AASHTO’s Transportation and Civil Engineering or TRAC Program

The TRAC program provides students in grades seven through 12 the opportunity to get involved with transportation-related science, technology, engineering, and math or STEM courses, AASHTO noted – an effort mirrored at the elementary-school level via AASHTO’s Roadways In Developing Elementary Students​ or RIDES initiative.

“The role of civil engineers is critical to transportation infrastructure,” explained Dustin Parkman, Bentley’s VP for transportation mobility, in a statement.

“The hands-on experience of the TRAC program introduces students to civil engineering concepts and processes, inspiring them to imagine a future career in engineering,” he added. “I’m proud that AASHTO, Bentley, the other sponsors, and [state] DOTs came together to provide this opportunity for the students to present their projects virtually and get the recognition that they deserve.”

Julia Smith, manager of the AASHTO TRAC & RIDES program, pointed out that AASHTO designed the program for use in science, technology, engineering, and math or STEM classes to introduce students to transportation and civil engineering.

“America’s transportation industry has a huge demand for well-qualified civil engineers,” she said. “TRAC’s goal is to get middle and high school students exposed to and excited about a career in civil engineering. We see TRAC as an investment in today’s youth, to ensure that America has the highly skilled workforce it’s going to need for years to come.”



Learn more at AASHTO

Building Bridges of Trust: An Approach to Cultural Transformation

The Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA/PATCO) was engaged in several large, mission-critical projects at a time when morale and trust, both internally and among external stakeholders, were low. They turned to lessons based on the principles of comedy improvisation, such as deep listening, empathy, and collaborative trust. Using a new strategic plan combining the tenets of servant-leadership and the tools of improvisational comedy, DRPA transformed its culture and produced award-winning projects.

The skill of improvisation is increasingly valued by top executives today because they see in it a tool that enables their companies to be more nimble, flexible, and responsive.  Check out this webinar from March 17, 2022 featuring CEO John Hanson, Director of Strategic Initiatives Christina Maroney, and improvisor Nick Gillette to learn how introducing these essential skills changed the company from the top down.

You can also find a copy of the presentation available for download here.


Read the story from the Philadelphia Inquirer on Improv theater training is helping a once hidebound transit agency learn to work smarter. It’s a trend that’s catching on

And check out the follow-up story from Metro about How
How The DRPA Built Organizational Trust and Fixed Public Perception

Hosted by the Northeast Transportation Workforce Center

Sponsored by the National Network for the Transportation Workforce & The National Transportation Training Directors

Organizations Strive To Erase Racism And Bias In The Workforce And Society

The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) and The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote careers for women and minorities in transportation.

“COMTO and IBTTA look forward to working together. IBTTA is eager for our members to engage and collaborate with COMTO members to foster increased representation resulting in a more equitable transportation system providing greater mobility for all users,” said Pat Jones, Executive Director and CEO, IBTTA.

“The partnership between COMTO and IBTTA is a step in the right direction to increase opportunities for women and minorities in the toll facilities industry. Both organizations are leaders in their respective fields and the partnership will certainly have an impact regarding diversity and equity,” said A. Bradley Mims, President and CEO, COMTO.

The MOU will:

  • Promote the transportation infrastructure sector as a rewarding career choice for women and minorities;
    Further the participation, advancement and recognition of women and minorities in the transportation infrastructure sector, both public and private;
    Provide professional development opportunities to help them advance their skill sets and careers to ensure the sector’s future success;
    Encourage their participation in organizational leadership activities at the national, state and local levels; and
    Cooperate with others who share these objectives to achieve them.

Recognizing the benefits of establishing an institutional arrangement to achieve the following:

  • Increase member access to information, including business and career opportunities, in the respective fields of both organizations;
    Facilitate and expand the dissemination of that information to each other’s members;
    Collaborate on topics of common interest and support diversity objectives that ensure a level playing field for training, education, employment and contract opportunities for minorities in the field of transportation; and
    Provide regular consultation among the leadership to review and assess programs and identify opportunities for coordinated efforts.

COMTO and IBTTA will work together to:

  • Support each other in the development of programmatic content for their meetings and conferences, including identifying candidate speakers;
    Identify opportunities for jointly sponsored convening activities, such as conferences, workshops, webinars, meetings, and local chapter activities;
    Publicize each other’s major conferences and meetings in their e-newsletters;
    Provide recognition as an allied organization at each other’s annual meetings; and
    Exchange two complimentary registrations for leaders of each organization to participate in the other’s annual meetings.

For more information, please contact Gatwiri Muthara at gmuthara@comto.org or Bill Cramer at bcramer@ibtta.org.

Creative Leadership:  Building a Culture of Innovation

His focus, now, is doing this during difficult times.  You are all welcome to register through the NY LTAP (they use Zoom) and attend this event.

To register and for more information please go to the following link:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Presentation Description

Innovation and creativity are absolutely necessary to thrive in business, hiring, motivating, marketing, parenting, educating, coaching… Are you and your organization becoming more – or less – creative? Jonathan’s TED Talk on this topic won the best speaker of the conference. Participants will learn 5 core strategies to build a culture of creativity. Lessons and memorable anecdotes come from some of the most creative people and organizations in history, as well as Jonathan’s personal experience implementing these lessons as an entrepreneur, parent, educator, and with clients large and small. What Jonathan calls the “innovator’s equation” has been a game-changer for leaders across the country. This was a favorite for a global entrepreneurship summit in Sydney, Australia.

Learning Objectives:
1. How can you intentionally foster the traits of the world’s most creative people?
2. What questions, stories, and models will get you and your team “unstuck”?
3. What is the “Innovator’s Equation”? – Jeff Hyatt (Hyatt Hotels) called this the greatest leadership lesson of the decade.

2020 NLTAPA/NTTD Annual Conference

The NLTAPA/NTTD Annual Conference was held on July 28-30, 2020.  The conference agenda and presentations are linked below, as well as a recording of the conference sessions.  A special thanks goes to the NLTAPA and NTTD working groups that helped plan this event.

Conference Recordings:

Day 1:  https://youtu.be/h4tThPOATTM

Day 2:  https://youtu.be/9POTXCl8Kn0

Day 3:  https://youtu.be/sMR6OjznUS4

At-a-Glance Agenda

Download Conference Presentations

2020 Conference Posters

Click the image for examples of past submissions!

Other Bonus Conference-Affiliated Sessions/Workshops Planned

October 21, 2020 (10:00 AM Central) – Effective Learning: A Critical Exploration of the 70-20-10 Learning and Development Model (brought to you by NTTD)
Presenter: Vivien Lattibeaudiere (AZDOT, Learning & Development)
The 70-20-10 Learning and Development model suggests a proportional breakdown of how employees learn most effectively through combining formal, social and hands-on learning. Learn practical ways that you can apply this model to your training and development programs to maximize employee engagement,
performance and retention.

To registers for this post-conference workshop please go to https://azgov.webex.com/azgov/k2/j.php?MTID=t84bb867eb67e1722494f95f2c5a8d109

Sep 30, 2020 11:00 AM in Eastern Time – Creative Leadership: Building a Culture of Innovation

Innovation and creativity are absolutely necessary to thrive in business, hiring, motivating, marketing, parenting, educating, coaching… Are you and your organization becoming more – or less – creative? Jonathan’s TED Talk on this topic won the best speaker of the conference. Participants will learn 5 core strategies to build a culture of creativity. Lessons and memorable anecdotes come from some of the most creative people and organizations in history, as well as Jonathan’s personal experience implementing these lessons as an entrepreneur, parent, educator, and with clients large and small. What Jonathan calls the “innovator’s equation” has been a game-changer for leaders across the country. This was a favorite for a global entrepreneurship summit in Sydney, Australia.

Learning Objectives:
1. How can you intentionally foster the traits of the world’s most creative people?
2. What questions, stories, and models will get you and your team “unstuck”?
3. What is the “Innovator’s Equation”? – Jeff Hyatt (Hyatt Hotels) called this the greatest leadership lesson of the decade.

To register and for more information please go to the following link:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Environmental Career Path Profiles

Many environmental fields contribute to planning, building, and operating a sustainable transportation network. The people who bring these skills and their passion to work in transportation organizations help to mitigate the environmental impacts of our expansive mobility, and identify, design and operate new mobility systems for the future. Below you will find links to 14 profiles of people working across 11 different environmental fields in transportation-related work.

  1. Fish, Wildlife & Rare Species
  2. Transit & TDM
  3. Bicycle & Pedestrian Initiative
  4. Planning &Modeling
  5. Water Quality
  6. Noise Abatement
  7. Hydrological Studies
  8. Community Impact Assessment
  9. Cultural Resources
  10. Waste Management and Remediation
  11. Hazardous Materials

These profiles were developed to provide guidance and inspiration to students and young professionals looking to identify future career choices in environmental fields in the transportation sector. (The information is current as of June 2019. If we receive updates they will be noted by an * next to the name, and new information will be posted at the bottom of the page.)

Environmental Work in the Transportation Sector – Career Profiles
Name Title Organization Undergraduate Degree Graduate Degree Field(s)
Patti Kallfelz-Wertz Environmental Scientist VHB- Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. Ecology 1- Fish, Wildlife & Rare Species
James Brady Environmental Biologist Vermont Agency of Transportation Ecology 1- Fish, Wildlife & Rare Species
Lori Zeller Transportation Planner Foursquare ITP Planning, Geography City and Regional Planning, Transportation 2- Transit and TDM;

4- Planning & Modeling

Nicole Freeman Director of Transportation Planning City of Newton, MA Urban Planning, Economics 2- Transit and TDM;

3- Bicycle & Pedestrian Initiatives; 4- Planning & Modeling

David Sorrell Mobility Solutions Programs & Transportation Demand Administration University of California, Berkeley Parking and Transportation Department Public Administration Organizational Development and Leadership 2- Transit and TDM
Jeff Owen Strategic Planning Coordinator TriMet Landscape Architecture City and Regional Planning, Transportation 2- Transit and TDM;

3- Bicycle & Pedestrian Initiatives;

4- Planning & Modeling

Emma Chapman * Bike Train Operator Divvy Bicycle Share History of Art & Political Science, Architectural History & Urban Studies MBA, Finance & Public Accounting 2- Transit and TDM;

3- Bicycle & Pedestrian Initiatives; 4- Planning & Modeling

Eleni Churchill Transportation Program Manager Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission Civil Engineering Civil Engineering 4- Planning & Modeling
Emily Nosse-Leirer Planner Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission Urban Geography Urban Geography 4- Planning & Modeling
Robert Widley Water Resources Engineer VHB- Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. Environmental Studies Water Resources Engineering 5- Water Quality;

7-Hydrological Studies

Scott Edwards Senior Associate Cross-Spectrum Acoustics Acoustical Engineering & Music 6- Noise Abatement,

8- Community Impact Assessment

Kaitlin O’Shea Preservation Planner VHB- Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. Historic Preservation Historic Preservation 9- Cultural Resources
Paige Cornell Environmental Scientist VHB- Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. Environmental Science, Geology, Geospatial Technologies 10- Waste Management & Remediation;

11- Hazardous Materials

Charlie Farmer Environmental Engineer VHB- Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. Environmental Science Environmental Engineering

5- Water Quality;

10- Waste Management & Remediation



* Emma Chapman  Emma has started a new job in July 2019 as an Associate with Cambridge Systematics helping midwestern transportation clients work through financial planning challenges in their Transit Planning & Policy group.
The design and collection of profiles for this page was conducted by Marissa McFadden, a UVM Graduate student working as a research assistant at the Transportation Research Center

with funding from the National Center for Sustainable Transportation at UC Davis. Disclaimer: The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the information presented herein. This document is disseminated in the interest of information exchange. The report is funded, partially or entirely, by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Centers Program. However, the U.S. Government assumes no liability for the contents or use thereof.

Aging and in need of attention: America’s infrastructure and its 17 million workers

By now, you’re probably familiar with America’s infrastructure challenge. From clogged roads, to unsafe pipes, to limited broadband access, the list goes on. Concerns over infrastructure affordability, reliability, and overall investment also remain a constant. And despite potential infrastructure solutions coming from leaders in Washington, along the campaign trail and beyond, there has been little federal action.

But what you may not have thought or heard as much about is the enormous infrastructure workforce challenge facing the country.

Just as our physical infrastructure systems are aging and in need of attention, so too are the workers who design, construct, operate, and oversee these systems. In other words, these workers are not only constructing projects in the short-term, but maintaining all types of facilities in the long-term—from ports and power plants to railroads and waterways. The problem is that many of them are nearing or are eligible for retirement, and there is not a strong training pipeline to educate and equip a new generation of talent with the skills they need.

Past Brookings research has shown the wide range of workers involved in managing the country’s infrastructure, and the latest labor data from 2018 shows a continued demand for skilled workers throughout this foundational economic sector.

Crucially, though, this workforce challenge also presents a workforce opportunity. At a time when many Americans are still struggling to secure stable, well-paying jobs, infrastructure offers just that.

Indeed, the enormous number and variety of infrastructure jobs speak to the multiple career pathways available to workers across all skill levels and all regions. Estimates from 2018 find that nearly 17.2 million workers—or about 12 percent of all workers nationally—are employed in infrastructure jobs, concentrated in 94 different occupations. Electricians, water treatment operators, and civil engineers are among the largest occupations overall, in addition to many other positions in the skilled trades, finance, and management. Truck drivers and material movers remain essential to carrying out a range of non-automated tasks. Taken together, infrastructure jobs employed more workers than retail (16.0 million) or manufacturing (12.6 million), among other sizable sectors.

Read more at https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/04/16/aging-and-in-need-of-attention-americas-infrastructure-and-its-17-million-workers/

Recruiting Tomorrow’s Workforce

The transportation industry faces a significant gap between the number of skilled positions needed in the workforce and the number of people qualified to fill those positions. The projected annual job openings in the transportation field through 2022 are about 68 percent greater than the number of people completing transportation-related education and training programs, according to Strengthening Skills Training and Career Pathways Across the Transportation Industry, a joint report from the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Education, and Labor. Without enough qualified workers, the industry grapples with a growing challenge to develop, operate, and maintain a safe and efficient transportation system.

One way the Federal Highway Administration is working to narrow the workforce gap is by encouraging young people to explore the opportunities awaiting them in transportation. Many middle and high school students are unaware that a transportation career can involve a variety of disciplines—from engineering to planning and design to safety and supply chain management. Conducted in partnership with State departments of transportation and academic institutions, the National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI) is an FHWA program that expands the awareness of career opportunities in transportation and helps address future needs for a capable and diverse workforce.

In 2018, NSTI celebrated 25 years of educating students about transportation and piquing their interest in college-level studies and career opportunities in the field.

Administered by FHWA’s Center for Transportation Workforce Development, NSTI promotes science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines among middle and high school students and encourages them to pursue transportation-related studies at the college and university level. Open to middle and high school students throughout the United States and its territories, NSTI enables teenagers to experience campus life and get a preview of transportation-related studies at accredited colleges and universities. All are welcome to apply, with a focus on underserved students, including minorities, women, socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, at-risk youth, and students with disabilities.

Introducing Transportation Opportunities

Daniel Davalos knew little about the transportation field, but he was intrigued when his high school engineering teacher distributed flyers on NSTI because it offered hands-on experience in STEM.

“I applied to this program because it would help me focus my education and career decisions in the STEM disciplines,” he says.

In addition to inspiring Davalos to study electrical engineering at California State University, Los Angeles, the NSTI session he attended in 2014 gave him insight into the types of careers people could have in transportation. As a result, he says, “I am planning to use my knowledge in electrical engineering in the transportation industry.”

Over the years, NSTI has benefited more than 25,000 students. In 2017, 1,446 students, including 21 with disabilities, attended programs at 62 host sites in 48 States.

To broaden access to the NSTI experience, FHWA instituted an exchange program in 2012 for students living in U.S. territories. The pilot program enabled four students to travel to the U.S. mainland to stay on a college campus and participate in a session. By 2018, about 40 students from U.S. territories had attended NSTI sessions, an average of 8 to 10 students per year.

Each year, State departments of transportation ask accredited colleges and universities (potential NSTI host sites) to develop proposals for NSTI programs on their campuses that meet FHWA’s curriculum guidelines. State DOTs recommend one or more applications from potential NSTI host sites to their State’s FHWA division, which reviews the applications and provides feedback and assistance on the proposed programs.

Providing Hands-On Experience

A typical NSTI program lasts 2 to 4 weeks. Host institutions offer day or residential programs that include room and board for students. Each institution targets its program to students in either high school or middle school. High school programs emphasize activities to improve STEM skills, prepare participants for post-secondary education, and encourage them to pursue transportation-related careers. Middle school programs focus on career exploration.

Designed to provide a stimulating introduction to the transportation industry and career opportunities, typical NSTI programs feature exposure to land, air, and water transportation modes, as well as safety. The curriculum includes an introduction to each transportation mode taught by college or university instructors, presentations from industry professionals, and field trips to transportation and transit facilities and government agencies. Students also learn from hands-on activities, such as laboratory exercises, computer programming tasks, and competitions to design bridges, gliders, solar cars, or mass transit projects.

Land transportation topics included in a typical program include highway design, transportation planning, traffic signal timing, transportation logistics, and public transit. Water transportation covers topics such as deep sea freight and passenger transportation, intercoastal waterways, towing and tugboat services, and marine cargo handling. Air transportation focuses on flight theories, aircraft performance, flight instruments, and air navigation. Safety is an integral part of the curriculum, including safe transportation infrastructure; improving safety and communication; analyzing and forecasting safety trends; and pedestrian, bicycle, vehicle, and air travel safety.

Programs also introduce methods and activities that improve study habits, promote academic achievement, and foster self-awareness. Topics include time management, critical thinking, problem solving, research techniques, and internet and library use, as well as preparation for standardized college admission tests. Students learn teamwork and sportsmanship through sports and recreation activities.

Partnership Takes Flight

Some host institutions partner with the National Flight Academy in Pensacola, FL, which offers an immersive program to inspire students to pursue STEM studies and careers. At the conclusion of their campus programs, these host institutions select students to attend a weeklong course at the academy, where they live in a simulated aircraft carrier environment and get hands-on experience learning about flight control, aircraft safety, piloting, and other technical operations associated with aviation.

Each day, academy students participate in “missions” that challenge their mental agility, preparedness, and communication skills while demonstrating the value of teamwork and goal completion. Through simulator experience and role play, students learn firsthand how those in naval aviation respond to real-life situations and emergencies. At the end of the week, students participate in a graduation ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments.

Student Perspectives On NSTI

Many former participants in NSTI programs consider their experience as key to their decision to pursue STEM-related studies in college and apply their education in the transportation and engineering fields. Many also express appreciation for the opportunity to get a taste of life on a college campus.

Dr. Makoloa Abdullah. Dr. Abdullah, Virginia State University president, was a junior in high school when his mother told him about the NSTI program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “She thought it was a program I should be a part of. We all know mothers know best,” he says.

“I applied because I thought it would be wonderful to have the experience of staying on a college campus while still being a high school student. It provided me with the opportunity to spread my wings,” Abdullah says. “Most importantly, I had a strong interest in the STEM field, particularly in engineering.”

After interning the following summer at the Illinois Department of Transportation, Abdullah earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Howard University and master’s and doctorate degrees in civil engineering from Northwestern University. Early in his career, he worked at a civil engineering firm in Chicago. Later, he served as a college professor, dean of engineering, and university provost.

Read the full article on FHWA Public Roads Magazine

FMCSA eliminates requirement for military CDL holders to pass knowledge, driving skills tests

Military members looking to become truck drivers may have an easier time in doing so as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has authorized states to waive the commercial learner’s permit (CLP) knowledge test and driving skills tests. It does not direct the states to do so but allows each state to at its own discretion.

The ruling was announced in a Federal Register Final Rule this morning. Specifically, the rule states that “certain individuals who are, or were, regularly employed within the last year in a military position that requires, or required, the operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)” are eligible to skip the knowledge test portion of the CDL process. “This rule includes the option for an SDLA [State Driver Licensing Agency] to waive the tests required for a passenger carrier (P) endorsement, tank vehicle (N) endorsement, or hazardous material (H) endorsement, with proof of training and experience.”

Spc. Trey Dodds, a truck driver with the 110th Composite Truck Company, attaches a trailer to a vehicle as evening falls on Thursday, September 13. Soldiers worked into the night preparing vehicles for rapid deployment to hurricane-affected areas along the American East Coast.

The rule also states that certain drivers can be exempted from taking the driving skills test as well.

“This rule gives states the option to waive both the CDL knowledge and driving skills tests for certain current and former military service members who received training to operate CMVs during active-duty, National Guard or reserve service in military vehicles that are comparable to CMVs,” the rule states. “The combined effect of the Military CDL I rule and this rule will allow certain current or former military drivers, domiciled in participating States, to transition to a civilian CDL more quickly due to their armed forces training and experience.”

Many in trucking have viewed veterans as a key piece to help alleviate the driver shortage but concerns over the timeliness of that process and the inability of states to recognize veteran’s driving experience have slowed that process.

One of the factors that delay licensing is that CDL holders must pass requirements in their home states – which for military members is often not the state in which they are stationed.

The Military CDL I rule, issued in October 2016, sought to alleviate this by allowing states to extend up to 1 year the time a candidate has to apply for a test waiver after leaving the military. It also allowed the state where the military member is stationed to coordinate with the member’s home state on the knowledge or skills test.

This rule, first published on June 17, 2017 as proposed rule, received 17 comments, FMCSA said, with 15 in support. Among those submitting supporting comments was American Trucking Associations (ATA), the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), the Propane Gas Association of New England (PGANE), the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), and the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA).

Many commenters felt the rule would reduce the burden to enter the industry, including the time it takes to become licensed, and help in recruiting efforts.

Read this article in full at freightwaves.com