- Back to Campus
- New Staff
- New Projects
- New Positions Available
- PedBike Safety Resource Center
- Back-to-School Events
- UF Pedestrian Outreach: Update
- Helmets Available!
- Occupant Protection Safety Resource Center
- CPS Week: September 19-25, 2021
- New LATCH Manuals
- Scholarships Available for CPS Certification and Recertification Fees
- Job Opportunities at T2
- Education and Training Specialist II
- Postdoctoral Associate in Transportation
- Searching for Safety or Technical Training?
- Subscribe to the UFTI-T2 Newsletter
When I am asked what we do at the T2 Center, I always have a short answer ready: training and technical support. But I am also happy to give a longer answer that describes the many aspects of transportation that the T2 Center is involved in through these two areas. In this director’s message, I’ve summarized the many exciting activities at T2 these days, including highlights of getting back to the office and new personnel and new projects as well as participation in the professional and new job opportunities. The articles in this quarter’s newsletter add more details of these and other projects.
Back to Campus
After over a year of working from home, T2 staff members returned to the office full-time on June 28 – and of course, we started with a staff meeting! Our meeting that first day was full of energy as we greeted one another without a video link for the first time in months. During the months of accommodating the COVID pandemic, our staff worked diligently to maintain our productivity and the continuity of all our services as well as to develop new programs and capabilities. Nevertheless, it was great to have everyone back together. We were grateful that all had made it through the pandemic year without serious incident. There’s an undeniable positive energy to seeing colleagues in the hallways or dropping by someone’s office for a brief discussion versus a digital conversation.
For the time being, all our classes and training will remain virtual. The lessons we learned about virtual training were valuable. It reduces time and travel burdens and creates opportunities for some to attend classes who otherwise could not. Even when we begin to offer in-person classes, virtual training will continue to be an important part of our training portfolio.
T2 staff member Ronnie Barton, who worked on financial matters at the T2 Center, has moved on to new work since our last newsletter. We’d like to thank Ronnie for his positive contribution to the T2 Center both in terms of his work and his easy-going personality. And…
We welcome Wanda Tison, who has recently started at the T2 Center in a position that includes many of Ronnie’s duties. Of course, those of you who have been acquainted with the T2 Center for a number of years, will remember Wanda from her previous work with the T2 Center from 2009 to 2017. Wanda’s familiarity with the T2 Center and its work as well as the University of Florida’s financial systems and procedures make her a great addition to the T2 staff. Welcome back to sunny Florida, Wanda!
Mitch D’Arrigo has also recently joined the University of Florida Transportation Institute staff as a Marketing and Communications Specialist. You may also know Mitch as a champion swimmer on the Gator swim team. Mitch has recently completed his master’s degree in Communications, and we look forward to the contribution he will make to our outreach and communications efforts and products. Welcome, Mitch!
As always, the T2 Center remains very active in its core areas of training and technical support. Here are some the projects that we have recently begun.
The Transportation Safety Center (TSC) has begun work with Suwannee and Taylor counties to develop county road safety plans. These projects continue TSC’s efforts to provide analysis of crash hotspots in rural counties and to recommend mitigations.
The T2 Center will be working with Florida’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) to develop an online training course. This will extend the reach of this national program that has been proven to increase walking and biking to school, to improve student awareness and safety, to lower transportation costs for school districts and families, to reduce student absences and tardiness, and to reduce traffic congestion among other benefits. SRTS is truly a great program, and we are proud to be a part of extending its reach and impact for Florida students, families, and communities.
The T2 Center is also working on developing a Master Plan for the SRTS program that can serve as a model to be implemented statewide by individual districts, MPOs, and other local agencies to improve the safety and mobility for students to walk and bike to school. The goal of this effort is to develop a framework to identify the needs and the priority of schools within a jurisdiction. The framework will be based on be a data-driven approach, and the solutions will incorporate the 5 E’s: Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, and Evaluation.
T2 staff members will also be participating in a variety of events hosted by professional transportation organizations:
- We will be represented at Transpo 2021: Recalibrating the Future, a joint conference held by the Intelligent Transportation Society of Florida (ITS Florida) and the Florida-Puerto Rico District Chapter of the Institute for Transportation Engineers (ITE). Transpo 2021 focuses on presentations on the hot topics facing transportation professionals, delivered by subject matter experts. The conference is also a valuable venue for networking among the region’s professionals.
- T2 staff members are also part of the U.S.’s preeminent transportation research organization, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and are active on several TRB committees that monitor the state of transportation practice and connect it with needed research. For example, the ACP25 Committee on Traffic Signal Systems is among the TRB summer meetings at which the T2 Center will be represented.
- The T2 Center will also be represented at the 2021 statewide meeting of the Florida Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA). This organization brings together professionals from many fields that support the daily functioning of our built environment, including emergency management, facilities and grounds, solid waste management, recycling programs, transportation, stormwater management, water resources management, waste water management, and others.
As the T2 Center continues to grow, we are also expanding our staff with two new positions: a Postdoctoral Scholar and an Education Training Specialist. These positions are posted at UF Jobs. Direct links to the job descriptions are given in the Center Resources & Employment Opportunities section of this newsletter.
Training Transportation’s Next Generation
by Charles Brown, T2 Center Research Communications
If you’re thinking that there are more cars and trucks on the road than ever – you’re right!
In fact, in the U.S. over the past decade, the number of vehicles increased more than the number of people, and the number of miles traveled increased more than either one. More vehicles are being used more often by more people than ever. This points to the ever-increasing role that transportation plays in our daily lives, with important implications for planning, constructing, operating, and maintaining all areas of the transportation system. However, at a time when more transportation workers are needed, fewer are available to meet the need. Back in 2015, the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Education, and Labor estimated that during the decade 2012–2022, approximately 4.6 million new hires would be needed in the transportation sector. However, supply has not met demand in recent years.
Responding to the Need for Workers
Construction of all kinds now competes with many other industries that offer traditional technical workers good career opportunities. In addition, statistics show that the average age of construction workers is increasing; this is part of the strain on the transportation workforce – fewer young workers are choosing transportation. Layoffs during the Covid pandemic forced many construction workers to find new jobs that they are now reluctant to give up. Construction firms are having difficulty finding enough workers, especially workers that have sufficient training to engage with new technologies.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the nation’s lead highway agency, began addressing this issue in the year after the 2015 report. FHWA partnered with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and other organizations to establish a two-year pilot program in 12 U.S. locations to explore how industry could collaborate with the public workforce system to improve recruitment, training, and retention of highway construction workers. The two-year program resulted in the Identify, Train, and Place playbook which collects the challenges identified in the pilot locations and documents the solutions that were found in a way that makes them customizable to other locations. FHWA also developed an outreach program, Roads to Your Future, that offers messaging and marketing materials which can be tailored to local needs to recruit the next generation of highway workers.
Every Day Counts… Bringing the Best Ideas Forward
More recently, FHWA has added workforce development as a project in the sixth round of the Every Day Counts (EDC) technology transfer program. Through EDC, FHWA identifies innovative technologies that are ready for deployment in the field and that are likely to do at least one of three things: speed up completion of highway projects, improve highway safety, or protect the environment. EDC was conceived in 2009 as a series of five two-year cycles during which ready-to-go innovations would be identified and prioritized through state-based stakeholder groups – the State Transportation Innovation Councils (STICs). A selection of 10-15 innovations are then demonstrated through regional workshops to state and local agencies throughout the U.S.
The T2 Center was instrumental in the first round of EDC: it was contracted by FHWA to develop and host the 10 regional presentations for the Safety Edge technology, in which a a device – the safety shoe – is used to taper the edges of roadways so that if a driver leaves the roadway, it is easier to get back on the road, thus preventing overcorrection, which can lead to serious crashes.
Due to EDC’s success, it has been extended into the new decade. For EDC-6, seven projects were chosen:
- Crowdsourcing for Advancing Operations
- e-Ticketing and Digital As-Builts
- Next-Generation TIM: Integrating Technology, Data, and Training
- Strategic Workforce Development
- Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS)
- Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) for Bridge Preservation and Repair
- Virtual Public Involvement (VPI)
These projects draw on advances in information technology and computers and on the growth in social media. Advances and materials and processes are also here. The presence of Strategic Workforce Development highlights the continuing need for more, and more highly skilled, transportation workers.
Focusing on Workforce Development
The Strategic Workforce Development Project brings forward the earlier initiatives, Identify, Train, and Place and Roads to Your Future, and enhances them with additional proven solutions that have been developed by national and state programs. For example, the Highway Construction Workforce Partnership is available to collaborate with many organizations to provide knowledge, resources, and technical support. State and local programs that serve as sources of inspiration include the Alabama Road Construction Training Course, Arizona Industry Readiness Course, and the Denver WORKNOW Navigator Program.
And then there’s the educational game Future Road Builders, a career awareness tool created by Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania and funded by FHWA and the Ladder of Opportunities Initiative. Future Road Builders provides “a virtual pre-apprenticeship experience, the player explores the different phases of a highway construction project and uncovers the skills needed to be a Carpenter, Concrete Finisher, Skilled Laborer, Heavy Equipment Operator, and Inspector.”
The University of Florida Joins In
The University of Florida Transportation Institute is an active player in workforce development through its centers and other activities. UFTI’s T2 Center has had training for transportation workers as a central mission for 40 years, now with course offerings that serve both entry-level workers and transportation professionals. T2’s entry-level courses Pilot-Escort and Flagging and Temporary Traffic Control (traditionally known as Maintenance of Traffic) remain as popular and essential as ever.
UFTI also pursues workforce development through its leadership of, and participation in, the Southeastern Transportation, Research, Innovation, Development and Education Center (STRIDE), one of 10 national University Transportation Centers (UTCs) funded by FHWA with the goal of bringing research to bear on pressing issues in transportation. STRIDE is a consortium of 10 universities in eight Southeast states. Through its project “Transportation Workforce Development for State DOTs to Address Congestion for the Southeast Region,” STRIDE connects its central focus, congestion, with the issue of an adequate skilled workforce. The two are closely related because when agencies and construction crews must work with thinner staffing, it becomes harder to plan, design, build, manage, and operate an effective transportation system.
The Southeastern Transportation Research, Innovation, Development and Education Center (STRIDE) at the University of Florida Transportation Institute needs your help to complete a survey related to the State of Transportation Workforce Development Practice in the Southeastern United States. The intent for this survey is to understand and document best practices in workforce development for the transportation sector and develop a workforce training framework and plan for the Southeast region. The survey takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete.
Addressing a Critical Need
The need for a robust and well-trained transportation workforce in the Southeast is likely to become more critical. The 2020 census shows that the Southeast is the fastest growing region of the U.S. Transportation must respond to the growth implied by this population shift as southern cities become larger and more complex and their highway systems, often laid out in 1960s and 1970s, must be adapted to modern demands under the constraints of rights-of-way, budgets, and available workforce. It will take the combined efforts of government, academia, and industry to address these issues. The good news is that they are on the job!
UFTI-T2 training courses are being offered at various times as shown below. Currently, all UFTI-T2 Center training courses are offered online.
- Designing Intersections for Safety – 11/4/2021
- Designing Pedestrian Facilities for Accessibility – 9/16/2021
- Designing Roads for Safety of Pedestrian, Bicyclist, and VRU Webinar – 10/7/2021
- Equitable Mobility and Effective Engagement Virtual Training – Two parts: 11/9 and 11/16/2021
- Fundamentals of Roadway Design – Two parts: 9/22-23, 2021
- Fundamentals of Roundabout Design – Two parts: 10/19 and 11/4, 2020
- Transportation Data Analytics Training Series – Two parts: 10/6 and 10/27/2021
Pilot/Escort Flagging and Maintenance of Traffic Training
- Pilot/Escort Flagging
(Five courses between Aug. 15 and Nov. 15, 2021; each course is one session.)
- Pilot/Escort Flagging – Weekend
(Four courses between Aug. 15 and Nov. 15, 2021; each course is one session.)
- Intermediate Maintenance of Traffic
(Five courses between Aug. 15 and Nov. 15, 2021; each course is 16 hours of training over two days.)
- Intermediate Maintenance of Traffic – Refresher
(Four courses between Aug. 15 and Nov. 15, 2021; each course is one session.)
- Advanced Maintenance of Traffic
(Four courses between Aug. 15 and Nov. 15, 2021; each course is 20 hours of training over two days.)
- Advanced Maintenance of Traffic – Refresher
(Four courses between Aug. 15 and Nov. 15, 2021; each course is one session.)
Greetings from the Florida Traffic Safety Resource Center!
As the end of summer approaches, all thoughts turn to the start of the new school year. Back-to-school events have been planned across the state to assist kids with the transition back to the classroom.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Resource Center (PedBike SRC) has educational material for kids in your community. From activity books to reflective material, the SRC offers resources to all Florida residents to help teach kids how to stay safe when they walk and ride. Teaching children the rules for safe walking and safe riding will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
If you have an event planned but have not yet ordered your safety resources, there is still time. Visit the PedBike SRC website to place your order. If you do not have an event planned, you can still order material and make it happen. But if the timing is wrong for your community to have an event, do not worry. We support cycling safety efforts every week of the year!
UF Pedestrian Outreach: Update
This past year, several University of Florida students were injured and two were killed in two separate incidents at the same intersection in Gainesville, Florida. All were victims of the careless actions of others.
As a result of community and campus outcry, there have been some changes. Multiple agencies took part in a six-week outreach adjacent to the intersection where the fatalities occurred in an attempt to raise awareness in the problem area. FDOT took steps, from an engineering standpoint, to mitigate the issue: the timing of the signals along the corridor was adjusted so that motorists do not have an opportunity to build up too much speed and speed tables were installed along the corridor. Additionally, UPD held a 24/7 on-site outreach for one week in proximity to the intersection. More recently, FDOT held an Always Stop on Red outreach effort at the intersection of University Avenue and NW 13th St (aka US Route 441, aka Martin Luther King Blvd). This high visibility effort was attended by FDOT employees from Tallahassee, Lake City, Gainesville, and Jacksonville as well as the UF Police Department.
These efforts are far from over as future efforts are already planned. This type of outreach is what the SRC promotes and engages in to raise awareness on the local level. There is no single solution that will solve the issues that lead to pedestrian fatalities, but approaching the problems from many different angles and involving many groups will lead to better solutions.
As students head back to campus at UF and around the state, many individuals and agencies are working toward the goals of safety, not only through outreach, but also behind the scenes to ensure that no more families suffer the loss of their student loved ones. Keep an eye on this space for continued updates.
The SRC ships helmets and educational resources and is dedicated to keeping you and your community safe and supplied with bike and pedestrian safety resources.
We encourage you to continue your local education and outreach efforts. If you have questions about the program or any of the resources available at the PedBike SRC, please contact Paul Simpson by email or phone to discuss: email@example.com or 352-273-1694.
─ PedBike Staff
CPS Week: September 19-25, 2021
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) urge parents and caregivers to protect their child’s future at every stage of life, by making sure they secure them in the correct car seat for their age, height, and weight. Additionally, each child safety seat must be properly installed and registered with its manufacturer to ensure parents and caregivers receive important safety updates.
In Florida, there is a cadre of trained individuals that perform outreach to achieve these goals. These safety professionals work around the state in fire departments, departments of health, and local hospitals, to name a few.
The Florida OPRC provides car seats to trained technicians for use during Child Passenger Safety Week (CPS Week) and throughout the year. This year, CPS Week takes place September 19-25, not just in Florida, but across the nation. If you are interested in becoming a CPS Technician, visit the Florida OPRC webpage to apply for a scholarship to attend the three-day training.
If you would like to know more about CPS Week, please visit the Florida OPRC website for information on this and other Occupant Protection topics.
New LATCH Manuals
The new 2021/22 version is available for all Instructors and Technicians via the Florida OPRC website. Each version has a different color cover, so if you don’t have the green cover it is time to order a new one.
Scholarships Available for CPS Certification and Recertification Fees
CPS Instructors and Technicians must recertify every two years. Florida’s recertification rate is below the national average. The Florida OPRC offers scholarships to help with Safe Kids certification and recertification fees, as well as proxy and instructor candidate fees. Scholarships must be applied for before a class begins. Visit the OPRC scholarship website to learn more.
FDOT RESEARCH FOR MAY-AUGUST 2021
UFTI-T2 compiles a quarterly list of Florida Department of Research (FDOT) research projects that have been completed and published or that have been recently funded. These lists are available in the FDOT Quarterly Research Summary.
JOB OPENINGS AT T2
- Education and Training Specialist II – This position has closed.
- Postdoctoral Associate in Transportation – The Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment (ESSIE) at the University of Florida invites applications for a postdoctoral researcher in transportation, to begin as early as September 1, 2021, or as soon as possible thereafter. The successful candidate will assist the University of Florida Transportation Institute (UFTI) with several research projects related to its I-STREET initiative. The candidate will assist with proposal writing, development of research plans, quantitative analyses, and tech transfer efforts. Candidates for this position should have a strong qualitative and quantitative research background and have experience with traffic operational analyses, transportation engineering and planning, survey design and administration, statistical analysis, and familiarity with connected and autonomous vehicle operations. For a full description of job duties and application requirements, read the job description on University of Florida website.
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.
We can provide an array of training geared to give you 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 virtual formats.
Many of our courses are approved for Professional Engineer (PE) credits.
Contact Jasper Masciocchi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352.273.1685 to discuss your training needs.