ITD Research Program Manager Ned Parrish provided the annual report on the department’s research program to the Idaho Transportation Board during its Oct. 15 business meeting in Boise. The budget for research activities in FY10 is $1.4 million.
The Research Advisory Council identified seven new projects for FY10. The projects are in accordance with the department’s strategic goals and initiatives: customer service, partnerships, accountability reporting, practical design and safety. Some of the projects to be completed or initiated in FY10 include studying the performance of ITD’s “superpave” mix design, the impact of bridge design on deck cracking, winter maintenance practices and the relationship between shoulder and lane width and safety.
Parrish also demonstrated the recently developed Web site that provides information about current research projects, online access to completed research reports and search tools. Other program activities included assisting with the transfer of the T2 Center from the University of Idaho in Moscow to the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council in Boise, initiating development of a research library, responding to information requests and collaborating with national and regional groups.
Other board discussion
Detection of over-height trucks
Installing over-height detection systems could help reduce the number of over-height impacts. The system warns drivers if their vehicles are over the height limitations for an upcoming structure. The I-90 corridor in the Coeur d’Alene area is being considered for a detection/warning system as a pilot project because four bridges are within a one-mile stretch and have all been hit by over-height vehicles or loads. If pilot project is successful, over-height detection systems could be installed at other locations in Idaho.
Estimated costs for the detection and warning system are $300,000; however, a funding source has not been identified.
ITD Strategic Plan quarterly update
Internal and external surveys were completed for the Expanding and Enhancing Partnerships initiative. Focus groups will be established to compare the survey results.
Investing in Our People Team activities included revising the employee performance plan and identifying, communicating to employees, and incorporating the department’s values into the performance system. Work continues on employee recognition and the new employee orientation.
A Customer Service Council has been established under the Improving Customer Service strategy. All divisions are represented on the council. A survey of best practices in other states will be completed by January. Preliminary results of a recent customer survey were reported to the board at the work session.
Division of Administration strategic plan action items
CobiT implementation, as part of the Leading Through Agency Performance initiatives, provided the framework to restructure and reorganize the Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) section to meet its objectives, including improving accountability, customer service, quality and project delivery.
Another initiative is the data warehouse project. Reports will integrate financial data and performance measurement data from the pavement management, maintenance management, project scheduling and Division of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) systems. It also will link input resources with output achievements when all management systems are integrated and will facilitate improved decision-making at the department.
One of the Expanding and Enhancing Partnerships activities included installation of wireless networks at Ports of Entry and other designated areas across the state in conjunction with DMV and Idaho State Police. Another activity was the establishment of a department-wide continuity of operations plan (COOP).
To facilitate Improving Customer Service, ETS recently conducted a customer service survey. The survey will help ETS identify ways it can improve communication, meet the needs of its customers and ensure the support service staff has the resources and ability to adequately address customer issues. The survey data from the first 90 days will provide the baseline for performance measures.