Episode 19 – Institute of Transportation Engineers

Topics: ITE, Institute of Transportation Engineers

Talking Traffic Episode 19 – Institute of Transportation Engineers

Hello and welcome to talking traffic episode number 19. Today is Monday April 14th 2008, Tax Day Eve! Alas, sometimes the weekends are just packed with things to do and I don’t get around to recording the podcast. And the following week. Sometimes I just need the extra time. I will therefore state that Talking Traffic Shall at All Times be published every Monday…unless it is not.

This week’s episode is a short one. I was on vacation last week and didn’t put together my usual hard hitting analysis. Something of significance occurred one week ago, however.. I submitted a travel scholarship application for the ITE Annual Meeting. This scholarship is given out to 10 “young” engineers, young being defined as being no more than 35 years of age. The scholarship required a one page essay to accompany the application the title of which was “Why I Should Be Selected for this Scholarship”. That’s a pretty broad topic for writing, and I picked education. Talking Traffic is fundamentally about me educating you about some of the nitty gritty of this weird traffic thing. Nothing that I do is really all that complicated, individually however it’s the combination of several simple systems that can be complex. For example, I’ve mentioned the oft-heard complaint, “Why don’t ‘they’ simply make that light stay green longer?” I talked about that a bit in episode 1 and episode 8, and it’s not until you think about signals as part of a system that the answer becomes obvious. Frustrating, still, for those who must sit and wait for the green light, but at least you understand *why* you’re sitting there. I’ve mentioned it on the blog in the past, but there is an excellently funny xkcd comic that illustrates this very point. See the show notes for the link.
Where was I? Ah yes, Education. Ultimately, I want the “public” people I meet to know more about my job than I do. If they can stump me with a question, then they’re knowledgeable about the things their tax money is paying for! Go them! I love it when someone makes me admit that I don’t know and that I have to go do some research to learn something new. As I said, I was on vacation last week and I spent several wonderful hours rummaging through used book stores in the French Quarter of New Orleans. I found several things that I, alas, decided weren’t in my play-money budget. Things like the annotated history of technology (in 5 volumes) plus a three volume set concerning the principles of naval architecture. I *really* wanted that one but it was a bit pricey. yes, yes, I know I’m a geek, but I love old engineering tomes.

Anyway, I applied for the ITE travel scholarship specifically with Talking Traffic in mind. My traffic engineering experience comes from direct work experience in Texas and Georgia, conversations with other engineers, and extensive reading. I want to go to the ITE Annual Meeting to network more with my fellow engineers and pick up good Talking Traffic topics while I’m there.

ITE is a good organization for this because it is a truly professional organization. ITE stands for the Institute of Transportation Engineers. I could describe why I think it’s such a good organization, or I could just quote from the ite.org website:

“The Institute of Transportation Engineers is an international educational and scientific association of transportation professionals who are responsible for meeting mobility and safety needs. ITE facilitates the application of technology and scientific principles to research, planning, functional design, implementation, operation, policy development and management for any mode of transportation. Through its products and services, ITE promotes professional development of its members, supports and encourages education, stimulates research, develops public awareness programs and serves as a conduit for the exchange of professional information. ”

To sum up, ITE occupies itself attempting to further the art, craft, and science of transportation engineering through whitepapers, policy advisement, and technical development. ITE also has several “Mega Issues” right now that It is focusing on in particular. They are Safety, Management & Operations, Designing for All Users, and Workforce Development. Workforce development is one of the reasons I want to attend the ITE Annual Meeting, and I’ll be talking about Designing for All Users in a podcast in the not too distant future.

So, hopefully I’ll win the scholarship to attend the meeting. Sorry that this episode wasn’t about anything in particular. Learning about ITE is worthwhile, even if it’s not something that will generally crop up in conversation. Of course, next time you talk to a traffic engineer you could ask them if they are a member of ITE, and if not, why?

This episode of talking traffic is released under a creative commons 3.0 attribution noncommercial no derivatives license. If you like it, feel free to duplicate and distribute it, but please don’t change it or sell it. If you have any ideas for future episodes or questions, please send an email to bill at talkingtraffic.org, or just leave a comment on the show notes. I appreciate all of the feedback. The music you heard on this podcast is by five star fall and can be found at magnatune.com

I hope you have a good week!

Xkcd webcomic
Theme Music: Five Star Fall, Mercurial Girl, Magnatune.com

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