May 2017 Director's Message

Published on: 05/31/2017

Welcome back to our readers! In this issue, please take advantage of a number of opportunities to learn about recent research efforts of STRIDE through Free Webinars (June 9 and 16), a Seminar (June 2), and two Workshops on School Siting (June 15 and 16). These training sessions provide a rare opportunity to learn about the latest trends in research. The Southeastern Transportation Research, Innovation, Development and Education (STRIDE) Center is the 2016 USDOT Region 4 University Transportation Center housed at the University of Florida Transportation Institute (UFTI). STRIDE focuses on developing novel strategies for reducing congestion. The Center has nine partners, representing seven states in the Southeastern U.S.

Florida Events Focus on Safety

The Florida Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and FHWA on an intersection safety and roadway departure workshop in Gainesville on May 9 and 10. The workshop drew nearly 50 participants from FDOT, local agencies and private consultants. The workshop provided participants with the latest information on countermeasures to reduce intersection and roadway departure crashes, including roundabouts and other intersection and interchange geometrics, high-friction surface treatments, and the Safety Edge.

On June 28 and 29, FHWA will host a 1.5 day course on Low Cost Safety Improvements at the FDOT Orlando Urban Office.  This National Highway Institute (NHI) Instructor-Led Course will identify effective roadway, roadside, and intersection safety improvements that can be implemented at relatively low costs in urban, suburban, or rural contexts, present resources and methodologies helpful in applying low-cost safety improvements and illustrate the successful use of some low-cost safety improvements.  Course participants will engage in problem-solving activities and assignments incorporating potential low-cost safety solutions.

Registration to open soon, please check our website. 

Florida LTAP Update

Florida LTAP attended the 2017 National Local Technical Assistance Program Association Southeast Region Annual Meeting in Orange Beach, Alabama.  During the meeting, each LTAP Center provided updates on their programs. Also, FHWA provided an update on the reorganization of their programs and introduced new staff members (Victoria Peters, Andy Byra and Danielle Mathis-Lee).  FHWA held a strategic planning committee meeting on May 9 and 10 to update the LTAP Strategic Plan. The focus of the meeting was how to move forward with the plan that will take effect in January 2018. The updated plan is expected to be available for state centers at the National Conference in July.

FHWA also conducted a series of site visits to LTAP Centers, including a Florida visit on May 23, attended by Andy Byra and Danielle Mathis-Lee from FHWA, Kevin Burgess, FHWA Florida Division, and by conference Victoria Peters, FHWA, and Darryll Dockstader and Patti Brannon, FDOT.  T2 Center staff in attendance included our LTAP team Maria Cahill, Matthew Muller, Nithin Agarwal and Jeri Shell. The site visit allowed discussions focused on improving communication through quarterly Webinars with FHWA, training and technical assistance, available resources, and the Program Assessment Report (PAR). The format of the PAR changed in 2017 reporting and many LTAP centers had questions regarding the new report.

On the horizon, the T2 Center and Florida LTAP staff are working in partnership with FDOT and FHWA on a number of new course offerings for transportation professionals in Florida. They include Traffic Counts and Traffic Counter Installation, Traffic Signal Systems, and Greenbook training covering such topics as Design, Rail-Highway Grade Crossing, Lighting and Drainage.  We would like to thank those local agencies who responded to our Greenbook Survey.  Of those responding, all but one indicated the need for Greenbook training.  The two most popular set of topic areas for training, include Geometric Design and Design Exceptions and Roadside Design, Pavement Design and Construction, and Drainage.  

On May 4 and 5, T2 Center staff held its first offering of Principles of Writing Specifications for Local Agencies. The initial offering was held in Pasco County and hosted by Margaret Smith, County Engineer for staff and consultants with 23 in attendance. We would like to extend our thanks to Pasco County for hosting the event. Overall the input was positive and we are making updates to the course content based on their feedback.  We are now looking for additional counties that are interested in hosting the next session in their community. 

Transportation Safety Center (TSC) update

The TSC, housed at T2 Center in partnership with faculty from UF Civil Engineering and Urban and Regional Planning, is developing a series of Safety Training Modules focusing on lane departure and intersection related safety issues. The modules will include traditional crash analysis techniques using Signal4 Analytics, Highway Safety Manual (HSM) methods for conducting a systemic analysis of predicted high risk locations, and benefit-cost analysis methods for implementing low cost countermeasures.

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