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Looking Back at 2021

By Mr. Jeffrey Paniati P.E posted 12-02-2021 01:34 PM

Last year, I wrote my December Executive Director’s message in anticipation of a return to normal, or at least a “new normal” in 2021. Well, we didn’t quite get there, did we? While we have seen a lot of improvement from 2020 with the advent of the COVID-19 vaccine, the rise of the Delta variant threw cold water on some of our plans. And yet, we thrived. Our experiences in 2020 of quickly adapting to a virtual world served us well in 2021. We now have the tools, training, and experience to successfully create and deliver a program of services that includes both in-person and virtual opportunities. This blend allows us to reach more members and enhance our member value—not only at the International level, but also with our Districts, Sections, and Chapters.

We had significant successes in four major areas in 2021—Collaboration/Learning, Leadership, Solutions, and Recognition/Support. In the area of Collaboration and Learning, our Councils and Committees delivered our first-ever virtual Technical Conference, and our staff were able to—once-again—reconfigure our ITE Annual Meeting to a virtual format. Combined we attracted more than 2,500 participants to these two events. We have also been able to continue our premier leadership development program, LeadershipITE, nimbly evolving it from in-person to virtual and now to a hybrid delivery for 2022.

In the Leadership area, our Councils and Committees, our delegation to the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and staff put together an outstanding response to the Notice of Proposed Amendments to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. It was forward-leaning, but grounded in practical recommendations. We collaborated with Johns Hopkins University to bring together a consortium of leading safety practitioners to prepare a set of recommendations for the U.S. Congress and U.S. Department of Transportation to advance implementation of the Safe System Approach, and are seeing these recommendations appear in proposed legislation. And we were pleased that, along with many partner organizations, our efforts to champion increased infrastructure unding resulted in the passage of the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

We have brought forward many more new solutions including the Trip Generation Manual, 11th Edition, a proposed recommended practice (RP) on Multimodal Transportation Impact Analysis (MTIA), a Technical Brief on Essential Components of Incorporating Safety in TIAs, several new tools for managing the curbside and right-of-way, a new Designing Signalized Intersection certificate program, an updated RP on Preemption of Traffic Signals Near Railroad Crossings, and a Bike Signals Resource Hub. And in the area of Recognition and Support, we debuted our first Young Leaders to Follow class, selected three Diversity Scholars, created a new District-Section-Chapter Resource Hub to support our volunteer leaders, and held sessions to assist our 16 new Sections and two new Districts as they stand up their new organizations.

In my January column, I will share some of the exciting plans and initiatives in store for 2022. Whether virtually or in-person, ITE strives to connect you to a world of ideas, people, and resources. I can’t wait for 2022 and the return to normal, a new normal, or whatever we want to call it. In any case we will be ready to serve you. As always you can reach me on the ITE e-Community or on Twitter: @JPaniatiITE.

This is the Director's Message from the December issue of ITE Journal.