November 2008 Transporter highlights
Employee benchmarking survey available online
Employees are most productive in a work environment that recognizes and values their contributions and promotes opportunities for professional growth. ITD administrators, with support from the transportation board, have commissioned a study to assess the strengths of the work environment and identify areas where improvement is needed.
The survey is available now for employees to complete online. [Go to the survey.]
An extensive survey of ITD’s workplace began this week under the direction of Oasis Consulting Services, an independent research firm that has an established history with transportation and other public organizations. Based in Las Vegas, the Oasis specializes in organization and workforce development.
“I am really impressed with the commitment of our employees to quality and service,” said ITD Director Pam Lowe. “We want to do everything possible to create an even more supportive, rewarding workplace. The survey we began this week will provide valuable information about how employees perceive their work environment and the improvements they think are needed.
“This survey will become a benchmark upon which we can measure our efforts to improve the workplace. Its real value depends on honest, constructive feedback from every employee.
Survey indicates Idahoans recognize, support
need for additional transportation funds
Idahoans recognize the value of roads and bridges to the economy and their safety, and support raising fees to improve them, a survey shows.
Idaho Highway Users, Inc. surveyed 600 Idahoans in September. Idaho Highway Users is a statewide group that was formed in the 1930s to promote good highways and bridges. The group conducted a similar survey in 1999.
"The survey confirms what we were hearing from the public at the seven transportation funding conferences held across the state this summer," said Scott Ellsworth, chairman of Idaho Highway Users. "Drivers are concerned about Idaho's crumbling roads and deteriorating bridges and believe now is the time to begin fixing them."
Idahoans gave the roads and bridges in the state mediocre grades. Each element of Idaho’s transportation infrastructure was given a C+ grade.
Farrar appointed chair of bridge technical committee
Matt Farrar, ITD’s Bridge Engineer, recently was appointed chairman of an AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) subcommittee on bridges.
He will head the T-18 Technical Committee for Bridge Management, Evaluation and Rehabilitation. It is one of 20 technical committees organized under AASHTO’s subcommittee on Bridges and Structures. Malcolm T. Kerley, chief engineer for the Virginia Department of Transportation, announced Farrar’s selection last month.
The technical committee, Farrar explains, is responsible for standards on bridge inspection, load rating and management. His assignment gives Idaho a voice in national bridge maintenance standards.
“This gives Idaho a seat at the table on important issues of bridge inspection and load ratings,” Farrar explains. The ongoing technical committee meets several times a year – at mid-year and as part of the AASHTO annual meeting.
ITD network facilitates smooth election
Idahoans from Priest River to Preston, from Island Park to Murphy followed results of the 2008 general election through local media. They received regular updates on the Presidential and Congressional races, state legislative races and local issues.
What they didn’t see, however, was the information network that connected offices in all 44 counties with the Secretary of State’s office in Boise. Results from balloting throughout the state passed through ITD’s communication network.
That network is accustomed to multi-tasking, explains Jon Pope, manager of ITD’s Enterprise Technology Services. The network carries information related to driver’s licenses and vehicle registration/titles to the Division of Motor Vehicles from county sheriff’s and assessors’ offices statewide. It also is an information carrier for a number of other statewide applications, including law enforcement and the Bureau of Homeland Security.
Gary Snyder, director of the Secretary of State’s Information Systems Division, recently complimented ITD’s Kathryn Romano and her staff for their part in the election, including voter registration and the exchange of election results.
Headquarters positions to be reassigned to districts
Vacant positions at Headquarters will be reassigned to the districts as part of ITD’s commitment to address customer service needs and fill positions that best meet those needs, Deputy Director Scott Stokes announced today (Nov. 21).
The reassignment involves positions, not employees, Stokes emphasized. It involves the permanent transfer of PCNs (position control numbers). This action is an important step in working with Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter to reduce administrative costs, explains ITD Director Pam Lowe.
She said the transfer stems from an ongoing analysis of the department’s activities to ensure that resources – including personnel – are applied where they will best serve Idahoans.
“All of our activities must support the department’s service-oriented mission, and this is another step in that process,” she said. “We want to maximize the talents and expertise of our employees.”
“These positions will meet frontline service needs and will be used in highway construction, design and maintenance,” Stokes added. “Our districts are best positioned to provide those needs. We are reviewing and prioritizing those district functions to determine the best way of re-assigning and reclassifying the positions.”
ASCE presents final report on peer review
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently concluded a peer review of ITD’s procedures, work programs, organizational structure, depth of experience and budgets. ITD Director Pam Lowe received the final report today (Nov. 26), including an appendix and post review questionnaire.
During the review, ASCE conducted nearly 300 interviews with department staff across the state and additional interviews with staff at 15 partner agencies. The peer review identified operational processes that are going well, and key opportunities for improvement.
Enhancements make 511 Traveler Services
more responsive, easier to use
ITD introduced a number of enhancements to its 511 Traveler Services system the past year that will help motorists safely navigate changing highway and weather conditions.
As part of the system upgrades, ITD also unveiled a new campaign that encourages motorists to check 511 B4 U GO, by going to the Web site at 511.idaho.gov or dialing 511 toll-free from within the state.
To access the phone system, dial 511 from within Idaho; drivers near state borders may need to call the toll-free number, (888) 432-7623. Cell phone users are not charged for accessing the system, although cell phone service providers may charge for airtime.
ITD simplified the route-reporting process on longer highways, enabling callers and Web site users to select a portion of a highway for information retrieval. In the past, telephone callers had to listen to a report for the entire length of a specific highway even when they only wanted to check a short segment. As a result, they can obtain reports faster and reduce their telephone time.