LTAP/TTAP: 25 years of service: local and tribal technical assistance programs rise to the challenge of meeting transportation needs at the local level.
Building and maintaining the Nation's roadways is no small feat. Across the country, 38,000 local and tribal agencies are responsible for maintaining 4.8 million kilometers 0.0 million miles) Of roads and more than 300,000 bridges--75 percent of the Nation's streets and highways. These cities and towns, rural and urban counties, and tribal governments juggle a multitude of increasingly complex challenges, including enhancing roadway and work zone safety, managing congestion The condition of a network when there is not enough bandwidth to support the current traffic load.
congestion - When the offered load of a data communication path exceeds the capacity. without building more roads, providing safe and convenient paths for pedestrians and bicyclists, complying with new Federal and State regulations, and training the grassroots transportation workforce--all with limited funds.
In 1982, the Federal Highway Administration The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a division of the United States Department of Transportation that specializes in highway transportation. The agency's major activities are grouped into two "programs," The Federal-aid Highway Program and the Federal Lands Highway (FHWA FHWA Federal Highway Administration (US DoT) ) answered the call for training and technical assistance at the local level by creating the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP LTAP Local Technical Assistance Program ). Nine years later, FHWA launched the Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) to meet the needs of tribal transportation agencies. Together, these programs help local and tribal governments build, maintain, and operate U.S. roadways by delivering targeted training, technical assistance, materials, and resources.
Today, the LTAP/TTAP network consists of 58 centers--one LTAP center in each State and Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (pwār`tō rē`kō), island (2005 est. pop. 3,917,000), 3,508 sq mi (9,086 sq km), West Indies, c.1,000 mi (1,610 km) SE of Miami, Fla. , and seven regional TTAP centers that serve tribal governments. The LTAP/TTAP mission: To foster a safe, efficient, and environmentally sound surface transportation system by improving the skills and increasing the knowledge of the local and tribal transportation workforce. That means providing hands-on methods for moving innovative transportation technologies and practices into the hands of the men and women charged with maintaining the Nation's local roads and bridges.
The LTAP and TTAP centers serve a diverse and geographically dispersed dis·perse
v. dis·persed, dis·pers·ing, dis·pers·es
a. To drive off or scatter in different directions: The police dispersed the crowd.
b. audience of professionals that includes public works public works
Construction projects, such as highways or dams, financed by public funds and constructed by a government for the benefit or use of the general public.
Noun 1. directors and staff; city, town, and county engineers; transportation planners; and street and road maintenance superintendents and staff. The programs also reach officials at State departments of transportation (DOTs), municipal planning organizations, regional planning agencies, and private consultants.
The centers meet the training needs of this varied audience through workshops, technology demonstrations, computer training, distance learning, conference seminars, and courses in the field and classroom. The ability to be flexible and tailor training and technical assistance to an individual State or local agency is paramount to the programs' success.
"It would be hard to find a program in the Federal Government that touches as many people and fosters such success as LTAP and TTAP," says Joseph Toole, associate administrator of FHWA's Office of Professional and Corporate Development. "Part of this is clearly due to the partnerships these centers have created, but even more so it is a measure of the commitment and passion of the people that make them work."
As LTAP celebrates 25 years of service, both programs continue to innovate in·no·vate
v. in·no·vat·ed, in·no·vat·ing, in·no·vates
To begin or introduce (something new) for or as if for the first time.
To begin or introduce something new. and evolve to meet tomorrow's transportation challenges, including a retiring workforce, declining transportation budgets, and aging infrastructure. Mirroring national transportation policies, LTAP and TTAP are focusing on four key areas: safety, infrastructure management, workforce development, and organizational excellence. A newly revamped Web site, an online clearinghouse for materials and training, a collection of educational programs designed to meet local needs, and a national voice--through a national LTAP association--combine to make the LTAP/ TTAP network stronger than ever.
One of the most pressing challenges facing the transportation industry is that nearly half the workforce is eligible to retire by 2010. With 950,000 people directly employed in the transportation industry at the State, local, tribal, and contractor levels, the next decade will bring increased need for training, education, and technology transfer.
The industry as a whole faces the challenge of an aging and retiring workforce, leaving fewer people with institutional knowledge and field-tested experience. Offering training and career development opportunities can help motivate and retain the next generation of transportation workers.
"Our LTAP center helps transportation practitioners in the field stay current on best practices--which is absolutely vital in this time of aging infrastructure and shrinking budgets," says Laura Melendy, director of the University of California The University of California has a combined student body of more than 191,000 students, over 1,340,000 living alumni, and a combined systemwide and campus endowment of just over $7.3 billion (8th largest in the United States). , Berkeley's Technology Transfer Program, the California LTAE LTAE left testis-anterior extremity For example, when Vickie Smith-Becker, an analyst at the Calaveras County Department of Public Works, needed information to prepare a grant application, she contacted the California LTAP. "I needed information about adding passing lanes on rural, two-lane roads in order to apply for a grant and to help explain to the public why this was important," she says. "The [LTAP] librarian not only sent me some electronic files on the subject but copied print resources that weren't available online and mailed them to me. We're a rural county, and we're far away. [The LTAP center] saved us the time and expense of me driving down and hunting for the information myself."
At the local and tribal levels, a number of barriers can limit the availability and feasibility of delivering and attending training. Whether driven by budget constraints or lack of awareness of available training and the value it could bring to their organizations, local agency officials sometimes are hesitant to invest in workforce development.
LTAP/TTAP centers overcome these challenges by forming partnerships with agencies and organizations that can influence decisionmakers. These partners include the National Association of County Engineers (NACE NACE National Association of Colleges and Employers (Bethlehem, PA)
NACE National Association of Corrosion Engineers
NACE National Association of Catering Executives
NACE National Association of County Engineers ), American Public Works Association (APWA APWA American Public Works Association
APWA American Public Welfare Association
APWA All Pakistan Women's Association ), Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council (TCCC TCCC The Coca Cola Company
TCCC Tri-County Community College (North Carolina)
TCCC Technical Committee on Computer Communications (IEEE Communications Society) ), State agencies, and regional planning agencies. In addition, many LTAP centers have integrated their services with those at colleges and universities, offering programs such as summer transportation institutes and engineering and construction career days.
Even when funding and training opportunities are available, personnel are sometimes hesitant to commit to training if they have reservations about how comfortable the learning environment will be or how relevant the training will be to their day-to-day jobs. To overcome these barriers, the centers work hard to provide environments that are welcoming and conducive to learning by tailoring class presentations to the needs of participants as much as possible, says David Page David Page may refer to:
Adds Tiffany Wise, codirector of the Florida LTAP, "The most positive feedback is obtained when the instructor tailors the class to the individuals and spends one-on-one time with them, making sure they master the skills they are being taught. This is especially true in the hands-on courses, such as heavy equipment operation and safety." Wise describes one instance in which a local agency was grateful to the LTAP center for the skills imparted during a course on chainsaw safety. During the hands-on training, the instructor explained that before clearing a tree on the ground, it is critical to look up to ascertain whether any broken branches or limbs might fall from above. The agency reported that shortly after the training, its workers were called out at night to clear a downed tree. Remembering what they learned in training, the workers spotted a broken treetop above the one they were about to clear and took steps to control the fall of the overhead treetop, avoiding potential injury or death during the clearing operation.
The reach of the training is considerable: LTAP and TTAF centers provide 5,300 training events to more than 145,000 participants every year. The LTAP/TTAP centers also deliver key transportation information--technical information, research updates, and legislative and regulatory news--to local agencies through technical assistance requests, newsletters, and other publications.
Road Scholar and Road Master Programs
One particularly successful means for promoting ongoing skills development at the local and tribal levels is the Road (or Roads) Scholar and Road Master programs, which recognize staff for reaching various competency levels through training and development of transportation expertise. The details of the programs vary from State to State, but the underlying approach is to provide curricula that enable local and tribal transportation workers to study road fundamentals, safety, drainage, snow and ice removal, and other topics with the goal of becoming expert road managers. The courses help participants develop professionalism and advance their careers.
In New Hampshire New Hampshire, one of the New England states of the NE United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts (S), Vermont, with the Connecticut R. forming the boundary (W), the Canadian province of Quebec (NW), and Maine and a short strip of the Atlantic Ocean (E). , anyone who takes an LTAP course is automatically entered into the Road Scholar program. "Right away course attendees know they are part of the program," says Kathy DesRoches, former director of educational programs at the New Hampshire LTAP center. "Every time they participate in a workshop, they receive a transcript that shows how many hours of training they have taken."
New Hampshire's program has four levels, and each workshop generally runs 5 hours. Level 1 involves completion of any five courses (25 hours of training). Level 2 requires completion of 10 courses (50 hours), including mandatory workshops on staff supervision, tort liability, and environmental issues. "We purposely pur·pose·ly
With specific purpose.
USAGE: See at purposeful.
Adv. 1. keep course requirements flexible so people take training of interest to them, but we require certain core courses to ensure a well-rounded education," DesRoches says. To achieve Level 3 (Senior Road Scholar), participants must complete 15 courses (75 hours). Participants who complete Level 4 (100 hours) earn the designation Master Road Scholar.
Twice a year, the New Hampshire LTAP center hosts a graduation ceremony to honor new Master Road Scholars. The ceremony features a keynote speaker, and graduates are encouraged to bring a supervisor or spouse. The center also recognizes the graduates in its quarterly newsletter and publishes and distributes an annual directory of Road Scholars.
In terms of training content, LTAP centers offer something for everyone. DesRoches says maintenance personnel represent the largest number of training attendees at her center, but course offerings draw people from a variety of professions. For example, some training counts toward continuing education continuing education: see adult education.
or adult education
Any form of learning provided for adults. In the U.S. the University of Wisconsin was the first academic institution to offer such programs (1904). units, which help engineers fulfill their professional licensing requirements.
Nearly half the LTAP centers offer Road Scholar/Road Master programs. Though the cost of training varies by State, centers strive to keep the rates affordable. In New Hampshire, DesRoches says,; "You can become a Master Road Scholar for less than $1,500."
Building Organizational Excellence
To reach diverse audiences efficiently, LTAP and TTAP centers rely on their ability to leverage their combined resources. The LTAP/TTAP Clearinghouse, available online at www.ltapt2.org, is a central source of information for the centers and is a one-stop shop for training, resources, and materials for local and tribal transportation agencies.
"We provide support services support services Psychology Non-health care-related ancillary services–eg, transportation, financial aid, support groups, homemaker services, respite services, and other services to help centers accomplish as much as they can," says Alison Premo Black, director of the LTAP/TTAP Clearinghouse. "We make sure LTAP and TTAP staffs are aware of the latest materials available. We have a database of trainers to help center staff locate instructors for various topics. We also have a resource database listing all the courses offered through LTAP and TTAP centers across the country."
Literally thousands of resources are available through the clearinghouse, ranging from reports and training materials to videos, tips from the field, best practices, and Web-based information. "We continuously look for new resources to keep on top of the latest materials," Black says. Checklists and factsheets are among the most requested items. Currently, the top products by far deal with new retro-reflectivity requirements released by FHWA in the latest update to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD MUTCD Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices ). "We've sent out more than 18,000 of those," Black says. The clearinghouse also offers customizable LTAP/TTAP marketing materials to help centers pro mote (reMOTE) A wireless receiver/transmitter that is typically combined with a sensor of some type to create a remote sensor. Some motes are designed to be incredibly small so that they can be deployed by the hundreds or even thousands for various applications (see smart dust). their individual programs.
The clearinghouse has gone through many changes in the nearly 20 years since it was established. In recent years, the Web site has become the primary mechanism by which the clearinghouse works with the centers, "We completely re vamped the Web site recently," Black says. "One new feature is that we introduced a password-protected area to give centers a 'virtual' home." Here the centers can update their public profiles, enter information into the resource database, download contact information for other centers, and collect information on their courses.
The Web site helps improve the centers' operating efficiency on a number of fronts. For example, centers previously submitted annual reporting data to FHWA via paper documents, but the password-protected area on the new site enables them to enter the data online, saving time.
The clearinghouse also facilitates using the latest technologies to ex tend LTAP/TTAP reach and impact. Videos are among the newest additions, and the clearinghouse is considering podcasts for future online applications. Another new feature is a virtual meeting space that centers can use any time to host online meetings. The virtual meeting space takes the traditional conference call to a higher level, enabling participants to talk, send instant messages, and view shared documents.
"Improving efficiency and doing more with less, that's the heart and soul of the clearinghouse and LTAP/ TTAP," says Black.
NLTAPA: A National Voice
While individual LTAP and TTAP centers focus their efforts at the local level, the National Local Technical Assistance Program Association (NLTAPA) represents the centers at the national level. NLTAPA fosters awareness of LTAP/TTAP efforts to help FHWA and States understand local transportation issues and build capacity for meeting customer needs at the local and tribal government levels. The association also is an avenue of communication bridging the centers across the country.
"Most centers are small, with fewer than three or four full-time-equivalent employees, and are very independent, but we do need to represent ourselves and speak clear ly in a common voice to FHWA and industry at the national level," says Kevin Burke Kevin Burke is an Irish fiddler. He was born in London to parents from County Sligo in 1950. He took up the fiddle at age eight, eventually acquiring a virtuosic technique in the Sligo fiddling style. , director of the Illinois LTAP center and NLTAPA president. "NLTAPA gives us a foot in the door to talk with national organizations and help influence how resources are spent at the local level."
NLTAPA's roots lie in the informal peer-to-peer interactions and sharing of lessons learned that germinated with the LTAP program in the early 1980s. The association officially formed and elected officers in 1991 and operates as a "100 percent volunteer organization," says Marie Walsh, director of the Louisiana LTAP center and former NLTAPA president.
Local and tribal centers provide the resources and opportunities for their employees to participate as NLTAPA members. Volunteers from the LTAP and TTAP centers participate as officers, commit tee chairs, or members of various workgroups who carry out much of NLTAPA's work. The workgroups focus on program strategies, partner ships, internal and external communications, training development, and professional development.
An annual conference affords the opportunity for sharing information about national priorities with the centers. For example, in 2008, NLTAPA scheduled a half-day train-the-trainer session focused on FHWA's sign retroreflectivity requirements. NLTAPA coordinated the session with the association's annual meeting, enabling center staff to interact directly with FHWA experts and provide feedback.
The association also plays a leading role in envisioning the strategic direction for LTAP and TTAP efforts. It solicits stakeholder stakeholder n. a person having in his/her possession (holding) money or property in which he/she has no interest, right or title, awaiting the outcome of a dispute between two or more claimants to the money or property. input on topics to cover in webinars and information to include in the new trainer database available through the clearinghouse Web site. A recent needs assessment conducted in partnership with NACE will help NLTAPA find and fill gaps in the knowledge, skills, and technical Capacity at the centers. Performing this activity at the national level avoids the need for the centers to do so individually.
NLTAPA's efforts in developing and maintaining industry partner ships have helped ensure the centers' ongoing success. In 1998, after years of informal collaboration with many State DOTs, local public works chapters, and county associations, NLTAPA established formal agreements with APWA, NACE, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The goal of these relationships is to reduce duplication of services, share training costs and expertise, and provide optimum training and information to their shared customers.
"AASHTO strongly supports the work of the centers in providing valuable training and transferring knowledge to our DOT members as well as county and city government employees," says AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley. "With State DOTs seeing budget constraints and limited resources, the LTAP and TTAP centers not only need to be continued This article is about the Elton John box set. For the plot device commonly featuring the phrase "To be continued", see Cliffhanger.
To Be Continued but enhanced and expanded."
NLTAPA officers and members sit on national highway committees to provide local input and perspectives. For example, NLTAPA has representatives on the FHWA LTAP/TTAP strategic planning Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people. committee and on the steering committee steer·ing committee
A committee that sets agendas and schedules of business, as for a legislative body or other assemblage.
Noun for the LTAP/TTAP Clearinghouse. Walsh participates on the AASHTO subcommittee on safety management, which focuses on integrating safety efforts at the Federal, State, local, and tribal levels. In this way, NLTAPA provides input on both operational and strategic issues at the Federal level.
Professional development, the subject of one of the association's workgroups, is a key focus area. One recent initiative, conducted with support from FHWA and the clearinghouse, was development of an orientation program for new LTAP and TTAP directors. The orientation helps bring new directors up to speed quickly and expands staff development opportunities. "For a small organization, we stay focused on what centers need and want," Walsh says.
Opportunities abound for participating in NLTAPA initiatives, whether through involvement in a committee or workgroup, attendance at regional meetings or presentations, or simply signing up for the organization's listserv to stay abreast of what is going on, Walsh says. "I have been involved for 4 years. Thanks to the opportunities to interact with peers, I have learned more than I possibly could have anywhere else," she says.
Focus on Safety
Safety is a primary concern of every part of the surface transportation system, with focus from local, tribal, State, and Federal government partners as well as the private and commercial sector. LTAP and TTAP centers take responsibility for delivering hands-on training and technical assistance on safety at the local level. Nearly half of all LTAP and TTAP training is related to highway and worker safety. The LTAP/TTAP focus on safety also is supported through collaboration with the FHWA Office of Safety, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Governors Highway Safety Association.
Two of the flagship safety-focused tools available through LTAP and TTAP centers are road safety audits (RSAs) and road safety audit reviews (RSARs). FHWA defines an RSA as a formal safety performance examination of an existing or future road or intersection by an independent audit team. Some highway agencies define RSAs as assessments of planned facilities, while RSARs cover reviews of existing roadways. Other terms for these reviews include road safety assessments, road safety evaluations, and safety impact teams. RSAs and RSARs rely on independent assessment and review teams that perform site visits at targeted intersections or segments of roadways and then prepare written reports for the roadway owners, detailing the assessed problems and recommended solutions to improve safety.
"RSARs determine whether the safety needs of road users are being met," says Dennis Trusty, director of the Northern Plains TTAP center in Bismarck, ND. "They can help determine whether the use of a roadway has changed over time, or whether standards or traffic levels have changed since a road was designed and built."
RSARs use crash data as background information but rely on more than history and existing data, Trusty says. "Good RSARs identify what can be improved, not just what has already created problems."
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Great Falls Great Falls, city (1990 pop. 55,097), seat of Cascade co., N central Mont., second largest city in the state, at the confluence of the Missouri and Sun rivers and near the falls that give the city its name; inc. 1888. District Traffic Engineer James Combs of the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT MDT
Mountain Daylight Time
MDT (in the US and Canada) Mountain Daylight Time
MDT n abbr (US) (= mountain daylight time) → ), an RSAR resulted in plans for a more thorough review of warning signs at various locations. "The review is currently in progress by MDT," he says. "Curve warning signage will be updated to meet current State guidelines and the 2003 MUTCD. Unwarranted warning signs will be removed and new curve warning signs installed where needed. Part of the review looked at the school bus route on secondary highway 464 with the local school bus drivers to determine which existing School Bus Stop Ahead signs should be relocated or removed and to determine if new signs are warranted at other stops."
The Northern Plains TTAP leads the audits for tribes in five States, and the tribes help recruit the people and organizations who should be involved in the audits. Audit teams might consist of LTAP/TTAP staff, State DOT personnel, and representatives of other organizations, including FHWA, the Bureau of Indian Affairs The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the Department of the Interior charged with the administration and management of 55.7 million acres (87,000 sq. (BIA), the transportation industry, law enforcement, and emergency medical services An Emergency medical service (abbreviated to initialism "EMS" in many countries) is a service providing out-of-hospital acute care and transport to definitive care, to patients with illnesses and injuries which the patient believes constitutes a medical emergency. .
"Having more eyes reviewing a new design or an existing transportation system provides the many perspectives that must deal with the end result," Trusty says. "Law enforcement's views might be much different from those of maintenance and engineering personnel or those involved in construction." For example, in the case of an RSAR on the Blackfeet Reservation, law enforcement officials from the Montana Highway Patrol highway patrol
A state law enforcement organization whose police officers patrol the public highways. highlighted the challenge of responding to run-off-the-road crashes during severe weather, such as high winds and whiteout driving conditions. "Having the law enforcement perspective helped the RSAR team focus on a very important issue," Trusty says.
RSAs and RSARs are tools that can be used in every State, whether through an LTAP or TTAP center, FHWA, or State DOT. For each location, staff from LTAP or TTAP centers serve as leaders, organize the audits for each location, or help find personnel to lead or staff the teams.
The Northern Plains TTAP already has conducted RSAs with three State DOTs. The results of those audits are helping prioritize pri·or·i·tize
v. pri·or·i·tized, pri·or·i·tiz·ing, pri·or·i·tiz·es Usage Problem
To arrange or deal with in order of importance.
v.intr. maintenance projects and are finding their way into tribal transportation improvement plans and road reconstruction projects directed by the tribes and BIA. A recent RSAR in Montana for the Blackfeet Nation will result in improvements on roads managed by MDT and BIA. Specific improvements include installation of better signs and striping Interleaving or multiplexing data to increase speed. See disk striping.
striping - data striping ; enhancement of guardrails; installation of bridge ends with newer, safer designs; and removal of trees and rocks in clear zones.
Safety Circuit Rider circuit rider, itinerant preacher of the Methodist denomination who served a "circuit" consisting usually of 20 to 40 "appointments." The circuit system, devised by John Wesley for his English societies in their formative period and developed in America by Francis Program
Another safety initiative carried out through the LTAP and TTAP centers is the Safety Circuit Rider (SCR (Sequence Control Register) See program counter. ) program, which presents workshops for local and tribal governments and other organizations. The cornerstone of the program is the SCRs, safety specialists who travel throughout a State, region, or reservation making presentations on topics such as work zone safety, MUTCD requirements, retroreflectivity, roadside and excavation safety, and pavement markings. Many transportation workers cannot attend training events because of the travel time and cost involved. However, through onsite workshops and site visits, SCRs take safety training to local and tribal agencies, making participation convenient and cost effective.
The idea for the SCR program grew out of a 2003 meeting of representatives from FHWA, NACE, and NLTAPA. While reviewing the latest statistics on roadway fatalities, the assembled safety experts determined that the highest percentage of fatal crashes occurred on local roads. The proposed solution was to establish a program to identify high-crash locations and recommend corrective measures.
In 2004, FHWA funded SCR programs in Florida, Kentucky, and West Virginia West Virginia, E central state of the United States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania and Maryland (N), Virginia (E and S), and Kentucky and, across the Ohio R., Ohio (W). Facts and Figures
Area, 24,181 sq mi (62,629 sq km). Pop. , and another involving the Northern Plains TTAP. In 2006, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU SAFETEA-LU Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users ) authorized States to use funds from the Highway Safety Improvement Program for engineering improvements and as a resource to address problems identified through SCR programs. Today, 20 States have active SCR programs.
"The number of riders depends on how each LTAP or TTAP center decides it can best meet local interests and needs," says Bruce Drewes, training and research manager with the Idaho Technology Transfer Center. Some States, such as Iowa, Kentucky, and Wyoming, have one person who serves as the SCR. Others have multiple part-time staff. Florida, for example, has three part-time SCRs to call on depending on the location and schedule. Each SCR works closely with Florida Department of Transportation The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is a decentralized agency charged with the establishment, maintenance, and regulation of public transportation in the state of Florida. staff to identify high-crash locations and help the local agency determine appropriate measures to improve safety.
Identifying possible hazards is a major focus, Drewes says. "The most common problems are obstructions along the roadway, issues with signing or pavement markings, and sight distances," he says. "Most of these problems can be solved fairly inexpensively." Therefore, many of the corrective measures SCRs recommend are low-cost maintenance improvements, such as clearing vegetation around signs and intersections, correcting roadside drainage, fixing shoulder dropoffs, and removing rockfalls and trees along roadsides.
SCRs also can organize and participate in RSAR teams. "Most of us drive the same route between home and work every day," says Drewes, "We become so familiar with the route and how to drive it safely that we overlook deficiencies that someone new to the road might notice. An SCR and an RSAR team can provide that 'new' perspective."
The SCR can assist in finding funding or otherwise addressing a safety issue, but, Drewes says, "it is up to the local jurisdiction to determine what improvements to make. In essence, the SCR program needs to be a strong partnership between the LTAP/TTAP center, State DOT, and local jurisdiction. It's that partnership and cooperation that will push down the numbers of fatalities on the national roadway system."
Another major priority for local and tribal agencies is maximizing the performance of transportation infrastructure while minimizing impacts on financial and human resources The fancy word for "people." The human resources department within an organization, years ago known as the "personnel department," manages the administrative aspects of the employees. . These agencies occupy the front line in overseeing the vast majority of the Nation's transportation infrastructure. LTAP and TTAP centers provide a critical service to those responsible for the longevity of roads and bridges. The centers have trusting relationships with local and tribal agencies throughout the country.
"Local agencies trust the information that centers provide because we don't have the vested interest Vested Interest
A financial or personal stake one entity has in an asset, security, or transaction.
For example, if you have a mortgage, your bank has a vested interest on the sale of your house.
See also: Right that a vendor has," says Terry McNinch, director of the Michigan LTAP center. "The centers are in a perfect position to take the lead on local agency implementation of asset management nationwide."
According to FHWA's "Asset Management" Web site, today's transportation system is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. In FHWA's Asset Management Primer, the agency defines asset management as "a systematic process of maintaining, upgrading, and operating physical assets cost effectively. It combines engineering principles with sound business practices and economic theory, and it provides tools to facilitate a more organized, logical approach to decisionmaking. Thus, asset management provides a framework for handling both short-and long-range planning."
The Michigan LTAP center condenses the FHWA definition of asset management to "an ongoing process of maintaining, upgrading, and operating physical assets cost effectively, based on a continuous physical inventory and condition assessment." McNinch underscores the importance of the latter part of this definition. "Everyone deals with other types of physical infrastructure--buildings, houses, and cars--and nonstructural things like our physical health using the principles of asset management," he says. "You take care of the asset before it totally falls apart. If your roof leaks, you get it repaired quickly; you don't wait until the walls and floors have been ruined."
According to McNinch, over the past century, physical, social, and administrative factors have led roadway managers down a path from system expansion to system reconstruction, resulting in the majority of current resources being devoted to heavy rehabilitation rehabilitation: see physical therapy. and reconstruction. This approach, he says, sacrifices preventive maintenance--the activity that keeps good roads good--for more costly reconstruction of the roads deemed in the worst condition.
"This has become the way of doing business," McNinch says. "You never see a ribbon cutting on a crack-seal job, but reconstruction initiated by an elected official makes the news. Dwindling dwin·dle
v. dwin·dled, dwin·dling, dwin·dles
To become gradually less until little remains.
To cause to dwindle. See Synonyms at decrease. budgets, along with increasing costs of pavement materials, have put road managers in a position where their backs are up against the wall. The revenue stream cannot support this 'worst first' way of doing business."
Changing business as usual involves changing the knowledge and culture of road management agencies, which takes time. Everyone involved--engineers, managers, road crews, elected officials, finance managers, and the public--needs to be educated to some degree on pavement deterioration, the benefits of a "mix of fixes," and the pitfalls of the "worst first" approach, McNinch says,
In Michigan, the LTAP center works in partnership with the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council, conducting a variety of training events on asset management. The council provides substantial funding for 20 half-day sessions of Introduction to Transportation Asset Management for Elected Officials, 4 full-day sessions of the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Workshop, and 10 full-day sessions on using the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating condition rating system. The center also is integral in organizing the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Conferences.
In 2007, under a contract with the council, McNinch revamped the Asset Management Guide for Local Agencies in Michigan, which serves as the foundation for the Michigan LTAP workshops. The guide is available for download at www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/AMC_MDOT MDOT Michigan Department of Transportation
MDOT Maryland Department of Transportation
MDOT Mississippi Department of Transportation
MDOT Maine Department of Transportation
MDOT Montana Department of Transportation
MDOT modified directly observed therapy _Guide_Local_Agencies_180204__7.pdf.
The Michigan LTAP center also has a hand in developing software tools for asset management/For example, the center helped develop and conducts training for "RoadSoft GIS (1) (Geographic Information System) An information system that deals with spatial information. Often called "mapping software," it links attributes and characteristics of an area to its geographic location. [geographic information system geographic information system (GIS)
Computerized system that relates and displays data collected from a geographic entity in the form of a map. The ability of GIS to overlay existing data with new information and display it in colour on a computer screen is used primarily to ]," an infrastructure management system now being used by more than 260 counties and cities in Michigan, as well as other State agencies.
Agencies applying the principles of asset management are seeing big payoffs, McNinch says. In 2004, the Emmet County Emmet County is the name of two counties in the United States:
A tax rate on property, expressed in mills per dollar of value of the property. proposals placed on the ballot in every township. All the proposals passed. By its fourth year, that special millage had generated $8 million intended specifically for local road maintenance.
A Successful Recipe
Through innovative partnerships With State DOTs, municipal planning organizations, universities, associations, and others, each LTAP center matches with local funds every Federal dollar it receives. BIA in partnership with FHWA's Office of Federal Lands Highway provides matching funds Noun 1. matching funds - funds that will be supplied in an amount matching the funds available from other sources
cash in hand, finances, funds, monetary resource, pecuniary resource - assets in the form of money to TTAP centers. The LTAP and TTAP centers collaborate with other organizations to share resources and expertise, increase efficiency, and reduce duplication of services, making the LTAP/TTAP model as sustainable as it is successful.
"You have to plant the seed if you expect anything to grow," McNinch says. "Something as simple as an article in a newsletter or distributing a manual qualifies as a seed. But an LTAP/TTAP center's real mission is to cultivate those seeds, through training and technical assistance, to help them grow into something worthwhile, something that makes a difference--like changing the way roads are managed in this country."
RELATED ARTICLE: LTAP/TTAP: By the Numbers
Over the past 10 years alone, the LTAP and TTAP centers have achieved the following results:
* They conducted more than 60,000 training events.
* More than 1.5 million local transportation professionals attended LTAP and TTAP training.
* Participants logged more than 9 million hours of training.
* Nearly half of all LTAP and TTAP training included content related to highway and worker safety.
* Centers distributed more than 2 million technical publications and resources in response to requests from local and tribal agencies.
* Local transportation agencies saved an estimated $8 for every $1 LTAP spent on information and training.
"The return on the investment of Federal, State, and local funds into LTAP and TTAP has been incalculable in·cal·cu·la·ble
a. Impossible to calculate: a mass of incalculable figures.
b. Too great to be calculated or reckoned: incalculable wealth. ," says Anthony Giancola, executive director of the National Association of County Engineers. "These programs have provided critical training for county and local highway professionals and, in particular, are improving the safety and preservation of our local roads. The end result has been the implementation of state-of-the-art best practices in highway operations and maintenance, and ultimately improved service to our citizens."
RELATED ARTICLE: Mutual Aid Programs
The Utah and New Hampshire LTAP centers are among several that are spearheading innovative partnering relationships with municipalities, counties, and other States to facilitate faster responses to emergencies. New Hampshire's Public Works Mutual Aid Program, the first voluntary statewide program of its kind in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , invites government entities to become part of a mutual aid network of municipalities that assist one another during emergencies through partnering agreements and a protocol for requesting and receiving aid.
Benefits include reduced vulnerability for participating communities, prompt and effective responses to incidents, and rapid rehabilitation of infrastructure. In addition, the program facilitates exchange and sharing of supplies, equipment, and personnel. The network proved integral in helping numerous communities repair and restore damaged infrastructure following major floods in 2005, 2006, and 2007, according to Kathy DesRoches, formerly with the New Hampshire LTAP center.
A partnership between the Utah LTAP center and county emergency managers was instrumental in developing a public works resource inventory. The list will be critical in identifying available resources and their locations, and calculating response times for critical equipment. Due to exhaustive work on the State's new emergency operations plan, Utah is now 1 of 11 States accredited accredited
recognition by an appropriate authority that the performance of a particular institution has satisfied a prestated set of criteria.
cattle herds which have achieved a low level of reactors to, e.g. through the voluntary Emergency Management Accreditation Program.
Mutual aid programs represent another means of broadening the support network available to local and tribal governments.
Denise Saunders has served as the LTAP/TTAP program manager since July 2007. She has more than 20 years of experience with FHWA, working at headquarters and division offices. She brings experience in quality management principles, performance measurement, and program evaluation Program evaluation is a formalized approach to studying and assessing projects, policies and program and determining if they 'work'. Program evaluation is used in government and the private sector and it's taught in numerous universities. . Prior to this position, Saunders worked on FHWA's National Review Program as a member of the reviews on administration of local projects and procurement The fancy word for "purchasing." The procurement department within an organization manages all the major purchases. and selection of consultant services. Before moving to the Washington, DC, area in 2004, she was the quality coordinator in the FHWA Connecticut Division Office.
Donna Shea is director of the Connecticut LTAP center at the University of Connecticut The University of Connecticut is the State of Connecticut's land-grant university. It was founded in 1881 and serves more than 27,000 students on its six campuses, including more than 9,000 graduate students in multiple programs.
UConn's main campus is in Storrs, Connecticut. , where she has worked for 9 years. Previously, she was with the Tuck Executive Education program at Dartmouth College Dartmouth College, at Hanover, N.H.; coeducational; chartered 1769, opened 1770, the ninth colonial college (see Wheelock, Eleazar). Originally a men's college, Dartmouth began admitting women in 1972. . Shea's expertise is adult learning. She also serves as president-elect of NLTAPA.
For more information, visit www .ltapt2.org or www.ltap.org, or contact Denise Saunders at 703-235-0532, email@example.com, or Donna Shea at 860-486-0377,firstname.lastname@example.org. To locate a center, visit www.ltapt2.org/centers.