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Cindy Pionke, P.E., is the Strategic Facilities Engineer/ADA 504 Coordinator for Knox County’s Department of Human Resources in Knoxville, TN, USA. I first met Cindy at a Southern District meeting and she’s now serving as the District’s Vice President. I was immediately taken by her dedication to leadership, training, and development. She openly shares ideas of how we can help ITE members advance their careers in leadership. When the opportunity arises to speak with young people about transportation and advancing STEM interest, you can feel her passion and excitement. She truly cares about furthering our profession.  Cindy has played a pivotal role in ...
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Hibbett Neel, P.E. (H) , is a transportation engineer who is the president and CEO of Neel-Schaffer in Jackson, MS, USA. For those who ever wonder if doing the right thing pays off, just talk to Hibbett Neel. I first met Hibbett in Denver, CO, USA at the 1995 Annual Meeting. He is the contrast to my west coast, crazy idea whirlwind, every minute being the even-paced, calm demeanor southern ambassador of ITE. Hibbett’s heart for making a difference in his community and our industry is enormous—he cares for the people around him and is compassionate toward their needs. It started early in his life as an Eagle Scout and serving the county as a captain for the ...
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Upon graduating from the University of California–Berkeley, I had no idea the significant role traffic signals would play in my career. While I received more than my share of Highway Capacity Manual training from Dolf May, I didn’t know jobs revolved around traffic signals. Moreover, I wanted to pursue transit-related planning and design and wanted little to do with signals. I quickly learned that knowledge of signals provided a gateway to transit projects. I had the great fortune to be mentored by pioneers in transit priority (Hans Korve, P.E. (F), Paul Olson, P.E. (F), Warren Tighe, Peter Coffey) and rapidly found my fear of signals was unwarranted. I became ...
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National Engineers Week 2020 is over; however, its impact will continue. If you haven't had an opportunity to read the blogs written by ITE members, it is well worth taking the opportunity to do so. Read about how others found their career passion and how they envision the future of transportation.  How Does Making a Difference Start?  by Randy McCourt Small Changes, Impactful Results  by Alyssa Rodriguez National Engineers Week 2020  by Eric Rensel Empowering Professionals in the Profession  by Cathy Leong Opportunities to be Involved in Transportation  by Matthew Bennett A Female in Engineering! ...
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ITE is pleased to announce open nominations for Chair and Vice-Chair appointments for the following councils and standing committees: Coordinating Council Transportation Consultants Council Transportation Safety Council TSMO Council Complete Streets Council Pedestrian and Bicycle Standing Committee Nominees should demonstrate these characteristics:  Leadership Serve as an inspiration and mentor to other ITE members Proven ability to assemble and motivate volunteer experts Harness volunteers' enthusiasm and commitment to meet the goals of ITE Demonstrate excellent communication skills Management Ability to develop and follow ...
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I became an engineer because I had already made it past the hazing (Differential Equations).  I remain a transportation engineer because for the first time in my life I see hope.   Traffic seems to be a universal complaint that guarantees job security for all of us.  Roman soldiers were probably complaining about the rabble in front of their chariots thousands of years ago and it's difficult to imagine a time when congestion of some kind will not be an issue, even if it's digital.  (Hey honey, why's the internet so slow tonight?--Everyone's watching the Superbowl.  Come look at this cool commercial!).   The obvious solution was to move people out of their cars.  ...
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Tracy Shandor, P.E., RSP2I , is a transportation engineer for Kimley-Horn and Associates in Atlanta, GA, USA. I came to know Tracy through ITE Southern District Board where she was one of the Georgia Section representatives. Her energy and passion for the transportation profession is obvious upon meeting her. She has devoted significant time and organizational talent throughout her career to help students and young women become transportation professionals. Some of her notable accomplishments include organizing a large outreach event for 300 students at Georgia Tech, her involvement in Alpha Omega Epsilon STEM activities, her work with the ITE Illinois ...
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Civil engineers are the builders of the world. To be effective as builders, we need to define our role as broadly as possible. In the broadest sense, civil engineers are serving people. It is the branch of engineering closest to the public and their government. In the transportation engineering profession - the part with which I am most familiar - we have defined our role as promoting the safe and efficient movement of people and goods. Everything we do must be measured against that standard. We have to be involved in more than just signs, signals, and pavement markings. We need to be involved in a broad range of activities not traditionally associated with engineering ...
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As the son of a welder and grandson of a farmer and carpenter my integration into engineering ran much deeper than I could have realized growing up in Western Pennsylvania. Through high school I was focused on becoming an Architect and eventually I was accepted into the Penn State engineering program. In those early times I couldn’t have possibly realized just how rewarding it would be to spend my life helping others, having the opportunity to become a leader, and having the opportunity to give back to my profession through ITE involvement. These days I seem to have entered the realm of “senior” and “experienced” professional – both of which I consider synonyms ...
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Now is truly an exciting time to be in the transport industry in Melbourne, Australia. Not only do we have a plethora of mega-projects in various stages of planning and construction, but even within the past decade, the way people move around the city has dramatically changed. We saw the rise and eventual fall of the blue docked bicycle sharing scheme , the cancelation of a $5.3 billion project , the brief, but incredibly disruptive appearance of dockless bikes , the arrival of Uber, swiftly followed by many other rideshare apps, upsetting the long established taxi industry, and the recent announcements of a flying rideshare service and an e-bike ...
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Most of the time when we talk about empowering a group of people in the transportation field, the discussion typically centers around the inclusion of women. Although I think we still need to actively pursue this, there are other groups that I think also deserve some consideration. I’m a female transportation professional from an island in the Pacific. I sometimes think that being from such a small place is more of a hindrance than being a female. Why? In my experience there is a bias in some people’s perceptions of professionals from smaller or more rural areas. I sometimes find myself guilty of this as well and need to remind myself that where you come from ...
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Working with maintenance teams is rewarding. They’re pragmatic and driven, and, as a result, action is achieved quickly. Early in my public service career, I asked our concrete crew to assist me with pedestrian push button reach distances a few traffic signal poles. We need to expand the level surface adjacent to the poles. Within a few days, they had assessed the sites, completed minor grading and poured the concrete. Problem solved. Now consider the impact. A wheelchair-bound resident had requested the changes. She couldn’t reach the buttons and, subsequently, couldn’t easily access the fixed route transit system to get to work. Her alternative was to use ...
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I recently had the opportunity to help out at a STEM fair for 8th graders in our area. We brought in a signal head, traffic controller, and other things that we thought would pique interest. By far the most asked question of the day was “Is that really how big the lights are?” The next was “How does the light know that there’s a vehicle there?” As transportation professionals, it might be old hat to us that LED bulbs need to be 12” or that it’s just an inductive loop sensor. But once a kid sees that signal head up close, it can be a pretty eye-opening moment for them (and even the grownups too!). Or the fact that a car breaks through an electric-force field ...
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The invention of automobiles and the construction of the Eisenhower Interstate System are some of the best innovations of the 20th century in the surface transportation sector. In fact, automobiles and freeways have been an integral part of the American way of life. Surface transportation is now going through a major overhaul following the advancements in technology. With the advent of self-driving vehicles, connectivity of the transportation network, the emergence of electric vehicles, and the rapid expansion of the ridesharing industry and micromobility, the transportation system is at the cusp of a new era. With the help of technology, our roadways could ...
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I decided to major in Civil Engineering because of a transportation engineering presentation given during my freshman “Intro to Engineering” classes. The professor provided us with a preview of his research on the modeling of transportation systems, specifically those of large pedestrian crowds. He showed us how he was able to adjust the system controls and therefore change the users’ flow patterns. It was intriguing to see how even the smallest changes could affect the overall flow on such a large scale. Following the presentation, I began to think about other ways that this idea could be applied to the transportation systems I participated-in on a daily basis ...
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So often in the transportation profession we hear that a motivation for selecting this career is to make a difference, but what does that mean? Where would someone start that had such a passion to effect such great change? Using a simple definition from Webster’s Dictionary helps solidify what making a difference means - to cause a change: to be important in some way, to do something that is important: to do something that helps people or makes the world a better place. That innate desire drives people to meaningful careers in engineering. Engineering Week is a gateway to youth being found by professionals who inspire curiosity, passion and life-long ...
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A few days ago, I read a post from one of the females I look up to in the transportation industry, Ms. Alyssa Rodriguez. It was about her conversation with a Lyft driver asking her what she did for a living. When she told him she was an engineer, the driver told her that engineering was a man’s job. Unfortunately, whether we accept it or not, the Lyft driver represents a large group of people who for some reason, still think that women are not equipped enough to be scientists or engineers. I lost count of the number of times people have come to me with a similar concern. Seriously? In this era? Sure, there is still much to be done to educate our society that ...
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One of 2019's most popular books addresses gender bias in planning and decision-making. Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a Worls Designed for Men , by Caroline Criado Perez, exposes a simple truth about bias in our societal structures. She delivers many examples to illustrate that a simple underrepresentation of women in decision making and research, translate to the design of systems that do not meet their particular needs. Engineers make decisions every day based on data. Is our data delivering the full picture?  A colleague of mine and fellow transportation researcher recently delivered a speech at TedX Amsterdam about gendered transportation ...
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ATC 5401 Application Programming Interface (API) Standard for the Advanced Transportation Controller (ATC) Version 02A (v02A.35) was accepted as a Recommended Standard by the Advanced Transportation Controller (ATC) Joint Committee (JC). The ATC JC is made up of representatives of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). How to view the draft standard: Between now and March 13, 2020, ATC 5401 Standard v02A and the Standards Development Report are available on the ITE Website https://www.ite.org/technical-resources/standards/atc-api/ ...
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Gaye Sprague, P.E. (F) is a principal and owner of Sprague & Sprague Consulting Engineers in Greenville, SC, USA. I have had the good fortune to meet Gaye in my ITE travels to the Southern District, and cannot think of a member of our transportation community that is more civic-minded. As a leader who spent eight years on the Greenville City Council, Gaye has been active in her children’s school associations and scouting activities, and has served on various conservation and affordable housing boards. She has been involved with the Children’s Museum, and has served on the South Carolina Engineering Board. Taking all of this into account, you begin ...
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