Highlights for WesternITE Newsletter
By Randy McCourt
International Board Advances Energy, Environment and Economy to Mega Issue
The International Board of Direction met on March 20 and 21 in Phoenix, AZ in association with the Technical Conference. With the stimulus approval fresh in everyone’s minds and the pending transportation funding authorization forthcoming in the next year, ITE will be developing source information regarding energy, environment and economy for our members this year. From climate variability to volatile energy costs to greenhouse gas reduction – transportation engineering and planning will play a key role in the years to come in each of these issues… ITE has established a task force headed up by Dan Hardy on this issue and prepared a position paper for congress on the transportation authorization effort that will begin this year. You will be able to find more information on these topics through the ITE web site and upcoming webinars. The annual meeting in San Antonio and the Western District meeting in Denver will have focused technical presentations on these topics.
Authorization or Reauthorization – It’s Coming
The stimulus may have slowed action on the pending transportation authorization for 2009 but this will be a big year for sorting out transportation funding issues. Cap & Trade, carbon tax, VMT reduction, monitoring of transportation system improvement performance, clean vehicles, passenger rail, signal timing and more pedestrian/bicycle advances can be expected. ITE is supporting initiatives that are important to our industry, particularly low cost operational enhancements that reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases (signal timing and ITS), science and monitoring behind transportation investment performance (such as travel time analysis, VMT) and balanced transportation systems with options by multiple modes. Most important will be the hypothecation of transportation funds to avoid use of user fees for non-transportation activities.
Mainstreaming of Emerging Issues
ITE has developed informational reports and recommended practices recently on emerging issues in transportation such as smart growth, context sensitive design, designing for all users, sustainability and other areas. The objective in coming years will to integrate these efforts into “mainstream” ITE handbooks and manuals, as appropriate as publications are updated. One area where this will be considered this year is the emerging ITE Transportation text book that is being developed. Michael Meyer of Georgia Tech is leading this effort. Faculty from ITE Student Chapters are encouraged to provide input to this effort now as the document will likely go to publication in the next 12 months. The hope is this will lead to a common textbook for transportation engineering and planning at universities.
Traffic Signal Report Card Refresh
The 2007 Traffic Signal Report card update is being considered. Members should identify the value of continuing your support of this activity to ITE officers as decisions will be made in the coming year to address the timing of refreshing the report card. The Canadian Traffic Signal Report Card was completed in 2008.
Members should take advantage of discounts in webinar pricing to student chapters (50%) and a multiple webinar discount (save 20% when you buy four or more webinars).
Electronic Trip Generation
The Western District Board members presented a resolution for the development of an electronic/web format to ITE publications (such as Trip Generation) where you could purchase them on the web similar to iTunes, or some other appropriate retailing approach. The time frame for development was outlined as 12 to 24 months.
Make a Difference – Teen Driving Safety Initiatives
The Board directed staff to review the various teen driver safety initiatives to see if a clearinghouse or consolidation could be achieved to further advance the best practices of these programs. This is an area where our members can make a difference by getting involved locally with state, regional or local initiatives.
Technical Meeting/Annual Meeting Highlights and Podcasts
In the coming year members will have the benefit of getting real time access to technical conference and annual meeting highlights. The Phoenix meeting was the first roll out of this strategy. You should have received via email daily updates of key highlights of the technical sessions and vendor displays. Podcasts or video streaming are being considered for future meetings.
As the economy downturn continues, ITE staff are taking steps to reduce costs appropriately. While membership is up, attendance at meetings is down. One area that will not be cut back in the future will be the ITE Student Reception at TRB. This event will return in 2010 and be continued into the future.
The next International Board meeting will be in August at the Annual Meeting in San Antonio. Please feel free to contact your Western District Board members with any issues you feel should be addressed in our industry (Randy McCourt, Zaki Mustafa and Ken Ackeret).