Congratulations Graduates! 2018 Graduation Guide

2018.grad.guideOn November 15, 2018 we honored 114 transportation professionals who completed one or more of our six different certificate programs in 2018. If you like to view the 2018 Graduation Guide, please click on the link below.

2018 Grad Guide FINAL

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Signal Spotlights: New Britain Citywide Traffic Signal Modernization

traffic_signal_spotlights_logoWith the opening of the CTfastrak Downtown New Britain Station and various developments throughout New Britain, the City recognized the need to update its traffic signal equipment and had implemented a Citywide Traffic Signal Modernization program.

Phase I

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Photo Credit: City of New Britain

Under Phase I of the $3 million CMAQ-funded project, the City of New Britain evaluated existing equipment and selected new standard equipment for all future installations. ATC traffic controllers and video detection capable of detecting bicycles were among the equipment selected. Loop detection at many of the city’s intersections failed, causing unnecessary delay. The proposed controller and vehicle detector upgrades to video detection will allow for bicycle detection while increasing reliability.

Also under Phase I, the City reestablished an abandoned closed loop system along Main Street in the city’s downtown center and created the start of a centralized transportation management system.

Phase II

Phase II, which is currently underway, includes improvements to traffic signals on the following corridors:

  • West Main Street
  • Columbus Boulevard
  • Myrtle Street
  • East Main Street
  • Broad Street
  • Main Street

The work will include six full intersection replacements along with controller and communication equipment upgrades, ADA and audible pedestrian signal improvements, vehicle and bicycle detection, timing and phasing improvements and consideration of an adaptive signal control system on West Main Street.

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Downtown New Britain, Photo Credit: City of New Britain

Currently the city’s centralized system consists of only four intersections, and the Public Works Department relies primarily on motorists and public works staff to identify and report issues with traffic signal control equipment. Expanding the centralized system to a total of 23 intersections will allow the City to manage the timing of traffic signals within the downtown by communicating directly with field equipment to modify traffic signal programs in real time. Controller and vehicle detection upgrades will be made under Phase II to reduce congestion.

Traffic Signal Management Plan (TSMP)

As part of the systems engineering process for CMAQ funding, the City of New Britain developed a Traffic Signal Management Plan for the operations and maintenance of its traffic signals. The plan outlines the City’s goals and objectives, strategies for design, operations and maintenance, as well as a set of performance measures to evaluate how well operations are meeting objectives. This plan ensured that the City was purchasing the appropriate equipment and that the City had adequate resources to operate and maintain the equipment.

“It was a pleasure to work with the T2 Center to prepare the City of New Britain’s Traffic Signal Management and Operations Plan. The Traffic Signal Systems Circuit Rider was critical in the preparation of this important document.”

– Carl J. Gandza, Engineering Project Manager, City of New Britain

To view the City of New Britain’s TSMP, click here.

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Town Crier: Cheshire Public Works on the Benefits of Using Interns

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The inclusion of interns can offer a great opportunity for students while also greatly benefiting municipal programs. We conducted an interview with the Cheshire Department of Public Works & Engineering’s Assistant Town Engineer, Daniel J. Bombero Jr., to discuss the benefits of using interns in their department.

Question #1: Where do you find your interns? 

We listed a job posting on the Town’s website and, for the first time, this year we also listed on Indeed.com. The posting was specific to seeking currently enrolled engineering students. This year we received three applications for the position, all of which were through Indeed.com. All applicants were given formal interviews, after which we offered two applicants positions for the summer. In years past, there was only one of these positions offered; however, with several projects to tackle and an unfilled full-time position, we decided to bring two of the candidates on.

Question #2: Do you pay the interns? 

The intern positions are paid $10.75 per hour, the same rate as other seasonal employees in public works or our grounds division.

Question #3: Do you find the interns reliable? 

We have been lucky enough in the past few years to draw several motivated individuals. While personalities have differed over the years, we have been able to leverage the individuals’ interests and strong suits to benefit both the interns professionally and our program.

Question #4: What kind of projects/tasks do you have the interns work on? 

This past year, we were able to have interns involved in activities including GIS asset location and collection along with verification of existing asset location and related asset information. With the implementation of GIS-integrated outfall and catch basin inspection forms, were able to have the interns visit and inspect over 250 of these assets as part of the MS4 initiative. This was a big part of the workload that was carried by our interns this past year; however, we were able to also include them in some field survey work, drafting and work with Excel databases, as the interns voiced interest in these activities. It was great to be able to provide an opportunity for them to experience this work.

Question #5: Can you share either a success or lesson learned story with us?

When filling any position, there is always the possibility that you may not necessarily receive the level of production or enthusiasm that you are anticipating, and with that we have had both positive and negative experiences. This past year we were lucky enough to have two highly motivated interns who had both direction and drive and were able to complete the tasks that were asked of them. We also included them in activities related to the engineering avenues that they are anticipating moving into professionally in an effort to keep their interest and provide experience that they desired.

 

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Dedication and Service Extends Beyond Connecticut

Sue Baillargeon from the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), is a curriculum manager and has spent the last 31 years working for the Department. For the past 17 years, Sue has also been volunteering with the American Red Cross, traveling all over the country in her spare time to help others in disaster-torn areas. We sat down with Sue to learn more about her role at CTDOT and how she became involved with the American Red Cross and to share some of her experiences.

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Question #1: What is your position with CTDOT and what are some of your responsibilities? 

I am a curriculum manager for CTDOT and I am responsible for administering the funding we receive from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to run our training programs. I also provide the National Highway Institute (NHI) courses and railroad safety courses. In addition, I coordinate the Department’s Supervisory Development Program and the recently established Professional Development Series. I am also privileged to work with some wonderful people from multiple state agencies on many Connecticut Training and Development Network programs such as Train-the-Trainer and Aspiring Leaders.

Question #2: How long have you been working for CTDOT? 

I started at DOT in 1987 as a truck driver in the Occum garage. I was a maintainer for 19 years, until 2006, when I took my current position. That’s about 31 years!

Question #3: You volunteer with the American Red Cross, when did that begin? 

I started my Red Cross adventures in January 2001. I went to their office to sign up for CPR training and while I was there I saw all this information about disaster services, so I asked a few questions and they had me! Some of the things I do for them are disaster responses, sheltering, bulk distribution, teach shelter management and distracted driving, and drive the Emergency Response Vehicle.

Question #4: What are some of the things you have done and places you have gone to as a representative of the American Red Cross? 

My first disaster response was on September 11, 2001. It was a local support response, so we basically collected donations and supplies to send to New York for the recovery efforts. In 2004, I went on my first national deployment to Florida when about four hurricanes blew through in a short period of time. I drove a Red Cross truck to Jacksonville with another volunteer. Our job was to give out clean-up kits, and later we delivered food. I also recall loading and unloading about a million cases of water, which I have since learned is a common task on EVERY disaster I have been to! A year later, I was deployed to New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina. I drove to Little Rock, AK (where we were staging prior to the storm making landfall) and then down to Baton Rouge, which was as far as we could get after the levees broke. I thought my job would be the same as it was in Florida, but everything changed really fast and I found myself tasked as the manager of all the trucks at the shelter (a civic center in Monroe, LA). We had eight trucks and driving teams, mostly retired people, who were able to locate and provide services to over 10,000 individuals in the community who were living by the roadside, in parking lots, basements, or in people’s backyards. We discovered a campground in Arkansas, just north of our area, where a group of big-hearted local bikers were cooking three meals a day for refugees from the storm. It was awesome to see the community come together that way. At the end of the deployment, I was told that our team of just 16 people served over 90,000 meals, brought doctors and nurses to the remote areas, and supported the surrounding community and the shelter and it’s growing population (three weeks after the storm people were still moving north to escape the devastation). I didn’t sleep for days, ate a lot of granola bars, and cried a lot (so many sad stories of the families in the shelter, and the overwhelming feeling of it all.) So it was a good feeling coming home from that one. There have been several local national responses the last few years also, like Superstorm Sandy, Irene, and Alfred where I managed shelters in Stonington and East Lyme, among others. The last one I went out for was last September to Houston, TX for the Hurricane Harvey response.

I still communicate with some of the people that shared those experiences with me, and I have open invitations to visit all over the country! All of the volunteers I’ve worked with are truly special people.

Question #5: Is there a special story you would like to share? 

You’re asking for stories and there are so many, but for some reason the animal stories stick with me the most. I remember an elderly man who drove up to our shelter in Monroe in a pickup truck from the 70’s that had no windshield and most of the front seat missing. He told me he had been driving for nine days through Louisiana, Mississippi, and now was heading to Texas LOOKING FOR HIS FAMILY! He was driving from shelter to shelter across the entire south to find his family who had evacuated the 9th ward days earlier. He had an old dog with him the whole way and the only thing he asked for (when he discovered his family was not in our shelter) was a bowl of food for his dog. He was worried about his dog not eating well. Evidently, he had been giving the dog the same food he was eating (dry cereal and some cans of vegetables). I stood in the rain and listened to him tell me where he had been and how far he traveled (in the rain with no windshield!) looking for loved ones and how he couldn’t let anything happen to his dog because it might be all he had left. I never felt better than I did watching him drive away with a month’s supply of dog food (and a promise for more, if he needed it), a few weeks’ worth of food for himself (which he tried to refuse because other people needed it more), a $200 gas card, and directions to the shelter in Shreveport where we located his family! I still felt bad that I couldn’t do anything about his windshield, and when I told him that I had tried to find one, he got real quiet and I saw big tear drops in his eyes and he said, “Ma’am, I ain’t had a bath in over a week, I’m covered in road bugs and dirt, and I’ll understand if you can’t do this for me, would you mind if I give you a hug?” I said, “Sir, I haven’t had a bath in a week, I smell like a goat, and I’ll understand if you say no, but can I give YOU a hug?”  It sounds a little silly now, but it was one of the most satisfying moments of all my years at Red Cross. The Red Cross offers me an opportunity to make people’s lives better when they need it the most, and nothing feels better than that.

Every single day, the American Red Cross helps people in emergencies, whether it’s assisting one displaced family or thousands of disaster victims, or providing care and comfort to an ill or injured service member or veteran, or supporting a military family. If you are inspired by Sue and her experiences, visit the American Red Cross Volunteer Connection. 

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2018 Roadway Safety Poster Contest Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Roadway Safety Poster Contest!

2018 winner collageEarlier this year the Connecticut Technology Transfer Center asked students from around the state to help promote roadway safety through art. After visiting the PBS Kids’ Ruff Ruffman’s Driving website (a site to access resources including games and surveys to encourage kids to become better passengers and to play an active role in helping their parents to keep their eyes on the road), students in grades K-6 submitted their poster designs depicting how to be safe as a pedestrian, bicyclists, or driver. Submitted entries were reviewed by a panel of roadway safety professionals from the Connecticut Department of Transportation, and a winner and honorable mention were selected for three age categories: K-1, 2nd -4th grade, and 5th-6th grade.

2018 honorable mention groupMonday, April 9th, the three winners and three honorable mentions were invited to attend the Connecticut Work Zone Safety Awareness Press Conference, held at the Newington Department of Transportation building. There, the students were presented with ribbons and gift baskets to honor their artistic achievements.

As a special surprise police officers and public works professionals from each of the student’s respective hometowns were invited to attend the press conference and give their congratulations.

Job well done, kids!

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Song Titles Setting the Tone for ‘Faces of Transportation’ Photo/Video Contest

Faces of Transportation

WASHINGTON – The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials annual Faces of Transportation photography and video contest is marking its 13th year with a twist. Song titles will define the four categories used in the photography portion of the competition and social media participation is being strongly encouraged this year.

“Transportation is about people,” said Lloyd Brown, AASHTO communications director. “This competition’s goal is to focus on the people who build, maintain and use the transportation system that serves as the backbone of our strong economy and high quality of life.”

In the song title category “Highway Song” by Blackfoot, the photos should include people using or working on surface transportation, including but not limited to roadways, tunnels, bridges, pedestrian and bike trails. In the song title category “Sailing Away” by Christopher Cross, the photos should include people using or working on ships, boats, ferries and at waterway…

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2018 Annual Roadway Safety Poster Contest for Children

2018_Poster_Packet_CoverThe CT Technology Transfer Center and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program are joining forces to bring awareness to Roadway Safety in Connecticut!

Help make the Eighth Annual Roadway Safety Poster Contest for Children a huge success in 2018!

We want to make roadway safety a priority and are asking the children of Connecticut to help promote safety through art. This poster contest is for children grades K-6. We will have winners in multiple groups: K-1, 2-4 and 5-6. We are looking for creative posters illustrating roadway safety concepts from a child’s point of view.

We are accepting submissions until March 9th. Winners will receive prizes and awards at the Work Zone Safety Press Conference in April 2018. Prizes include: Chromebooks for winners and gift cards and a variety of goodies for runner-ups.

For the 2018 Poster Contest Participant Packet ruffeyesontheroadincluding guidelines and more information about the contest, click on the link below.

Poster Contest Participation Packet 2018 FINAL

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