May 2008 Transporter highlights
Pieces come together to reveal new discount card
as a way of saying thanks to employees
All of the pieces now fit nicely into place – the final one added to the ITD Intranet site last week. And a complete picture has emerged.
Human Resource Services spent the past few weeks building a jigsaw puzzle on the right side of the Intranet to pique the interest of ITD employees. The result will be formally introduced next week during Public Employee Appreciation Week activities at Headquarters and district offices.
It’s called Perks – extra rewards for a job well done. Perks cards – which will open the door to myriad discount services and products – will be distributed beginning Monday as ITD’s way of saying thanks to employees.
HRS Manager Mary Harker first proposed the idea to her counterparts at other state agencies about four years ago when employee raises were put on hold.
Mobility conference takes public transportation
step closer to the future
ITD’s Division of Public Transportation rolled out a new vision of mobility in Idaho to providers and users during a conference held in Boise this week (April 30, May 1).
“Mobility Idaho, 2008” was a crucial step toward implementing Idaho’s Mobility and Access Pathway or IMAP, a statewide public transportation plan recently approved by the Transportation Board.
Nearly 80 people representing public transportation interests statewide learned more about Public Transportation’s new emphasis on how best to move people instead of focusing on any one particular mode of transportation.
John Witmer, a community planner for Federal Transit Administration Region 10, told the group about emerging trends in public transportation coordination and the value of having a coordinated plan.
“The coordinated plan is basically a plan that involves all the key stakeholders identifying needs and strategies,” Witmer said. “The ultimate goal is to come up with a way to meet needs not currently being met.”
Planning agencies, transit riders, transportation providers, human services agencies, other government agencies, tribal representatives, elected officials and advocacy groups are among the key players that need to be involved in a coordinated plan, Witmer explained.
Mobility is core of ITD's mission, director explains
ITD Director Pam Lowe emphasized the evolving, multi-dimensional role transportation will play in Idaho’s future when she spoke this week at a public transportation conference in Boise.
It was a perfect venue to discuss the transportation department’s new mission statement: “Our mission. Your Mobility.”
Nearly 80 people gathered for “Mobility Idaho 2008” where ITD’s Division of Public Transportation introduced and discussed its new comprehensive transportation strategy – “Idaho’s Mobility and Access Pathway (IMAP).
The common denominator is “mobility.”
“ITD not only is more than highways, we want to be more than just about highways,” Lowe said. “This is reflected in our new mission of ‘Our Mission. Your Mobility.’ This mission does not place one mode of transportation above another, but instead recognizes that all modes need to work to achieve mobility."
Installation of touch-screen driver's license
testing equipment completed statewide
Touch-screen testing stations that provide immediate confirmation of pass or fail on driver's license tests are available statewide as part of a technology initiative by the Idaho Transportation Department's Division of Motor Vehicles.
ITD received two $500,000 grants from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to purchase an Automated Driver License Testing System (ADLTS) for deployment in county sheriff's driver licensing offices across the state.
The statewide system was installed in two phases. The first phase, completed in late 2006, installed computer test stations in 19 counties. Installation of new computer test stations in all of the remaining counties was completed earlier this year, with all software components installed and fully operational this month.
OHOS summit to review highway safety trends
Trends in highway safety will serve as theme for an estimated 200 safety professionals and law enforcement officials Tuesday (May 13) when they assemble in Boise for the Idaho 2008 Highway Safety Summit, “Smart Choices Save Lives.”
The summit is sponsored by ITD’s Office of Highway Operations and Safety and will be at the Doubletree-Riverside Hotel in Boise, 2900 Chinden Blvd. The program runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Participants will include representatives from the Idaho State Police, county sheriffs’ offices and local police departments, as well as other agencies and organizations involved in traffic safety.
Officers Kyle Wills and Eric Simunich, Boise Police Department, will discuss effective, productive and safe seat belt enforcement.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials also will be on hand. Greg Patton, Boise State University men’s tennis head coach, will be the luncheon speaker.
ITD garners six Idaho Press Club awards
ITD returned from the Idaho Press Club’s annual award ceremony with six honors in the public relations category last week, including a first for Special-purpose Web site.
Idaho’s Scenic Byways Web (http://www.visitidaho.org/scenic-byways/ ) site claimed top honors in the special purpose category. Public Information Officer Jeff Stratten entered the site on behalf of the transportation department and scenic byways coordinator Garry Young.
"The ease of site navigation is to be appreciated by Idaho travelers," judges wrote. The Web site received top scores for impact and conformity to contest criteria.
ITD also received a second-place award of general excellence for its enhanced 5-1-1 Web site (511.idaho.gov).
Communications specialist Mel Coulter received a second place award for his Transporter feature “A Single Digit,” that described the internal chain of events when he dialed 911 instead of 5-1-1 to receive traveler information. The 911 call prompted an emergency response by specially trained ITD staff to his office last year.
ITD projects receive state engineering awards
Two ITD construction projects were among those honored recently in statewide competition by the Idaho chapter of a national engineering organization.
The Karcher Interchange project in Nampa was awarded first place in the Structural Systems Category and U.S. 95 Setters to Bellgrove highway reconstruction/realignment project in northern Idaho was first in the transportation category.
Awards were announced recently by the Idaho affiliate of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). W&H Pacific received the honor for ITD’S Karcher project while CH2MHILL claimed the award for the U.S. 95 project.
The latter also received a Grand Conceptor Award, the engineering organization's premier award because of its unique nature and the innovative solutions used to complete the project. It also was a finalist in national ACEC competition.
Highway safety summit emphasizes benefit
of enforcing traffic laws
Law enforcement officers and highway safety professionals heard a common message during the 2008 Highway Safety Summit -- that increased enforcement of traffic laws not only saves lives, but helps reduce overall crime rates and aids teenagers in becoming safer drivers.
The summit, sponsored by ITD’s Office of Highway Operations and Safety (OHOS), was held Tuesday (May 13) in Boise and featured the theme “Smart Choices Save Lives.”
“Traffic enforcement leads to less overall crime,” said Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel. “Oklahoma County reported a decline of more than an 80 percent in overall crime as traffic law enforcement increased by 80 percent.”
He went on to tell about 180 summit participants that he had a personal stake in traffic safety. Whetsel’s wife and 2-year-old daughter were killed in 1980 when an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper in pursuit of a speeding motorcyclist crashed into the family’s car.
Whetsel is a nationally recognized authority on police pursuits who has testified before Congressional committees and legislative hearings. He also has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including “Larry King Live,” “Dateline” and “NBC Nightly News.”
District 6 Engineer Tom Cole selected
to replace Hutchinson as Chief Engineer
Tom Cole, a transportation icon in District 6 the past two decades, has been named to succeed Steve Hutchinson as ITD’s Chief Engineer. Director Pam Lowe made the announcement early this week, indicating Cole will assume his new role Aug. 1. Hutchinson will retire on June 27.
“We had many outstanding candidates for the position, which made the decision both challenging and promising,” Lowe said. “Tom's wealth of experience will enable us to continue moving forward in our efforts to create an efficient, responsive transportation system. He will be very important to our success.”
Cole’s ITD career began in 1982 in Boise. Five years later he transferred to Materials in District 6 where he began ascending the ranks to district engineer. He was promoted to Region 1 engineer in 1996, assistant district engineer in 1998 and became district engineer in October 2000.
Smart Roadside System keeps track
of commercial vehicles entering Idaho from Canada
Hundreds of trucks stream past the ubiquitous satellite dish and small camera every day. Drivers don’t give more than casual notice to the new roadside station – if they notice at all. And few realize that a wealth of information is being electronically captured about the vehicle they’re operating and made available for viewing on the Internet by commercial vehicle inspectors.
It’s all there – vehicle length, weight and speed, the number of axles, the weight per axle and the date and time the commercial vehicle passed. That information helps enforcement personnel keep close track of commercial vehicles entering the U.S. through one of the two international crossings into Idaho.
The virtual weigh stations – called a Smart Roadside Monitoring System – were constructed on U.S. 95 and Idaho 1 last winter and became operational early this spring, said Reymundo Rodriguez, manager of ITD’s commercial vehicles section.
The two stations were secured through a border enforcement grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at a total cost of $788,000. The request was a submitted collaboratively by Idaho Transportation Department and the Idaho State Police. International Road Dynamics of Canada did installation.