250 million miles during the year (Education, 2019).
Students walking and biking to school not only help to take a load off the bus transportation system, but also have the opportunity to exercise daily and learn a sense of independence.
The Safe Routes to School infrastructure funding is limited for Florida, and REDI communities often lack resources to gather the necessary items for a complete application.
Jasper Masciocchi attended the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) mandatory trainings for applicants in FDOT districts 1, 2, 3, and 5 to highlight the assistance available to applicants. A team of graduate students in the UF College of Design, Construction and Planning will complete an analysis for the counties and schools who request assistance to help identify the most viable projects in their community. Once the school(s) are identified, the UF team will assist with right of way, student tallies, public meetings, and necessary documentation to complete the application.
Counties seeking assistance with a Safe Routes to School infrastructure application should contact the technical assistance team at email@example.com.
Florida Occupant Protection Resource Center (OPRC) – August 2019 Update
Safe Travel for All Children
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Florida Occupant Protection Resource Center (OPRC) sponsored a Safe Travel for All Children (STAC) training course, “Transporting Children with Special Health Care Needs,” on June 24-25, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The course provides additional training for child passenger safety (CPS) technicians and instructors interested in learning more about transporting children with special healthcare needs. Working directly with children and families, the two-day course included classroom presentations and hands-on installation of specialized restraints. Petra Vybiralova, Safe Kids supervisor at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, completed training to become a certified STAC instructor and is excited to share her expertise with CPS technicians and instructors throughout Florida.
Florida Law Enforcement Liaison Traffic Safety Challenge
Florida Occupant Protection Resource Center (OPRC) staff attended the 2019 Florida Law Enforcement Traffic Safety Challenge (FLETSC) July 11-12, 2019, in Orlando, Florida. The FLETSC is a Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) program rewarding agencies that are leaders in traffic safety. The challenge supports the goal of encouraging increased statewide enforcement of traffic safety laws to reduce traffic crashes, serious injuries, and fatalities. The event consisted of training sessions, exhibits, an awards ceremony, and networking opportunities. OPRC staff shared resources on car seats and educational materials with law enforcement officials from around the state.Florida Law Enforcement Liaison Traffic Safety Challenge
Florida’s Pedestrian and Bicycling Safety Resource Center (SRC) Update
The current grant cycle is coming to a close. If you have ordered in the past year, please ensure that you have reported on your Safety Resources and submitted any necessary signatures as supporting documentation. Reporting instructions can be found at this link. We will continue to ship educational material with only a minor interruption in late September and early October. This happens at the close of each grant cycle. Helmet funds are nearly depleted for this grant cycle. We anticipate new funding to be in place in mid-October. We will communicate helmet availability by email to all Community Partners when funding is in place. Click this link to become a Community Partner (you must create an account). New print items are in the works! Keep your eyes on your inbox for the Resource Center Spotlight email that announces new and highlighted safety titles.
School Is Back in Session!
As schools ready for the 2019/2020 school year, it is time for drivers and parents to be aware of their surroundings. Please be extra vigilant as kids and families begin to follow their new schedules. Kids will be riding bikes and walking to schools and bus stops, and traffic will be slowed for safety. We want every kid to make it back to school safely! Now is also the time to start thinking about “Back to School” events!
Florida Makes Texting a Primary Offense
Also be on the lookout for increased texting enforcement! We know our Community Partners would never text and drive, but some drivers do text while operating a vehicle on Florida roads. The Florida Legislature and the Governor have made texting a primary offense. This is good for all of us who share the road. While the newest statistics are moving in the right direction, Florida is routinely in the Top 3 states in the nation for bike and pedestrian fatalities. This new law has the potential to reduce fatalities across all populations of road users.
For Law Enforcement Only
If you are in one of the 25 Focus Counties for pedestrian and bicycle issues, we have a front and rear bike light combo that is available only for LEOs to distribute. Follow this link for more info.
There are two positions under the UF Transportation Institute currently open:
- Fiscal Assistant III – Application closes Sept. 6, 2019
- Postdoctoral Associate – Application closes Sept. 13, 2019
Searching for Safety or Technical Training?
T2 can work with you to meet your training needs. Whether it is heavy equipment, project management, Traffic Engineering Fundamentals, or countless other topics, T2 is positioned to help bring the trainings of interest to your location.
We can also provide an array of webinars geared to provide you with the most relevant information without the need to travel. Let us know your areas of interest, and we can work with our experts to provide training, either in instructor-led or webinar formats.
Many of our courses are approved for Professional Engineer (PE) credits.