Blogs

ITE has a proud tradition of providing tools and resources to students that will help them learn more about our industry—and ultimately advance their future careers. This is evident in some of the many webinars and publications available for free to ITE student members that focus on topics essential to professional development, as well as the emphasis on career path planning across our more than 150 Student Chapters globally. The many competitions for students that ITE helps support are also in line with that goal—giving students an opportunity to learn while hopefully having some fun doing it. I’m really excited every time I get to watch a Traffic Bowl match, ...
Happy June everyone! As we welcome the onset of June, I’d like to take a moment to address our younger colleagues. However, all are invited to lend an ear! Dear Younger Members, In our shared pursuit as transportation professionals and enthusiasts, we are united by a common passion for shaping the future of safe mobility. Our field is dynamic, ever evolving, and filled with opportunities for innovation and impact. Within ITE, you have a unique platform to learn, connect, and contribute to the advancement of transportation engineering and planning. Today, I want to extend a heartfelt invitation to each of you, regardless of age, to become active and engaged ...
It’s a commonly held belief that tradition can stifle innovation. “We’ve always done it that way” is like fingernails on a chalkboard for those visionaries who are constantly looking for new approaches, different solutions, or innovative tools. For many years, our transportation industry could have easily been branded as “steeped in tradition” for our reliance upon historic data for planning, engineering guidebooks for design, and past experience or rules to help dictate many of our actions. In my February column this year, I talked about the early days of my career in the transportation field and meeting professionals who believed in “cookbook style” planning ...
In this issue of ITE Journal, we’re featuring articles about artificial intelligence (AI), data, and emergent technology in our transportation profession. When considering this month’s message, I had a thought: What if Max Headroom, the fictional character from the 1980s known for his role as a television personality in a dystopian cyberpunk future, was a transportation professional? Imagining him in this role adds an intriguing twist to his character. Let’s explore how Max might fit into various roles within transportation: Traffic Broadcasts: Picture Max Headroom as a quirky and charismatic traffic reporter. With his signature stuttering, glitchy speech ...
Throughout this first quarter of 2024, we have been digesting the recently published update to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, commonly referred to by its acronym MUTCD. This is an important document that impacts nearly every single person in our transportation community in one way or another. Some directly, some indirectly. In this April edition of ITE Journal, we’ll feature articles related specifically to the MUTCD and elements of the newly updated 11th Edition. And throughout this year, ITE will be launching several initiatives related to the updated MUTCD including webinars, a new certificate course, an indexed print version, specialized ...
In my journey as a city traffic engineer since 1982, I’ve witnessed profound transformations in the role, driven by technological advancements, urban planning shifts, and a growing awareness of sustainable transportation. Today, technology integration is key, with traffic engineers using advanced tools like traffic signal control systems, intelligent transportation systems, and real-time traffic monitoring. This contrasts sharply with the manual methods and basic signal timing relied upon 40 years ago. Modern traffic engineering thrives on data-driven decision- making. Access to abundant data from sources like traffic sensors and GPS devices empowers professionals ...
For the past several decades, ITE has been at the forefront of our profession in terms of promoting strategies, standards, and Recommended Practices that have safety as a principal goal. And we have not hesitated in partnering with various other industry organizations and associations in support of improving roadway safety and pursuing zero fatalities. So, it was no surprise when volunteers and leaders across ITE started working on our Strategic Plan last year, that the topic of safety came up regularly. But this time the tone was different. The conversation wasn’t characterized by “let’s keep doing the great things we’re doing.” Instead, it was “how can we ...
In January, I participated in meetings and gatherings held in conjunction with the Transportation Research Board’s Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, USA. Engaging with the International Board of Direction, ITE Technical Council leaders, the 2024 Leadership ITE class, fellow professionals, and students proved enlightening and fruitful, offering exceptional networking opportunities for all involved. During my travels in February, I had the pleasure of attending outstanding Student Leadership Summits hosted by students in the ITE Districts of Florida Puerto, Southern, and Western. Each Summit was informative and provided excellent avenues for learning about leadership ...
I have had a lot of dreams in my life. Many of them have been within my engineering profession, but it all started with sports. My mother always encouraged me to do the “pretty” things like baton and ballet and modeling. But I never seemed to fit into that little box – I struggled with being graceful and preferred my hair in a ponytail and out of my face. Luckily, I found a local sports league and found my “home”. I was only in first grade and wanted to play softball, but the league didn’t have softball for young girls at that time. So I played baseball with the boys. At school and home, I was super shy. Being on a boys’ team scared me ...
I am lucky to be a transportation engineer because it has made me appreciate all that happens in our world behind the scenes. It is not uncommon to hear something similar to the following when I explain my work: “Wow, I didn’t even know that was a job.” While this response may have stung at first, I’ve grown to wear it as a badge of pride. Few other professions have the wide-ranging impact that we do. Think of this morning. How did you get to work or school? How did you get the groceries that comprised your breakfast? How did the clothes you are wearing make it into your closet? How are you planning to run your errands this evening? We all depend on transportation ...
On this National Engineers Week, we should reflect on how Engineering has shaped humanity's past and is shaping humanity's present and future. Engineering is derived from the Latin words "ingenium" meaning "cleverness" and "ingeniare" meaning "to devise". Engineering is essentially a clever way to solve problems. Engineering as a discipline has existed since the dawn of civilization and will exist for eternity. Throughout history, the knowledge of engineering has been responsible for some of the most impressive human achievements. Egyptians used their engineering knowledge to build the pyramids, the Greeks built aqueducts or bridges, and the Romans ...
This year’s National Engineers Week will be the 27 th that I have experienced since beginning my professional career as a transportation engineer. However, the start of my journey to becoming an engineer began many years earlier than my first paycheck. As a child growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I was fascinated with the traffic signals, signs, and markings that I would see as I traveled through the city with my parents. During the many road trips that I took, I marveled at the highways that allowed us to travel to the ocean, drive through the mountains, and to visit that famous mouse in Florida. I spent years using crayons, markers, and ...
I remember when I was growing up, people asked “What do you want to do?” At the time, I did not truly know. What I did know was I was good at math and science and loved playing with Legos. I loved understanding how things worked (lost a few good toys this way), and I knew my thought process was different than others. My parents suggested something in STEM, so I had chosen to take drafting and design, and Introduction to Engineering. Between the two classes, I found myself loving the drafting aspects of engineering and the need to think outside the box to achieve the objective set by the teachers. My fondest memories were drafting a 2-foot-long crank shaft by ...
It’s easy to look at this from an altruistic perspective – transportation planners and engineers have an important role in our everyday life. The provision of transportation – moving people and goods – is essential to our ability to work and live. But beyond the social impacts and opportunities that exist, I’ve enjoyed being a transportation engineer because of the great diversity of projects and programs. Throughout my 35+ year career I’ve had the pleasure of doing some diverse things: · Designing controls and displays on cars. · Developing an ITS program for a State DOT. · Launching a travel information ...
Early-on in my career in the transportation field, I met a few professionals who believed that transportation planning and engineering could be done “cookbook style.” Follow the formulas, lean heavily on prior experience, and in general, do all of this without a lot of input from other sources. It didn’t take me long to discover that this approach was riddled with potential problems. Thankfully, we as a profession have evolved significantly over the past few decades, and we recognize that through public engagement, thoughtful planning strategies, and context-sensitive engineering, we have an opportunity to help communities more properly envision future growth ...
I hope that you are doing well as we celebrate February and Heart Month to encourage heart-healthy lifestyles. Back in December, I viewed an excellent ITE webinar, “Safe System Approach: Working Across Disciplines to Improve Safety and Health Equity Outcomes.” The perspectives by Tiffany Smith from the Vision Zero Network, Dr. David Ederer (M) from the CDC, Meghan Mitman (M) of Fehr & Peers, and moderator, Kelly Rodgers (M) of Streetsmart Planning LLC resonated deeply, particularly Dr. Ederer’s insightful comments about the pivotal role of transportation professionals in impacting public health through the built environment. As transportation engineers and ...
I hope this message finds you well and in high spirits from the festive season. As we step into 2024, I’m honored to serve as International President of ITE—A Community of Transportation Professionals. I deeply appreciate the dedication and expertise each member brings to our vibrant community, transforming ITE into a powerful force for positive change in transportation. With more than 18,000 members, we stand as a dynamic force, and together, we can achieve even greater heights. My gratitude extends to the International Board of Direction and the dedicated ITE staff for their support. Allow me to share a bit about my background. My fascination with transportation ...
Happy New Year and welcome to 2024! Another January is in front of us; the opportunity to come back from the holidays recharged, take on new and exciting projects, and of course make some New Year’s Resolutions. For many of us, those resolutions often include taking better care of our health, making a concerted effort to reduce procrastination, and maybe even trying to improve your work-life balance. As I begin my first full year as Executive Director, one of my resolutions is to jump right in to implementing some of the elements of our new Strategic Plan (highlighted in our November ITEJ issue). That includes a continued emphasis on supporting and engaging ...
As we race toward the conclusion of 2023, I can’t help but look back at the past 12 months with a sense of awe. ITE members helped stage a number of fantastic meetings, cranked out a record number of publications, our membership is at its highest level ever, young professional and student engagements are on fire, we’ve had almost 40 highly attended webinars, our transportation planners are getting involved—the list goes on and on. It’s been an amazing year! Just 1 month into my new role as Executive Director, I have already been asked several times what excites me about the new role. And my answer has been easy—interacting with members! We have a great diversity ...
It is hard to believe a year has passed, and this is my last message as your ITE International President. It’s been a great experience serving you in this significant way. I was fortunate to travel to each of the Districts in the United Staes and Canada. It was fascinating to learn more about how the cities and states are incorporating projects to enhance safety for all users, learning from their history and culture as well. I enjoyed engaging with our members at all the District meetings and participating in social events that make each District unique. The highlight of it all has been the engagement with our younger members. Along with members of the ...