SIC Meeting Fires Up Audience with Hot Topics
The NCSITE Strategic Initiatives Council hosted an exciting event on last Tuesday, September 22, where key hot and emerging transportation topics were presented to 74 attendees from federal, state, and local governments, and the private sector. Four PDHs and CMUs (pending) were awarded.
Bill Seymour, PE, President of the Southern District of ITE (SDITE), gave a briefing of the key District initiatives. He noted SDITE’s goal is to be servant, more of a provider than an attractor. Mr. Seymour noted SDITE is establishing performance measures to better gauge efforts inside and outside of the organization. A Special Committee has been formed to initiate “Community Involvement” – a high school service project focusing on distracted driving with the goal of helping teens drive safer.
Still in the morning session, Alpesh Patel, NCDOT Assistant Branch Manager, STIP Programming, was the presenter for SPOT 4.0: What’s New and Different. Mr. Patel presented an overview of the changes in NCDOT’s updated Strategic Prioritization Process and the efforts of the Prioritization Work Group. He explained the changes in the latest round to reflect finer tuning of how projects (across modes) utilize data and travel demand (current and future) to score projects based on meeting infrastructure needs.
After an old school Cooper’s BBQ lunch, Bobby Lewis, PE, NCDOT Chief of Staff, offered his version of the Legislative Update: What’s Really Happening on Jones Street. Mr. Lewis explained the legislative timeline beginning in February through September, noting key elements of SB 20 and HB 97. He also noted changes in motor fuel tax revenue distribution and increases for state revenues to be used for transportation projects. He concluded noting that the General Assembly has taken action and now it is up to NCDOT and private consultants/contractors to deliver projects on-time and within budget.
Jon Gorman, Program Manager, NGAT Program and UAS Program at ITRE, conducted a presentation of Drones–Unmanned Aircraft System Operations. The presentation focused on the latest events surrounding the evolution of unmanned aerial systems (drones) in NC and the US, as well as regulations and guidelines for operation and collection of electronic information for use in surveillance and remote sensing. These operations will have applications for many uses related to transportation engineering, incident management, and safety. Mr. Gorman explained the significant economic impact of UAS on operations in three categories: Hobbyist, Government, and Commercial.
Jonathan B. Walker, PE, USDOT, presented on Connected & Automated Vehicles: Where are We Headed? (permission to post presentation pending). The presentation focused the fundamental principles of connected and automated vehicles and concluded with several resources for decision-makers, planners, designers, and technical staff. Mr. Walker noted that Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communications are cutting edge technology that will prevent millions of crashes each year caused by human errors.
Mike Holder, PE, NCDOT Chief Engineer, gave his Chief Engineer’s Update: What’s Happening at NCDOT, noting that the budget has given NCDOT more funds for project delivery. He emphasized that the General Assembly is expecting NCDOT to deliver projects on-time and within budget. He, in turn, has told his 14 Division Engineers that he expects project delivery to be the top priority and requires the same for his industry partners (consultants and contractors). Mr. Holder noted it will take all of us working together to deliver NCDOT’s program.
The SIC will be meeting during the first week of October to review the evaluation comments, confirm plans for the NCSITE Annual Meeting Technical Session, decide on additional hot topics to pursue, and draft a work plan for 2016. For more information or to become involved in the SIC, contact the SIC Chair.