Volpe Center Highlights
Ensure that the transportation system is accessible, integrated and efficient, and offers flexibility of choices.
Developing a New ITS Data Management Course for the Transit Community (FTA)
DOT's Professional Capacity Building (PCB) Program is a joint Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) effort directed by DOT's Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS/JPO). It was established to assist in the deployment of ITS by enhancing knowledge and developing the appropriate skills within federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as the transportation industry. The Volpe Center serves as program manager for FTA's ITS PCB program. In that role, the Center develops awareness and provides training on the application of ITS to public transportation. In an effort to help transit professionals make maximum use of data available after ITS deployment, a new training course is being developed. Mr. Joseph LoVecchio, Dr. Sylvia Harris, and Ms. Justyne Johnson of the Telecommunications Division participated in a curriculum committee workshop from April 25 to 26, 2000. Facilitated by Dr. Harris, the workshop was aimed at obtaining guidance and input from the transit community on the content, format, and target audience for this new training course. After the workshop, the Volpe Center staff briefed Mr. Walt Kulyk, the FTA sponsor, on the workshop findings and discussed the next steps. One key finding was that ITS data should be seen within the context of all other types of data that transit agencies manage. It also was determined that the training should focus initially on senior management, while an additional course might be needed for other levels of personnel within the transit organization.
Building Linkages for Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics (RSPA)
In fiscal year 1996, the Department of Education launched an exciting new initiative called "Building Linkages through Career Clusters in High Technology Industries." This initiative was launched to promote linkages between state academic standards and industry-recognized skill standards for broad groups of occupations and industries that are based on a common core of competencies called career clusters. One of the career cluster areas is Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics.
A partnership was formed with the Departments of Education, Labor, Transportation, and the Illinois State Board of Education to develop a road map for career entry, progression, and educational requirements for the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics career cluster. Through this partnership, curriculum materials for secondary to post-secondary levels will be developed and pilot tested at local school sites throughout the United States.
The partnership is designed to build on the success of DOT Secretary Rodney E. Slater's Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Futures Program, and other national and state initiatives. The Research and Special Programs Administration's (RSPA) Administrator Kelley S. Coyner is leading the Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Futures Program and representing DOT on the Building Linkages Project.
The Volpe Center is supporting Ms. Coyner by consulting in the development and dissemination of the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics career cluster framework, curriculum materials, and execution of the project, as well as Internet Web site support. Ms. Olive Lesueur of the Intermodal Logistics Systems Planning and Integration Division is a member of the Building Linkages Management team. Mr. Russell Furtado of the Technology and Knowledge Engineering Division is providing Internet Web site support.
From April 25 to 26, 2000, Ms. Lesueur and Mr. Furtado participated in the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Building Linkages State Liaison Meeting, Executive Committee Meeting, and Advisory Consortium Meeting held at the White House Conference Center in Washington, D.C. Participants included representatives from the federal government, states' departments of education, academia, transportation industry, and labor unions. These meetings provided participants with the opportunity to discuss the scope of the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics career cluster framework and plans for selecting and executing the pilot test sites, as well as related topics. Ms. Lesueur provided suggestions for categorizing transportation careers within the career cluster framework, and Mr. Furtado briefed the participants on theGarrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Futures Program Web site ( http://education.dot.gov) and the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Building Linkages Web site (http://education.dot.gov/translinkage).
Coast Guard and FAA Receive Training in CMPlus and SPAS Systems (USCG/FAA)
During the week of March 13, 2000, Ms. Carrie Darling-Brown and Mr. John Fiorillo of the Information Integration Division conducted a training session on the new Windows version of the Configuration Management Plus software (CMPlus 4 NT) for the U.S. Coast Guard's (USCG) Office of Logistics Systems personnel and the Electronic Support Detachment. This training also provided the Coast Guard personnel with the knowledge and capability to become an integral part of the CMPlus installation process along with Volpe staff during fiscal year 2000, and ultimately to provide ongoing operational support throughout the life of the CMPlus application. The Volpe Center developed the CMPlus software to help the Coast Guard operate and maintain its fleet of Coast Guard Cutters. CMPlus is a unit-level system, so the data and functionality is self-contained aboard each ship and now is installed at more than 150 units.
At the request of Ms. Barbara Wright, the Program Manager for the Safety Performance Analysis System (SPAS) at the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Flight Standards Service, Ms. Ann DiMare of the Aviation Safety Division attended a SPAS training dry run at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to assess the readiness of the FAA instructors to provide SPAS training courses to FAA inspectors. Ms. DiMare evaluated the instructors in terms of their overall presentation, interaction with students, classroom management, learning environment, laboratory equipment, and testing environment. Ms. DiMare also met with Mr. James Wade of the FAA, Manager of the Regulatory Standards Division, to discuss the future of SPAS delivery and potential opportunities for the FAA Academy and the Volpe Center to work together. The training was held from February 14 to 18, 2000.
A Review of Traffic and Transit Internet Sites Generates Media Interest (ITS/JPO)
Recently, Mr. Jonah Soolman and Ms. Sari Radin of the Economic Analysis Division released a paper entitled "Features of Traffic and Transit Internet Sites." The paper, which reviews the functionality of transportation Web sites in large metropolitan areas, has generated substantial interest and publicity from the media, including an article that ran recently in Inside ITS, a biweekly publication that covers the use of information technology in the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) field in North America. Organizations that would use the data in the paper include transit authorities and companies that develop Web sites. This paper was the first time that the quality of traffic and transit Web sites had been reviewed.
To research the paper, Mr. Soolman examined 85 traffic sites (45 from public agencies and 40 from private sector firms) and 120 transit sites (99 public and 21 private). The selected sites were based on lists drawn from the 1999 metropolitan ITS deployment tracking database, and links on the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) Web sites. Mr. Soolman analyzed each site to determine whether it contained the features that were considered most desirable by customers. These features were based on two customer satisfaction studies that were conducted last year as part of the metropolitan model deployment initiatives in Phoenix, Arizona, and Puget Sound, Washington. The paper concluded that many of the traffic and transit features that are desired by customers are not available on the sites.
The paper was released at the Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) Workshop, which was held from February 9 to 10, 2000, in Phoenix, Arizona. The purpose of the ATIS Workshop, which was sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and hosted by ITS America, was for members of the public and private sectors to discuss service and data gaps affecting both users of ATIS and providers of ATIS data, respectively. The ITS Joint Program Office (ITS/JPO) plans to use the paper as well as other reports and proceedings from the ATIS Workshop to develop a road map for ATIS.
Originally, the paper was published with a set of resource materials sent to pre-registrants of the ATIS Workshop. It also is available as an electronic file in the ITS/JPO Electronic Document Library (http://www.its.dot.gov/welcome.htm), document number 12263. The ITS Cooperative Deployment Network also is featuring a description of and link to the paper along with Web-enabled data tables. This Web page was created by the National Associations Working Group for ITS, a cooperative effort of organizations whose members are spearheading ITS deployment in the United States. A description of the paper is at http://www.nawgits.com/icdn/atisstudy_tran.html and the Web-enabled tables are located at http://www.nawgits.com/icdn/atisstudy_tran.html and http://www.nawgits.com/icdn/atisstudy_traf.html
At the request of Mr. Joe Peters of the ITS/JPO, the sponsor of the Volpe Center's research for this paper, the authors will begin a more complete review of transit agency Web sites, including all agencies that submit information to the National Transit Database. The five-month study will review the sites and develop a Web-based searchable database for the improvement of transit Internet sites. Database development will be performed by Mr. Doug Rickenback of the Economic Analysis Division.
Quick Response Provided in Over-The-Road Bus Project (OST)
Mr. Robert Church and Mr. Edward Ramsdell of the Economic Analysis Division provided quick response support to DOT's Office of the Secretary's (OST) Economic and Regulatory Team in reviewing the report of a research project on over-the-road buses that was conducted by the Transportation Research Board's (TRB) Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). Mr. Church and Mr. Ramsdell provided a memorandum reviewing the research project in time for OST to meet a two-week turnaround for comment to TRB.
The TCRP project's objective was to perform an analysis of the capital needs for meeting accessibility requirements for over-the-road-buses mandated under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A federal subsidy is included in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century to partially offset the impact on individual carriers. At the request of OST, the Volpe Center currently is assisting the TCRP contractor in estimating the size and industry characteristics of the current over-the-road bus fleet size.
The Economic Analysis Division performed the Regulatory Assessment for the 1998 Rulemaking. Through this rulemaking, DOT implemented the ADA requirements, enabling persons with disabilities to use intercity bus travel in a manner similar to that enjoyed by non-disabled persons and furthering DOT's strategic goal of enhanced mobility.
Proposed Projects Evaluated for Advanced Vehicle Technology Program Funding (FTA)
Recently, Mr. David Spiewak of the Advanced Vehicle Technologies Division participated in the evaluation and ranking of 136 white papers describing proposed advanced vehicle projects. The papers were submitted to the Advanced Vehicle Technology Program (AVP) for consideration of funding in fiscal year 2001. The U.S. Congress has authorized up to $50 million per year in funding for AVP projects under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century from fiscal years 1999 to 2003.
Advanced vehicles include technologies such as the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)/ electric hybrid composite bus shown here.
The AVP is a DOT program for the development and demonstration of a range of advanced technologies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. It focuses on commercial vehicles with the objective of significantly reducing emissions, including greenhouse gases, while improving fuel efficiency and industry competitiveness. Specific activities address lightweight materials, crashworthiness, energy conversion and storage, emission control, and advanced manufacturing technologies.
The evaluation and ranking of the white papers was conducted at System Planning Corporation in Arlington, Virginia, by a Review Committee comprised of Mr. Spiewak; Mr. Hsiung and Ms. Christina Gikakis both of the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Office of Research, Demonstration, and Innovation; Mr. Ryan Gallagher of System Planning Corporation; and Mr. Danny Jordan of Maritime Applied Physics Corporation. Dr. Robert Rosenfeld, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Program Manager, participated in the review in an advisory capacity. DARPA formerly managed the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technologies Program, the precursor to the AVP.
Each of the seven AVP Consortia that are authorized by statute to participate in the AVP had several white papers that scored favorably. The seven Consortia, which represent private industry and other non-federal government organizations, include: Sacramento Electric Transportation Consortium; Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium; CALSTART-WESTART; ELECTRICORE, Inc.; Mid-Atlantic Regional Consortium for Advanced Vehicles; Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project; and Southern Coalition for Advanced Transportation.
Full proposals based on the favorably ranked white papers were requested by the AVP Program Office. So far, 53 proposals have been received. Mr. Spiewak again will participate on the Review Committee to evaluate, grade, and rank these proposals and to provide technical assistance to Mr. Hsiung. Based on the outcome of these scores, the Research and Special Programs Administration Contracting Officer, Mr. Tom Scott, will negotiate con-tracts with the Consortia in accordance with established procedures.